Close
Close

Latest Headlines

Published

CES is an auto-show, Here and TomTom square up and buff offerings

CES 2017 was the first year that CES seemed as much an automotive conference as a consumer electronics one, and 2018 has been no different. With Intel, Ford, Qualcomm, and Samsung trading blows in the hardware front, Here and main rival TomTom used CES as the stage on which to announce a wave of news that sees them both expand their automotive mapping and services arsenals. Here was going all out at the show, following a smaller flurry of news in December. Its major announcement was the launch of its new Here Mobility division, and specifically the Open Mobility Marketplace (OMM) – the platform that the new wing of Here plans to use to link service providers with potential customers.…

Read more

Published

Utility blockchain could have its year, as WePower and Elering launch pilot

The past year has seen a steady trickle of blockchain-based experiments from utilities, embracing startups exploring the technology to see how they can use the ledger system to better embrace renewable energy sources. However, the past year also saw bitcoin suffer a crash, which will likely put many investors on edge – those who don’t really understand what’s going on. However, 2018 is shaping up to be the year in which some major progress is made on the utility blockchain front – and two deals have caught our eye this week. Kontrol Energy used the pre-CES lull to announce that it had acquired an energy analytics company for $1m – but neglected to mention who it had actually bought. Saying…

Read more

Published

CES cools on AI silicon, CEVA and Ambarella unveil new designs

Smart Home and Automotive are the two hot topics at CES this year, with AI only really making any impression on the back of announcements regarding digital assistants. However, two silicon announcements are significant in both the enterprise and consumer markets – with CEVA unveiling its new NeuPro family of network-edge AI processors, and Ambarella launching its new CV1 computer vision range. For CEVA, this is about snaring a share of the low-power devices that want to adopt AI-based processing – outside of the data centers. CEVA is pitching it as a deep learning option for edge-device vendors ‘looking for a streamlined way to quickly take advantage of the significant possibilities that deep neural network technologies offer.’ NeuPro is another…

Read more

Published

China running away with it, as analysts get hyped for cellular IoT growth

Cellular IoT, the catchall term for 2G, 3G, and 4G IoT connections, is the subject of a trio of reports from analyst houses, and by their accounts, China is running away with the competition. With strong government support for IoT projects, as part of its ongoing industrial transformations, as well as its response to environmental challenges, China seems to be driving NB-IoT growth in a major way. We came across the figures in a Seeking Alpha article discussing the sort of multiple that an IoT leader should net. It noted that China Mobile expects to add 100m IoT devices in 2017, and had hit 150m total by mid-year – although the Chinese MNO doesn’t breakdown the ‘smart connections’ by application…

Read more

Published

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Altice wants to split its US and European operations into two separate companies, as part of a restructuring plan to reduce debt and simplify the company to enhance accountability and transparency. Altice Europe will include Altice France, Altice International and Altice Pay TV subsidiaries, integrating Altice’s support services businesses into its respective markets and bundling Altice Europe’s premium content activities into one separately funded operating unit. Altice USA will distribute $1.5 billion in cash dividends to all shareholders prior to the split, while Altice NV will use €625 million ($751.6 million) to pay back debt. Patrick Drahi will become president of the Altice Europe board and chairman of the Altice USA board. European media group RTL has acquired Nordic network…

Read more

Published

Google commits to China and e-sports; VR steals CES show again

Google made a sizable investment last week which failed to cause much of stir, leading a $120 million series D round in mobile gaming firm Chushou. The significance lies not just in Google upping its presence in e-sports but making in-roads into China – two technology trends expected to be rife throughout 2018. Early announcements seeping out of CES in Las Vegas this week support the growth potential of the gaming market, with multiple product unveilings and updates in both gaming software and hardware, although virtual and augmented reality technologies, as expected, are taking center stage. Most notably, Facebook has tapped Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi to develop its new Oculus Go VR headset exclusively for the Chinese market. Breaking China…

Read more

Published

Ethertronics sneaks in Swisscom WiFi win as takeover agreed

Shortly after announcing a takeover by electronics manufacturer AVX for $142 million, antenna systems developer Ethertronics delivered a big product win at Swisscom. Ethertronics spans multiple industries and given the importance that next-generation WiFi is playing in areas such as defense and emerging IoT applications, the acquisition looks a worthwhile one going forward, while the battle for in-home WiFi grows ever more valuable. Swisscom has deployed Ethertronics’ high-performance WiFi antenna in its new WLAN-Box, to meet demands for delivering video and smart home applications. Swisscom says its designers selected Ethertronics to maximize the radio link performance in the WLAN-Box, which acts as a 3 in 1 WiFi device – serving as an access point (AP), a repeater and a video…

Read more

Published

Trump signs rural broadband order, forgets funding

In the absence of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at CES, President Trump took it upon himself to shake up the internet at the start of this week. The buzz from the famous trade show largely dissipated the news, but the signing of two new executive orders to bring high-speed broadband to rural parts of the US is a move which has somewhat backfired – receiving much criticism for missing the mark in what is really required to boost broadband. The plan is to improve infrastructure for farmers and other small businesses, although Trump doesn’t appear to have set out any funding structure to accommodate his signature. He highlighted a $200 billion infrastructure proposal last year and the general consensus is…

Read more

Published

US net neutrality civil war continues

Net neutrality has been a contentious issue all over the world, but nowhere more so than the US perhaps because there such issues tend to be seen more in black and white. Europe has taken a more nuanced view that has achieved greater consensus by allowing some wriggle room for ISPs under the guise of congestion management or to ensure network integrity. In practice they can still throttle torrents and rein back 4K video streams which consume an undue amount of bandwidth at the expense of others and just call it network management. Even so, Europe’s relatively pure version of net neutrality was actually criticized for going too far by adopting an unpractical one size fits all approach to content…

Read more

Published

Time for GoPro to hang up cameras, become pure video editing biz

Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony and Snap have all been rumored as possible suiters to acquire GoPro over the years, now each of these tech giants will be applauding their decisions to hold out, as the camera maker reported it will miss earnings expectations and slash its work force by 20% to under 1,000. There is little point in slating GoPro’s product line, having produced an excellent portfolio of cameras and a brand that no other manufacturer on the market has been able to match. GoPro has become the adrenaline-junkie’s best friend and is adorned by racing cars and airplanes to record action scenes the likes of which had never been seen prior to the birth of the GoPro camera. The…

Read more

Published

Dish unifies digital and linear advertising measurement with comScore

Dish Network has signed up Sling TV to be the inaugural streaming TV customer of comScore’s new cross-platform addressable measurement service. comScore is measuring addressable advertising campaigns across Dish Network’s set tops and DVRs; and viewership on Sling TV’s OTT platform will now be folded into those results to give advertisers a more complete picture of audience reach and campaign performance. That makes Dish one of the first service providers to offer addressable advertising measurement across digital and linear. The advent of addressable advertising was supposed to bridge the worlds of linear TV advertising with digital targeting, as addressable advertising enables marketers to target TV ads to viewers like they would on digital platforms. But addressable advertising – which is…

Read more

Published

Apple backs both sides of video against the middle as it joins AOMedia

Apple very quietly slipped its membership application to royalty free video compression group the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) at the turn of the year. This is simply a practical step. It will no doubt take about five years for all devices to support AV1, for its performance claims to be borne out and for the royalty free element to be guaranteed. That means that for Apple, a company that likes to take control of all its key architectures, it is time to develop some influence in the enemy camp. It is only from inside this camp that Apple can assert its own patents in compression, but being so late into this game, Faultline Online Reporter would suggest that Apple’s…

Read more

Published

Spectre and Meltdown may force long term changes in CPU design

Intel at least was relieved when Spectre emerged quickly to join Meltdown as a dual security threat because now the problem is shared with AMD and makers of ARM processors. Spectre afflicts just about the whole PC, tablet and smartphone industry as well as the COTS (Common Off the Shelf Hardware) used widely in virtualized infrastructures and cloud services. With no evidence that any of the vulnerabilities had been exploited, concerns switched more to the performance implications of the patches than the risk of major breaches. But these fears appear to have been overblown after initial stories of increases in CPU time of up to 30%. Amazon Web Services has insisted that impact on virtual machine performance of fixes administered…

Read more

Published

RCOM deal for Reliance Jio’s opens door to fiber TV platform, 5G

Despite mobile operators’ often hyped-up promises for new 5G models, any disruption in the industry in 2017 was driven by non-traditional players, particularly fiber providers such as Iliad of France and new entrants such as India’s Reliance Jio. Both these companies, and others like them, have been chipping away at the mobile market for some years now, but 2017 was the year when their impact on their respective countries was clear to see in terms of the shift in market share and service models. As incumbent rivals started to respond, this year, both are looking to expand on what they have achieved so far, RJio scaling up by acquiring the telecoms assets of Reliance Communications (RCOM), Iliad by making further…

Read more

Published

Swedish consolidation as Com Hem and Tele2 merge in triple play bid

The first case of European consolidation in 2018 is underway as Swedish mobile operator Tele2 announced a $3.3 billion takeover of cable TV and broadband provider Com Hem. A mega triple play operator will be born through the merger, putting pressure on incumbent MNO Telia and cable TV rivals TeliaSonera and Telenor’s Canal Digital – in a country renowned for its exceptional broadband speeds. Com Hem has invested significantly in network infrastructure in recent years and also bolstered its TV and fiber to the home opportunities by acquiring Boxer less than two years ago, as well as embracing multiscreen and IP with open arms, which has transformed the company’s TV fortunes. The cable provider has long been looking for a…

Read more

Published

Broadcasters toast ATSC 3.0 achievement despite lack of devices

This year’s CES is the first big industry event for broadcasters to tout ATSC 3.0 as an official standard, and some felt the occasion fitting for a champagne toast. ATSC president Mark Richer, along with NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith and CTA head Gary Shapiro, lauded one another and all those involved in creating the new broadcasting standard that promises to revolutionize over the air television. “Broadcasters now are the cornerstone partner in advancing this next chapter of broadcast television,” Smith said, while Shapiro touted the event as a big milestone. “ATSC 3.0 has now made it to deployment,” he said. “The release is very significant.” Richer said the new standard will “bring historic innovations to broadcasters and to…

Read more

Published

Samsung 146-inch micro-LED TV set triggers projector TV revolt at CES

Korean, Japanese and Chinese TV makers usually use CES as a launch pad for the coming year and 2018 seems to be no different. But the output is the most varied for years – with each player pushing completely different technologies and Samsung stealing most of the headlines with a 146-inch wall based TV. We were told as the 2017 year ended, by none other than IHS Markit, that OELD TVs had shipped 133% ahead of last year’s figures – not much of a leap really, from an already low figure. OLED reached 270,000 shipment units in November as falling prices pushed the sweet spot purchases around 55-inches and above, offering genuine UHD and 4K down into the budget range…

Read more

Published

Google tries to tell Amazon who’s boss at CES

CES 2018 is emblazoned with Google branding in preparation for a year in which the company will go hell for leather against Amazon in the battle for TV and the ever-important role that voice will play in the video ecosystem. A handful of announcements stake their claims as significant from the mountain of press releases this week, combining to paint a picture in which Google leads the pursuit of owning the connected TV, while Amazon is way out front in almost every other connected device – except for smartphones. Google has bagged a new smart TV partner this week to add to its growing list, as it announced a partnership deal with Haier for an Android TV integration on the…

Read more

Published

LG pushes its voice assistant experience beyond Google

Rather than narrowing its potential audience by cutting out Google altogether, LG Electronics is hoping that its new smart TV voice assistant called ThinQ will win over consumers to the LG way of thinking, while still providing compatibility with Google Assistant. This has the makings of a great user experience, combining features such as Google Photos and Maps with a voice assistant tailor made for navigating LG TV sets. ThinQ is capable of handling “a few hundred” voice commands, so the limited voice processing clout of the new service within LG TV sets means that Google will still have a significant part to play, as any voice requests that LG cannot handle will be processed by Google Assistant in the…

Read more

Published

The new-look iPass – big data and expanded MNO services

The CEO of WiFi service provider iPass, Gary Griffiths, has been working hard recently to convince investors that, after two years of work, he is transforming the company into something new and different. The company is almost out of money, but it has a series of new business models which should generate new growth, he explained to Wireless Watch’s sister service, Faultline, last week. He talked about unlimited deals on WiFi, he talked about operator partnerships to offer WiFi to their customers, and he talked about the company’s first deal for Veri-Fi, a product only out of the blocks a few months ago. When Griffiths took over iPass it had a clear problem. It asked for $25 a month for…

Read more

Close