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London’s five-step smart city plan needs to balance public vs. private

Smart cities and the idea of increasing digital connectivity amongst citizens has been a key point of discussion for over a decade, with the rise of smartphones and the integration of personal technology in the way the average citizen interacts with space in their day to day life. Major cities, in general, are the forerunners of such systems, and in particular, London desires to be seen as an innovator in the way its citizens function in a modern landscape. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has put forward a five-step plan in order to help the lives of Londoners, that will attempt to enhance digital connectivity, data sharing, citizen-led design, skills and collaboration. However, there are serious concerns that need to…

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Siemens and Alibaba team up to deliver industrial IoT in China

Alibaba is often likened to Amazon as it dominates online retail and cloud services in China, with the prospect of more direct competition as it expands into other geographical areas. They are also both targeting the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), where again Alibaba is confining its ambitions to China for now. To this end, it has teamed up with Siemens to realize this ambition – highlighting the growing extent of collaboration between the major Chinese technology players and large partners in North America and China. In some cases, partners are attracted by the prospect of access to Chinese data for improving their machine learning or AI models but here the main motivation is access to a huge IIoT market,…

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Alphabet graduates Loon and Wing a week after Facebook killed Aquila

  Alphabet has graduated its Project Loon and Wing from its Moonshot division, only a couple of weeks after web-giant rival Facebook threw in the towel on its Aquila drone program. Loon has always been of great interest to Riot, chiefly as a way to cheaply bring LTE coverage to remote areas in a fashion that could undercut the incumbent MNOs. Because nearly all low-power IoT devices have such low bandwidth requirements, the roving balloon system could be a very viable way to bring coverage to remote areas – think great plains, rain forests, or mountain ranges. These are areas with such low human populations that an MNO is never really going to see a return on the investment needed…

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GE’s Predix gets a win with DEWA, not a complete disaster yet

General Electric’s GE Digital Wing has not had a great start in life. GE itself has had a difficult decade, as it struggles to adapt to a changing world. GE Digital and its Predix PaaS was meant to be an easy win for the industrial giant, able to trade on its brand name to create a cloud-based IoT platform that customers would flock to. But this has not been the case, and Predix has been something of a flop. However, a win with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is a sign that a corner is close to being turned, and recent comments by GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh have added some clarity – after a pivot that saw Predix…

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EU under pressure to commit to C-V2X as platooning gains momentum

The European Commission has been urged to come down on the side of C-V2X in the standards war embroiling V2V and V2X communications by a sizeable group of major auto OEMs, telcos and infrastructure providers. The more interesting wider aspect is that urgency highlights the emergence of platooning as the likely first commercial realization of autonomous driving with potentially significant fuel savings for fleet operators – combined with reductions in congestion. Platooning saves fuel costs by exploiting the same aerodynamic factors that make longer trains more efficient than shorter ones, the same one that racing cyclists exploit by shielding their best rider behind others to reduce air resistance. According to the European Union (EU) SARTRE project, running between 2009 and…

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NAV Alliance founded to tackle woeful in-car networking landscape

The Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance has been launched, by founding members Aquantia, Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, and VW America. Looking to create an ecosystem for next-gen Multi-Gig Ethernet networking. But even if the alliance solves the networking problem, there are many other elements of a self-driving car that need a similar level of international and regulatory consensus. The “Multi-Gig” part sounds a bit redundant, as these days, 100G and 40G are fairly commonplace in data centers these days – and the auto industry is quite happy to quip that cars are now ‘data centers on wheels’ (just as the NAV Alliance does in its launch materials). Sure, 40G Ethernet hasn’t exactly trickled down into consumer electronics, but that’s largely…

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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Eutelsat has joined in with Intelsat and SES agreeing terms under which they would allow C-band spectrum to be used in the US. The proposal establishes a commercial and technical framework to enable MNOs to access spectrum in the 3,700 to 4,200 MHz bands for 5G. A consortium is to be set up to oversee the governance of the initiative and to define and implement a methodology for spectrum clearance. The FCC is preparing a rulemaking statement later this month. With these three onboard, it is now likely to go ahead. Tribune Broadcasting has announced a partnership over programmatic and addressable advertising with WideOrbit and its Open Marketplace to allow advertisers to review and order spots on Tribune’s 42 TV…

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Com Hem TV Hub in full swing, ComBo to become main product

Early usage data from Com Hem shows customers of its new TV Hub, based on Android TV operator tier, are engaging with the extra features and additional content – showing strong initial interest from both its core Com Hem base and Boxer DTT subsidiary. Sweden’s Com Hem has meticulously built up a reputation as a connoisseur of cable – delivering broadband and TV experiences other European operators aren’t even close to matching. On the surface, TV Hub doesn’t seem like anything particularly special, so does Com Hem have a secret to success or is this simply the Android TV effect? TV Hub is also another representation of the demise of TiVo’s hardware business, but that’s a story for another day.…

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World Cup viewing worlds away from winning OTT hearts

In a few days’ time, a nation will be crowned the new World Cup champions and CDN juggernaut Akamai is relishing the frankly insane viewing figures being recorded – publishing figures this week which put into perspective by how much the 2018 tournament has exceeded its predecessor four years ago. Is it conceivable that rights for an event of this scale could one day be owned exclusively by internet giants, making OTT viewing the de facto and only source? We will address this controversial question later on, but first, Akamai says its networks handled 65% more traffic during the first ten days of Russia 2018 than it did throughout the entirety of Rio 2014. In addition, bandwidth has so far…

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Orange to save Molotov from fiery finale?

Is another European OTT video platform about to crash out of the market in a blaze of premature glory? France’s Molotov has repeatedly tried and failed to cobble enough cash together to keep the ship afloat – now it might be on the cusp of a rescue mission headed up by Orange. After officially launching in 2016 and quickly securing a €4 million investment from UK operator Sky, followed by French TV technology vendor TDF purchasing an undisclosed minority stake, Molotov was tipped to be a disruptor in the French video space. Despite reaching a respectable 5 million active users, profitability remains out of reach for Molotov, which is valuing itself at €100 million – a figure deemed much too…

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Mobile and OTT to rescue Latin American pay TV from the doldrums

Legacy pay TV subs in Latin America may have been quite flat for the last three years but now escalating growth in fixed broadband and especially mobile viewing is taking up the slack. So while legacy services are likely to resume significant growth only in countries whose economies are expanding, there will be a general rise in video consumption over the next few years across the region. As always with Latin American studies we should note it is a large region with significant differences between countries. Some such as Venezuela and to an extent Brazil are engulfed in crisis and performing badly, while Peru has been one of the few bright spots over the last few years. It has the…

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Google gets comfortable as Assistant joins Alexa at Dish

Dish Network’s pay TV subscribers are apparently so smitten with the introduction of voice control technology that the US operator has added the Google Assistant to Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally set tops – squeezing in alongside Alexa where things could be getting a bit too cozy. Dish Network jumped into voice for the first time in January 2017 when it integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, while Comcast set the trend a full 21 months ahead of any other US operator. Another 18 months on, some media coverage has criticized Google for being late to the party – a sentiment we couldn’t agree less with. Remember how CES 2018 was all about Google trying to remind Amazon who’s boss? Oh…

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Akamai warns against lowering bit rate to avoid buffering

It is common practice for streaming services to reduce bit rate at points and times of congestion to avoid buffering, but this can defeat the object of improving the overall viewing experience, according to CDN provider Akamai. Service providers tend to regard lowering the bit rate temporarily to sacrifice some picture resolution as a lesser evil than buffering, which turns viewers off quickly and is a major cause of churn in OTT. But excessive use of bit rate reduction means that viewers expecting say HD quality are often having to make do with SD or even worse for a significant proportion of the running time. This too can provoke churn even if it is more of a slow burn, especially…

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Broadcom merger with CA – bizarre and unexplainable – we think

Broadcom has announced a merger with CA Technologies, the once infamous Computer Associates, which is embedded in the mainframe era, which has flat revenues, and which doesn’t make chips at all. Broadcom CEO, Hock Tan, will have a lot of explaining to do to make this deal work – it is a million miles from the deal he sought in buying Qualcomm, and unless there is some unholy marriage between agile development and DevOps and chip architectures, he is paying 4.5 times revenues for a dying company from the last century. CA is described as one of the world’s leading providers of information technology management software – it came out of the ancient art of Systems Management, back when hardware…

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MediaKind – dumb name, won’t be with us for long

The new name and working brand for the Ericsson Media Solutions division which got spun out back in February is MediaKind. We will try ourselves to be kind, but it’s tough after years of mismanagement, failure to complete, and playing second fiddle to its mobile business – there is little good that we can say. We have requested an interview, but since we were specifically not invited to the launch, it is unlikely we will receive one. The nicest thing we can say is that many of the new management team are new to us, which may mean that lots of old-timers have stayed with Ericsson or retired and a new batch of in-house managers have come through. They cannot…

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Kaltura claims customer is world’s largest in cloud-based telco TV

Online video player provider Kaltura released a new version of its TV Platform Player very recently, but in conversation this week the company was much keener to discuss what’s to come at this year’s IBC. Faultline Online Reporter rarely heralds awards announcements as newsworthy, but Kaltura’s co-founder and President, Dr Shay David, explained that the award concerns its customer Vodafone – claiming the Vodafone TV service is now the world’s largest telco cloud TV platform. This immediately piqued our interest for two reasons. Firstly, Vodafone is in the process of acquiring assets from Liberty Global which would make it the largest cable operator in Europe as well as an MNO giant. Secondly, telco TV is by no means easily executed,…

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How can media markets survive the inevitable AI bubble burst?

The global AI market will reach just $39 billion by the end of 2023, giving rise to a bubble which is destined to burst – dragging with it millions of dollars of venture capital funding into the abyss. Most AI riches will become conglomerate exclusives, while only a handful of niche companies will thrive in specialist sectors. This contrarian view towards otherwise over-hyped AI markets comes from the AI: Show me the Money report published this week by the research arm of our Internet of Things sister publication Riot – diving into which sectors will make a killing in AI with a market forecast from 2017 to 2023. AI in media markets will be one such niche, where many of…

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Deutsche Bank sees continuing broadcaster malaise – advises sell off

At a recent conference we were asked to lay out the future landscape for TV in about 15 minutes, so naturally we began with a question for the audience – what the effect on advertising revenues is, of Netflix having 1 billion hours a week of viewing which have no adverts in? Is this good for the industry or bad? As there seemed to be mass confusion in the ranks – we explained the question more clearly. “Will advertising get more revenue – because of the scarcity of ad spaces, or would it get less?” A show of hands, roughly 95% agreed that TV advertising was going to struggle. And until now we have heard few voices raised in agreement…

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Fox’s inflated Sky offer is trumped within days by Comcast

The financial markets almost noted the tone of weakness in the increased offer for Sky by Fox this week, and as if to underline it, Comcast came in today with an immediately improved offer to put it back in the driving seat for the acquisition of Sky in Europe. We get the impression that making a bid for all of the Fox assets is slightly more complicated and significantly larger, so Comcast is likely to come out with such an offer in about a week. In the meantime, it has adopted the strategy that it adopted before, that is to spoil the Disney party, by taking away one of the key assets of its agreed Fox deal. Sky’s Independent Committee…

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Rethink IoT News ATW 218: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances // JDA Software has acquired Blue Yonder, a German retail software provider that JDA hopes will boost its logistics and supply chain offering – with some notable AI-based systems. Amazon is buying PillPack, an online drugstore that has been disrupting conventional retailers. With $100m in revenue, and $118m in funding, Amazon apparently paid $1bn. Engie has acquired Flashnet, a Romanian startup that specializes in energy management systems for cities. It’s a 60% stake, but the sum paid is undisclosed. // Networks, Protocols, & Wireless // Sequans and NTT Docomo have partnered, to accelerate the adoption of NB-IoT in Japan, using Sequans’ Monarch silicon platform. The two previously worked on LTE-M too. Apple has ditched Intel for…

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