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Facebook Mobile Internet Traveling To Africa

Facebook Mobile Internet Traveling To Africa

Facebook Mobile Traveling Far And Wide

Expanding Internet access has long been among the chief goals of various web companies and tech world leaders. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have all been working on ways to make the World Wide Web truly world wide. Mind you, the motivations aren’t completely altruistic. The more people on the web, the more people who can sign up for Facebook and use Google Search, among other things.

Now, Facebook has announced that it will work with France’s Eutelsat Communications to expand internet into Africa. Forget fiber optic lines and all that, Facebook is looking to use a satellite instead. The project, which is housed under the company’s internet.org organization, is already under construction and is currently slated to be launched in 2016.

facebook-mobile-internet-africa

The satellite will be called AMOS-6, and it will help provide Internet access to large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. Despite the immense proliferation of the web, Facebook points out that as much as two-thirds of the world’s population lacks access to the Internet.

Facebook Internet Provides Mobile Accessibility To Millions

Little is known about the satellite itself. No exact launch date has been given, nor has a price tag been disclosed. It’s also unclear how people will access the web, though people close with the project have said that users will be able to use off-the-shelf equipment.

Africa offers a huge potential for growth for Facebook. So far, only about 20 million Africans are on the social network, but Facebook is expanding its efforts. Besides the aforementioned project, the company also opened its first office in Africa, this one located in Johannesburg.

Building the basic infrastructure to grant Internet access, such as fiber optic cables, is expensive. At the same time, some regions, including much of Africa, as sparsely populated. Thus, there would be no economic access to connect tiny, poor villages to the web, at least not through traditional means.

That’s why companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all working so hard to get creative. Google has been developing technologies to use with satellites, blimps, and microcells, for example. Numerous other companies and organizations are working on a wide range of technologies that could help deliver the web to poor, rural areas.

Facebook Mobile Apps

So far, Facebook’s activities through Internet.org have been somewhat limited. The company did launch an app through the program that contained a stripped down version of Facebook and other valuable Internet services, such as Wikipedia. In theory, this app was easier to use on low-powered cellphones with limited web access, and helped introduce new users in poorer regions to the power of the Internet. Still, the satellite program offers a serious step forward.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Brian Brinker

Google Driving Self Into The Future

Google Driving Self Into The Future

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google co-founder Sergey Brin made a surprise appearance Tuesday at an event dedicated to a media demo of the company’s self-driving car prototype, further indication that the $428-billion search giant is bent on bringing autonomous driving to the public.

Fielding 15 minutes of questions that ranged from queries about building its fleet (“To bring this project to scale, we will need to partner with top tier OEMs”) to assuaging car lovers (“I love the idea of being on an open road, but that’s one percent of my experience, typically I’m in traffic“), Brin made clear that Google has decided to dedicate resources to this pursuit because of technology’s unique ability to provide a solution.

It may sound weird, but I find us actually challenged for resources considering the things we hope to accomplish,” Brin said to laughs, speaking inside an auditorium at Google X, the company’s moonshot project headquarters…

Article Source: USAToday

Gartner Highlights Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For China

Gartner Highlights Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For China

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For China

Gartner, Inc. has identified the 10 most important technology trends for China in 2015 and 2016, to help CIOs assess critical strategic technologies and plan their enterprise IT roadmaps. Internet businesses are key investors across the top 10 trends, led by the Baidu, Alibaba Group and Tencent (BAT) companies, while government plays an important role in driving and improving China’s IT environment.

China is the third-largest market for enterprise IT spending, after the U.S. and Japan, according to Gartner forecasts. Spending by Chinese enterprises on technology products and services is forecast to reach $146.4 billion (RMB 913.3 billion) this year, climbing 6.5 percent to $155.8 billion (RMB 972.4 billion) in 2016.

According to Amy Teng, research director at Gartner, China is on track to become a major force in both the use and creation of IT; however, it faces a range of challenges, such as global political issues, when it comes to adopting some technologies. The government plays an important role in driving and improving China’s IT environment. With the “Internet Plus” initiative announced in March 2015 as a driving force, many conventional businesses will connect to the Internet initially, followed by digitalization of IT systems, to increase their competitiveness.

CIOs must build flexibility into their IT systems, so they can deal with both the challenges from a rapidly moving and frequently changing digital business environment in domestic China, as well as support the increasingly widespread footprint of Chinese business offshore,” said Ms. Teng.

While the list is similar to the global top 10, China’s progress is inconsistent due to the local competitive landscape, industrial environment, technology maturity and even cultural differences…

Read Full Article: Gartner

Connected Transportation: The Electric Apple

Connected Transportation: The Electric Apple

Apple Aims To Ship Its Electric Car By 2019

Apple is going “full speed” in its effort to build an electric car of its own and has already set a shipping date for 2019.

Apple’s project, code-namedTitan”, already has a team of 600 people working on the electric car, but the maker of iPhones and iPads has received the go ahead to triple it.

Recent events at Apple show just how serious the company is about the possibility of making self-driving cars. The company has managed to bring Jamie Carlson, a senior exec from Tesla Motors, as well as six other executives to help out with the project Titan.

Apple Moving Into Self-Driving Cars Fast

That Apple is serious about making its electric car can best be seen by the number of new hires the company has global-M2Mbrought recently.

In January, the company has hired former AG engineer from Volkswagen Megan McClain and a graduate researcher from Carnegie Mellon University Vinay Palakkode. Before them, Apple also hired Xianqiao Tong, an engineer at NVidia Corp, who created a computer vision software for driver assistance and former deputy director at Autonomous Systems Lab Paul Furgale.

The company has also met recently with officials from California’s DMV. In an email about this, agency deputy director Armando Botello pretty much confirmed what they talked about: “DMV often meets with various companies regarding DMV operation. The Apple meeting was to review DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations…

Is Apple Making a Smart Move?

There’s still a question whether Apple’s decision to enter this market is a smart move or not. Former vice chairman at GM Bob Lutz says it is not.
In an interview for CNBC’s “Closing Bell”, Lutz said: “When it comes to actually making cars, there is no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience, will suddenly do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, or Hyundai. So I think this is going to be a giant money pit. But then it doesn’t matter – I mean, Apple has an embarrassment of riches, they don’t know where to put the cash anymore…”

Lutz added: “If I were a board member of Apple, I would ask some serious questions about this whole thing.”

Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray also has its point of view regarding Apple’s electric car: “If Apple makes a car as we know it today, we expect it to be an electric vehicle that is likely priced in the luxury market. We expect the vehicle to electric given Apple’s focus not only on environmentally friendly products today, but its vision to deliver future technologies even if they are a few years early…”

Subscribe to the Connected Transportation News for more industry related information.

By Vladimir Covic

NetApp Announces Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman

NetApp Announces Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman

NetApp Announces Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman

Industry Innovator to Drive Technical Strategy and Accelerate Portfolio Innovation to Help Customers Respond to Rapid IT Changes

SUNNYVALE, CA–(Marketwired – Sep 21, 2015)NetApp, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP), today announced the appointment of Mark Bregman as chief technology officer (CTO). Bregman brings more than 30 years of technology experience and a passion for the process of innovation. He has held C-level and management roles for global firms including Symantec and IBM. Most recently he was CTO of machine-learning start-up SkywriterRX, Inc., where he currently serves as a board member and an advisor.

In his new role, Bregman leads the company’s portfolio strategy and innovation agenda in support of the Data Fabric, NetApp’s vision for the future of data management. His responsibilities include evaluating where the biggest technical opportunities and risks are and helping to set and maintain a culture of innovation within NetApp’s engineering team.

Mark will work with NetApp’s Advanced Technology Group anticipating and capitalizing on new and emerging trends,” said Joel Reich, executive vice president of Product Operations. “His wealth of experience across technology sectors will be invaluable to accelerating NetApp’s innovation leadership. We look forward to Mark helping to deliver outstanding value to our customers and partners, now and into the future.

Before joining NetApp, Bregman was CTO of SkywriterRX, Inc., an early-stage start-up using machine learning and natural language processing to analyze books. Before that, he held senior positions at Neustar, Symantec, Veritas, AirMedia, and IBM. He began his career at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

It’s an honor to join NetApp, especially at a time when our customers are rapidly transforming their IT environments,” said Bregman. “NetApp’s people, products, and intellectual property address customers’ evolving needs and ultimately played a big role in my decision to join the company.

Bregman is dedicated to addressing the underrepresentation of women in the fields of computer science and engineering. He has served as executive sponsor and an engaged member of the Women in Technology programs at all of his previous places of employment. Since 2009, he has served as a director of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. He also serves on the boards of the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, ShoreTel, Inc., and SkywriterRX, Inc. He is a member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee and the American Physical Society and he is a senior member of IEEE.

Bregman holds a PhD, an MA, and an MPhil in physics from Columbia University and a BA in physics from Harvard College.

About NetApp

Leading organizations worldwide count on NetApp for software, systems and services to manage and store their data. Customers value our teamwork, expertise and passion for helping them succeed now and into the future.

NetApp and the NetApp logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NetApp, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands or products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such. A current list of NetApp trademarks is available on the web at http://www.netapp.com/us/legal/netapptmlist.aspx.

Netflix Heading To Asia, Disney Teams Up With Amazon & Microsoft

Netflix Heading To Asia, Disney Teams Up With Amazon & Microsoft

Disney Teams Up With Amazon & Microsoft

Can there be one streaming content provider to rule them all? Perhaps not, but Netflix is certainly going to give it a go. As far as paid streaming-specific services go, Netflix is king with over 65 million subscribers in some 50 different countries who manage to consume a 100 million plus hours of content per day.

netflix-map

If you check out Netflix’s availability map here, you’ll see that the company has stuck almost exclusively to the highly developed “West,’ and Latin America. Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, and Asia are all but untouched. The lack of a presence in Asia is especially interesting. Home to more than half the world’s population, and having enjoyed years of strong economic growth, Asia represents a massive potential customer base, but so far Netflix has failed to tap that market, outside of Japan.

netflix

(Image Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock)

That’s going to change in 2016. At the start of the year Netflix is expanding into four of Asia’s richest (though also smallest) markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. All four of these countries have now reached “highly-developed” status. This means that their populations are rich enough to afford a value-added service like Netflix, and their Internet infrastructure is strong enough to support streaming.

These four countries will apparently act as “beachheads” in Netflix’s efforts to complete a global roll out by the end of next year. The company has ambitious plans to become a truly global platform by the end of 2016, and aims to be in at least 120 different countries. While the U.S. market remains by far Netflix’s biggest market, the company has enjoyed success with its expansion so far. With Asia in its sights, there’s no reason to believe that Netflix won’t enjoy further success.

Meanwhile, Disney is ramping up its own streaming efforts, though the company is focusing on working through already existing content providers. Disney has reached a deal with both Amazon Video and Microsoft Movies & TV to allow the companies to stream Disney Movies Anywhere, an online movie locker that allows people to access 450 plus Disney movies.

The cost for movies via Disney Movies Anywhere isn’t cheap with each movie costing as much $19.99. Still, the platform does offer the convenience of “buy once, watch anywhere”, and makes building a huge Disney library that much easier. No more sorting DVDs or anything else.

Both Netflix’s global rollout and Disney’s continued expansion in the online streaming market show the importance of cloud and streaming for companies. Just a few years ago content providers were still largely ignoring streaming, obviously besides pioneers like Netflix. Now, streaming has become a major focus for every content provider.

By Brian Brinker

Verizon’s Online Streaming “Go90” Showing A Lot Of Promise

Verizon’s Online Streaming “Go90” Showing A Lot Of Promise

Verizon’s Online Streaming “Go90” 

Streaming has emerged as perhaps the most important form of video media consumption in the world. YouTube alone has over a billion users and each day hundreds of millions of hours of videos are consumed. Verizon is looking to get in on the action with its own streaming app, “Go90”, and so far it’s showing a lot of promise.

Numerous other mobile network companies have launched their own apps, and while there have been some successes, Go90 may be the app that finally takes the cake, so to speak. Unlike most other mobile network apps, Verizon’s app will be free. No monthly fees, no sign up charges, nothing. Instead, Go90 will try to go the YouTube route and support itself through advertisement alone.

Not only that, but Go90 won’t be open only to Verizon subscribers. Instead, everyone will be able to access the app. This marks a big break from other similar apps, because mobile network companies have generally tried to use their value-added apps as bait to get people to subscribe to their services. Verizon, on the other hand, appears to be trying to make the Go90 app stand on its own two feet, and to be a completely separate service. Heck, Verizon doesn’t even really brand itself through the app, and many early users apparently haven’t even realize that it is, in fact, a service offered by Verizon.

verizon-cloud

Verizon is also looking to pay content providers on an individual show-by-show basis, meaning no huge expensive contract for a network’s entire offering of content. This marks a big break from industry standards. Whether or not this will translate into savings for Verizon remains to be seen, generally costs are lower when you buy things in bulk.

So far interest from media networks has been high. Go90’s lineup includes shows from Comedy Central, the NFL Network, SPIKE, MTV, Adult Swim, BET, and more. Notice something about the lineup? A lot of the content is focused on the younger 18-34 mobile crowd. 70% of younger users report consuming videos on their mobile devices first, so this is no random coincidence.

Of course, Verizon is going to face a lot of tough competition to secure viewers. Besides the already dominate YouTube, which secures roughly half of its views through mobile, Verizon will also have to face off with AT&T, which just bought the Dish Network, and plans to integrate the company’s popular SlingTV into the mobile world.

As of right now it appears that the mobile video wars are just heating up, but Verizon looks like it is off to a good start.

By Brian Brinker

Contactless Mobile Wallets To Reach 200M By 2016

Contactless Mobile Wallets To Reach 200M By 2016

Contactless Mobile Wallets to Reach 200M by 2016 as Apple Pay Boosts Awareness

Banks Rolling Out Own-Brand Services

HAMPSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwired – September 07, 2015) – A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of mobile wallets using contactless technology is expected to reach 200 million by the end of 2016, representing growth of more than 100% from the end of 2014.

The research found that while historic growth of mobile wallet usage was driven by P2P (Person to Person) services for the unbanked in developing markets, the launch of Apple Pay has prompted a hive of activity in the contactless arena. It argued that with public awareness of contactless heightened in the wake of Apple’s launch, competing services such as Samsung Pay and the forthcoming Android Pay would no longer need to seed the market.

Additionally, the research — Mobile Wallets: Contactless & Remote Payments 2015-2020 — found that numerous banks were partnering with Visa or MasterCard to implement own-brand contactless wallets using a cloud-based secure element.

Lack of Card Partners for MCX — a Potential ‘Fatal Flaw’

However, the research observed that the MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange) Consortium had postponed the launch of its own contactless service, with several retailer partners now abandoning their ‘closed shop’ stance towards Apple Pay. Furthermore, the Consortium has not agreed terms with any leading card holders, citing the high transaction fees as a stumbling block.

According to research author Dr. Windsor Holden: “By the time MCX launches, US consumers will have a choice of perhaps half a dozen other mobile wallet solutions, not to mention the fact that an increasing number will also have contactless payment cards. In addition, the reliance on store brand payment cards could ultimately be a fatal flaw for the service.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Wallets run by mobile operator consortia continue to fare badly, with the UK’s Weve dropping its planned wallet, and Softcard folding in the US.
  • In developing markets, there has been a significant upscaling of wallet usage for savings and loan disbursements, while more than 100 million are now in use for micro-insurance.

The whitepaper, ‘Mobile Wallets ~ The Future of Cash‘, is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report and the attendant Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl). Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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