Nokia Acquires Digital Health Company

by Matt Klassen on April 29, 2016

Nouveau-Logo-WithingsTake note Blackberry, there is life after complete and utter mobile collapse, as with the announcement that it was acquired digital health services Withings, Finnish tech giant Nokia continues to radically reinvent itself as a network infrastructure, IoT and data services firm.

To that end, health services stands as one of the largest vertical markets for the growing Internet of Things, and Nokia is hoping that with this $191 million purchase of the French firm it will be able to secure a competitive spot on the ground floor of the burgeoning digital health industry.

“Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well designed and already helping people live healthier lives,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies. “Combining their award-winning products and talented people with the world-class expertise and innovation of Nokia Technologies uniquely positions us to lead the next wave of innovation in digital health.

But let’s not kid ourselves, for although the digital health services market is on the cusp of a growth explosion (and while that’s great for companies like Nokia), the fact of the matter is that it’s a fairly damning critique of us as a human race.

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There may be hope for mobile-only operators after all

by Jeff Wiener on April 29, 2016

mobile-telecommunications1For awhile now we’ve been talking about the necessity for traditional telecom operators to begin to transition away from simply providing the wireless infrastructure that content providers can get rich off of, towards discovering what makes them unique in an increasingly competitive digital space and finding ways to monetize that uniqueness. But while much of this discussion has revolved around the next generation of wired connection, exploring the need for telcos to diversify services and products and the hopelessness of sticking to traditional telecom territory, there may be a compelling case for the survival, maybe even growth, of mobile-only operators after all.

In fact, new figures come out this year from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the mobile segment is growing, as more and more people forego wired broadband Internet connection in favour of going exclusively wireless. This means, of course, more growth potential for LTE networks, and subsequently more money to be made for wireless providers.

Simply put, while telecom operators look for ways to evolve beyond simply being the “dumb pipe” for wireless connectivity, the numbers show that more and more people are relying exclusively on wireless connectivity to meet the needs of their digital existence, and it would behove the shrewd operator to recognize that maybe there’s still some life in the old wireless market yet.

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Is Apple outdated?

by Matt Klassen on April 28, 2016

apple-china-720x450It seems Chinese mobile consumers are starting to admit an obvious fact about Apple that their American counterparts have pushed out of mind for years now: iPhones are lagging behind the competition in terms of innovation and advancement, and for years have failed to offer anything in the way of a solid growth driver.

In an interview with CNBC, billionaire CEO of tech conglomerate LeEco, Jia Yueting, said that Apple was “outdated,” and that it has been losing momentum in the Chinese market. The comments come amidst Apple facing increased regulatory pressure in the country.

“One of the most important reasons is that Apple’s innovation has become extremely slow,” Jia said. “For example, a month ago Apple launched the iPhone SE From an industry insider’s perspective, this is a product with a very low level of technology…. We think this is something they just shouldn’t have done.”

Simply put, Jia is stating what I’ve been saying for years, Apple continues to rest on its laurels when it comes to product advancement, choosing instead to offer incremental upgrades to basically the same device. While the American market continues to lap up Apple products like trained dogs, it seems Chinese customers are less willing to put up with such lacklustre innovation, particularly when there are so many better options on the market.

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T-Mobile’s Q1 Results Set the Bar High for Competition

by Matt Klassen on April 27, 2016

T-Mobile-fireFor several years now much of the domestic wireless market has stood by and watched T-Mobile spend millions of dollars on its aggressive un-carrier campaign, justifying their lack of response by critiquing T-Mobile’s unsustainable strategy and simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. The only problem, though, is that T-Mobile has repeatedly proved its competitors wrong, posting strong growth across all its divisions and adding new customers at an incredibly consistent rate.

To that end, the country’s third largest wireless carrier announced it has added 2.2 million customers to its network over the first three months of this calendar year, well beyond the 1.7 million the market had expected. As part of that growth, the company added just over a million post paid customers, the most lucrative mobile segment, slightly less than the 1.1 million net additions it posted last year.

Of course given T-Mobile’s sustained success with its revolutionary un-carrier promotions, I would guess it won’t be long until we see the other carriers follow suit, serving as both strong vindication for T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who has taken considerable criticism for his aggressive practices, and as plenty of ammunition for when Legere invariably reminds those competitors of his success.

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IoT Infrastructure is Ripe for Ransomware

by Matt Klassen on April 26, 2016

cybersecurity-759The inevitability of all technological progress is that somehow cybercriminals will find a way to target it with any or all of the malicious tools in their digital arsenal, and according to one think tank, so it will be with the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

According to the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), the malware “epidemic” will invariably strike IoT devices, with the threat of ransomware in particular being the likely approach, given that the proliferation of unsecured devices in one comprehensive network offers “practically an infinite attack surface” for cybercriminals to take advantage of.

In fact, not only could hackers potentially find ways to deploy ransomware to hold your house, or your car, or any number of the infinite minutia of our daily existence that we’re now imbuing with wireless connectivity hostage, but given that much of our health technology is now connected, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that cybercriminals will begin to highjack the very devices that help keep many people alive.

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Tech Battle 2016: Apple Services Shutdown in China amidst brewing Trade War

by Matt Klassen on April 25, 2016

apple-chinaFor several years now China’s relations with the U.S. tech industry have been steadily deteriorating. It started ages ago with the communist regime’s stance against Google, to which it added an on-again, off-again (most off-again) relationship with Facebook, a fight with Android for mobile dominance, antitrust allegations against chip maker Qualcomm, and a weirdly awkward and uncomfortable relationship with Apple.

In regards to the latter, it seemed a huge victory when Apple truly broke into China, as for years the country has been seen as the most lucrative growth mobile market available. In fact, while Beijing has always attempted to stem the growth of American tech companies operating in the country, it seemed that Apple was, by and large, exempt from the ire of the government, the two coming to some sort of tenuous understanding. For Apple it was a position of privilege, for Beijing, it was an alliance with a necessary evil.

But as always, there comes a point when the communist regime can no longer abide the power and control gained and wielded by foreign capitalists, and to that end it seems that Apple has worn out its welcome, as the Cupertino company is facing a strong regulatory push to shut down its services in China in a move that could signal a freezing of once lukewarm relations.

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Is the Apple Car still a thing?

by Matt KlassenApril 22, 2016

It really wasn’t that long ago that connected cars were front and centre in tech industry hype, and speculation was mounting that Apple would wade into the automotive industry with a connected car of its own. In fact, during the late summer of 2015 it seemed all we could talk about was Apple’s rumoured car […]

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Blackberry, Encryption and the RCMP

by Jeff WienerApril 22, 2016

For years Blackberry built its reputation on uncompromising mobile security, an ironclad commitment to creating secure encryption keys that were un-hackable and inaccessible to even the company itself. That commitment subsequently led to widespread adoption of Blackberry devices across government, enterprise, and law enforcement sectors, providing the necessary security to those whose jobs demanded it. Heck, […]

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Google Accused of Antitrust Violations in Europe (again)

by Matt KlassenApril 21, 2016

Several years ago Google ran afoul of the European Commission over its domination of the search market, to the point where regulators starting calling for the dismantling of Google (which we’ve now seen, in part, with the creation of Alphabet and the subsequent corporate reshuffling) in an effort to break the company’s monopoly. The concern […]

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When Facebook Controls the Content

by Matt KlassenApril 20, 2016

We already know that Facebook has run psychological experiments to determine how altering people’s social news feeds impacts their moods, interests, and outlooks on life, offering a brief glimpse of the power that the social network wields. Now with Facebook attempting to control content through hosting news, and assuming the role of ethical watchdog regarding […]

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