When Everything is Smart, Nothing is Smart: The Negative Impact of IoT Dependence

by Jeff Wiener on May 22, 2015

It appears the sky is the limit when it comes to development of the Internet of Things, as there truly are no bounds to what people can think of that needs to become ‘smart,’ or network connected. Whether it’s smart dinnerware–including a fork that lets you monitor your eating and food intake habits, or a plate that instantly identifies, weighs, and journals everything you eat–or even cookware like a smart frying pan that will turn even the most novice of cooking buffoons into an instant culinary master, everything in our lives will soon be connected and in constant communication with everything else around us.

In this burgeoning new world order it seems that no doodad or whatchamacallit is too small or too insignificant to be part of the Internet of Things, with the digital world operating under the assumption that everything will instantly be better when its given network connectivity and branded ‘smart.’

But I have to wonder, when did we forget how to effectively use a frying pan, or a plate, or a toothbrush or a toilet for that matter? Do we really need every minutia of our existence connected to some all-encompassing network? Not only that, but what happens when that network fails and we suddenly find ourselves without the requisite knowledge or skill to operate or perform the simplest of things? Will ‘smart’ tech make us dumb?

Simply put, when everything is smart, nothing is smart, and the human race will be worse off when our collective dependency on technology becomes increasingly absolute.

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Next-Gen Antenna will Revolutionize the Wireless World

by Matt Klassen on May 22, 2015

As the Internet of Things stands poised to dominate our lives in the coming years, researchers at the University of Manchester have found a way to radically redefine a key component in making our connected everything future a reality: the radio antenna.

While you undoubtedly think of metal wires in regards to the radio antenna, the next generation of wireless signal receiving technology is truly the stuff of science fiction, as said university researchers have found a way to create antennas out of graphene—the same material found in pencil lead—that are so small and malleable that they can be deployed in almost anything, from billboard advertisements to our clothes and almost everything in between.

Now granted there’s nothing overly interesting or sexy about a paradigm altering advance in radio antenna development, but this stands as one of those stories that could radically alter our existence in the not-so-distant future, ushering in the sort of interconnected, technologically dependent existence we currently only dream about.

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Nine-in-Ten Americans have Concerns Over Who Controls the Data About Them

by Istvan Fekete on May 22, 2015

A federal appeals court recently ruled against the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, saying that it illegally collects Americans’ phone records. The judge handing down the ruling said that “such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.” So, what are Americans’ views on privacy and surveillance? Pew Research Center has some answers.

Two surveys published this week concluded that Americans feel privacy is important in their daily lives in a number of essential ways, yet they have a “pervasive sense that they are under surveillance when in public”, and very few feel in control of the data that is collected about them and how it is used.

According to the Pew study, 93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important; 74% feel this is “very important”, while 19% say it is “somewhat important”. In addition, 90% say that controlling what information is collected about them is important – 65% think it is “very important”, and 25% say it is “somewhat important”.
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AT&T No Longer Fears Net Neutrality’s Impact on Investment

by Matt Klassen on May 21, 2015

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson does not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s redefinition of broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is the right path for the industry; he’s certainly not alone. In fact, because of the pending changes to how broadband service is classified, in November of last year Stephenson delivered an ominous message: such changes have forced his company to reassess their future development plans and the company’s fiber development project would be indefinitely suspended.

“It’s prudent to pause,” he said at an investor conference in November. “We want to make sure we have line of sight on this process and where these rules could land, and then re-evaluate.” It was a veiled threat the FCC took seriously.

While Stephenson’s tone regarding Net Neutrality has not changed in the interim, what has changed is his overwhelming confidence that the courts will strike down the FCC’s recently imposed regulations. In fact, in an interview with CNBC this week Stephenson said he was no longer worried about how Net Neutrality would impact investment, boldly declaring his company would be once again moving forward with its $18 billion fiber development plans because he feels it’s unlikely the FCC’s regulations will remain in place. Simply put, AT&T is confident that Net Neutrality is nothing to worry about, the only real question is whether such confidence is truly warranted.

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Canada’s Carriers Lose Legal Challenge Against CRTC Over Wireless Code

by Istvan Fekete on May 21, 2015

Rogers, Bell, Telus, SaskTel, and MTS have lost a legal challenge against the CRTC over some parts of the new Wireless Code. As a result, customers who are still locked in three-year contracts are free to shop around for better deals with any carrier without paying the remaining balance of the handset subsidy or any additional cancellation fee.

Actually, the legal challenge was launched two years ago, right after the new Wireless Code was announced by the CRTC. The code came into force in December 2013, heralding a new era in the wireless market: The end of three-year contracts and the birth of two-year wireless contracts.

The code didn’t initially apply to existing contracts, but as of June 3 this year (just two weeks from now) it will apply to all agreements, including anyone who is still locked in a three-year contract. Seeing this part of the code, the aforementioned carriers joined forces and challenged the code. It took, however, two years for the challenge to reach the court of appeals, and the judge presided over two hearings: one in November last year and one this Tuesday.
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Unlocked Smartphones the Future of Mobile Growth for ASUS

by Matt Klassen on May 20, 2015

As the mobile market continues to evolve so to are the players in the mobile industry continuing to change as well, with ASUS offering a prime example of how companies are redefining themselves to compete in this new market landscape.

While you undoubtedly know ASUS from the laptop world, currently the world’s fifth-largest PC manufacturer, the company wants to expand its mobile business, hoping to eek out a small piece of the mobile pie. The problem of ASUS, at least in regards to the North American mobile market, is that the company lacks the carrier partnerships necessary to roll out phones, it lacks the product catalogue to attract said carriers, and it has almost no presence in the market.

It wasn’t that long ago that such a situation would mean a company like ASUS would have no chance at competing, but the PC-maker is taking a different approach to the mobile game, adopting for the oft-failed strategy of selling unlocked smartphones directly to consumers, a move that in this growing post-contract era may actually have a chance of succeeding.

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Bell Announces Launch of Global 4G LTE MiFi 6630 by Novatel

by Istvan FeketeMay 20, 2015

Bell and Novatel Wireless have announced the launch of the latest MiFi brand mobile hotspot, the MiFi 6630, which will be available through Bell Mobility on Canada’s largest 4G LTE network in May. The latest MiFi hotspot is based on the award-winning US MiFi 6600 series family, which is designed for customers both in rural [...]

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Xiaomi Enters US Mobile Market (Sort of)

by Matt KlassenMay 19, 2015

Rising mobile star Xiaomi is finally setting up shop in the US and the UK, but with relatively little fanfare and the noted absence of anything, well, mobile. China’s hottest mobile commodity announced it will be launching a mobile marketplace this week available to western consumers, but the shop will only sell a few tertiary mobile [...]

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nTelos Could Sell to Shentel for $200 Million as Board Considers Strategic Opportunities

by Istvan FeketeMay 19, 2015

nTelos could be in talks about a possible takeover by peer Shenandoah Telecommunications, known as Shentel. While the executives are keeping mum on this deal, since there are many details that need to be ironed out, CEO Rodney Dir said earlier last week that the executive board is focused on improving shareholder value and potential [...]

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Facebook to Host the News with Instant Articles

by Matt KlassenMay 15, 2015

Facebook is officially in the news business, as the social network unveiled Instant Articles this week, a new service that will allow media publishers to place their content directly on Facebook, as opposed to simply providing links to their own webpages. If you’re wondering why any media outlet would play Facebook’s little game, well it’s not hard [...]

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