Speaking of streaming video, Brad Stone at Bloomberg has the scoop on another big tech player making a big play to get in on the action:
Amazon is making e-readers and tablets and will likely soon introduce a smartphone. As it works to build all types of connected devices, that leaves a natural next step: a television set-top box. The e-commerce giant is planning to introduce a device this fall dedicated to streaming video over the Internet and into its customers’ living rooms, according to three people familiar with the project who aren’t authorized to discuss it.
Amazon’s entry will be just another example of how streaming is the future of TV. All the more reason for more investment in the infrastructure to handle the coming flood of data.
Via Brendan Sasso of The Hill, suggestions for a new FCC Chairman are making their way to the White House:
A coalition of conservative groups is urging President Obama to pick a new Federal Communications Commission chairman who will take a light touch with new regulations.
“We need regulators who can resist the frequent urge to ‘do something’ about problems that are rapidly mooted by technological change anyway. Often, government’s best response is to do nothing,” the conservative groups wrote on Tuesday in the letter to Obama and Senate leaders.
President Obama not only has to name a replacement for Chairman Julius Genachowski, but one for Republican Commission Robert McDowell as well.
Over at CNN, Andrew Keen has a great story about innovation, mobile apps, and helping those with autism live better lives:
With $20,000 in prize money, the mobile app “Autism Speaks” hackathon , organized by AT&T and by the advocacy group Autism Speaks, attracted more than 25 teams of developers and was judged by panel of technology and autism experts (including myself).
The goal was to design apps to improve the lives of the one in every 88 children who, according to the American Center for Disease, are on the autism spectrum.
Increasingly, the appliances and devices we use every day are finding their way online. And as Natasha Baker of Reuters reports, we’re only at the beginning of what will eventually be a “machine-to-machine” boom:
From Internet-connected washing machines and smart refrigerators to bathroom scales, gadgets that connect to the Internet are on the rise in homes, and apps are the means to monitor and control them.
By 2022, the average household with two teenage children will own roughly 50 Internet-connected devices, up from approximately 10 today, according to estimates by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This trend has been dubbed the “Internet of Things”.
Of course, the more things are connected to the Internet, the more robust networks need to be in order to handle the constant flow of data. Transitioning to all IP networks will be a big part of that.
Over at Read Write Web, Lauren Orsini looks at the growing market to teach non-techies how to code:
Within the last two years, more and more companies have saturated the market with the express purpose of teaching everyone and anyone our generation’s hottest new job skill: programming. Now it’s become a fundraising race to the top of the pile.
This April, learn-to-code startup Treehouse announced that it raised a “war chest” of new funding. In a Series B round led by Kaplan Ventures, the Portland, Ore., company added another $7 million, for a total of $12.35 million.
For CEO and founder Ryan Carson, the money couldn’t have come at a better time. Competition between learn-to-code startups is rising, and Carson plans to press his advantage by adding more employees to Treehouse’s current 55 workers.
Last week, satellite TV provider DISH announced it was making a play to purchase wireless provider Sprint for a price just north of $25 billion, or some $5 billion more than Japanese provider SoftBank had offered to buy the carrier. And as Phil Goldstein of Fierce Wireless reports, DISH is taking a patriotic angle to promote its bid:
Dish said its offer for Sprint “is better for the American consumer, better for Sprint’s shareholders, and better for U.S. national security than the SoftBank proposal.”
Dish’s comments are likely a reference to concerns about foreign ownership of domestic telecommunications companies as well as specific concerns that Sprint could use equipment from Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei in its network.
Goldstein also reports that Sprint has formed a “special committee on its board” to go through DISH’s offer.
Analysys Mason has released a new paper entitled “Voice traffic exchange in an IP world.” In it, author Michael Kende takes a deep dive into the current regulatory landscape in order to examine its effectiveness in the fast-changing telecommunications industry—specifically, the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) agreements, which are receiving heavy scrutiny as providers transition to all-IP networks.
Surveying the lay of the land, Kende makes a strong case that PTSN interconnection regulations are, as he puts it, “neither needed, practical, nor efficient” in an all-IP world. As he writes:
[T]he Internet serves as a compelling model for the interconnection framework governing voice services, not just because voice is migrating away from the PSTN to the Internet, but also because of the example of how unregulated networks can interconnect and evolve in response to competitive market forces. In this environment, commercial negotiations govern interconnection instead of regulation, and multi-stakeholder organizations are responsible for managing critical resources and technical standards.
To back up his analysis, Kende highlights a major difference between the past and present:
A key difference between the PSTN and the Internet is that the PSTN began as a regulated monopoly in which competitive entry was managed through interconnection obligations and other related regulations, while the Internet was characterized by competition from the beginning and never required, or was subject to, interconnection mandates. Indeed, the interconnection obligations that introduced competition into the monopoly PSTN, along with far-seeing decisions to refrain from regulating emerging data services, indirectly helped initiate the competitive environment in which the Internet emerged and thrived.
Kende also succinctly breaks the seismic shift in how people communicate in recent years:
Traditional communications – involving a call between two parties – have undergone significant shifts in the past decade. While there are a number of new forms of voice communications, described below, the Internet has fostered a whole new range of innovative communications, ranging from text-based email to video chats. The shifts can be broadly represented by three different, and overlapping, phases, which together have put significant pressure on traditional fixed-line providers.
• Change in technology. First, the technology underlying calls has been migrating to the Internet protocol, enabling cable providers among others to provide VoIP services over their broadband networks. This shift may not even be recognized by consumers, who may continue to use the same CPE, including cordless phones and faxes.
• Change in access. At the same time, consumers have new forms of access available, including mobile phones and software-based VoIP services such as Skype, which consumers can install on their computers, and more recently on their smartphones and tablets. These new access means provide consumers with increased mobility, lower prices, and/or new services such as video calls.
• Change in form. Finally, consumers have a variety of new means of communication. Some, such as email and instant messaging services, still involve one-to-one communications between users, while others, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, are one-to-many communications enabling users to ‘broadcast’ news and information to their friends, family, and/or colleagues.
The end result of these three different phases is significantly increased choice for consumers, and not only new forms of competition for providers of PSTN services, but ultimately its replacement.
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