Thursday, January 29, 2009

Verizon Offers Pint-Sized Personal Cell Tower

Article: "Verizon Offers Pint-Sized Cell Tower" by Chris Maxcer 1/27/09 [Tech News World]

The article discusses how many Verizon Wireless cell phone customers will now be able to make calls through an at home receiver. When users try and make a call through their cell phones the receiver, or router, will pick up the call and allow the call to be made by transferring it through the user’s broadband network instead of the local cell phone tower. This small router, known as the Wireless Network Extender, will act as private cell phone tower in the homes of people who do not get particularly good cell phone reception in their homes. The device is very space efficient and is about the size of a typical wireless network router used for the internet. This is very important for those people who may live in areas where their homes are isolated or in valleys where the cell towers cannot provide good cell phone reception. The router can transfer up to three calls at a time and this new service will not require any change in service plans since user's old plans will still remain in effect. The only additional cost is the one time cost of the router. If users of the wireless network extender are worried about outsiders using their network they can set online preferences which allow the router to only receive certain calling numbers which the user can program. This technology may prove to be very beneficial to Verizon Wireless because this would transfer more of the number of calls through broadband internet and less through Verizon’s own cell phone towers. This would allow the network to be less cluttered and have a more powerful signal to other local cell phone callers. For the users this would eliminate the hassle of trying to find a location in their home where they can use their cell phone and find a signal. Since the network extender uses a broadband network, calls may have weaker reception if large files are being downloaded simultaneously from the internet as the call. According to the Verizon Wireless website the router is a one time cost of $250. Customers will have to decide if this cost is worth the convenience of being able to make calls all the time from their cell phones at home with better reception.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apple iPhone Subsidies Take a Bite out of ATandT's Profits

Apple iPhone Subsidies Take a Bite out of ATandT's Profits

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Derek Caney)2009-01-28

The article “Apple iPhone subsidies take a bite out of ATandT’s profits” discusses the payments that AT&T makes to apple, for the right to be the sole iPhone carrier, and the effects that these hefty payments had on their 2008 profit margin. AT&T experienced growth in the number of subscribers using their wireless network, however, this growth was offset by the decline in the number of land based subscribers. Profits were further consumed by the large subsidies that AT&T pays in order to carry the iPhone. These payments ensure that Apple will only let AT&T sell the iPhone and use it as part of their wireless network. AT&T has said that even with these payments to Apple, AT&T believes that this arrangement still works out in their favor since the iPhone is such a desired item. The fact that while profits did drop, overall revenues and stock pricing rose shows that value that the iPhone has upon the company. AT&T released the information that 40 percent of iPhone purchasers were new to AT&T. A second sub-theme of the article is the increasing reliance that telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon have on their wireless networks as opposed to the traditional land lines. This is because each year more customers switch away from landlines and choose to use wireless networks. Even with these apparent woes facing AT&T they have said that they expect “solid results” in 2009 with relation to revenue growth and are not concerned about the slight downturn they experience in profits this year. 

"I Am Here: One Man's Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired Magazine: 17.02 Article by: Matthew Honan 1/19/09)

This article described the social research of one man while using wireless technology and hoped to prove to its readers the constant change and innovation we are experiencing today. The application "Who'sHere" for the iphone has even the most tech-savvy guru baffled and in awe. "Who'sHere" allows other users of the application to know exactly where you are and what is around you based on longitude and latitude recordings. There were many benefits to this product as Honan noted such as the ability to find new restaurants based on likes and dislikes. He was also able to find and compare the cheapest gas prices around. Once Honan updated his current location he was able to find the locations of his friends also using the application "Who'sHere." This allowed him to meet friends in the area for lunch and he observed that this can defeat the problem of loneliness. I believe this is a great innovation because rather than go to a restaurant alone one of your friends that you have not seen in a while may be in town for a business trip and you can meet him or her and catch up on old times. Honan found a few drawbacks in the process describing how he met a friend in town for lunch through “Who’sHere” however a couple uninvited friends showed up as they noted Honan’s location through the application and created an awkward situation to say the least. He also described how he was blowing off a work meeting for a casual bike ride and did not want his superiors to find out where he was. This can become a problem with this type of technology and so Honan learned that privacy settings can be set allowing a user to change their location from a pinpoint spot to a more generalized city or state. I feel this is a good way to protect yourself from people possibly waiting for you to go on vacation and then breaking into your home or harming your family. I still believe there should be stronger privacy settings because anybody with your phone number can gain access to your general area. It is a very dangerous world and this application can greatly expose a person and their loved ones to serious danger. Anybody with an iphone can download this application making the number of users extraordinary. At this rate it appears to me as if there would even have to be a special police force protecting people from the danger they expose themselves to when using this new technology. Honan summed it up best saying that while we rely on technology so much we must not lose our “sense of place” and we must still rely on our senses to guide us. We still have a mind and we cannot let that go to waste and become too dependent on technology. In my opinion technology is a great aid but it should not take over our lives.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cable & Wireless Sets Up Communications Gateways in India by John Ribeiro

In the past, C&W (Cable & Wireless) had to rely on a local telecommunications services provider in India to route all its traffic in this location. But now C&W has received government security clearances in India, meaning the company now owns the entire network and can run its own gateways in and out of India. In the current world of rapidly expanding globalization and privatization, C&W has taken a great stride in networking across the world. The company now can offer new services and it is no longer restricted by the smaller capacity of the local telecommunications services provider. In the past nine months, C&W has invested $30 million to build this “multiservice platform network” in India that will be one of the company’s largest and most important platforms. With complete ownership of the network, C&W will be able to expand the network’s connectivity, reaching across all of Europe, Asia, and North America. I was really intrigued by this article because yesterday in my International Business class we talked about India’s fast economic growth and how they are moving away from a state-owned economy to a more privatized and globalizing capable economy. The Indian government’s granting of these security clearances is a great example of this economic transformation.

Article: "Mobility: Past, Present and Future" by Craig Mathias 1/13/2009 [SearchVoIP]

This article takes a look back at the year 1981 when the first laptop computer, the Grid Systems Compass Computer was developed. While the developers of this computer understood the importance of mobility, this laptop did not have wireless, and it was a matter of time until that type of technology would become available to the public. The article then moves back to the present to look at the abundance of mobile Internet devices available to the everyday consumer today. There is even a more recent trend of "the handset as replacement for the PC" (Mathias). These popular and convenient smartphones have a plethora of applications that were once only available on PCs, and the prices are more reasonable than ever. I thought the most interesting part of the article was its focus on mobile device management, which integrates network management to wireless devices used in the field by employees and managers alike. Years ago mobilizing the workforce meant supplying employees with cellphones and a company e-mail address. Today it means providing "employees with mobile access to corporate data"(Neidlinger). Implementing this type of technology in the workplace will virtually minimize "the difference between what can be done in the office and what can be done in the field." According to my research on the subject, this type of application will also improve accuracy of data entry, reduce gaps by "providing real-time mobile access to valuable information," as well as creating a more environmentally friendly workforce by reducing travel, energy costs, and reliance on printed documents. (Neidlinger) So what is stopping this type of business management tool from "aligning mobility with corporate mission in the interest of improving productivity, lowering costs and gaining competitive advantage?" While the technology and the wide-area networks to make this mobile computing work have been developed, this technology will not be available to the public for several years. According to the article, this is due to the poor economic conditions we are currently facing. However, I disagree that the recession is the only element effecting the popularity of this new technology. While these mobile computing tools could definitely improve employee efficiency and facilitate communication between management and other departments, they could also pose a great threat to the managers of the companies implementing them. This is because as the owners of the wireless devices given to the employees, the bosses are held liable for any mishap or accident that could take place while using the device. This could occur when the employee is using the mobile computer on the job or at his home. It also allows employees access to corporate data, important documents that need authorization, entering orders, and the companies financial statements. This opens the possibility of fraud from within the company framework, as well as the chance that company information could leak out to competitors. These are great risks for any manager, and are part of the reason why we are not yet ready for mobile device management. This is important for people deciding whether or not to mobilize their entire labor force. Just like we had to wait for wireless, we too need to wait for the right time to incorporate these devices into daily business practices. I thought this article was very interesting because it shows the development of not only wireless technology, but also of mobile computing. Today mobile computing is second nature to many, and who knows, it may become a requirement for employees in the near future.

Mathias, Craig. "Mobility: Past, Present and Future." Jan 13, 2009. SearchVoIP.

Neidlinger, Yves. "Reasons to Mobilize Your Workforce." Wednesday, December 3, 2008. Mobile Technology Blogspot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Article "Obama Plans to Keep his Blackberry" by Nancy Gohring [InfoWorld]

The article was about President Obama and his decision to keep his Blackbery as means of communication with his close friends and some Senior staffs. He believes that his Blackberry is one of the few ways he can escape the bubble that he is about find himslef in. The major problem with this comes from the fact that the Blackberry has decent secuirty settings and capabilities when being used by the regular person but for the President decent doesnt cut it. Obama's wishes and attachment to his blackberrry will be respected but more security devices will be placed on it just incase. For the little tasks that hes going to require of the Blackberry, these new placements will be enough but for the commona dn presidential related task, he is going to be given the Sectera Edge which is approved by the national Security Agency. Curious to see what edge the Sectera Edge had on the Blackberry, I checked it out online. Its a windows mobile, touchscreen, palm pilot, looking phone with so many applications, it might as well be a laptop computer. This will definately allow him to work from anywhere. After finding that out, I wondered how many normal poeple owned one. I looked on ebay with hopes of trying to find one on sale. I found ZERO people selling it which makes me think that maybe the Goverment doesnt allow these on the market.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the silicon solution

Article: “The Silicon Solution” By Mario Paniccia and Sean Koehl
1/21/09 [IEEE Spectrum]

A faster internet is always in demand. Today, speeds of traffic data are reaching ten billion bits per second. Although this rate may seem impressive, Intel and other companies are still coming up with faster and faster microprocessors. There is one major catch however; the copper. Copper is used in a lot of internet hardware including the wireless serves that allow connectivity. Factory printed-circuit boards that contain this copper have tiny, microscopic imperfections that have not been a problem for our generation so far. However, as the speed of internet traffic reaches ten billion bits per second, these imperfections cause data to be distorted. Researchers have found a solution for the problem by replacing the copper on the circuit boards with Silicon. Silicon can be easily adjusted to work into the factory printed-circuit boards and other servers. Researches even predict that wireless internet speeds have the opportunity to reach over one-hundred billion bits per second without and distortion from the silicon. This would allow people like us to download a full movie on our lab top in seconds.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Article: " Telecommuting Urged During Obama Inauguration" by K.C. Jones 1/6/2009 [Information Week]

The article discusses a company called Telework Exchange - that is promoting telecommuting for DC employees in the nation's capital, especially on January 20th. The inauguration was expected to create a gridlock of automobiles and congestion on the public transit systems. Also, the impact on the community at-large will be like no other day in history. Telework as a business can help organizations maintain continuity of operations and assist employees with out the hassles of commuting / traveling to work on January 20th - Inauguration day. Telecommuting will present a testing of the infrastructure, the continuity os systems and the disaster recovery plans. Telework Exchange will also test the robustness of your network by monitoring the number of users and the security that your organization has in place. Telework Exchange's main business practice is telecommuting and they are hoping to get other companies to partner with them in providing a better solution for the customer(the employer and employee.)