Displaying items by tag: US

The United States is planning to increase its scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley in an effort to protect what it describes as ‘sensitive technologies’ which are seen as vital to US national security. China has shown a particular interest in AI and machine learning and both technologies have received a significant amount of Chinese capital in recent years.

The US has expressed concern that the cutting-edge technologies being developed in the US could be used by China to bolster its own military capabilities. However, the US government has now taken steps to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which is the inter-agency committee that reviews foreign acquisitions of US companies on security grounds.

It has been disclosed that an unpublished Pentagon report has raised concerns that China is skirting with US oversight in relation to gaining access to sensitive technology through transactions that don’t currently trigger CFIUS review. A member of the Trump administration said they had the review CFIUS due to the ‘predatory practices’ of China. The official who was not granted authority to speak said, “We're examining CFIUS to look at the long-term health and security of the U.S. economy, given China's predatory practices in technology.”

Under the administration of former US president Barack Obama – CFIUS prevented a number of attempted Chinese acquisitions of high-end chip makers. One Republican in the senate, John Cornyn, is currently drafting legislation which would enable the CFIUS to have much more power to block technology investments it expresses concern about.

A spokesman for the Senator said, “Artificial intelligence is one of many leading-edge technologies that China seeks, and that has potential military applications. These technologies are so new that our export control system has not yet figured out how to cover them, which is part of the reason they are slipping through the gaps in the existing safeguards.”

It is believed one of the most contentious issues over Chinese investment in advanced technology comes at a time when the US military looks to incorporate elements of AI and machine learning into its drone program. The program which has been entitled ‘Project Maven’ has been specifically designed to provide relief to military analysts who are part of the war against Islamic State.  Analysts currently have to endure spending long hours staring at big screens reviewing video feeds from drones as part of its attempts to snuff out the threat of insurgents in war-torn places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

China has made no attempts to hide its ambition to become a major player in developing technologies such as AI, through a series of foreign acquisitions. In March, China search engine colossus Baidu Inc. launched an AI in conjunction with China’s state planner the National Development and Reform Commission. On example of this was Baidu’s decision in April to acquire U.S. computer vision firm xPerception, which makes vision perception software and hardware with applications in robotics and virtual reality. “China is investing massively in this space," said Peter Singer, an expert on robotic warfare at the New America Foundation.

Published in Government

Telia Carrier announced that it has launched two PoPs in the Portland area in Oregon, US, bringing improved diversity and high speed connectivity to service, content and cloud providers in the Pacific Northwest.

Telia’s new PoP locations include Hillsboro, a key connection point for sea cable landings coming from the west as well as international traffic from Asia. Telia’s expansion to the Portland area gives (OTT) providers, hyperscale cloud networks and carriers the ability to directly connect in market rather than backhauling traffic to other regions, which adds latency.

The Portland metropolitan area or Silicon Forest as it is commonly referred to has become a hub for carriers and content providers as well as regional education and city networks connecting to greater Portland and Eastern Oregon. Tax incentives and green power sources have driven significant growth in the last two years. Large-scale data center construction in the region is accelerating due to terabit traffic demands and an abundance of sustainable, low cost hydro-power.

As a new market entrant, Telia Carrier’s two PoPs in the region provide unique network routing. The Hillsboro location is designed with long haul routes that establish diversity from downtown Portland, where many of the legacy carrier facilities are located.  Careful selection of the routing at river crossings ensures additional reliability.

“With continued investment in large-scale data centers and as new sea cable landings come online next year to support traffic demand from the Asia Pacific region, Hillsboro is a prime location for us to introduce new PoPs,” said Art Kazmierczak, Telia Carrier’s director of business and network development.

“By expanding to Portland, we continue to deliver best-in-class IP transit performance for education and broadband customers with minimal network hops, high resilience and inherent route diversity. These capabilities ensure our customers get the best possible connectivity and ultimately, they enhance the online experience for end users.”

Published in Infrastructure

Smartphones are now in 80 percent of U.S. homes – a six percentage point increase year-over-year (YOY) – and U.S. consumers now own 27 million more smartphones than they did just last year, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

CTA’s 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study also shows televisions remain the most popular technology device in the U.S., as they have for decades – almost every household (96 percent) owns at least one TV. Additionally, from 2016 to 2017, the U.S. market saw an increase in the overall installed base of connected devices including smart home devices, smart TVs, wearables and wireless speakers.

“Connectivity – the anytime/anywhere access to information and entertainment we now expect – is a driving trend of our time, supported by the continued growth we’ve seen in smartphone ownership,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA.

“Smartphones are our personal hubs for innovative technologies like smart homes, connected cars and voice-recognition services. And, as more of us recognize the ability of technology to change our lives for the better, smartphones will continue to be one of the most pervasive technologies owned in homes throughout the U.S.”

“Three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens – televisions, smartphones and laptops – and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they’ll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.

“U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today’s ‘screen culture,’ demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types.”

Smartphones and in-vehicle communications/safety systems saw the largest gains in household ownership among connected devices – both increasing by six percentage points YOY. Almost half (45 percent) of U.S. households now have at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communication system such as back-up sensors, rearview cameras or hands-free calling. Smart home devices, smart TVs, smartwatches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each saw an increase in household ownership of four percent YOY.

“Our research last year showed most consumers are excited about automated driving features and self-driving cars, but there’s still some hesitancy about the technology,” said Koenig. “This report is further evidence that, despite that wariness, more and more drivers want innovations that help keep them safer on the road. So, as a broader range of our driving tasks are automated via driving-assist technologies, eventually, riding in a self-driving car will be just an incremental step from the in-car tech we’ve all come to know and love.”

Among emerging technologies, 4K Ultra HD (UHD) television is enjoying the fastest growth in ownership. CTA’s research analysis shows 16 percent of U.S. households now own a 4K UHD TV – up nine percentage points YOY – and 11 percent of U.S. households plan to purchase a 4K UHD TV in the coming year. Other emerging technologies expected to experience significant YOY ownership growth in the year to come include voice-activated digital assistants, drones and virtual reality headsets.

The 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study ascertains ownership and purchase intent of consumer technology products among U.S. households across various categories. The report was administered via a dual-frame telephone interview to 2,014 U.S. adults between Feb. 2-13, 2017.

Published in Devices

Apple recently launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download from Apple’s iBooks Store.

App Development with Swift is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.

Starting this fall, six community college systems serving nearly 500,000 students across the United States will be among the first to offer the innovative curriculum. At many campuses, local businesses will also offer students mentoring and internships.

“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”

The curriculum will be offered by the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College and San Mateo Community College District, among others. Select high schools across the country will also be teaching the App Development with Swift curriculum starting this fall. Houston Community College is opening an iOS Coding and Design School that will teach Apple’s new curriculum.

“The world calls Houston a knowledge capital because of the incredible concentration of ideas and innovation in our great city,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Apple’s investment in our community with the launch of the app development curriculum will tap into the creativity of our students, inspire new possibilities and foster our culture of technological transformation.”

“We are focused on preparing our students for life in a global and technological society, and in 2017 that means making sure our students have access to a state-of-the-art coding curriculum,” said Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado.

“We are thrilled Apple is offering this incredible opportunity to advance student learning, which will especially help us bridge the gap in computer science training for minorities and women. We can’t wait to see what these students will do and already have local businesses offering mentoring and internship opportunities.”

App Development with Swift is an extension of Apple’s existing K-12 Everyone Can Code curricula which offer everyone the power to learn, write and teach coding. Swift is Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software.

Popular apps including Airbnb, KAYAK, TripAdvisor, Venmo and Yelp are all created with Swift. In addition to over 1 million downloads of Swift Playgrounds, there have been over 430,000 downloads of the additional Everyone Can Code materials and over 1,000 schools across the US plan to teach with Everyone Can Code materials in the fall.

Earlier in the month, Apple announced the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund focused on creating jobs in the US throughout our supply chain, with an initial investment of $1 billion. The new Swift coding curriculum is another example of Apple’s commitment to economic development and will help create even more career opportunities for students across the country. Apple now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including more than 1.5 million jobs attributable to Apple’s app economy.

Published in Apps

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has announced a proposal to add an alert option to the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) to help protect the United States’ law enforcement officers.

Called a “Blue Alert,” the option would be used by authorities in states across the country to notify the public through television and radio of threats to law enforcement and to help apprehend dangerous suspects.  The Chairman unveiled the proposal at an event hosted by the Department of Justice announcing the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network.

 “As we have learned from the very successful AMBER Alert initiative for recovering missing children, an informed public can play a vital role in assisting law enforcement,” Chairman Pai said.  “By expanding the Emergency Alert System to better support Blue Alerts, we could build on that success – and help protect those in law enforcement who risk their lives each day to protect us.”

Blue Alerts can be used to warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer.  As a result, a Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect could be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe.

Chairman Pai’s proposal would amend the FCC’s EAS rules by creating a dedicated Blue Alert event code so that state and local authorities have the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers.

Some states have individual Blue Alert programs that use various methods to issue warnings.  The Chairman’s proposal would build on these efforts through the development of a nationwide framework that states can adopt.  This goal is consistent with the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015.  The Act, which is being implemented by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), directs cooperation with the FCC.  The COPS Office has expressed the need for a dedicated EAS code for Blue Alerts.

The Chairman plans to ask his fellow commissioners to vote on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at the FCC’s June 22nd Open Meeting.  If adopted, the NPRM would pose questions and invite public comment on the proposal.

Published in Government

Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP and TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity Ltd. company and an industry pioneer in undersea communications technology, announced that new milestones have been reached in the manufacturing of Hawaiki, the 14,000 km transpacific cable system that will link Australia and New Zealand to the mainland United States, as well as Hawaii and American Samoa, with options to expand to several other South Pacific islands.

The manufacturing progress, as well as continued advancement with the installation permitting process in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., keeps Hawaiki on schedule for completion by mid-2018.

At SubCom’s Newington, N.H. USA facility, more than 13,000 km of cable for Hawaiki has been manufactured, along with more than 150 completed repeaters. All installation permits for Australia, New Zealand and Oregon are in hand, and are progressing as expected in Hawaii.

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the cable landing in Pacific City, Oregon has commenced and will be completed in the coming weeks. In Sydney, the construction of the land duct route is moving forward – with more than half of the conduits already installed – and the HDD operations are scheduled to start early next month. The first cable load including 7,000 km of cable will begin in June 2017.

Hawaiki will be the highest cross-sectional capacity link between the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. As a carrier-neutral cable system, Hawaiki will usher in a new era of international connectivity benefitting businesses and consumers across the Pacific region. The system was co-developed by New Zealand-based entrepreneurs Sir Eion Edgar, Malcolm Dick and Remi Galasso.

“We’re very close to completing the manufacturing stage of Hawaiki and are preparing to launch installation in just a matter of months,” said Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki. “Once live, this cable system will help eliminate the distance between all Pacific communities and provide an economic boost to a region consistently starved for broadband access.”

“As expected, our manufacturing team has made rapid progress on Hawaiki,” said Debra Brask, vice president, project and program management, TE SubCom. “Each stage of the Hawaiki cable system project has proceeded without issue and we’re looking forward to an on-time delivery in mid-2018.”

Published in Infrastructure

US communications service provider Sprint recently unveiled the Sprint Magic Box, the world’s first all–wireless small cell. Sprint Magic Box is a revolutionary new plug–and–play LTE small cell for businesses and consumers that dramatically improves data coverage and increases download and upload speeds on average by 200 percent.

The breakthrough new technology allows Sprint to very quickly and cost–effectively densify its nationwide LTE Plus network, and provide an improved experience for its millions of customers today and in the future.

The Sprint Magic Box is an indoor, self-configuring small cell, about the size of a shoebox, that’s easy for customers to install. It requires no implementation, labor, or rental costs that are a hurdle for many traditional small cell deployments. The unit is simply placed near a window and plugged into a power outlet. Sprint Magic Box connects to a nearby Sprint cell site and within minutes is up and running. Customers immediately have a better experience inside their businesses and homes while streaming videos, surfing the web, and using their favorite online apps and services.

Sprint designed the Sprint Magic Box so that customers in surrounding areas will also enjoy the benefits of the locally installed unit. One Sprint Magic Box provides average coverage of 30,000 square feet indoors and can benefit adjacent Sprint customers inside the building. The signal can also extend coverage 100 meters outside a building, benefitting Sprint customers in nearby buildings and improving street–level network performance.

Accelerating Sprint’s Network Densification Strategy

Sprint Magic Box greatly accelerates Sprint’s strategy to densify its network as it improves performance and builds a strong foundation for 5G. It uses Sprint’s ample, dedicated 2.5 GHz spectrum with backhaul provided by Sprint’s outdoor macro cell sites. This removes the cost of backhaul, along with many of the challenges typically associated with small cell deployments, providing a low-cost, effective way to make the Sprint network – already performing at its best–ever–levels – even better for customers.

“Sprint Magic Box is going to quickly transform our network, and it is key to delivering an amazing experience to customers today as we build the kind of dense urban infrastructures needed for 5G,” said Dr. John Saw, Sprint CTO. “By leveraging our deep spectrum trove, Sprint has the ability to blanket its network with an all-wireless small cell that delivers this kind of dramatic performance boost with zero backhaul, permitting, and engineering costs.”

Sprint Magic Box deployment has begun in several cities across the country such as Denver, San Francisco, Indianapolis, New York, Chicago, and Houston. In the past three months downloads speeds across these markets have significantly improved as Sprint rolled-out its toolkit of densification technologies such as Sprint Magic Box, outdoor small cells, three-channel carrier aggregation, and launched iconic new High Performance User Equipment (HPUE) smartphones.

Unleashing Sprint’s Spectrum Advantage

The development of Sprint Magic Box is part of Sprint’s ongoing program to improve its network through its Densification and Optimization strategy using some of the most advanced technologies in wireless. With 204 MHz of spectrum nationwide, and more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets, Sprint has more spectrum capacity than any other U.S. carrier, an advantage that Sprint Magic Box is designed to maximize.

Sprint Magic Box is one of many network innovations taking advantage of the company’s deep spectrum holdings. Sprint continues to improve coverage, reliability and speeds by adding more capacity where it’s needed with a toolbox of solutions including three-channel carrier aggregation and HPUE. In March in New Orleans, Sprint was the first carrier to debut Sprint Gigabit Class LTE on a live commercial network in the U.S.

Looking ahead, Sprint will continue its deployment of three-channel carrier aggregation on 2.5 GHz sites. The company also anticipates leveraging a multitude of advanced technologies including four-channel carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) and Massive MIMO to further enhance the capacity and coverage of its 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators

US technology leaders Apple have formally announced its intentions to create a fund of $1bn – which it will subsequently use to invest in US companies in order to boost job creation. Apple has further disclosed that it will invest the money in US companies that perform ‘advanced manufacturing’.

Apple, which is headquartered in Cupertino, California, will formally disclose the recipients of the first investment in May. It’s the conglomerates latest move to indicate its efforts to boost job creation in the US. In addition to this, Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook spoke of how Apple would create additionally fund programs which would be specifically designed to teach people how to write computer coding to create new apps.

Apple have used the announcement to highlight how committed the organization is to job creation in the US. The tech colossus is the world’s largest company by market valuation, but it has been criticized for its fiscal policy. It keeps the majority of its cash stockpile in favorable tax systems in overseas markets. A whopping 93% of Apple’s $256.8bn in cash is held overseas to be exact. President Trump attacked the company during his campaign for manufacturing most of its products in China.

However, at Apple’s AGM in February, shareholders were told that the firm spent $50bn in 2016 with US suppliers such as 3M Co (MMM.N) and Corning Inc. (GLW.N), this was the first time Apple had officially disclosed the metric. Cook claimed that Apple has created 2 million jobs in the US, with 80,000 of those being created directly at Apple. The rest of the jobs have been created at suppliers and software developers for the company’s app ecosystem.

Analysts have suggested that Apple has made such a public vow in relation to its US presence – due to the fact lawmakers are currently considering a major tax proposal submitted by the Trump administration that would let Apple, along with other multinational conglomerates the opportunity to bring back accumulated profits from overseas at potentially lower tax-rates.

Apple’s CEO has conducted a number of meetings with lawmakers in Washington this year, in which the topics of tax policy and technology issues were discussed. Cook has confirmed that Apple will borrow cash from its US manufacturing fund – and added he was hopeful the Trump administration would address the repatriation issue. However, Cook did not guarantee that Apple would bring back its cash to the US market even if the tax proposal submitted by Trump is approved and amended by lawmakers.

"To invest in the United States, we have to borrow. This doesn't make sense on a broad basis. So I think the administration, you saw they're really getting this and want to bring this (cash) back. And I hope that comes to pass," Cook said in response to a question about tax reform.

Published in Finance

Verizon Communications announced a deal that will further its commitments to growing its wireless broadband network nationwide, as the landscape for telecom companies only becomes more competitive and crowded.

The agreement calls for Corning a New York-based manufacturer of materials primarily for industrial and scientific applications, to provide up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber each year for Verizon to purchase starting in 2018 and lasting until 2020, with a minimum purchase commitment of $1.05 billion.

"This new architecture is designed to improve Verizon's 4G LTE coverage, speed the deployment of 5G, and deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses of all sizes," Verizon said in a statement. Verizon launched One Fiber, what has been called a more "nontraditional Fios build" for the company, in Boston last year.

On its website, Verizon describes Fios as giving consumers "a 100 percent fiber-optic network that allows you to enjoy the internet speed you crave, the TV channels you love and a home phone that's reliable."

"Our plans [in Boston] identified a shortfall in fiber supply, and Verizon has been working with business teams to forecast demand and fill supply gaps with existing suppliers," Verizon Chief Supply Chain Officer Viju Menon said in a statement. "Securing the required volume of optical fiber and hardware solutions with Corning will ensure we meet our planned rollout schedules."

Verizon said it's been "reinventing" a network architecture of late — one that supports a "next-generation fiber platform" to support all of its business segments.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the news. The deal “heralds the construction of ‘densified’ 5G networks that will benefit American consumers,” said Pai. “It will create thousands of high-quality jobs building and laying fiber.”

The deal coincides with the FCC’s goal of closing the digital divide, added the chairman. He noted the Commission has taken action to promote spending on broadband deployment and will vote on additional proposals today to “unleash major capital expenditures on next-generation networks.”

Verizon has been reinventing its network architecture around a next-generation fiber platform that will support all of the company's businesses. This new architecture is designed to improve Verizon's 4G LTE coverage, speed the deployment of 5G, and deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses of all sizes.

Roger Gurnani, Verizon's chief information and technology architect, commented, "Corning's unique combination of capabilities delivers solutions that provide us with performance and cost advantages as we continue to expand our network coverage and capacity."

Viju Menon, Verizon's chief supply chain officer, said: "Our plans identified a shortfall in fiber supply, and Verizon has been working with business teams to forecast demand and fill supply gaps with existing suppliers. Securing the required volume of optical fiber and hardware solutions with Corning will ensure we meet our planned rollout schedules."

Clark Kinlin, executive vice president, Corning Incorporated, said: "We are pleased that Verizon recognizes the value of Corning's innovative solutions in deploying next-generation converged optical infrastructure, such as One Fiber, more quickly and cost effectively. Verizon's purchase commitment supports necessary capacity investments across our manufacturing footprint."

Over the past several months, Corning has announced plans to expand capacity and to invest more than $250 million in its optical fiber, cable and solutions manufacturing facilities to help meet the demand of its global carrier and enterprise customers. Corning expects these capacity expansions to begin to come online in 2017 and become fully operational in 2018.

Published in Infrastructure

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has expressed its delight at how their new Galaxy S8 flagship series smartphone has been initially received by consumers. There had been fears amongst Samsung executives and stakeholders that the Galaxy Note 7 debacle last year would impact negatively on the new S8. However, it seems that consumers are unfazed by the Galaxy Note 7 fires and pre-orders for the S8 have exceeded those of its predecessor.

The S8 is set to go on sale in the US, South Korea and Canada on April 21st – and analysts are predicting that the device will be central to Samsung’s recovery from the swift forced withdrawal of the Note 7 in October last year. The device has been well received by both analysts and investors – with many suggesting the S8 could represent a first-year sales record for the global smartphone giant.

Mobile Business Chief, Koh Dong-jin confirmed that the organization were delighted at the response so far, but did remain cautious offering a reminder that it was still very early days. He said: "It's still a bit early, but initial response to the pre-orders that have begun at various places across the world have been better than expected.”

Samsung’s latest device is set to be the safest smartphone ever created due to the safety measures they had to implement in the S8 in an attempt to avoid the battery failures that caused some Note 7’s to go on fire and in some instances self-combust. Stakeholders will be further boosted by the news that many analysts expect the South Korean firm to record its best-ever quarterly profit in April-June – which will be buoyed by S8 sales. In addition to this, a memory chip market boom that will deliver record revenue for the industry will further strengthen Samsung’s finances.

Samsung’s S8 has won acclaim with consumers due to its design and comes equipped with either a 5.8 inch or 6.2 inch curved screen – in fact it’s the largest screens to date among all of Samsung’s flagship phones due to a redesign. Koh also disclosed that Samsung intends to use the S8 in an effort to recover in China. It has been dislodged from the top five vendors in the region as a result of heightened competition from local rivals such as Huawei. He concluded by stating that Samsung aims to regain market share in China, but didn’t elaborate on how or what strategies it would implement in order to achieve this.

Published in Devices
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