Platinax: For EntrepreneursPlatinax Business ForumPlatinax Business NewsPlatinax Business DirectoryBusiness Blog
April 23, 2007

Nokia forms DVB-H partnerships

Link: Nokia forms DVB-H partnerships

by Brian Turner

Nokia is planning a partnership with fellow handset maker Samsung to develop interoperable products based on the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld) standard for mobile TV.

It is also hoped that the partnership will accelerate the deployment of DVB-H, which allows broadcasts to be received while other mobile services, such as telephony and internet access are in use.

The technology aims to offer high service level quality and low battery consumption.

Nokia has also formed an alliance with Motorola to build products that support DVB-H.

There are currently several competing technologies to broadcast TV to mobile handsets. In the US, Qualcomm’s MediaFlo is being adopted by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, while in Europe, Nokia has been promoting DVB-H.

Nokia hopes the latest alliance with Samsung will consolidate DVB-H’s dominance in Europe for mobile broadcast TV.

Nokia and Samsung will support a set of standards used for DVB-H called OMA BCAST, or Open Mobile Alliance Mobile Broadcast Services Enabler Suite.

The OMA BCAST specification, which was defined and developed by the Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum, will help operators offer broadcast TV to mobile devices quickly and easily.

Intel announces Linux-based UMPC platform

Link: Intel announces Linux-based UMPC platform

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Intel is planning to announce a new ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) platform at this week’s Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

The Mobile Internet Devices (MID) will run an embedded Linux operating system and will be targeted at consumers and prosumers rather than mobile professionals.

They will feature screens ranging from 114 to 152mm (4.5 to 6 inches) offering resolutions up to 800 x 480 and 1024 x 600 pixels,

The MID2007 platform is currently code-named McCaslin but will be renamed before it is released next year. The platform is expected to be an extension of the Centrino mobile brand.

The platform will feature dual-core processors clocked at 600-800MHz and will be capable of running Windows XP and Vista as well as Linux, with a mix of open source and proprietary code in the final products.

The devices will appeal to users requiring a mix of email, web, entertainment, information and location-based services, including Google Maps and Web-based office and enterprise applications.

They will be Wi-Fi enabled and feature support for wide-area coverage via 3G HSDPA.

The user interface has been optimised for the small screens. It is based on the Gnome desktop but with an Intel-developed “master user interface” layer to serve as an equivalent to the desktop.

April 16, 2007

BT invests in 21CN rather than home fibre

Link: BT invests in 21CN rather than home fibre

by Jan Harris

According to a presentation at a press briefing in London, BT Group Plc expects to complete its 21CN next-generation network (NGN) migration process at the end of 2011. The group initially said the network would be finished by the end of 2010.

The 21st century network (21CN) will replace the UK’s public switched telephone network (PSTN) and will carry both voice and data services.

The £10 billion 21CN process has led to BT mothballing its plans for fibre to the home (FTTH) technology.

BT has been trialling FTTH - a form of fiber-optic communication delivery in which an optical fiber is run directly onto the customers’ premises - since 2004. FTTH provides super-fast, uniform connection speeds and the technology is expensive to deploy.

Neil Rogers, 21CN managing director, said at the briefing that BT was unlikely to take FTTH any further at the present time. “The more investment there is in 21CN, the likelihood of the debate resurfacing diminishes,” he said.

London becomes Europe’s biggest wireless internet hotspot

Link: London becomes Europe’s biggest wireless internet hotspot

by Jan Harris

A wireless network spanning London’s entire Square Mile, will be turned on next week, making London Europe’s biggest wireless internet hotspot.

The network was built by The Cloud, Europe’s leading wireless network operator, in conjunction with the City of London.

It will give an estimated 350,000 workers internet access via their laptop or mobile phone.

The network will provide uninterrupted web use via a new “mesh” technology which transfers users automatically from base station to base station as they walk by. Users will only have to log on once to gain uninterrupted connectivity.

There are around 130 of the base stations, providing coverage to the whole of London’s Square Mile - the core of London which is also known as ‘The City’.

Google sponsors handwriting recognition technology

Link: Google sponsors handwriting recognition technology

by Jan Harris

Google is sponsoring an open source project called OCRopus, which is developing a handwriting recognition system to convert handwritten documents to computer text. The project has also attracted funding from German government agencies and other public and private organisations.

The open source document analysis and OCR (Optimal Character Recognition) system could be used to create electronic libraries, analyse historical documents and help vision-impaired people access information.

The OCRopus project is based at the Image Understanding and Pattern Recognition (IUPR) research group at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The research is being led by Professor Thomas Breuel.

The project is expected to last up to three years. The software will be based on two earlier research projects: a handwriting recognition system developed in the mid-1990s for use by the US Census Bureau; and newer layout analysis methods for character recognition.

OCRopus will be available under the Apache 2.0 License and a preview is available on the project’s website

April 10, 2007

Pipex and Nokia Siemens collaborate on WiMax roll-outs

Link: Pipex and Nokia Siemens collaborate on WiMax roll-outs

by Brian Turner

Pipex Wireless and Nokia Siemens Networks are collaborating on the roll-out of WiMax infrastructure and services in the UK.

Pipex Wireless has started customer service trials in Warwick and Milton Keynes and will now use Nokia Siemens Networks’ equipment, services and networking expertise, to accelerate further tests and service roll-outs across the UK.

Pipex, which is the only provider in the UK near to launching full commercial WiMax services, will start using Nokia Siemens technology later in 2007.

WiMax is a long-range radio technology which provides broadband connectivity. It is a cable-free alternative to fixed line broadband. Most WiMax deployments to date provide fixed WiMax, while Pipex is trying to enable users to use WiMax on the move.

WiMax services would compete with services provided by the five mobile operators who have invested heavily in 3G.

HP plans new high-performance gaming PCs

Link: HP plans new high-performance gaming PCs

by Brian Turner
Computers & Internet

HP announced plans for a brand new PC category at a gaming event presented by Rahul Sood, the chief technology officer for HP’s gaming division.

The event was designed to celebrate HP’s progress in PC gaming since it acquired specialist gaming computer firm VoodooPC in 2006.

The new PCs will be aimed at PC gamers who require the highest possible performance, but who don’t require all the additional features provided by HP’s premier Voodoo brand.

The range will fill a gap in HP’s portfolio between premium Voodoo machines and more cost-effective offerings.

The name of the new PCs has not been revealed, but the range will include desktops, laptops and handhelds, and is expected to be available by the end of 2007.

HP demonstrated some prototypes that it hopes will attract customers, including a curved computer screen for driving games, which allows players to see the road to their left and right as well as straight ahead.

The company also revealed a handheld device that allows a user to incorporate real landscapes into their games whilst on the move.

Deal creates single broadcast transmission service provider

Link: Deal creates single broadcast transmission service provider

by Jan Harris

National Grid Plc, the power networks company, is selling its wireless business to broadcaster Arqiva Ltd, in a move that will bring together the privatised transmission arms of both the former Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the BBC. The transaction is valued at £2.5 billion.

National Grid Wireless provides television and radio transmission services for the BBC, hosts wireless sites for mobile network operators, and owns and operates two Freeview digital TV multiplexes.

Arqiva will acquire the National Grid Wireless assets through its parent company Macquarie UK Broadcast Ventures Ltd.

Arqiva recently acquired BT Group Plc’s satellite broadcast division and also integrated transmitter assets previously belonging to NTL Inc., now renamed Virgin Media Inc. NTL was set up to run former IBA transmitter masts when the IBA was disbanded in 1990.

The BBC has already selected Arqiva as the preferred supplier of its distribution network and managed transmission service for UK digital terrestrial television.

The move towards having a single broadcast transmission service provider brings the UK into line with most of the rest of the world. However, the transaction could be subject to investigation by the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom.

IPTV subscriptions to grow 92% year on year

Link: IPTV subscriptions to grow 92% year on year

by Jan Harris

According to a new report from market research analyst iSuppli Corp, the number of global subscribers for IPTV will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 92.5 percent from 3.9 million in 2006 to 103 million in 2011.

IPTV subscription revenue is expected to grow from $960.5 million in 2006 to $39.1 billion in 2011.

IPTV brings together voice, Internet and entertainment services in a bundle known as triple-play.

Triple-play services cross industry sectors and there is fierce competition between market participants, which is helping to drive growth in the IPTV market.

In North America cable companies are expanding their services into data and voice communications - crossing over into territory previously occupied by telecoms operators.

In response, telecom companies such as Verizon and AT&T are providing IPTV services using their advanced broadband networks.

Satellite companies are also moving to strengthen their competitive position. Companies such as DirecTV and Echostar are placing an emphasis on high-definition (HD) programming and offering unique content, such as sports packages, to differentiate their service from those offered by cable companies and telecoms operators.

Number of IPTV subscribers expected to double in 2007

Link: Number of IPTV subscribers expected to double in 2007

by Brian Turner

Screen Digest, the media analyst, expects the European market for IPTV to double in 2007.

Research examining 54 IPTV services across Europe found that IPTV is the fastest growing pay-TV platform.

The service is growing faster than all other platforms combined and subscriptions to IPTV services across Europe are expected to almost double from 2.9m in 2006 to 5.6m in 2007.

The major IPTV operators in Europe are Orange, Telefónica, Free Telecom, Neuf Telecom and Fastweb, which together accounted for 60% of the total market across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

These operators are expected to retain their leading positions through 2007.

The uptake of IPTV in France, Spain and the UK is being driven by the availability of hybrid Digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and IPTV boxes. This allows customers to access DTT channels free of charge, and gives them the option to take pay-TV and Video on Demand (VoD).

This model is used by BT in the UK and Darty in France.

In the UK, the number of IPTV subscribers is expected to grow from 80,000 to 300,000 by the end of 2007 - an increase of 250% - prompted by the recent launch of BT’s service and national launches from rivals Tiscali and France Telecom in the autumn.

March 30, 2007

Global Reach provides ‘Thames Online’ service

Link: Global Reach provides ‘Thames Online’ service

by Brian Turner

Global Reach Group has installed a Wi-Fi network that turns 12.5 miles of London’s River Thames into a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The Wireless broadband Internet access stretches from the Millennium Dome out in Greenwich up to Millbank by the Houses of Parliament. There are plans to extend it further over the coming months.

The public network, called Thames Online, can be used by anyone with a wireless-enabled device, at a pay-as-you go rate of £2.95 for an hour or £5.95 for a full day. A monthly subscription is also available for £9.95.

Global Reach hopes to secure most of its revenue from businesses, local government and emergency services.

The company collaborated with Proxim Wireless to provide the service, deploying Proxim’s ORiNOCO AP-4000MR outdoor Wi-Fi mesh network access points. It selected the ORiNOCO AP-4000MR product family because of its dual-radio architecture which supports mesh backhaul and Wi-Fi client access.

The product’s durable and weatherproof housing was also an important factor, as it allowed the self-contained devices to be installed on buildings and other structures at the waterside.

It’s uncertain at this point how many people would opt to pay the hourly rate - but compared to the price of some hotel wi-fi networks, the daily and monthly rates definitely beat T Mobile network prices, which are commonly used in nearby hotels.

March 29, 2007

Visa moving to cell phone payment in USA

Link: Visa moving to cell phone payment in USA

by Brian Turner

At the CTIA Wireless convention in Orlando, Visa USA revealed plans to expand the use of wireless payment transactions.

The company has entered into collaborations with several wireless technology companies to explore technology which allows customers to pay with the wave of a handset, rather than a traditional plastic card.

Wireless transactions are already common in countries such as Japan, but the market is at an early stage in the USA.

The technology would help mobile service providers increase customer loyalty, while it could help Visa to significantly increase its customer base in the USA, where 46% of consumer use cash and cheques to pay for goods.

Visa is working with Qualcomm, a wireless chip developer Qualcomm, to develop technologies which will allow consumers to make credit card-like transactions with a phone and a reading device.

The company is also collaborating with handset maker Kyocera Wireless, which has agreed to support the Visa mobile payments platform in its phones.

Mac users run Vista with Boot Camp beta

Link: Mac users run Vista with Boot Camp beta

by Brian Turner

Apple has made the newest version of Boot Camp available for download on its website.

The software allows Mac users to run the Vista operating system on their Intel-based systems.

The new version is still officially a beta product, but it now works with the 32-bit version of Vista and also includes support for updated drivers and the Apple Remote.

Apple plans to include a full version of Boot Camp inside ‘Leopard’, the next scheduled release of Mac OS X.

Mac OS X Leopard is due to be released this spring.

UK leads Western Europe in broadband penetration

Link: UK leads Western Europe in broadband penetration

by Jan Harris

New reports from eMarketer and the IAB place the UK as the most digital country in Western Europe, reinforcing the findings of a report by Informa which was published in May 2006.

According to eMarketer’s “UK Online” report, the UK has the fifth-highest number of broadband connections in the world. In 2006, 12 million households subscribed to broadband.

The US leads the way with 54.6 million broadband households, China is in second with 46.6 million, followed by Japan with 23.7 million and South Korea with 12.7 million.

eMarketer estimates that by 2011, 20 million households in the UK with be subscribing to broadband, representing 76.8% market penetration.

According to the IAB’s report, global online ad expenditure was nearly $17 billion in 2006 with over 10% of this coming from the UK - more then in the US.

In 2006, online ad spending in the UK overtook ad expenditure in national newspapers.

Microsoft Vista sales soar to 20 million?

Link: Microsoft Vista sales soar to 20 million?

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Microsoft says it has sold over 20 million copies of its Vista operating system since it was released on 30 January.

This beats initial sales of Windows XP, which sold 17 million copies in its first two months on sale, although a direct comparison is misleading as the PC market has grown substantially since XP was released.

Microsoft’s figures include boxed copy sales, systems included on new PCs, and also sales of Windows XP during the Christmas period which are eligible for a free Vista upgrade.

Higher-end versions of Vista have proved popular, with sales of the Ultimate edition exceeding expectations. The system is available in six versions - Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate, plus a Starter Edition which is only sold on new PCs in emerging markets.

However, it’s interesting to note how Microsoft have included sales of XP machines in the figures - which are almost certain to skew the actual take-up results.

The question is to what degree XP machines actually take up in the figures, and whether Microsoft are purposefully trying to hide bad data by adding this segment.

£1.1m investment in underwater wireless communication

Link: £1.1m investment in underwater wireless communication

by Jan Harris

A consortium led by Wireless Fibre Systems has secured £560,000 funding for a two-year research project into technologies to allow divers and machines to communicate wirelessly underwater.

The funding from the Department of Trade and Industry will part-fund the £1.1m project, which hopes to develop equipment to transmit data wirelessly underwater. Initially it is expected to work over fairly short distances.

The technology will allow divers to communicate without having to use hand signals, which work well in clear water, but have limited use in waters where visibility is poor.

The technology could have wide reaching applications in areas such as oceanography and environmental monitoring. It could also significantly improve safety for professional divers working in the oil and gas industries.

The project is developing an ‘underwater radio’, which works like a wireless modem and can transmit data to and from unmanned machinery in deep sea.

Xbox 360 Elite expected to feature IPTV capability

Link: Xbox 360 Elite expected to feature IPTV capability

by Jan Harris

According to Dean Takahashi from the The San Jose Mercury News, the Xbox 360 Elite edition will include IPTV capabilities, allowing users to view internet videos, trailers and TV channels on the console.

It has been confirmed that the console will feature a 120GB HDD, which would be ideal for IPTV and will also feature a built-in HDMI connector.

There are also rumours that the model will include a new chip redesign. Production is believed to have moved from 90-nanometers to 65 nanometers, which should significantly reduce manufacturing costs.

It is believed that the Xbox 360 Elite could be released as soon as April in the US, closely followed by a European launch.

March 23, 2007

Dell develops virtualisation-capable server

Link: Dell develops virtualisation-capable server

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

Dell’s PowerEdge division is developing a server optimised to run virtualisation software.

Virtualisation allows a single computer to run multiple operating systems in compartments called virtual machines. This both increases efficiency and reduces costs.

The technology can be combined with multicore processors which let a single chip handle the work of two or four single-core models.

However the technologies add software complexity, and require more memory, more hard drives, and increased complexity, all of which pushes up the price.

Dell’s new server will have two processor sockets, which with a multicore processor can provide substantial horsepower, and the machine will be rich in computing resources to cope with a high workload.

The server is expected to be released in the second half of the year.

Free MoD spectrum auction to begin in 2008

Link: Free MoD spectrum auction to begin in 2008

by Jan Harris

It was announced in the budget that the government will begin to auction radio spectrum currently used by the Ministry of Defence in 2008.

A study of the spectrum allocated to the MoD will be completed in May 2008. This will identify how much spectrum the MoD can spare. A full plan for the sale of the spectrum will be published when the study is completed.

The government will begin to release the spectrum into the market later in 2008, with the sale continuing through 2009 and 2010.

It could be used by telecoms companies for a variety of services such as wireless broadband access or to extend 3G services.

Winners of the auction will be allowed to use the spectrum licences when the analogue signal is switched off region by region as the UK switches to digital television.

The auction will be monitored by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Laptop demand overtakes desktop

Link: Laptop demand overtakes desktop

by Jan Harris
Computers & Internet

According to a new report from market intelligence company IDC, demand for laptops will overtake demand for desktop PCs by 2011.

Desktop shipments grew 2% to 138.3 million in 2006, while shipments of portable computers, excluding handhelds, increased 26.3% to 82.4 million.

The laptop market is expected to grow by 16.1% year-on-year until 2011, compared with only 3.8% for desktop PCs.

The trend may be due to an increase in mobile workers, improvements in the speed and efficiency of laptops and the increasing availability of wireless networks.

The roll out of Windows Vista is expected to temporarily boost demand for desktops in 2007 and early 2008, but the growth rate will then start to fall again.

« Previous PageNext Page »