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Main » 2011 » March » 25

Ever since Sanjit Biswas, founder and CEO of Wi-Fi gear maker Meraki shared with me his vision that we are only going to see more Wi-Fi enabled devices in the home, I’ve been wondering how it translates into opportunities, especially for startups.

Among these opportunities could be a very simple cloud-based services for novices to manage and better utilize their home networks. With new developments in networking technology, it’s not that hard to imagine such a service, which would act like a butler for your in-home networking needs.

There are obvious opportunities stemming from Wi-Fi Direct and Apple’s Airplay technologies, but how does one look beyond point solutions and hardware products to find the larger opportunity? The answer came to me during a conversation with Urs Hoelzle, Google’s SVP of engineering at Google.

We were discussing the formation of the Open Networking Foundation and how it was going to help take the radical new technology, Open Flow, from academia to the commercial markets. Open Flow is like the BIOS inside a PC and makes networking gear more programmable. It helps network elements adapt more to the needs of end users who, at present ,are stuck in a one-size-fits-all-world. With Open Flow ,the networking is separated from the device itself and taken to the cloud.

During our conversation, I asked Hoelzle if we could see Open Flow in our home networking gear and Wi-Fi devices. While he didn’t think that would happen in the near future, it was very likely to happen at some point. Nick McKeown, a professor at Stanford University and one of the key forces behind the Open Flow movement, believes Open Flow could one day become the underpinning of cloud-based home networking.

McKeown pointed out that enterprise wireless hardware providers are already using software-defined networking and have created cloud-based networking tools to better manage the corporate networks. Meraki, for instance, might build great hardware, but in the end, it’s web-based management of devices and the network is what ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 557 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-03-25 | Comments (0)

Remember the sale of the century, or was it the sale of the millennium? Back in 2000 the 3G auction raised £22.5 billion for the Treasury and set the framework for mobile phone services in Britain for the next decade.

Today Ofcom has fired the starting gun for an even bigger sale of mobile spectrum which it believes could prove even more significant. But the mobile operators are hoping that it will turn out rather cheaper for them than the 3G sale.


4G mobile internet dongle for laptop

The regulator is calling this the 4G auction, and despite the cries of purists who insist that is just a marketing term to cover an ill-defined collection of new mobile technologies, that is the name that will stick. So let's try to answer a few questions about 4G.

What is spectrum?

Spectrum refers to the airwaves over which all wireless communication - radio, television, mobile voice and data - takes place. Ofcom says spectrum is a fundamental commodity which is of increasing value over time.

What is 4G and why do we need it?

4G refers to the next generation of mobile networks, which promise faster speeds, in particular for data. Ofcom says there has been an explosion in the use of mobile broadband in the UK since the arrival of smartphones. It's expecting mobile data flows to continue to soar, as tablet computer sales take off and smartphones become mass market devices.

What's up for sale?

The sale, which Ofcom hopes will happen early next year, will involve two blocks of spectrum which should fulfil two purposes - making mobile internet coverage both wider and faster.

The first block, the higher frequency 2.6gGHz band, should make all those smartphone users who are trying to watch video or play games online just a bit happier. It's suited to providing large amounts of capacity over a compact area, so should help ease the congestion on city centre networks.

The second block, the 800MHz band, is currently used for analogue television and becomes available next year once the digital switchover is complete. It is suitable for bringing mobile data services over wide areas, so it could mean that people in rural areas will find mobile broadband a better option than the fixed line variety.

Who will win?

The auction will determine the future of the UK's four remaining mobile operators - Vodafone, O2, Three, and Everything Everywhere, the amusing name for the merged Orange and T-Mobile networks. For Three in particular it's a matter of life and death - the company feels bruised by a recent Ofcom ruling which saw other networks allowed to use their old 2G spectrum for 3G services.

Smart phone user

 

So what happens next is probably a huge row - various operators have already held up the process for years with legal action. The plan set out by Ofcom today is designed to ensure that all four operators end up with enough spectrum to compete nationally. That makes it less likely that Three will object - but there's every possibility that another operator will hold up the auction by challenging the rules in court.

How much will the auction raise?

This sale involves 80% more spectrum than the 3G auction, so if the operators bid with the same eagerness shown for 3G licences back in 2000, then you might expect as much as £40 billion to end up in the Treasury's coffers.

But nobody thinks that will happen. The operators claim that the huge sums they paid in 2000 had a disastrous effect on their subsequent investment in 3G networks. It's true that the promise of the mobile internet, touted during the 3G auction, did not arrive until around seven years later.

Ofcom thinks that was more probably due to the fact that the auction took place at the height of the dot com bubble. The regulator won't say how much it expects the 4G licences to fetch. But a similar auction in Germany raised something like £4bn.

Is the UK falling behind?

Yes, if we're comparing the UK with Germany, the USA and Sweden, which have already started ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 483 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-03-25 | Comments (0)

It's a big day for gadget launches in the UK, with both the iPad 2 and the Nintendo 3DS arriving in stores. One is a new games console, the other a multi-purpose device which offers games and much more. But which will rack up the biggest sales and which will do more to change the video games industry?

iPad 2

It's the new iPad which is creating all the buzz but, amongst young gamers, it's the Nintendo device which is the focus of more excitement. Which is interesting because we keep hearing about the death of the console, as gaming goes casual and moves onto a whole host of different devices. From Farmville on Facebook, to any number of games apps on smartphones and on the iPad - gaming has undergone a revolution in the last couple of years.

I've noticed this trend in my own home. My 12-year-old son Rufus asked for my credit card the other day to pay for a game called Minecraft. This, like a number of other games he has found recently in the limited time allowed for gaming by his very strict parents, is played on a PC.

And what with Maple Story and Grand Fantasia on a computer, Plants v Zombies on the family iPad, and Angry Birds when he grabs my phone, he seems to have little time left to play on a console.

Nintendo 3DS

But now Nintendo claims that the 3DS will breathe new life into handheld gaming on a specialist device. With millions of children already familiar with the DS experience, there's a big potential audience for the new model, which boasts a 3D camera and promises games and movies in three dimensions, all without using glasses.

As someone who has both poor eyesight and a profound ignorance of game play, I decided I was not in the best position to test the 3DS. So I contracted the job out to Rufus - he was told that he would get a couple of days to play with the console, and would then have to hand it back after completing his homework. Here's his review:

"The 3DS is a marvel. It's one of the first pieces of technology in history to show 3D without glasses. It's bright and brilliant, and although it doesn't have any games currently (mostly), it has a Mii maker, an online Mii game, a bunch of Augmented Reality games and a game called Face Raiders, which all make use of the 3D and the motion sensors.
 
"But, know it for a fact, the 3D can damage your eyes if you play it to an extent. Tone it down every once in a while. 9.5/10."

A couple of footnotes - a Mii is a player's avatar, as used on a Wii console. And when he wrote about the 3DS not having any games currently, that was before I gave him Nintendogs to try out.

Anyway, if my son and his friends are anything to go by, the 3DS will be a big hit and parents can expect plenty of pestering.

Apple's iPad 2 - which costs at least twice as much - may struggle to match Nintendo's sales numbers, but will probably earn more, both for Apple and perhaps for games developers too.

All sorts of industries - newspapers, television and education have invested an awful lot of hope in Apple's tablet as the platform for a digital profitable future. But it's games makers who seem to have done best from the first generation of the iPad. The chart of best-sellers in the Apple app store is full of games, from Angry Birds, to Shrek Kart HD to Real Golf 2011.

Now Apple is hoping that the new version, with its gyroscope to make action games that bit more engrossing, will make further inroads into the market. I had a quick demo of one first person shooter game, and was impressed by the way the landscape moved around me.

But Nintendo, for one, is determined to prove that there is still plenty of room for a dedicated games device. Apple may be changing plenty of industries but it's too early to write the obituary of the games console.

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 525 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-03-25 | Comments (0)

Project Management Recipes for Success

Project Management Recipes for Success by Guy L. De Furia

Auerbach Publications | 2008 | ISBN: 1420078240 | 264 pages | PDF | 14 MB

Grounded in practicality, this book explains the procedures for running a successful project and highlights the finer points of managing and controlling the project. It is written specifically for those responsible for the hands-on managing of projects, but is also useful to program managers and senior executives. Project managers gain the confidence that comes from following a good recipe for success. Program managers gain a perspective on the myriad of activities their project managers must perform to achieve a well-disciplined project. Senior managers gain a perspective of the approach necessary at the beginning of a project to reduce the number of ill-advised projects and the effort required to achieve successful projects. 

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Category: E-BOOKS | Views: 657 | Added by: kc | Date: 2011-03-25 | Comments (0)

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