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Innovation

Mobile Devices Open Up New Vistas for Connectivity and a Platform for Innovation, Says Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs

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LAS VEGAS, January 7, 2013 – An intellectual property licensing company that designs the chipsets for mobile devices — and barely offer a consumer-facing brand — took center stage here at the opening keynote of the Consumer Electronics Show tonight.

Paul Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of the San Diego based Qualcomm, opened up the premiere information technology conference with the theme, “Born Mobile.”

“This is the first time a mobile company has opened up the Consumer Electronics Show,” Jacobs said, adding that, “Qualcomm is not a traditional consumer electronics company: we don’t make televisions, stereos or game consoles, [but] we are at the heart of a number of devices that are at the center of everything you do.”

With a total of 6.4 billion mobile connections, there are almost as many mobile devices now as there are people on earth.

And with nearly one million new smart phone users every day, nearly three times the 317,000 babies that are born each day, it is a near-certainty that soon there will be more internet devices on the globe than there are people.

More than simply sheer numbers, the power of mobile computing is integration of computing power, broadband connectivity and human ingenuity in new and unique settings, he said. Rather than an operating system powering the digital revolution, it is as if mobile computing is the new platform for technological innovation.

From artists who use global positioning systems to rapidly accelerate the speed of creating sculptors, to companies offering aid to lost dogs outfitted with radio transmitters, to opportunities for parents to stay in touch with children thousands of miles away, Jacobs extolled the way the mobile device is “redefining the way we live.” According to a survey, 84 percent of people said they couldn’t go a day without their mobile device, he said.

In a surprise cameo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came onstage to extoll the power of Snapdragon, the Qualcomm chipset powering mobile devices running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. Introduced last year, Windows 8 is a first for Microsoft in that it is an operating system designed to work on handheld devices and tablets as well as it does on personal computers.

Windows 8 on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon combines “the world of the tablet and the PC; touch and keyboard; computing and mobile,” said Ballmer.

Devices and applications running on the chipset and operating systems, added Jacobs, “are super-fast and fluid, and connecting a growing world of applications.”

Not unnoticed was the fact that it was Ballmer appearing during Jacobs’ keynote. For about a decade, the pre-keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show seemed continually occupied the Microsoft CEO: first Bill Gates, the now-retired Microsoft founder and now-philanthropist, and then by Ballmer, the software company’s current chief.

Jacobs hour-and-a-half keynote had something for everyone. It featured a winning Nascar driver, a film director, Big Bird and companions from the Sesame Street Workshop, a star of the upcoming film Star Trek: Into Darkness, the South African Rev. Desmond Tutu extolling mobile health applications, and prototype of a wirelessly-charged electric-battery powered Rolls Royce.

Underlying almost all aspects of the speech was the them that wireless bandwidth usage is exploding. Whether because of the growing number of wireless users, the amount of bandwidth being consumed by those users, or because of a trend toward machine to machine technology, consumer demand for wireless bandwidth seems insatiable.

“Keeping up with this exploding demand may seem possible,” said Jacobs. “At Qualcomm, we call this the 1,000x challenge.”

But the challenge can be managed, he said, through more intelligent use of wireless spectrum, through better and more efficient chip-sets, through smaller and smaller cells, and through miniature cell phone towers “as small as a packet of cards and cheaper than a cell phone.”

Follow Broadband Breakfast’s coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show at http://twitter.com/broadbandcensus. Our goals for CES are to promote the upcoming series of Broadband Breakfast Club events; to get the latest information on how broadband is driving digital technologies in 2013; and to test ideas for a book on technology, broadband, and digital media that Broadband Breakfast’s Publisher Drew Clark plan to write in 2013. He is on Google+ and Twitter.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney at The CommLaw Group. He has closely tracked the trends in and mechanics of digital infrastructure for 20 years, and has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers navigate coverage, identify markets, broker infrastructure, and operate in the public right of way. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

Innovation

Internet of Things Will Revolutionize Industries as Connectivity Ceases To Be Limiting Factor

Panelists at a WCA event last month said IoT will transform a trillion-plus dollar segment of the economy.

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Photo of Elle Grossenbacher from Twilio

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2021 – With the advent of new mobile wireless technologies such as 5G and latency improvements, the industrial internet of things will prove to be a boon for industries from agriculture to transportation, a conference heard last month.

The Wireless Communications Alliance hosted a virtual event last month titled “IIoT Gizmos and Gadgets” during which a panel of tech experts remarked on the ability of internet-connected devices, facilitated by ubiquitous connectivity, to revolutionize fields integral to the nation’s economy.

Andy Do, president of IoT sensor company Sensorworks, noted that the key attraction with IoT for the industrial sector – estimated to be worth trillions of dollars – is the cost savings. More and more companies, for example, are incorporating remote monitoring of their agricultural crops using these technologies to get a sense of when to tend to them.

Dirk Seidel, business development manager at semiconductor company Renesas Electronics, said the IIoT industry has made significant progress in developing sensors that can monitor a wide variety of conditions in real time, such as carbon dioxide concentration, light intensity, and blood oxygen levels. Aashish Mehta, CEO of TransferFi, a company that makes wireless networks for IIoT sensors, describes this as providing “insights at your fingertips.” A present goal of the industry is to develop technology which combines different types of sensors together while still allowing them to make measurements independently, he said.

According to Elle Grossenbacher, product marketing manager of IoT at cloud communications company Twilio, manufacturing is one industry where IIoT has a large opportunity to expand because of how little factories have already adopted IIoT since its early development.

This is a much slower uptake than has been seen with building automation, where WCA vice president Jeremy Tole says IIoT has been used in energy optimization for decades. Grossenbacher also believes that the government will be one entity that instigates an increase in its usage of IIoT in the near future.

As far as advancements in the IIoT industry in next five years, Tole hopes to see all devices wirelessly connected and powered while Do hopes more IIoT technology will be present in everyday retail settings.

The Federal Communications Commission last month released a notice of inquiry to get a sense of the need for spectrum for IoT.

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Smart Cities

FCC Asks for Public Comment on Spectrum for Internet of Things

Internet of Things devices are expected to increasingly flood the market as 5G networks light up.

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Illustration about the Internet of Things by Pete Linforth used with permission

WASHINGTON, October 8, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on spectrum allocation for the Internet of Things, or devices that are connected to the internet.

In its Notice of Inquiry released September 30, the agency seeks comments that “consider and evaluate various related factors” that will hinder the growth of IoT, including “barriers that may hinder the provision of spectrum needed to support uses relating to the IoT” and the role that unlicensed and licensed spectrum plays in the growth of IoT.

The IoT broadly refers to network-connected devices that can collect and transfer data. The number of IoT devices has grown over the past few years. Experts expect this number to continue rising as more households and industries use IoT technologies and as the connectivity-dense next-generation 5G networks facilitate more connections.

According to the FCC, a large amount of spectrum has been licensed using a flexible-use approach that allowed licensees to develop technologies and services according to consumer demand since the 1990s. The FCC asks whether the licensed spectrum made available or “will be available in the future is adequate to support the needs of the IoT.” The commission also asks whether there are spectrum rules that could be modified to facilitate greater spectrum access for IoT deployments.

In a statement, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the the Internet of Things is “transforming our way of life.”  While reaffirming his commitment to addressing the digital divide and internet inequality, the FCC noted that “many Americans will not realize the benefits of IoT; until broadband service is available and affordable to everyone, those without broadband will be left behind during the IoT revolution.”

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a separate statement emphasizing that although the possibilities for IoT have yet to be fully developed, “[i]t’s still early days in the Internet of Things.” The Chairwoman remarked that because 5G wireless systems and low-orbiting satellites “expand the availability of high speed and high-capacity networks, we can expect the pace of innovation to increase” but that the FCC should allocate adequate spectrum for this purpose.

The FCC seeks comment on these issues as directed by Congress in the William Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act. The Act directed the FCC to inquire into the spectrum required to support IoT growth. This comes as the FCC begins auctioning 3.45 GigaHertz mid-band spectrum this week for licenses for 5G use.

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Innovation

Secretary of State Blinken Says Research and Development Critical For Competition Against China

Blinken was touring the University of Maryland laboratories last week.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken

August 16, 2021 – Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month a key consideration for competition with China is to plow investments in research and development, as the Communist nation continues to do the same and export cheap technologies around the world.

 

“The Chinese and Russian governments, among others, are making the argument in public and private that the United States is in decline,” said Blinken at the University of Maryland on August 9, as he was touring the institution’s laboratories.

 

“Nothing would put to rest faster their specious argument about America’s best days being behind us than if the United States made serious investments in our domestic renewal right now.”

 

The United States, previously being the first in the world for research and development relative to its economic size, has fallen to ninth place, according to a recent UNESCO report. In contrast, China has risen to second, according to the same report.

 

Last week, the Senate passed a $1-trillion infrastructure bill that would lay the groundwork for the future, including a timely $65-billion for broadband to help seal the remote learning and work gap that emerged from the pandemic.

 

Targeting China

 

President Joe Biden’s administration has been coupling economic spending and sanctions against Chinese companies to combat the emerging economic superpower and protect national security. Chinese companies carry great influence on the world stage, few more prominent than leading telecom equipment maker Huawei, which has been the subject of bans in the United States and other parts of the world.

 

For example, while Huawei’s greatest 5G equipment competitors are Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson – with Samsung emerging as a potent player in its own right – it is widely reported that the Chinese company’s equipment sells for cheap, making it a more economic choice for countries in Africa. The Chinese government has been accused of spying.

 

An official from Huawei – which has challenged (but was denied) the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to wade into national security matters when it proposed rules in June to prohibit future authorizations to companies posing potential threats – has previously noted that the company doesn’t have much to worry about with the overtures by the Biden government to ban Chinese companies’ access to American chips because it will just make its own.

 

Blinken’s aims

 

Blinken strongly advocated for the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a bill introduced in April that would boost federal funding for U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing and provide $52 billion over five years for research initiatives. 

 

By investing in infrastructure, Blinken said he believes that this would be the essential thing that the U.S can do to advance its foreign policy because it will increase foreign trade and investment competitiveness.

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