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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.

Innovation

Labor Official Sees Benefits in Virtual, Augmented Reality for Workforce Training

The virtual tools are being used to prepare workers coming out of lockdowns during the pandemic.

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Photo of Dan Risko, Governmental Relations Manger of TRANSFR

WASHINGTON, September 21, 2022 – The Labor Department is touting the ability of virtual and augmented reality tools to help employers train employees remotely, an industry event heard on Friday.

“You had companies like Talespin who was in the XR [extended reality] space particularly using XR for training, mailing headsets to folks learning to be claims adjusters for companies like Farmers Insurance, and you would put on that headset and all of a sudden you were in a house that had a fire and you learn how to do an investigation of a house with a fire so you could do a claims adjustment,” Chike Aguh, the Labor Department’s chief innovation officer, said at the AR/VR policy conference Friday.

“This was in the height of 2020 when frankly we didn’t know how that was gonna turn out,” he added.

Aguh added that the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of Maryland is using XR to assist vulnerable populations that are returning to their daily tasks following the pandemic.

XR technologies have been used during the pandemic to train workers, but it also has been used to retain them as well, according to one company.

These virtual reality tools helped increase company retention rate, said Dan Risko, governmental relations manager of TRANSFR Inc., which helps students train for the workforce using VR. He said that the retention rate climbed from 30 percent to 90 percent using these XR tools.

Risko said the company saw the results after putting people in a pre-apprenticeship program where people would perform the job before they had the job. He added the company has partnered with a workforce agency in the south that was having issues of worker retention.

Risko said TRANSFR has expanded training to community colleges and technical centers.

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Innovation

Treasury to Release Three Reports on Digital Currencies in ‘Coming Weeks’

The reports will discuss digital asset implications on national security, financial inclusion, privacy and citizens.

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Photo of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

WASHINGTON, August 29, 2022 – The Treasury Department announced last week it will be releasing a series of reports about the security and state of digital currencies in the U.S. “in the coming weeks.”

The department said three reports will be released and will discuss the impact of digital assets on issues such as national security, financial inclusion, privacy and on consumers, businesses, and investors.

The department’s August 24 announcement will fulfill a commitment required by a March executive order from the Biden administration that mandates within 180 days the department produce a report about the future of money and payments systems, including adoption of digital assets, and the implications of technology and those assets on the country’s financial system.

The Biden administration has put “a high level of urgency towards research and development efforts into a potential U.S. central bank digital currency,” Julia Smearman, director of international financial markets at the Treasury Department, said Wednesday.

At an event earlier this year, experts pondered whether the U.S. was falling behind other nations, such as China, when it comes to developing their own digital currency.

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Blockchain

IBM Exec Touts Blockchain Technology as Economy Accelerator

Blockchain will be commonplace in the economy ‘within the decade,’ the IBM executive said.

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Screenshot of Jerry Cuomo, IBM vice president of blockchain technologies

WASHINGTON, August 23 – Blockchain technology will speed up the economy in the coming decade in part by making the process of verifying information – such as user identity – more safe, streamlined and efficient, said IBM’s vice president of blockchain technologies at a Tech Forward event on Tuesday.

Jerry Cuomo described blockchain as an “odd duck” type of database with a few defining features, explaining that each blockchain has several administrators, that each transaction must be vetted by the administrators before being recorded to the digital “ledger,” and that transactions, once recorded to the ledger, are essentially impossible to change or delete. Cuomo also explained that each data point – or “block” – in each blockchain is heavily encrypted, which creates high levels of security and user trust.

Although blockchain is most widely associated with the transactions of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Cuomo said it can used for a wide variety of purposes – including identity verification, food safety and intra–supply chain communication. For example, Cuomo suggested that instead of making hundreds of accounts on various websites, a user may soon be able to have a single, blockchain-based identity that would be accessible whenever verification is necessary.

Cuomo said he believes food safety, for example, can be improved by using blockchain technology to document salient information about food conditions during transport. IBM Food Trust is a blockchain-based service that the company says allows participants to track a food product throughout a given supply chain and to ensure that it is safe, fresh, and sustainably sourced.

The company said it offers a wide variety of blockchain services. IBM’s supply chain service, for instance, promises “data integrity and faster reconciliation,” features that are made possible by the immutability of each blockchain record once it is entered into the ledger.

As for the timetable on blockchain technologies becoming commonplace in the economy? “I think its within the decade,” said Cuomo. “This is not an ‘if,’ this is a ‘when.’”

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