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CES 2022: Next Generation of TVs Have Application for Remote Learning, Promoters Say

The new television broadcasting standard brings faster speeds and more opportunities for connecting tele-services.

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ATSC president Madeleine Noland

LAS VEGAS, January 20, 2022 – The next generation of television uses a combination of over-the-air broadcasting and internet broadcasting, which could serve as an opportunity for remote learning, the Consumer Electronics Show heard earlier this month.

ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, is said to offer 4K high-definition video quality, better sound, more personalized broadcasts, advertisements, and interactive capabilities by combining over-the-air broadcasting with a home internet connection, according to its promoters.

But it also could be used as a vehicle to deliver learning materials.

Madeleine Noland, president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, from which the technology gets its name, said NextGen TVs will enable greater distance learning during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve learned that broadcast is the most efficient way to get a lot of information to a lot of people. It’s highly scalable,” she said. “Folks solving distance learning problems learned that all information, classes, lectures, and videos could be broadcast. After its broadcast, we can use mom’s cellphone to send the data back.”

Noland said families can take advantage of the opportunity to use the technology in the wake of the pandemic

The discussion about NextGen TV’s features were part of a larger conversation about the future of television and its role in our society during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The television [can be] a portal to social engagement,” said Noland. “In the future we’ll see televisions helping to improve the quality of life,” especially in areas of health and wellness, she added.

Latest technology will need demand for broadcaster adoption

Currently, the only way to get 4K HDR content is through streaming services such as Disney+ and Netflix. The new ATSC standard establishes a new technical framework for how TV signals are created, broadcast, and received.

To deploy the new standard, TV manufacturers work with broadcasters to ensure that the technology can be deployed widely to audiences across the U.S. Although manufacturers have increased their adoption of ATSC 3.0, manufacturers must be able to create demand from consumers for broadcasters to begin using the technology, the conference heard. Consumer technology companies Sony, Samsung, LG, and Hisense announced the implementation of the new TV standard across their TV product lines at CES.

Right now, ATSC 3.0 reaches nearly half of all American viewers, with stations in 46 U.S. markets are offering next generation TV service using ATSC 3.0.

ATSC said in a press release during CES 2022 that the consumer television industry is projected to ship 4.5 million NextGen TV products equipped with ATSC 3.0 this year. The Consumer Technology Association said that 2021 sales of NextGen TV tripled their original forecast: manufacturers shipped 3 million NextGen TV products last year.

ATSC president Madeleine Noland told CES 2022 participants how NextGen TV will upgrade the television experience. “You’re familiar with the emergency notifications that rolls across the screen?” she asked. “It’s going to go even deeper. [Next Gen TV] will show where the evacuation centers are and tell people what to do––it will be available over the air.”

The NextGen TV will also personalize ads based on viewer’s interests, where previously this was limited to internet and online video viewers. “When a consumer doesn’t want an ad, they can be shown something else instead of the one they’re shown, but it would be shown over the internet,” Noland added.

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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