Future trends

Fiber makes neighborhoods business districts

I've been talking about this for fifteen years. New data, from an article at Forbes, suggests that demand for office space may have peaked in the U.S, and that what may be the trend in the future is work from home and business from home activities. According to the article, the number of people working from home as self-employed has risen 14% in the past decade.

Neighborhoods are business districts, and need to be treated as such by economic developers.

The Internet regards censorship (or snooping) as damage and routes around it

I'm not even going to try to link to them, but a flood of privacy-enabled apps and services are already beginning to appear.....heavily encrypted email apps, encrypted VPN apps, Web browsers that automatically route queries through proxy services that mask your IP address....the Internet was designed to survive a nuclear holocaust. Snooping by the NSA....anything the NSA can do, geeks can probably route around without a whole lot of effort.

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Knowledge Democracy:

Who cares about bandwidth?

On LinkedIn, the question was raised (yet again): "Does anyone really need a Gig of bandwidth?" Someone wrote, "Just remember, services have to be available to be adopted." Now we get to the meat of the issue. It's not about the number....i.e. 100 meg, 1 Gig, etc. The real question is, "Do you have enough bandwidth to do what you want to do?"

From an economic development perspective, the question is critical: "Does your community have the bandwidth needed to support your existing businesses and to attract new businesses?"

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Who will win the OTT battle?

Apple and Roku are dominating the IP set top box market, with Apple owning 56% of this still small market segment. I'm not convinced that Apple or Roku will ultimately end up with a major portion of this market, as the total number of households that have converted to OTT is still very small. Rapid market growth in the next several years could let a yet unidentified firm capture a big portion of this.

Knowledge Democracy:

Uh oh...attracting entrepreneurs just got real

If you think you are going to attract those young, business-hungry entrepreneurs types with some mediocre broadband, a couple of bike paths, and a Starbucks, think again. A start up company called Happy Hubs has just ratcheted the whole entrepreneurial attraction game up several notches. Happy Hubs is renting out luxury workspaces in Costa Rica, and is offering five star amenities like massage therapy, gourmet food service, maid service, and access to a beach.

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Death of TV: Part LXVI: The death of TV and radio

We're watching the death of traditional "TV" and traditional "radio" in slow motion. The networks are going to be the big losers. At one time, they provided a useful service as an intermediary between content producers and watchers/listeners, but today, the content owners can cut out the middleman completely. I just heard an ad from a radio commentator who was promoting her iPhone app. It is free, and allows you to listen to her radio show live from your iPhone, but also automatically downloads the podcast version so you can listen to it later....no radio "channel" required.

Knowledge Democracy:

"Work Anywhere Nation" is about time

Fred Pilot, who writes the excellent Eldo Telecom blog, has started a terrific new site called Work Anywhere Nation. Fred has already posted some very useful stuff on the site, and his notion of "Work Anywhere" ought to be the slogan of every rural town and community in America.

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The young people are moving to the "Gig City"

There is some moderately coarse language in this article, but it is worth reading if you are interested in economic and community development. What caught my eye is how successful Chattanooga has been in re-inventing itself as the "Gig City." Three years ago, it is hard to imagine that the creative class in places like New York and Los Angeles could even tell you what state Chattanooga was in, but today, it has become the place for the young and restless to move to.

Death of TV: Part XXXIX:70% of those under 35 are using online video

This short article from Fiber to the Home Council pretty much tells you everything you need to know about why communities need Gigabit broadband. In a survey of 2000 households in North America, 70% of those under 35 years of age are using over the top (OTT) video services like Netflix and Hulu, just two of the rapidly proliferating companies providing OTT video.

Knowledge Democracy:

How to work from home (or remotely)

Here is a great article on how to manage people working remotely. This article has very specific and useful tips on what you need to do, what software tools you should use, and provides links to some of the recommended tools. We have been using this approach very successfully for years, and the two most important things we have found are:

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Creative Destruction: The end of the cash register

The Square Stand converts an iPad into a full-featured cash register and credit card scanner. The cash register business started dying in the eighties, and I've been to the site of the National Cash Register company in Dayton, Ohio. The massive complex that built cash registers for most of the twentieth century is mostly gone. Where huge warehouses and assembly lines stood, the University of Dayton marching band (the Pride of Dayton) now rehearses their half time routines.

Privacy: It's all gone

Facebook and LinkedIn now appear to be exchanging subscriber information, as I just received a Facebook email suggesting that I friend two business associates. The only way Facebook could know I have any relationship with these people is if Facebook had access to LinkedIn subscribers. I only use Facebook for close family and a few friends, so Facebook could not have made the connection with these people (one of whom is in Asia) by doing a second and third degree of separation search.

Knowledge Democracy:

New technique continues to increase the bandwidth of fiber

Researchers at Bell Labs have developed a "phase conjugation" approach to increasing the capacity of fiber cable, and were able to send a 400 Gigabit/second signal across 12,800 kilometers (7,680 miles) of fiber. This capacity and distance are significant because the length of the test cable is longer than the longest undersea fiber cable.

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The Creative Class is flunking out

Robert Bell of the Intelligent Community Foundation has a must read article on how the Creative Class (Richard Florida's brainchild) is not delivering the results many cities were expecting. To the extent that a city is able to recruit Creative Class residents and workers, those upscale residents tend to displace blue collar workers and raise the cost of living in the area, which cancels out some or all of the positive effects.

More privacy concerns with Google Glass

The Telegraph has another article on the privacy issues surrounding Google Glass. The problem is that Google Glass will be sending every single interaction that the wearer has to Google, and that data will be added to the massive dossiers that Google already maintains on Internet users. Google has been very quiet about what they intend to do with the massive data streams that will be generated by Google Glass wearers.

Knowledge Democracy:

Google Glass: pushback on privacy issues

The U.K. MailOnline has an excellent article about privacy concerns swirling around Google's new spectacles with a built in camera and screen. While the ability to get information in real time about where you and what you are doing is interesting and possibly quite useful, the problem many see with Google Glass is the fact that you cannot tell if someone is taking pictures of you and/or recording you on video.

Death of TV: Part XXXVII: Apple TV still in the game

Apple has announced a modest upgrade to its underrated Apple TV box. The thing that caught my interest is that Apple TV now supports wireless Bluetooth keyboards. Why is this important? With the proliferation of special purpose boxes like the Apple TV, users are stuck entering things like userids, passwords, and other information using the extremely tedious and clumsy right/left/up/down arrows on the remote control. That gets old quickly.

Knowledge Democracy:

Smart phone market is brutal, few winners

Business Insider reports that only Apple, Samsung, and HTC are making any money manufacturing and selling smartphones. All the other makers, including RIM, Nokia, and Motorola are losing money. This means that the cellular companies are able to buy most smartphones for less than the cost of making them; this is called a death spiral.

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Crossing the spam tipping point

I seem to have crossed some kind of spam tipping point over the weekend, with more spam hitting my Inbox than is being filtered out by two levels of spam filters (one on the server, one on my mail client). There was a time when as much as 90% of the spam was being caught by this two-level approach, but no more. I'm now getting only about 50% of spam trapped by the filters.

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Fiber capacity keeps up with demand

While the cellular wireless networks are groaning under the massive growth in bandwidth use by their mobile customers, fiber capacity just keeps growing and growing. The optical transmission manufacturer Huawei has announced that they have been able to transmit 2 Terabits (2 Tbps) on a single WDM (Wave Division Multiplexing) channel. A single fiber can have many individual channels.

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