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Jan 07
Cyber security attacks are top concern for companies

As data breaches, malware and cyber attacks increase, leading tech companies are racing to develop improved and secure mobile payment measures for consumer protection, according to NXT (www.nxted.com), a biometric authentication company.

Sony is reeling from the effects of its recent massive breach, in which hackers were able to penetrate the company's systems at a deep level -- and make Hollywood insiders blush by releasing troves of internal data and private emails. The scope of the breach, and the extent to which Sony was targeted, appears shocking to the public.

However, cybersecurity experts say this is happening all around you; there's a much wider world of ongoing major hacks, with government-sponsored groups or "hacktivist" collectives mounting attacks against financial institutions, private companies, infrastructure and the military.

"From a critical infrastructure and economic perspective, we'...

| Read more »
Jan 05
Hybrid smart card adoption to lead to e-passport/e-...

Increase in cross-border travel has led to growth in the global e-passport and e-visa Market, which is expected to post a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 30.17% from 2014-2019, says research firm TechNavio (www.technavio.com).

The global e-passport and e-visa market is also experiencing high adoption of hybrid smart cards. These smart cards have shared storage and processing of information, which eliminates the need for multiple cards and ensures easy handling.

"Hybrid smart cards not only secure user information, but also have the option for MIFARE functionality, which is a technology owned by NXP Semiconductors," says Faisal Ghaus, vice president of TechNavio. "MIFARE functionality increases transaction speed, has enhanced security features, is reliable, easy to use and is expected to drive the Global E-passport and E-visa Market in the coming years."

Furthermore, third generation e-...

| Read more »
Jan 02
The Northern Spy: some thoughts on 2014 … and 2015

By Rick Sutcliffe

Cash away the old year passes as Cupertino has to be a happy place given the wild success of the iPhone 6. Only now are wait times reverting to normal after the most successful product launch in tech history. Apple is once again in ascendancy, Samsung and other rivals descending.

The question is, what does iTim do to keep the momentum going, or will 2015 be a relative disappointment by comparison? Try iPhone 6s and 7, refreshes of Apple TV and across the entire Mac line, plus the long awaited sales launch of the Apple Watch, the latter of which will be successful solely because of its brand cachet--another product the Spy can't see himself buying for lack of a use case. But then there's the vast reservoir of new products under development in the Cupertino labs--many of which will never see the light of rumour, much less a store shelf (a TV screen), but some of which may be either game-changing, or game-inventing....

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Dec 31
62% of US broadband households never back up their data

New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) shows that 62% of U.S. broadband households never back up their data to an online storage service, despite options available from companies such as Carbonite, Acronis, and Backblaze.

This finding reveals a huge addressable market for cloud-based storage in 2015, as consumer consumption of digital content is on the rise. Smartphone users in U.S. broadband households spend 18 minutes on average per session when using streaming music apps, which exceeds time spent on gaming, social media, or video apps.

"As the connected consumer achieves greater mobility, device storage becomes a limiting factor for consumer content, prompting a shift to cloud-enabled storage and access," says Glenn However, research analyst, Parks Associates. "Starting at CES and throughout 2015, we will see CE makers and online technology companies leverage cloud-based...

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Dec 31
Tablets, ultrabooks become more affordable in emerging...

The average selling price (ASP) of ultrabooks and tablets declined by 7.8% in 2014, as the market matured and commoditized, allowing these devices to become more affordable in all markets.

According to market intelligence firm ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), the average weeks of household income needed to buy a tablet or ultrabook both declined by approximately 30% year-over-yea making these devices more affordable to a wider range of consumers.

"Across 22 different countries between 2013 and 2014, there was an 8.5% decline for the ASP of tablets and 7.1% for ultrabooks," says research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor. "This decline is allowing these devices to reach a larger audience in a wider range of countries."

Although growth is slowing for both these types of devices, affordability could help prevent a drastic decline in sales. The affordability of personal technology devices is...

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Dec 30
Desktop display market shows signs of life

Global desktop monitor sell-in revenue rose 7% in the third quarter of 2014, as average selling prices (ASPs) rose just over 10%. According to a new report from DisplaySearch (www.displaysearch.com), now part of IHS, worldwide desktop PC monitor shipments declined just over 3%, to reach 34 million units.

"Sales margins for desktop displays have declined over time, and manufacturers are now trying to reverse that trend with bigger sizes and improved features, to justify higher prices," says Hidetoshi Himuro, director of PC/IT market research for DisplaySearch. "In the face of tablets and notebook computers with integrated displays, demand for desktop monitors is shifting toward higher display quality and resolution, with improved performance for professional operation and computer gaming."

In order to improve PC display penetration rates, average screen sizes have been steadily increasing. For...

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Dec 29
U.S. to drive smart/EMV payment card market

ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) forecasts smart/EMV payment card shipment levels to exceed two billion in 2014; an increase of 24.7% when compared to 2013. Of the two billion units, just over 600 million payment cards will be delivered into the Chinese market (a combination of pure payment and social cards) and 181 million units to the United States as its banks and financial institutions begin ramping up efforts in EMV issuance migration.

What's more, contactless continues to gain market penetration, accounting for 42% of all shipments in 2014. Primarily this is driven by the Chinese market, where over 72% of all cards deployed utilize a contactless interface and countries such as Canada which has adopted a similar strategy and growth in Western Europe, says ABI Research.

The research group adds that all eyes this year and moving forward are firmly on the United States. Although it has been a...

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Dec 26
Indoor location deployments on course to hit 25,000 in...

It has been a breakthrough year for indoor location for retail, with ABI Research’s quarterly indoor location technology tracker forecasting deployments to approach 25,000 by the end of 2014, up more than 100% on 2013.

"Vertically, the bulk of deployments are in clothing, big box, grocery, and shopping malls in 2014, driven by a variety of applications such as customer analytics, offers/coupons, product search, staff management, and navigation," says ABI Research Senior Analyst Patrick Connolly. "Looking into 2015, we can expect to see the quick serve restaurant (QSR) market growing with a significant demand for queue management technologies as illustrated by companies like Starbucks and Taco Bell which launched queue-skipping smartphone applications in 2014.”

He adds that we're seeing growth across all major technologies, including BLE, Wi-Fi, and audio, with 2015 being an important year for handset-based location, sensor fusion, magnetic field, and LED. Regionally,...

| Read more »
Dec 23
Mobile financial transactions valued at US$1.8 trillion

Mobile technology is transforming the global payment and banking industry, according to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com). While recent advances in smartphone technology have accelerated the trend, mobile payments have been around for quite some time. Mobile payment applications such as mobile wallets are growing in popularity as they address changing needs of merchants and consumers.

Despite the widespread availability, current mobile payment adoption has failed to take off, says ABI Research. Security represents one of the primary points of concern with mobile payments, be it via processing services or NFC. As more consumers carry out financial activities on their smartphones and tablets, it is critical that these activities are processed in a secure environment.

ABI Research calculates the total value of transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets will reach US$1.8 trillion by the end...

| Read more »
Dec 22
Connected cars market to reach $141 billion by 2020

According to a new report by Allied Market Research (www.alliedmarketresearch.com) the global connected cars market is forecast to reach $141 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 32.7% during the period (2014 - 2020).

Integrated connectivity solutions segment is expected to emerge as a preferred connectivity solutions for connected cars, surpassing embedded connectivity solutions segment in 2016. North America currently garners major market share and would maintain the position throughout the forecast period.

The availability of faster communication networks, advanced connectivity solutions and a user friendly interface should drive global connected car market, says Allied Market Research. Also, an enhanced driving experience, offered by connected cars and favorable rules and regulations across numerous countries will fuel the market growth.

...

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Dec 19
U.S. most committed to cybersecurity

The final results of the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) have been officially announced at the ITU Telecom World 2014 taking place in Doha, Qatar. The GCI ranks the United States as the country with the highest national cybersecurity commitment, followed by Canada in second place.

Jointly in third position are Australia, Malaysia, and Oman. The GCI is a joint project between private sector firm ABI Research and the UN specialized agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The aim of the project is to drive the issue of cybersecurity to the forefront of national agendas. The GCI provides insight into the cybersecurity engagement of sovereign nation states.

Rooted in the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), the GCI looks at the level of commitment in five areas: legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity building, and cooperation. The result is a country-level index and global ranking of cybersecurity readiness. The...

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Dec 18
5G in 2020 will be rare

According to a new Market Data forecasts from ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), it will take more than five years for 5G to reach 100 million subscriber mark — two years longer than 4G.

4G subscriber growth was much faster than with previous generations, fueled by the capabilities of increasingly powerful smartphones and the availability of 4G devices. 5G subscriber growth will likely be a bit more muted at first due to the increased complexity of 5G cells and networks, but will pick up in 2023.

"There are a number of commonalities between countries that are early builders of 5G networks. They have a large population, of which a large percentage is living in urban areas. They also have many companies pushing the envelope with IoT strategies. These countries will drive 5G subscriber volumes" says Research Director Philip Solis. "These are the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United...

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Dec 17
Wearable devices to spur growth of healthcare LBS...

With growing adoption of location based applications, the global LBS market in the healthcare industry is expected to grow at a CAGR [compound annual return rate] of 31.23% from 2015-2019, says research firm TechNavio (www.technavio.com).

Real-time performance monitoring (RPM) has been gaining popularity in the healthcare industry, as it assists both patients and doctors, and helps increase hospital efficiency. These days, wearable devices like activity trackers, smart watches, health monitors and pedometers are being used to track the activities of doctors, staff and patients.

"In 2014, around 10 million units of wearable devices were sold worldwide and this number is expected to grow nearly tenfold in the coming years," says Faisal Ghaus, vice president of TechNavio. "The constant use of wearable devices in the healthcare industry is anticipated to reduce hospital costs by a significant amount over the...

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Dec 16
5G standardization begins as companies lay royalties...

Work on new technologies that will form the foundation of 5G standards has been occurring for the last few years; however, the formal standards process has just begun, according to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com).

The research group says a range of major vendors are working on all aspects of 5G including; Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia Networks and device, semiconductor, and IP vendors including Intel, InterDigital, Qualcomm, Samsung, various mobile operators, academic bodies, and start-ups as well.

"These companies are all waving their 5G flags, although 5G definitions and visions remain very vague," says Research Director Philip Solis. "But this is not merely marketing. These companies are most certainly putting a stake in the ground with regards to contributions to 5G that will leverage their work, competitive strengths, and most crucially, patents. But this is not merely...

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Dec 15
Strategy Analytics: 93% are impressed with Ultra HD TVs

Consumer awareness of Ultra HD or 4K TV is growing steadily, and 93% of those who have seen the technology found it extremely or somewhat impressive. These are some of the key findings from the latest wave of Strategy Analytics’ ConsumerMetrix survey (www.strategyanalytics.com), which conducted online interviews with 2001 US participants in November 2014.

The percentage of respondents who are aware of the term "Ultra HD"rose from 39 % in January 2014 to 57% in November. Awareness of the other terms, "4K TV" and "UHD," has also risen but remains lower than "Ultra HD."
 
Twenty-three percent of respondents claim to have watched TV or video on an Ultra HD/4K TV, either in a retail store, in a home or somewhere else. Of those who have seen it, 53% rated the video quality as "extremely impressive" and 40% as "somewhat impressive."
 
"These are extremely high ratings for any...

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Dec 12
Encryption remains a necessity for major industries

The debate between individual privacy and public welfare continues to escalate in the aftermath of Apple’s release of the iPhone 6, which gained heightened attention for revealing that this latest smartphone will include automatic, end-to-end encryption.

When an iPhone owner now uses any feature of an iPhone 6 operating system, their communications will be securely encrypted—essentially unreadable to anyone who didn’t send, receive or store data on the phone. So secure is this new privacy provision, Apple itself can’t access the contents of an iPhone 6, even if access is requested by law enforcement.  Google’s recently released Android smartphone provides data encryption as well.

While enhanced commitments to privacy and security from Apple and Google have been largely met with open arms, law enforcement has strongly opposed encryption, arguing it will impede criminal investigations and threaten national security. The Ddirector of the FBI and the Attorney General...

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Dec 11
TBR expects private cloud adoption rate to hit 85% by...

Technology Business Research Inc.’s (TBR) 2H14 cloud customer research reports found end users globally are engaging cloud professional services vendors at twice the rate of private and public cloud vendors, indicating cloud professional services are typically the entry point as enterprises make the decision to migrate to cloud and consultants provide guidance and education to prospective cloud customers.

Public, private and hybrid cloud integration will follow cloud professional services growth in coming years, as adoption rates have increased. TBR expects the private cloud adoption rate to reach 85% by 2018.

TBR’s 2H14 Private Cloud Customer Research report shows a shift in the type of private clouds adopted, with a 65% to 35% split of third-party-delivered private clouds to self-built private clouds. It's a minor but telling shift from the 70% to 30% split in 2013 and 1H14 that indicates enterprises are more comfortable with and educated on cloud and are growing...

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Dec 10
Large format printer shipments on the rise

According to new data from the IDC (www.idc.com), the large format printer (LFP) market recorded year-over-year growth of 0.6% in the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14) with more than 78,000 units shipped. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of worldwide shipment growth. Shipment value declined -4.0% year over year to nearly $782 million.

"The third quarter is often the softest quarter of the year in the global large format market," says Phuong Hang, program director, Worldwide Large Format Printer Tracker. "While global shipments are ahead of 2013, hardware revenue is essentially flat for 2014 so far, due primarily to vendor price promotions."

The top five wide format printer manufacturers make up over eighty percent of global wide format shipments, but only two-thirds of revenue. With manufacturers like HP, Canon, and Epson dominating the aqueous segment, this points to the maturity of the conventional aqueous...

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Dec 09
Live video broadcasting will be the new 'selfie...

Video and visual technologies are becoming increasingly important for interacting with customers and each other, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). The research group predicts that by 2017, live video broadcasting will be the new "selfie" and recommends that product managers start creating a "visual" strategy straight away to accommodate this trend.

"The next generation of consumer services and products has one main theme in common and that is video," says Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "This means incorporating live video or other real-time technologies into products to engage users in live events and enable more personalized communications, providing better customer support, and offering best-of-breed video and TV experiences to connected homes."

Over the next four years, Gartner expects a noteworthy shift from static photos to video, with live video becoming as important a medium....

| Read more »
Dec 08
Powered smart card market is rapidly expanding

The total market for powered smart cards will rapidly expand from slightly under US$300 million today to more than $1.5 billion by 2017, $4.6 billion by 2019, and more than $13 billion by 2021, according to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets (www.nanomarkets.net).

Almost exclusively powered smart cards have been targeted at one-time password (OTP) functionality to provide an extra security layer during consumer financial transactions, and that has been the envisioned golden goose for this technology. Other potential applications such as secure identification (public and private sectors) and medical information continue to tantalize, but have yet to approach anything that would present significant alternative markets.

What we're now seeing is a growing realization that while "EMV" smart-card chip/PIN standardization (named for the widely adopted Europay-MasterCard-Visa standard for...

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Dec 05
Worldwide server shipments grew 1% in the third quarter

In the third quarter of 2014, worldwide server shipments grew 1 percent year-over-year, while revenue moved upward 1.7% from the third quarter of 2013, according to Gartner (www.gartner.com).

"The third quarter of 2014 produced modest growth on a global level, highlighting positive but constrained demand," says Errol Rasit, research director at Gartner. "Only North America and Asia Pacific exhibited shipments growth, largely driven by demand from hyperscale organizations located there. These results support the continued bifurcation of enterprise and consumer services server demand."

The platform mix by region and geographic variations in economic conditions are the main reasons for these results. Asia/Pacific posted the highest shipment growth at 8.7% and 7.5% increase in revenue, while North America posted a more modest 0.7% in shipments and 2.6% increase in revenue. Western Europe saw a 2%shipments...

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Dec 04
LTE handset shipments expected to soar to nearly 680...

ABI Research (www.abirsearch.com) estimates that 676 million 4G LTE handsets will be shipped in 2015, growing 204 million units from 2014. Furthermore, ABI Research estimates that the total number of LTE connected devices shipped worldwide will exceed 1.89 billion units by end 2019, demonstrating the need for infrastructure and spectrum to support the stellar growth in the industry.

"With the proliferation of larger screen smart devices driving up the insatiable appetites for content and faster speeds, ABI Research estimates that there will be 350 commercial LTE networks forecasted by 4Q 2014," says Cheri Wong, research analyst at ABI Research.

What's more, LTE-Advanced is now commercial on 20 networks in 14 countries. To cope with the demand for higher data rates, FDD/TDD LTE carrier aggregation trials are starting to take place. For example, Ericsson, SingTel, and Qualcomm demonstrated a downlink...

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Dec 04
Broadband modem market sees another decline

Mobile broadband modems and hotspot router shipments fell 17% year-over-year in 2013 to nearly 87 million units and Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com) expects the modem market to decline yet further by another 24% by year-end 2014, while the market’s value has halved since 2010.

The research group says number of factors are impacting market growth, such as a declining PC market, carriers bundling tablets with smartphones and offering subsidies or service extras, providing lower cost SIM-only data plans, lengthening modem lifecycles, a healthy "second hand" modem market and shared data plan tariffs across multiple devices.

"t was no surprise that USB modem sticks and embedded PC modem modules continue to lead the two year decline, while the continued growth in Wi-Fi-enabled CE devices saw mobile hotspot routers continue to be the bright point in an otherwise gloomy market,"...

| Read more »
Dec 03
Cloud gaming to reach 'inflection point' in...

A large installed base of cloud gaming capable devices, big brand names entering the cloud gaming market, and improving network performance will drive cloud gaming to new heights in 2015, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com). The report notes that:

° PlayStation Now and NVIDIA Grid Game Streaming Service will reach nearly 30 million devices by year-end 2014 and will grow 500% to almost 150 million by year-end 2015.

° Game streaming is more resource intense and lag-sensitive than OTT video streaming, so cloud gaming companies must be mindful of acceptable trade-offs in quality of experience and network performance requirements in order to reach a significant portion of the market.

° Primarily to support and profit from backward compatibility, Strategy Analytics expects other major players in the gaming industry to jump into the cloud gaming...

| Read more »
Dec 02
More than 1/3 of U.S. adult smartphone users make...

Video calling is growing into a key mainstream activity on smartphones, with high adoption rates in some markets, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). The survey, which was conducted in June 2014, surveyed more than 6,500 U.S. and German consumers about their technology usage and attitudes in order to gain a better picture of how devices are used for work and leisure. 

More than 50 million adult smartphone users in the U.S. (about 35% of the total surveyed) use their smartphones for video calling. This number is likely to exceed 60 million people when those ages 17 and younger are included. In Germany, more than eight million adult smartphone users (about 20%) use their devices for video calling, a figure more likely to exceed 10 million when those ages 17 and younger are included. Gartner defines video calling as person-to-person communication using a video application such as Apple's FaceTime...

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