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Report from CES: How Will You Watch TV?

January 11, 2011 - 03:06 PM

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I'm back from the Consumer Electronics Show, the once-a-year showcase for the latest, most innovative consumer technology. With over 130,000 attendees, a show floor the size of six New York City blocks, and IMAX-sized arrays of flat-screen TVs everywhere, the CES can be hard to get your head around. But each year some strong themes emerge.

This year, a major development is what you could call the Emerging Entertainment Ecosystem. We're moving rapidly into a world where movies, live TV, music, and more will be available on all devices, anywhere and at any time.

The idea of "TV everywhere" has been around for a while. For instance, Slingbox began six years ago by marketing devices that send your TV signal to your smartphone or laptop, wherever you are. At the Slingbox booth, a rep told me how he'd recently used their product to watch his local TV station via Wi Fi on a plane over the Middle East. What's different now is that major manufacturers, software companies, and carriers are partnering to develop fully integrated systems to provide entertainment across devices.

The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on CES, chose several keynoters to talk about their visions for integrated entertainment. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg described how his company is developing strategies, infrastructure, and devices that will allow you to view TV or movies in HD with higher download and streaming speeds on your smartphone or tablet. The new XOOM tablet, designed in a partnership between Motorola, Google, and Verizon, is made for this use, and was a popular stop on the CES show floor. The XOOM, expected out early this year on Verizon's 3G network, will use a new version of Google's Android platform, called Honeycomb, that's developed specifically for tablet use and will be upgradeable to Verizon's new high-speed LTE network by mid-year.

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Genachowski, FCC Staff Take In CES 2011

January 10, 2011 - 05:14 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:234:height=102,width=70]]Tablets and TVs; gadgets and tech-integrated vehicles; tech-enhanced musical instruments and heavily promoted headphones; innovative toys, energy efficient designs and wireless enabled products of all sorts. Sunday concluded a busy span of stunning technology pageantry in Las Vegas. Thousands of booths were set up and over 100,00 interested device enthusiasts arrived from all over the world for the Consumer Electronics Show , known more commonly as CES (or in this ever expanding, 140-character world, #CES).

Chairman Genachowski, all four Commissioners, and a retinue of FCC staff converged on the convention floor. They got a look at technology – from a wide range of companies – on the horizon and a sense of what's upcoming in the innovation space. Many of the exhibits in sight shouted wireless and they shouted mobile.

On Friday, day two, the Chairman gave a speech on the need for expanded spectrum offerings and then sat down to chat with the host of the event, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro. This is what the Chairman said:

"As evidenced by the trade show floor, the consumer electronics industry is going wireless, and the future success of this industry and our innovation future depends on whether our government acts quickly to unleash more spectrum -- the oxygen that sustains our mobile devices.

We're in the early stages of a mobile revolution that is sparking an explosion in wireless traffic.  Without action, demand for spectrum will soon outstrip supply.

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Open Internet Apps Challenge

by Steven VanRoekel, Managing Director
January 5, 2011 - 02:56 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:92:height=106,width=70]]For months, we've been hearing from a committed community of citizens that care deeply about preserving the foundational principles of the Internet.

Many of the same people have been involved with the FCC over the last few months through our FCC.gov Developer community. Now that the FCC has released the Open Internet order, we're calling on that developer community to help us meet a new challenge.

The Open Internet Apps Challenge, released by the FCC, asks this community — particularly the researchers and developers — to help build the strongest safeguards possible to preserve these principles and innovate online.

This is an opportunity for the FCC to tap talent in a variety of fields — technology development, research, monitoring, and more — to build a powerful toolkit that protects and informs consumers. These software tools could, for example, detect whether a broadband provider is interfering with DNS responses, application packet headers, or content.

The winners of this challenge will have their work widely seen and used. We think that there a number of interesting opportunities in this challenge, particularly for researchers with deep experience in highly-technical and specified fields of industry and academia.

We've called on the FCC Developer community before, like the Open Developer Day we hosted in October, and this challenge presents a new opportunity for the agency to partner with innovators and researchers working towards important goals.

Check out all the details for the Open Internet Apps Challenge at Challenge.gov.

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Solutions to Stop Use of Contraband Cell Phones by Prisoners

January 3, 2011 - 11:08 AM

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A few weeks ago a cell phone was found in Charles Manson's California prison cell. Corcoran, California Prison authorities confirmed that Manson had been in contact with people outside the prison walls, and for some time. Just last month, Georgia inmates are reported to have used them to coordinate a work strike across a number of the state's prisons.

A cell phone these days is apparently something the average American cannot live without. And, it seems, neither can the nation's inmates. This is a major public safety concern. Today, prisons across the nation are reportedly confiscating thousands of cell phones from inmates, yet this contraband is still being used by inmates daily.

Cell phones in the hands of prisoners present a serious threat to public safety. Despite federal and some state laws prohibiting their possession, today, thousands of prisoners nationwide are in possession of contraband cell phones and are conducting illegal enterprises despite serving time for other crimes. An inmate's illegal activity may involve discussions with fellow criminals outside the prison walls about drug trafficking, money laundering or intimidating witnesses — or worse, plotting their murders. This is a national problem that has been of concern for state and local law enforcement and department of corrections officials for sometime. And, it's a problem the FCC is committed to help solve.

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The Broadband Economy: A New Land of Opportunity

by Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
January 1, 2011 - 12:31 PM
The role that high-speed Internet plays in peoples' lives, in our quest for knowledge, in our economy and in our democracy exceeds even the wildest dreams that people had 15 years ago.

 

 

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Connecting America: Removing Barriers

by Jamal Mazrui, Deputy Director, Accessibility and Innovation Initiative
January 1, 2011 - 12:25 PM

Spectrum: Supply and Demand

by Ruth Milkman, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
January 1, 2011 - 12:17 PM

Broadband: Jobs and Innovation

by Sharon Gillett, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau
January 1, 2011 - 12:12 PM

Public Safety: Safe and Secure

by Jamie Barnett, Chief, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
January 1, 2011 - 11:40 AM

Consumers: Technology is Personal

by Joel Gurin, Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
January 1, 2011 - 11:13 AM
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