News Center

Higher broadband adoption? The FCC will find an app for that

 

Arent Fox LLP USA
http://www.arentfox.com/publications/index.cfm?fa=legalUpdateDisp&content_id=3261

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established several broadband-centered initiatives in recent months that display the agency’s appreciation for the tangible societal potential of high-speed connectivity.

Whereas previously the aim of FCC broadband policy has been enabling service providers to increase the supply of telecommunications service, à la the notion of universal service (both lowercase and capital “u” and “s”), these more recent initiatives aim at increasing demand. It appears that Chairman Julius Genachowski wants not only to spur carriers to deploy broadband, but he also wants to ensure that businesses and consumers will use it.

This intent came to light first in the National Broadband Plan, in which the FCC devoted a significant amount of energy to ascertaining how many Americans forego getting broadband, and why. That issue was not overtly teed up in Congress’s mandate for a plan ensuring “access to broadband capability,” but exploring the question whether Americans would actually use that “access” seemed a reasonable part of the exercise. The answers alarmed the FCC: only 65% of Americans use broadband at home, for reasons having little to do with its retail availability. As a result, the Plan became as much about encouraging broadband adoption as about laying transport cables.

So the Commission has, in addition to revamping Universal Service funding for the broadband era, turned its attention to what drives broadband use: applications. First was the Open Internet Applications Contest announced in January of this year. Programmers were invited to submit white papers, research, or actual applications to tell consumers how their broadband connectivity is functioning on a real-time basis. The project, which essentially commissioned the invention of an electronic watchdog against deliberate traffic disruption, was created in furtherance of the December 2010 Open Internet Order. But the Open Internet Apps Context is not only an innovative way for the FCC to ensure rule compliance – it increases consumer demand by assuring would-be subscribers that they will actually get what they pay for.

A few weeks ago, Chairman Genachowski announced the winners of the Open Internet challenge. Netalyzer was an Open Internet Research Award Winner, and proposes a Java-based applet that will link a computer to remote servers to measure several aspects of broadband-related performance, including HTTP caching and DNS manipulation. Another Open Internet Research Award Winner was the DiffProbe (short for “differential probing”), which detects whether an ISP has deployed mechanisms such as prioritization commands that alter Internet traffic. MobiPerf won both the Open Internet Research Award and the People’s Choice Award, and enables mobile handset users (those with Android and iOS operating systems) to obtain network performance information, and compiles that information anonymously. According to the FCC contest page, the winners will present their work at FCC headquarters, with travel expenses paid up to $500 per person or $1500 per team, and the applications will be featured on the FCC website and social media outlets.

The Apps For Communities contest launched in April 2011, challenging developers to create an application that will make the Internet more attractive to users. With aspirational goals of a “personalized Internet” and obtaining “actionable information,” the contest is another vehicle for the FCC to put its expertise – and up to $100,000 in prize money – behind ensuring that if telecom companies build more broadband, people will in fact come to broadband. Entries are due August 31.

The FCC’s demand-side focus now also embraces the nation’s overall economic agenda: jobs, jobs, jobs. At an event held August 4 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the Chairman announced a partnership with Jobs4America, a coalition of call center providers, to create 100,000 new call center jobs in the next two years that, he stated, will rely entirely on broadband connectivity. Coalition members located throughout the US will either build new centers or hire persons who, thanks to broadband, can train and work at home. The program seeks to bring these jobs back from foreign countries and give them to people who, for reasons such as a disability or lack of access to child care, need to work remotely. The announcement was a victory on many fronts, none the least of which was a clear message to industry that the FCC is working to prevent a repeat of the DotCom bust in 2000 that was sparked, in large part, by miles of stranded, unused telecommunications infrastructure.

These initiatives show that the FCC is not content to assume or to assert that the mere existence of broadband is a public good. Broadband as a theory will not play. It seems that unless measurable societal benefits are achieved through integrating broadband into our classrooms, our institutions, and our workforce, the Chairman will not feel that his broadband policy was a success. If the market cannot of itself create consumer demand sufficient to create these benefits, the FCC will find an app for that.

 

 

 

 

Micropreneurial Magic

I attended a great meetup earlier this week hosted by the Los Angeles Lean Startup Circle at CoLoft in Santa Monica.  The guest speaker was Rob Walling, a well-known Solo Entrepreueur aka “Micropreneur”.  Despite the fact that the pizza delivery guy was over an hour late, Walling saved the day, providing colorful insight and helpful tips to a crowd generally comprised of coders and business guys.

So why was I there?  I don’t write code, though sometimes I speak in it.  I am not hawking my latest app, but I like to use them.  I was there to meet the crowd and learn about what makes this up-and-coming tech hub tick and, of course, to pimp CALinnovates and the great work done by our organization.  Besides free beer, pizza, t-shirts and a few of Walling’s books (and e-books loaded onto laser pointer pen thumb drives (how’s that for innovative?), this youngish crowd was convinced that it will undoubtedly create the next big thing with the right revenue model, great code and brass knuckles marketing.

At the end of the day, Walling’s words of wisdom will undoubtedly help the next set of entrepreneurs make their mark (and their money) if there is wider access to their products.  How can we help these guys succeed?  Well, right now, too many potential consumers are being left out in the cold due to limited or no connectivity.  If we continue to implement common sense policies and encourage private sector investment in expanding access to high-speed mobile broadband while increasing spectrum to meet (or, better yet, EXCEED) data demands then many of these micropreneurs will succeed.

I’m going to continue attending meetups and conferences as often as possible to meet as many tech innovators as I can.  They’re the ones at the forefront of CALinnovates’ mission of creating new jobs and spurring investment in tech-friendly policies across the state.

Thanks to @coloft and Rob for an awesome evening.  Can’t wait for the next session.

Healthcare creating IT jobs faster than other industries

By Ken Terry

Partially due to an infusion of federal funds, the healthcare industry is creating IT jobs faster than other industries, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The number of IT positions in healthcare is expected to grow 20 percent annually through 2018, the report says.

Since 2009, the number of health IT jobs has increased 67 percent, according to an article in Computerworld. Online employment agency SimplyHired.com, lists 7,200 open positions in the field, the article points out.

Most in demand are CIOs and CTOs, but jobs in health IT administration also are growing rapidly, SimplyHired.com’s database reveals. Since 2009, database administrator positions have grown 94 percent, and other administrative jobs in networking, systems and storage have also seen strong growth. In addition, the healthcare industry needs thousands of software developers and system analysts.

Overall, the BLS report notes, healthcare and social services jobs are expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 through 2018. Healthcare support jobs will increase by 1.1 million during that time period–more than any other service job category. However, healthcare employment took a nose dive in July, according to a report just released by The Conference Board.

In health IT, BLS predicts that a rise in medical testing, treatments and procedures performed, and electronic health record use all will be pivotal in terms of growth. “[M]ore technicians will be needed to complete the new responsibilities associated with electronic data management,” the report notes.

The problem that many hospitals and other providers encounter in filling these jobs is the shortage of qualified, experienced health IT staff. While the federally funded training programs in 82 community colleges may help meet some of the demand, the majority of the available positions are not entry level, say consultants and CIOs.

Emerging Home Patient Monitoring Technologies

By  Shawn Riley

The area of health care is no longer contained between the four corners of   health and medical institutions and hospitals. Health and clinical issues as well as patient management are now more accessible even as persons are not physically present   for treatment, monitoring and check-up. This has become possible with telehealth as well as telemedicine and home patient monitoring technologies that promise to deliver great results and more efficiency in terms of health care.

The Wonder of Telehealth and Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a branch of clinical medicine that caters to the transfer of medical information through interactive audiovisual media for purposes of consultation and remote medical procedures.  Telehealth on the other hand functions similarly with telemedicine as it has been referred to as the delivery of health-related information and services with the use of telecommunication technologies. However, while telemedicine focuses on the curative aspect the role of telehealth encompasses preventive and promotional aspects in addition to curative aspects.

A Peek at Functions/Roles of Telehealth Technologies

Just some of the clinical uses of telehealth technologies are as follows:

  • Transmission of medical images for diagnosis (also referred as store and forward telehealth
  • Exchange of health services or education through videoconferencing (i.e. real time telehealth)
  • Transmission of medical data for diagnosis or disease monitoring  (  also known as remote monitoring)
  • Prevention of disease and promotion of good health through advice
  • Health advice  through telephone or also known as teletriage

While on the other hand some of the non-clinical uses of telehealth technologies include the following:

  • Distance education most specifically medical  and patient education
  • Administrative uses  such as during telehealth networks and presentations
  • Telehealth research
  • Overall health care system management
  • Patient movement and remote admission

Home patient monitoring technologies: How It has changed Patient Care Forever

Telehealth and telemedicine flourished in America at around the later part of the 1980’s and since then has continuously evolved to cover wide areas towards better patient management and in absencia care. Its demand is on full swing in recent years especially among home care agencies, disease management companies and clinical trial groups.  Just some of the catalysts and home patient monitoring technologies available in today include:

  • Low energy Bluetooth
  • Near field communication (NFC)
  • Body area networks
  • Mobile to machine communication networks
  • Secure data management
  • Bed sensor panel integrating ultra wideband radar
  • Wireless sensor platforms

This has been made even possible through the participation of leading market giants such as GE, IBM, Microsoft, Philips and Siemens.

Analysts noted that commercialization has shifted the delivery of health care from a hospital centric to a patient centric approach. They  have also  observed that there is a gradual increase of telehealth and remote patient monitoring products not only in the US, Europe and Japan  but also in emerging markets such as China, India and South Asian countries. This has become more possible because of available government funding as well as from venture capital firms.

Emerging Patient Monitoring Products: Pro’s and Con’s

The continuing demand towards  telehealth  facilities spawned the creation of  acts  endorsing  the use of  patient monitoring technologies such as the Remote Monitoring Access Act of 2007 which offered  financial incentives for such solutions  that  efficiently manage chronic diseases  under the Medicare Program. More and more major companies as well as investments have also consolidated towards the development of wireless end to end health and wellness solutions.

However, there have been major issues and barriers towards a large-scale customer adoption and these include the following:

  • Absence of wide scale reimbursement
  • Lack of standardization
  • Lack of global regulatory policies governing technology usage
  • Low awareness  levels among patients
  • Issues surrounding security of patient data also contribute to delay in adoption lifecycle
  • There is no specific codes assigned to telehealth and Mhealth solutions

Some Noteworthy patient monitoring technologies

The following are just some of the recently developed remote patient monitoring technologies and products:

  1. Health Buddy System – developed by Robert Bosch. It is an intelligent system that focuses on measuring vital signs and fosters patient self management by asking sensible questions and providing feedback on patient health behavior.
  2. Ultra low power sensing  hardware architecture, computation and communication for extending overall battery life – ongoing development and technological advancement
  3. High performance medical sensors  for easy integration to wireless networks – ongoing   development  and evolvement

Major Reason for increase in home health patient monitoring technologies

The major reason that has brought about the continuous demand for these technologies (according to medical and health experts) is attributed to the aging population and the elderly people.  Since  the elderly population are more prone to chronic diseases and ailments  they are in dire need  of an effective home  health monitoring  as compared to  being admitted in  institutions which can be very expensive.

Californians Should be Happy About the FCCs New Emergency PLAN

Yesterday, at Ground Zero in New York City, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced a new public safety alerting system called PLAN, or Personal Localized Alerting Network.  PLAN will allow government officials to send text-like messages to consumers’ mobile devices in geographically-targeted areas during times of emergency, something CALinnovates thinks is a smart move.  You can learn more about PLAN here.  Here’s our statement in support of the FCC’s PLAN:

We commend the Chairman in his aggressive pursuit of PLAN. Based in San Francisco, we understand the importance of having an emergency communications plan in place. Once PLAN is implemented in California, in the case of an earthquake, residents and visitors alike will have access to free, up-to-date emergency information that will help them survive the quake all made possible by Chairman Genachowski’s leadership in partnership with the wireless companies.

-Erin Lehane, Chairperson, CALinnovates

Attention Congress: We Need More Phone Spectrum, And Soon

Written By Lawrence J. Spiwak
Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/05/04/attention-congress-we-need-more-phone-spectrum-and-soon/2/

Americans love their mobile devices. With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the amount of data transmitted across mobile devices has exploded by 8,000% in four years on some networks, and experts expect demand to continue to increase exponentially over the coming years. However, as we demand more wireless broadband, the amount of spectrum available for these uses is rapidly becoming crowded, to the point where engineers are beginning to speak of “spectrum exhaustion.” So as consumers switch from traditional mobile voice service to 4G broadband services, not only do providers need more spectrum, but this spectrum needs to be made available in large, contiguous blocks in order to maximize spectral efficiencies and to minimize network deployment costs.

It Takes Space

I have to admit, for awhile, I was one of the nearly 80 percent of American’s who didn’t know what people were talking about when they talked about the cloud.  I knew it wasn’t a meteorological reference but that was about as far as I got and then one day I visited the cloud-no plane or rocket ship necessary.

The particular cloud I visited is just outside Sacramento, a place ironically, in the meteorological sense, is rarely cloudy.  The cloud is actually an incredible physical place that pretty much all of us visit, virtually, on a daily basis.  Salesforce.com: pretty much invented the cloud. Amazon: it’s in thecloud.  Netflix: it’s in the cloud. Facebook, yup, in the cloud.  But the cloud isn’t in actuality, in a cloud; it’s real bricks and mortar, and lots of it.  Acres of huge, high tech, high security servers are in fact thecloud-many of them with their own power generation and military-styled security and defense.  It turns out, the cloud, unlike its metrological namesake, takes up a hell of a lot of room.

Though our computers have gotten so small that I can do virtually anything I have to on my phone, the amount of infrastructure needed to support technology has grown.  Like the cloud, the build-out of all technology infrastructure takes space.  Don’t like our carbon footprint? Well, neither do I, but recognize that solar power takes space-we’re talking hundreds, if not thousands of acres of land to produce solar power at utility scale.  Like your cell phone to work wherever you are?  I do, especially at times of emergency but that takes cell sites, and lots of them statewide to provide what can literally be a life saving service.  And yes, AT&T’s new IP network, if approved, is going to take some space on city sidewalks to provide this platform that will at the onset provide a fancy, smancy new home entertainment option and a lightening fast platform for developers who are already working on how to best utilize this new technology.

As technology advances, so do the platforms we need to support it.  I am willing to give up a bunch of land in the desert to reduce our dependence on coal and foreign oil.  I am willing to give up my unblemished sightlines so that cell service can be far reaching when I need it most.  And, next Tuesday, as additional fiber optics are considered by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, we’ll find out whether San Francisco is willing to give up a little space in order to take advantage of this new technology.

All it takes is a little space.

The tip of the iceberg

California is facing a $20 billion deficit and we can all agree that something has to be done so as to not strain essential services in our state, but is this a sign of things to come?  Does this mean that the State is going to turn to tech as a means of plugging the gaping hole that is our state budget?  The tax legislation is aimed at getting companies like Amazon and Overstock to collect on the billions of dollars of purchases that Californians transact via the internet which have to date been tax-free unless consumers themselves report and pay internet purchase taxes on their tax return (as you can imagine taxpayers rarely volunteer such info).  Bricks and mortar operations in California, including web based operations that have a physical presence or nexus in-state, have to collect and submit taxes on every purchase.  Should it be different if you’re shopping from your laptop?  When this same legislation was introduced last year, Overstock, who employs hundreds of Californians through its affiliate program threatened to pull the plug on affiliate operations in the Golden State.  Overstock and Amazon, joined by other web giants including Yahoo, Google and our potential next governor’s company Ebay, opposed the taxes and lined up against independent sellers, the unions and Netflix.  The Governor backed up the revolt and threatened to veto the bill if it reached his desk.  But this bill has legs and although the smart money says it will clear the Assembly – the Governor’s spokesperson has said his boss is likely to oppose it again this time ‘round.

Last week we asked our member companies how do they feel about these proposed new Internet taxes?  (text of questionnaire below)  What we heard is that our membership is pretty evenly split.  One member response, entitled “moving to Nassau” said: “Put my vote in that additional taxes like this punish companies that employee people in California. Legislators have a challenge on their hands – fix a $20B budget shortfall without driving away the world’s most innovative companies. The state should implement policies that encourage company investment in our education system. This includes informed policies like the single sales factor and a 20-year net operating loss carry forward.”  On the other hand, from those wanting a leveling of the playing field, we heard things like this: “We need to balance our state budget and it will not all come from spending cuts.  Internet retail is a mature industry and no longer needs a tax subsidy.  This tax would help level the field for local businesses.“

So what’s a state to do?  We know from our statewide voter survey released earlier this month that Californians believe in the power of the tech sector to create jobs and pull us out of the grim economic situation we find ourselves in.  Certainly Californian’s feel over taxed already but there’s only 2 ways out of this mess – raise revenues or cut services.  I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see:

1. Our schools funded (and how about some tech curricula while we’re at it)
2. Not turning the mentally ill out on the street
3. Hardened criminals staying behind bars
4. And dare I even bring up health care?

So apparently we need to raise revenue – but how do we do that?  By encouraging investment in CA.  We can’t rest on our laurels of being “#1 in tech”, we’ve taken it for granted and for too long. Our once thriving tech sector is suffering and California is slipping behind in R&D intensity.  It’s time the policy makers turn to tech and not merely as a vehicle for taxation (though yes, and I know a bunch of you will disagree, but everyone should pay their fair share of legally assessed taxes) but as a change agent.  This won’t happen in a vacuum; we need help from Sacramento and DC.

We have some ideas and we’re sure you do too – so join in the conversation.  What can the politicians do to support tech businesses?


A. It’s only fair: people purchasing online should have to pay the same taxes that they’d pay if they physically went to the store-Pampers are Pampers whether you drive to the store and buy them or whether you surf your way there.
B. Give ‘em and inch and they think they’re ruler: the web needs to stay a government free zone-this is just one more tax on California’s working families fashioned to clean up a mess created in Sacramento.
C. I’m moving to Nassau: California’s over regulation is going to drive me and my company to a more business friendly jurisdiction-we already pay some of the nation’s highest taxes, I’d like to be a California business but the cost of doing business and living in CA is getting to be too much.
D. Buy Local: why should Amazon or Overstock have a state sanctioned advantage over our local businesses?-taxing these big businesses levels the playing field for the bricks and mortar retailers in California who are vital members of our community.
E. None of the above? So tell us in your own words….

How Telecommuting Lets Workers Mobilize for Sustainability

By Daniel Walsh
Published February 17, 2011
http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2011/02/17/how-telecommuting-lets-workers-mobilize-sustainability

Over the years, telecommuting has proven to deliver significant societal, environmental and economic benefits. Many organizations have recognized the gains as a boon to promoting sustainable business practices and their bottom lines.

While a recent survey found that less than 4 percent of U.S. private sector workers actually work from home, that figure could reach as high as 30 percent by 2019, according to TechCast, a George Washington University–based virtual think tank.

What’s behind this coming workplace revolution? Quite simply, “work” no longer needs to be defined as a place you go. We’re witnessing the emergence of a next generation workforce that is always-on and hyper-connected via broadband, with a proliferation of connected devices and access to on-the-go Internet-based applications and cloud-based services that make working from anywhere possible.

According to Gartner, this drive to mobility will become a $1 trillion market in the next four years. The analyst and research firm predicts that within this decade, most, if not all workers will be mobile to some degree.

The potential environmental impact of “mobilizing” the U.S. workforce could significantly contribute toward tackling some of the nation’s biggest challenges, including conserving energy, avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reducing traffic congestion.

While the majority of U.S. workers are employed in jobs that depend on their physical presence, a recent independent study of telecommuting found that 40 percent of the workforce, representing 33 million Americans, have jobs that either be performed remotely partially or completely. Adopting telecommuting on this scale, according to this same study, holds the potential to reduce U.S. GHG emissions by up to 107 million tons a year and save nearly $43 billion in gasoline costs each year.

Given that transportation represents approximately 26 percent of GHG emissions worldwide, telecommuting is potentially the most promising opportunity for businesses to capture significant emissions reduction benefits in the near term, with a relatively minimal investment in technology equipment and infrastructure.

AT&T has enabled nearly half of its total workforce with mobile and remote access technologies that allow them to telework from a variety of locations, including a significant percentage approved as telecommuters. AT&T defines telecommuting as a formal work arrangement in which people work from home at least one day each week.

We recently surveyed the AT&T telecommuter population to ascertain the environmental impact of the program, as well as to measure its effectiveness and ancillary benefits. The survey asked a series of questions related to  transportation method, commute distance, number of telecommuting days/week, vehicle type, and year and number of errand miles.

Using that data, as well as the Fuel Economy Guide from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, we found that by reducing their commute, AT&T’s telecommuters avoided 175 million total commute miles, saved approximately 8.7 million gallons of gasoline, and avoided total GHG emissions of 76,000 metric tons, “equivalent to removing 14,788 passenger vehicles from the road for a year.”

Saving, on average, 54 minutes of commute time per employee, approximately 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that increases in productivity and work-life balance were the top reasons why they telecommute. More than 95 percent of telecommuters surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they are more productive when working from home, and an equal number similarly agreed that telecommuting is important to their job satisfaction.

Combating Rogue Websites

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing today on rogue websites called “Targeting Websites Dedicated To Stealing American Intellectual Property.” Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) invited Verizon, Go Daddy, Visa, Rosetta Stone and The Authors Guild and others in the online community to appear to give their views about legislation he is preparing to reintroduce in the Senate this year. Kudos to the companies listed above for showing up.

As you might already know, bi-partisan legislation to combat rogue websites was introduced last Congress. S. 3804 would have provided the U.S. Department of Justice with additional tools to go after the worst rogue Internet websites dedicated to distributing counterfeit goods and/or facilitating copyright theft.  We believe this legislation is a critically important step to help address a problem that adversely impacts so many industries. Last Congress, rogue sites legislation was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) received unanimous bipartisan support and passed out of committee with a 19-0 vote.

Support for rogue sites legislations continues to broaden. Yesterday, a coalition of over 130 businesses, professional, trade, and labor organizations— representing over 1.5 million jobs and workers—sent a letter to Congress urging for the enactment of the bill. The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy recently launched the effort “Fight Online Theft” to further the campaign against rogue websites. Be sure to check out www.fighonlinetheft.com for latest information on this important legislation and how to take action against rogue websites.

The general consensus at the hearing was that something must be done to protect American jobs and our economy and safety against these illegal rogue websites. We agree! We are encouraging the Members of Congress to introduce a similar bill this new session. Take action HERE.

Page 35 of 37« First...102030...3334353637