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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, Taichung Sets the Stage (Perspective from Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum)

The Taiwan city of Taichung was in the spotlight twice this year.  Not bad for a place few had heard of in most parts of the Western world -- at least until the Academy Awards broadcast in February.  During that event, Asian-born director Ang Lee, after being named the recipient of four Oscars for his film Life of Pi, thanked Taichung in his acceptance speech for its technical prowess.  Those bragging rights were celebrated.  Four months later the city had something else to claim.  In June, the city’s Secretary-General (the equivalent of City Manager in the United States), Ms Ching-Chih Liao, stood on the stage at Steiner Film Studios in New York to accept the Intelligent Community of the Year award on behalf of Taichung’s 2.7 million citizens and its charismatic mayor, Jason Hu. An international jury and a research company had ranked this city higher (by a few hundredths of a point) than the six other communities that had been invited to New York for their impressive achievement as innovative, job-creating places which used technology to enable growth.

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Madame Liao noted the hard work that her community has done to balance its rural and urban economies, and the role that both broadband and the cloud play to support an infrastructure upon which innovation and technology companies thrive and add value in a place once known as “The Mechanical Kingdom.”

To understand why Taichung went so far in the awards program, it is important to understand that it first grasped the basic importance of the layer of physical infrastructure (telecommunications) and how it would next lead to its ability to exceed at ICF’s other five criteria, including innovation and a knowledge workforce poised to grow its middle-class.

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Wireless Ubiquity: Connecting the Unconnected

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By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Every so often in covering the broadband and wireless industry, you run across a statistic that stops you cold. Here’s one: the Leichtman Research Group recently revealed that 1 percent of U.S. households canceled their home Internet service last year in favor of relying on wireless access provided via mobile networks or public Wi-Fi networks.

One percent. That is not a big number. Of course, it’s only a snapshot. The more intriguing question: What will next year’s number be? While the result in and of itself could be a statistical error, what’s more interesting is what it reveals: that it’s becoming easier than ever before to become untethered.

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The 2017 Internet: A Look at the Future, Courtesy of the Cisco VNI Forecast

Visualize this: nearly half the Earth’s population – 3.6 billion people – connected to the Internet for communication, commerce, education, information, and entertainment.  Think that’s too futuristic? Think again. By 2017, less than five years from today, that will be our reality.

This prediction is one of several key findings from the newly released Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2012-2017, a highly regarded annual forecast of global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic now in its seventh year.

Let’s explore further the Internet of 2017, as projected by the updated VNI Forecast.

By 2017, IP traffic volumes and regional growth will continue to impress: Read More »

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Helping Caribbean Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

There’s plenty to love about Jamaica: the weather, the food, the music, the gorgeous beaches and mountains. But there’s one area where, according to one study at least, Jamaica is lagging behind: information technology.

This shouldn’t necessarily surprise. While some Latin American countries, especially Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, are seeing significant economic and IT growth, investment in the Caribbean is growing much more slowly.

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Broadband Austerity: The Wrong Path at the Wrong Time

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By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Is broadband deployment progressing or regressing? Does it seem like broadband policy may be taking two steps forward and one step back? Most of the time we’re inundated in encouraging news, both forecasts about its economic potential and grounded-in-reality reports about new deployments, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Research firm Gartner has devised an unintentionally humorous curve that it applies to technology like broadband: its hype cycle. It has five data points, starting out like a waveform and then flattening out.

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