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Wireless Ubiquity: Connecting the Unconnected

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

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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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, A Better Economy in the Cloud

My colleague Norm Jacknis (former CIO of Westchester County, New York) passed along a list of CIO concerns for 2013 that was prepared by Alan Shark of Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that provides technology guidance to local government. The list for cities and counties included:

1. Big Data (Smart City)

2. Consolidation

3. GIS as centerpiece for strategic decision making

4. Mobility and broadband deployment

5. Cyber and network security

6. Cloud-based solutions

7. Legacy/modernization, RFP

8. Unified citizen engagement (311, social media)

9. Consumerization of technology (BYOD)

10. Shared services (across all jurisdictions)

What would you add or subtract?

I’d want to expand on a few of these items to include another emerging issue for CIOs and other government leaders: getting cities to embrace cloud and networking tools – while moving their urban economies forward.

Well, there’s good news to report on that overarching concern. There are several opportunities to learn more about how cities can embrace technology for economic growth:

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Broadband Infrastructure: Should Rural Investment Be a Priority?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Sometimes those promoting extensive infrastructure projects — broadband or otherwise — exhibit a Field of Dreams mentality: “If you build it, they will come.” My own state of California is currently wrestling with such a project, a $68 billion high-speed rail line that opponents claim is too expensive and will never pay for itself. My attitude: come the day we have to evacuate San Francisco or Los Angeles after a major earthquake, people are going to be grateful it was built.

As we recently discussed in Broadband Backlash: Where It Comes From and How to Fix It, broadband deployments also have their detractors. Currently, one of the biggest areas of contention swirls around the value of rural broadband. There are really two sides of the story.

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London 2012: the Olympic Network (part three)

As you plan and prepare for the delivery of a high-profile major project, would your peers describe you as being “cool, calm and collected?” According to one source, the definition of that expression is to become “relaxed and ready for anything; able to endure any difficulty.”

Apparently, this is also one of the traits that may help to explain what it really means to be British. When I first settled in the United States — now more than thirty years ago — my American associates would compliment me for being very polite and respectful to guests. In other words, being a gentleman. Truly, I’ve never given that aspect of my character much thought, until today.

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Is The Second Economy The End Of Human Labor?

Recently, there have appeared some analyses that point to a shift from traditional human production to machine production.

In a McKinsey Quarterly article (https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Strategy/Growth/The_second_economy_2853

), W. Brian Arthur, a visiting researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, focused on the “second economy”.  The subtitle of his article sums up the message:

“Digitization is creating a second economy that’s vast, automatic, and invisible—thereby bringing the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution.”  He continues, “we can say that another economy—a second economy—of all of these digitized business processes conversing, executing, and triggering further actions is silently forming alongside the physical economy… human beings may design it but are not directly involved in running it. It is remotely executing and global, always on, and endlessly configurable.” Read More »

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