Tag: report

Cloud, mobile computing and social networking will mature in 2011

Cloud services, mobile computing, and social networking are expected to mature and converge in 2011, according to the latest report by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and chief analyst at IDC, said that the market will shift in 2011, with these technologies transitioning from “early adopter status” to more widespread and mainstream adoption.

Much of the expected transition boils down to overall recovery in IT spending throughout 2010, after a paltry 2009 which saw spending cuts in many businesses. Global IT spending is expected to increase a further 5.7 percent in 2011 to $1.6 trillion.

A lot of this money will go on the maturing cloud, mobile, and social networking sectors. Cloud computing will grow by 30 percent in 2011, more than five times the rate of the IT industry as a whole.

Mobile computing is also set to boom, mainly due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets. IDC predicts that shipments of mobile devices will outnumber normal PC shipments over the next 18 months and that the trend is expected to continue for some time to come. The mobile app market will also more than double in 2011 to 25 billion downloads, compared to 10 billion in 2010.

Social networking is still big business and growing steadily. IDC forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent over the next four years. The technology is expected to become more mainstream, with multiple acquisitions expected in 2011, while more businesses will embrace it for advertising.

IDC also predicts that these three technologies will converge and coalesce next year, becoming part of a larger, more integrated approach.

TV shipments slow in Q3, now there's too much stock

TV shipments have slowed down significantly in the third quarter of 2010, leading to fears about overstocking, according to the latest report by research firm DisplaySearch.

The Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report revealed that global TV shipment growth slumped to 9 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to the year previous. While this is still growth, it is much less than that reported in previous quarters, which saw 20 percent or above growth, including 26 percent in the second quarter.

Shipments in the third quarter were at 59.8 million, but sales are not meeting shipments in North America, Western Europe, and China. Worse than expected sales occured during the World Cup season, leading to larger inventories that need to be flogged off.

Many of the vendors with large TV stock will be hoping to sell it off during the holiday season, which is traditionally the strongest period for panel shipments and sales throughout the year. We may see more offers available, however, in order to clear some stock.

Despite the larger inventory and slower shipments, most TV technologies are doing well. Plasma TV shipments were up 35 percent year on year to 4.8 million units. LCD TV shipments were up 22 percent to 45.7 million units compared to last year.

The CRT TV market continued to shrink, however. It was down 32 percent compared to the same time last year, but still saw just over 9 million shipments in the third quater.

The report also found that Samsung was the number one brand, in terms of revenue, in the global TV market. LGE came in second, while Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp took the third, fourth and fifth slots respectively.

France to launch le Google tax

The French senate has decided it will levy a tax of one percent on online ads starting next year, as stated in the budget 2011.

Philippe Marini, head of the finance commission, was quoted as saying that online ads aren’t taxed yet and the main sellers of ad space were located outside of France, meaning they don’t pay enough taxes to La Grande Nation.

French advertisers weren’t so happy, saying the nefarious one percent tax will have a negative impact on the country’s economy, as French companies will advertise and thus sell less.

Common sense implies companies that spend a million or two on advertising won’t trash an entire campaign because a few ads in the net will cost advertisers.

The idea of a “Google-taxe” has been making its rounds since early this year, after the so-called Zelnik Report appeared on the political scene. Its author, Patrick Zelnik, stated it would be a brilliant idea to tax online ads and use the income to subsidise French newspapers, which are lying in bed with a slight fever due to that US flu called the internet.

Patrick Zelnik also happens to be the boss of Carla Bruni’s record label. France’s president Nicholas Sarkozy happens to be married to Carla Bruni.

France passed the Hadopi law stating people who download content illegally will be warned three times before having the connection to le net is severed. Anyone smell political self-dealing?

Businesses will face widening cyber-security threats in 2011

Many businesses are struggling with how to approach a growing list of cyber security threats according to a report by technology research firm Ovum.

The report, called 2011 Trends to Watch: Security, found that cyber espionage and online fraud are the two most pressing threats that need to be addressed, while other problems like compliance and intellectual property protection also rate high.

Ovum found that cyber espionage had moved from the realm of governments to businesses, meaning that companies can no longer afford to ignore this growing threat. It cited incidents of state-sponsored cyber attacks within the commercial sector, including the allegedly Chinese attack on Google earlier this year. 

34 US companies were found to have endured similar attacks, while the Fortune 500 list are seen as always under threat.

Cloud services and virtualisation are other areas which require focus as they brings new security risks of their own. Ovum said that the pace at which security in cloud computing and virtualisation is being understood is slow, which could create significant challenges for what is ultimately a very open network. 

An exploit on a cloud could have extremely destructive and widespread effects given the shared nature of the service.

Ovum said that a new, holistic approach to security needs to be taken, focusing on protecting assets as opposed to merely defending perimeters.

The study also highlights growing demand for better security on embedded devices like smartphones and tablets which have taken the world by storm over the last couple of years. With the embedded device industry expected to boom further in 2011, security must be tightened.

It is recommended that businesses adopt a risk management strategy, effectively to focus on prevention rather than cure. Ovum also suggests vendors should play an increasing role in improving security on the devices and services they provide.

“Security needs are growing fast,” said Gragam Titterington, analyst at Ovum and author of the report. “Businesses are facing a large-scale, well-organised and well-resourced criminal network which is intent on defrauding them and their customers.”

US traffic hijacked by Chinese ISP, censorship worrying

Some US web traffic was hijacked and wrongly rerouted through China Telecom, it was revealed today in a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which also criticises China’s long-stand policy of censorship of the internet.

The Commission’s 2010 Annual Report to Congress highlighted an incident which occurred earlier this year where internet traffic from the US was taken over, or in the words of the report “hijacked”, by Chinese ISPs.

The event took place for a short period of 18 minutes on April 8 and affected several key US government websites, such as Senate, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defence, and army, navy and air force websites, as well as those by commercial companies like Dell, Microsoft, Yahoo, and IBM.

The hijack affected as much as 15 percent of the internet’s websites, revealing just how pervasive the short-term problem really was.

The suggestion, while not explicit, is that the unauthorised and inappropriate access to this traffic was not accidental, but intentional, and that it may have been designed to grab intelligence data held in certain parts of the websites.

The report also mentioned other attempts by people and organisations in China to hack American and other countries’ computers and networks. The report found that there is a continuing trend of state support for this kind of activity as part of larger programmes of internet-based reconnaissance.

The Commission also noted China’s continuing attempts “to tighten its control on the internet”. It said that many hoped that the internet would help liberalise Chinese society, but this was being held back by what the Commission called “networked authoritarianism”.

The report cites Google’s conflicts with China over censorship earlier this year and backs a recent report by Google this week that argues against internet censorship, which Google believes impedes free trade. 

Google called for the World Trade Organisation to look into countries’ censorship policies, which are endemic in around 40 countries, which the report says is a tenfold increase over the last ten year.

Since many of the private companies in China that enforce censorship regulations, like Baidu, are heavily funded by US investors, the Commission said there are implications for Americans which need to be considered, such as the attack on Google’s network by Chinese hackers earlier this year.

The Commission recommended that the US review its current policies and bring censorship and online security to the forefront of talks with the Chinese government in efforts to encourage more online freedom and better protection against hacks and exploits.

EU committee criticises Google's advertising practices

A European Union committee has heavily criticised a number of advertising practices that Google employs.

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, which is working on behalf of the European Parliament, approved a report by a 30 to one vote earlier this month, showing strong dissatisfaction with what is considered widespread poor practice by online advertisers, including Google.

The practices in question include selling ads based on search keywords that are also trademarks and making ads based on searches through emails. While Google was not overtly named it is well known for employing both of these.

Google won a case when European courts decided it was not against European trademark laws. In August Google announced that it would be rolling out sales of trademarked terms to all 27 Member States of the European Union, which is likely what irked the Union enough into releasing this new report.

Then there’s Google’s Gmail service, which allows Google to look through email accounts and deliver targeted ads based on the terms found in messages. This has been the cause of privacy concerns since its initial launch, but not much has come of any attempts to rein in Google’s aggressive expansion at the cost of privacy.

The report recommends that sales of search terms that are otherwise trademarked should be subject to the prior authorisation of the brand name’s owners, which would effectively revert things to the way they were before Google won its court case.

It also suggested that the content of private emails should not be used for advertising, which could wreck Gmail if it were to be forced upon Google, as that is the primary impetus behind it.

The proposals are set to be opened to debate in the European Parliament in December, which could see new legislation brought in to force Google to not sell trademarked keywords without permission and end its automated spying on emails for advertising.

Such a decision could effectively overturn Google’s previous victories in the European courts and make Europe a less appealing place for Google to operate in.

Smartphone boom keeping display manufacturers afloat

Demand for larger high-resolution displays is growing, due to the global boom in the smartphone market, according to a second quarter report by DisplaySearch.

The Quarterly Mobile Phone Shipment and Forecast Report revealed that larger screen sizes and higher resolutions were in high demand due to the flourishing smartphone industry, which is constantly pushing for larger and higher-quality panels.

Shipments of larger panels with higher resolutions were up considerably during the second quarter of 2010, with Samsung, AUO, and Chimei Innolux reporting increases of 26.7 percent, 11.4 percent, and 11.3 percent respectively.

The average display size for mbile phones increased to 2.3 inches, up by three percent in the second quarter compared to the first and by eight percent compared to the same period last year. LTPS-based panels, such as AMOLED and LTPS TFT LCD, also grew in average size by seven percent compared to the first quarter and 15 percent compared to 2009.

The QVGA (240×320) resolution dominated the market in the second quarter of 2010, with DisplaySearch estimating that it will rule 24.4 percent of the market by the end of the year. 

The WVGA (480×800 and 480×864) resolution also saw good progress, growing from 2.6 percent market share in the second quarter of 2009 to 5.3 percent in the second quarter of 2010, amounting to a 121 percent increase or 62 percent on the first quarter.

Revenue for main displays was up 14 percent on the previous quarter to $3 billion, which is also a three percent increase on the same period in 2009.

Shipments were up to 389.1 million, an increase of five percent on the previous quarter and eight percent on the previous year. 

Average selling prices for mobile phone displays also grew to $7.72, a nine percent increase on the same time last year.

“The strong mobile phone results in Q2’10 demonstrate the popularity of smart phones, which require higher resolution and larger displays to enable applications such as social networking, navigation, and web surfing,” said Calvin Hsieh, Mobile Phone Research Director of DisplaySearch. “This successful performance drove mobile phone main display revenues for the quarter.”

Pre-school kids gaze at screens for way too long

Two-thirds of pre-school children are exceeding the recommended daily limits of screen time, a new study by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington has found.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time, which includes television, DVDs, computers and video games, should not be more than two hours a day for children under the age of five.

The study, which included nearly 9,000 children from multiple backgrounds, discovered that the average amount of time children are exposed to screens is around 4 hours every weekday, with 3.6 of those hours coming from home. 

That number jumped up to 5.6 hours when combined with normal home time and home-based child care, with 87 percent of those children exceeding the two hour limit.

Children who are enrolled in a child care centre external to the home were exposed to less screen time, but it was still more than the recommended limit at 3.2 hours every weekday.

Children who did not have any child care at all also exceeded the limit, clocking up an average of 4.4 hours a day in front of the telly or PC.

Children enrolled in the Head Start programme, which caters for children in economically disadvantaged situations, tallied 4.2 hours a day, but only two percent of this time occurred during time spent at the Head Start Centre, with the the 98 percent happening at home.

“A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it’s important to understand what kind of screen time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers,” said Dr. Pooja Tandon, who helped conduct the study.

The report also linked excessive exposure to television among young children with speech delays, aggression and obesity, suggesting a worrying trend if such a high number of pre-schoolers are spending so much time watching television or on a computer.

“Parents can also play an important role by making sure all of their child’s caregivers are aware of the AAP’s advice regarding screen time,” Tandon suggested.

The full study can be found in the latest issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

Handful of users clog up 70 percent of mobile networks

Only a handful of people clog up a massive 70 percent of mobile phone networks by using unlimited data plans and downloading as much as 50MB a day, according to research by Openwave Systems.

The report discovered a variety of categories of users, with the top end showing extreme usage of 50.4MB a day, with nearly every one of this group possessing an unlimited data plan and a high-end smartphone.

This group of extreme users accounted for three times more data usage than the next highest category, heavy users. The extreme users also accounted for nine times more data than medium users and nearly 70 times more than light users, highlighting a stark difference in how many of us use our mobile phones.

Video on demand was one of the primary causes for network clogging. As more video goes high definition and internet speeds increase many people are streaming video repeatedly instead of downloading it once and re-watching it later, the latter which would not require their phone network.

The other two contributing factors were status updates from social networking sites and mobile search. While both of these involve usually small transfers across the network the sheer volume of them creates extreme pressure on the mobile networks, most of which were not designed to cope with high-end smartphones.

With true 4G networks and compatible phones still a while off for most, extreme data users will continue to clog most of the mobile operators’ networks which Openwave believes is unsustainable for the future.

“The days of all-you-can-eat data plans are becoming less and less feasible for operators on both sides of the Atlantic and it is crucial for operators to become better aligned with network availability and usage needs if they are to stay competitive,” said John Giere, senior vice president of products and marketing at Openwave. 

3D TV market growing slower than expected

3D TVs are shipping out to stores around the world, but sales have been well below manufacturer’s expectations, with the devices unlikely to become mainstream technology until 2014 according to the latest figures from DisplaySearch.

The report, entitled Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, highlights the success of the 3D TV sector during the third quarter of 2010, with a forecast of 3.2 million shipments of 3D TVs this year – half of that being in North America alone.

This amounts to a meagre two percent market share for flat panel TVs shipped this year, much less than manufacturers would have liked.

“While TV manufacturers have bold plans and a lot of new products, consumers remain cautious,” said Paul Gray, Director of TV Electronics Research at DisplaySearch. “Consumers have been told that 3D TV is the future, but there still remains a huge price jump and little 3D content to watch.”

However, things will improve over the next few years as prices fall, more competition enters the market, the technology improves, and more content is offered, all of which are currently problems that 3D TV faces.

By 2014 DisplaySearch expects the 3D TV to grow into a mainstream technology, accounting for as much as 41 percent of the market share and a whopping 90 million 3D TVs shipped in that year alone. Until then, however, the sector is likely to grow slowly, with consumers wary about investing too early in its lifecycle.

The report also found that sales of 3D glasses in Western Europe were extremely low, with many countries failing to even get a one to one ration of glasses to TV sets, making 3D TV a very lonely experience and one that is not benefiting peripheral sales.

“This is particularly disappointing,” said Gray. “A healthy level would be closer to two pairs of 3D glasses per TV, so it’s clear that these sets at best are being chosen for future-proofing, and at worst it’s an indication that consumers cannot buy a premium set without 3D.”