Friday, June 26
Via Network World comes news that Cisco has saved an impressive $277 million by allowing employees to work at home with virtual office technology:
Not only does Cisco’s telecommuting technology help the company save on collaboration technologies, but also the company’s telework program makes employees happy, survey results show. Cisco based its productivity savings on the number of billed hours at an average of $91 per hour, with the total figure reaching about $277 million. In addition, the vendor estimated employees garnered fuel cost savings exceeding $10 million per year.
Yet cost savings was not the primary goal of the survey, Cisco executives say.
More information on the benefits of telecommuting—from cost savings to helping the environment—can be found in IIA’s Broadband Fact Book.
Last week Apple released the newest version of its popular iPhone. Included in the new hardware is the ability to upload videos from the phone directly to YouTube. The result? A staggering 400% jump in uploads to the site.
In other words, this whole mobile video thing might just catch on.
Having originally set the deadline of July 7, the FCC has extended the window for commenting on its national broadband plan until July 21.
You can weigh in yourself at the commission’s website.
The FCC finally has a chief, as yesterday the Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick of Julius Genachowski.
Robert McDowell, the republican pick, was also confirmed—his second stint with the commission.
Thursday, June 25
Last month, the Obama administration announced it was creating a national “Cyber Czar” to oversee efforts to fight cyber attacks. Now the United Kingdom is following suit, creating a new Office of Cyber Security. Reports ZDNet:
The Office of Cyber Security (OCS), dedicated to protecting Britain’s IT infrastructure, will be created in line with a model proposed — and in part practised by — the US, the Cabinet Office said on Thursday. The OCS will have charge of a cross-government programme of work, while a multi-agency Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, will coordinate the protection of critical IT systems.
As well as cyber-defence and cyberattack coordination, the OCS will act as a conduit for information security collaboration between government and industry experts.
TV still rules when it comes to capturing eyeballs, but as Bloomberg reports, online video is starting to demand higher advertising rates. Case in point: The Simpsons charges $60 per thousand viewers online—$20 more/ thousand than during prime time.
Why the discrepancy? While traditionally television advertisers have had no real way of knowing whether or not people are actually watching the programs they’re advertising on—is the TV just on in the background?—online viewers are assumed to be much more engaged. After all, why bother streaming an episode on your computer if you’re not going to watch it?
Tuesday, June 23
From a national broadband strategy to digitizing records to the White House having its own Facebook app, America is all about the broadband infrastructure these days. And while this is certainly a good thing, Geoff Daily at App-Rising thinks one station in the government’s online world needs immediate attention:
So the FCC’s website is horrendously outdated. While perhaps cutting edge in the 90s, it’s painful to use today, especially the public commenting system, which is difficult to navigate, find what you’re looking for, and even read that information once you find it.
Daily goes on to offer a number of smart suggestions for improving the FCC’s site, from commenter ratings to an FCC proceeding tracker. Check it out.
In the wake of President Obama’s call for the America’s medical records to be digitized, a new group calling itself HealthDataRights has been formed that wants to ensure the privacy of patients is protected when records start to live online. From the New York Times “Bits” blog:
The new Web-based push comes a week after the Obama administration published a “preamble” document outlining the goals for electronic health records and the broad criteria for their “meaningful use” to qualify for incentive payments to doctors and hospitals. The administration document declared that its “ultimate vision” is one in which “all patients are fully engaged in their health care,” while physicians and clinics have real-time access to all the medical information they need to ensure the quality and safety of care.
Here’s the group’s “Declaration of Health Data Rights” from their website:
In an era when technology allows personal health information to be more easily stored, updated, accessed and exchanged, the following rights should be self-evident and inalienable. We the people:
Have the right to our own health data
Have the right to know the source of each health data element
Have the right to take possession of a complete copy of our individual health data, without delay, at minimal or no cost; if data exist in computable form, they must be made available in that form
Have the right to share our health data with others as we see fit
These principles express basic human rights as well as essential elements of health care that is participatory, appropriate and in the interests of each patient. No law or policy should abridge these rights.
USA Today on the rise of videoconferencing:
Ben Weinberger, chief information officer of a law firm, typically travels about 25 times a year visiting colleagues around the country to make sure their information technology systems are working properly.
His employer, Lathrop & Gage, has 11 offices and 300 attorneys. But Weinberger estimates he will travel only once this year to each office, relying instead on videoconferencing from the main office in Kansas City.
The firm has six dedicated videoconference rooms there, with high-definition cameras, 47-inch or larger monitors, and software provided by California-based Polycom, a large videoconferencing equipment supplier.
“You don’t have a meal with your colleagues videoconferencing,” Weinberger says. “But I can save tens of thousands of dollars. If I go to the New York office only once, instead of going three times a year, I save the firm $3,000 (on airfare and hotels), and that’s just me.”
The article goes on to note that the videoconferencing market jumped by 24% last year, as businesses looked to cut expenses. One benefit of the practice not touched on in the article: videoconferencing isn’t just good for the bottom line, it’s also good for the environment.
Monday, June 22
Google’s Street View—a growing library of snapshots from every block around the world—has taken a lot of heat from governments and privacy groups over the years. But this story out of the Netherlands shows that the service can also help victims of crime:
A 14-year-old lad from Groningen was last September pulled from his bike by two ne’er-do-wells and relieved of cash and his mobile phone. In March, he discovered the moment just before the attack had been captured on Street View.
The unnamed victim alerted the police, who asked Google for the original uncensored images. The company obliged, and when cops got the snaps this month, they quickly identified the perps - two 24-year-old brothers.
The thug-nabbing image can be viewed here.