Posted: Monday, July 30th, 2012
4G connectivity will be available to 98% of the UK by the end of 2013, it was revealed earlier this week.
The auction process for the frequencies has been protracted, but it’s now likely to come to a close at the beginning of next year; and the official rollout of the 4G network is expected to be completed by the middle of 2013. Whilst later than expected, it is a welcome development. 4G is a big step forward in the evolution of mobile technology, and major markets like the United States, Japan, Germany and Canada have already benefitted from the increased speeds it affords.
The multi million pound investments required to set up the network nationwide should enhance spending within the country, and also ensure that Britain does not fall any further behind in terms of technology improvements. The service should allow smart phone/tablet and mobile workers access HD quality video streaming services without being connected to a local Wi-Fi connection. It will be very interesting to see if the proposed auction of the frequencies will aid in the creation of fair competition amongst carriers – and also how ISP’s will adapt the technology to create products suitable for both business and home users.
Also fascinating to see, will be how the release of this new technology will affect the existing home and business broadband market. As an innovative technology company, Fluidata will be seeing how we can integrate 4G into our award winning Service Exchange Platform ( SEP) in hope of enhancing our product portfolio for both our direct customers and channel partners.
It’s great that this exciting technology is finally on the way, it’s certainly a case of better late than never.
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Posted: Monday, July 23rd, 2012
With The Olympics now a tantalising 4 days away we discuss what kind of technological legacy the games might leave behind.
The notion of an ‘Olympic legacy’ has become an increasingly important feature in the modern Olympics. Indeed any city seeking to host the games must build as convincing an argument as to how the positive influences of the games will endure long after, as they will over the suitability of their city to hold a magnificent spectacle at that time.
There are many examples of cities creating a positive legacy off the back of the games. In ’92, Barcelona cleverly invested in the simultaneous redevelopment of much of its coastline with new property; including hotels that encouraged record levels of tourism thereafter. While earlier in our Olympic series we explored how the Seoul ‘88 Olympics helped propel South Korea towards becoming the digital superpower it is today http://www.fluidata.co.uk/fluidata-olympic-countdown.
Of course it can go wrong too. The Athens Olympics legacy reads like a Greek tragedy; the games playing, if not the role of chief protagonist in Greece’s devastating plummet into financial penury, then at least acting as a member of the supporting cast. The cost of the games ran tens of billions over budget and Olympic stadium was left derelict and discarded years after. If games could win a medal for waste, Athens would have won Gold.
Such mistakes London will look to avoid, and despite concerns over the future use of the Olympic Park, in many ways London’s Olympic legacy looks bright – with the games set to be a catalyst for the physical transformation of a huge area of East London and hopefully the inspiration for more young people to become actively involved in sport.
More pertinently for our industry, London and the UK also look likely to reap the benefits from a rich technological inheritance. The advent of the games has triggered the long overdue deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity on London tubes and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While we are also set to experience a colossal 24 channel red button service on the BBC ‘Olympic Player’, the database and streaming technology behind it will be used for future sporting and entertainment events.
Behind the scenes, many Tier 1 internet carriers and ISP’s have been improving their network to cope with games demands, capacity which users will no doubt benefit from for years to come. Cisco, as one of the official games partners, have built a vast technology infrastructure to deliver voice, video and data to their technology partners and support what looks set to be the most connected games of all time. They have also been at the heart of delivering the Olympics technology centre; a centre which the government decided recently will be transformed, with the help of £350 million investment after the games, into a new tech hub for technology start up’s, investors and global corporations.
Over the next few weeks we will all be hoping we get to witness those ‘once a life time’ sporting achievements and moments, those moments immortalised in time, the moments where in 50 years people may ask ‘where you were when it happened’, but let’s hope that in the future, we’ll also still be thankful for the social, cultural, economic and indeed technological benefits that ‘London 2012’ could bequeath upon us long after its final race is run.
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Posted: Monday, July 9th, 2012
For the second year running we’ve witnessed huge surges in traffic on our network during Wimbledon matches. As you can see from the graph below, traffic began to climb significantly from midday Friday, which we assume is attributable to people tuning into coverage of Federer vs Djokovic Semi Final (match start time 1pm). By 14:30 our traffic was up over 1Gb/s from the same time the day before. This was an increase in traffic higher than we have witnessed for any sporting events over the last three years (a time which of course included both the World Cup of 2010 and Euro 2012).
Murray vs Tsonga actually proved less popular over our network; albeit traffic levels between 4 pm and 6pm were still higher than we would normally expect on a Friday. We suspect that many employees from the companies we support had flocked either home, or to the pub, to catch the Brit in action.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on these figures as a true British sporting summer welcomes the Olympics later this month.
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Posted: Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
Last night played host to the 14th annual Internet Service Providers Awards (ISPAs) where the most innovative and successful companies flock to recognise excellence and innovation.
Entertained by comedy from the hilarious John Maloney and some thoroughly interesting key note speeches from Tom Scott and Dr Peter Cochrane, Fluidata capped off a wonderful evening amongst our peers by winning two of the awards on offer. For the second year running we were awarded the Best Business Fixed Broadband, while we also scooped the Managed Service Innovation award – an award that recognised our Service Exchange Platform and the continued investment to provide access to Rural and Urban internet suppliers across the country. This was particularly pleasing given the investment we have made in our platform this year-integrating the likes of Digital Region INFL, Talk Talk Business and both BT WBC and IPSC into it.
We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate last’s night other winners including Hyperoptic, KC Business and Plusnet and would like to express our thanks to our dedicated staff and loyal customers.
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Posted: Monday, July 2nd, 2012
A couple of months back Britains were saying a little tearful nostalgic goodbye to Ceefax and now the French are doing so similarly to another cute, pre- internet age innovation, rendered dated by the ubiquity of the world wide web.
The French Minitel system was essentially a very basic computer that allowed users to access text-based data over phone lines. Hardly the height of technological innovation you might be thinking, but consider that when Minitel drew its last breath on Saturday it marked the end of exactly 30 years of circulation, then the picture starts to look a little different. Add to this that back then, in the age of Pac Man, the Commodore and impossibly short shorts, the French were using it to book holidays, apply for universities and even indulge in cyber sex, we might conclude that Minitel was decades ahead of its time; the forerunner of the modern internet.
Peculiarly, Minitel, much like eating frog’s legs or wearing berets while riding bicycles with a basket full of baguettes, didn’t catch on outside of France. It was launched briefly in Ireland in the 1990’s , but the Irish telecoms companies’ insistence on charging for the terminal (it was handed out free in France to all telephone subscribers) backfired, and it was withdrawn due to lack of interest.
It was however a huge hit in its homeland, in 1997 at the height of its popularity Minitel had over 25 million users. Jacques Chiraq ( the French president at the time) is quoted as saying that “A baker in Aubervilliers outside Paris could check their bank account on the Minitel, asking pointedly: “Can the same be said of a baker in New York?” It was not only popular, it was a source of French pride.
Pride though slowly turned to embarrassment as the world wide web started to accelerate past Minitel in the late 1990’s. In the light of the internet, Mintel’s beige terminals began to look clunkier, it’s features limited and archaic, and it was in danger of becoming a symbol of French technological backwardness – with telecom companies continuing to invest and promote it (instead of throwing full force behind the internet) well in to the nouighties. In fact as recently as 2009 there were over 10 million Minitel connections still in circulation.
How will it be remembered now it’s been put out to pasture though? Fondly, according to Valérie Schafer, co-author of the book Minitel: France’s Digital Childhood. “Now it’s the end of Minitel, we’re discovering that the French have an attachment to it, as part of our industrial history… Despite everything, there’s a nostalgia for an era when French developed new ideas, took risks on ideas that didn’t just look to the US or outside models: a time when we wanted to invent our own voice.”
At the moment those French voices are bidding the Minitel a fond ‘Au Revior’.
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