LTE Multicast Tested by 16 Operators

Posted by Sam Churchill on

A new report from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association says sixteen operators, spanning 13 countries, are currently trialing LTE Multicast, also called eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services. LTE Multicast allows wireless operators to broadcast live video over their LTE networks to multiple users simultaneously.

Today’s unicast streams require a dedicated channel for each user and can easily overload the network. Major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, are good candidates for LTE Multicast.

AT&T, Verizon and Dish networks all own 700 MHz frequencies and are likely to utilize those frequencies for LTE broadcast.

Verizon has 98% of the country covered with LTE, with some 55% of customers now on it, generating almost 79% of the company’s data usage.

Other technologies, such as Qualcomm’s defunct MediaFLO, DVB-H, ATSC-M/H
or ISDB-Tmm, use a dedicated television channel to transmit data. LTE Multicast uses cellular channels so no special antenna or tuner is required.

Tablet TV offers a free over the air DVR-type service jointly financed by Granite Broadcasting and Motive Television, a London-based television software and services company. Rechargeable “T-Pods” capture the over-the-air digital TV signals and retransmit them to tablets using their own Wi-Fi signal. They are nearing a beta launch in the Bay area. Tablet TV will allow users to watch and record live over-the-air HDTV signals and will also allow on-demand packages for downloading in conjunction with local broadcasters—all without a cellular connection.

South Korea’s KT Corp. launched the first commercial service in January of this year and remains the only operator with an actual commercial service. Now, however, it’s joined by operators in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, UAE, UK and the US, all of which are at least trialing the technology currently.

During the World Cup, Brazil welcomed over 1.5 million tourists and over 3.3 million fans watched the games live. They used smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even smart watches and glasses to access the Internet, updating Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and WeChat. They shared in real time every twist and turn of each game by uploading pictures and video clips or chatting.

Streaming television to multiple users may seem like it has limited appeal in the age of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. But perhaps streaming providers could, in essence, create their own “networks” by leasing cellular channels for wireless delivery.

LTE Multicast may come into its own for data delivery. Imagine multi-player games played on a massive scale. Amazon’s purchase of Twitch this week for nearly $1 billion, a case in point.

In addition to the shared transmission capability, the two-way capability of the eMBMS system allows users to dynamically interact with the broadcast network.

Parks Associates said about 61 percent of all U.S. homes with high-speed Internet own at least one tablet, and found that the weekly video viewing time on tablets has increased from an average of a half hour in 2012 to 1.3 hours this year.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Australia’s Telstra Tests LTE Broadcast, Dish Network’s 700 MHz Spectrum, Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, AT&T Gets Heat on MediaFLO Spectrum, LTE Broadcast Mobilizes at MWC, H.265 Gets Real, Aereo Vs LTE Broadcast: Fight!, Mobile Video on Diet with Social Graph, DIAL: Smart TV App Browses for Movies, Mobile: The New Television, Verizon & AT&T Launch Targeted Advertising CBS Helps Launch Dish Hopper with Sling, What is Miracast?,Mobile TV at NAB 2012, Mobile TV Handsets: Two Flavors

Intel Announces Tiny 3G Modem

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Intel just unveiled a tiny 3G data modem about the size of a penny. OEMs often use WiFi or Bluetooth for Internet of Things applications, but the Intel modem should enable direct connections to cellular providers, inexpensively.

The new XMM 6255 delivers connections that don’t have to rely on a phone or hotspot to get online. Intel says it enables connections inside parking garages and other poor signal areas.

The modem has its heritage in the Infineon wireless group Intel acquired in 2010 and supports downlink speeds up to 7.2 Mbits/second. Smart sensors and security systems are expected to be target markets.

Intel will support GPS and WiFi links to the modem, said Will Strauss, president of market watcher Forward Concepts (Tempe, Ariz.). Intel may be the only manufacturer to allow for multiple connectivity configurations on a small footprint, Strauss said.

Beyond LTE: Rysavy Explains Broadband Explosion

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A new white paper, Beyond LTE: Enabling the Mobile Broadband Explosion, and its accompanying slide presentation (pdf), was created in collaboration with Rysavy Research and member companies at 4g Americas.

It’s a handy summary of mobile broadband networks, past, present and future. Mobile broadband is becoming one of the most successful and fastest-growing industries of all time.

According to Rysavy, computing itself is transitioning from a PC era to a mobile era. Many users will never interact with a PC.

The wireless industry is addressing exploding data demand through a combination of technologies.

Newer releases of LTE will feature more efficient technology, denser deployments, small cells, HetNets, self-configuration, self-optimization, use of unlicensed spectrum with Wi-Fi, and the LTE operation in unlicensed bands.

Initial LTE deployments have been faster than any wireless technology previously deployed.

LTE Release 12, with completion expected by the end of 2014, will feature improved small cells/HetNets, LTE multi-antenna/site technologies (including Active Antenna Systems), Dual Connectivity, enhancements for interworking with Wi-Fi, support for emergency and public safety, device-to-device communication (also referred to as proximity services), addition of Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) and more flexible carrier aggregation.

Mobile broadband has become the leading edge in innovation and development for computing, networking, and application development.

The explosive success of mobile broadband mandates ongoing capacity increases. The industry has responded by using more efficient technologies, deploying more cell sites, off-loading onto Wi-Fi, and working with government on spectrum-sharing.

In the U.S., a number of initiatives could improve industry prospects—AWS-3, television incentive auctions for 600 MHz spectrum, the 3.5 GHz small-cell band, more unlicensed spectrum at 5GHz.

Rysavy concludes that obtaining more spectrum remains a critical priority and that LTE/LTE-Advanced will be the most widely chosen technology platform for the remainder of this decade.

State Fair Apps

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The Minnesota State Fair has seen data usage on Verizon’s wireless network increase 156 percent compared to the first four days of the 2013 state fair. The State Fair runs through Labor Day and is expected to draw 1.8 million people.

The Minnesota State Fair created a mobile website and a mobile app to help navigate the massive event. In addition, most of the vendors are promoting their booths via social media.

In anticipation of the increased usage, Verizon Wireless boosted its data capacity more than 300 percent by increasing its mobile cell sites from four in 2013 to six and adding more 4G LTE data capacity with the addition of its XLTE network which utilizes Verizon’s AWS spectrum.

State Fair apps for Android and IOS are an obvious application. Crowdsourcing Labor Day Adventures in state and national parks is helped with Crowdflower mapping. Visualized on Mode Analytics, the map lets you sort by activity and links to official websites, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor and Yelp pages.

Fifty years ago, at the 1964 World’s Fair, plans for industrial farming on the seafloor and a machine for cutting down the rain forest to build roads were exhibited.

A world’s fair today would be different, says Paul Saffo, on NPR. Now the new and innovative is just a mouse click away.

Digital Life in 2025, from Pew Research, predicted state control, reduced public trust, and increased commercialisation of every aspect of web culture. Saffo says today’s fair would be about questions. Instead of showcasing ways to build roads through the rain forest, the fair would ask: How do we save the forest? How can we preserve the oceans? Are we, as a species, capable of understanding how our minds work?

One way to get people to go to a world’s fair today, Saffo says, would be to crowdsource it. Make it like a real-world version of Wikipedia. Today’s fair might be a lot like Burning Man.

Expo 2010, in Shanghai China was a major World Expo, the first since 1992, with over 73 million people attending – a world record. China Mobile exhibited LTE-Advanced at the fair for the first time.

Computational photography chips like the Movidius Myriad 2 may enable Streetview video with fast, efficient OpenVX computer vision algorithms for body and gesture tracking, object and scene reconstruction, and augmented reality. Sounds of Street View lets you create 3D sound experiences in a street view environment.

A virtualized World’s Fair may be an idea whose time has come. Stargates might provide free gateways though a Twitch stream. Local VR headsets could provide full immersion.

Spacemaker VR was an (unsuccessful) Kickstarter project for Oculus Rift walk-throughs. 3D modeling programs like 3dS Max, Blender, LightWave, Sketchup, Revit, Autocad and many others can create and export 3D models.

Unity is a cross-platform game creation system used to develop video games for web sites, desktops, consoles, and mobile devices. Unity3D and similar products such as the Unreal Engine and CryEngine helped democratize game development, making the kinds of tools used by the world’s largest game companies available to developers at little or no cost.

There are lots of free tools for Android App Design.
Google’s Material Design provides a framework for responsive (crossplatform) design.

Free Hyperlapse App from Instagram

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Instagram today announced Hyperlapse, one of the company’s first apps outside of Instagram itself. Using an algorithm, the app makes it easy to use your phone to create smooth tracking shots and time-lapse videos.

The app is available free for the iPhone. Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but Instagram says that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.

The product team shared their story with WIRED. Instead of using power-hungry algorithms to model the camera’s movement, smartphone’s gyroscopes measure it directly. By using those measurements in a simple algorithm it maps one frame to the next, giving the illusion that the camera is being held steady.

Microsoft also announced their hyper-lapse research recently. According to Microsoft, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work for time-lapse videos, because erratic camera shake is amplified by the speed-up.

Their algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries. They optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red) that is smooth and passes near the input cameras while ensuring that the virtual camera looks in directions that can be rendered well from the input. Microsoft is currently making their Hyperlapse algorithm available as a Windows app.

Amazon Buys Twitch for $1 Billion

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Amazon today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Twitch Interactive, the leading live video platform for gamers for approximately $970 million in cash.

Google was in talks to acquire Twitch for more than $1 billion. But Google did not close the deal on anti-trust fears, according to Forbes. Google already owns YouTube, the world’s most-visited content streaming site, which competes with Twitch to broadcast and stream live or on-demand video game sessions.

It’s one of Amazon’s biggest deals. Twitch lets users watch other users play video games. Content on Twitch can either be viewed live, or viewed on an on-demand basis.

Amazon says more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players, publishers, and stadium-filling esports organizations.

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

Twitch is by far the leading live-streaming site in the United States, at over 43% for all live-streaming traffic by volume, more than ESPN, Major League Baseball, and the WWE combined. In February 2014, The Wall Street Journal ranked Twitch as the 4th largest website in terms of peak internet traffic in the U.S.

Twitch launched in June 2011 to focus exclusively on live video for gamers. Twitch really took off when it struck deals with Microsoft and Sony to power live streaming on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 consoles. Twitch is used for both live and on-demand distribution for the entire video game industry, including game developers, publishers, events, and user generated content.

Electronic sports (or esports) is a term for organized video game competitions, especially between professionals. The International e-Sports Federation is a global organisation based in South Korea that attempts to get Electronic Sports recognized as a legitimized sport.