SiliconANGLE http://siliconangle.com Extracting the signal from the noise. Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:02:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Foxconn to acquire Sharp in $5.6bn deal http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/foxconn-to-acquire-sharp-in-5-6bn-deal/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/foxconn-to-acquire-sharp-in-5-6bn-deal/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:02:03 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=267022 Troubled Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp Corpor […]]]>

Troubled Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp Corporation is set to be acquired by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., better known as “Foxconn”, at the end of this month.

Unlike similar multi-billion dollar acquisitions that are usually leaked to the press first, news of this particular deal came straight from the horse’s mouth. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou told Reuters that the two companies had agree on a price of ¥659, or $5.6 billion at today’s exchange rate.

“We have a consensus”, Reuters quotes Gou as saying. “The rest is a process … I don’t see a problem completing this process”.

This isn’t the first time Foxconn has shown an interest in Sharp. Back in 2012, the company reportedly tried to buy a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp for around $800 million. However those talks didn’t go anywhere, because Sharp officials were apparently unhappy with the amount of control over the company Foxconn demanded as part of the deal.

Sharp has continued to bleed money since those initial negotiations, but Foxconn’s valuation of the electronics giant is more or less unchanged. It’s 2012 offer valued the company at ¥676 billion, which is just a tad more than today’s offer.

Gou refused to comment on the reasons why Foxconn would want to buy Sharp, but it’s not difficult to guess why. For starters, Sharp develops a number of strategic technologies such as its flexible OLED screens that could well prove tempting to smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung. As such, if Foxconn can get the blueprints and patents associated with these technologies, it’ll likely strengthen its relationship with Apple, as it would give it the ability to not just assemble Apple products like the iPhone but manufacture displays as well.

Foxconn’s seemingly successful bid to acquire Sharp puts an end to any hopes that Innovation, a Japanese government-backed fund, might be able to acquire the firm. Reuters says that Innovation was originally thought to be Sharp’s preferred buyer, but the fund was only willing to cough up half of what Foxconn is willing to pay.

Photo Credit: alexey_boldin via Compfight cc
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Inside the Dark Net: Isn’t that technically virtual pedophilia? http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/inside-the-dark-net-isnt-that-technically-virtual-pedophilia/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/inside-the-dark-net-isnt-that-technically-virtual-pedophilia/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:59:22 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=267027 Showtime’s new eight-part documentary series Dark Net b […]]]>

Showtime’s new eight-part documentary series Dark Net begins unsurprisingly disconcerting. For those of us that have lived sheltered lives, even with Google around to lead us astray, episode one of the series, Crush, delivers some amusing, frightening and provocative examples of what goes on in the deep web. Things you probably knew existed, but still, it’s educative to actually see what a penis looks like in a male chastity device – a “cage”, as the penis’s online admirer likes to call it.

Crush moves back and forth between three stories: an online BDSM relationship featuring the aforementioned cage; a female victim of a rather tenacious ex-boyfriend with a penchant for revenge porn; and the pièce de résistance, Rinko Kobayakawa, an extremely popular Japanese school girl dated by thousands (at least 600,000) of men from Nagasaki to New York.

Online BDSM and revenge porn are fascinating subjects in themselves, but it’s Rinko the school girl and her many admirers that steal the show in episode one. The popular dating simulator called LovePlus, in which Rinko co-stars, was created by Konami for Nintendo and is also available for iOS. It’s been called the “best virtual girlfriend experience out there.” So good in fact that Japanese men have even tied-the-knot with some of the characters, including Rinko – who has also appeared as bridesmaid in one man’s wedding.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Patrick Galbraith, an author that specializes in Japanese popular culture, said, “It’s the kind of relationship that is instantly rewarding and is always giving. You don’t have to give much to the game and it gives to you every time you turn on the machine.” According to the article Rinko is not only big in Japan, but is wooing a growing number of men around the world with her teenage charm and adorable laugh.

And who wouldn’t fall head over heels for someone who tells you, “This gentle and troubled face, the face I love the most.” The film Her doesn’t seem quite so outlandish once you’ve watched a few good men in that first episode of Dark Net converse with their telephone. Rinko might not be as responsive as the AI app in Her, but there’s no doubt she’s a very talented (role)player.

What do we know about Rinko? Well, we know she’s a Leo, likes English punk music, loves cats, has an acrimonious relationship with her mum and dad, and is in her first year of high school. The minimal age of consent in Japan is 13 (obscenity laws in some prefectures means the age can be much higher), which is also the age Japanese students are when they start high school.

In the game itself the player assumes the identity of another teenager, but what Dark Net shows us is that many of Rinko’s devotees are not teenagers. They are fully grown men, including, “Jaime Allen, a 32-year-old female LovePlus player in Holland”. The Huffington Post includes this about the smitten Dutch man:

“I’ve been waiting for you and you didn’t show up. Don’t you know how to keep a promise?” read the note in Allen’s LovePlus inbox. Allen says she felt “like I failed her.”

“I don’t know why I did,” Allen adds, “but I value her as much as a real person — even though I know she’s not real.”

You can’t virtually have sex with Rinko, but you can caress her chest with a stylus and she might kiss you for that. Looking at the various stories about LovePlus online the question is not asked if playing with Rinko is kind of virtual pedophilia. While some countries have drawn a line between innocent anime and immoral content, perhaps because of the seemingly innocent nature of LovePlus questions have not been raised. Questions such as, if thousands of men are in love with a virtual child what does say about those men, and should it be a matter of concern?

What is virtually immoral?

We kill people in the virtual world of course, and most gamers we imagine don’t replicate that in real life. Being a virtual killer in itself is harmless and likely has no bearing on a person’s character. Perhaps the difference is how people interact with their dating simulator, actually professing true love, and taking it everywhere they go. We accept a man’s fascination with violence, but a fascination with young probably prepubescent girls is not socially acceptable in the least – in the real world and one would expect also in the virtual world. After watching the Dark Net you might find yourself thinking that it’s more than just a game for the players who are the objects of Rinko’s affections. Where do we draw the line in what is virtually wrong?

This controversial topic of Japan’s high school anime and its devoted men has been widely discussed, although without the mention of Rinko. This Vice article talks about the Japan issue, “In Japan, I think men have always been very naive and insecure. They don’t have very good communication skills compared to Japanese women and they have trouble talking to the opposite sex. We think that these men – because they’re naive and have difficulty communicating – look to children because they have less experience and men can control them.”

Rinko was made 13 years old for a good reason, and that reason was likely decided by some employees at Konami who had talked to consultants and done some research to find that 13 was the age that would sell the most games. Will Rinko, or more like her, find more popularity outside of Japan? If she does it will be interesting to see the reaction from the public. The disquieting fact that some people are dating not human flesh but electronic apps is also fascinating, and we might wonder how more widespread this will become when the technology improves and the virtual lovers are a lot more responsive.

Photo credit: wandering.dj via Flickr
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What you missed in Big Data: Taming the Internet of Things http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/what-you-missed-in-big-data-taming-the-internet-of-things/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/what-you-missed-in-big-data-taming-the-internet-of-things/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:10:40 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=266954 The industry effort to bring the vast amounts of machin […]]]>

The industry effort to bring the vast amounts of machine-generated data coming off the connected universe under control received a significant boost last week after not one but two major vendors joined the fray. The first to jump aboard was Microsoft Corp., which launched a managed service for aggregating transmissions from the sensors and other new devices that are appearing on the the corporate network.

The Azure IoT Hub allows data to be sent in the opposite direction well, thus providing a two-way communications channel that organizations can use to carry out maintenance tasks like rolling out security updates to employee-owned wearables. It’s the lynchpin of the Azure IoT Suite, a bundle of services that Microsoft is positioning as a foundation for the new analytics use cases that are emerging throughout the connected universe. The package also includes Redmond’s cloud-based implementation of the Hadoop File System to help store aggregated transmissions and its Power BI tool for extracting useful patterns.

The company is marketing the offering towards the same organizations that Cisco Systems Inc. plans to target in the wake of its acquisition of Jasper Technologies Inc. for $1.4 billion. The deal buys the networking giant the startup’s namesake platform for managing connected devices, which boasts a much larger use base than Microsoft’s competing service bundle. The list includes Amazon Inc., The Ford Motor Company, Starbucks Corp. and numerous other corporate heavyweights.

Cisco announced the acquisition on the same day that the Azure IoT Hub rolled out into general availability and against the backdrop of LinkedIn Inc.’s smaller, but almost equally widely-covered, purchase of Connectifier Inc. The recruiting service employs a specially-built artificial intelligence in order to scour the web for potential job applicants and single out the individuals whose skill sets match the demands of a given position the most. Its creators will reallocate to San Francisco in order to join the professional social network’s headhunting automation group.

Image via Geralt
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What you missed in Cloud: Value-added functionality http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/what-you-missed-in-cloud-value-added-functionality/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/what-you-missed-in-cloud-value-added-functionality/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:10:10 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=267003 While other leading cloud providers like Amazon Inc. re […]]]>

While other leading cloud providers like Amazon Inc. regularly undercut the competition to try and attract new users, Salesforce.com Inc. hopes to set itself apart by moving in the opposite direction of the price curve. Last week saw the customer relationship management giant introduce a new iteration of its platform that offers a host of value-added features for organizations willing to pay a premium.

The roster includes the invoicing automation functionality that the company obtained through its acquisition of partner SteelBrick Inc. last year and an analytics tool for estimating the chances of converting a lead into a paying client. But perhaps the most signficant addition is a native calling feature that makes it possible to contact prospects directly through the Salesforce.com interface, thereby removing the need to switch back and forth from an external teleconferencing service. For salespeople who spend much of their work days talking with customers, the resulting time savings can add up quickly.

Microsoft also set out to make communications easier for its users last week by pushing out a free Yammer license to every Office 365 account. The move is a last-ditch attempt at boosting the adoption of the struggling enterprise social network that will see new integrations added in conjunction to increase its appeal. Starting in the second quarter, it will be possible to schedule calls through the platform and access files from OneDrive, as well as synchronize important events to the Outlook calendar.

The functionality is meant to provide the same kind of centralized experience that Salesforce.com is looking to deliver with its built-in calling feature. Druva Inc. is pursuing a similar strategy over in the managed data protection world with its Phoenix service, which was updated against the backdrop of the cloud giants’ announcements to support continuous backup of important data. Coupled with its existing snapshot management and archiving features, the addition enables administrators to check all three of the most important boxes in their disaster recovery do-to lists through a single interface. 

Image via Stux 
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Master these 9 features in Apple’s Notes app for a more organized life http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/master-these-9-features-in-apples-notes-app-for-a-more-organized-life/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/master-these-9-features-in-apples-notes-app-for-a-more-organized-life/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:21:51 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=267012 With the updated version of the Notes app released with […]]]>

With the updated version of the Notes app released with iOS 9, users got access to a whole variety of new features including the ability to add checklists, links and photos to notes.

Below we take a look at how to use 9 Notes’ features to take better notes and organize your life:

Create checklists in your notes

The updated Notes app for iOS 9 allows you to create interactive checklists to ensure you stay on track with your to-do-list. Read the full steps in our tips and tricks for creating checklists in your Notes app.

Add images and photos to your notes

To add an image or photo to your current note, tap the Camera icon to either take a photo and upload it to your note straight away or access your image library to load an image or photo you have stored on your device.

Draw sketches in your notes

In your current note, open the drawing board by tapping the Sketch (squiggle) icon. Tap a drawing utensil, including pen, marker, pencil, ruler or eraser and get to work. Tap on the ink circle, far right, and change the colors. Use the Undo and Redo button to fix any mistakes and share your sketch with friends via Facebook, Message, Mail, etc.

Add links and websites to your notes

To save a website to your Notes app > tap the Share icon > select Notes > select your specific note you want to add the website to > tap Save.

To view the saved website, select the relevant note and you will see a short description and thumbnail. Tap the link and you will link through to the site in Safari.

Add directions to your notes

Adding directions to a specific note, works in the same way as adding websites to your notes. In Maps > tap the Share icon > select Notes > select your specific note you want to embed the map into > tap Save.

To view the saved map, select the relevant note and you will see a short description and thumbnail of the location and address. Tap the link and you will link through to the location on Maps.

Organize all your notes into specific folders

Tap New Folder > create a folder name > tap Save and start creating notes to add to your folder.

To move existing notes to a specific folder, tap Edit in the right corner of the specific folder > select the note(s) you want to move > in the bottom left-hand corner, tap Move To > choose the relevant folder or create a new one.

View all the attachments added to your notes

Tap the Attachments icon inside any folder and you will see a full list of the attachments you have added to your notes, including sketches, photos, URLs etc. Tap on a specific attachment and go directly to the note where you added the attachment.

Create formatted notes

The iOS 9 version of Notes allows you to format your notes to include headings, bullets, lists, bold, etc. To access the Formatting menu, tap the Aa icon and choose a specific format.

To format a specific word or group of words, highlight the specific text, select a formatting option, including bold, italic, and underline from the pop-up action bar.

Sync your notes across all your devices

To ensure all changes you make in your Notes app on your iPhone syncs through to the Notes app on your other devices ensure you have iCloud enabled for your Notes app. Tap Settings on your device > iCloud > enable iCloud for the Notes app.

With the release of iOS 9.3, currently only available in the developer and public beta forms, the Notes app will get secure with the addition of password and TouchID technology ensuring the information in your notes remains safe.

Image via: StockSnap, Pixabay
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Bitcoin scammer Ryan Kennedy arrested on rape charges http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/bitcoin-scammer-ryan-kennedy-arrested-on-rape-charges/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/bitcoin-scammer-ryan-kennedy-arrested-on-rape-charges/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 08:58:43 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=267002 Ryan Kennedy, the head of former Dogecoin exchange Mool […]]]>

Ryan Kennedy, the head of former Dogecoin exchange Moolah, has been arrested in the United Kingdom on rape charges.

According to local reports, Kennedy stands accused of raping five women over the course of eight years and faces a total of 14 charges, 11 of rape, two of assault by penetration and one of causing a woman to engage in sexual activity without consent.

The offenses are alleged to have been carried out in Gloucestershire between late 2007 and last year, all during the time Kennedy was defrauding people through his various online schemes.

This is not the first time Kennedy has appeared in court, with the 28-year-old being arrested in February 2014 over allegations that he stole 3,700 Bitcoins from the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange MintPal.

Kennedy, who at the time was going by the name of Alex Green, attempted to take over MintPal through his company Moolah in a deal which landed him approximately 35 percent of the company, but gave Moolah full control of MintPal; after being given access to the service Kennedy claimed that the site had been hacked and the Bitcoin stolen, but it was subsequently revealed that Kennedy had not only taken the Bitcoin himself but was caught red-handed selling it on Local Bitcoins.

Previous reports have also linked Kennedy as having been behind Crypto.pm, another startup which is believed to have fleeced over 500 Bitcoins from investors.

Other companies believed to be linked to Kennedy include Citrux.pw, Nuplay.co, Flirble.me, Escrow.pm, Lemon.sx and Nzbx.co.

Scumbag

Karma, destiny or fate, following as effect from cause, may be regarded as a religious concept to many. But if it is real, this scumbag is finally getting his just deserves, be it too late for his many victims, both those in his community which he has allegedly raped, and those in the Bitcoin and broader cryptocurrency community from whom he has stolen.

Kennedy was remanded in custody to await a trial, which is expected to start in May.

Image credit: gamerscore/Flickr/CC by 2.0
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Here’s the best tech ads from Super Bowl 50 | #SB50 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/heres-the-best-tech-ads-from-super-bowl-50/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/heres-the-best-tech-ads-from-super-bowl-50/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 08:13:27 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=266989 Super Bowl Sunday might be about a game of football, bu […]]]>

Super Bowl Sunday might be about a game of football, but for many the football plays second fiddle to the advertising during the game, and this year was no exception.

A number of leading tech companies (and some smaller ones) took the opportunity to advertise what they had on offer and at no small cost: a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl this year is believed to have been around $5 million, that’s for one play.

Here are the best tech ads from Superbowl 50.

T-Mobile

Drake gets advised to add terms & conditions to a song. Of note at the end is T-Mobile promoting unlimited streaming of Apple Music.

 

Wix.com

Hosting firm Wix.com teams up with Kungfu Panda in a play on a number of ads from years past.

LG

LG scores high for getting Liam Nesson to flog its OLED TV’s in a commercial reminiscent of the Tron movies.

Turbotax

The online tax company uses Sir Anthony Hopkins to not sell its products in an ad you’ll either love or hate.

Amazon Echo

Amazon debuted its first ever ad for its growingly popular Echo and features Missy Elliott, Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino & Jason Schwartzman.

Mobile Strike

Gaming apps were back at the Super Bowl again this year with Arnold Schwarzenegger promoting the game Mobile Strike.

Death Wish Coffee

OK, so it’s not a tech company, but there is a catch: the ad is placed by Intuit Quickbooks.

Squarespace

Apparently this is “Real Talk with Key and Peele”,” whatever that means. One for the fans maybe.

Intel

Beethoven’s 5th gets an acid house remix as Intel runs through the range of things its microprocessors power.

PayPal

There’s a new money in town, and it’s apparently PayPal, despite the company being in existence for roughly 20 years.

Image credit: enerva/Flickr/CC by 2.0
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Twitter is beholden to social justice warriors, that’s why they’ll change the timeline | #RIPTwitter http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/twitter-is-beholden-to-social-justice-warriors-thats-why-theyll-change-the-timeline-riptwitter/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/twitter-is-beholden-to-social-justice-warriors-thats-why-theyll-change-the-timeline-riptwitter/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 05:58:25 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=266982 The chattering classes were aghast this weekend over a […]]]>

The chattering classes were aghast this weekend over a report Friday from Buzzfeed that Twitter was set to launch an algorithmic timeline as soon as this week.

What this would mean is that instead of the current system wherein Twitter presents tweets in chronological order, Twitter would select which tweets a user can see in their timeline, promoting some content over others, or as Buzzfeed describes it, fixing an alleged problem of signal-to-noise on the service.

The result of the alleged proposal saw #RIPTwitter emerge as a popular hashtag among users who claimed they would go as far as quitting Twitter should the changes take place.

Twitter Chief Executive Office Jack Dorsey has since written publicly that “we never planned to reorder timelines next week,” which is notable for what it lacks: Dorsey doesn’t deny that Twitter is planning to do so, simply instead confirming that the change will indeed occur, just not in the next seven days; a report from The Verge verified this with details of a user test Twitter is already undertaking of the new algorithmic timeline.

What is being missed in the whole debate, however, is exactly why Twitter is planning on screwing with its service to begin with, and it’s a point that will most particularly be lost on the millennials that run the likes of Buzzfeed and others: Twitter is going to mess with its timeline because they have become obsessed with political correctness and wants to “filter” the things they don’t like given repeated criticism from the likes of Buzzfeed and others that it doesn’t do enough to control content regarded as “hate speech,” which in 2016 isn’t anti-Semitic remarks (Jew hating is actually in at the moment among the chattering classes) but speech which doesn’t agree with their social justice warrior worldview.

A bridge too far?

Try Googling Twitter hate speech, and see what you read.

Twitter is a company that has a diversity officer because it apparently isn’t diverse enough (people of an Asian background count as being white in Silicon Valley in 2016), a company that removed a verified user badge from journalist Milo Yiannopoulos‘ account simply because they didn’t agree with his worldview, and is a company that just last month cracked down on so-called “hate speech” by defining it as among other things any speech that “intimidates” (their word) other users, which in 2016 translates to any speech that disagrees with the social justice warrior world outlook.

Instead of focusing on building the service by adding features that users have long asked for (how hard would an edit tweet option really be?) Twitter has bizarrely instead become beholden to the idea that the way to stop the ship from sinking (remember, it’s currently losing users) is to pander to a small but highly vocal minority who want Twitter to be a safe space because they’re not adult enough to deal with dissenting thoughts.

Twitter was built on free speech and yet in its dying days all it seems to be doing is implementing an Orwellian fantasy of not only restricted speech, but by extension restricted thought as well.

#RIPTwitter.

Image credit: fish-gravy/Flickr/CC by 2.0
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Report: Google prepping new smartphone supported virtual reality headset http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/report-google-prepping-new-smartphone-supported-virtual-reality-headset/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/08/report-google-prepping-new-smartphone-supported-virtual-reality-headset/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 05:00:48 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=266981 Fresh off news in January that it’s getting serio […]]]>

Fresh off news in January that it’s getting serious about virtual reality (VR), Google, Inc. is said to be preparing to launch a new headset for smartphones, at least according to one report over the weekend.

The Financial Times claims that the new headset will be a successor to Cardboard, and will feature better sensors, lenses and a more solid plastic casing.

The device is said to be similar to Samsung Electronic Co. Ltd.’s Gear VR, in that it will rely on a smartphone for its display and ‘most of its processing power;” the difference here is that Google’s existing Cardboard VR headset is simply (as the name suggests) a cardboard headset that a smartphone is inserted into, whereas the new device will come with additional motion sensors to add to what the phone itself puts out.

Unlike Gear VR, which only works with a small range of Samsung phones, Google’s new VR headset will work with a “much broader range of Android devices than Gear VR,” writes The Financial Times.

Along with the headset, Google is also said to be looking to build virtual reality support into Android itself so that all future Android releases support it natively, in contrast to its current approach with Cardboard relying on an app to deliver its virtual reality experience. Of particular note, the application of native VR support is said to overcome current issues where latency causes some users to feel nauseous, the idea being that VR support baked into Android at its core may overcome lag time issues.

Winning

While it’s fair to point out that Google is rather late in taking virtual reality seriously, which is hyped, rightly or wrongly, as the next big thing, it’s also remiss not to note that Google’s Cardboard VR headset has actually been a moderate success, having shipped 5 million units to date.

While the battle for VR supremacy is still ahead of us in the broader market, with multiple releases due in the year ahead, the lower end (if you like) VR headsets that utilize smartphones for screens may yet be a key market if virtual reality really takes off, particularly given the excessive prices being charged by the likes of Oculus Rift and the otherwise ordinary experience delivered by the HTC Vive.

Apple may have popularized the smartphone market with the iPhone but it was dead cheap Android devices that ultimately made smartphones globally ubiquitous, and it may well be that cheaper headsets that cater to the lower end of the market make virtual reality ubiquitous as well.

Image credit: sndrv/Flickr/CC by 2.0
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Super Bowl tech: Experts tackle the connected stadium | #SB50 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/05/super-bowl-tech-experts-tackle-the-connected-stadium-sb50/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2016/02/05/super-bowl-tech-experts-tackle-the-connected-stadium-sb50/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:28:35 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=266913 What’s it take to run stadium Wi-Fi for nearly 80 […]]]>

What’s it take to run stadium Wi-Fi for nearly 80,000 fans, keep them fed and highly entertained? We hear from the tech experts who know a thing or two about scaling IT for today’s modern, connected stadiums like Levi’s in Santa Clara, CA, host of this year’s Super Bowl event.

Built in 2014, with a seating capacity at 68,500 to 75,000, the stadium is hyped as the highest-tech sports venue in the country and promises to produce a personalized fan experience for all.

It takes a great deal of technological innovation to provide the experience and scale to the demands of a population that wants more bandwidth in order to be part of the in-person game experience.

Serving up the big game

Part of the tech team putting the technology in place is Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. As the wireless provider at Levi’s stadium, it is the driving force of the technology the stadium employs, and the evolution of wireless now provides a rich fan experience.

Explaining this evolution during an interview with John Furrier and Dave Vellante, cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, Dominic Orr, president of Aruba described the changes in wireless: “Wi-Fi was like fries with the burger,” he said. “There has been a fundamental shift since the introduction of the iPad, the iPhone and Android devices. The Happy Meal formula shifted, and now Wi-Fi is the burger and Ethernet is the fries to supporting the infrastructure.”

The instant replay

In order to support a stadium’s Wi-Fi infrastructure, the challenges are high density, roaming and supporting multimedia traffic. Orr believes deep-packet inspection will become the prevalent technology in the wireless world in managing wireless traffic.

According to Orr, it is essential for the access point to be aware of the traffic it is carrying and have the ability to throttle traffic that is not real-time sensitive. When tasked with powering instant replays in less than six seconds, with the requirement of being visible from every seat, managing the network traffic is critical.

Orr said, “The modern-day stadiums are all tuned for live replay from the angle of every seat.”

For the Super Bowl, Orr’s team had to factor in every seat, while assuming there would be standing room attendance. He explained, “It is really significantly overdesigned using a microcell technique. When you have a capacity-filled stadium like that you basically leverage the physics of using the audience body to attenuate the propagation.”

Fan connectivity

Keeping fans connected to mobile devices is a vital component to the fan experience. A key partner for Aruba is VenueNext, who developed the technology platform and context-aware app for Levi’s Stadium.

According to Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing for Aruba, it is necessary to manage and provide a secure and seamless experience for the fans at Levi’s Stadium. And supplying connectivity will be critical this Sunday when fans begin using the Levi’s Stadium app to order food and beverages to be brought to their seat and search for the restrooms with the shortest lines.

Building a faithful team

In an interview with theCUBE, Kozup was asked by host Dave Vellante about the coolest wireless experience he witnessed. “I have to point to the Levi’s Stadium as a venue that has one of the highest uses of their applications deployed,” he said. “I think roughly 30 percent of people attending the game have the app.”

To increase adoption, the app pulls users’ pictures from Facebook and displays them on the mega screens around the stadium.

Kozup said it takes a great deal of integration to pull it all together, and he is amazed at how the application provides deeper insight into guest behavior and provides ultimate control over the entire ecosystem.

On-the-field technology

Keeping fans connected is important, but stadium technology goes beyond the fan experience. The players have now become a part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Zebra Technologies Corp., a provider of real-time location solutions, is providing the NFL with the ability to track each player, on each team, in all 31 venues while generating valuable statistics for the League, teams, coaches and players.

John Furrier and Jeff Frick, cohosts of theCUBE, learned more about this technology at SportsDataSV 2015 during an interview with Michael King, director of sports products for Zebra Technologies. “Placing sensors on the pads of each player to track movement allows the league to see x-y position, accumulated distance, speed (both acceleration and deceleration) and orientation,” King said. He continued by noting that coaches can now gauge a player’s ability for Sunday’s game just by monitoring practices.

An estimated 189 million people are expected to watch Super Bowl 50, and if you are one of them, enjoy the game, the commercials and the technology that will make this event the first of its kind featuring next-gen tech.

VenueNext

The company powering the technology at Levis Stadium is VenueNext and CEO and founder John Paul.  MercuryNews features a profile Q&A with him on how it all came together.

According to CEO Paul, “We take all the systems of a stadium — parking, ticketing, food services and others — and they’re all integrated within the app to let the customer create a great fan experience. The app’s tied into the point-of-sale system so you can have a beer delivered to you anywhere in the stadium. It’s also integrated into the security system, so you can take a photo of an incident and text it to security, or anonymously send them a photo of the drunk guy causing problems next to you and security will come over and take care of it.”

Integrating various systems of a venue (parking, security, food) on a single platform and then giving fans a mobile app to transform the way they experience live events. The platform is running at Levi’s Stadium and other sites and the app has been enhanced for Super Bowl 50.

After a year as the San Francisco 49ers’ vice president for stadium technology, Paul is leading VenueNext as it redefines the way we find, buy tickets to and experience sporting and other events. Its first “context-aware” app lets fans at Levi’s do everything from getting beers delivered to their seats to finding restrooms with short waiting lines. At the same time, VenueNext’s software gathers user data that helps the stadium operator improve services.

photo credit: ecstaticist via photopin cc
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