ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

ETC@USC’s coverage of CES 2018 (formerly the International Consumer Electronics Show) is underway as ETCentric begins its series of preview stories. Between now and the start of CES on January 9 in Las Vegas, our team will explore emerging trends and technologies with a focus on how these innovations may impact or influence media and entertainment. Even with more than 3,900 companies filling 2.5 million square feet with new products, services and technologies that span every industry, we’ve identified three broad segments that will help us organize our coverage: Input, Throughput and Output. Continue reading ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

Facebook has introduced Messenger Kids, a new messaging app for children aged 6 to 12, in response to safety concerns from parents about Messenger. Some experts, however, are dubious that children that young should have any social media access at all. Messenger Kids is a standalone chat and messaging app that lets children send texts, messages and videos to contacts that have been approved by parents, who download the app on a child’s tablet or smartphone and control it from their own Facebook accounts. Continue reading Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

Mozilla unveiled Project DeepSpeech and Project Common Voice to leverage the capabilities of speech recognition. The company says it has just reached “two important milestones” in the project out of its Machine Learning Group. Mozilla is releasing its open source speech recognition model, which it states is nearly as accurate as what humans can perceive from the same recordings, and is also unveiling the world’s second largest publicly available voice dataset, with contributions by almost 20,000 people around the world. Continue reading Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

For the first time, advertisers have invested more in digital ads than they did in traditional television spots. Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands, reports that 2017 digital ad spending ($209 billion) represents 41 percent of the global market, while spending for TV ($178 billion) represents 35 percent. Magna predicts digital ads will reach 50 percent by 2020. According to Recode, “big TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, even though Facebook and Google are working hard to make that happen.” Magna expects digital spending to increase 13 percent next year, “while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent… thanks in part to one-off events like the Olympics and the U.S. mid-term elections.” Continue reading Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

Verizon Plans to Introduce 5G Residential Broadband in 2018

In late 2018, Verizon Communications will begin to sell 5G home broadband services in three to five cities, first in Sacramento, California. All these cities are expected to be outside the Northeast U.S. region where it has a landline business and also offers its FiOS high-speed fiber-optic Internet service. To access the 5G signal, customers will have a box in their windows to convert it to Wi-Fi inside the house. If Verizon succeeds, it could compete in cities where most users have access to only one broadband provider. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Introduce 5G Residential Broadband in 2018

Amazon Enters the Workplace with Bow of Alexa for Business

Amazon, which currently dominates the virtual assistant market with its Echo speaker, is now launching Alexa for Business. With Alexa for Business, offices could potentially use the voice-enabled assistant to take care of numerous tasks. It’s a leap of faith since it is still unproven how many businesses would want to install an Echo in every conference room, design relevant programs or even want their employees talking to devices. Companies might also have concerns about sensitive internal information being in the cloud. Continue reading Amazon Enters the Workplace with Bow of Alexa for Business

Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

Snap Inc. just unveiled a remake of Snapchat that, thus far, has been identifiable for its posts that disappear after 24 hours, smaller social circles and human editing and curation. In its new incarnation, Snapchat separates the social and media into two parts. On the left side of the app, users will see chats and stories shared with friends. On the right side, they’ll find content from DIY creators, publishers, celebrities and Snap-curated content. Part of the reason for the redo is Snap’s disappointing user and revenue numbers. Continue reading Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

SingularityNET: Where Artificial Intelligence Meets Blockchain

Two things you may be tired of hearing about by now: AI and blockchain. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a unique and ambitious project marrying the two to challenge the power of the giants of the AI Age. SingularityNET is a blockchain-powered “Internet of AI” where AI and machine learning applications can be created, combined, and “rented” to solve problems as part of a decentralized marketplace powered by blockchain. This blog post from one of the founders of SingularityNET digs deeper, but it’s a BYOGS (“bring your own grain of salt”) kind of party. Continue reading SingularityNET: Where Artificial Intelligence Meets Blockchain

Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

The Gen Z audience, defined as those born after about 1996, gravitates to the kind of irreverent self-made YouTube stars embodied by Liza Koshy, a comedian with 1.6 billion views, who produces short content for social media platforms. Reaching this audience is a challenge since it values DIY stars as much or more than professionals and moves among platforms and apps with ease. Two years after she first appeared on YouTube, Koshy has been featured in Vogue’s 73 Questions (which she recently parodied) and advertisers are chasing her. Continue reading Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai has proposed to end net neutrality, which was put in place by the Obama administration. With the repeal of net neutrality, Internet service providers would be able to block access, slow down or speed up access to websites as well as charge more for high quality streaming. Pai’s intent to repeal net neutrality is seen as a victory for telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon and a loss for Internet titans such as Amazon and Google. The FCC also aims to prevent states from imposing their own net neutrality laws. Continue reading FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

As Internet Video Dominates, Seven Trends to Expect in 2018

According to Cisco, video accounted for 69 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017. That percentage will probably grow as 5G, the next generation wireless network, begins to debut in 2019 and 2020, enabling high-resolution video on mobile devices. Advertisers are already dealing with the often-complex parameters of video messaging, including how long the video should be, where it should be placed and how to compete with Internet technology behemoths in an increasingly “hot” market. In this environment, social media will also evolve. Continue reading As Internet Video Dominates, Seven Trends to Expect in 2018

Google’s Update to AMP Format Intends to Curb Link Baiting

Starting in February 2018, Google will require AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) — which load faster with fewer ads and links — to contain nearly identical content to the website’s original page. The goal is to prevent website owners from publishing two versions of a webpage whereby the AMP page merely directs users to the original page, or what Google calls the canonical page. The original page loads more slowly than an AMP, contains more ads and might have a lower bounce rate (of users who only view one page). Continue reading Google’s Update to AMP Format Intends to Curb Link Baiting

Tech Companies Produce 5G Chips and Test 5G Networking

In 2019, Intel will launch 5G radio modems that will transfer data wirelessly at multiple gigabits per second. Intel, Qualcomm and others tout the promise of the 5G economy which, predicated on the existence of 5G chips, will enable self-driving cars, replace home-based cable modems and generate trillions of dollars in revenue over time. Intel will release its XMM 8000 series. The company says it has made a 5G phone call based on early prototypes and that its XMM 7560 chip already reaches gigabit speeds. Continue reading Tech Companies Produce 5G Chips and Test 5G Networking

Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Amazon’s new AR addition to its iOS app, called “AR View,” allows customers the ability to visualize products in their own home. Thousands of products are viewable across a range of categories for both the office and home. By utilizing Apple’s ARKit, the experience unfolds in real-time, allowing the customer to rotate both the object and change its perspective. By introducing the new feature, Amazon joins other retailers such as Target and IKEA that have all recently introduced augmented shopping experiences to their mobile platforms. Continue reading Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Continue reading FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

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