Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Nuclear power leader Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York yesterday. “The filing comes as the company’s corporate parent, Toshiba of Japan, scrambles to stanch huge losses stemming from Westinghouse’s troubled nuclear construction projects in the American South,” reports The New York Times. Westinghouse has recently been impacted by a slowdown in electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, growth in alternative energy sources, and concerns regarding nuclear safety. Toshiba, which is expecting a net loss of $9.9 billion for the fiscal year, “is also divesting its profitable semiconductor business and plans to sell a stake to an outside investor to raise capital.” Continue reading Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

Drone operators are beginning to realize the commercial potential of UAVs. In Southern California, for example, drones are being used for film production, sports coverage, wedding photography, map-making and more. According to Los Angeles Daily News, drone operators are also making money with applications such as: “examining the health of agricultural crops,” “monitoring the progress of construction projects,” “documenting the installation of rooftop solar panels in order to claim federal tax credits,” “selling commercial, industrial and residential real estate” and “surveying electric wires, pipelines, railroad tracks, dams and canals for damage.” Meanwhile, companies including Amazon and Google are experimenting with drone delivery services. Continue reading Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

AT&T plans to reveal details regarding its “smart cities” initiative during CES 2016. The company is making a major push to turn traffic lights and other city objects into new tools for reducing expenses while efficiently managing congestion and energy. Telecoms are starting to work with municipalities to leverage data collected from sensors positioned throughout cities to help drivers find parking spaces or clear driving routes, for example. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, partners in AT&T’s initiative will be introduced in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

DJI Unveils Software to Keep Drones Out of Restricted Areas

Drone manufacturer DJI launched a beta geofencing system last week called Geospatial Environment Online (GEO), designed to prevent drones from operating in areas restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration. While DJI’s current flight limitation software stops drones from flying in restricted areas such as airports, the more dynamic GEO also enables updates to maps and restrictions based on unfolding events, including scheduled sports competitions or hazardous conditions like wildfires. Upon an event’s conclusion, maps can be updated again so that restrictions can be lifted. Continue reading DJI Unveils Software to Keep Drones Out of Restricted Areas

Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google is working on a project called “Pony Express,” which plans to enable Gmail users to receive and pay bills within their email. The service — whether it is named Pony Express or something else — is reportedly slated to launch in the fourth quarter. Google is working with vendors that provide billing services for insurance and telecom companies, utilities, etc. It is not clear whether the company plans to monetize the service, but it could provide Google with data for entering new industries and targeting advertisements. Continue reading Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Google announced yesterday that it plans to deliver its Fiber Internet service with speeds of one gigabit per second (100 times faster than average U.S. broadband) to many of the neighborhoods in 18 cities of metro areas including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. As with its initial three areas, the company will offer its one gigabit Internet service for $70 per month, while an Internet and TV package will cost $120-$130, depending on the location. Continue reading Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Verizon now says it will not sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules as long as broadband providers are not reclassified as utilities. However, Verizon did sue the FCC (and won) the last time net neutrality rules were introduced, which is one reason the FCC is presently considering reclassifying broadband. “We are going to be sued,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week. In response, Verizon EVP Randal Milch e-mailed that Verizon would not sue if the FCC uses Section 706. Continue reading Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Verizon Could Sue the Government Over Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission may reverse its rules about net neutrality after consumer advocates argued that the “fast lane” deals between various companies and Internet service providers were characterized as unfair. Verizon reportedly plans to sue the government if the FCC adopts stronger net neutrality rules. Under the FCC’s plans, ISPs would be treated as a utility in their dealings with content providers, but their Internet service to consumers would be only lightly regulated. Continue reading Verizon Could Sue the Government Over Net Neutrality Rules

Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid explained in a letter Monday that he would support “any Open Internet rules” passed by federal regulators. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed rules that would allow companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to charge more for faster Internet access. Meanwhile, opponents view such arrangements as a direct threat to net neutrality. Reid’s letter could help provide cover for the FCC in regulating Web services similar to a utility. Continue reading Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

More Fake Reviews for iOS Apps, Quality Lower for Android

According to analysis from Apptentive, 55 percent of apps with fake reviews were found on the iTunes App Store while 45 percent were on Google Play. The fact that Google Play requires a Google+ account may account for the lower number. Although iOS apps have more fake reviews, Android apps have the worst reviewer quality. The development of the “Love Score” metric, which helps publishers learn what customers really think about the apps they use, brought Apptentive to these findings.

Continue reading More Fake Reviews for iOS Apps, Quality Lower for Android

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things produces significant amounts of data from objects embedded with sensors and machine-to-machine communications. According to Verizon’s VP of Connected Solutions Mark Bartolomeo, the Internet of Things is growing over 100 percent a year. Companies are using this technology to improve the management of supply chains, equipment and customer demands. The energy, transportation and digital cities units are the fastest growing sectors in Verizon’s Connected Solutions. Continue reading Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things