Department of Labour National Productivity Legislation Workshop

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, September 26, 2017 – Nassau – As the Department of Labour continues to fulfill its’ mission of fostering good industrial relations between employers and employees, while promoting high levels of employment, the Department facilitated a two-day “Productivity Legislation Workshop” from September 20 – 21, 2017.    The workshop, sponsored by the International Labour Organization and the National Tripartite Council, brought all social partners to the table to discuss the state of productivity and competitiveness in The Bahamas.    Social partners included executives of The Bahamas Department of Labor as well as participants from various trade unions, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation, corporations and other local agencies.On Wednesday, 21st September, at the opening ceremony of the two day workshop, brief remarks were given by representatives from each pillar of the National Tripartite Council including Mr. Bernard Evans, President of the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB); Mr. Peter Goudie, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation (BCCEC); Mr. Tyrone “Rock” Morris, Secretary General, Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC) and Mr. Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation.Mr. Bernard Evans stated in remarks at the opening that after more than 20 years of advocacy for implementation of the Productivity Council here in The Bahamas, it would provide hope in an effort to save a generation of unskilled, unprepared working Bahamians who are ill-equipped to compete on a level both regionally and internationally.    He noted that the main objective of the two day workshop would be to bring together key stakeholders in the various sectors to strategize on productivity improvement and competitiveness with special focus on private sector; to develop a National Action Plan for Productivity Development in The Bahamas.Mr. Evans stated that the plan should outline the performance priority areas, the key indicators of performance on all islands and also focus on a system for monitoring performance and assignment of responsibilities by all stakeholders.    Also, to establish a Bahamian organization of Productivity Agents that will promote the development of productivity and performance-related activities to facilitate regional and international competitiveness and sustainability in production of goods and services within all of our islands.    This, he noted, will improve the quality of life for workers and citizens alike.    Mr. Evans suggests that legislation is a start and is hopeful that the current Government administration will commit to putting necessary legislation in place to begin the process.Similarly, Mr. Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation is pleased with productivity becoming a critical word in The Bahamas over the past few years.   He is encouraged that there are a broad range of voices – from politicians and business groups to economists, academics and unions – who are talking about productivity and what should be done to get performance up to speed.    He noted that in order to achieve the acceleration of productive growth in The Bahamas, it requires a country-specific mix of policies aimed at creating an environment conducive to sustainable enterprises, building human capital in basic education including technical and core skills, encouraging the application of decent and productive workplace practices, addressing sector-specific challenges, promoting environmental-friendly technology and ways of doing business.Mr. Sergeant specifically noted that the focus for the two day workshop would be frank discussions on the importance of productivity performance and what the productivity challenges are in The Bahamas.   The interventions needed at all levels of productivity improvement, including the need for legislation to establish a national productivity council is also a paramount focus.The Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes officially opened the workshop by thanking the ILO Team, including Claudia Coenjaerts and Kelvin Sergeant, for their exceptional job in executing the mandate of the ILO in the region.    Minister Foulkes stated that the Government of The Bahamas cannot achieve the goal of increasing economic growth through National Productivity by itself, therefore he congratulated the organizers of the workshop and pledged the Government’s full commitment to continue to work with the International Labour Organization, the National Tripartite Council and all of the social partners to fully implement a National Productivity Council.  Minister Foulkes declared the historic workshop open and noted that he looked forward to the results of the deliberations over the two days.The workshop was held at the Department of Labour on Rosetta Street and included discussions and work sessions on The State of Productivity and Competitiveness in The Bahamas, Understanding Productivity and its relation to economic growth and Economic Transformation and Policy Reponses.Director of Labour, Mr. A. Robert Farquharson advised that he was pleased with the work completed during the workshop and looks forward to presenting the results to the Minister.Press Release: Department of LabourPhoto captions:Header: Group of workshop participants representing the Department of Labour, ILO, National Tripartite Council and other social partners.1st insert:  Workshop participants at the National Productivity Legislation Workshop.2nd insert:Peter Goudie, presenting to the workshop participants.3rd insert: Workshop Facilitator, Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation presenting to the workshop participants.  Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

BUSINESS BRIEF Wilmingtons OSRAM Boston Childrens Hospital Shine A Light For Bostons

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Osram, a global high-tech lighting company, and Boston Children’s Hospital, a worldwide leader in pediatric care, held their Shine Your Light for Boston Children’s Hospital event yesterday evening, when more than 50 buildings around the City of Boston shined Boston Children’s blue to show their support for Boston Children’s patients and their families. Osram is the corporate sponsor of the Shine Your Light campaign.The Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, which hosted an event for Boston Children’s, Osram and other sponsor families, was illuminated for the event with a temporary installation of Osram’s Traxon fixtures, Quattro Washer and Quattro Liner, in the famous clock tower observatory.“Two years ago, Boston Children’s Hospital came to us with an idea,” said Michael Flieger, Chief Financial Officer for Osram’s Americas Region. “They hoped to expand their new employee giving campaign and wanted a corporate partner to help them. What really caught our attention was that they wanted to use light as the catalyst, light to help brighten an otherwise dark time – both a dark time of year, and metaphorically, a dark time for many patients and families. As a global lighting technology leader that uses light to improve quality of life, including health and wellbeing, we knew it was a great opportunity to help one of our neighbors, which is also the number one children’s hospital in the country.”Osram provided a $250,000 gift and support for the Shine Your Light for Boston Children’s Hospital, ignited by Osram event on Feb. 25. For the second year, the event included a patient story, featuring a family member of an Osram employee who had been successfully treated at Boston Children’s Hospital.In addition, Osram employees coordinated donation drives to support the hospital’s patients and families, organized volunteer teams for the annual Mix 104.1 Cares for Kids Radiothon, and participated in other volunteer activities at the hospital. The funds provided by Osram support the Every Child Fund, which provides financial assistance to families for expenses not covered by insurance; supportive services; research; and opportunities for patients to have a little fun while in the hospital – allowing kids to be kids.“Boston Children’s Hospital is grateful for the ongoing support of Osram,” said Michael Bornhorst, Associate Vice President of Boston Children’s Hospital Trust. “Their partnership provides vital funding that fuels our life-changing mission to help kids in Boston and kids across the world.”This year, Boston Children’s Hospital also secured support from additional sponsors, including Speedway, which sold Shine Your Light keychain flashlights at its stores throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the hospital.About Boston Children’s HospitalBoston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center. Its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Today, more than 3,000 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 11 Howard Hughes Medical Investigators comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s is now a 415-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. For more, visit our Vector and Thriving blogs and follow us on social media @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube.About OSRAMOSRAM, based in Munich, is a leading global high-tech company with a history dating back more than 110 years. Primarily focused on semiconductor-based technologies, our products are used in highly diverse applications ranging from virtual reality to autonomous driving and from smartphones to networked, intelligent lighting solutions in buildings and cities. OSRAM utilizes the infinite possibilities of light to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. OSRAM’s innovations will enable people all over the world not only to see better, but also to communicate, travel, work, and live better. As of the end of fiscal year 2018 (September 30), OSRAM had approximately 26,200 employees worldwide. It generated revenue of more than €3.8 billion from continued operations in fiscal year 2018. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt and Munich (ISIN: DE000LED4000; WKN: LED400; trading symbol: OSR). Additional information can be found at http://www.osram.com.About OSRAM SYLVANIAOSRAM SYLVANIA is part of OSRAM Americas, a group of OSRAM companies located in North and South America. As a leader in lighting solutions and services specializing in innovative design and energy-saving technology, the company sells products under the brand names OSRAM, Traxon, ENCELIUM and SYLVANIA. The portfolio ranges from high-tech applications based on semiconductor technology, such as infrared or laser lighting, to smart and connected lighting solutions in buildings and cities. The OSRAM SYLVANIA and OSRAM Americas regional headquarters is located in Wilmington, Massachusetts. For more information, visit http://www.osram.us or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.(NOTE: The above press release is from OSRAM via BusinessWire.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email [email protected] this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington Lighting Company & Boston Children’s Hospital To ‘Light Up’ The City In Support Of Patient FamiliesIn “Business”CEILI STRONG: Music Bingo Fundraiser In Memory Of Ceili Kinneen Set For Tremezzo On October 24In “Community”Wilmington’s Cumberland Farms Launches 8th Annual Cups For Kids FundraiserIn “Business”last_img read more

Amazons Rekognition software lets cops track faces Heres what you need to

first_img5:11 Comments Facial recognition: Get to know the tech that gets to… Amazon Rekognition is the company’s effort to create software that can identify anything it’s looking at — most notably faces.  Business organizations and, yes, law enforcement agencies are already licensing that software for their own use. That means that you don’t need to use Facebook or buy a face-scanning iPhone or a fancy video doorbell from Google-owned Nest or Amazon-owned Ring in order for facial recognition to be a part of your everyday life. With Rekognition, maybe it already is. This is part of a CNET special report exploring the benefits and pitfalls of facial recognition.And maybe you aren’t OK with that. Civil liberties groups such as the ACLU have already raised concerns about the speedy adoption of facial recognition tech among US law enforcement agencies and the potential for its abuse, particularly against immigrants and people of color. Many — including some of Amazon’s own employees and shareholders — want the company to hit the brakes.The controversy caught the attention of Congress last year, and now, with the Senate recently proposing a bill that would limit businesses from collecting and tracking facial recognition data without consent, it seems that Rekognition might be in for a reckoning. All of which is to say that it’s a good time to dive in and get a better understanding of what Rekognition is, how it works and what it’s being used for. Read more: Facial recognition 101: Your face is your fingerprint What exactly does Amazon Rekognition do? Glad you asked. Let’s start by looking at what Amazon says:”Amazon Rekognition makes it easy to add image and video analysis to your applications. You just provide an image or video to the Rekognition API, and the service can identify objects, people, text, scenes and activities. It can detect any inappropriate content as well.  “Amazon Rekognition also provides highly accurate facial analysis and facial recognition. You can detect, analyze and compare faces for a wide variety of use cases, including user verification, cataloging, people counting and public safety.” Like a lot of what Amazon is up to these days, Rekognition centers on artificial intelligence and machine learning. If Alexa is Amazon’s effort to give AI ears and a voice, then Rekognition could be seen as the company’s effort to give AI a sense of sight and the intelligence to recognize what it’s looking at. The difference is that Alexa is built for consumers like you and me, while Rekognition is an enterprise offering intended for businesses and organizations. All of that sounds simple enough, right? It’s image- and face-detecting software that developers can license from Amazon for their own applications. But start thinking about the ways that businesses and organizations might be putting Rekognition to use — and some of the ways that they might in the future — and things get more complicated. How does Amazon Rekognition work? Amazon says that its Rekognition software is based on deep learning technology developed by computer vision scientists. It’s actually two separate software tools, or API sets: Amazon Rekognition Image, which analyzes images, and Amazon Rekognition Video, which analyzes video. Like other image recognition applications, Rekognition looks for common structural identifiers called “landmarks” in whatever it’s looking at. With an apple, that might be the shape and color of the fruit, along with characteristics like the stem. With a face, it’s the shape of the features and the distance between them. Once it’s scanned the evidence, the software assesses how confident it is that it knows what it’s looking at. That confidence variable acts as a threshold for declaring a match — one Rekognition user could say that anything above 75 percent confident is good enough to label as a positive match, while another user with a more high-stakes application might want to set the number at 99. The higher the confidence level, the more certain the software needs to be in order to declare a match.A lot of that confidence is dependent on the quality and angle of the image in question, but software like this that’s programmed to recognize what it’s looking at has come a long way in recent years. That’s thanks in no small part to intense research interest from the titans of tech, not just Amazon, but Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others. “Rekognition is always learning from new data, and we’re continually adding new labels and facial recognition features to the service,” Amazon says. With facial recognition, it’s important to note that Amazon doesn’t keep its own database of faces to match against. Instead, it’s up to the user to provide a “face collection” that they own and manage. For a photo storage service, that face collection could be the photos that users upload. For a law enforcement agency, the face collection could be an existing database of mugshots. What does Amazon Rekognition cost? Companies don’t pay an upfront cost to use Rekognition. They pay as they go based on how much they use it. “With Amazon Rekognition, you pay for the images and videos you analyze and the face metadata that you store,” the company explains, adding that customers can analyze 5,000 images and 1,000 minutes of video per month for free during their first year using the service. Rates after that vary based on region, but in the US, Rekognition customers pay 10 cents for each minute of video analyzed and $1 for every 1,000 images processed. Customers also pay to store the metadata from images and videos they analyze within Amazon’s servers. Discounted bulk rates apply for customers who process more than 1 million images. What’s Amazon Rekognition being used for? amazon-rekognition-people-pathing-codeEnlarge ImageA sample of Rekognition’s “People Pathing” code, used to track an individual’s movement within a video feed. Amazon That really depends on who’s using it (more on that in just a bit), but Amazon lists the following use cases as examples:  User verificationObject detectionText recognitionImage and video content searchUnsafe content detectionCelebrity recognitionOther uses include analyzing the demographic makeup or even the emotional state of whoever the software is looking at, as well as something Amazon calls “People Pathing.” Like it sounds, People Pathing uses Rekognition to track specific people as they move within the frame of a video feed. According to Amazon, it’s capable of tracking:The location of the person in the video frame at the time their path is trackedFacial landmarks such as the position of the left eye, when detectedAmazon did not respond when we asked if there was anything preventing any specific businesses, organizations or law enforcement agencies from using any of the different APIs for Rekognition’s different use cases. The fair assumption is that all of Rekognition’s tools are on the table for all customers acting in accordance with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) acceptable use policy. Who’s using it? That’s a good question, and one that gets to the heart of what makes Rekognition controversial.Though the company has highlighted Rekognition’s use by nonprofits such as Thorn and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children to find potential leads on missing children and human trafficking victims, Amazon doesn’t disclose its Rekognition customers without their consent — and it wouldn’t tell me the number of total Rekognition customers, either. According to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in May 2018, the list includes multiple US law enforcement agencies. (We have more reporting on some of the ways law enforcement agencies in places like Oregon and Florida are already using Rekognition, which you can read about here).Police around the world have been using facial recognition technology for years now, but the disclosure was still enough to raise questions about Rekognition’s capabilities, about how it might be used and about who exactly was using it. Before long, the ACLU was calling for Amazon to stop selling its Rekognition software to governments and law enforcement agencies altogether. “The rights of immigrants, communities of color, protesters and others will be put at risk if Amazon provides this powerful surveillance system to government agencies,” said Shankar Narayan, the technology and liberty director of ACLU of Washington.   Some of those concerns have even come from within Amazon itself. In June of last year, a group of Amazon employees released a letter to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos calling on the company to implement strong transparency and accountability measures and to stop selling Rekognition services to law enforcement agencies.  “We already know that in the midst of historic militarization of police, renewed targeting of Black activists and the growth of a federal deportation force currently engaged in human rights abuses — this will be another powerful tool for the surveillance state, and ultimately serve to harm the most marginalized,” the letter reads. Amazon declined to comment in response at the time and didn’t respond to a request for comment ahead of this piece, either. false-matches-graphic-1In July of 2018, the ACLU claimed that Amazon Rekognition mismatched these 28 members of Congress with mugshots of criminals. ACLU Where do things stand now? The controversy hasn’t subsided. The ACLU continues to press its argument that Amazon shouldn’t be selling Rekognition to government law enforcement agencies, even releasing a report showing that the software misidentified 28 members of Congress as criminals when the confidence level was set to 80 percent. The false matches disproportionately affected people of color, the report notes. Amazon disputed that report, issuing the following testy rebuke via blog post: “When Rekognition is used as recommended for public safety (with 99 percent confidence levels), the same reports that the ACLU claimed contained 5 percent error rates yielded 0 percent error rates. This is inconvenient for the ACLU’s rhetoric, but these are also the facts.” Even so, in November 2018, eight Democratic members of Congress expressed their concerns with Rekognition in a letter to Amazon: “Facial recognition technology may one day serve as a useful tool for law enforcement officials working to protect the American public and keep us safe,” they wrote, “However, at this time, we have serious concerns that this type of product has significant accuracy issues, places disproportionate burdens on communities of color and could stifle Americans’ willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights in public.” The issue isn’t going away. In January of this year, a group of the company’s own shareholders urged Amazon to stop selling Rekognition software to law enforcement agencies. More recently, in March, a group of prominent AI researchers, including experts from Microsoft, Google and Facebook, as well as the 2018 winner of the prestigious Turing Award, penned an open letter warning of inherent biases built into Rekognition and calling on Amazon to stop selling it to the police. Perhaps complicating things is Amazon’s ownership of Ring, the makers of a popular line of smart video doorbells. Recent patents from the company lay out a vision for face-detecting video doorbells that keep an eye out for convicted felons, sex offenders and the like, then relay the information directly to police. Amazon has already begun to let owners of its popular line of Echo smart speakers use the things as makeshift security devices that listen for trouble whenever they’re away from home. “Amazon is dreaming of a dangerous future,” the ACLU’s Jacob Snow said in a statement, “with its technology at the center of a massive decentralized surveillance network, running real-time facial recognition on members of the public using cameras installed in people’s doorbells.” “We are always innovating on behalf of neighbors to make our neighborhoods better places to live, and this patent is one of many ideas to enhance the services we offer,” a Ring spokesperson said in a statement. “However, patents do not necessarily reflect current developments to products and services, and this patent certainly does not imply implementation. Privacy is of the utmost importance to us, and we always design our services to include strong privacy protections.”   What does Amazon say about all of this? Amazon didn’t offer any comments about Rekognition ahead of this story’s publication.This February, amid the criticism, Amazon wrote at length on the topic in a company blog post. Along with defending Rekognition, Amazon seemed to join companies such as Microsoft that have already called for greater oversight and transparency with regards to the ways facial recognition tech is being put to use. “In the two-plus years we’ve been offering Amazon Rekognition, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement,” wrote Amazon Web Services’ vice president of global public policy, Michael Punke. “Even with this strong track record to date, we understand why people want there to be oversight and guidelines put in place to make sure facial recognition technology cannot be used to discriminate. We support the calls for an appropriate national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology.” The blog post goes on to lay out some suggested standards for facial recognition, which I’ll list here: Facial recognition should always be used in accordance with the law, including laws that protect civil rightsWhen facial recognition technology is used in law enforcement, human review is a necessary component to ensure that the use of a prediction to make a decision does not violate civil rights When facial recognition technology is used by law enforcement for identification, or in a way that could threaten civil liberties, a 99 percent confidence score threshold is recommended Law enforcement agencies should be transparent in how they use facial recognition technology There should be notice when video surveillance and facial recognition technology are used together in public or commercial settings “New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” the blog concludes. “Instead, there should be open, honest and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced.” “We will continue to work with partners across industry, government, academia and community groups on this topic because we strongly believe that facial recognition is an important, even critical, tool for business, government and law enforcement use.” Originally published March 19 and updated as new developments occur. Share your voice 16 Tags Now playing: Watch this: Smart Home Sci-Tech Tech Industry Security Amazon Facial recognitionlast_img read more

Apple and Qualcomm settle Heres what it means for your next iPhone

first_img 51 The frenemies have made up.Apple and Qualcomm settled a two-year-old battle over patent licensing on Tuesday, a reconciliation that ended a trial that had started just a day earlier. The companies, which had been fighting in courts in China, Germany and other countries, in addition to the US, will end all worldwide litigation.Cupertino, California-based Apple will make an unspecified payment to Qualcomm, according to a joint statement. The companies have also reached a six-year licensing agreement that includes a two-year option to extend and a multiyear chipset supply agreement. The agreement went into effect on April 1, the companies said.The companies didn’t say what prompted the change of heart. As recently as January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone maker wasn’t in talks with Qualcomm. Analysts speculated that Apple’s need for 5G chips might have spurred the iPhone maker to negotiate, a view backed up by a Nikkei report that said the company had tested Qualcomm 5G chips as the companies explored a settlement. Shortly after the settlement was announced, Intel, an Apple supplier, said it was exiting the 5G phone modem business.Neither Apple nor Qualcomm commented beyond their statement.The decision set the San Diego courtroom the companies were appearing in abuzz. Apple and its contract manufacturers had presented their opening arguments and a lawyer for Qualcomm had nearly finished when the announcement was made. A day earlier, the sides had selected a jury that included a pilot, a retired nurse and a former pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. The settlement is the latest twist in a fight that could put your iPhone at risk. San Diego-based Qualcomm supplies network connectivity chips for Apple’s iPhones and is the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips. Its technology is essential for connecting phones to cellular networks. The company derives a significant portion of its revenue from licensing its inventions to hundreds of device makers, with the fee based on the value of the phone, not the components. Qualcomm owns patents related to 3G, 4G and 5G phones — as well as other features like software — so any handset makers building a device that connects to the networks has to pay it a licensing fee, even if they don’t use Qualcomm’s chips.Qualcomm and Apple are fighting over patents and licensing fees. That includes Apple. The company makes its own applications processor — the brains of the iPhone — but it relies on third-party chips for network connectivity. From the iPhone 4S in 2011 to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in 2015, the sole supplier for those chips was Qualcomm. The following year, Apple started using Intel modems in some models of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but it still used Qualcomm in versions for Verizon and Sprint.  It continued that trend in 2017, but Apple’s latest phones — the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, only use Intel 4G chips. Apple blamed Qualcomm, though Qualcomm said it would like to supply to Apple. Still, Apple’s move to 5G could be held up by not working with Qualcomm.  Hours after Apple and Qualcomm settled, Intel said it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business. The chipmaker had been working on a processor for Apple that was expected to appear in iPhones next year. But recently concerns had emerged that the chip wouldn’t be ready until the 2021 iPhones.”The company will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020,” Intel said in a press release. Its only customer in modems is Apple. It’s unclear whether the terms of the settlement address Apple’s argument that it should pay a royalty fee based only on the value of Qualcomm’s connectivity chips, not the entire device. It says Qualcomm is “effectively taxing Apple’s innovation” and that Apple “shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with.” Its manufacturing partners, like Foxconn, agree.  Qualcomm is one of the key component suppliers to Samsung and other phone makers (including Apple, until 2018). Without a modem in your device, you wouldn’t be able to hail a Lyft to take you home or check Facebook while you’re waiting in line at a food truck. What technology does Qualcomm make? Along with its processors, Qualcomm invents a lot of technology that’s used in mobile devices. The company says it’s invested more than $40 billion in research and development over the past three decades, and its patent portfolio contains more than 130,000 issued patents and patent applications worldwide. The technology is centered on cellular communications and includes both standard essential patents and nonessential patents. (Standard essential patents are technologies that are vital to a device. They have to be licensed at fair and reasonable terms. Nonessential patents don’t have those requirements.) Some Qualcomm patents relate to multimedia standards, mobile operating systems, user interfaces, displays, power management, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even airplane mode. The company is also the pioneer of CDMA, the 3G mobile network standard used by Verizon and Sprint, and it’s innovated in 4G and 5G network connectivity. “Qualcomm’s inventions are necessary for the entire cellular network to function — they are not limited to technologies in modem chipsets or even cell phones,” Qualcomm said in a filing.  Some iPhones may face US ban in Apple-Qualcomm legal tussle FTC says Qualcomm is a monopoly, case should proceed iPhone 8 may miss one key feature already in the Galaxy S8 Share your voice Phones Components Tech Industry Apple, Qualcomm go head-to-head — with billions at stake 28 Photos What prompted the fight between Apple and Qualcomm?It all came down to money. Apple said Qualcomm charges too much in licensing fees for its mobile technology. Qualcomm said the iPhone (and other mobile devices) wouldn’t be possible without its technology. Qualcomm also accused Apple of infringing its patents for technology like power management. What did Apple say in its complaints? In part: “For many years, Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with. The more Apple innovates with unique features such as TouchID, advanced displays, and cameras, to name just a few, the more money Qualcomm collects for no reason and the more expensive it becomes for Apple to fund these innovations.” What did Qualcomm say? In part: “Apple’s goal is clear — to leverage its immense power to force Qualcomm into accepting less than fair value for the patented technologies that have led innovation in cellular technology and helped Apple generate more than $760 billion in iPhone sales.” How did the legal battle start? There’s been a lot of legal back and forth, but here are the basics. Apple initially filed suit against Qualcomm in January 2017 in the US, saying the company didn’t offer fair licensing terms for its mobile technology. Qualcomm fired back in April of that year, denying all Apple’s allegations and accusing Apple of breach of contract and of interfering with agreements and relationships Qualcomm has with contract manufacturers. Apple continues to use our technology and not pay for it. They’ve really left us no choice but to say, ‘You’ve got to stop this.’ Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel 3:14 iPhone XS, XS Max and XR: 27 tips and tricks to master Apple’s latest phones Comments Tags See also Apple, through its manufacturers, stopped paying Qualcomm’s licensing fees for iPhones sold in the March quarter of 2017. That caused Qualcomm to pursue legal action to get paid. What’s up with the ITC?Qualcomm also filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission in July 2017, asking that some iPhones that used Intel chips be banned from import and sale in the US because Apple allegedly infringed six of Qualcomm’s patents. It also filed suit against Apple in the Southern District of California. Technology companies in recent years have increasingly turned to the ITC to settle their disputes. Companies can pursue an ITC case in parallel with civil lawsuits. “Apple continues to use our technology and not pay for it,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, said in an interview after filing its lawsuits. “They’ve really left us no choice but to say, ‘You’ve got to stop this.'” In January 2018, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board said it would review three Qualcomm patents at issue in its ITC cases against Apple. Such a review can result in the patents being invalidated. One of the patents, No. 9,535,490, is the key patent asserted by Qualcomm in its lawsuit suit against Apple. It covers “power saving techniques in computing devices” that help reduce the electricity consumption by phones.About 64 percent of the time following an IPR review, all patent claims are invalidated, according to a trial statistics report by the USPTO. And 17 percent of the time, some claims are invalidated. In March 2018, the ITC handed down two separate decisions. One found in favor of Qualcomm while the other sided with Apple. In one case, a judge said Apple’s iPhones have infringed a Qualcomm patent and should be banned from sale. But a full commission review in a second, separate case said Apple didn’t infringe Qualcomm patents and dismissed that suit. It also said it found that Qualcomm’s patents aren’t valid.  Meeting in court What happened in the March trial?The first trial between Apple and Qualcomm was all about patents. Qualcomm in July 2017 accused Apple of infringing six non-standard-essential patents, but only three ended up making it to court. One patent allows a smartphone to quickly connect to the internet once the device is turned on. Another deals with graphics processing and battery life. The third lets apps on your phone download data more easily by directing traffic between the apps processor and the modem.A jury ultimately decided that Apple violated all three of Qualcomm’s patents and said it should pay the chipmaker $31 million — or $1.41 per iPhone — for infringing on its technology. The jury awarded Qualcomm the full amount it had requested at the start of the two-week trial, which took place in San Diego.What about the April trial?The April trial that was just settled was supposed to be the big one. It relates to Apple’s initial complaint, in which it sued Qualcomm for allegedly unfair licensing terms. Apple also said Qualcomm sought to punish it for cooperating in a South Korean investigation into Qualcomm’s licensing practices by withholding a $1 billion rebate. Apple wants a court to lower the amount it pays Qualcomm in licensing fees, as well as order the return of the $1 billion.  Qualcomm maintains that no modern handset — including the iPhone — would have been possible “without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” In its response to Apple’s filing, the company made its own counterclaims, including breach of contract and unfair competition. It also asked for an unspecified amount in damages and said Apple had interfered with its relationship with contract manufacturers. In May 2017, Qualcomm filed a lawsuit against Apple’s iPhone manufacturers that alleged breach of contract. The suit came less than a month after Apple stopped paying patent royalties for Qualcomm technology that’s essential for connecting phones to a wireless network. In July 2017, those four iPhone makers joined Apple by filing a suit against Qualcomm, alleging it used its market position to charge excessive royalties. The four companies are Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron, Compal Electronics and Pegatron. They’re seeking at least $9 billion in damages, which could be tripled to $27 billion under antitrust law.  Patents and more patents How does Qualcomm’s licensing business work? Some companies license patents on an individual basis; Qualcomm licenses all its patents as a group. For a set fee — based on the selling price of the end device, typically a phone — the device maker gets to use all of Qualcomm’s technology. It’s been the norm in the mobile industry for patent holders to base their licensing fees on the total value of a handset, so Qualcomm isn’t alone there. Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE also charge licensing fees based on the total device. Any company that makes a device that connects to a mobile network has to pay Qualcomm a licensing fee, even if it doesn’t use Qualcomm chips. Part of the dispute between Apple and Qualcomm is that Apple believes its licensing fee should be based on the Qualcomm chip used in the device, not the entire phone. “They do some really great work around standards-essential patents, but it’s one small part of what an iPhone is,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in May 2017. “It has nothing do with the display or the Touch ID or a gazillion other innovations that Apple has done. And so we don’t think that’s right, and so we’re taking a principled stand on it.” Who licenses Qualcomm’s technology? Qualcomm licenses its technology to more than 340 companies, particularly phone vendors. It doesn’t license its patents to chipmakers, though, which is something governments and Apple have taken issue with. Qualcomm argues that chipmakers don’t need licenses because the handset makers already cover the cost of using its technology. Apple licenses Qualcomm’s technology through its manufacturers, like Foxconn, instead of having a license of its own. Apple said during the January trial that it’s been trying for five years to negotiate a direct license with Qualcomm but that the terms offered — like cross-licensing Apple’s technology — weren’t fair. Apple’s manufacturing partners are also involved in the legal disputes.  In April 2017, Apple said it stopped paying Qualcomm royalties for devices sold during the March quarter. Qualcomm accused the manufacturers of breach of contract. Qualcomm in October said that Apple owes it $7 billion in patent licensing fees. So what’s Qualcomm’s licensing fee? Qualcomm’s licensing fees are based on the total value of a device ($999 in the case of the iPhone XS) versus the value of a chip (closer to $20), but they’re also capped at a certain level. The FTC-Qualcomm battle revealed specific details about Qualcomm’s licensing fees, including the rate Apple paid. Apple partners paid Qualcomm a licensing fee five times higher than it thought was fair, Apple COO Jeff Williams testified during the FTC trial. Apple wanted to pay $1.50 per device in royalties to Qualcomm, based on a 5 percent fee for the cost of each $30 modem connecting iPhones to mobile networks. Instead, it ended up paying $7.50 per phone, he said.  “The whole idea of a percentage of the cost of the phone didn’t make sense to us,” Williams said. “It struck at our very core of fairness. At the time we were making something really, really different.” Still, Apple agreed to the rate since it was lower than what Qualcomm wanted to charge the contract manufacturers — a 5 percent fee for every iPhone sold, which would equate to about $12 to $20 per device, Williams said. A rebate agreement dropped that to $7.50 per iPhone, and the level stayed steady over the years. In November 2017, Chinese handset makers started paying Qualcomm royalties for its 3G and 4G patents at 3.25 percent of the selling price of every phone sold in that country. Qualcomm later rolled that rate out across its licensing base. It also capped the value of handsets, which its royalty is based on, at $400, even if a device sold for triple that. And Qualcomm’s cap for a full portfolio license is $20 per device and $13 for only Qualcomm’s essential patents.  By comparison, in one of its patent battles with Samsung, Apple argued it deserved $40 per device for Samsung’s infringement of five patents, as well as lost profits, for a total of $2.19 billion. A jury ultimately ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for infringing three of Apple’s five patents that related to software features like “quick links” and “slide to unlock.” And in the March patent trial between Apple and Qualcomm, a jury decided that three non-essential patents from Qualcomm were worth $1.41 per iPhone. Does Intel factor into this? When Apple first launched the iPhone a decade ago, it used modems from Germany’s Infineon. That went on for the next three years until Apple switched to Qualcomm in 2011. Intel bought Infineon in 2011, but its chips didn’t appear in the iPhone again until 2016’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. At that time, US models running on networks from AT&T and T-Mobile started using Intel processors, while Verizon and Sprint versions used Qualcomm. Intel is now the sole supplier of iPhone modems.  Qualcomm has accused Apple of giving trade secrets to Intel. In September, it said in a lawsuit that Apple gave Intel engineers confidential information, including Qualcomm source code and log files, to overcome flaws in their company’s chips used in iPhones. Qualcomm said in a complaint that Apple uses this “second source of chipsets” to pressure it in business negotiations. The new complaint from Qualcomm is an amendment to the November 2017 suit filed against Apple. Qualcomm said newly uncovered facts have given rise to additional charges against the iPhone maker, including trade secret appropriation and breach of agreement. Other legal battles What’s going on between Apple and Qualcomm outside the US? Apple has filed lawsuits against Qualcomm in China and the UK, while Qualcomm has responded with countersuits in China and Germany.  In early December 2018, a Chinese court ordered four of Apple’s Chinese subsidiaries to stop importing or selling iPhones because of patent infringement. The patents involve technology that lets iPhone users adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and manage applications using a touchscreen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications. Later that same month, a court in Munich found that Apple infringed Qualcomm’s technology for power savings in smartphones and ruled that the iPhone maker must halt sales of the device in Germany. Apple in February resumed selling its iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in Germany again, but it only offered models with Qualcomm chips. Apple stopped using chips from Intel in the older devices in order to comply with the German court decision.  In January, a different German court, in Mannheim, dismissed Qualcomm’s latest claims against Apple, calling them unfounded. The second German case is related to something called “bulk tension,” or voltage, in iPhones. The ruling from a regional court said Apple didn’t infringe Qualcomm’s patents because voltage in smartphones isn’t constant. It dismissed the claim, but Qualcomm is appealing.  What other legal issues are facing Qualcomm? Qualcomm has come under a lot of regulatory scrutiny in recent years for alleged monopolistic practices. In China in early 2015, Qualcomm agreed to pay a $975 million fine and lower its licensing fees to settle the dispute in that country. South Korea slapped the company with a $850 million fine the following year, which Qualcomm is appealing. The EU in early 2018 fined Qualcomm $1.23 billion for paying Apple to use only its chips, something Qualcomm also is appealing. And in August of that year, the company reached a settlement with Taiwan, where the country would keep the $93 million Qualcomm had paid, but the company wouldn’t owe anything more.Meanwhile, in March 2019, the Japan Fair Trade Commission decided that Qualcomm wasn’t a monopoly after all, reversing its decision from about a decade ago.The US has also accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly, and that went to court in January 2019. There’s not yet a decision in that case. What was Qualcomm’s battle with the FTC about? The FTC sued Qualcomm in 2017, and the case went to trial in San Jose two years later. The US government has accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with Qualcomm exclusively and charging “excessive” licensing fees for its technology, in part by wielding its “no license, no chips” policy. Qualcomm’s practices prevented rivals from entering the market, drove up the cost of phones and in turn hurt consumers, who faced higher handset prices, the FTC said.  The FTC argued that Qualcomm used its power in the 3G and 4G chip market to force handset makers into the unfair licensing deals. If Qualcomm isn’t stopped, the FTC said, it’ll do the same thing in the 5G market. Qualcomm said the FTC’s lawsuit is based on “flawed legal theory.” It’s also said customers choose its chips because they’re the best and that it’s never stopped providing processors to customers, even when they’re battling over licenses. It also said its royalty practices didn’t hurt competitors. Intel now supplies all modems for Apple’s iPhones, MediaTek is the world’s second-biggest wireless chipmaker, and Samsung and Huawei have developed their own modems.  Executives from tech’s biggest companies testified about Qualcomm’s licensing practices during January’s trial, revealing the inner workings of the smartphone industry. The FTC and Qualcomm presented their closing arguments Jan. 29, and it’s now up to Judge Lucy Koh to decide the verdict. At the same time, the two sides continue to negotiate a possible settlement. How did Apple factor into that case? The FTC complaint specifically related to how Qualcomm dealt with Apple. The US government said that Qualcomm forced Apple to pay licensing fees for its technology in exchange for using its chips in iPhones. It also argued that Qualcomm used its position to demand unreasonably high licensing fees and hurt competition by refusing to license its technology to chip rivals.  “Qualcomm recognized that any competitor that won Apple’s business would become stronger, and used exclusivity to prevent Apple from working with and improving the effectiveness of Qualcomm’s competitors,” the FTC said in a statement at the time it filed its lawsuit. During the trial, the FTC called Apple COO Jeff Williams and VP of Procurement Tony Blevins to the stand. Williams testified that that Qualcomm refused to sell modems to Apple for 2018 iPhones because of the companies’ licensing dispute. And Blevins said Apple wanted to build an Intel communication chip into its iPad Mini 2, released in fall 2013, but Qualcomm’s hardball business methods crushed the plan. Matthias Sauer, an Apple executive and a witness called by Qualcomm, testified that Intel’s modems didn’t meet the technical standards required for the company’s iPhones in 2014. Though Intel also couldn’t meet Apple’s chip requirements for the iPad, it would’ve used them anyway, he said, had Qualcomm not offered incentives to stay with its chips.  The next iPhone What does this mean for my next iPhone? Most people don’t really care about what chips are inside their devices, but Qualcomm has a big advantage over Intel: speed.  In mid-February 2019, Qualcomm unveiled the X55 processor, the first modem capable of running on everything from 2G to 5G networks. It’s capable of 7.5 Gbps download speeds and will be in devices in late 2019. Qualcomm’s previous modem, the X50, will be in devices released over the coming months. That includes the 5G Moto Mod, which is now on sale alongside the Moto Z3 for Verizon’s 5G networks. Most carriers are just starting to turn on their 5G networks, and smartphone companies are still prepping their first 5G devices. Many major Android vendors — including Samsung, Huawei and LG — unveiled 5G phones at or just ahead of MWC 2019 in February. The initial 5G phones will use the X50 modem, which can deliver download speeds up of 5 Gbps.  By the 2019 holiday season, every major Android vendor in the US will have a 5G phone available using Qualcomm chips.  Intel doesn’t yet have a 5G chip on the market, but it said its 5G modem will be ready for commercial devices in the second half of 2019, with broader deployment in 2020. There are some concerns, though, that the modem could be delayed. What about a 5G iPhone? 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than our current 4G LTE wireless technology and 10 times speedier than what Google Fiber offers through a physical connection to the home. Experts say it should enable uses like virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as things we can’t even think of today.  But Apple may be behind with the technology. The company wanted to use Qualcomm’s 4G LTE processors in its 2018 iPhones, but the chipmaker wouldn’t work with Apple, Apple’s Williams testified in the FTC trial.  Qualcomm continues to provide Apple with chips for its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, he said. But it wouldn’t provide Apple with processors for the newest iPhones for 2018, designed since the two began fighting over patents, he said.  “The strategy was to dual-source in 2018 as well,” Williams in January. “We were working toward doing that with Qualcomm, but in the end they would not support us or sell us chips.” Williams’ comments appeared to contradict testimony from Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf from earlier in the FTC trial. He said on the stand that as of spring 2018, Qualcomm still was trying to win a contract supplying chips for iPhones but that it hadn’t “had any new business” from Apple since its previous contracts expired. Because of the trial’s evidence date limitations, he wasn’t allowed to discuss the current state of Qualcomm’s business with Apple. Other Qualcomm executives have made comments in recent months about their willingness to supply processors to Apple. During an earnings call in July 2018, Cristiano Amon, the head of Qualcomm’s chip business, said that “if the opportunity present itself, I think we will be a supplier of Apple.” And in September, financial chief George Davis said during a Citi conference, “we would welcome the engagement with Apple on 5G.” While many market watchers expect Apple to release a 5G iPhone in 2020, there are some concerns Intel’s chip may not be ready until Apple’s 2021 lineup. That would put Apple about two years behind the Android vendors. If Apple gets a lower licensing fee, would we pay less for iPhones? That’s likely a big fat no. Apple has more leverage over pricing when it has two suppliers to play off each other. It’s highly unlikely that it will pass along any of those savings to all of us. When Apple launched its iPhone X in late 2017, some wondered if the $999 price tag would scare away consumers. Instead, the iPhone X became the best-selling device from the time it hit stores through the end of the June quarter, even though it was the most expensive phone Apple had ever sold. The 5.8-inch device was $300 more than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and $200 more than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. Apple followed up this year with the iPhone XS and the bigger and even pricier XS Max, which starts at $1,099. Apple, facing a slowdown in iPhone sales, needs to generate more money from each device it sells. The company in early January 2019 issued a rare warning — its first in 16 years — that it would fall short of its financial projections in the December quarter. Later that month, it said its sales in the March quarter also would be lower than analysts expected. It pointed to an economic slowdown in China and the country’s “rising trade tensions with the United States” as the main culprits.  Even if Apple pays less for patents, that doesn’t mean we’ll see any benefit from those savings. Its higher prices are likely here to stay.  First published July 9, 2017. Update, March 1, 2019, at 5:30 a.m. PT: Adds details of recent developments, including the FTC-Qualcomm trial, and notes the impending trial dates in March and April. Update, April 11, 2019, at 5 a.m. PT: Adds details of recent developments, including the patent trial from March and the licensing trial in April and May. Update, April 16, 2019, at 2:46 p.m. PT: Adds news of settlement, tweaks throughout. Update, April 16, 2019, at 3:46 p.m. PT: Adds news of Apple testing Qualcomm chips. Update, April 16, 2019, at 5:19 p.m. PT: Adds news of Intel leaving the 5G phone modem business. Qualcomm says its technology is much more than just connectivity. It’s also multimedia, imaging, GPS and countless other inventions that make a phone a phone. Qualcomm even filed for a patent in 2000, seven years before Apple introduced the iPhone, that is one of the first smartphone descriptions and that describes how to conserve power in a smartphone. Without its technology, Qualcomm says, the iPhone wouldn’t be possible. Two years ago, the US Federal Trade Commission sided with Apple and filed an antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm. It accused the company of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with it exclusively and charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. The two met in a San Jose, California, court in January to argue their case before a judge, and Apple provided some of the FTC’s key witnesses and evidence. Qualcomm is awaiting a verdict in that case. It’s unclear at this point if the settlement could affect the San Jose decision.Apple and Qualcomm then faced off directly in March for a patent infringement trial. A jury handed Qualcomm a victory and ordered Apple to pay it $31 million for violating three Qualcomm patents. Here’s what you need to know about this fight:What’s Qualcomm again? You may not know the Qualcomm name (unless you live in its hometown of San Diego and frequent Qualcomm Stadium), but the odds are pretty high you’ve used a device with its technology. Qualcomm is best known for its chips that connect phones to cellular networks, as well as its Snapdragon processors that act as the brains of mobile devices.  We shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with. Apple See also Apple sues Qualcomm over unfair licensing terms Qualcomm fires back at Apple lawsuit, makes claims of its own Apple stops paying Qualcomm’s patent royalties Qualcomm wants Apple manufacturers to pay up Qualcomm-FTC lawsuit: Everything you need to know Now playing: Watch this:last_img read more

IBM introduces new graphene transistor

first_img Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — In a report published in Nature, Yu-ming Lin and Phaedon Avoris, IBM researchers, have announced the development of a new graphene transistor which is smaller and faster than the one they introduced in February of 2010. This new transistor has a cut-off frequency of 155 GHz, compared to the 100 GHz previous transistor. More information: High-frequency, scaled graphene transistors on diamond-like carbon, Nature, 472, 74–78 (07 April 2011) doi:10.1038/nature09979 Graphene is a flat sheet of carbon which is one atom thick and has the ability to conduct electrons at extremely fast speeds. It is quickly on its way to replace the traditional silicon as the top electronic material for faster transistors.Graphene devices have been made previously by placing the graphene sheet on top of an insulating substrate, such as silicon dioxide. However, this substrate can degrade the electronic properties of the graphene. However, the team of researchers has found a solution to minimize that.A diamond-like carbon is placed as the top layer of the substrate on a silicon wafer. The carbon is non-polar dielectric and does not trap or scatter charges as much as the silicon dioxide alone. This new graphene transistor, due to the diamond-like carbon, shows excellent stability in temperature changes, including extremely cold temperatures like that in space.These new high-frequency transistors are being targeted to applications primarily in communications such as mobile phones, internet, and radar. The manufacturing of these new graphene transistors can be accomplished utilizing technologies already in place for standard silicon devices, which means commercial production of these transistors could begin at any time.The transistor development was part of an ongoing research project IBM is doing for the U.S. Department of Defense’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) program. The military is looking to this research to help in the development of high-performance radio frequency transistors. Image credit: Nature, doi:10.1038/nature09979 IBM Scientists Demonstrate World’s Fastest Graphene Transistor © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: IBM introduces new graphene transistor (2011, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-04-ibm-graphene-transistor.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Heres Exactly What You Need to Do to Launch a Mobile App

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Recently, in Entrepreneur, I examined eight different ways your business could benefit from offering a mobile app. These included keeping up with your competitors, solving a problem that your customers face, retaining customer data to simplify  conversions, and effectively managing customer loyalty programs.Related: 4 Steps to Launching a Mobile App Even If You Don’t Know How to Build ItIf you’ve determined that the time is right for your own business to launch a mobile app, you’re certainly not alone. Statista estimated that as of the first quarter of 2018, over 7 million apps were available for download in the leading app stores. Mobile analytics powerhouse App Annie, meanwhile, found that the average U.S. consumer uses mobile apps for two hours and 15 minutes each day — which adds up to over one month during the course of a year.With numbers like that, it’s easy to see how launching an app that your customers adopt and use can be an enormous opportunity for your business. But remember: The quality of your app is paramount. According to a study by Localytics, 71 percent of mobile apps looked at by researchers were uninstalled within 90 days of installation.Real estate on your customer’s mobile devices, then, is valuable; so your app needs to deliver value in order to be retained. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a developer to be able to deliver that value. Here are four ways and (and the corresponding best tools) with which your business can develop and launch a mobile app that your customers will use and retain.The plug-and-play option: BuildfireBuildfire offers customers two options for building a mobile app. You can hire its team of professional developers to create an app for you, or you can utilize its intuitive plug-and-play app builder. The platform has a wide range of templates to suit almost any business type.That’s useful if your service feels less straightforward than apps you may admire. You can also use an assortment of plug-ins to help you customize the functionality, as well as the look-and-feel of your mobile app.Once your app is ready to launch, Buildfire will then submit your app to Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store for Android. A platform like Buildfire works for businesses which have a clear picture of what functions they want and how the app should appear. In terms of the app’s drag and drop interface, the app allows you to test different options until you find one you’re happy with.Buildfire’s built-in emulator will also allow you to test how your app looks and behaves on a wide variety of mobile devices. If you want to build your own mobile app without writing a single line of code, Buildfire is an option worth exploring.The back-end option: FirebaseFirebase is Google’s own mobile development platform and can help you power apps that work on iOS, Android and the web. While Firebase eliminates the need for server-side programming and offers robust database and analytics capabilities, you will still need to develop the front-end of your mobile app ( i.e., the part of the app your customer sees).For people who don’t know how to code, the Firebase option is less user-friendly than platforms like Buildfire, but its powerful database functionality handles all the heavy lifting on the back-end once your client-side app is developed.The DIY approachIf you’re the type of person who likes to get your hands dirty and aren’t intimidated by learning to write code, building your own mobile app from scratch may just be the right challenge for you.Though considerably more time-consuming and demanding than using an intuitive solution like Buildfire or hiring a developer, building your mobile app yourself not only offers greater control and flexibility over the final product, but provides a significant learning opportunity. One of the benefits of having built your app from the ground up is that you will be well-positioned to make detailed improvements and customize your app, based on user feedback.Related: 6 Reasons Why You Should Launch a Mobile App for Your Business — and 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’tWriting code is no longer as daunting a prospect as it once was, and there are a wealth of web-based resources and communities of freelance web developers offering step-by-step tutorials on mobile app development.The freelance approachIf you’ve concluded that a mobile app could be a significant boon to your business; if you’re looking for customization in design and functionality beyond what a template-based approach can offer; or if you need to build an app quickly, there are few (if any) substitutes for hiring an experienced developers.While finding the right developer with appropriate experience and expertise can be a challenge, professional platforms such as CodementorX screen their freelance web developers stringently and even offer a risk-free trial period to ensure the developer is a good fit for your project.Final thoughtsAccording to Statista, over 52 percent of website traffic took place on mobile devices in 2018. As more and more aspects of our online lives move to mobile devices, developing a mobile app for your business is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury.Related: The Real Costs of Building a Mobile App for iOS and AndroidThankfully, this reality has helped create a vast pool of talented mobile app designers who can help you develop a highly customized mobile app at a very competitive price and lead to plug-and-play solutions like Buildfire. The future is mobile; isn’t it time for your business to be part of it? Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals July 25, 2018 5 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.last_img read more

Trump hotel in Washington rises as luxury oasis from campaign chaos

first_img Share Posted by Travelweek Group WASHINGTON — Donald Trump may be spending most of his days inside the frantic hurricane of the presidential campaign, but inside his new hotel in Washington, calm and luxury prevail.Staff members offer impeccable service, serving Champagne to guests waiting to check in and preparing rooms with turned-down covers and bedside chocolates. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., says he’s confident the Trump International Hotel fronting Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House will be a place for both Democrats and Republicans — no matter who wins.“It’s not designed to be a partisan hotel,” Trump Jr. said. “It’s a luxury hotel for all of D.C.”That remains to be seen. Hundreds of people protested outside the hotel during the ribbon-cutting Wednesday. The rally started as a protest demanding that Trump recognize union representation for workers at a Las Vegas hotel, but it broadened into a larger anti-Trump event.Trump attended the ribbon-cutting, calling it a “metaphor for what we can accomplish” and taking precious time away from an apparently sagging campaign.He summed up the project with only a few words: “under budget and ahead of schedule.” And he noted the renovation and operation of the hotel had created hundreds of jobs.The Trump Organization agreed to open the hotel by 2018 and invest $200 million in it in a deal with the federal government, which owns the site. A Trump website describes the project as costing $200 million, so it was unclear what the “under budget” statement referred to.The hotel staff appears as diverse as any workforce in America — despite Trump’s divisive remarks about immigrants, Muslims and other ethnic groups. A note atop the Gideon Bible in every guest room states that Qurans and other holy books are available upon request, a standard amenity at luxury hotels.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Trump supporter Brenda Dunaway, at the 263-room hotel with friends for lunch Wednesday, stood in the lobby beneath chandeliers and a soaring glass roof and gave her approval. “It’s beautiful and tastefully done,” she said. “I hope it’s a big success.”Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric led two celebrity chefs, Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian, to back out of running restaurants in the hotel, but David Burke’s Prime BLT is open in the lobby. Burke was on hand Tuesday night to chat with diners. No second restaurant has been announced.The five-star Trump International Hotel is located in an 1899 landmark, the Old Post Office, which was in disrepair when the Trump Organization won a bid from the federal government to turn it into a hotel in 2013.Nina Gardner, a consultant who lives in the area, decided to attend the protest when she heard about it Wednesday morning. “I’m totally against Donald Trump and his candidacy,” she said.She has friends who are boycotting Ivanka Trump’s clothing and jewelry line, and she predicted his campaign would “end up hurting his business.”Rates at Trump hotels have been falling and some residents of a Trump apartment building in New York are trying to have the name removed. But Ivanka Trump insisted all was well as she stood by her father’s side Wednesday: “Our business at Trump Hotels continues to thrive.”Rates start around $400 most nights but cheapest rooms were over $600 for the night before Trump’s visit. Suites run into the thousands. Some five-star D.C. hotels charge much more.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksThe hotel’s renovation has been criticized for an excess of glitz and gold leaf — signature Trump decor — while covering up marble floors with carpets and walls with drapes. The Trumps defend the renovation as a mix of old and new.John Cullinane, an architect who worked on the project early on but left, had been among its critics, but declined to comment when reached by phone, saying the Trumps had sent him a letter threatening legal action.The hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, said the hotel’s prime D.C. location and 300,000 square feet of meeting space, along with the city’s largest luxury ballroom, ensures its success. He said the hotel had already hosted two weddings and “board of director meetings from major corporations,” but declined to identify any of the groups.A clock tower that’s part of the Old Post Office has traditionally been open to the public, offering views of the city from one of the highest points in Washington. It’s closed for renovations, but Donald Trump Jr. said it should be open by the end of the year and will be operated by the National Park Service.Rick Tyler, former spokesman for Trump’s primary rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, said that “because it’s in D.C., there’s a layer of political consideration” among potential hotel guests. “But my guess is Donald Trump will lose and people will more or less forget about that,” he said. “Very few will make a decision about staying there based on Donald Trump’s candidacy.” << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Friday, October 28, 2016 Tags: Donald Trump, Trump Hotels Trump hotel in Washington rises as luxury oasis from campaign chaoslast_img read more