Aug 08

Americans’ Wireless Data Usage Continues to Skyrocket Report Says

CellLifestyleShotFromATT_0CTIA Annual Wireless Industry Survey

CTIA’s annual wireless industry survey develops industry-wide information drawn from operational member and non-member wireless service providers. It has been conducted since January 1985, originally as a cellular-only survey instrument, and now including PCS, ESMR, AWS and 700 MHz license holders. No break-out of results specific to spectrum bands or licenses is performed. Previously a semi-annual survey, it is now released annually.

The information solicited from the service providers includes: direct employment, number of cell sites, total service revenues, capital investment and other metrics.

The CTIA survey also develops information on the number of reported wireless subscriber units or “connections” for the responding systems, and an estimated total wireless connections figure (taking into account non-responding systems).

To preview the report look at the Annual Year-End 2016 Top-Line Survey Results.

wireless snapshot

The report is available for purchase. If you would like to purchase the report, it is available here, at a member or non-member price. Annual subscriptions are also available.

 

Key Mobile Trends in the United States
2015 2016
Subscriber Connections 377.9M 395.9M Up 4.8%
Smartphones 228.3M 261.9M Up 14.7%
Tablets 41.0M 47.9M Up 16.7%
Data Traffic 9.65T 13.72T Up 42.2%
SMS Traffic 1.89T 1.66T Down 12.1%
MMS Traffic 218.5B 277.9B Up 27.2%
Wireless Penetration 115.7% 120.6% Up 4.2%

 

Methodology

The Annual Wireless Industry Survey is completely voluntary and thus does not yield a 100 percent response rate from all service providers. However, the survey has an excellent response rate. For the December 31, 2016, installment of the survey, CTIA aggregated data from companies serving over 97 percent of all estimated wireless subscriber connections.

Because not all systems do respond, CTIA develops an estimate of total wireless connections. The estimate is developed by determining the identity and character of non-responding markets (e.g., RSA/MSA or equivalent-market designation, age of system, market population), and using surrogate penetration and growth rates applicable to similar, known systems to derive probable subscribership. These numbers are then summed with the reported subscriber connection numbers to reach the total estimated figures.

No carrier-specific or market-specific information is maintained as a result of the survey. All such information is aggregated by an independent accounting firm to a nationwide level. The underlying source material for the survey is then destroyed per confidentiality agreements.

Read the Wireless Snapshot 2017 [PDF]

 

Last Updated May 2017

Aug 08

We All Agree on the Need for a Balanced Spectrum Policy

spectrum

In an era of sharply divided views, it’s refreshing to see policymakers of all political stripes line up behind the idea that responding to this country’s mobile broadband needs requires the right balance of licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

At a recent Senate Commerce Hearing on FCC nominations, many participants recognized the need for additional spectrum to support growing demand for mobile broadband. Several specifically pointed out the need for a balance of licensed and unlicensed spectrum to ensure that diverse services and business models in the wireless space all continue to thrive. Chairman Pai noted that “there is no telling what innovators will pioneer” with unlicensed spectrum, while now-confirmed Commissioner Rosenworcel stated that “unlicensed spectrum powers our lives…and we’re going to need more of it.” Senator Hassan recognized the Commission’s good work in advancing a balanced spectrum policy, while Senator Gardner noted the importance of a mix of spectrum to continue economic progress.

The FCC is on the right path toward opening up new frequencies for licensed and unlicensed use. It just granted the first 600 MHz wireless licenses after the historic broadcast incentive auction. It is likely to consider in the near term modest changes to the 3.5 GHz rules that will support investment in both licensed and lightly-licensed networks. It is considering how best to balance the need for licensed and unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum in its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding. And, according to a recent blog by Commissioner O’Rielly, “there is a good chance the Commission will open the 5.9 GHz band for sharing between auto safety systems and unlicensed services.”

Chairman Pai has set an ambitious FCC agenda, and it’s important to ensure that these spectrum priorities, especially unlicensed spectrum priorities, don’t get lost in the shuffle. Companies continue to innovate and deploy in the unlicensed bands, and consumer demand for unlicensed services continues to grow. Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index predicts that in the United States, Fixed/Wi-Fi IP traffic will reach 34.0 Exabytes per month in 2021, up from 10.9 Exabytes per month in 2016, a more than three-fold increase.

To support growing demand and new innovations in the unlicensed space and follow through on its commitment to a balanced spectrum policy, the Commission should in the near-term:

                 Authorize unlicensed use of the 5.9 GHz band, which is critical to supporting Gigabit Wi-Fi

                Maintain its designation of 64-71 GHz for unlicensed use and consider additional high-frequency unlicensed spectrum designations

We look forward to working with the FCC on a balanced spectrum policy plan that will continue to support the growth of America’s broadband networks. To learn more about how spectrum policy can change the way we use the internet, see NCTA’s page on the future of Wi-Fi.

Aug 08

As seen in Diversity Inc. Google CEO Defends Employee’s Right to Express Unpopular Views, Condemns ‘Harmful’ Portions

sundar-pichai

CEO Sundar Pichai said “much of what was in” misogynistic memo from engineer “is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority … disagree,” but said language “advancing harmful gender stereotypes” was “not OK.” The employee reportedly has been fired. By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio / August 8, 2017

 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has broken his silence regarding the misogynist memo penned by one of the company’s engineers, who had reportedly been fired, according to media outlets. According to Pichai, while the memo was harmful to the company’s women, the employee had every right to author it.

Related Story: Google Engineer’s Anti-Diversity Memo Displays Company’s Misogynist Culture

Top leaders at the company demonstrated their own worst practices by hiding behind a statement from their brand new head of diversity, who has only been on the job for a couple of weeks.

The engineer has been identified by media outlets as James Damore, who had worked for Google since 2013, according to the New York Times. Bloomberg reported that Damore had been fired, and the Times reported that Damore confirmed this in an email. Damore also reported to the Times that he is seeking legal action against Google.

Meanwhile, in a company memo titled “Our Words Matter,” Pichai’s first point is that employees may enjoy freedom of expression — no matter whom their words may harm.

“First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it,” Pichai wrote.

At the same time, Pichai also acknowledged that the note not only violated the company’s code of conduct, it “clearly impacted” many of Google’s employees and also “advanc[ed] harmful stereotypes.”

Pichai went back and forth between defending Damore’s right to free speech while also indicating that his words do in fact matter when it comes to Google’s female employees:

“Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being ‘agreeable’ rather than ‘assertive,’ showing a ‘lower stress tolerance,’ or being ‘neurotic.’

“At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint).”

After giving employees the green light to “express themselves” in a way that could create a hostile work environment for certain employees, he then suggested staff members “make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own.”

What Pichai does not address strongly enough is the consequences Damore’s words have on Google’s work environment.

Yonatan Zunger worked at Google as an engineer for 14 years and just left his position this month. Despite no longer working for the tech giant, Zunger on Aug. 5th penned a blog post of “the thing which I would have posted internally … because it’s relevant not just to Google, but to everyone else in tech.”

According to Zunger, the most serious issue with Damore’s diatribe is “the author does not appear to understand the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself.”

Directly addressing the writer of the manifesto (Damore had not been publicly identified at the time of Zunger’s blog post), Zunger wrote:

“What you just did was incredibly stupid and harmful. You just put out a manifesto inside the company arguing that some large fraction of your colleagues are at root not good enough to do their jobs, and that they’re only being kept in their jobs because of some political ideas. And worse than simply thinking these things or saying them in private, you’ve said them in a way that’s tried to legitimize this kind of thing across the company, causing other people to get up and say ‘wait, is that right?’”

Zunger continued by describing the “textbook hostile work environment” directly resulting from Damore’s post.

“And as for its impact on you: Do you understand that at this point, I could not in good conscience assign anyone to work with you? I certainly couldn’t assign any women to deal with this, a good number of the people you might have to work with may simply punch you in the face, and even if there were a group of like-minded individuals I could put you with, nobody would be able to collaborate with them. You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment.”

While Pichai noted that Damore’s words were allegedly intended to open a discussion about different perspectives, Zunger rejected this notion, pointing out that this viewpoint would not — and should not — be welcome in most work environments.

“If you feel isolated by this, that your views are basically unwelcome in tech and can’t be spoken about… well, that’s a fair point. These views are fundamentally corrosive to any organization they show up in, drive people out, and I can’t think of any organization not specifically dedicated to those views that they would be welcome in. I’m afraid that’s likely to remain a serious problem for you for a long time to come. But our company is committed to maintaining a good environment for all of its people, and if one person is determined to thwart that, the solution is pretty clear.”

Erica Baker, also a former employee at Google, wrote a blog post as well, saying she was “disappointed but not surprised” to hear about the manifesto.

She called Damore’s actions “not entirely new behavior” when it comes to Google. But the fact that Damore felt comfortable enough to internally display his sexist views did strike Baker by surprise.

According to Baker, this point raised an important question: “why is the environment at Google such that racists and sexists feel supported and safe in sharing these views in the company?

“What about the company culture sends the message that sharing sexism and racism will be accepted?” Baker wrote. “What message and values have past words, actions and lack thereof sent to the employees at Google. What has shaped the culture thus far, to get to this point?”

Rajan Patel, currently a senior director at Google, posted on Twitter an email he sent to his team following the misogynist memo’s release. In his email he flatly says, “I wholly disagree with the intent and arguments made in that document.”

“And if you believe that there are intrinsic differences within gender, race, religion, sexuality, or other groups that make one a better human, then time will prove you wrong if history hasn’t already.”

Please read letter and tweet More

Aug 08

Google Engineer’s Anti-Diversity Memo Displays Company’s Misogynist Culture

“It’s not worth thinking about this as an isolated incident and instead a manifestation of what ails all of Silicon Valley.” says Jose Marquez, CEO of @Techlatino: the National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology. “We have been saying this all along.” 

googlesfuture

Update 8/5/17 6:39 PM: This post has been updated to note that Google has written a memo to its employees about the document. A link to the full contents of the document has also been added.

At least eight Google employees tweeted Friday about a document that was circulated within the company calling for replacing Google’s diversity initiatives with policies that encourage “ideological diversity” instead. The document, which is the personal opinion of one senior software engineer, was shared on a company mailing list but has since gone “internally viral,” according to a Google employee who spoke with Motherboard.

Motherboard has not viewed the full document, but a screenshot we reviewed shows it’s titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” [Update: Motherboard has published a full copy of the document.] Descriptions of its contents were tweeted publicly by Google employees, and it was described in detail to me by a Google employee, who requested anonymity because of the company’s notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. (A lawsuit against the company was filed in a San Francisco court last year over the company’s “spying program” to prevent leaks.) Saturday afternoon, Gizmodo published the full contents of the document.

READ MORE: Internal Reactions to Google Employee’s Manifesto Show Anti-Diversity Views Have Support

The person who wrote the document argued that the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes, according to public tweets from Google employees. It also said Google should not offer programs for underrepresented racial or gender minorities, according to one of the employees I spoke to.

The 10-page Google Doc document was met with derision from a large majority of employees who saw and denounced its contents, according to the employee. But Jaana Dogan, a software engineer at Google, tweeted that some people at the company at least partially agreed with the author; one of our sources said the same (Dogan’s tweets have since been deleted). While the document itself contains the thoughts of just one Google employee, the context in which they were shared—Google is currently being investigated by the Department of Labor for its gender pay gap and Silicon Valley has been repeatedly exposed as a place that discriminates against women and people of color—as well as the private and public response from its workforce are important.

“The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him,” the employee who described the document’s contents to me said.

Please Read Tweets

At Google, “I feel like there’s a lot of pushback from white dudes who genuinely feel like diversity is lowering the bar,” a former engineering employee who wished to remain anonymous because they had signed a non-disclosure agreement told Motherboard.

Motherboard has independently confirmed with multiple Google employees that the document is being widely shared among many of the company’s software engineering teams: “If I had to guess, almost every single woman in engineering has seen it,” the current employee told Motherboard; a separate current employee told me it was being actively read by many employees. At several points on Friday night, the document was inaccessible because too many people were attempting to view it concurrently. Google did not respond to two requests for comment. On Saturday afternoon, Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown responded to the document in a statement sent to Google employees.

The document’s author also wrote that employees with conservative political beliefs are discriminated against at Google and lamented about how “leftist” ideology is harmful. They argue that the company should have a more “open” culture where their viewpoint would be welcomed. The document said that improving racial and gender diversity is less important than making sure conservatives feel comfortable expressing themselves at work.

While the vast majority of Google employees did not support the document’s arguments, some did. According to Dogan, who works on the company’s Go programming language, the document’s author was emboldened by some of the positive responses he got. “The author is now in contact with me explaining why he received *supportive* response,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “If HR does nothing in this case, I will consider leaving this company for real for the first time in five years,” she wrote in a now-deleted threaded tweet.

“It’s not worth thinking about this as an isolated incident and instead a manifestation of what ails all of Silicon Valley,” the employee I spoke to who detailed the document’s contents told me.

Google is currently wrapped up in a dispute with the Department of Labor over what an agency official testified are “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.” Another official told The Guardian in April that it had discovered “compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”

 

 

Aug 08

Why Women Get to No. 2 but are Still Rarely Named CEO

MaryOnly about 6% of the Fortune 500 are led by women CEOs, and a persistent question — a half-century after the stirrings of the modern women’s movement — is why there are not more. Stubborn barriers impede the way even when when men in positions of power genuinely think they want to promote women to the top, per the NYT’s Susan Chira.

 

Worth reading to the end: In a long piece, Chira notably interviews only women either one step removed from the top, at No. 2, or who actually reached the pinnacle of their organization, including some of America’s most powerful businesswomen. The approach eliminates “a lot of the noise surrounding why aren’t there more women at the top. Because they are already at the top. It’s not that they supposedly weren’t ambitious,” says Jody Miller, the CEO of Business Talent Group, speaking to Axios.
Among Chira’s reveals:
  • After a woman reaches the C-suite, “the next rungs of the ladder depend … on prevailing in an environment where everyone is competing for a chance at the top job,” a rough-and-tumble game at which males don’t care much about who gets bruised. Male rivals will attack women executives, because, unlike other men, they often don’t kick back.
  • Ellen Kullman, the former CEO of DuPont, says, “We are never taught to fight for ourselves. I think we tend to be brought up thinking that life’s fair, that you thrive and deliver, and the rest will take care of itself. It actually does work for most of your career. It doesn’t work for that last couple of steps.”
  • Ultimately the dynamic is power, not gender: “When you are talking about a job as coveted and hard to get as CEO, the dynamics of power are as important as anything,” Miller tells Axios.

Many of the findings do not seem much changed from decades ago, among them:

  • “Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary.”
  • “Men remain threatened by assertive women.”
  • “Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.”

The gladiator ring: Recruiter Julie Daum says, “Ultimately at the top of an organization there are fewer and fewer spots, and if you can eliminate an entire class of people, it makes it easier.” And Sally Blount, dean at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, says, “I used to love the word ‘gravitas.’ I now think it’s male code for ‘not like us’ at the highest levels.”

Chira writes, “Many men … sincerely believe they want women to advance,” but then erect barriers preventing that outcome:

  • Some of the women “describe a culture in which men sometimes feel hesitant to give women honest but harsh feedback, which can be necessary for them to ascend, because they fear women may react emotionally.”
  • Dina Dublon, former CFO at JPMorgan Chase, “said male colleagues sometimes told her they were reluctant to have dinner or drinks with female subordinates — important bonding activities in the corporate world — because it might be seen as flirtatious.”

Jul 15

Member Spotlight: Yeny Malaver, 1st VP, Suntrust Bank – A Story of Perseverance and Courage

yeny2Turning $300 into the American Dream. 

 

As a college student studying finance in Colombia, Yeny Malaver, now 37, faced a grim reality: Even once she completed her degree, a career might always be out of reach. “I didn’t have any connections, and in Colombia it’s all about connections,” she says. So in 2001 (and with only $300 in savings), Yeny decided to move to the United States, with plans to finish her degree and gain a foothold in the finance world.

“I had a place to stay, and I had $300, and that was it,” she says. Getting a job to pay the bills was difficult, but holding onto one was even harder, due to the language barrier, sparse connections and limited knowledge as to how things worked in the U.S. Yeny was fired from four different jobs, including one restaurant where she couldn’t memorize the wine list. At another, she was let go after struggling to learn the nuances of English. “I remember the owner yelling at me ‘take the porridge!’ and getting so frustrated, but I’d never heard the word porridge before,” she says.

Making every cent count

To make ends meet with her erratic income, Yeny stretched every cent as far as she possibly could. She commuted six hours a day by foot, train and bus from her home in Maryland to her job in Virginia. She saved the free meals she’d get from work and stretched the leftovers into the next day’s lunch. “Any time they asked if I wanted to stay late, I’d say yes, even if it meant getting home after midnight and walking home in the dark,” she says. “I needed every dollar.”

After four months, she relocated to Miami and found a small apartment with her family. By then, she also had the language skills and confidence to command a steady job at a local restaurant. Yeny bought a small notebook and every night would carefully write down everything she’d earned in tips and everything she spent. “I wanted to go to school so bad, and that goal helped me budget,” she says.

She learned that tuition as an international student at the local college would cost her $1,000 per class—and she had two years of coursework ahead of her to finish her degree. Yeny made just $1,400 a month at the restaurant, yet she managed to put aside $900 each month for tuition. When she had finally saved up enough to enroll and begin classes, she was beaming with excitement.

Achieving the job of her dreams

Yeny balanced her college course load with various side gigs for nearly two years, including a restaurant cashier, but she eventually moved into banking and took a job as a teller. In 2004, she graduated with a B.A. in finance and began climbing the career ladder. Her first post-college job was as a financial analyst. Today, she is a successful product manager, but continues to carefully track her spending. Part of that motivation stems from watching those close to her give into temptation.

“Other immigrant friends, just like me, were not organized,” she says. “They spent lots of money on little things—nice shoes, dinners out—and all these years later they’re in so much debt,” she says. Some spent the entirety of each paycheck on sizable car loans and designer clothes. “Friends used to tell me I was so cheap, that I should let myself splurge more and not budget so much. But I wanted to follow my dreams, and I knew every dollar I saved would get me closer to that,” she says.

Yeny also shares her story with others whenever she can. “The onUp Movement has given me the tools to help others, which makes me feel confident and happy. I constantly try to empower other recent immigrants because I understand their challenges. By budgeting and setting specific goals, we can achieve financial confidence in this country,” she says. “We are just as wonderful and capable as those who were born here.”

Yeny is a 2017 @techLatino Latina of Excellence Georgia.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of SunTrust, and/or any/all of the contributors to this site. This content is educational in nature and is not an advertisement for a loan or business solicitation. It does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

Jul 12

Guest Blogger Congressman Luis V.Gutierrez: “Those With Daca and TPS Should Prepare for the Worst”

After a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Meeting with Department of Human Services Secretary Kelly, it looks like millions of documented immigrants could be made deportable this year.

luisToday I was among the Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to meet with Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security.  In the closed door meeting that lasted more than an hour, Secretary Kelly was questioned about the continuation of the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals); ICE arrests targeting the parents and family of children seeking refuge; detention and deportation of those with no criminal record and/or stays of deportation; the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for numerous countries; and the deportation of U.S. veterans.

I think we have to prepare for the worst and get ready to fight mass deportation.  We showed up at airports to fight the Muslim and Refugee Ban and now DREAMers and people who have lived here legally for decades with TPS are in imminent danger.

Secretary Kelly determines the future of TPS and basically told us he is not sure if he will extend it for hundreds of thousands of people. He also said that the future of DACA is up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, America’s leading advocate against immigration, so Kelly was basically telling us DACA is facing a death sentence.  They actually want to take millions of people who are documented – with our own government – make them undocumented, and then go after them and their families. 

So, I fear for anybody currently with DACA or TPS. 

This was a wake-up call that Trump, Sessions and Kelly are serious about mass deportation and are anxious to get started.  It is a call to action for people who oppose mass deportation and turning the documented into undocumented so that they can be deported.

Upon questioning, Secretary Kelly made it clear he does not understand how his agency works or how the Congress works.  He stood by his past remarks that Congress should change the law if we don’t like it, as if Democrats have not been fighting Republican obstruction for years, and asking for a vote on immigration reform, the DREAM Act and other legislation.  Sec. Kelly says it is up to Congress, but his party is the obstacle standing in the way of a modern immigration system.

Secretary Kelly said he could not help people and their American citizen children who have no criminal record and are being deported, as if he doesn’t understand that he has the power under current law to spare people through his prosecutorial discretion.  I told him straight up that he could prevent the August deportation of Francisca Lino – the wife of a U.S. citizen and mother of U.S. citizen children in Chicago – just by picking up the phone and he seemed not to know he has that power. 

He either does not understand his authority under current law or was stonewalling or doing a very convincing job of playing dumb – or maybe some combination of the three.  He is playing along with Trump’s agenda to deport millions and pretending to not understand his powers to do something about it.  ‘Just following orders’ is not a valid defense, especially when you have the power to prevent a tragedy for millions of American citizens and their families.

Trump, Sessions and Kelly want to take 800,000 DREAMers with DACA and hundreds of thousands with TPS who are registered with the government and in compliance with the law and make them into criminals, felons, and deportees in the next few months.  Anyone with a conscience who thinks legal immigration is an integral part of who we are as a country just got called to action.

Luis V. Gutierrez  is the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 4th congressional district, serving since 1993. He can be reached through his Director of Communications, Douglas G. Rivlin, at douglas.rivlin@mail.house.gov.

Jul 05

Study: Hispanic Americans Use the Internet Less Than Any Other Ethnic Group

latinos1Hispanics use the internet the least of any ethnic group, according to research from eMarketer.

The study found that 79.8 percent of Hispanics use the internet at least monthly from any device-cellphones, tablets, desktops, etc. That’s compared to 84.3 percent of whites, 83.6 percent of Asians, and 82.5 percent of blacks. The report also predicts the gap will continue to shrink, but Hispanics still won’t reach the same usage levels any time soon: By 2021, it anticipates that 82.6 percent of Hispanics and 86.2 of whites will use the internet monthly.

These numbers are pretty similar to a 2016 report from Pew, which put the rate of Latinos using the internet at 84 percent. But in that survey, black Americans were the group that use it the least, with only 81 percent usage. (The Pew survey referred to its survey participants as Latinos, while the eMarketer survey used the term Hispanics. While many Latinos are Spanish-speaking, and the populations are similar, these terms are not interchangeable.)

According to Pew, a large part of the difference in usage comes from disparities in education and English proficiency levels.

Like any other segment of the population, there is a generational divide when it comes to how Hispanics use and think about the internet. A separate survey conducted by Simmons Research showed varying feelings among Hispanics of different age groups about watching television vs. playing online. For young Hispanic age 18-34, 43.5 percent said they watch less TV on television sets because of the internet, compared with 29.2 among the 35-49 group and 16.7 with those over 50. This probably has something to do with the fact that way fewer Latinos 50 to 64 use the internet (just 67 percent) while their younger counterparts use it at a rate of 90 percent, according to another section from the Pew Research Center study released in 2016.

However, Latinos have had high rates of usage when it comes to other technologies. According to the same Pew 2016 report, Latinos are very likely to “own a smartphone, to live in a household without a landline phone where only a cellphone is available and to access the internet from a mobile device.”

While the percentage of Hispanics who use the internet has continued to rise steadily, adoption rates have risen slower for whites. Between 2009 and 2015, the rate among Latinos rose about 20 percentage points, while for whites it only rose about 8 percentage points.

This digital divide is important because differences between internet usage can very easily translate to disparities in everyday life. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, which has a series about how low-income families access Federal Communications Commission programs, says, “internet service and digital technologies are critical for accessing a broad range of resources and opportunities.”

In a 2015 report titled “Aprendiendo en casa,” the center examined media as a resource for learning among Hispanic-Latino families. It found that parents believe children develop academic skills from using educational media, but they still want to know more about the media their kids can use.

The report profiled a young girl named Alicia, a 9-year-old of Ecuadorian descent whose name has been changed for privacy reason, who watches YouTube videos both to help her with her math homework and as a resource to teach her how to make dresses and accessories for her dolls. Her mother plays an active role in both these activities. The lesson here? An increase in technological resources can also help bridge the gap between generations.

By Angelica Cabral

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

Jun 06

Product Update from @WWDC17: Apple Announces Smart Home Audio Speaker HomePod

homepod_appleApple is taking on Amazon Echo and Google Home: The company announced a new voice-controlled speaker during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., on Monday. Dubbed HomePod, the new speaker features voice control and spatial awareness to adapt the sound to different rooms.

“It will reinvent home audio,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

However, the company kept mum on many details, instead giving attending journalists and developers a much broader pitch, which goes a bit like this: There have been Wi-Fi-connected speakers like Sonos for some time, but those devices are still pretty cumbersome. And then there’s a new generation of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, but those don’t really sound good.

HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Apple said it would make the device available in additional markets next year.

 

 

Apple did share a few technical details about the speaker hardware. HomePod uses seven beam-forming tweeters as well as an upward-facing woofer for audio playback, and an array of six microphones for voice control. HomePod uses the company’s A8 chip, which Apple also used to use for its mobile devices, and a multicolor LED light on top of the device will signal whenever Siri is listening.

Apple was a bit more coy about the features that will set HomePod apart from its competition. Apple SVP Phil Schiller highlighted a number of Siri-powered voice features that sound familiar to anyone who owns an Amazon Echo or a Google Home: Consumers will be able to ask HomePod to play their favorite music, podcasts, and radio streams.

apple ceo

They will be able to check sports scores, set alarms, timers and reminders, and control compatible smart devices — all features that were previously debuted by Amazon and Google. They will be able to pair two HomePod speakers for a stereo setup, and the sound will be optimized based on the acoustic quality of a room — two features that Sonos is known for. There’s also no word yet on support for third-party services, or ways for developers to adapt their services for HomePod.

Bloomberg reported last week that the company had begun to manufacture the device.

This isn’t Apple’s first attempt to enter the home audio market. The company announced a standalone speaker dubbed the iPod HiFI in 2006, but discontinued the device soon after. Beats Electronics was also working on a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker when it was acquired by Apple in 2014, but Apple decided to kill the project before it was publicly announced.

Jun 06

@techLatino Guest Blogger: Dr. Nicole Turner Lee, Public Policy Can Improve Older Adults’ Access to Technology.

gs_turnerlee_20161229_2According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 82 percent of older adults who owned smartphones described them as liberating, compared to 64 percent of those ages 18 to 29 who were asked the same question. Older adults also were more likely to describe their smartphones as “connectors,” allowing them to call, text and email. While older adults have historically been late adopters to new technology, an internet connection has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for them.

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Despite older adults’ enthusiasm about smartphones, only 42 percent of people ages 65 and older own one, compared with 92 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, says a 2017 Pew poll. Older adults also are less likely to have a home broadband connection (51 percent), compared to 77 percent of those ages 18 to 29. And older adults make up a sizeable number of people who have never been online, at approximately 41 percent. When comparing differences between older adults, people older than age 80 are less likely to be digitally motivated, compared to baby boomers.

Contemporary online tools like social media have enabled older adults to bridge geographic gaps with their families. Advances in telemedicine foster the increased use of health monitoring devices and improve communications with doctors. Technology allows older adults to age in place with the advent of in-home sensors and other such devices.

Without technology access, older Americans face an uphill battle to attain first-class digital citizenship. Consequently, policy makers must intervene to ensure that older Americans have secure and affordable internet access.

OLDER ADULTS AND THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

Today, older adults are not online due to myriad reasons. Certain medical conditions can make navigating new technology via small screens and keyboards physically challenging. Older adults generally distrust online resources, which contributes to their apprehension about getting connected. The broadband service can be cost-prohibitive, particularly for low-income and fixed income elders. And there are a number of older adults who still harbor reservations regarding the internet’s value in their daily life.

Thirteen percent of all Americans report that they do not use the internet, and older adults comprise a large portion of these non-adopters, according to 2016 Pew research. Generally, more women (15 percent) than men (12 percent) are not online. Compared to 13 percent of whites, a higher percentage of African Americans and Latinos (16 percent each) remain unconnected. Individuals who earn less than $30,000 annually (23 percent), have less than a high school diploma (34 percent) and live in rural areas (22 percent), constitute the millions of Americans who do not use the internet. When age is factored in, these disparities are exacerbated.

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Differences in device ownership and online activities also exist among older adults. Research from AARP in 2016 found that adults ages 50 to 59 were more likely to own a range of computing devices, e.g., desktop, laptop, e-reader or tablet, compared to adults older than age 70, who were less likely to have any such devices.

Adults younger than age 70 engage in multiple online activities, including social media, banking or streaming online content. While adults older than age 70 with technology access have been shown to under-use these resources.

These nuanced differences among older adults matter, as life expectancies increase and technology promotes improved health outcomes and physical independence.

TECHNOLOGY AND PUBLIC POLICY

Public policies are critical in narrowing the digital divide for older adults and ensuring more accessible broadband access. Established in 1985, the Lifeline program addresses the affordability gap for low-income populations. This federal program originally provided a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to buffer the cost of wired telephone service, which was later updated to include wireless cellular service. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has oversight over this means-tested program, moved to qualify broadband for the subsidy.

According to Lifeline program data, more than 40 percent of older adults are eligible for the subsidy. As the current FCC attempts to change the Lifeline program, policy makers should be reminded that older adults constitute a large number of the program’s beneficiaries, requiring access to essential communications with 911 and other emergency service providers, healthcare practitioners, family and friends and other caregivers. Policies and programs addressing privacy and security also are important for this cohort. More than 60 percent of older adults, according to an ABC News story, have been the target of online scams ranging from fraudsters posing as computer tech repair personnel to software malware attacks. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and organizations like the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust, have been working to address many of these scams against older Americans and bring aggressive law enforcement action against the imposters. Since creating the new complaint category, “tech support scams,” more than 39,921 complaints were registered with the FTC, costing consumers more than $8 million dollars and affecting 76 percent of adults older than age 50.

Efforts to directly tackle these scams and provide tailored consumer education for older adults should not be undermined by the current leadership’s efforts to revamp the Consumer Financial Protection Bureauor potentially weaken consumers’ online privacy protections.

Broadband access must be viewed as one of many fundamental civil rights. As older adults are impacted by strains on the current and future healthcare system, they must be able to lean on telemedicine practices, which facilitate healthy aging-in-place programs and physical independence. Guaranteeing that all older adults have unfettered internet access will maintain the vibrancy of these alternatives and others, while ensuring that they aren’t further disadvantaged in the technology revolution.


blic policy can improve older adults’ access to technology

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