Category Archives: Mobile


Drones were definitely one of the most awe inspiring and emerging devices at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show. This is not only due to their hi-tech robotics, but also because of the way they are already impacting broadcasting and many other sectors of the media industry.

Just a few months ago we observed the impact drones can have on live television. This past winter during X-Games 2015, the United States witnessed the first live aerial drone broadcast in sports history. It provided a never-before-seen perspective into the world of action sports.

Camera DroneWe interviewed Sergei Lupashin, founder and CEO of Perspective Robotics, at the 2015 NAB Show about the groundbreaking impact that drones will have on the media industry within the next few years.

“To me it is always interesting…the new and exciting ways that people are able to use this technology to capture new perspectives. You really don’t know where it’s going, so you can really be a part of that story of shaping the future.”

From tethered hybrid drones to 4K capable GPS enabled drones, these high-flying devices are reshaping the ways video is captured and distributed!

Spencer Hemann

FCC’s Wheeler Pitches Spectrum Auction to Broadcasters: But Should They Cash In?

Chairman Tom Wheeler opened his keynote address to the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters with nothing but praise and admiration for their profession, stating that they (broadcasters) offer their audiences a unique product that no other current emerging platform can give: local news and information.

Tom WheelerWheeler went on to describe his recent experience with various media outlets during the storms that rocked the north east this winter. “I used my weather channel app on my phone regularly,” Wheeler admitted. “But when I wanted information that really matters, when I wanted to find out what the real skinny was that was going to affect my life, I went to my local broadcasters.” He then closed his opening remarks of praise by pointing how the broadcasters “put themselves in danger” to service their community in the midst of the storm.

This was a lead in to his quick pitch at the NAB Show for the upcoming spectrum auction. In this spectrum auction, the FCC would sell licenses to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to wireless providers, and then share the profits with broadcasters who are the current holders of the spectrum.

But new details regarding the forthcoming spectrum auction were surprisingly thin. Wheeler mentioned it will take place in early 2016, with the FCC accepting applications as early as this fall, and that they want to make it “more accommodating” for broadcasters.

SmartphoneWhat struck me as both odd and alarming was the absence of constructive criticism directed towards the traditional methods of broadcasting (both in Wheeler’s speech and throughout the entire show). Now, this isn’t to say there weren’t talks regarding the changing media landscape, but the topic of the potential industry-saving innovation from broadcasters (particularly television) were sparse. And, whatever discussion there was regarding the issues presented an array of underwhelming, short-term solutions.

There is no denying the truth that, as Chairman Wheeler pointed out, OTT services are beating out cable, and that consumers are pursuing alternatives to broadcast TV. But the question constantly on my mind is: how can broadcasters remain relevant well into the 21st century? And perhaps more important for broadcasters to explore, what role, if any, could this currently owned spectrum play in their reinvention?

Trends in media consumption changed radically last year, with digital viewing increasing at an impressive rate. According to a 2014 Nielsen report,  growth for digital viewing rose 53% for individuals ages 18 to 43 over the past year. In fact, this high growth of digital viewing is even more pronounced for older demographics with an 85.7% rise in 35 to 49 year olds and a 72.7% rise in 50 to 60 year olds. TV, on the other hand, saw a 4.2% average drop in adult screen use during the past year.

It is true this buyout of spectrum will potentially serve as a life preserver for a struggling broadcast station. But it also could, in my opinion, prematurely rule out any further advancement that may have otherwise utilized that spectrum (potential 4k and 3D capabilities being one).

As Wheeler described it, the spectrum auction is “a once in a lifetime, risk free opportunity to expand your business model on someone else’s dime.” But what if that business model requires that same spectrum to advance forward? To prematurely classify the auction as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would leave our wireless future in the fate of one obscure auction with a commodity is so abstract and unpredictable, should come across as frightening to broadcasters. It’s just too early to call.

TV wastelandIt is true this is not for me to decide. It’s for the each owner of spectrum to decide, given their unique circumstances. As a consumer and an academic observer I am highly interested in seeing potential expansion of broadcasting well beyond its conventional boundaries. I just hope that broadcasters retain an open mind in regards to the possibilities of “broadcasting” in the future, whatever that may look like. They need to find the courage to innovate, or they may perish.

Aaron Sprengeler

Inheriting an Empire: Tim Cook and Apple

Tim Cook looks and acts like the products that his company is so famous for producing.

Tim CookThe full head of silvery-white hair looks like something Jony Ive, Apple’s famous lead industrial designer, could have slaved over in the engineering labs and formed from brushed aluminum in a Chinese factory. He is quiet, timid, precise, meticulous, he runs smoothly and without haste. He was chosen to take over the worlds most valuable company, by the most perfectionistic, and visionary businessman of the 21st Century. This choice was no accident.

Bob Dylan once wrote, “All I can be is me, whoever that is”. Cook has allowed Apple’s legacy of excellence, innovation, and bravery to inspire and inform his directing of the company, but not shackle it. He is not Steve, and Apple is better for it. Many of Apple’s most successful products over the last four to five years, have been ones that wouldn’t have been allowed under the old guard. Larger iPhones, smaller iPads, MacBooks with HDMI, products with gold finishes.

Apple has become more open under Cook, devoting titanic amounts of resources, both time and money, into renewable energy, funding for HIV AIDS research, marching for LGBT rights, and a huge push for equality. The world learned the kind of man Cook is, when at a recent shareholders meeting, he told a reporter, “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He is a man who cares deeply about equality, fairness, and accessibility. His office is bookended by two portraits: One of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and another of Robert Kennedy. He describes them as “two civil rights leaders who put their lives on the line for what they believed in.”

Not everything has gone exactly according to plan, though. Both Maps, & Siri, as well as Apple’s most recently iOS operating system updates, have been less than well-received. Apple’s mantra used to be “It Just Works,” in reference to having software and hardware that worked together like magic. Now, with pressure to release a new update every fall, that has fallen to the wayside, in favor of an annual feature bump. And that’s just their software.

iPhone 5cThe iPhone 5C has been criticized for being made of “non-premium materials”, meaning plastic. Apple usually only uses higher quality glass, and aluminum in its designs, and a sudden shift to a cheaper housing put it in the realm of Samsung, and other competitors in terms of build quality.

But maybe, to Samsung, that comparison would have been taken more favorably. The Korean electronics giant has come under criticism, both by tech journalists and Apple in recent years, for copying Cupertino’s most popular products. Even worse, is the blatant bootlegging of design by Chinese copycat products, going so far as to recreate the aesthetic of Apple’s retail outlets

When thinking of Cook’s place in Apple’s story, I’m reminded of my upbringing as a young Catholic boy, and the “gloria” prayer. There was a verse, “He is seated at the right hand of the father…” And that to me is Tim Cook.

While Steve Jobs will always be looked at as the iconoclastic figurehead, the high priest of the computer age, Tim Cook is very much the right hand man, the man behind the legend.

Sam Strajack

Intel Booth CES 2015

5 Exciting Things From CES 2015

Guest Post by Amelia Monroe Torre, originally posted at

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is underway this week in Las Vegas and there have been some exciting tech announcements this year. With over 160,000 attendees, this is the largest gathering of tech professionals in the world. There are 20,000 new product announcements expected this week and we wanted to share five of the most exciting things we’ve seen so far from CES 2015.

  • Phones & Accessories

ZTE Eco-mobius modular phone ces 2015Mobile phones are always some of the hottest items at the show and this year is no different. ZTE, a leading Chinese phone maker, is pioneering the way for customizing and upgrading individual pieces of phone hardware. With their Eco-Mobius modular phone you’ll be able to individually upgrade elements of the hardware like the camera lens, RAM, ROM, processor, and battery to create the exact phone you need.

There are a plethora of new gadgets for your phone at CES 2015 but what caught our attention was a lightning fast charger from the Israeli startup, Storedot. Their current slim-line charger can charge a Samsung Smartphone battery in a matter of minutes. Storedot’s goal is to bring the charging time under 60 seconds by 2017.

  • Wearable Tech

GoldKey announced a new smart watch that is also a fully functioning smartphone. The watch runs Android KitKat software and uses dual-factor authentication to access certain features. The watch may be small but it’s loaded with lots of great features like GPS, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and a battery that can last up to 24 hours. Smart watches are nothing new at this point, but this new watch from GoldKey is a game changer.

  • Smart Cars

Mercedes F 015 Smart car ces 2015Every year smart cars get a little bit smarter, and this year at CES we saw two keynote presentations from Mercedes-Benz and Ford about their plans. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board for Mercedes-Benz, unveiled their self-driving smart car prototype, the F 015 Luxury in Motion. The silver car has a sleek futuristic look, luxury interior, and will be controlled with smart devices. The ability to purchase a self-driving car likely won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest, but the advances are sure to be exciting over the next few years.

  • Sling TV

From the company that brought you the Hopper, Dish’s latest offering is Sling TV. In an attempt to appeal to a millennial audience, the Dish Network is now offering an Internet TV service that includes ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, HGTV, CNN and ABC Family. For $20 a month users will get a small package of coveted cable channels that they can stream on Internet enabled devices, including phones, tablets, and computers. There will be additional channels that can be added for $5 per month to make the service customizable. Sling TV doesn’t require any hardware or installation, so no waiting for the cable guy!

  • Internet in Everything!

Making everything a connected device seems to be a growing trend for tech companies, especially Samsung. On Monday, Samsung’s CEO, BK Yoon, said going forward the “Internet of Things” would be Samsung’s philosophy. This means that every product they make will have the ability to connect to the internet. This includes thermostats, garage doors, washing machines, and even your bed mattress. Yoon said by 2020, 100% of Samsung’s devices will be web-enabled.

Many of the products being announced this week will be available on the market later this year. We’re excited to see how consumers react to the new tech and what real-world applications these new gadgets will have. Let us know what new gadgets you’re most excited to see this year!

Amelia Monroe Torre

NFL Now: Fans Get a Football App

The NFL Now mobile and web application was released this past August to NFL fans everywhere. NFL Now provides game highlights, fantasy updates, news, and NFL Films content to users. There is a paid version ($1.99) where you can skip advertisements altogether and also download more content. With HBO Go just starting up as well as CBS’ addition to streaming content it was only a matter of time until the NFL entered the fray. Many NFL fans across the country were excited and upbeat about the possibilities that this application could have. Below is a commercial that ran before the app’s release.

According to the NFL, this application was visited more than 9 million times since the launch, higher than their predictions estimated. The NFL’s push to dig deeper into content that rights holders pay billions of dollars for is very interesting as well. As Ed Dresser, a former N.B.A. executive stated, “The trick is not to siphon too much value out of the pot being purchased by your rights holders.”

footballThe personalization aspect of NFL Now is what I believe is really going to drive people to download the app. When you first log on you must say what your favorite team is and from that point forward, your main screen is dedicated solely to that team’s content. This is a cool feature because for me all I care about is the Vikings, and if I have the option to get rid of the rest that would be great!

football2In the article entitled “The New NFL Now App – Upon Further Review” New England Patriots tech guru Bob Wallace breaks down NFL Now and what key points to look for as far as an NFL die-hard fan is concerned. This is a great analysis because the majority of people who download this app are big fans of the NFL and would enjoy this inside look. I personally found it interesting that this app had its own original series that you could view. The show “Finding Giants” about the scouting department of the New York Giants seemed to be an interesting concept and something I would like to watch.

One major drawback that some people might see is there is no live programming available on the NFL Now application. Seeing as how the NFL recently signed contracts with channels and DirecTV for billions of dollars to broadcast NFL games, the NFL is a few years away at the least to stream games over their own service. Personally I do not see this happening for many years but that is just my opinion.

football3With NFL Now bursting onto the scene as a viable streaming service, the NFL has again strengthened its already mighty hold on sports content and popularity. NFL Now, even being newly released, has the ability to become a household name for sports fans everywhere. NFL Now is again looking to be a successful addition to the already powerful NFL machine.

What would you like to see added to the NFL Now app in the future? How do you think the prior popularity of the NFL gives this app a head start among other professional sporting applications to be released in the future?

Brice Berger

DOWNLOAD THE MILLION$: Distributing Mobile Apps

Mobile applications have a vital role in the wireless industry of smart phones, tablets, and IPODS. Many app developers have found it a challenging business to be in creating a product that will find success and provide revenue out of it. But in fact, projected revenues for next year for mobile apps is whopping $13 billion. Developers can work part-time, full-time, or just as a hobby to make the next big hit. But, the real question is how are they making this money?

appsBen Hanley, senior product manager at Evans Data answers with, “We expect the industry to mature, over time you will see the proportion of full-time developers grow relative to the other major profiles.” Fierce Developer The word “mature,” I think, is an appropriate word to use as a description of both the technology as well as money to be made through creativity.

With this rapidly growing industry the structure of distribution has to adjust to this newer technology. Just like with any new item on the market today there needs to be a plan for how revenue will be made, and how the item will continue in the “long-tail of things” according to Jeffrey Ulin’s Rule of Distribution.

A couple of larger companies that program apps (OneLouder, Riverman Media) have found successful routes of doing just this. OneLouder is a social mobile app developer company that offers free app downloads for the consumer. Their plan is to generate revenue through advertising within the app, and to lock-in loyal long-tail consumers they create by updating the app once a week. They launched the business by having a clear cut vision of what exactly they want, and sold the pitch to capital firms to back their operation.

As for Riverman Media, they have a different method for creating profit. They sell their apps ranging from $0.99-2.99 per downloaded 2D game. They focus on making quality games that will keep loyal consumers coming back for more. Their strategy is to create quality games at a low cost with minimum employees. They do this so they can self-support and have no outside source conflicting on programming ideas because of investments.

apps2There are other ways in order to create money out of a “free” mobile app. Along with the upfront cost of downloads and in-game advertising there are other ways: level advancement costs, hints, special purchases, and free trials with later subscription costs. App designers need to figure out how they want to generate revenue. The Utility-Engagement Model shows the way in which one should look at constructing a game and what the goal and vision is in creating the application. For a better understanding of the model here are some bullets to make sense of it all.

•Utility, meaning how useful a person finds the app

•Engagement, meaning how often a person uses the app

•Value, meaning how much the person likes what the app provides, relative to the universe of other options

Flappy Bird as a prime example of an independent programming studio gathering the green president faced paper, we all so desire. The game was created in 2013 in a Vietnam-based developing company. The creator locked down the in-game advertising model of the game and made $50,000 per day from this.

It seems that most app creators are within a studio setting and are working full-time, but there have been some who have figured out how to make money on their own. With all the resources available online today do you think it possible to use your own imagination and create a new mobile app hit? Will the app market continue to mature and be a money maker and job maker?

Stacey Krull

The Gametime App: Ticket Purchasing of the Future?

With the secondhand ticket market full of companies such as StubHub and SeatGeek, there is one standing out from the rest. Gametime.

gameapp1is a new smartphone application that allows users to purchase tickets fast and easy from their app with the outstanding ability to scan your phone at the ticket booth. With a few simple clicks you can purchase a ticket to your favorite sporting teams event without the hassle of printing the ticket out.

Gametime was started by CEO and Founder Brad Griffith who thought of this concept before attending a San Francisco Giants baseball game. Brad and his friend bought tickets through another smartphone app but did not realize they needed to print them out first. Being late to the game gave him the motivation to create this new app. Gametime gets revenue through charging a booking fee between 5%-10% which is important to note.

gameappGametime however is up against some stiff competition. Competitor SeatGeek has the ability of downloading their app on your smartphone and purchasing tickets that route. SeatGeek’s sales are increasing every month as well. The upside of Gametime compared to SeatGeek however is the ability to scan your phone at the gate. With the ability to buy tickets quickly at the last minute and scan them at the gate, Gametime sets itself apart from other ticket companies.

Gametime is currently growing into different markets as we speak. Currently in 18 different markets, Gametime is expanding across the country to reach every sporting team professionally. While they are only in the sporting event market they are hoping to expand to include musical events as well, which would be another revenue stream to the company. In my opinion, given how fast this company is growing it should not be long before that starts to happen.

Now on to the most important portion of this post, my opinion! After reading through these articles and researching this app I really like the direction this app is going. Gametime seems to have found its place in the secondary ticket market and has a great feature with the ability to scan your phone at the gate and not worry about printing your ticket off.

Gametime seems to have a good reputation in this market with StubHub founding executive Colins Evans signed on as Gametime’s chief revenue officer. This addition was really interesting to me because with another competitor’s founders joining in on the project it gives Gametime a ton of credibility. CEO Brad Griffith seems to have a great gameplan on how to tackle the problems that this company may face with other competitors.

Some questions I have for you the reader is would Gametime be an app you would use if it was available in your city? And do you think Gametime stands a chance against other competitors such as StubHub and SeatGeek?

Brice Berger

Smartphone Dependency: Obsession or Addiction?

Over the years, certain technological advances have made life easier. Technology has made every day routines more accessible and convenient. Many of these advances have given us a better quality of life, but are we growing an unhealthy attachment to these devices? Almost all of us possess the source of these addictions. In fact, it rests right in our pockets.

smart_phone_addictSmartphone dependency is an ever-growing problem in our society today. Whether we are using our phones to mask our emotions, feed our addictions, or purely for entertainment, our attachment to smartphones has become an issue that needs to be addressed.

Study by PewResearch January 2014:

  • 90% of American adults have a cell phone.
  • 58% of American adults have a smartphone.
  • 67% check their phone without noticing a ring or vibration.
  • 44% sleep with their phones in fear of missing a call, text, or email.
  • 63% of adults use their phone to go online.
  • 74% of adults use their smartphone for location services.
  • 29% say their phone is “something they cant imagine living without.”

A new psychological issue has risen from our dependency on smartphones called “nomophobia”. This is the fear of being without your cell phone. According to a survey done by Bank of America, nearly 47% of Americans say they could not go a day without their phone. Is this a rational fear or just an illusion as result of our dependency?

smartphoneaddiction2One reason this fear might be rational is because of the investment people have put in their smartphones. They are now replacing maps, address books, ipods, and cameras. What all used to be separate items can now be compiled into one device, but what happens when that device fails?

Another side effect of our dependency is separation anxiety. A study done Ericsson ConsumerLab found that people have become so dependent on their smartphones that without it, they “can no longer handle their daily routine.”

Smartphones and drugs have tied each other into an endless cycle of addiction. Morning Side Recovery, a rehab center in California, found that smartphones are making drugs more accessible to addicts. This accessibility leads to phone addiction, which leads to drug addiction, which leads to phone addiction, etc.

Morning Side also found that smartphones are playing a key role in behavioral addictions and are affecting our social skills. Kids are using digital media as a way to avoid social interaction. Also, they found that smartphones are being used to mask emotions, such as depression. When a person bottles up their emotions, they often become worse.

smartphoneaddictionClinical psychologists also examined some of the effects smartphones have on social interaction. They found that phones are often used to avoid eye contact. People become so consumed in their phones that they completely ignore their surroundings.


I believe that smartphones are causing these issues and we must recognize them. Only by becoming aware of these issues can we take steps towards fixing them.

– Craig Michels