Pre-Holiday Consumer Sentiment Toward Tech Spending Suggests ‘Wait and See’ Approach
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:50:59 -0400
The latest data released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® shows consumer confidence toward technology spending in October slipped, while sentiment toward the overall economy increased.
The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, decreased by 3.2 points in October to reach 87.
“Sentiment toward technology spending suggests some tech buying was pulled into September with recent product releases,” said Dr. Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “The decline was surprising considering a solid economic outlook, but suggests consumers are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, building up for November and the holiday shopping surge.”
The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE), which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, increased 5.3 points from last month to reach 174 in October.
“Overall sentiment toward the economy is showing surprising resiliency in the face of continued geopolitical concerns, as well as volatility in the domestic financial markets,” said DuBravac. “Signs that consumers are shrugging off uncertainty supports a positive holiday outlook overall.”
According to CEA’s 2014 overall holiday outlook, total tech spending will increase 2.5 percent (up from 0.9 percent growth in 2013) to reach $33.76 billion, the highest levels of consumer spending on tech since CEA began tracking holiday spending in 1994.
Sennheiser Surround Microphone System, Headphones Nominated for TEC Award
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:09:29 -0400
Audio specialist Sennheiser announced that its Esfera surround microphone system and its HD 8 DJ headphones have been nominated for the 30th Annual TEC awards.
The Esfera system, which has been nominated in the Signal Processing Hardware category, consists of the SPM 8000 two-channel microphone unit and the SPB 8000 processing unit. The microphone unit features the typical advantages of RF condenser microphones: natural and detailed sound, transparency, ruggedness and high resistance to adverse climatic conditions. The processing unit uses an algorithm perfectly matched to the microphones to generate a 5.1 surround signal with sampling rates of up to 96 kHz. An integrated compressor ensures a broadcast-friendly signal. For ease of operation, the processing unit uses four directly selectable presets. These can be modified via an Ethernet interface to adapt to local conditions, including the settings for the gain of the individual channels, front and surround focus, surround delay, rotation, filters and cut-off frequencies, compressor, make up gain, output gain, limiter and windshield compensation.
The HD8 DJ, which is a closed, circumaural headphone, has been nominated in the Headphone/Earpiece Technology category. Used by the world’s leading music producers and DJs for 25 years, the HD8 DJ headphones are designed for the most demanding users and punishing professional environments. Constructed of premium metal-crafted reinforcement parts, the HD8 DJ are built to deliver on stage or in the studio. Its iconic metal pivot rings allows the user to swivel the ear cups up to 210° for easy one-ear monitoring at the turntable. Soft, durable ear cushions ensure a comfortable fit, while virtually eliminating background noise.
Presented by the TEC Foundation, the TEC Awards is the pro audio industry’s most prestigious awards show honoring outstanding achievement in product innovation and sound production. The 30th Annual TEC Awards will be presented during the 2015 NAMM Show, to be held in Anaheim, Calif. in January 2015. The nominations, based on product entries by audio manufacturers, were made by a select panel of 130 professionals in numerous audio specialties. Products and projects released and in commercial use during the period of September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014, were eligible for nomination.
Greg Beebe, president of Sennheiser USA, commented: “Sennheiser is once again honored to be nominated for Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards by the TEC Foundation. The Esfera system and the HD8 DJ represent our continued commitment to product innovation and our passion for achieving great sound.”
FCC Joins Global Privacy Enforcement Network
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:40:34 -0400
The Federal Communications Commission announced that it has joined the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), an international group of privacy regulators and enforcers. GPEN seeks to promote and support law enforcement cooperation and collaboration on cross-border privacy enforcement actions. GPEN members include approximately fifty data protection authorities from around the world. The FCC will join the Federal Trade Commission in representing the United States in GPEN proceedings.
“We live in an interconnected world where threats to consumer privacy and data security often require the cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies around the world,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “Every day Americans continue to have their personal data compromised by attacks from beyond our borders – like phone scams operated by identity thieves based thousands of miles away. If we are to detect, disrupt, and dismantle these persistent global privacy assaults, it is critical that we work closely with our international partners abroad, as well as our federal, state, and local partners here at home.”
The FCC has a long history of working to protect the privacy of American consumers. Congress has put in place strong, Commission-enforced protections for personally identifiable information, like laws against collecting or sharing certain information without customer consent, and laws requiring providers to secure this information against unauthorized access. The Commission has also adopted its own rules to further protect consumer privacy, like rules governing the security and use of customer proprietary network information (CPNI), which includes billing and location data, and Do-Not-Call rules to combat intrusive phone calls.
The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has vigorously enforced these privacy laws and regulations. This month, the Commission announced its intent to fine phone carriers TerraCom and YourTel $10 million for deficient data security practices that exposed the personal information of up to 305,000 consumers to anyone with Internet access. Last month, the Enforcement Bureau secured a $7.4 million settlement with Verizon to address the company’s unlawful marketing to two million customers without their consent or notification of their privacy rights as required under the CPNI rules, the largest privacy action in the Commission’s history. And earlier this year the Bureau reached a $7.5 million settlement with Sprint for its failure to honor consumer requests to opt out of phone and text marketing communications in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the largest Do-Not-Call settlement in the Commission’s history.
The Global Privacy Enforcement Network grew out of a 2007 Recommendation on Cross-Border Cooperation in the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Privacy, adopted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). That Recommendation called for OECD member countries to establish an informal network of privacy enforcement authorities, and take appropriate steps to: (1) “improve their domestic frameworks for privacy law enforcement to better enable their authorities to co- operate with foreign authorities”; (2) develop effective international mechanisms to facilitate cross-border privacy law enforcement co-operation”; (3) provide mutual assistance ... in the enforcement of laws protecting privacy”; and (4) engage relevant stakeholders in discussion and activities aimed at furthering co- operation in the enforcement of laws protecting privacy.” Following through on these steps led to the creation of GPEN in 2010.
Among the fifty members of GPEN are the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Dutch Data Protection Authority, European Data Protection Supervisor (European Union), Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés of France, Federal Data Protection Commission of Germany, Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection of Mexico, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand, and United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office.
The Walt Disney Company, Panasonic, Dolby Laboratories Contribute to SMPTE Centennial Campaign
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:55:09 -0400
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) announced that The Walt Disney Company, Panasonic, and Dolby Laboratories have made contributions totaling $1 million to the SMPTE Centennial Celebration Campaign’s Next Century Fund. These gifts, formally recognized today at the SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, are the largest financial commitments in the Society’s history.
“It is our great pleasure to lend our support to SMPTE, both in terms of leadership and financial support, as the Society prepares for its Centennial Celebration,” said Vince Roberts, executive vice president of Global Operations and chief technology officer, Disney/ABC Television Group. “For almost 100 years, SMPTE has played a critical role in advancing the art, science, and craft of the moving image and its sound. We are proud to partner with SMPTE as it continues its groundbreaking work in moving-imagery education, engineering, and research.”
“We can’t think of any organization more worthy of our support than SMPTE,” said Kunihiko Miyagi, director, Professional AV Business Unit, Imaging Network Business Division in Panasonic Corporation’s AVC Networks Company. “The ongoing role the Society plays in advancing standards and technical education for our industry is absolutely critical to our success, and to that of all SMPTE members. Panasonic salutes SMPTE as it enters its second century of advocacy and advancement for the field of moving imagery.”
“SMPTE has made a remarkable and long-standing commitment to education and to the development of standards that support ever-greater creative and technical achievements in the field of motion imaging and sound,” said Pat Griffis, executive director of technology strategy, Office of the CTO, Dolby Laboratories. “The Society’s centennial celebration is an ideal opportunity to recognize this work and its enormous influence on our industry.”
The SMPTE Centennial Campaign has been established in recognition of the Society’s 100-year anniversary in 2016. The campaign is led by an advisory committee consisting of Wendy Aylsworth and Chuck Dages (retired) of Warner Bros.; Peter Fannon of Panasonic; Richard Friedel of Fox; Charles Jablonski of SMPTE; Peter Ludé of RealD; William Miller of Miltag Media Technology; Chuck Pagano (retired) of ESPN; Bob Ross of CBS; and Larry Thorpe of Canon.
“Without question, SMPTE’s next hundred years will be very different from the first. As our industry evolves, new developments are challenging every aspect of the media workflow — from technology tools to business models,” said Barbara Lange, executive director of SMPTE. “With their generous gifts, The Walt Disney Company, Panasonic, and Dolby Laboratories are providing a tremendous boost to the Society’s ongoing expansion and evolution across our three pillars of activity: standards development, membership development, and education programs.”
The Next Century Fund will support specific SMPTE standards activities that speed the development, adoption, use, and understanding of new industry standards, as well as creating tools such as a repository for test materials that are crucial for certifying new IP-based workflows. In the area of membership development, SMPTE’s goals include international Section expansion as well as improving programming and networking for students. In education, the Society will focus on creating educational programs that support rapidly changing industry needs; establishing regular conference events throughout the world; and developing and deploying educational programs that serve all levels of membership.
Markertek Supports Philadelphia Eagles With SMPTE Fiber, Customer Service
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:44:17 -0400
As part of the $125 million renovation of Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles added 10 Sony F55 4K cameras to capture in-game content. To connect those camera locations to the video-control room, the team tapped Markertek to supply SMPTE fiber, tactical fiber, and telecast gear.
“Markertek is my go-to for any thing at all for our production, and that’s probably because of their customer service and the fact that they do handle a lot of their own stuff,” explains David Sullivan, building AV engineer, Philadelphia Eagles. “I’ve never had a problem, but I know that, if I’m buying their brand [and] I had a problem, they’re going to back it up.”
The Eagles selected Markertek’s SMPTE fiber cable after testing several brands side-by-side for durability, cable size, and more. “We actually had some other SMPTE cable in the building that fell apart already, but the Markertek cable has stood the test of the first six weeks of football,” Sullivan continues. “So far, so good."
Manufactured in the company’s LEMO-, Neutrik opticalCON-, and Canare Fiber-Certified Fiber Lab in Saugerties, NY, Markertek’s SMPTE fiber is hybrid fiber-optic and copper cable that connects the camera-control unit (CCU) of each F55 with the video-control room. Located on The Linc’s press level, the control room feeds content to videoboards throughout the venue, including two 10-mm end-zone displays manufactured by Panasonic.
“From start to finish, we’re manufacturing some of the highest-quality fiber optics in the industry,” says Dan Coscarella, proprietary sales manager, Markertek. “Our defined specs exceed what the industry spec is, so we’re really building a quality brand for our customers.
Markertek also supplied the team with tactical fiber cables, which are not installed in a fixed location. Rather, the cables are kept spooled and can be deployed for any live-production need: capturing fan reactions in the stands, halftime events on the field, postgame reaction in the studio.
The SMPTE and tactical fiber were added to the Eagles’ existing triax infrastructure as part of the renovation, which was completed prior to this season. Diversified Systems installed and integrated the venue’s fiber infrastructure in addition to serving as the video-control-room integrator.
“There’s 500 varieties of each product, but we don’t want to sell the one we want to sell. We want to sell the one that makes the most sense for the particular customer, and, to get there, we spend a lot of time training the staff and making sure the staff knows what their customers really are looking for,” says Coscarella.