Share Travelweek Group Calgary man able to say goodbye to dying sister thanks to the kindness of WestJet employee Tags: WestJet << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, August 11, 2017 Posted by CALGARY — A WestJet employee has gone above and beyond to help a man visit his dying sister.According to the CBC, Andrew Bechamp of Calgary couldn’t afford to visit his ill sister who lives in Ottawa, so his friend, Kellie Martin, stepped in and reached out to WestJet to see if the airline would offer him a discount.What Bechamp received in return was far more than what he could ever imagine. An employee named Susan Smith happily offered Bechamp two of her ‘buddy passes’ – discounted tickets for WestJet employees’ family and friends – so he could properly say goodbye to his beloved sister.Bechamp booked a flight out to Ottawa that same week where he was able to spend time with his sister. He has since returned to Calgary and told CBC he is “very thankful” for the chance to see her in hospital. His sister has returned home where she’ll spend her final days.More news: Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthTouched by Smith’s act of kindness, Bechamp has reached out to her via email to extend a dinner invitation, should she’s ever in the Calgary area.
No related posts. WASHINGTON, D.C. – Those insidious email scams known as phishing, in which a hacker uses a disguised address to get an Internet user to install malware, rose 87 percent worldwide in the past year, a security firm said Friday.These schemes affected some 37.3 million users around in the 12 months to April 30, according to a report by the Russian-based security firm Kaspersky.“The number of fraudulent websites and servers used in attacks has more than tripled since 2012, and more than 50 percent of the total number of individual targets were fake copies of the websites of banks and other credit and financial organizations,” Kaspersky said.The attackers often use emails purportedly from trusted organizations like Yahoo!, Google, Facebook and Amazon, which are top targets, according to the report.Online game services, online payment systems, and the websites of banks and other credit and financial organizations are also commonly used to disguise phishing attempts.Kaspersky said phishing has become a preferred method of cybercriminals.“Although the specific targets of phishing attacks vary, the end goal of all malicious users engaged in this type of malicious activity is ultimately the same: to make money illegally,” the report said.“This goal is achieved either by directly stealing cash from the victim, as in the case with fake online banking service pages, online storefronts, and subscriptions to online games.”But attacks may also employ a more indirect approach, including the sale of stolen databases on the black market.“A large collection of user data may come in handy for malicious users for a number of different fraudulent schemes involving spam mailings and the spread of malware,” the report said.The countries most often hit by phishing attacks were Russia, the United States, India, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.The location of “hostile servers” was most frequently in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Russia and India, Kaspersky said. Facebook Comments
Booking Boss expands global distributionJust weeks after announcing $2M in funding, Booking Boss launches three new major global distribution partnerships that see it dominate SaaS for the Travel Activities Industry.Booking Boss is working to ensure tour, activity and attraction operators have direct access to a global customer base through automated distribution. With Booking Boss, travel activity operators now have the ability to automate management of product, availability, pricing and bookings across a huge range of channels including: online travel agents, airlines, hotel websites, tourism boards, and mobile applications as well as over 500,000+ travel agent desktops with its new connections into TXA, SIMPLENIGHT® and VELTRA JAPAN.“These new partnerships reinforce our commitment to connect travel activity operators with the broader travel industry on a global scale. Booking Boss offers the largest distribution network available worldwide and opens up access to even more customers for all operators using Booking Boss.” Renee Welsh, CEO Booking Boss.TXA (Tourism Exchange Australia) is Australia’s national tourism booking platform supported by all Government tourism bodies. Thousands of Australian tourism businesses connect to OTAs such as Expedia and RedBallon as well as State tourism websites like TravelNT.com, SouthAustralia.com, visitNSW.com and Sydney.com, WesternAustralia.com, visitVictoria.com and numerous regional websites, Visitor Centres and more.Shane Crockett, CEO of V3, described the integration as “a win win win for the travel industry”. He said, “TXA is proven driver of increased booking revenue by boosting online visibility through low cost Distribution which attracts, and converts at industry leading levels.” “Linking into Booking Boss is another key integration to a market leading booking system, targeted to the activities market”, he continued. The SIMPLENIGHT® Global Experience Platform™ is a state of the art global distribution system for non-traditional travel products, such as tours, attractions, activities, nightlife, dining, transportation, shows, special events, and more. The Platform serves as a marketplace, relational database, and booking and payment system between global distribution channels and global inventory suppliers of products and services.“SIMPLENIGHT® is excited about its latest integration with Booking Boss. We look forward to introducing their global network of tour, activity and attraction operators onto the SIMPLENIGHT® Global Experience Platform™, and distributing a wider selection of content to our rapidly growing customer base.” Mark Halberstein, CEO SIMPLENIGHT®VELTRA JAPAN is an online tour and activity booking service based in Tokyo that connects travelers to memorable and unique local experiences. Founded in 1991, it has grown from a service primarily aimed at the Japanese market to a global tour provider with branches in Honolulu, London, Paris and Malaysia.The ability to access customers globally is an expectation and streamlining the online distribution process via Booking Boss, gives the travel activities industry a single point of connection into multiple distribution channels. This allows them to grow their business, streamline their operations and save hours in administration.Source = Booking Boss
Presidential SuiteGo back to the e-newsletterHotel Lungarno in Florence has introduced its new La Vista Presidential Suite. Located on the fourth floor, the suite is the essence of comfort for those who want the privacy of a home, but without giving up the conveniences of a luxury hotel.Overlooking the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio, the new 150-square-metre suite suite enjoys a unique location and decor in exquisite Italian and modern style.The La Vista Presidential Suite can accommodate up to five people across three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a spacious living room with a balcony and dining room, all completed with a fully equipped modern kitchen.Upon request there is the possibility of having a private chef from the Michelin-starred restaurant Borgo San Jacopo prepare an intimate in-suite dining experience.Go back to the e-newsletterHotel LungarnoHotel Lungarno
27Sep Rep. VanderWall: Bill would help historic landmark in downtown Manistee Categories: News,VanderWall News Rep. Curt VanderWall testified today in support of his bill that would enhance civic, arts and social event opportunities in downtown Manistee and potentially other small towns across Michigan.VanderWall’s bill would lower the population threshold for local governments to receive special liquor licenses connected with a municipally owned civic center or auditorium. The legislation would lower the population needed from the current 9,500 citizens to 5,500, potentially affecting just over 50 Michigan towns.One of them is Manistee, where the city-owned Ramsdell Theatre would like to be licensed to offer alcohol during plays, special performances, weddings and other events.“The Ramsdell is a shining star of downtown Manistee,” VanderWall said after testifying today in the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee. “This small town theatre is of great use to the community, and its dynamic value would grow even more if it were able to get a liquor license as facilities in larger cities already are allowed to do. This would be a great attraction for Manistee, and possibly other towns across Michigan in the same situation.”VanderWall, of Ludington, was accompanied today by Ed Bradford – chief financial officer of the City of Manistee. Bradford said the Ramsdell is a “central pillar” of the community, and the theatre seeks to become more financially self-sufficient.VanderWall noted the population threshold outlined in state law seems arbitrary and hurts small towns. If the Ramsdell was owned by a larger township instead of the city, for example, it could already be permitted to apply for a liquor license.House Bill 4411 remains in the Regulatory Reform Committee for further consideration.
11Jan Tedder bill to limit sanctions against student transfers State Rep. Jim Tedder, of Clarkston, today testified before the House Education Reform Committee on his legislation to limit sanctions against students who transfer between school districts.The legislation is inspired by a current case involving Clarkston High School, where a student-athlete has been ruled ineligible to play basketball by the Michigan High School Athletic Association after transferring from another district in August 2017.“Students move from one district to another every semester for a multitude of reasons. The former school district in conjunction with a private organization should not have the power to override an educational decision that parents made in the best interest of their child,” Tedder said. “The enforcement of the ‘transfer rule’ as presently applied by the MHSAA is, at best, arbitrary, subjective and with complete disregard for what is in the best interest of a student’s success.”The key provision of the bill specifically disallows a school district from prohibiting student participation in interscholastic athletics because he or she transferred from one district to another.“This legislation will limit the penalties our students face for making personal decisions believed to best position a student for life after high school,” Tedder said. “As a parent, former teacher and coach, I recognize that athletic participation is an integral part of a child’s educational experience. Clearly, this matter places the selfish interests of adults over the best interest of students; in my three years as a legislator few things have incensed me more.”Joining Tedder before the House Education Reform Committee was Jeff Kosin, Athletic Director for Clarkston Community Schools.House Bill 5393 remains under committee consideration. Categories: News,Tedder News
Categories: Noble News Two plans proposed by state Rep. Jeff Noble eliminating outdated sections of law in various areas have been approved by the governor.“I want what every hard-working taxpayer wants – a clean, efficient state government that strives to align with the philosophy of accountability,” said Noble, of Northville. “Removing outdated, obsolete laws eliminates unnecessary regulations that would otherwise prevent the government from running as efficiently as possible.”House Bill 5738, now Public Act 321 of 2018, repeals outdated funding for the 1947 interstate boundary compact with Minnesota and Wisconsin in regard to mapping each state’s boundaries in the waters of Lake Superior. With all state’s Lake Superior boundaries established and mapped, there is no longer a need for an appropriation designated to the compact.House Bill 5884, now Public Act 311 of 2018, eliminates references to tuberculosis sanatoriums, which is how tuberculosis was treated before antibiotics. Michigan has none of these sanatoriums still in operation. 03Jul Rep. Noble’s government cleaning initiatives signed into law
Categories: Cole News,News 08Nov Rep. Cole elected to serve as majority floor leader State Rep. Triston Cole today was selected to serve the Michigan House of Representatives as majority floor leader for the 2019-20 legislative term.Rep. Cole, of Mancelona, said he is honored to serve as the majority floor leader and looks forward to working with all members of the Michigan House for the 100th Legislature.“With nearly 20 years of leadership experience with many boards and committees at the local and state level, I am passionate about focusing on the safety and quality of life for Michigan families,” Rep. Cole said. “I want to thank my Michigan House colleagues for their support and am committed to helping our local communities across the state.First elected in 2014, Rep. Cole currently serves as chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He also serves on the Committees on Energy Policy, Judiciary, and Michigan Competitiveness.Rep. Cole sponsored legislation to prioritize asset management for roads and help determine how to best spend available money on Michigan roads and bridges. The legislation eliminates the current siloed configuration of statewide infrastructure and provides a unified plan.Rep. Cole also sponsored legislation to allow private snow plow drivers to maintain safety by continuing to use flashing amber lights on Michigan roads when actively plowing. The flashing lights will alert motorists when private plow trucks are on the roads.###
Share64Tweet8Share7Email79 SharesMarch 17, 2016; New York TimesA new analysis of federal education data shows that black students in charter schools are suspended at four times the rate of white students and that students with disabilities are suspended two to three times the rate of those without disabilities.The study was done by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and studied nearly 5,000 charters for the academic year 2011–2012. While the differences are not markedly different from public schools overall, charters tend to suspend students at higher rates in general—7.8 percent in charters as compared to 6.7 percent in traditional public schools.Students with disabilities were suspended at a rate of 15.5 percent as compared to 13.7 percent at traditional public schools. In fact, there were 235 schools in the study that had suspended at least half their students with disabilities. These statistics are even more concerning when disability advocates note that charters accept a lower proportion of students with disabilities than traditional public schools.Suspension rates for black students get markedly worse with age, with only a third of elementary charter schools suspending more than 10 percent of black students compared to close to 40 percent of charter high schools suspending at least 25 percent of black students enrolled that year.The New York Times points to research showing that black students are suspended for behaviors for which that white students are not, and that subjective categories like “defiance” or “disrespect” are used more often with black students. Some charter networks have come under fire for suspending for minor infractions under “no excuses” codes of behavior.—Ruth McCambridgeShare64Tweet8Share7Email79 Shares
Share9TweetShare7Email16 Shares“Insulin Shot” by Alexandra GoffJune 7, 2017; U.S. News & World ReportNPQ has written repeatedly about how the funding of patient advocacy groups by pharmaceutical and medical device corporations has hijacked a frontline of defense for those with chronic diseases. In other words, when you take money from business interests whose bottom-line profits are made off your constituents, it mutes your voice in a pernicious way that should not be tolerated.Yesterday, Kaiser News reported on a win for patient advocates in Nevada as they goosed a bill in the legislature requiring insulin makers to disclose the profits they make on the drug necessary to the survival of the 1.25 million Americans who live with Type 1 diabetes. The cost of insulin has risen more than threefold over the last decade, only to be met with a truly stunning silence from patient advocacy nonprofits.In this case, the patients had to go it alone and without the support of patient advocacy groups like the American Diabetes Association, notable for their absence in this fight. Why so quiet? That traces back to their financial ties to the very pharmaceutical industry being challenged in such legislation. This article says that “many of the dozens of U.S. diabetes advocacy organizations, large and small, garner significant portions of their funding from insulin manufacturers.” The Nevada bill in question would require such contributions be openly disclosed.In 2016, two of the “big three” insulin producers—Eli Lilly and Sanofi—contributed at least $4.7 million to such national patient advocacy groups as the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC), JDRF International and the Diabetes Hands Foundation, according to company disclosures. The third major insulin manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, does not disclose its charitable contributions.The Nevada Diabetes Association, for instance, does not list its financial sponsors on its website or on its IRS Form 990. Executive Director Sarah Gleich says, “We disclose what we have received, and the IRS does not require that we publicly publish from whom. No one is giving out their invitation list to the party.” (The…party?) The American Diabetes Association took in at least $3.9 million from Eli Lilly and Sanofi last year, which is when CEO Larry Hausner wrote, in an op-ed opposing the legislation in the Nevada Appeal, “Caring for people with diabetes involves more than what they pay for insulin or another medication.”So, abandoned by their advocacy groups, diabetes patients organized a campaign on Twitter, using the hashtag #insulin4all. Erin Gilmer, a Colorado advocate with Type 1 diabetes, comments, “People feel frustrated. At the federal level, we’re not being seen because there’s so much going on politically…It might have to be a state-by-state movement.”Laura Marston, an advocate in Washington, D.C., with Type 1 diabetes, says that there is plenty of grassroots support for legislation on insulin prices, but that advocacy organizations are not listening to the right people.“There should be more focus on the one thing we need to survive. … Without insulin, I die a horrendous death in 12 to 24 hours,” Marston says. “No grassroots support? There’s desperation.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare9TweetShare7Email16 Shares
Share60Tweet48Share12Email120 Shares“Profits Key.” Art Credit: GotCredit.comSeptember 5, 2017; New York Times MagazineNPQ has written extensively about the privatization of public education and research that shows the detrimental impact on education. Here is another version of that story, this time in Michigan.Struggling public school districts, inadequate public funding, and free-market political leadership appear to be all the ingredients needed to whip up a good batch of “school reform” these days. As a prime example, take the schools in Highland Park. In 2012, the state of Michigan took over this economically challenged district so it could be reformed. The state’s formula for success, as described by the New York Times Magazine, was typical of plans being pushed across the nation and promoted by the federal government: “void the teacher’s union contract, fire all employees and turn over control of the schools to a private, for-profit charter operator.” In other words, “charterize” the district.Michigan’s aggressive use of this approach has made it a national leader in transforming public education from valued public service to state-subsidized educational product. Its aggressive efforts make it, according to the Times, “a laboratory in which consumer choice and a shifting landscape of supply and demand (and profit motive, in the case of many charters) were pitched as ways to improve life in the classroom for the state’s 1.5 million public school students.”Because this formula is supported so strongly by President Trump, Education Secretary DeVos (who was a major force in driving Michigan down this path), and many mega-philanthropists, Michigan’s path can indicate the route they intend to take public education down.Reformers believe that in order for schools to benefit from the power of the free market, they must be set loose from the constraints of government’s bureaucracy. NPQ has addressed this in the past, but others have written about the privatization of education as the next frontier for investors in a comprehensive way. Many consider Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error a key source on the matter. In Michigan, this has meant minimizing or even eliminating the power of school districts and their elected leadership. Schools no longer belong to their communities, as funding follows the student and students can attend schools wherever they choose. Governance is unelected, corporate-like, and accountability diffuse. According to the Times, “What happened to Michigan’s schools isn’t solely, or even primarily, an education story: It’s a business story.”Michigan has allowed market forces to replace the planning and oversight roles for which government was traditionally responsible. Control of public education was moved from local school officials to a diverse statewide network that includes universities and community colleges alongside local school boards. A chartering organization can sanction and supervise schools anywhere in the state with no requirement that they understand or are committed to the community the school will serve.This suggests that rather than plan for the needs of a community from a single, local perspective, Michigan wants the broader market to serve as the control rod. A school in the southeastern corner of the state serving a poor community of color can be chartered by an organization hundreds of miles away with little or no connection to the school’s home neighborhood. The motivation of a chartering organization can be the welfare of the children, or the three percent of per-pupil funding it will receive for its efforts.The result has been an unbridled expansion of charters and a glutted marketplace:Since 2002, K-12 student enrollment has dropped by 214,000 in Michigan, but the number of charter schools has doubled. In 2011, state lawmakers abolished the longstanding charter-school cap…So many new schools have opened in Detroit that there are an estimated 30,000 empty seats in the district.Finding qualified teachers is difficult, as limited supply must stretch to cover too many classrooms. With open enrollment in force, scarce resources must be spent on marketing if a school expects to attract students and remain viable.In Michigan, public education is a profit-making business. For-profit organizations can and do own and operate public schools, and for-profit businesses have grown to provide goods and services to the charter community. Eighty percent of Michigan’s charter schools are operated and managed by for-profit management organizations. Other for-profits facilitate the buying and selling of school property, finance school operations, and provide the array of goods and services a school needs, day to day. All of this business runs with little oversight, open to conflicts of interest and fraud. When these parasitic businesses fail, or privately-operated charter schools run into financial trouble, they close up shop and exit the marketplace. Their debts may remain a public responsibility to be repaid from taxes, and their students are on their own to find another school to attend.Scott VanderWerp, who runs the public finance group at Oak Ridge Financial, told the Times how profitable the educational sector could be doing transactions that had little to do with educating children: Just buy some buildings “for a couple hundred thousand bucks, lease them to the school for a couple of years, and then sell them to the school for a few million.” Money meant to teach children is quietly converted into corporate earnings.If education was greatly improved, these would be mere bumps in the road that could be smoothed in the future. As NPQ has previously reported, Michigan education is not better; in fact, it is much worse. Recent measures of school performance do not treat Michigan schools kindly.A Brookings Institution analysis done this year of national test scores ranked Michigan last among all states when it came to improvements in student proficiency. And a 2016 analysis by the Education Trust-Midwest…found that 70 percent of Michigan charters were in the bottom half of the state’s rankings…Michigan’s K-12 system is among the weakest in the country and getting worse. In little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from being a fairly average state in elementary reading and math achievement to the bottom 10 states. It’s a devastating fall. Indeed, new national assessment data suggest Michigan is witnessing systemic decline across the K-12 spectrum. White, black, brown, higher-income, low-income — it doesn’t matter who they are or where they live.The market-based educational reform experiment has been underway for many years. In scattered sites, the results are marginally positive; in most cases, the schools are no better than they were before, and often worse. We know enough to know that the market is not the magic bullet to deal with problems in traditional public schooling. Inadequate funding is nor improved by adding competition or funneling dollars to the profit bucket. Weak communities don’t get stronger because we distance schools from community. Change may be needed, but not the one the White House and its associated megadonors are pushing.—Martin LevineShare60Tweet48Share12Email120 Shares
Share22Tweet1ShareEmail23 SharesRadioKAOS [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia CommonsJanuary 29, 2019; Must Read AlaskaAlaska is different. It takes the third-fewest residents of any state in the US and drops them into the largest state in terms of square mileage. Oh, and most of the habitable land is harsh and rugged, which leads to a population density like this: By JimIrwin, CC BY-SA 3.0, LinkAlaska is painted in popular culture as the last great frontier, unspoiled country where only the rugged survive. Just watch any of the reality shows “documenting” the lives of its residents. Independent of how true-to-life those depictions are, the reality of governing such a sparsely populated state is quite brutal. While Alaska is a part of the United States, its relationship with the remote parts of its jurisdiction is quite different from the lower 48. Tribal councils play vital roles in the small villages that dot the Alaskan Bush, and many are too remote and small to necessitate a state-funded police force. Enter the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO).A VPSO is a not-quite-police officer who is tasked with keeping order in remote villages when trouble breaks out until state troopers can get there. If they apprehend a criminal, VPSOs often times have to hold them in their own houses, since most villages have no jail. All of this without a firearm. For their trouble? The hourly wage for a VPSO in 2017 was $25, less than a state trooper recruit. It is no small wonder why the state struggles to keep its VPSO ranks staffed.Complicating matters further is these officers are not quite state employees, either. Even though they serve the state of Alaska, local nonprofits are tasked with hiring VPSOs. That means that funding coming from the state goes to nonprofits which, in turn, pay the VPSOs. The officers do not get any of the benefits state employees enjoy, which reduces the financial burden on the state. Nonprofits like the Association of Village Council Presidents bear the burden of all liability risks beyond the $2 million covered by the state of Alaska. Put it all together, and it means remote villages in Alaska go without.This shortage of VPSOs was highlighted this week when the Department of Public Safety returned $3 million to the state’s coffers. The move sparked grandstanding in the state legislature, where politicians criticized the Department for not doing enough to keep the citizens of its state safe, one going so far as to insinuate that the lack of a VPSO led to the death of a child in a village that had its own state trooper post.While the shortage of qualified applicants is a big problem, the legislature would be wise to look at the risks that nonprofits and VPSOs must assume. VPSOs do not have the same protections as normal police officers but are increasingly asked to perform the same tasks. Nonprofits assume the liability risks associated with enforcing the state’s laws without the full support of the state’s finances. Rather than posture about how money isn’t being spent to help remote villages, legislators should look at why it has nowhere to go.Alaska is different. However, it really needs to look at what its asking of its nonprofits and its VPSOs if it wants to finds its ranks fully staffed again.—Sean WattersonShare22Tweet1ShareEmail23 Shares
Endemol has instigated wide-ranging senior management changes with new roles for Martha Brass, Edwin van Es and Boudewijn Beusmans.The production and distribution firm said Friday that chief operating officer and Endemol France boss Virginie Calmels is leaving.This morning it said that its Management Board, which comprises CEO Just Spee and president Tim Hincks, has created a new Management Committee that will oversee the day-to-day operation of the business.Martha Brass, formerly managing director of international operations will joins the Management Committee as COO. She will continue to oversee emerging markets whilst adding responsibility for additional territories including Scandinavia and Central and Eastern Europe.Edwin van Es, formerly group finance director, joins the Management Committee as CFO, overseeing all the Group’s finance activities. Boudewijn Beusmans, global head of legal and corporate secretary, will also join the new Committee.The executives will all continue to report to Just Spee. He said: “The new structure will help us to focus on the key strategic drivers of the business as we look to continue the growth and diversification Endemol achieved throughout 2012.”
European media giant Mediaset suffered a net loss of €287.1 million last year as effects of the economic recessions in Italy and Spain kicked in.The Silvio Berlusconi-owned company, which operates market leading channels such as Canale 5 in Italy and Telecinco in Spain, pointed to a combined advertising revenue drop in the two territories of €1.6 billion as a key factor in the loss, which is first year-long fall in its history.Mediaset’s Italian broadcasting unit lost €307.4 million in the 12 months to December 31, 2012, which compares with a €176.2 million profit the previous year.Results were slightly better at Spanish broadcasting division Mediaset Espana, which earned €50.1 million in 2012. However, this was down from €110.5 million in 2011.Consolidated group revenue was down a total of €530 million and came in at €3.7 billion and the €287 million net loss was in comparison with a €225 million profit for 2011.However, Mediaset claimed its had made cost savings in Italy of €307.2 million, which was €57.2 million more than a previously announced target.It also claimed to have improved cash generation, lowered its debts “without abandoning investment” and introduced new restructuring measures.Furthermore, Mediaset remained the leading channel provider in Italy, where Canale 5 was the most popular network with a 16.7% share of all day ratings and an 18.1% share of primetime; and Spain, where Mediaset Espana was the leader in all-day ratings (28.1%) and primetime (27.4%). Telecinco remained Spain’s most watched channel with a 13.9% all-day share.
Ericsson has launched a new compression platform targeting direct-to-home applications called the AVP4000.The encoding platform will be powered by Ericsson’s first in-house developed programmable video processing chip and is designed to work across multiple applications, regardless of codec, resolution or network.“What we’ve seen in the industry is that with continued development of multiscreen and the drive for quality and high resolutions, operators in that changing environment really need a lot more agility in deploying new services and the speed of deployment,” the head of Ericsson’s TV compression business Dr Giles Wilson told DTVE.Ericsson predicts that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices, 15 billion of which will be video-enabled, and says that operators must meet changing consumer demands.Telus is already trialling the AVP4000, which is now available widely. The platform will be showcased at the NAB show in Las Vegas next week.
The Royal Television Society (RTS) has unveiled the lien up of speakers for the RTS Cambridge Convention from September 11-13, to be chaired by Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham.Keynote speakers at this year’s event will include Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries, secretary of state for culture Maria Miller and her opposition shadow Harriet Harman.Other speakers include Channel 5 owner Richard Desmond in his first major conference address since buying the UK terrestrial broadcaster three years ago.Other RTS speakers will include BT TV chief executive Marc Watson, Ben McOwen Wilson, director of YouTube EMEA, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix, Mike Darcey, CEO of News UK and Fru Hazlitt, managing director of commercial, online and interactive, ITV.
Base79, the UK-based network for video creators, content owners and brands, reached 92 million unique viewers globally in September – triple the number of views from the same time last year. The figure, taken from Comscore’s Worldwide YouTube partner report, puts Base79 ahead of other multichannel networks such as Machinima and Rightster, said Base79.The firm, which has previously received investment from the Chernin Group and Evolution Media Capital, now represents more than 1,500 channels and 800 premium content partners on YouTube.“We have worked hard to add a distinctive edge to our network, opening offices in Spain, France, Germany and the USA during 2013 where maintaining a physical presence in key territories is part of our philosophy. Overtaking a major US competitor [Machinima] is an important milestone in our growth, and reinforces our global credentials,” said Base79 founder and CEO Ashley MacKenzie.
Beenius’ Beesmart middleware will be exhibited at ANGA COM on the stands of its partners Albis Technologies (10.1/R29) and Kathrein TechnoTrend (10.2/B19). TV middleware provider Beenius will demo its Beesmart offering and discuss cable and hybrid solutions at ANGA COM this year.The firm’s Beesmart middleware is designed to offer traditional IPTV services – such as linear TV, radio, subtitles, EPG, VoD and network PVR – across hybrid scenarios and cable environments.The solution also includes additional features such as multimedia sharing, home multimedia, instant messaging, and social applications like Twitter and Facebook.“Beenius is well prepared for the hybrid era, enabling operators to offer interactive TV features and multiscreen applications to their cable subscribers. Despite decreasing cable subscriptions worldwide, OTT services from cable providers are increasing more than from IPTV providers,” the firm said.Beesmart for cable environments is designed to be open and flexible, providing the same level of interactivity that is available in pure IP network environments, with selected products available to be upgraded or replaced on request.
Terrestrial broadcast trade organisation Broadcast Networks Europe (BNE), providing its input for the European common policy objectives for the forthcoming World Radio Conference (WRC), which will address the future of UHF, has said it remains “concerned by the possible displacement of DTT from the 700 MHz band” and called the setting of a deadline for the transition in 2020 or 2022 “premature”. “BNE acknowledges the international momentum behind the potential future deployment of Wireless Mobile Broadband in 700MHz, but emphasise the complexity and challenges associated with reorganising the DTT networks across Europe to accommodate today’s services in less spectrum than is currently utilised,” it said.“To this end, BNE believes it is premature to consider setting 2020 or 2022 as deadlines for the Europe wide completion of the 700 MHz clearance process as the planning / co-ordination process has barely started and there is still much uncertainty at this stage.”BNE endorsed the RSPG position on the future of the 600MHz, which the latter said should be given over to broadcasting until 2030.The BNE’s publication of its input comes as RSPG’s consultations on the common policy objectives for WRC-15 and the future of the UHF spectrum draw to a close. In its draft opinion, the RSPG endorsed the provision of wireless broadband services in the 700MHz band currently used for digital-terrestrial broadcasting and has called for binding legislation to set a deadline for the transition.The RSPG called for the 700MHz band to be made available “as early as possible” with 2020 or 2022 both under consideration for the deadline.While calling for the 600MHz band to remain available for broadcasting at least until 2030, the RSPG also said that member states should have the flexibility to use this spectrum for wireless broadband downlink provided that this is compatible with the broadcasting needs in the relevant country.Following the conclusion of the RSPG consultations, the EC has launched a consultation on the Lamy report on the future of the UHF spectrum. The report, published last year, called for the reallocation of the 700MHz band for mobile broadband and the protection of the 600MHz band for DTT. It, together with the RSPG’s input, various Commission studies and responses to the consultation will feed into the EC’s long-term strategy for the future of the UHF band.
French telecom watchdog ARCEP has approved the sale of Numericable-SFR’s Réunion and Mayotte operator Outremer Telecom’s mobile telecoms activities to Madagascar-based Hiridjee Group.ARCEP has also approved the sale of Outremer’s mobile frequencies to Telco OI, Hiridjee’s local holding group.The sale of Outremer Telecom’s mobile interests was a condition for approval of the acquisition of SFR by Numericable and Altice in France.Hiridjee Group-owned Telma is the dominant telecom provider in Madagascar, with 1.5 million subscribers.
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