Tough Times in Penetrating the Rural Sector

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Given the market conditions and the volatility in the financial markets here in the United States, just about every type of industry is feeling some sort of meltdown, whether it is from laying off employees or experiencing budget cuts. Right now, even the telecom industry is prone to this.

centuryLinkFor example, while the largest telecom vendors have penetrated most of the lucrative markets, the smaller vendors have been left to penetrate the lesser lucrative markets, which include rural areas. Even though many of these smaller vendors have hoped that market dominance here would pick up, it simply has not.

This is best exemplified by CenturyLink, with its recent acquisition of Qwest. It was hoped that, with this buyout, the penetration rate into the rural sector would be quick and easy. But, this has not happened, yet. Only 20% of the potential customers have actually signed onto CenturyLink’s services, and there is quite a long way to go, especially in getting speeds of 40Mbps or more.

However, the market penetration into the rural sector is slow due to the other reasons, as well, not just consumer demand. For example, according to the FCC, “A small percentage of these households in some areas may not be able to obtain CenturyLink broadband services on demand, due to capacity constraints in the network.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/centurylinks-40-mbps-broadband-former-qwest-markets-reaches-only-20-rural-c/2016-03-04).

In order to overcome this obstacle, CenturyLink is planning to greatly enhance its higher speed copper based services. Despite this, there seems to be an overall decline in the level of customer demand for broadband services, in general. This trend started in the 4th Quarter of 2015.

Another factor, which has led to this decline, is that CenturyLink has also tightened its credit policies as well. For example, as this new policy was being implemented back in the summer of 2015, subscribership declined as much as 22%.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172.

 

How GIS Can Help Improve Your Golf Swing

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Well, as we get into the month of March, you’ll notice the weather is getting warmer and the days are actually getting longer.  With this change in the environment comes more outdoor activities, family outings, picnics, etc.  

golfBut, there is one venue that will receive a lot of attendance:  the golf course.  Yes, everybody is trying to improve their game, as well as their chipping and putting capabilities.

Believe it or not, the concepts of GIS can be used to help you to improve your swing.  A well-known vendor—Bluesky—has created an innovative software package which makes use of both high resolution aerial photography and 3D terrain maps, in order for you to get a better feel for the golf course. 

These maps and images are then available for download by another vendor, known as Creative Golf Design. 

The information and data that is provided by Bluesky is also used to illustrate changes in the golf terrain, as well as the location of existing features, such as boundaries, vegetation, and woodland areas.

According to Ken Moodie, Managing Director of Creative Golf Design, “The Bluesky aerial photographs provide a map-accurate base for our proposals and a real world context for our drawings . . . this not only improves our understanding of the site, informing the design, but also helps us communicate our design ideas to our clients. Using CAD software to manipulate LiDAR data, we are also able to produce a detailed 3D model and contouring of a development site, or existing golf course, on which we can overlay our design proposals.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/blueskys-aerial-laser-maps-drive-creative-golf-course-design/464862).

It should be noted that, at this time, this service is only available in the United Kingdom.  However, there are plans to extend this offering to the United States market very soon.  Until then, happy golfing!!!

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

GIS Techniques Being Used to Help Guide First Responders

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With all of the content we have written about the GIS industry this past year, we have seen many applications and the promise they hold for the future. Today, we bring you an even more exciting application of GIS technology. This one has a very positive impact upon the emergency response market sector in the United States.

first respondersWhen someone faces an unfortunate medical crisis and calls 911 for help, the hope is that the ambulance will arrive in just a matter of minutes. But, truth be told, even ambulance drivers get snared in traffic, especially if they have to take a patient to a hospital in a large city during rush hour.

In some cases, being stuck in traffic can be a matter of life or death for the patient. To combat this situation, a leading GIS provider known as Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, in partnership with TomTom, will provide map and traffic data in real time to first responders to help them find the quickest and most efficient route to get to the patient and, then, to the hospital.

The specific software that will be used in this strategic partnership is the Intergraph Computer Aided Dispatch, also known as “I/CAD” for short. In fact, this particular piece of software application is not just available here in the United States, it is also available in the countries of Australia, India, and South Korea.

This software provides the most detailed driving data which includes the following:

  • Signage
  • Intersections and related congestion
  • Hard to find addresses
  • Navigating through complex street networks
  • Finding the most optimal route in the worst imaginable traffic conditions and construction scenarios

According to Mike Creevey, a manager at Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, “We look forward to leveraging our partnership with TomTom to benefit dispatchers and first responders and drive additional value within our public safety solutions, raising both the performance and productivity of public safety and security agencies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/hexagon-safety-infrastructure-partners-with-tomtom-to-optimize-emergen/466762).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

The United States Federal Government Making a Splash in GIS

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Many of our past blog postings have dealt with GIS vendors in the private sector. A common theme has been that most of these companies we have profiled come from the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even the Pacific Rim regions. Believe it or not, however, here in America, even the federal government plays a big role in the GIS sector.

gis dataThe federal government not only awards contracts to private sector companies, but they even award grants, scholarships, funding, and endowments to the GIS sector. In its latest move, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that its Geospatial Management Office (also known as the GMO) is making important infrastructure data readily accessible and in highly usable open data formats to the public safety community.

In addition to this, the GMO is making these data sets open for feedback from the local and state public safety agencies on the quality of the GIS data sets which are being made available now. For example, according to Eric Fisher, a leader at the Fairfax (VA) County Fire and Rescue, “Using these important data sets, any time, augments my local authoritative data with regional and other data that may not currently be available. And even better, I can access and download that data in real time, so that it truly is a useful part of our agency’s planning and preparedness efforts.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/department-of-homeland-security-makes-infrastructure-data-more-readily-avai/464422).

Although there is some fear and apprehension in making these datasets publicly available, the bottom line is that it is believed it will ensure safety at all levels. “Open access to authoritative infrastructure data sets is an enormous step forward that will enable public safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels to more effectively plan for and respond to natural and manmade disasters.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/department-of-homeland-security-makes-infrastructure-data-more-readily-avai/464422).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

Great Plains Communications Announces New Expansion Plans

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In previous blog postings, we’ve examined many telecom vendors. Probably the ones that stand out the most are Verizon, Comcast, Windstream Communications, L3 Communications, etc. Well, there is another that you’ve probably never heard of before. This one is known as Great Plains Communications.

Great Plains CommThis particular vendor has been around for a very long time. In fact, they’ve been around for 100 years, to be exact. They are currently headquartered in Blair, Nebraska. Their primary bread and butter is that of providing telecom based services. This includes such items as long distance telephone services, as well as Voice over Internet Protocol Services (VoIP), which is currently being offered to over 77 communities in Nebraska.

Great Plains Communications offers cable television services to over 41 Nebraska communities, as well. Broadband and high speed digital technology products are also offered, primarily to the small and medium sized business communities.

In fact, Great Plains Communications is the largest provider of telecom services in Nebraska, employing people who are, overwhelming, from that state. In order to further capitalize on this trend, it was recently announced that this business entity will be buying out Pinpoint Network Solutions, as well as their business units of the regional fiber company, Pinpoint Holdings.

With this acquisition, Great Plains Communications will be able to add an extra 1,200 miles of fiber optic cabling, thus giving it a much greater reach in the Omaha metro market. This will complement the existing 6,000 miles of fiber optic cabling it currently has, which reaches Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Also, Great Plains Communications will be acquiring a Network Operations Center, as well. This will give them the ability to provide 24/7/365 customer service and technical support. In addition to this buyout activity, Great Plains Communications is also establishing plans for diversifying their 100 gb route between Nebraska and Iowa.

GeoTel Communications, LLC is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data in a geographic information system (GIS) and internet based spatial technologies for over 15 years. GeoTel takes telecom infrastructure data and makes it tangible. By layering this data in GIS software or by viewing it in one of our web based platforms, we make it possible to analyze detailed fiber optic maps and other telecom data sets throughout America. These integrated datasets are digitized onto the highest quality street data and aerial imagery available, providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make informed location based and fiscally sound decisions.

Alternative Technology Tools for the GIS Professional

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There is one thing we know for sure:  In the world of GIS, there is a ton of information and data coming out on a daily basis.  There are literally hundreds of vendors with many products and services their customers use all the time.

A lot of this has to do with mapping and capturing extremely high quality images of landpic 1marks or other geographical terrains that can be gained by utilizing either satellites or unmanned drones.

However, storing all these details can take up a lot of space on a server’s local hard drive or workstation. Also, a lot of processing power is required in case these images have to be further refined into more granular detail. That can be expensive.

So, how can a GIS professional afford a high-end computer without breaking his or her budget?

The answer comes via using a “hosted service.” For example, all one has to do is find a reliable Internet Service Provider within your budget and sign up for an account in just a few minutes.  With this, you get all the storage space you need for those huge map and image files, and you can even procure a dedicated server in which to process them.

However, there are not many Internet Service Providers providing this exclusive service to GIS-based customers.  Fortunately, it was announced just recently that there is a new ISP out there that has come out with a new hosted service dedicated to offering just mapping services to housing associations.

“Computer Aided Development Corporation, Ltd. (Cadcorp),” is the name of the provider.  According to Managing Director, Martin McGarry, “Under the service the responsibility for managing both map data and web mapping software sits with Cadcorp. The housing association simply subscribes to a service that includes software, data and management services.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/cadcorp-announces-hosted-web-mapping-service-for-uk-housing-associatio/463224).

The specific types of GIS data that work with this new offering includes both static and dynamic sets.

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

 

Introducing the Launch of Vantage

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Frontier Communications is one of those smaller telecom companies that not too many people, especially in the Midwest, have heard about.  Don’t count them out yet, because they have just announced a new brand.  This new offering is called “Vantage” and offers an entire set of services, including HDTV, broadband and internet services, and VoIP services, as well.  Within this overarching brand, there are three sub-brands as well:

  • Vantage TV
  • Vantage Internet
  • Vantage Voice

fronteir communicationsFrontier is totally banking on one product to increase its market share.  That is the IPTV (which falls under the Vantage TV sub-brand, as well).  In fact, during the fourth quarter earnings call of 2015, Frontier announced that it would roll out the IPTV to well over 3,000,000 households within a five-year time span.

In addition to this bold new product offering, it was also announced that Frontier will also purchase Verizon’s wireline assets which are located in California, Texas, and Florida.  This includes a customer base of nearly 3,000,000 customers, as well.  With the launch of Vantage, Frontier will also be releasing a brand new billing and support system.

Before the formal launch of Vantage actually occurred, Frontier did a test launch in Durham, NC, with great success.  Riding off this wave of good news, this telecom carrier will now set its eyes on the entire state of Connecticut and, from there, expand this new brand into other, existing markets in which it already has a footprint.

There are also critics, as well, of this new product offering.  For example, there is huge skepticism that Frontier will be able to provide high quality services that are palatable to new and existing customers.  These views are based on the fact that, when Frontier acquired the wireline services of AT&T, poor quality service at a high price was delivered.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

The Canadian Telecom Industry in Trouble

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It is one month into the new year and, perhaps, some resolutions are coming true. However, this cannot be said for general economic conditions around the world. All over the globe, countries are feeling market pressures, and that is especially true in the United States.

canadian telecomFor instance, the price of crude oil has reached lows not seen in over a decade. In addition, whatever gains the financial markets made last year were totally eradicated last month, as markets plummeted well over five percent.

This economic slowdown is also being felt by Canada, our neighbor to the north. The telecom industry there has been badly hit by this slowdown. According to a recent article, this market segment has experienced a growth rate of only .5% in 2015. It is expected that that this trend will continue into 2016, with a very modest growth rate of just 1.4% (at least it is higher than it was in 2015).

There are other specific factors cited for this slowdown. These include:

  • A much higher than expected debt level.
  • Higher levels of unemployment. Because of this, customers have much less spending power, thus having things like a TV connection or having a sophisticated means of communication, such as VoIP are less likely.

The Canadian pay television industry has almost collapsed, as well. According to senior economist, Kristelle Audet, “This, combined with sharp telecom price increases seen in the past couple of years, will likely prompt Canadians to review their telecom services and eliminate unnecessary options along the way.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/canadas-telecom-sector-slows-crawl-14-percent-growth-ahead-2016-economist-s/2016-02-05).

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

Online Privacy Rights Plague the Telecom Industry

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Here in the United States, as well as most places around the world, the ability to have a robust Internet connection is something that we, as human beings, take for granted on a daily basis.  

online privacyWe are so accustomed to the fact that, when we access our Smartphone or wireless device, we will be able to “plug in” in a matter of just two seconds or less. 

But, there are times when Internet connectivity can be very slow, or not even occur at all.  When this terrifying moment occurs, we feel totally paralyzed and lost.  As a result of this, the customer support lines at major telecom vendors are always inundated with telephone calls from irritated customers.   

This is one of the largest problems facing the various vendors–looking for ways, at least on a technical level, to provide 100% connectivity to their customer base.  But now, as 2016 has just started, another serious issue plagues the telecom industry: Online privacy for customers. 

In fact, it was recently announced in a press release that a coalition of over 60 consumer rights and privacy advocates groups have formally asked the FCC to create and implement rules that require the protection of personal data. 

For example, “Providers of broadband Internet access service, including fixed and mobile telephone, cable, and satellite television providers, have a unique role in the online ecosystem. Their position as Internet gatekeepers gives them a comprehensive view of consumer behavior and until now privacy protections for consumers using those services have been unclear.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/consumer-coalition-asks-stricter-broadband-privacy-rules/2016-01-21).

Not only this, but there have also been charges against the telecom industry of discrimination, favoring certain customers over others by providing price discounts, and even violations of free speech.  In response to these allegations, the FCC plans, in the next few months, to look at privacy issues which stem from each telecom vendor, in an effort to ascertain the types and kinds of personal information and data that is being collected. 

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

Heavy Merger and Acquisition Activity in 2016

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In the last year, we spent a lot of time examining some of the GIS vendors and the products and/or services they have to offer. So far, these business entities have been able to offer their services by utilizing their own funding or, perhaps, by bringing a private investor or two onboard.

geocommSometimes, however, in the GIS industry, the only way that creativity and innovation in new products and services can continue to thrive is through Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity. This occurs when a buyer sees the potential of adding much more value to their current product and service line by acquiring another entity.

Sometimes this makes good sense. After all, why waste critical resources trying to come up with new ideas to be competitive when you can just purchase them?

A typical example of this was recently announced in the state of Oregon. The buyer is GeoComm, and they are buying a company called GeoSolve, Inc. It should be noted that the latter will not entirely dissolve when it is bought out; rather, it will be incorporated as a subsidiary.

The new set of services which will be leveraged for GeoComm when this transaction occurs will be:

  • Further enhanced E-911 functionalities (this will be a new service offering for the buyer).
  • An extensive set of GIS data management tools and technologies. The GeoSolve will now have much greater access to GIS based data management tools.

According to John Bryant, CEO and President of GeoComm, “GeoComm is delighted with the GeoSolve acquisition and we are fully committed to maintaining the high level of service customers have experienced with GeoSolve . . . the future is bright as we continue to enhance the way we manage and implement GIS data for 9-1-1 and we look forward to working with the GeoSolve team on this journey.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/geocomm-acquires-geosolve-inc.-oregon-based-gis-company/461684).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

An Introduction to Remote Sensing

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There is often confusion between the fields of geosciences and GIS.  There is no doubt, however, that these two broad topics do relate to one other.  For instance, geoscience primarily involves the study of rocks and minerals, but other facets are also examined by scientists. These include the study of oceans, volcanoes, and the atmosphere. 

satelitteGIS, on the other hand, mainly involves the study of specific landmarks (whether man made or natural) on the earth’s surface, the oceans, or in the atmosphere.  As one can see, the two fields, although distinct from each other in what they study, very often blend together in any scientific pursuit.

An area in which geosciences and GIS overlap is in that of remote sensing.  Remote sensing can be defined as, “The science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites.” (SOURCE:  http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/remotesensing.html)

The images of the earth, the atmosphere, and the ocean depths are often very sophisticated and extremely crystal clear.  These images can be comprised of either spectral, temporal, or even spatially based resolution factors.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are the image that often comes to mind when one thinks of remote pictures. However, it is not just UAV vehicles that can capture such images.  Even the most desolate man-made satellites, which are circling the earth, can take extremely robust images with the most shocking granular detail.  To add to this particular level of sophistication, high resolution remote images can be taken with satellites working in tandem with another.  As an example of this, one satellite might be capturing images of one side of Mount Everest, while another satellite could also be capturing images from the other side.  Together, these separate images can be used to create an entire composite image of Mount Everest for further study and investigation. 

The types and kinds of images which are taken and used in remote sensing are 2-Dimensional (2D). Geo referencing is a commonly used technique and is used mostly for “. . . geometric corrections and image enhancement for radiometric corrections. Digitally enhanced and geo-referenced images can be (re)projected to real world coordinate systems to put it in use for 2D feature extraction.”  (SOURCE:  http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/2d-feature-mapping-from-high-resolution-satellite-images1/455735).

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United Statesand worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

What 2016 will Hold for the Telecom Industry

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As we begin 2016, there is one thing we know for sure: Many individuals and families have set resolutions for themselves for the specific goals they want to accomplish. Now, whether they keep those resolutions, or not, is another issue.

level 3This concept of setting resolutions and goals holds true for those in the business world, as well. Many corporations, both large and small, have set their business plans for this year, and more importantly, their budgets.

The same is true of the telecom industry. In fact, just this past week, a press release was sent out stating that one of the new objectives for telecom vendors is to acquire larger chunks of business. This simply means they’re going after larger market segments and the respective customer base that resides in them.

One such telecom vendor that has made this blatantly clear is Level 3. The management team at this organization is well aware of the stiff competition they face, especially from Comcast.

For example, they may possess the financial muscle to go after larger customers, but don’t have much in the way in their ability to service multiple industry segments.

According to the executive vice president and CFO of Level 3, Sunit Patel, “With the cable guys, most of their success has been in more of the lower end of enterprises or generally enterprises that have single locations . . . I think they are moving towards enterprises that have multiple locations in the same city, which is entirely different than from serving customers that have lots of people in lots of locations in different geographies and I think that that’s an organization and a cultural challenge that takes a number of years to figure out.” (SOURCE: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/level-3s-patel-cable-faces-cultural-network-challenges-compete-large-busine/2016-01-08)

He also noted that a key factor in penetrating multiple markets is the ability to leverage what are known as network interconnection agreements (E-NNI’s).

Level 3 is also facing other competitors, not just Comcast. One other is Charter Communications that has made efforts to buy out Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

GeoTel Communications, LLC, provides fiber route maps that help businesses visualize telecom data and locate fiber for predictive analytics and location based intelligence. If interested in obtaining these datasets, call 800-277-2172 FREE.

 

 

 

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