Why the world’s governments are interested in creating hubs for open data

It’s fascinating to see orgs like ODI and Code for America pop up and do so well. Maybe we could live in a Star Trek future where everyone works to benefit mankind after all?


Amid the tech giants and eager startups that have camped out in East London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood, the Open Data Institute is the rare nonprofit on the block that talks about feel-good sorts of things like “triple-bottom line” and “social and environmental value.” In fact, I first met ODI’s CEO Gavin Starks because he used to run AMEE, a startup that builds software for environmental data, and he was one of our first speakers at GigaOM’s early green conferences.

But ODI, which officially launched last October with funding from the U.K. government, is a private company and philanthropy isn’t its dominant aim. ODI helps companies, entrepreneurs and governments find value in the explosion of open data, and it seems to be starting to gain commercial success like a savvy street vendor selling hot cakes.

ODI’s CEO Gavin Starks told me that the governments of 25 countries have approached…

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Ericsson CEO: We’re ready for the carrier Wi-Fi boom

Wireless networking is getting very interesting! Ericsson is ready to provide wi-fi networks and small cell side by side.


A year after its acquisition of BelAir Networks, Swedish mobile equipment giant Ericsson(s eric) has fully integrated its high-powered outdoor Wi-Fi technology into its wireless networks. Ericsson’s first commercial small cells will come with BelAir’s technology embedded, letting mobile operators build high-capacity cellular and Wi-Fi networks side by side, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg told GigaOM in an interview.

You can think of small cells as Wi-Fi access points that use dedicated mobile spectrum: Just like Wi-Fi access points, they’re short-range wireless nodes designed to pack a lot of bandwidth into a limited area. But unlike Wi-Fi, small cells link to devices directly through their cellular radios.

By putting combo small-cell/Wi-Fi nodes up in heavily trafficked areas both indoors and out, would give mobile networks a capacity double bonus. The cellular aspect would allow networks to handle many more device connections and provide faster speeds over those connections, while Wi-Fi could…

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How Apple could use a fingerprint scan to unlock your iPhone

Imagine with a fingerprint scanner under the screen – rather than using a code or swipe, have your fingerprint scanned to unlock. Nifty!


Apple(s AAPL) has stayed quiet — as usual — on what it’s been up to with AuthenTec since it acquired the mobile security company a year ago. But a patent filing offers some insight into what the two are partnering on: fingerprint sensors that can be embedded into displays.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application attributed to Apple based on work done by AuthenTec’s co-founder, as noted by AppleInsider this morning. The patent is is for a chip that can be embedded in a mobile device that will sense fingerprints on a display as a way of authenticating a user before giving them access to a device.

Apple’s patent sounds like it will allow the chip to be inserted in the device, but gives Apple’s device engineers more room to work with than traditional biometric security solutions. From the application:

When using a semiconductor…

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OpenIncubate launches to supercharge infrastructure startups with open-source cred

Super cool. IT is evolving rapidly.


All systems are go for OpenIncubate, a new accelerator seeking startups focused on open IT infrastructure. Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures and The Valley Fund are behind the accelerator, which plans to officially launch Thursday and hopes to shake up staid, proprietary corners of IT.

We’ve already seen enterprise-focused accelerators and hardware accelerators cropping up. OpenIncubate takes from each of those categories, targeting open-source IT.

Its doors will be open to any companies or teams that are working on software, Software as a Service (SaaS) and/or hardware and want to address the software-defined data-center vision through open-source technology, according to a press release. Participants will need to be in Austin, Texas; Menlo Park, Calif.; or Boston in order to get working space and access to advisors.

What sorts of companies might be ripe for participation? Think of NoviFlow, a young OpenFlow-enabled switch maker, or Cumulus Networks, an ambitious…

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Prepare for change! This is not your father’s database industry

New applications are being developed with new persistence models and products. Hadoop is eating legacy DB’s marketshare. The database industry is rapidly evolving!


Open source software is about to blow up the database industry, and Hadoop is the nitroglycerin. This is not a good thing for the legacy software vendors that have built that industry over the past few decades. Facing an ever-mounting attack on their business models, database stalwarts have to hunker down and protect the status quo, or try to ride the open source shockwaves into the next generation of enterprise software.

At a broad scale, the advent of open source software as a legimate option for enterprise workloads has been a long time coming. Linux helped lead the charge during the 1990s and early 2000s, and now there’s open source software everywhere you look, from the operating systems up to the applications. Some large IT shops — including at buttoned-up institutions such as Goldman Sachs — make a product’s open source status a primary consideration in choosing what new technologies…

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