With the support of the European Commission partners from 11 European countries started the first European MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) initiative. MOOC is a worldwide trend, many well known institutions offer a huge amount of free courses for millions of registered users. Well known examples include Coursera and Udacity. In Europe there was up to now no common European initiative present. On the open up education portal currently about 40 courses are offered in twelve European languages. Lead partner is the union of distance learning universities (EADTU), partners are open universities.
Current course topics include mathematics, economics, ICT, cultural heritage, climatic change, social competencies and language courses. Each partner offers the courses at least in the local language. Up to now the following countries are present: Turkey, Lithuania, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
Courses can be executed either in a preset time frame or according to the individual pace of the students. Average study times for the courses are between 20 and 200 study hours. All courses are credited either with a formal certificate, a badge or an ECTS-certificate (European Credit Transfer System). The latter costs between 25 and 400 Euro and can be used/counted within the own study.
The Japanese car producer Subaru has bad news for more than 50,000 customers in North Amercia for the brands Impreza, Outback and Crosstek. These cars can start their motors without human interaction or intention. Even though the now so called “zombie cars” cannot drive away by themselves but they can cause dangerous situations in closed rooms i.e. garages.
The problem is caused by the remote control of the starter from the car key which sensitivity is too high. When for example the owner lets the key fall on the floor or on a table the remote control could send a signal to the car to start the motor. Afterwards the motor runs up to 15 minutes before it will be automatically switched off.
This example shows how complex the cases may become in connection with the driver supporting systems which become more and more a standard in most cars. The most advanced example is for sure the autonomously driving Google car. In the meantime Nevada, Florida and California have changed their law and allowed the usage of driverless cars. Car producers claim that they only introduce these technologies step by step and are aware of their responsibility.
According to a study assigned by Google (and performed by the consulting company Booz & Company) the structural change caused by the digitization of media helps the media industry to develop. The segments books, cinema, TV and music could increase their revenues since 2001 to nearly 200 billion Euros. This is a growth of 2 percent. This growth has compensated the loss in the analogue business.
According to the study the importance of the Internet in terms of media usage is also growing. The average time for a European consuming media via Internet is currently 4 hours: 2 hours TV, 0.7 for newspapers and magazines and 1.3 hours for Internet content in general.
A major result of the study was that more and more users are willing to pay for digital content. Currently Europeans spend in average 4 cents for content per hour, which is an increase of 140% since 2003. However the numbers for offline consumption – 17 cent for TV and 23 cents for print media – make it quite clear that the media industry still wants to keep the old distribution channels for a while. On the other hand for the creatives the new digital channels are a direct connection to customers and have a clear advantage to the existing channels.
The German market share for the media industry is currently 40 billion Euros, which is an increase of 1 billion Euro since 2001. 7 billion Euros are from digital channels, and they grew by 9%. The Internet consumption by the Germans is currently in average 1.1 hours per day, which is significantly below the European average.
According to Bloomberg Samsung thinks of selling their Netherland branch company Liquavista to amazon for 77 million Euro. Liquavista is known for the development of color displays used for eBooks utilizing the so called Electrowetting technology. Samsung bought this company two years ago, which was a leader in this technology. The displays are very efficient with energy consumption and fast. In comparison to the currently by the amazon kindle used used E-Paper displays from E ink the electrowetting technology is also capable of displaying videos.
Liquavista is a company placed in Eindhoven and was originally founded by Philips. In 2010 the first presented a color display using the Electrowetting technology.
Electrowetting is a microfluidic phenomena that is currently enjoying explosive growth as a driving mechanism for a wide range of fluidic and electro-optic applications. Electrowetting modifies the surface tension of liquids on a solid surface using a voltage. By applying a voltage, the wetting properties of a hydrophobic surface can be modified and the surface becomes increasingly hydrophilic (wettable). With Electrowetting displays, the modification of the surface tension is used to obtain a simple optical switch by contracting a colored oil film electrically. Without a voltage, the colored oil forms a continuous film and the color is visible to the consumer. When a voltage is applied to the display pixel the oil is displaced and the pixel becomes transparent. When different pixels are independently activated, the display can show content like an photograph or a video.
According to a study from Kendo UI with more than 5000 participating developers HTML5 is the mostly wanted platform for app developers. 50% of the participating developers did already develop in HTML5, and more than 90% will apply this technology in 2013. Only 15% still stick to a purely native development code for one platform (iOS and Android are here most common), but then they will use HTML5 for all other platforms.
A new aspect is the development of apps for the desktop. More than 2/3 of the 5000 developers want to develop apps for Windows8, 50% want to develop for Chrome OS and 1/3 is thinking of developing apps for the new Firefox OS.
50% of the developers classify Windows8 as easy for app development. The development for iOS and blackberries is classified as difficult by 59% and 64%.