The ‘Digital Divide’ Is Evolving – Will We Ever Catch Up?

This article originally appeared on Learnosity by Adelina Sarkisyan.

With a technological revolution upon us, how do we navigate the digital divide without falling over the edge?

Just over 500 years ago, the invention of the printing press ushered society into the age of the first mass medium and promised equal access to a technology previously reserved for the elite: the book.

As democratizing as the printing press aimed to be, like most new technologies, books weren’t evenly distributed – at least not at first. Illiteracy was still common, as were economic, gender, and racial inequalities. As much as we’d like to romanticize new technologies ushering us into ages of social progress and innovation, progress takes time and isn’t always linear. As Abby Rumsey, the author of When We Are No More: How Digital Memory Will Shape Our Future writes, “Technology is a tool, an extension of human will. Tools have only the powers that humans give them. It is an exaggeration to say that printing technology leveled the playing field.”

Let’s consider for a moment the distinction between access and equity. The printing press allowed information to be broadly accessible, but did that translate to equal access to said information? And if “our printing press is the internet”, does access equal success?

A Basic Human Right

In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a non-binding resolution for the “promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet” which condemns any country that intentionally disrupts the internet access of its citizens. While the UN can’t legally enforce it, it is a sign of the times to proclaim the restriction of the internet a human rights violation. Yet as forward-thinking as it may be, the resolution offers no real consequences beyond moral “condemnation”, nor any solutions for the digital divide that counts 29 percent of worldwide youth offline. Solutions require more than condemning “bad guys”, as technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

A 2015 OECD report that compared students’ digital skills across the globe claimed a fine line between technology being helpful and harmful; that “even with equal access, not all students have the knowledge and skills to be able to benefit from the resources that are available to them … if current gaps in reading, writing, and mathematics skills are not narrowed, inequalities in digital skills will persist, even if all Internet services were available free of charge.”

The digital divide mirrors the prevailing socio-economic divides we already see – between rich and poor, educated and uneducated, men and women, urban and rural areas – and is significant because it means disadvantaged students have less access to computers and high-speed internet at school. As a result, they have a harder time accessing educational software and tools, which causes achievement gaps (also called the “homework gap”) to grow.

While the US connectivity gap has decreased by 84 percent since 2013 and the gap in high-speed internet accessbetween higher-income and lower-income families has been cut from 50 to 22 percentage points, a quarter of lower-income families still don’t have high-speed internet access, compared to just 4 percent of higher-income families.

It’s idealistic to think that throwing technology into the hands of students and walking away will solve all our problems and not perpetuate them. As we slowly chip away at closing the connectivity gap, we find media usage – levels of digital literacy, content being consumed, and time spent in front of the screen – shifting the discoursefrom a technology divide to a content divide: how is technology being used and how much?

Leveling the Playing Field

Once upon a time, the printing press created never before seen access to books but the rampant illiteracy and social inequalities exacerbated the prevalent gaps between those who could access and successfully leverage books to those who couldn’t even read the covers. While the technologies we’ve used as learning tools have evolved, the social inequalities are still as rampant as ever.

Without A Net: The Digital Divide in America, the new documentary by Rory Kennedy and Verizon, tackles these deep inequalities in American schools that keep millions of students ill-prepared for the global, digital economy. Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer of Verizon equates the lack of digital skills with illiteracy, “especially when you consider that the majority of jobs in the future will be technology-based.”

The data reveal that low-income families are still facing the consequences of technology, whether it’s not having enough access or having too much.

A report by nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense found that children from low-income families were exposed to nearly double the amount of screen time as their more affluent peers, which has been shown to negatively affect test scores and grades. In her article “Technology, the Faux Equalizer,” Adrienne LaFrance addresses those who blankly think that “every jump in technology involves leveling the playing field,” (as stated by Google CEO Sundar Pichai) by surmising  a “real danger in framing technological progress and social progress as mutually inclusive.”

Too Much, Not Nearly Enough

People have always feared new technology. Plato believed that writing was a step back for truth. In the seventeenth century, philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm claimed the printing press would “lead to a fall back into barbarism.” Yet few technologies have advanced as quickly the internet, which has spread rapidly thanks to the prevalence of laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

The trend of too much tech, which some are calling “the new digital divide,” is prompting more affluent parents to opt for expensive tech-free options for schooling their children – something that is beyond the reach of most low-income parents.

“It’s a bit privileged and unrealistic to say ‘no’ to technology,” says Mike Levine, Chief Executive of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center in New York. “I worry that we are seeing people wagging their fingers at others because they do not have the privileges of time and resources that other families might have. There’s no way we’re going to improve the educational performance of young children without using technologies.”

Regardless of how we view them, devices such as laptops and tablets are no longer a luxury but a necessity, and they are here to stay. They will likely become even more influential in learning (technology in education is a lucrative market projected to reach $21 billion by 2020). Today, more than half of primary and secondary schools in the US use Google education apps, and Chromebooks account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools.

But no good deed goes unpunished. While the fear of students being left behind is contributing to massive tech takeovers of classrooms, not enough effort is going into educating students, teachers, and parents on how to actually use it effectively, a term Susan Pinker calls “drive-by education.”

If anything, the opposite is occurring.

This influx of technology is perpetuating the belief that adolescents are somehow innately tech savvy and can maneuver their way around the internet better than teachers – a perception that is hindering how we teach digital literacy. Not all tech savviness is created equal, especially when it comes to the lack of critical skills. Data showsthat disadvantaged students tend to prefer face-to-face interactions over email, and playing video games over reading the news or using the Internet for learning.

Wi-Fi, Coffee, What Then?

So what should schools and parents do to ensure they are effectively leveraging technology?

While a Verizon documentary suggests a “three-pronged approach: connectivity, hardware access, and teacher training,” UNICEF’s answer is “to get everyone on board – teachers, entrepreneurs, parents, technology communities, charities and non-profits, and public policymakers.” Essentially, a whole systems solution is needed to make sure the Internet and devices are present in homes and schools, are working properly and with quick connectivity, and that all parties involved are trained and able to use them successfully.

What we should be focusing on is quality – of both content and research-backed technology. If the future of classroom education means “teachers who use technology will replace those who don’t,” we should make sure they are given voices, feel empowered, and know what role they play in the digital “convergence” of the classroom. We should ensure they are being properly trained in the uses of education technology in the classroom and not just telling students to “Google it.” We should provide parents with training and education so that they can help their children utilize these technologies, not the other way around. We should make sure technology is being used as an educational tool, not a pacifier. We should realize the monumental impact technology can have in bridging the digital divide, but also understand that if gaps in access and skills are not identified and closed, technology will not equalize opportunity but deepen inequity.

The digital revolution is more than access to devices and apps – it’s about a shift in the existing paradigm of technology’s place in learning. It’s about tackling realities regarding how and where technology trickles down, and who is falling through the cracks. “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools? Why wouldn’t we have it available for our children’s education?” asked President Barack Obama back in 2013. The real question is: what then?

Congress Boosts Medicare Coverage For Virtual Doctor Visits

This article originally appeared on Forbes by Bruce Japsen.

Access to telehealth services for seniors is poised to take off in coming years thanks to the newly approved federal budget that enables virtual doctor visits for Americans covered by Medicare Advantage plans.

The budget deal signed into law Friday by President Trump includes the so-called CHRONIC Care Act, a rare bipartisan healthcare measure that essentially makes it easier for private Medicare Advantage plans and other entities like accountable care organizations (ACOs) to offer telehealth services.

It could be a huge boon to companies like American Well, MDLive and Teladoc and an array of telehealth startups getting into the business of offering access to physicians and patients via smart phone, tablet or computer. Employers and private insurers are already embracing the trend as a way to make healthcare more convenient and avoid costly and unnecessary trips to the emergency room or a more expensive physician’s office.

“This legislation will improve health outcomes for Medicare patients, especially those who live in rural areas or have to make a big effort to get to the doctor’s office,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, who worked with Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican on the telehealth provisions in the legislation said Friday.

Increasingly popular Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines, with some even providing vision and dental care and wellness programs. With the new legislation, insurers say plans will be allowed to offer additional telehealth benefits in their bids to the government beyond those currently covered under Medicare part B, starting in 2020.

“The solution offers seniors more flexibility and control to get Medicare Advantage plans that are right for them,” America’s Health Insurance Plans said of the budget deal approved by Congress Friday. AHIP represents insurers including WellCare Health Plans, Cigna, Anthem and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

Currently, just under 35% of Medicare beneficiaries, or about 20 million Americans, are enrolled in MA plans . But Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to rise to 38 million, or 50% market penetration, by the end of 2025 , L.E.K. Consulting projects.

The passage of the legislation doesn’t quite make it a done deal for telehealth providers, the companies say. It needs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the health insurance program the elderly, to follow through. But telehealth providers say it’s an opportunity for seniors and companies.

“(The) legislation allows, but doesn’t require, CMS to cover and pay for telehealth services,” American Well CEO Dr. Roy Schoenberg said in a statement Friday following passage of the legislation. “The next step would be for CMS and the secretary (of Health and Human Services) to take advantage of this new discretion and to bring telehealth to elderly Americans who, until now, are excluded from its benefits. This is a first step to make healthcare less painful by embracing modern technology.”

5G Will Work—If Government Gets out of the Way

This article originally appeared on CEI by Jessica Melugin.

At its Open Commission Meeting on March 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on reducing some of the federal red tape slowing deployment of the next generation of wireless networks, known as 5G.

To usher in a new era of 5G virtual reality, 4K video, and self-driving cars, a major network upgrade is needed. The greater data demands of such innovation will require a denser network infrastructure than exists today—more and smaller radio access nodes located closer together, known as small cells. A leading industry group predicts that hundreds of thousands of small cells will be installed over the next couple of years to make the 5G network operational. Some estimates project that $200 billion will be spent on the effort.

In addition to the enormous monetary investment required and the practical problems still to be solved (such as eliminating interference from trees, weather, and man-made structures), there are government impediments that must be removed to enable the deployment of these new technologies.

The FCC proposal aims to reduce some of those obstacles to a successful and timely 5G rollout by wireless providers. Specifically, it seeks to address what FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr termed, “our country’s outdated infrastructure regulations.” To that end, it aims to “streamline the federal historic and environmental review procedures that apply to wireless infrastructure deployments.”

In a February 2018 statement, Commissioner Carr said it is hopeful the reforms will “reduce the regulatory costs of small cell deployment by 80%, cuts months off deployment timelines, and incentivize thousands of new wireless deployments—thus expanding the reach of 5G and other advanced wireless technologies to more Americans.”

A November 2017 report form the American Consumer Institute found that consumer benefits from 5G could be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. To achieve that, it is essential for the Trump administration to follow through on its pledge to cut red tape and boost America’s infrastructure. Consumers are better off with fewer regulations and more bandwidth; FCC approval of the streamlining would deliver both.

However, that has not stopped critics of streamlining or even standard deployment efforts. Individual citizens’ objections to small cell attachments on nearby light posts and traffic poles mostly focus on aesthetics in even the most mundane of suburban settings. Concerns about reduced property values leave one wondering what the effect of being behind an entire wireless generation might have on the value of a home.

Less surprising are the cities trying to charge wireless providers exorbitant fees to apply for and rent space on public property for their small cell antennas. Crown Castle, America’s largest provider of wireless infrastructure, recently claimed that Newport Beach, California, adopted an annual charge of $10,800 per small cell site. These politicians seem to be acting in the shortsighted interests of their city’s bank accounts, instead of the long-term interests of city residents.

Wireless providers are racing to roll out their own 5G networks first, faster, and better. That kind of competition benefits consumers and the economy as a whole. Let the marketplace pick the winners, but first get the government red tape out of the way.

Cities that Fail to Become Smart Could Be the Next Digital Rust Belt

This article originally appeared on GovTech by Skip Descant.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a decade, there may not be Smart City conferences like the one unfolding this week in Kansas City, Mo.

In 10 years this “movement,” — as it is often referred to by government and techie types — will have evolved to the point of being too ordinary to draw much attention, remarked Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer for Kansas City, and the somewhat unofficial host of the third annual Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo at the Kansas City Convention Center.

“The Internet of Things that we’re now looking at as revolutionary, is going to be just as boring and mundane and exciting as the flush toilet in your hotel room,” Bennett told the room in his opening remarks March 27.

“You’re going to need it, but you’re not going to think a whole lot about it. So we’re all going to be out of the revolutionary job within 10 years. And that’s cool,” he added.

So, what happens to those cities that don’t become the ubiquitous smart city? They will get passed by, said Bennett. “Those cities that fail to adjust will become part of a new ‘digital Rust Belt,’” he said, calling to mind upcoming generations who will “vote with their feet.”

“And if we don’t build smart cities, they’re going to leave,” he added.

In the last five to 10 years, smart cities, and the numerous projects being launched under that banner, have been “almost about awareness,” said Michael Pegues, CIO of Aurora, Ill. And in multiple ways, that awareness and awakening is what moved small pilot projects to become large-scale initiatives.

This awareness — along with partnerships among government, nonprofits and the private sector — remains the road map for moving smart city projects from pilot to something larger, said CIOs from Kansas City, San Diego, Aurora and New York City.

The next goal is “to harvest more data, do better analytics, and get to the point where predictive analytics actually allows us to be that much more efficient with the limited funds that we’ve got,” said Bennett, who has called downtown Kansas City “the 54 smartest blocks in the United States.”

The future also lies in data, and how cities either use it or stumble with it, said David Graham, deputy chief operating officer in San Diego.

“‘Data is the new bacon,’ I love that statement,” said Graham, borrowing an expression from some of his coworkers in San Diego. “Delicious, fantastic — I apologize if you’re vegan — but both amazing good, tasty, but also dangerous, cholesterol filled. It could kill you. And that’s the big struggle that we’re in the middle of right now. What do we do with it (data)? Who owns it? Do you monetize? Do you not monetize? Nobody has the answer to that.”

 

Virtual Reality: The Next Generation Of Education, Learning and Training

This article originally appeared on Forbes by Kris Kolo.

When people hear about virtual reality (VR), images of a person wearing a headset and holding a gaming console usually come to mind. However, for the education sector, VR is an opportunity to finally connect with both learners and teachers in a novel and meaningful way. For example, EON Reality collaborated with Oral Roberts University to create the Global Learning Center, a dedicated facility for augmented and virtual learning.

As the global executive director of the global VR/AR Association, I’ve watched our 3,900-plus registered companies work on best practices, guidelines and standards to accelerate the VR/AR industry for all, one committee in particular being devoted to education and training.

Today, VR can enable experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. Students can test their skills, record their work and interact with experts all within VR. Students have responded overwhelmingly positively to active learner engagement. A recent study shows that “93 percent of teachers say their students would be excited to use virtual reality and 83 percent say that virtual reality might help improve learning outcomes.” This points to a universal trend as these students will soon enter universities and then the workforce, where job training scenarios will become the new classroom.

For visual learners and individuals with learning challenges, VR provides an alternative medium to meet their needs. Likewise, educators see increased engagement levels and improved test scores across the board with VR education programs. Hands-on learning techniques like VR education directly contribute to increased cognitive memory.

The benefits of incorporating VR/AR tech into educational experiences include better, more immediate engagement and the opportunity for learners to “feel” the experiences and better remember and express what they learned. A student can experience what was not possible to experience before and become better prepared for when such experiences occur in the real world.

The basic functionality of VR in education is to bring learning to life via a virtual environment. The more a learner is able to participate in life-like engagement, the easier it is to personally feel a connection to the subject material, making it easier for application and retention of the subject matter.

The most popular trends in VR learning include enterprise and education. In enterprise, Walmart is using VR to help train its employees on topics like management and customer service. Soon, all 200 of the company’s U.S. training centers will use VR instruction to educate the estimated 150,000 employees going through the program annually.

In education, there’s Star Chart, an iOS and Android app with over 20 million users that brings the universe a little closer. Users learn about astronomy by pointing their phones to the sky at night and utilize other features to learn about planets and space discovery.

It’s important to pay attention to this trend and adopt VR solutions in your organization to educate employees in new and better ways and teach students with more engaging and effective tools. However, like many new technologies before it, awareness is the first barrier to entry followed by cost and content.

Many are still not aware of VR training solutions that are proving to be effective. At The VR/AR Association we are doing our part to promote the industry and help organizations locate the best VR solutions for their use case. Meanwhile, quality VR headsets come at around $399 (already down from $599 ore more just a few months ago). Cost is steadily declining our research points to $199 being the sweet spot price point for “mass adoption.” Finally, better content — specific for each use case — is needed and is being created for enterprise use cases and educational curriculums.

In 2018 we will see the costs decrease, better content emerge and more awareness spread, which will propel the VR/AR education market to high growth.

Ultimately, VR in education will revolutionize not only how people learn but how they interact with real-world applications of what they have been taught. Imagine medical students performing an operation or geography students really seeing where and what Kathmandu is. The world just opens up to a rich abundance of possibilities.

What is 5G? Here are the basics

This article originally appeared on C|NET by Rogert Cheng.

The next generation of cellular technology comes with its own vocabulary. Here’s a handy glossary of the key terms that keep popping up.

Those crazy-fast 5G networks are right around the corner.

Unfortunately, they also come with their own vocabulary of tech jargon and buzzwords that wireless industry executives throw around a little too casually.

First off, a quick definition of 5G: It’s the next (fifth) generation of cellular technology which promises to greatly enhance the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. How fast are we talking about? Think 10 to 100 times speedier than your typical cellular connection, and even faster than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house. (You’ll be able to download a season’s worth of “Stranger Things” in seconds.)

It’s not just about supercharging your phone’s connection to the network either; 5G is seen as the underlying technology allowing self-driving cars to talk to each other, or for people to wirelessly stream super high-definition virtual reality content into their headsets.

In other words, it’s going to be huge.

Early 5G networks will pop up as soon as this year from carriers including Verizonand AT&T, but expect broader availability in closer to 2019 to 2020, as network equipment gets upgraded and 5G-compatible phones are released.

But as the hype and reality of 5G crash upon us now, you’re going to start to hear references to terms that don’t sound like they belong in the English language. Fortunately, CNET is here to decipher the wonkiest of words for you.

5G NR

The 5G bit is pretty obvious, but the NR stands for New Radio. You don’t have to know a lot about this beyond the fact that it’s the name of the standard that the entire wireless industry is rallying behind, and it just came out in December.

That’s important because it means everyone is on the same page when it comes to their mobile 5G networks. Carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are following 5G NR as they build their networks. But Verizon, which began testing 5G as a broadband replacement service before the standard was approved, isn’t using the standard — yet. The company says it will eventually adopt 5G NR for its broadband service, and intends to use NR for its 5G mobile network.

Millimeter wave

All cellular networks use airwaves to ferry data over the air, with standard networks using spectrum in lower frequency bands like 700 megahertz. Generally, the higher the band or frequency, the higher the speed you can achieve. The consequence of higher frequency, however, is shorter range.

In order to achieve those crazy-high 5G speeds, you need really, really high frequency spectrum. The millimeter wave range falls between 24 gigahertz and 100 gigahertz.

The problem with super-high frequency spectrum, besides the short range, is it’s pretty finicky — a leaf blows the wrong way and you get interference. Forget about obstacles like walls. Companies like Verizon are working on using software and broadcasting tricks to get around these problems and ensure stable connections.

Sub-6GHz

Given how troublesome really high-band spectrum can be (see the “Millimeter wave” section), there’s a movement to embrace spectrum at a much lower frequency, or anything lower than 6GHz. The additional benefit is that carriers can use spectrum they already own to get going on 5G networks. T-Mobile, for instance, has a swath of 600MHz spectrum it plans to use to power its 5G deployment. Prior to sub-6GHz, that would’ve been impossible.

That’s why you’re seeing more carriers embrace lower frequency spectrum.

But lower frequency spectrum has the opposite problem: while it reaches great distance, it doesn’t have the same speed and capacity as millimeter wave spectrum.

The ideal down the line will be for carriers to use a blend of the two.

Latency

You’ll hear this word mentioned A LOT. Latency is the response time between when you click on a link or start streaming a video on your phone, sending the request up to the network, and when the network responds and gives you your website or starts playing your video.

It doesn’t seem like much, but that lag time can last around 20 milliseconds. With 5G, that latency gets reduced to 1 millisecond, or about the time it takes for a flash in a normal camera to finish.

That responsiveness is critical for things like streaming a live sports game in virtual reality or for a surgeon in New York to control a pair of robotic arms performing a procedure in San Francisco.

Gigabit LTE

You’re hearing more about Gigabit LTE as a precursor to 5G. Ultimately it’s about much higher speeds on the existing LTE network. But the work going toward building a Gigabit LTE network provides the foundation for 5G.

For more on Gigabit LTE, read our explainer here.

MIMO

An acronym for multiple input, multiple output. Basically, it’s the idea of shoving more antennas into our phones and on cellular towers. And you can always have more antennas. They feed into the faster Gigabit LTE network, and companies are deploying what’s known as 4×4 MIMO, in which four antennas are installed in a phone.

Carrier aggregation

Wireless carriers can take different bands of radio frequencies and bind them together so phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 can pick and choose the speediest and least congested one available. Think of it as a three-lane highway so cars can weave in and out depending on which lane has less traffic.

QAM

This is a term that’s so highly technical, I don’t even bother to explain the nuance. It stands for quadrature amplitude modulation. See? Don’t even worry about it.

What you need to know is that it allows traffic to move quickly in a different way than carrier aggregation or MIMO. Remember that highway analogy? Well, with 256 QAM, you’ll have big tractor trailers carrying data instead of tiny cars. MIMO, carrier aggregation and QAM are already going into 4G networks, but play an important role in 5G too.

Beam forming

This is a way to direct 5G signals in specific direction, potentially giving you your own specific connection. Verizon has been using beam forming for millimeter wave spectrum, getting around obstructions like walls or trees.

Unlicensed spectrum

Cellular networks all rely on what’s known as licensed spectrum, which they own and purchased from the government.

But the move to 5G comes with the recognition that there just isn’t enough spectrum when it comes to maintaining wide coverage. So the carriers are moving to unlicensed spectrum, similar to the kind of free airwaves that our Wi-Fi networks ride on.

Network slicing

This is the ability to carve out individual slivers of spectrum to offer specific devices the kind of connection they need. For instance, the same cellular tower can offer a lower-power, slower connection to a sensor for a connected water meter in your home, while at the same time offering a faster, lower-latency connection to a self-driving car that’s navigating in real time.

Bill proposes expedited wireless communication tracking in emergency situations

This article originally appeared on WCYB News 5 by Olivia Bailey.

Law enforcement agencies in Virginia could soon have faster access to resources in the cases of missing people. It is part of a new bill working its way through the legislature.

Seconds can be key when it comes to solving abduction cases. Technology often helps investigators crack the code.

“If it’s truly abduction, it’s immediate,” Captain Scott Snapp said. Snapp oversees the criminal investigations division at the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office.

He said investigators start working urgently to track cell phone locations. Right now, they have to delay to obtain a court order to request the information from cell phone carriers.

“What if two hours or thirty minutes is important on timing because some people get rid of their phone? Sometimes their phones die or have no juice. We can’t track it,” Snapp said.

Senator Bill Carrico is proposing to change state law to allow investigators, without a warrant, to track phones in an emergency.

“The statistics show that 50 percent of kids that are abducted, truly abducted, are murdered within an hour,” Carrico said.

Law enforcement would do it through a pen register or a trap and trace device.

“The pen register, what it does is track numbers that you call from your phone. The trap and trace, it registers numbers that your phone is receiving from another device,” Carrico said.

Authorities would then be able to track locations within meters from the location of the communication as it happens.

Snapp said, “I would want to know if I were a parent of a missing child, and I have children of my own, that law enforcement was trying to do everything they can and not being hindered by time to find my child right that second. I don’t think we can put a time frame on a child’s safety.”

The bill still requires the investigating agencies to file proper documentation within three days with the court of when the use of this resource has been used in an emergency situation for review.

So far, the bill has been approved by the Senate and the House Courts of Justice Committee.

With iOS 11.3, Apple looks to unite patients and their healthcare data

This article originally appeared on ComputerWorld by Lucas Mearian.

After touting an EMR-sharing feature in its upcoming iOS 11.3 release, Apple said 12 hospitals have signed on to beta test the software, which will allow patients and healthcare providers to interact on iPhones and iPads.

Apple has announced that its upcoming iOS 11.3 release will allow patients to view electronic medical records (EMRs) and other clinical information about themselves on iPhones and iPads.

Apple’s new Health Records feature uses the existing Health app (released in 2014 on iOS 8) to enable medical facilities to connect via an API to their EMR systems to share data between providers and patients.

The new Health Record feature is currently available to the patients of 12 hospital systems via the iOS 11.3 beta, according to Apple.

“In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records offering their patients access to this feature,” Apple said in its announcement.

The medical facilities that have signed on to beta test the Health Record feature include:

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine – Baltimore, Md.
  • Cedars-Sinai – Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Penn Medicine – Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Geisinger Health System – Danville, Pa.
  • UC San Diego Health – San Diego, Calif.
  • UNC Health Care – Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Rush University Medical Center – Chicago, Ill.
  • Dignity Health – Arizona, California and Nev.
  • Ochsner Health System – Jefferson Parish, La.
  • MedStar Health – Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
  • OhioHealth – Columbus, Ohio
  • Cerner Healthe Clinic – Kansas City, Mo.

Last year, building on its health informatics platform, Apple released HealthKit, a developer API that was part of the iOS software development kit; it allowed third-party developers to create applications that can be used through the Health app.

Last week, Apple announced the update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta, enabling mobile users to see EMRs on their iPhone. The updated Health Records section within the Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing app to make it easy for users to see available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose.

John Halamka, CIO at CareGroup Healthcare System and CIO and associate dean for educational technology at Harvard Medical School, said EMR sharing will sometimes be solely between healthcare providers and sometimes be provider to patient and back to provider.

In a provider-to-provider scenario, a radiologist may share information with a cardiologist, for example. In the provider-to-patient-to-provider scenario, a physician may share test results with a patient and the patient may then schedule a follow-up appointment.

“Apple is significantly accelerating the provider-to-patient-to-provider approach with iOS 11.3,” Halamka said via email.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health(HITECH) Act of 2009 required all healthcare facilities to roll out EMRs and prove through Meaningful Use standards that they were functioning as required.

While Meaningful Use standards required every EHR have a patient portal, the records were not easily shared between disparate healthcare facilities.

“If you have 5 providers, you probably have 5 portals,” Halamka said.

Thus, each time a patient wants to see healthcare information, they have to log into multiple portals.

Apple’s new Health Records feature will enable consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose – eliminating the need for multiple logins.

Apple is not the only provider to roll out mobile access to EMRs.

Westmed Medical Group, a 500 provider multi-specialty medical group in Westchester County, N.Y. and Fairfield County, Conn., recently rolled out the Bridge Patient Portal Version 2.0 and the Universe mHealth App from Universe mHealth LLC.

The application allows patients to not only view their EMRs, send messages to  healthcare providers, view lab results and manage appointments and refills, but also allows them to pay bills via a PCI-compliant payment service from TrustCommerce. The features can be used via an iOS and Android mobile app.

When Westmed initially rolled out the EMR portal in October, it did come with a few “glitches,” according to Merin Joseph, CIO at Westmed. For example, some messaging to patients was getting stuck in spam folders because they were being marked by email apps as vendor lists.

“As far as the portal itself, it took time to process,” Joseph said. “Right now, I think it’s working how it’s designed to and we’ll continue to work with it to enhance features.”

Westmed expects to begin its marketing campaign this month to let its patients know about the features now available to them via their smart phones, tablets and laptops.

Apple’s concept is to leverage the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) interface, a set of standards that will soon be available in every major EHR to consolidate lifetime clinical records from different providers on mobile devices, Halamka said.

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time,” Darren Dworkin, CIO at Cedars-Sinai, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones.”

In the past, consumers have voiced fear around something as personal as a medical record being introduced in electronic form. Healthcare information is arguably the most sensitive data there is because once it’s disclosed, it can be used by cyber criminals for nefarious purposes for a lifetime.

A 2016 study by the Brookings Institute showed that since late 2009, the medical information of more than 155 million Americans has been exposed without their permission through about 1,500 breaches.

The prospect of healthcare data being shared via Apple on mobile devices could exacerbate those concerns.

Halamka pointed out, however, that no data will be stored by Apple.

“All data will be encrypted and biometrically secured (fingerprint or facial recognition) on your phone,” Halamka said. “Patients would decide what data to share with what apps.”

Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organized into one view and get regular notifications about their lab results, conditions, immunizations, medications, procedures and vital stats. Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated.

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” Stephanie Reel, CIO at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a statement. “This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email.”

The State of 5G: When It’s Coming, How Fast It Will Be & The Sci-Fi Future It Will Enable

This article originally appeared on Techspot by Jay Stanley.

Although 5G may seem like just another generational upgrade for mobile networks, touting more speed and less latency than previous iterations, the years-long migration will require an expansion of cellular networks worldwide to include millions of new antennas that will become the backbone of IoT (Internet of Things) and its billions of sensor-laden devices, from smart dust to smart cars.

The convergence of technologies such as 5G, IoT, blockchain and AI would enable a fully meshed world of wirelessly connected everything that would be seamlessly woven into the fabric of our existence, imbuing our environment with an intelligence that evaluates and responds to us, ultimately transforming how we interact with our day-to-day surroundings.

Many industries expect 5G to generate billions of dollars through currently unrealized revenue streams, providing an endless supply of applications and services to the more than four billion additional people 5G is hoped to reach. Qualcomm for example predicts that by 2035, the network will enable $12 trillion worth of goods and services and the company has claimed in the past that 5G will be “bigger than electricity,” while the World Economic Forum describes the era we’re entering as being “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

That level of profitability and the potential for tracking every grain of sand on the planet has encouraged massive rollouts via public/private partnerships who are aiming to create a ubiquitous smart grid. That grid would facilitate a more connected society in line with the global sustainability goals outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and supported at the 2018 Davos World Economic Forum.

The U.S. Federal government has been enthusiastic about a high-speed build-out of 5G from the very beginning, with former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stressing the importance of this communication upgrade to the national infrastructure, opening up large swathes of spectrum to accommodate increased speeds and many (billions of) additional devices being added to our already saturated wireless infrastructure.

“If something can be connected, it will be connected to 5G.” – Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Although it appears 5G phones won’t be coming until at least 2019, broad scale demonstrations of early 5G networks have recently taken place at this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis and Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.

Verizon’s Super Bowl LII demo involved streaming live 4K VR footage over 5G to virtual reality headsets in NYC, while a collaboration between Intel, Samsung and Korean Telecom (KT) at the Olympics demonstrated self-driving vehicles as well as 100 cameras positioned 360 degrees around an ice rink that streamed video of the skaters to nearby edge servers and then over KT’s Olympic 5G network.

How Fast is 5G?

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a division of the UN dedicated to the oversight of global telecommunications tech (radio, television, satellite, telephone and the Internet), established the IMT-2020 program (International Mobile Telecommunication for 2020 and beyond) in early 2012 to begin the global race toward 5G.

The ITU has defined key 5G performance requirements as being a peak minimum download speed of 20Gb/s (100Mb/s “user experienced rate”), a peak minimum upload of 10Gb/s (50Mb/s “user experienced rate”), as well as millisecond latencies and support for 100 devices per square meter (1 million devices per square kilometer).

By comparison, 4G’s standards call for a peak download of 100Mb/s and upload of 50Mb/s, while a recent report pegged T-Mobile as having the fastest 4G LTE download speeds in the U.S. topping out at 19.4Mb/s, leading Verizon’s 17.8Mb/s. Meanwhile, for reference, Qualcomm’s upcoming 5G modem chip (the Snapdragon X50), is said to be capable of speeds of up to 5Gb/s, a theoretical limit that exceeds the data rate of even many fiber-based wired connections.

Upgrading from 56K dial-up to cable Internet seems like an apt comparison for the performance that 5G promises to deliver and it will be made possible through a three-pronged approach to build-out efforts: 1) overall network bandwidth (support for billions of new connected devices), 2) super low latency (1ms response times), and 3) an emphasis on reliability, even in highly congested environments or indoors.

A successful deployment of 5G would bring wireless speeds capable of streaming multiple 4K videos at once without buffering or any other lag and that performance will usher in the emerging age of IoT while also opening the door for high-bandwidth products and services such as live-streaming virtual reality sporting events or receiving remote surgery.

  • 5G-enabled smartphones: With 5G, consumers will almost never again need to log on to public Wi-Fi. They will also enjoy faster browsing, faster downloads, better quality video calls, UHD and 360-degree video streaming and instant cloud access than currently available.
  • Always Connected PCs: With the advent of 5G networks, “always connected” PCs will be able to utilize super high speed, low latency connectivity for the next level of cloud services, as well as high-quality video conferencing, interactive gaming and increased productivity due to the flexibility to work anywhere.
  • HMDs: 5G enhanced mobile broadband will further elevate virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) experiences with its increased capacity at lower cost and ultra-low latency – down to 1 millisecond.
  • Mobile Broadband: Fiber speeds and massive capacity to support insatiable consumer demand for unlimited data, as well as superior mobile and home broadband internet access. – Qualcomm

This year’s Mobile World Congress (Feb 26 – Mar 1) should demonstrate some of the potentials of these next-generation technologies, listing event themes such as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, applied artificial intelligence and content/media delivery.

Intel for example is expected to show the live video streaming capabilities of a prototype 2-in-1 device that is equipped with an early version of the company’s XMM 8000 series 5G modem, which is also working with Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft to ship 5G-equipped notebooks for late 2019.

“The PC is a central hub for processing incredible amounts of data. 5G is coming. Not only will it bring a substantial amount of data needing processing but also new experiences for PC owners. Imagine immersing in untethered VR from anywhere in the world, or downloading a 250 megabyte file in seconds from a parking lot. Or imagine being able to continue participating in a multiplayer game as you ride in an autonomous vehicle on the way to class. Radically different. This is just a sampling of the experiences 5G will reimagine for the mobile PC. As this transformation of data continues, it’s critical for PCs to be ready with 5G.” – Intel

Much work remains in upgrading/meshing current mobile, fixed, optical and satellite infrastructure to accommodate 5G technologies, but many companies are striving for launch by 2019, with 5G coverage anticipated to reach around 20% of the world’s population in a few years according to Ericsson.

Building Out 5G, Expanding to Millimeter Waves

To achieve the ITU’s stated level of performance, carriers are currently looking at many combinations of technologies and strategies, including transmitting signals on new parts of the spectrum. Aiming to release 5G connectivity ahead of the ITU’s 2020 target, many cellular providers and equipment manufacturers are backing the consortium 3GPP in looking at Qualcomm’s X50 5G NR chipset, which combines support for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G (including up to 28GHz mmWave).

Accelerating 5G standardization, 3GPP agreed to split up the specification of Release 15 into two phases, non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA). The preliminary, non-standalone spec for 5G, approved by 3GPP in December 2017 as Release 15, uses an the existing LTE backbone and 5G NR radios to boost the end-user data capacity. The final release 15 standard is expected June 2018 for standalone (SA) core 5G systems from end to end.

However, initial deployments are unlikely to meet the ITU’s exact specifications and in fact, the Olympic demonstration for instance does not technically qualify as 5G by the ITU’s full standards. Early trial runs such as at the Olympics are using a competing specification that has been picked up by a few operators but has not been adopted as the global standard, according to Sherif Hanna of Qualcomm.

Like the transition from 3G to 4G, the move from 4G to 5G has a lot of moving parts. It will involve the merging of new infrastructure with all existing wireless technologies including Wi-Fi (as well as WiGig and Li-Fi for that matter), all of which will play a critical role in bringing high-speed 5G connectivity to the IoT ecosystem.

“Increasing traffic demand, limited spectrum availability and mass adoption of mobile broadband are challenging the traditional ways to build cellular networks. In this new environment, mobile operators are seeking new ways to increase network capacity, coverage and user experience while reducing time to market for new services and reduce costs. To accomplish this, operators need to cost-effectively use all network assets, including multiple standards, frequency bands, cell layers and transport network solutions. This means that, above all, cellular infrastructure must be flexible and support simplified deployment and management of increasingly heterogeneous radio access networks (RANs).” – Cloud RAN Architecture for 5G

For the time being, global device makers have thrown their weight behind Qualcomm’s X50 modem, including LG, HTC, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and the startup behind Nokia-branded phones.

All told, 18 carriers around the world will begin 5G interoperability trials this year using Qualcomm’s X50 modem and phone reference designs in both the sub-6GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands. Those carriers include AT&T, British Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT, LG U+, NTT Docomo, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, TIM, Verizon, and Vodafone Group.

Expanding 5G to Millimeter Waves

Being that current wireless sub-6GHz signals offer better propagation and backward compatibility, and the fact that many IoT devices won’t call for the additional performance of millimeter waves, companies are opting to gradually augment existing infrastructure to include these higher frequencies.

Millimeter waves have greater speed capabilities because of their shorter signal wavelengths, broadcasting at much higher frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz — a stark contrast to the current 3G and 4G signals that are broadcast below 6GHz.

They are called millimeter waves because they vary in length from 1mm to 10mm, compared to the tens of centimeters in length of the radio waves serving today’s smartphones. Given this shorter wavelength, mmWaves travel shorter distances and require direct line of site seeing as they cannot easily penetrate through buildings or obstacles and in fact, they can be absorbed by foliage or rain.

The industry is looking to enhance traditional cellular towers with 5G-grade connectivity via devices such as “small cells,” which are shoebox-sized antennas that can be mounted unobtrusively to existing structures like utility poles and would be installed in 10 to 100 times more locations than existing 3G or 4G towers, blanketing neighborhoods with high frequency signal.

An assortment of wireless technologies are being developed and deployed alongside mmWaves and small cells to help realize the demanding bandwidth and latency requirements of 5G, including beam forming (spatial beam focusing), massive MIMO (antenna arrays with dozens of transmitters and receivers), and full duplex (the ability to send and receive data at the same time over the same frequency). IEEE Spectrum’sprimer on 5G does a good job of elaborating on these technologies — beware of the autoplay video, though it’s worth watching.

As the industry looks for ways to expand current infrastructure with new technologies and spectrum, organizations have been working to overcome challenges involving spectrum allocation scarcities. DARPA for instance launched its SC2 Spectrum Collaboration Challenge to encourage competition toward creating autonomous spectrum sharing capabilities that would combine software-defined radios with artificial intelligence for the goal of developing collaborative intelligent radio networks that could dynamically share spectrum, allocating RF spectrum resources on demand in real time.

This would end today’s static bandwidth licensing and fixed spectrum rules along with opening up additional room on the spectrum for future communication technologies. The ITU is likewise investigating machine learning and how it could help better manage 5G deployments.

Health Controversies Surrounding 5G

On Jan 30, 2018 The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing called “Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions” to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks in communities across the U.S., especially in currently under-served rural communities.

In December 2017, the FCC emphasized its enthusiasm for 5G in a bill titled “Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment that became effective January 29, 2018 and boosts the rate of deployment for new infrastructure by streamlining zoning approval and removing many of the obstacles to installing antennas in local communities.

Many communities across the country are resisting this bill, which provides telecommunication companies with liberal access to most utility poles, street lamps and public rights of ways in neighborhoods for 5G antenna placement, accelerating deployment in the interest of economic benefits. A primary cause for this opposition stems from health concerns over chronic exposure to high frequencies, such as the new spectrum that is being opened for 5G.

As our environment has become more saturated with ever higher and ubiquitous radio frequencies, specifically in the microwave spectrum, more studies have surfaced showing potential long term health risks associated with exposure to radio frequencies.

As a quick primer, radiation is energy that travels through the air as waves or particles, while electromagnetic (EMF) radiation is waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together (radiating) through space. In the context of cell towers, that energy is generated via electrical charges sent through an antenna and “radiated” to a device.

EMF can be classified as either ionizing or non-ionizing. It’s established that ionizing radiation, which begins partway into the UV spectrum, can break chemical bonds (cause cell damage). Exposure to non-ionizing radiation from today’s wireless devices is thought to be negligible, although the World Health Organization (WHO) has also released a statement about non-ionizing cell phone radiation and EMF as being potentially carcinogenic.

The biological effects from radiation exposure are reported to begin at less than 10 microwatts per square meter average power density (RMS) and for example this figure can be upward of 100 times that figure near towers. Concerns over exposure to radiation from wireless products are increasing as the industry looks to move beyond 6GHz and toward high frequency millimeter waves, which for instance at its lowest spectrum of 30GHz would equate to 30 billion electromagnetic wave per second hitting your cells.

Biological effects due to radio frequency radiation range from cancer and immune dysfunction to memory impairment and reproductive issues. Glioblastomas are thought by some parties to be on the rise in association with cell phone usage and tissues with poor blood flow such as male testes are at particular risk for adverse effects. These hazards increase with higher frequencies and more continuous exposure, which is in line to occur with the rollout of new 5G infrastructure such as small cells.

Raising further questions about the potential for millimeter waves to interact with biology, a 2008 paper demonstrates the ability for human skin to act as an array of helical antennas, describing sweat ducts in human skin as being “helically shaped tubes, filled with a conductive aqueous solution,” and noting that human skin “can be regarded as a 2D antenna array in the sub-terahertz region.”

Expanding the mobile network to higher frequency spectrum also comes with a range of unknown quantities outside of human biology, such as the potential for radiation from millimeter waves to affect microbes in a way that increases antibiotic resistance.

The Future of 5G

The millisecond latency that 5G promises is largely possible to an emphasis on moving new infrastructure toward the edge. Long-term visions for this layout include the announcement of a neuromorphic (brain-inspired) chip that would rival quantum computing and be small enough to include in IoT devices, providing them with situationally-aware AI. Having AI at the edge would speed up processing and decision making instead of having to bounce back to the cloud for every execution.

“The technology and design of neuromorphic computing is advancing more rapidly than its rival revolution, quantum computing. There is already wide speculation both in academia and company R&D about ways to inscribe heavy computing capabilities in the hardware of smart phones, tablets and laptops. The key is to achieve the extreme energy-efficiency of a biological brain and mimic the way neural networks process information through electric impulses.” – Sayani Majumdar, Academy Fellow at Aalto University

The close proximity and low latency of 5G infrastructure will also be greatly advantageous to the development of wearable IoT devices that could gather physiological data and forward it to your smartphone. This paper out of the International Journal of Computer Science for instance discusses designs for wearable EEG and ECG system on chip sensor patches that could wirelessly measure and transmit brain and heart activity.

Unifying existing network assets and restructuring them to be near the end user is a big part of what will enable ‘wireless fiber’ speeds and ultra-low latency, laying the groundwork for a cohesive digital fabric of the future that opens the door to streaming 4K video and virtual reality. However, the full image of 5G is much larger than that.

Such a ubiquitous wireless network would help realize a fully autonomous smart world with a range of 21st century capabilities:

  • Next generation mobile immersive media & education
  • Real-time surveillance / facial recognition & predictive policing
  • Mobile healthcare & monitoring via wearables
  • Industrial IoT & autonomous manufacturing
  • Smart agriculture (self-driving tractors, drones, field robots)
  • Retail asset tracking & real-time inventory, pick, pack and ship & logistics
  • Smart infrastructure connectivity in home and city

Looking briefly at only one of those bullets, cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) interfaces for self-driving cars have been in development over the last 10 years and were standardized by 3GPP Release 14 in 2016. Future releases will support autonomous/assisted navigation including collision avoidance, traffic alerts, infotainment, diagnostics, emissions, automated parking and refueling timing.

V2X includes a suite of communication interactions such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Network (V2N), Pedestrian (V2P) and Infrastructure (V2I), which will allow vehicles to communicate autonomously in real-time among themselves and their environment.

Seeing, sensing, exchanging and processing data for situational awareness, the system can stream that information to a central network repository for smart traffic administration and statistics storage, leading to non-line of sight intelligence about other vehicles and situational awareness of the road. With platooning technologies, vehicles can share real-time information processed by vehicle intelligence, allowing heavy traffic to be coordinated in a swarm fashion.

Developing fully autonomous cars and related 5G technologies could carry over to drones (not to mention that flying taxis are expected to be commercialized in the coming decade) as well as any other form of robotics. Thousands of industrial automation machines would benefit from 5G’s low latency connection to keep digitalized production lines flowing flawlessly, complete with real-time dashboard statistics and logistics. Nearly anything time-sensitive or mission critical would stand to benefit from 5G.

“FirstNet” – A Big First Step for 5G in the U.S.

Created under the U.S. Department of Commerce and enacted by Congress on February 22, 2012, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is responsible for organizing a next-generation 911 network that would be dedicated to first responder communications.

It’s been estimated that public safety organizations nationwide currently use over 10,000 different communication networks and FirstNet would streamline that infrastructure to better support real-time information exchange as well as interoperability between divisions and locations.

Directed the Commission to allocate the D-Block (758-763MHz / 788-793MHz) to public safety for use in a nationwide broadband network; and Formed the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. FirstNet is charged with responsibilities for deploying and operating the nationwide public safety broadband network and will hold the license for both the existing public safety broadband spectrum (763-769 MHz/793-799 MHz) and the reallocated D Block. Allocated up to $7 billion dollars to FirstNet to construct this nationwide public safety broadband network. –FCC

Existing just above TV broadcast channels in spectrum, the 700MHz bandwidth was freed up as a result of the digital television transition of a few years back and has now been allocated toward FirstNet.

Responding to a FirstNet bid on the Federal Business Opportunities website (FBO.gov), AT&T was awarded $100 billion over 25 years to provide equipment and services for building out FirstNet, which will span communities in all 50 U.S. states, all five U.S. territories, as well as Washington D.C.

Landing this deal will see all U.S. first responders on AT&T, which outcompeted Verizon for the contract, and will provide the carrier with a launching point from which it can “innovate and evolve” around technologies such as 5G when the time comes to pivot in that direction.

So, when is 5G coming? That depends on where you live, the device you’re looking to buy with 5G connectivity, which company you ask for a roadmap, and whether or not you mean a specific part of the spectrum (a few hundred MHz to 50GHz and beyond) when you say 5G.

The global timeline for a 2020 rollout has been accelerated recently with the 3GPP ratification of a new low-end 5G standard, 5G LTE, which promises full-blown standards and implementation between 2020 and 2022.

In the United States, carriers including AT&T, and Verizon are looking to begin rolling out their versions of 5G this year, T-Mobile has said 2019, while Qualcomm also reports that you’ll be able to buy smartphones equipped with its Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem by 2019, though it’s interesting to note that Apple, Samsung and Huawei are not yet counted among the OEM device partners who have agreed to build X50-based devices.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS 2018 REPORT: How the IoT is evolving to reach the mainstream with businesses and consumers

This article originally appeared on Business Insider by Peter Newman.

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how companies and consumers go about their days around the world. The technology that underlies this whole segment is evolving quickly, whether it’s the rapid rise of the Amazon Echo and voice assistants upending the consumer space, or growth of AI-powered analytics platforms for the enterprise market.

And BI Intelligence is keeping its finger on the pulse of this ongoing revolution by conducting our second annual Global IoT Executive Survey, which provides us with critical insights on new developments within the IoT and explains how top-level perspectives are changing year-to-year. Our survey includes more than 400 responses from key executives around the world, including C-suite and director-level respondents.

Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, BI Intelligence details the components that make up the IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market and use exclusive data to identify key trends in device installations and investment. And we profile the enterprise and consumer IoT segments individually, drilling down into the drivers and characteristics that are shaping each market.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • We project that there will be more than 55 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017.
  • We forecast that there will be nearly $15 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2017 and 2025, with survey data showing that companies’ plans to invest in IoT solutions are accelerating.
  • The report highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; deployment and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem.
  • Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward, and highlights areas of interest in the coming years.
  • Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why.
  • Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies that are implementing IoT solutions.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
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