Huawei reveals what 5G and ‘smart cities’ will look like in the future

This article originally appeared on Fox Business by Henry Fernandez.

Huawei Technologies gave FOX Business a rare look inside the embattled Chinese company amid the U.S. crackdown. Despite an ongoing trade dispute between China and the U.S., Huawei remains the global leader in the roll out of 5G technology.

Huawei Vice President Joe Kelly said the future of 5G mobile technology will boost the global economy and increase job growth worldwide.

“5G will add 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy, will create 22 million new jobs worldwide,” he said during an interview with Connell McShane on “After the Bell” Tuesday.

Kelly sees the manufacturing sector as the biggest benefactor of 5G technology, specifically in artificial intelligence.

“As automated manufacturing robots use 5G to control the automated manufacturing… makes them more efficient because you can change your manufacturing structure in real time,” he said.

Huawei envisions a future where wireless technology creates so-called “smart cities” where 5G transmission are stored indoors at concert venues, retail stores and outdoors in street lampposts.

“So that when you are walking down the street you are also getting 5G services,” Kelly said. “The closer you are to the base station, the higher the speed you are going to get.”

5G will be able to deliver up data speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second at real-time — fast enough to download a high-definition movie in just two seconds to your mobile phone, Kelly said. The Huawei executive added that 5G will give consumers the capability to charge electric scooters, use electric sensors on kids’ backpacks for tracking and even pre-select parking spaces before arriving at a local shopping mall.

“The Internet of things is going to potentially revolutionized everything we do,” he said.

FCC chairman wants to open mid-band airwaves for 5G

This article originally appeared on Engadget by Jon Fingas.

US carriers have mostly rolled out 5G on high frequencies, with upcoming auctions aiming even higher. And unfortunately, those choices create problems — the implementations typically don’t work well indoors, and they risk interfering with weather forecasts and other tasks that depend on high bands. The FCC might provide some much-needed breathing room in lower spectrum slices, however. Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated an order that, if approved, would open 2.5GHz airwaves for 5G.

The spectrum was set aside in the 1960s with services like educational TV in mind, but a large part of it has gone unused “for decades,” Pai said. This would make better use of mid-band wireless, and would theoretically allow both incumbents and relative newcomers (including tribes) to claim frequencies they didn’t have before.

FCC Commissioners will hold a vote on the order at a meeting on July 10th, where it will also finalize the details of a December auction of 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands. It’s part of a broader “5G FAST” plan that aims to speed up deployment of the extra-fast wireless data through frequency access,

This won’t change things as much for Sprint as it might other networks, since it’s already leasing 2.5GHz space for its LTE and 5G services. However, it could have a noticeable improvement on 5G accessibility for networks that have otherwise had to use much higher frequencies. They could not only deploy faster with fewer cell sites, but offer coverage that penetrates further into buildings. Many other countries (including South Korea and parts of Europe) are using mid-band frequencies for 5G and could leave the US at a disadvantage.

Right now, the main challenge is ensuring that the FCC offers the space responsibly. The Education Department recently told the FCC that it should create an “educational use requirement” for the spectrum and use some of the auction revenue to provide internet access to underprivileged students. It’s not certain this will happen, though, and it could deprive the US of a potential educational resource.

When to use 5G, when to use Wi-Fi 6

This article originally appeared on NetworkWorld by Lee Doyle.

5G is a cellular service, and Wi-Fi 6 is a short-range wireless access technology, and each has attributes that make them useful in specific enterprise roles.

We have seen hype about whether 5G cellular or Wi-Fi 6 will win in the enterprise, but the reality is that the two are largely complementary with an overlap for some use cases, which will make for an interesting competitive environment through the early 2020s.

The potential for 5G in enterprises

The promise of 5G for enterprise users is higher speed connectivity with lower latency. Cellular technology uses licensed spectrum which largely eliminates potential interference that may occur with unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum.  Like current 4G LTE technologies, 5G can be supplied by cellular wireless carriers or built as a private network . 

The architecture for 5G requires many more radio access points and can suffer from poor or no connectivity indoors.  So, the typical organization needs to assess its current 4G and potential 5G service for its PCs, routers and other devices.   Deploying indoor microcells, repeaters and distributed antennas can help solve indoor 5G service issues.  As with 4G, the best enterprise 5G use case is for truly mobile connectivity such as public safety vehicles and in non-carpeted environments like mining, oil and gas extraction, transportation, farming and some manufacturing.

In addition to broad mobility, 5G offers advantages in terms of authentication while roaming and speed of deployment as might be needed to provide WAN connectivity to a pop-up office or retail site. 5G will have the capacity to offload traffic in cases of data congestion such as live video.  As 5G standards mature, the technology will improve its options for low-power IoT connectivity. 

5G will gradually roll out over the next four to five years starting  in large cities and specific geographies; 4G technology will remain prevalent for a number of years.  Enterprise users will need new devices, dongles and routers to connect to 5G services. For example, Apple iPhones are not expected to support 5G until 2020, and IoT devices will need specific cellular compatibility to connect to 5G.

Doyle Research expects the 1Gbps and higher bandwidth promised by 5G will have a significant impact on the SD-WAN market.  4G LTE already enables cellular services to become a primary WAN link. 5G is likely to be cost competitive or cheaper than many wired WAN options such as MPLS or the internet. 5G gives enterprise WAN managers more options to provide increased bandwidth to their branch sites and remote users – potentially displacing MPLS over time.

The potential for Wi-Fi 6 in enterprises

Wi-Fi is nearly ubiquitous for connecting mobile laptops, tablets and other devices to enterprise networks. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the latest version of Wi-Fi and brings the promise of increased speed, low latency, improved aggregate bandwidth and advanced traffic management.  While it has some similarities with 5G (both are based on orthogonal frequency division multiple access), Wi-Fi 6 is less prone to interference, requires less power (which prolongs device battery life) and has improved spectral efficiency.

As is typical for Wi-Fi, early vendor-specific versions of Wi-Fi 6 are currently available from many manufacturers. The Wi-Fi alliance plans for certification of Wi-Fi 6-standard gear in 2020.  Most enterprises will upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 along standard access-point life cycles of three years or so unless they have specific performance/latency requirements that prompt an upgrade sooner.

Wi-Fi access points continue to be subject to interference, and it can be challenging to design and site APs to provide appropriate coverage. Enterprise LAN managers will continue to need vendor-supplied tools and partners to configure optimal Wi-Fi coverage for their organizations. Wi-Fi 6 solutions must be integrated with wired campus infrastructure.  Wi-Fi suppliers need to do a better job at providing unified network management across wireless and wired solutions in the enterprise.

Need for wired backhaul

For both technologies, wireless is combined with wired-network infrastructure to deliver high-speed communications end-to-end. In the enterprise, Wi-Fi is typically paired with wired Ethernet switches for campus and larger branches.  Some devices are connected via cable to the switch, others via Wi-Fi – and laptops may use both methods.  Wi-Fi access points are connected via Ethernet inside the enterprise and to the WAN or internet by fiber connections.

The architecture for 5G makes extensive use of fiber optics to connect the distributed radio access network back to the core of the 5G network.  Fiber is typically required to provide the high bandwidth needed to connect 5G endpoints to SaaS-based applications, and to provide live video and high-speed internet access. Private 5G networks will also have to meet high-speed wired-connectivity requirements.

Handoff issues

Enterprise IT managers need to be concerned with handoff challenges as phones switch between 5G and Wi-Fi 6. These issues can affect performance and user satisfaction. Several groups are working towards standards to promote better interoperability between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G. As the architectures of Wi-Fi 6 align with 5G, the experience of moving between cellular and Wi-Fi networks should become more seamless.

5G vs Wi-Fi 6 depends on locations, applications and devices

Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are competitive with each other for specific situations in the enterprise environment that depend on location, application and device type. IT managers should carefully evaluate their current and emerging connectivity requirements.  Wi-Fi will continue to dominate indoor environments and cellular wins for broad outdoor coverage.

Some of the overlap cases occur in stadiums, hospitality and other large event spaces with many users competing for bandwidth. Government applications, including aspect of smart cities, can be applicable to both Wi-Fi and cellular. Health care facilities have many distributed medical devices and users that need connectivity.  Large distributed manufacturing environments share similar characteristics. The emerging IoT deployments are perhaps the most interesting “competitive” environment with many overlapping use cases.

Recommendations for IT Leaders

While the wireless technologies enabling them are converging, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are fundamentally distinct networks – both of which have their role in enterprise connectivity.  Enterprise IT leaders should focus on how Wi-Fi and cellular can complement each other, with Wi-Fi continuing as the in-building technology to connect PCs and laptops, offload phone and tablet data, and for some IoT connectivity.

4G LTE moving to 5G will remain the truly mobile technology for phone and tablet connectivity, an option (via dongle) for PC connections, and increasingly popular for connecting some IoT devices.  5G WAN links will increasingly become standard as a backup for improved SD-WAN reliability and as primary links for remote offices.

CHOOSING THE WRONG LANE IN THE RACE TO 5G

This article originally appeared on Wired by Jessica Rosenworcel.

The chatter about 5G is everywhere. It’s a worldwide race. It’s a security challenge. It’s a geopolitical battle between the United States and China. By some accounts, 5G is already here; by others, true 5G is still years away.

There is more than a kernel of truth in this rhetorical excess. That’s because the next generation of essential infrastructure in this country will be built using wireless technology. As a result, the next iteration of wireless service—5G—is truly important for our future civic and commercial life. With as much as 100 times the speed as current generation wireless networks and reduced latency, we can use wireless data to enhance our interactions with the world around us and create new opportunities in manufacturing, transportation, health care, education, agriculture, and more. It will support new services that will drive economic growth and job creation for years to come.

However, lost in the glowing headlines is the fact the United States is making choices that will leave rural America behind. These choices will harm our global leadership in 5G and could create new challenges for the security of our networks.

Here’s why. The most important input in our new wireless world is spectrum, or the invisible airwaves that are used to send and receive the radio signals that power wireless communications. For decades, slices of spectrum have been reserved for different uses, from television broadcasting to military radar. But today demands on our airwaves have grown. So the Federal Communications Commission has been working to clear these airwaves of old uses and auction them so they can be repurposed for new 5G service.

But not all spectrum is created equal. The traditional sweet spot for wireless service has been in what we call low-band or mid-band spectrum. This is between 600 MHz and 3 GHz. For a long time, these airwaves were considered beachfront property because they send signals far. In other words, they cover wide areas but require little power to do so. This makes them especially attractive for service in rural areas, where technology that can reach more people with less infrastructure makes greater economic sense.

For 5G, however, the United States has focused on making high-band spectrum the core of its early 5G approach. These airwaves, known as “millimeter wave,” are way, way up there—above 24 GHz. They have never been used in cellular networks before, and for good reason—they don’t send signals very far and are easily blocked by walls. That means they are very expensive to build out. On the flip side, these airwaves offer a lot more capacity, which translates into ultrafast speeds.

The United States is alone in this mission to make millimeter wave the core of its domestic 5G networks. The rest of the world is taking a different approach. Other nations vying for wireless leadership are not putting high-band airwaves front and center now. Instead, they are focusing on building 5G networks with mid-band spectrum, because it will support faster, cheaper, and more ubiquitous 5G deployment.

Take China, which allocated large swaths of mid-band spectrum for its carriers last year, clearing the way for deployment in a country that is also home to Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment supplier worldwide. South Korea and Australia wrapped up an auction of key mid-band spectrum last year. At roughly the same time, Spain and Italy held their own auctions for mid-band airwaves. Austria did the same earlier this year. Switzerland, Germany, and Japan also auctioned a range of mid-band spectrum just a few months ago.

The United States, however, has made zero mid-band spectrum available at auction for the 5G economy. Moreover, it has zero mid-band auctions scheduled.

This is a problem. By ceding international leadership when it comes to developing 5G in the mid-band, we miss the benefits of scale and face higher costs and interoperability challenges. It also means less security as other nations’ technologies proliferate. Indeed, the most effective thing the United States can do in the short term to enhance the security of 5G equipment is make mid-band spectrum available, which will spur a broader market for more secure 5G equipment that will also benefit other countries that are pursuing mid-band deployments.

By auctioning only high-band spectrum, we also risk worsening the digital divide that already plagues so many rural communities in the United States. That’s because recent commercial launches of 5G service across the country are confirming what we already know—that commercializing millimeter wave will not be easy or cheap, given its propagation challenges. The network densification these airwaves require is substantial. In fact, recent tests of newly launched commercial 5G networks in the United States are showing that millimeter wave signals are not traveling more than 350 feet, even when there are no major obstructions. They are also not penetrating walls or windows, making indoor coverage difficult.

This means that high-band 5G service is unlikely outside of the most populated urban areas. The sheer volume of antenna facilities needed make this service viable makes it too costly to deploy in rural areas. So if we want to serve everywhere—and not create communities of 5G haves and have-nots—we are going to need a mix of airwaves that provide both coverage and capacity. That means we need mid-band spectrum. For rural America to see competitive 5G in the near future, we cannot count on high-band spectrum to get the job done.

The heat-seeking headlines about 5G are hard to resist. But the reality on the ground needs attention, too. For the United States to have secure 5G service available to everyone, everywhere, we need to stop going at it alone with millimeter wave spectrum. We need to make it a priority to auction mid-band airwaves right now. The longer we wait, the further behind the United States will fall—and the less likely our rural communities will see the benefits of next generation of wireless technology.

Forget 5G, Samsung is already working on 6G

This article originally appeared on Mashable by Stan Schroeder.

5G networks and smartphones haven’t even properly arrived yet, but Samsung is already working on the next generation of cellular network technology. 

The Korea Herald reported Tuesday that Samsung has launched a new research center, focusing, among other things, on 6G research. 

The new center is called the Advanced Communications Research Center and it’s a part of Samsung’s main research and development organization in Seoul — Samsung Research.

“The current team on telecommunications technology standards has been expanded to start leading research on the 6G network,” an unnamed Samsung official told the outlet. 

Given that 5G — at least the consumer-ready portion of it — is still in its infancy, most people (except a certain president) are probably wondering what does 6G stand for at this point, and the answer is: not much. It’s a probable name for cellular network tech that comes after 5G, but it’s very early in its development, and it probably won’t turn into anything sold for at least a couple more years. 

On its Samsung Research website, Samsung doesn’t say much about 6G. “Already in Europe, China, and the United States, there are open discussions on the need for research on 6G, the next generation after 5G, and the first research projects are already underway across the globe,” the website states. 

Unsurprisingly, The Korea Herald’s report is thin on details as well, besides saying that the new research center will also work on artificial intelligence and robotics.

Whatever the smart city goal, fiber is part of the solution

This article originally appeared on RCR Wireless News by Sean Kinney.

Fiber connectivity underlies a wide range of smart city applications

Smart city is something of a broad term that generally refers to using wired or wireless sensors to gather data which is feed into a compute infrastructure, analyzed, then used to initiate an outcome that makes the operation of a municipality more efficient.

Drilling down to specific use cases, they run the gamut from smart lighting and traffic management to improved access to city services and air or water quality monitoring. But, regardless of the particular application or desired outcome, underlying a smart city is (ideally) easy access to high capacity fiber that can support current and future needs.

Morné Erasmus, CommScope’s director of smart cities, explained to RCR Wireless News that smart city technologies aren’t the problem with widespread adoption but rather regulatory and organizational complexities are more prevalent hinderances.

CommScope, he said, sees three primary “building blocks” of a smart city: a smart building, a smart community, then the macro level that emerges when those two are linked together as a whole. “We always talk about smart buildings, communities or campuses and then the city. It really starts with the building–enabling connectivity within the building. Connectivity today is a utility. If you can’t get a cellphone signal or an internet connection in a building, people are not moving to those buildings. That’s just part of what life is today. It starts there then, when you walk outside the building, you need the same coverage there.”

In terms of outdoor coverage, Erasmus said CommScope is seeing city-led RFP activity are metro cell poles for small cell placement. “Traditionally that business for us is driven by operators or the neutral hosts but we’re starting to see that shift a little bit” to cities and utility providers. “They have their own right-of-way on power poles and they’re looking to get into that business.”

And, given the complexities associated with multiple carriers siting radio equipment, this is a prudent approach to streamlining an otherwise complex (costly and time-consuming) process while still meeting the goals of the various stakeholders.

While shared infrastructure models have gained traction in some global markets, particularly South Korea where the three operators shared 5G deployment costs and China where the three carriers entered into a joint venture for the purposes of deploying and managing infrastructure, that approach is not as well-developed in the U.S.

But, he said, “I think there’s slowly some tides changing there. The only way cities can control their own destiny is to say, ‘OK, what if we own the infrastructure. We become a neutral host.’”

But, whether it’s small cells for mobile broadband or connecting street lights to serve as platforms for traffic and environmental sensors or television cameras, “It’s all about connectivity really. The fundamental layer there is connectivity. In the simplest form, it’s all about connecting IoT devices, getting some insight into whatever applications there are and then driving efficiencies higher. All of that happens through connectivity.”

5 things 5G will do that you didn’t expect

This article originally appeared on Tech Radar by Jamie Carter.

Download a 4K movie in three seconds! That’s the headline feature of 5G according to the lazy mainstream media, which is probably why the public aren’t yet as excited about 5G as they should be. 

So 5G isn’t about downloading movies quickly? No, though the focus on 5G’s incredible speeds is no surprise. After all, 5G networks will bring speeds of about 1gbps. 

Compare that to the 4G LTE networks we have in the UK right now that offer real-world speeds of about 20mbps; 5G will be 100 times faster, and in the long-term it’s expected to jump to up to 20gbps. 

Download a 4K movie in three seconds! That’s the headline feature of 5G according to the lazy mainstream media, which is probably why the public aren’t yet as excited about 5G as they should be. 

So 5G isn’t about downloading movies quickly? No, though the focus on 5G’s incredible speeds is no surprise. After all, 5G networks will bring speeds of about 1gbps. 

Compare that to the 4G LTE networks we have in the UK right now that offer real-world speeds of about 20mbps; 5G will be 100 times faster, and in the long-term it’s expected to jump to up to 20gbps. 

1. Ultra-fast wireless home broadband

Probably the most misunderstood aspect of 5G is that it’s only for smartphones and mobile gadgets. 

It’s really not. 5G is for the home.

Think of it as wireless fibre, with speeds that are almost as fast or, at least, fast enough for anything you might want to do online at home. In fact, some 5G trials in the US have concentrated almost solely on 5G-powered modems for homes; you place one in a window with a line-of-sight to a 5G mast, and with the help of a router it spreads ultra-fast 1gbps WiFi around your home. 

That being said, you shouldn’t overlook the 5G-powered revolution coming to mobile video. 4G has made watching TV and YouTube on a smartphone possible, but let’s be honest, it’s often not much fun at all. Web pages that take an age to load, constantly buffering video, apps that freeze and photo uploads to Instagram that stall and splutter…4G can be a real headache.

So 5G will likely bring an instant and more reliable internet. That’s the theory, anyway. However, the advent of 5G is likely to kick-start a new era of real-time low-latency mobile gaming and/or more immersive virtual reality experiences that will try to make full use of the vast broadband capabilities (and probably buffer). The capabilities of tech are constantly being pushed, and 5G won’t change that. 

2. The ‘tactile internet’

5G’s URLLC feature is all about low latency. Latency is the time it takes for a communication to start, stop and then start again, which you can experience every time you try to load a webpage on a smartphone. 

On a 4G network it takes at least 40 milliseconds, but 5G promises to reduce that to just a single millisecond. Think about it; 5G could change everything we do online by making it instantaneous.

Cue the ‘tactile internet’. Defined as instant, interactive communications, the tactile internet could enable a revolution in industry, with robots able to receive instructions in real-time, essentially allowing them to collaborate on complex tasks.

In healthcare, surgeons could be able to see body scans and brain scans in real time, examine a patient remotely using a telepresence unit, and perhaps even remotely operate on patients using a surgical robot controlled across the internet.

3. Hi-Res Audio everywhere

Although a lot of the 5G talk is around video-based entertainment, a lot could change in the music world. After all, why persist with compressed MP3 and iTunes AAC files when hi-res uncompressed 24-bit/192kHz audio as FLAC, WAV and MQA music files are just as easy to stream over a 5G network? 

Hi-Res Audio (HRA) is lossless audio codec capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-than-CD quality music sources. 

The massively increased bandwidth coming with 5G will likely popularize and normalize high-quality audio, which for now is a relatively small niche among audiophiles. 

It’s growing though, with Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz already offering hi-res music, while Amazon is reportedly about to launch a hi-res audio streaming service. There’s also Spotify Hi-Fi that offers listeners lossless CD quality. Let’s just hope 5G phones come with unlimited data plans…

4. Mixed reality

Those planetarium-style smartphone apps that overlay a map of the stars and planets on the night sky are what the future looks like. 

No, not interstellar exploration, but 5G-powered instant overlays of real-time data on, well, everything. While those planetarium apps have all their data built-in and no need for real-time input and the augmented reality (AR) apps of the future are unknown, 5G could enable better navigation assistance, object recognition and even real-time face recognition on smartphones and smart glasses. 

Take another, even simpler example; you have a boiler that needs fixing, so instead of getting a heating engineer around, you talk to one via your smart glasses and they show you exactly which knobs to twiddle in real-time to diagnose and physically fix the problem. 

That’s going to be empowering. Everything from science, medicine, employee training and advertising could benefit from an explosion in AR overlays.

However, these rich, immersive ‘digital experiences’ will also spill over into virtual reality video, which could yet prove 5G’s ‘killer app’.

Real-time VR is presently not possible, but let’s be honest, how impressive really are VR headsets? They lack pixels – badly. Nothing looks real. What they need, of course, isn’t 4K, or even 8K, but probably 16K resolution, or multiple 4K video streams, and that’s what 5G could deliver. In real-time.

5. An internet of (many) things

A core 5G feature is mMTC, and that’s about density. It’s great news for sports fans. Never again will you sit in a packed stadium and be unable to use your phone.

That’s because 5G networks can support up to a million devices per square kilometer – but face-timing at the football is only one tiny aspect of what 5G will enable.

With that kind of support, the number of connected devices will explode. That Fitbit on your wrist? Why bother when you could have sensors all over your body – perhaps in clothes – that communicate with each other, and with the cloud via the 5G network, in real-time? 

Everything you own could be connected to the network, such as your backpack, the belongings inside, headsets, headphones, bikes, car…and family members. 

This could extend to industry as well, with companies’ assets, farm equipment, robots, and even tanks.

Another dimension of low latency is the real-time cloud. Instead of needing local processing power, devices like phones, wearables and laptops will link to the cloud for everything – files, data and artificial intelligence – perhaps only storing the absolute essential data on devices. 

That means smaller, lighter and essentially ‘dumb’ devices that are little more than conduits to the cloud.

Get Connected: Smart Buildings And The Internet Of Things

This article originally appeared on Facility Executive.

Over the years, buildings have become more complex and dynamic with multiple disparate systems and devices supporting a range of standards. Such complexity can lead to inefficiencies. When systems do not “talk” to one another, they operate in silos, and facility staff are unable to get a holistic view of building performance. This is one of the reasons why building energy management systems (BEMS) emerged to integrate a multitude of disparate systems and functions. However, while presenting a holistic view of operations helps organizations cut utility costs by making better strategic decisions around energy use, many of these early systems were not predictive. Instead these systems simply ran diagnostics and sent alerts after finding a problem.

The rate of change in building management technology over the past decade has been swift and diverse. That’s good news for aging buildings and infrastructure. As depicted in the image below, up to 75 percent of a building’s lifetime cost is spent on operations and maintenance, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and buildings are designed to last for decades. Consider, for instance, that more than half of all commercial buildings in operation in mature economies today were built before 1970, so it’s important to consider technologies and scalable solutions that can optimize assets and limit operational costs over extended periods of time.

Keeping current with the latest building technology is difficult due to the large number of advances every year. To ensure success, building owners and operators unequivocally need to be aware of both the benefits and limitations of the newest technologies. Failure to do this may result in missed opportunities to reduce operational and energy costs and, improve occupant comfort and staff productivity.

The BEMS market is evolving along with the ecosystem of intelligent building technologies such as control systems and wireless technologies, according to Navigant Research. While energy management was the initial focus of BEMS, organizations now want these solutions to optimize sustainability, space utilization, operational efficiency, and employee productivity.

As a result, today’s smart buildings are starting to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and building-information modeling (BIM) to connect various systems and devices to a centralized technology backbone. Through integration of real-time performance data and analysis to the BEMS, smart buildings help facility managers proactively identify problems before they occur to drive efficiency.

These new technologies are increasingly important as the power and efficiency demands of buildings evolve. Energy consumption around the world will increase by 56 percent by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Our global population is expected to increase by 38 percent, from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.6 billion in 2050, and our electricity needs are projected to skyrocket in this “always on” digital economy. Buildings currently consume about 53 percent of the world’s available electricity. By 2040, that consumption will increase to 80 percent of our electricity.

Consequently, organizations need a more analytical, data-driven approach to building operations and management to help maximize operational efficiency, cut energy waste, and lower overall cost. There is also an increasingly need for smart buildings that provide more comfortable, modern environments that enable people to work more effectively. In a study by the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), buildings that include comfort and productivity measures (e.g., improved ventilation, enhanced lighting conditions, and green building certification measures that directly affect health and wellness, absenteeism, employee turnover, job performance and satisfaction) provide proven benefits beyond energy savings.

Buildings of all sizes can benefit from this more technological and analytical approach: research shows that the small and medium-size commercial building market is poised to grow by more than 60 percent – to $38 billion – by the year 2025. In fact, these small and medium-sized buildings can save 20 percent on their energy bills through more effective monitoring. Additionally, large commercial buildings using a collaborative IoT platform can improve building operations and cut energy use by 29 percent per year.

SMART BUILDINGS AND THE IOT

What, exactly, is the IoT? And how does it relate to building energy management?

The IoT is the concept of connecting any device with an on/off switch to the Internet and/or to each other. IoT uses one common Internet Protocol (IP) to connect devices, which include everything from smartphones, tablets and digital assistants to various types of sensors and systems such as HVAC, lighting, and security.

In other words, the IoT is a fast-expanding digital ecosystem of connected devices.

In 2015, there were about 10 billion connected devices; by 2020, that number will more than triple to 34 billion. This growth is not surprising given the current environment where broadband Internet is widely available, technology costs are decreasing, smartphone use is becoming ubiquitous, and more and more devices are designed with built-in sensors and Wi-Fi capabilities.

So, how does the IoT enable smarter buildings?

The IoT helps create dynamic, and intelligent cloud-based interoperable networks by connecting electrical, mechanical, and electro-mechanical systems and platforms. By communicating with each other, these systems can help monitor themselves and act when necessary (e.g. turn down air-conditioning or heating needs in a little-used area) to provide the data and analytics needed for facility managers to intelligently optimize performance and create smarter buildings.

The technology to enable this competitive edge is already at hand. The Internet and significant price reductions on IT components such as wireless sensors have made smart building technologies much more affordable, creating a strong business case for owners and investors to invest in more intelligent technologies to increase building performance.

For example, advanced smart-energy sensors – a market whose revenue will almost triple between 2016 and 2025, from $1.2 million to $3.2 million, according to Navigant Research – can play a critical role in BEMS.

These devices contain “sensing” technology that captures and sends digital data to a BEMS to enable analysis and support actionable insight. Sensors that measure and provide continuous feedback on temperature, carbon dioxide level, humidity, and air pressure, for example, can deliver valuable information. Controllers, gateways, and sensors can also increase energy efficiency and help cut costs.

All at once, these devices, systems, and platforms connect to a central, open IP backbone to provide a holistic view of building performance. This backbone not only integrates all the data generated by the devices, but also presents it via a friendly user interface displays (desktop, tablet and mobile) that use powerful graphics, data-rich reports, and trend visualizations. Most importantly, this central backbone helps facility managers make strategic decisions through data analysis and actionable insights to ensure buildings are working smarter and running at maximum efficiency. Data analysis can also include artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that help buildings self-diagnose and optimize. In turn, this creates more comfortable environments that drive productivity by increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

With the right IoT platform in place, buildings are ripe for improved energy management by easily integrating technology. An open, secure, and scalable platform that delivers deep and actionable insights can significantly increase operational efficiency within buildings. Additionally, correlation and analysis of data across historically disconnected systems can yield unexpected insights.

In short, IoT is creating enormous opportunities for information gathering and sharing that will have an astounding impact on the way buildings are managed and operated. By using a collaborative smart building IoT platform, devices are connected with software and services to realize these opportunities.

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE HIGHLIGHTS THE FUTURE OF BUILDINGS

“The Edge” is a 40,000-square-foot building in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam. It exemplifies how a smart building can leverage the IoT to help improve all aspects of a company’s workspace – from building management and energy to lighting and security.

Designed according to the “New World of Work” principles, the building challenges traditional corporate organizational structures. The Edge features a glass exterior, large open floor plans for flexible work spaces, and a dramatic 15-story atrium filled with natural light and surrounded by balconies.

As one of the most sustainable buildings in the world with a BREEAM-NL rating of 98.36 percent, the Edge features a broad range of integrated facility management and energy solutions: an electrical distribution system, IT infrastructure, control devices, and power-monitoring software. Sensors, valves, actuators, and other BEMS-compatible and connected field devices were installed in ceilings and in technical rooms to create a smarter building that makes the IoT a reality.

The building, constructed for the professional-services firm Deloitte, contains some 28,000 IoT sensors that monitor LED lights, temperature, humidity, infrared and motion, among many other internal building aspects. Sensors can alert cleaning staff of the day’s most heavily used work areas, for example, and provide security information via an automated security robot that patrols the grounds at night.

These sensors and other systems also help employees as they go about their work day. Using a proprietary Deloitte app, employees can find a desk (there are no pre-assigned offices or cubicles), get access to car and bicycle parking and the company gym, adjust the heating in a workspace, and find colleagues, among other tasks.

In addition, the Edge is a net-zero energy building, producing 102 percent of its own energy via solar panels that line the building’s roof and southern wall. Other eco-friendly features include aquifer thermal energy storage, motion sensor-activated ventilation, and rainwater harvesting.

All of the sensors and systems connect to a single IP backbone that gives real-time access to critical building data. The building leverages EcoStruxure Building (formerly SmartStruxure), an open, collaborative smart building IoT platform that connects BEMS with diverse building systems, devices and services to enable facility managers to proactively monitor, measure and control – both on-site and remotely – all the data from building and IT systems.

By linking devices, sensors, and systems, EcoStruxure Building helps manage building management, power supply and process functions to provide comprehensive building-system interconnectivity. This solution also leverages Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to improve the delivery of analytics, software, and global services.

The world of smart building technology is uniquely positioned to benefit from IoT. But, how can organizations – whether they’re large multi-national entities or small to medium-sized businesses – best integrate IoT to deliver significant transformation over time?

SMART BUILDING IOT BEST PRACTICES

The following smart building IoT best practices should be taken into consideration:

  1. It’s OK to test the use of IoT: Organizations that want to take more measured steps before revamping their building systems should start small. For instance, they could employ a pilot project that focuses on lighting or another aspect of building needs. Keep in mind that this and other systems need to have end-to-end configurability.
  2. Build a solid plan from the beginning. What are the specific, measurable goals that your organization wants to accomplish? Careful planning from the start is key. Developing a thoughtful, solid plan will define the key requirements for hardware, software, security, and infrastructure, among other factors.
  3. Include all key stakeholders. This plan should involve all facility’s stakeholders, including but not limited to operations, finance, IT and security. The stakeholders should take time to establish operational, productivity and sustainability goals and objectives that align with the values and mission of the organization and evaluate ROI before broadening scope. Then, they can present a unified plan and collaborate with key contractors and vendors to produce a more effective strategy.

Thoughtful planning early in the project will help diminish last-minute, costly changes by avoiding redundancies such as multiple software systems and parallel networks. For instance, stakeholders can determine their “must haves” and reach consensus on how to effectively apply IoT and other intelligent-building technologies.

As organizations go through the process to make buildings smarter and more efficient, they should consider the following three critical planning aspects:

  1. Technology integration and interoperability: Aim for a holistic – not siloed – approach to adding systems that comprise the network backbone. The various devices and systems must also be scalable, adaptable, and able to integrate with the BEMS. Organizations should be prepared to expand systems in the future as new technologies emerge and additional features and capabilities are needed.
  2. Smart building data analysis: While advanced BEMS can aggregate, filter, and translate large amounts of data to provide actionable insights, facilities managers and other employees should be trained to also analyze the relevant data to make smarter decisions.
  3. Cybersecurity and data privacy. Increased connectivity and data capture means more opportunity for data leaks and breaches. With that in mind, organizations should employ a smart building platform that incorporates cybersecurity. In addition, instituting data collection, storage and use governance, among other cybersecurity policies, will help secure company data.

In conclusion, while IoT is still a new concept – only a small percentage of organizations currently leverage IoT for building management – more and more buildings are leveraging technology to create smarter buildings that increase efficiency, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

Wait, why the hell is the ‘race to 5G’ even a race?

This article originally appeared on The Verge by Nilay Patel.

I have a dumb question that no one seems capable of answering directly: Why is 5G a race?

Everyone — the wireless industry, Democrats, Republicans, the major media, you name it — frames the building of next-generation 5G networks as a “race” in which the United States needs to demonstrate “leadership.”

Here is The Washington Post declaring America has the lead in the race to 5G. Here’s CNN asking “Who’s winning the race to 5G?” Here’s AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson declaring that China isn’t beating the US to 5G “yet,” as some sort of ominous warning. Here’s T-Mobile CEO John Legere telling the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that merging with Sprint will let his company “win the race to 5G.” Here is an entire microsite from industry lobbying group CTIA titled “The Race to 5G.”

Let us never forget AT&T being so desperate to lead this “race” that it rolled out fake 5Ge logos on its phones.

But the stakes of this supposed race are wholly unclear. What happens if we win, besides telecom execs getting slightly richer? More importantly, what are the drawbacks to coming in second, or even third? Where is the list of specific negative outcomes of China building a 5G network a month, a year, or even five years before the United States? I’ve never seen it, and I keep asking about it.

For example, here’s FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks on The Vergecast this week, when I asked why 5G is a race.

“I think it is important for us to continue to lead the race … we obviously led to 4G and I think we get to set some of the standards that are ultimately going to be implemented worldwide, which is why there is a little bit of a race.”

Starks went on to say that China wants to be a global leader in supplying 5G equipment and that’s why Huawei has been so aggressively building and pricing its gear. But Huawei depends on American chip technology to make its products, and the US government has just put Huawei on a blacklist anyway. So… the race is so we can set some wireless standards? I suspect Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Verizon, and AT&T can fend for themselves when it comes to that process.

The other main argument for winning the “race” to 5G is that having the world’s best and fastest networks will create new economic opportunities for businesses of all kinds — we’ll enable self-driving cars and telemedicine and all the other stuff you hear about during interminable 5G slideshows at trade conferences. At a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation earlier this year, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker confidently declared that “failing to win the race to 5G would not only materially delay the benefits of 5G for the American people, it would forever reduce the economic and societal gains that come from leading the world in technology.”

Maybe. It is indeed true that better networks lead to better opportunities, and that widespread high-speed broadband is something everyone wants. But I sincerely doubt that all of these companies will pick up and move to China or Europe if the United States builds 5G networks slightly slower. After all, we already have some of the slowest and most expensive networks in the world, and Apple and Facebook have not yet relocated to South Korea.

The more I hear about the race, the more I don’t buy it. I think the “race” framing is there to make some big decisions seem urgent and important — to make it appear as though some serious trade-offs are worth it in order to “win.” And those trade-offs are indeed serious: 5G networks will require a serious rethinking of how we use wireless spectrum. There are incredible privacy implications around putting millions of IoT devices in a “smart city” on 5G. Investment dollars will naturally flow toward building 5G networks in cities instead of expanding our networks to rural areas, exacerbating the digital divide.

And once the “race” to build out 5G in big cities is “won,” the pressure to expand access to other places in the country will vanish, making that divide even worse. It is worth carefully considering all of these things before giving in to haste.

Oh, and it appears that some of the required 5G spectrum might interfere with important weather sensors, a concern raised by NASA, the Navy, and the NOAA in hearings before Congress last week. How did the wireless industry respond to these concerns? By writing a blog post accusing meteorologists from across three government agencies of “risking our 5G leadership.” The implication, of course, is that worrying about detecting major weather events could make us lose the race.

This race is imaginary bullshit. It’s being foisted on us by huge telecom companies that know internet access is fundamentally a commodity and want something new to sell at high prices instead of competing to improve service and lower prices on the networks they have. After all, the United States “won” the “race” for LTE, but it bears repeating: our LTE networks are among the slowest in the world, and our prices among the highest. What did winning that race accomplish for the millions of people across the country that still can’t get a reliable LTE signal? 

All I’m asking is that the next time you hear a wireless industry person talk about the “race” to 5G, stop and ask them why it’s a race. Ask who the competitors are, and what happens if we come in second place. See if you buy the answer. I suspect you won’t hear anything convincing.

How the Advancement of Mobile Technology Helps Students in Education

This article originally appeared on 1red Drop.

We cannot deny the fact that advancements in technology have seriously influenced a major portion of our lives. To be precise, it has made our lives quite simplified since we can fulfill a variety of requests ranging from groceries, food, electronics books, clothes, furniture and a lot more, with the simple act of a few clicks.

Have you ever thought how the education system has experienced some major transformations with the outbreak of mobile technology? Several institutions have worked their way to accomplishing education goals in a much more efficient manner with the introduction of high-end tech assistance for classrooms. As a result, this has enhanced both teaching and learning methods so as to provide diverse studying options to students in all forms. It has been analyzed that traditional lectures have now been incorporated with demonstrations and appealing illustrations. Furthermore, students who aren’t able to cope up with assignments and homework tasks can seek help from assignment writing and research paper writing service options.

In the present time, students are truly blessed to have so much on their plate, thereby utilizing it for their own benefit. Mentioned below are some of the core advantages of mobile technology, which has helped students build their educational path with additional confidence.

Real-Time Assessment

Have you imagined technology allowing you to receive quick feedback and responses for your test papers within seconds? All this is now possible with the power of online technology which has steadily transformed itself into mobile technology. The advantage of embedding assessment and learning tools has become important to a large student population around the globe. In simple words, mobile devices offer detailed metrics as well as data which can lead to immediate assessment and feedback to check whether students are fulfilling their educational goals.

With this technological support it can be ensured that students who are not able to match up get an opportunity to learn vital concepts. Furthermore, the presence of software and other tools equip teachers to develop dashboards for tracking the performance of individual students.

Online Classes

Gone are the days when you had to literally sit in classrooms all day for receiving textbook knowledge. Looking at the current trend, students can receive learning on any subject from online sources. The convenience of mobile learning has made it quite easy to view online classes even while you are traveling. Educate yourself at your own pace and associate yourself with different teachers and students using this splendid online space. It is also interesting to know that, as a student, I can even pay someone to do my homework via online sources. Furthermore, other services like buying a term paper have assisted students who are running short on submission deadlines.

Podcast

Podcasts are basically digital audio files which can be downloaded on a device, be it a laptop or smartphone. In order to access a podcast you need to avail of a subscription; once it’s done, the new files get automatically synced through the app on your device. Currently, teachers have gone tech savvy and are preparing podcasts which can impart essential knowledge to students. With the availability of podcasts, students have the convenience to revise and learn study material without any time constraint.

Course Management Tools Online

Have you heard about course management tools? Teachers have now put their trust in course management tools with the purpose of organizing resources as well as class contents. How are these tools helpful? Teachers are now allowed to post class materials along with course syllabus so that they can be easily accessed by the students through a single platform. Furthermore, discussing topics, recording grades, etc. with the class students are now possible with the power of course management tools.

Online Cooperation Tools

If you ask any student, the hustle with projects and assignments is always a bummer. It has been noticed that students in Australia rely majorly on different online writing services such as assignment help Perth, but having access to personalized assistance without involving external candidates should always be preferred.

The concept of online collaboration tools permits students and teachers to easily share information, brainstorm and discuss ideas using a common platform. In addition, students can work in harmony on projects and untangle problems without much hassle. Students and teachers can also use these tools for actions such as time management, milestones, workflow routing, as well as calendaring.

Online Study Help

Many institutions are now offering personalized study help so as to polish students in a smart manner. Under this process, the inclusion of study materials together with project and assignment help are counted on to support students in improving their academic performances. In short, students are allowed to access online tutoring, frame doubts and receive solutions in a quick manner. The amazing aspect is that all these aids can be received over the internet via mobile phones, desktops, tablets, and laptops. The connection with any institution or tutoring class is not necessary; the power of mobile technology for education will guide you well.

Open Educational Resources

It should be known that the Internet has now become a vast pool of services for students who are looking to build their future. You can now gain access to free text, reports, law dissertation help and what not, with your laptop and smartphone, with a discount voucher as well – digitalocean promo code. The presence of digital assets that are proving helpful for students and teachers are now being formatted as blogs and web applications. This is obviously a major add-on along with classroom learning, which functions in an interactive manner. Students can make use of these resources to receive knowledge related to different subjects, and further strengthen concepts and evaluate problems with greater ease. Technology in education is spreading far and wide, thereby armoring global students for the major challenges they need to face during their academic journey.