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Audi, Ingolstadt and Deutsche Telekom sign pioneering 5G partnership




In the long term, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) services like Audi Traffic Light Information will improve the traffic flow. When cars send anonymized data to the city, for example, traffic signals could operate more flexibly. Every driver knows the following situation: in the evening you wait at a red light - while no other car is to be seen far and wide. Networked traffic lights would then react according to demand. Drivers of other automotive brands will also profit from the development work that Audi is carrying out with Traffic Light Information - good news for cities, which are dependent on the anonymized data of large fleets to achieve the most efficient traffic management. - Photo courtesy Audi AG
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With the signing of a memorandum of understanding, legendary automaker Audi has entered into a partnership with Bavarian city Ingolstadt and telecom company Deutsche Telekom to develop a digital transport infrastructure that will, over the long term, “offer people greater road safety, better traffic flows and real-time digital services,” explains Audi’s press release. 

The goal? Using 5G technology to making urban mobility safer, more digital and more sustainable.

Initial steps have already been taken by Ingolstadt, with city council approving an application to set up a 5G model region back in July. In addition to Audi, other industrial companies will have access to this infrastructure. 

With 5G as the imminent standard for cellular networks, higher bandwidths and real-time network responses are on the (very close) horizon. 

Possible urban applications for this essential-for-IoT 5G technology include:

  • Connected traffic signals that exchange anonymized movement data with cars and other road users, resulting in quicker reaction time by drivers or cars of unforeseen movements.
  • The integration of the mobile 5G devices of pedestrians and cyclists into real-time communication between infrastructure and cars, meaning a more comprehensive connection between all road users, 
  • Reducing the time spent searching for parking, a major cause of urban traffic volume. Real-time information on free parking spaces will be communicated to drivers, navigating them directly to open spaces.

Ingolstadt’s mayor, Dr. Christian Lösel sees the forthcoming 5G network a good opportunity for citizens.

“If new technologies promise an advantage, we should also use them for the benefit of people,” he says. “We see cooperation on the ‘Ingolstadt Test Field’ as a contribution towards securing qualified jobs in our city and as a demonstration of our efforts as a location for digital mobility.”

For Peter Steiner, Managing Director of Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, the partnership represents a future of consistent connectivity: “That’s our goal along the way to the mobility of tomorrow,” he said. 

“On the basis of 5G technology, Audi as an automobile manufacturer can contribute towards improving mobility in cities. Together, we are developing integrated solutions for the city of the future.”

“We are bringing 5G not only to the people of Germany, but also to the country’s industry,” explained Martin Knauer, Telekom’s Head of Cellular Sales for Business Customers, alluding to 5G’s potential. 

“In the future, innovation and 5G will be inseparable.”

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Data-rich industries stand to thrive in the digital transformation age




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Automation. AI. Machine Learning. It’s all here, but which data-rich industries will thrive in the 24/7 connectivity of the digital transformation age? 

It’s a question asked by Einaras von Gravrock, CEO of CUJO AI, for Forbes.

He has outlined three areas that stand to gain from our data-rich future:

Internet of Things Security 

It might take years until we can see if the IoT “has fulfilled our expectations,” von Gravrock explains, but we’ve already moved from IoT to Internet of Everything, with hyper-connectivity between, well, everything — especially with respect to businesses and manufacturing and industry. An increase in IoT-related data breaches — 15% to 21% since 2017 has shown that we need to set our sights on higher standards. 

“Data science and AI will shape the next stage of IoT development,” theorizes van Gavrock. The sheer volume of data gathered from IoT means that users must be able to trust this connectivity. Anyone who can provide trustworthy, effective, and inexpensive coverage will win.

[More on the IoT and digital transformation]

Network Service and Telecommunications

Telecommunications companies have become like utility companies in the last 15 years, he explains. “You expect to receive clean, drinkable water from your water supply provider. You would also expect your network operator to provide a secure and private connection.”

This is especially important given the staggering amounts of data accessible by this industry.

“This shift can’t happen if the data generated by users isn’t anonymized, crunched, and analyzed by AI algorithms to ensure malicious connections are blocked before they can do harm to the end user.”

[More on telecom and digital transformation]

Creative Industries

Entire industries are about to radically change the way they work, he writes: “The future of work has an emphasis on constant learning, and AI will be there to help you, both as a teacher and as a tool.” 

Also empowering professionals to focus on bringing more value to their work? Automation — something already being noticed in the manufacturing sector. “Instead of heavy lifting, humans focus on managing AI-driven systems that power robotic forklifts.”

But within creative and social industries, for example, music is already being produced and eSports games are being won AI. von Gavrock uses a sports journalist to demonstrate the potential of AI and automation: Articles they write focus on hard facts and what happened. Automation could, in turn, “switch your focus to moderating discussions or exploring new mediums for creating content instead of trying to find a creative way to describe a game.”

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Inside Microsoft’s next goal of bringing broadband to 40 million people




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We talk frequently about the revolutionary network performance that will come with the spread of 5G, but did you know that about half of the world’s population still lacks broadband internet access?

Microsoft is looking to tackle this digital divide with its Airband International initiative, aiming to bring internet connectivity to 40 million people in disadvantaged areas around the world.

The initiative’s first focus is on communities in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Airband is an expansion of their Rural Airband initiative, which was launched in 2017 with a $10 million budget, and is currently working to improve internet access in communities across the U.S. by 2022.

In 2018, Microsoft established partnerships in 16 states that will see 1 million rural residents gain broadband connectivity, “a fundamental prerequisite for full participation in modern life and a basic requirement for access to the economic and educational opportunities that make success and prosperity possible for individuals and communities,” explains the company’s report. 

For context, about 25 million Americans are without high-speed broadband internet — 19 million of which are in rural areas. 

To achieve the goals of its rural initiative, Microsoft has primarily been repurposing TV White Spaces (TVWS) spectrums, i.e. “unused TV channels within the 600 MHz frequency range, which are able to carry wireless signals and therefore can provide broadband internet access,” explains Daphné Leprince-Ringuet in ZDNet. 

But as it turns out, this solution isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all.

Airband will use this same technology as it expands internationally, but while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has permitted its use since 2010, governments in other countries might not be as open. 

“We know that new technologies like TVWS can be incredibly useful in meeting rural connectivity needs at an affordable price,” said Shelley McKinley, head of technology at Microsoft. “However, many regulatory frameworks in many parts of the world have not kept pace with innovation.”  

One way around this added hurdle in the digital divide is a continued search for partnerships with local ISPs, alongside “innovative technologies, regulatory approaches and business models,” the company explains.

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How edge computing can boost business efficiency




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Edge computing is about processing data as close to the source as possible, which reduces both latency and bandwidth use. This concept is seen as critical for furthering the Internet of Things and for driving the development of autonomous vehicles.

What is edge computing?

Edge computing is a decentralized approach to computing applied to networks (the opposite to cloud computing’s centralized approach). The concept relates to how a network stores its information. In edge computing, most data on a network is moved away from physical computers. For businesses, data is moved onto a private server.

Edge computing is especially useful in cases where a lot of data is generated. The approach allows for the successful triage of data locally so that some of it is processed locally, reducing the backhaul traffic to the central data repository. This is very useful in cases where many devices are connected together, as with the Internet of Things.

Edge computing helps to make the Industrial Internet of Things possible. This is an area of great value. McKinsey & Co. calculate that the Industrial Internet of Things will generate $7.5 trillion in value by 2025. The advantages here are to connect people to machine data that accelerate digital industrial transformation.

How can edge computing benefit business?

The advantages of edge computing are that it takes less time to move data and there are fewer are less hardware limitations and that hardware limitations are easily addressed. With conventional storage systems, hardware is normally required, and this can create a bottleneck that places a restriction on how much memory can be moved at any time point. The use of hardware also leads to slower data transfer speeds.

Furthermore, the costs of operating and maintaining the hardware are relatively more expensive.

Security is also stronger with edge computing, making edge computing systems harder for hackers to penetrate. This is because data is continually moving between network modes.

When data are moved throughout a network, they go through different security layers to ensure hackers cannot get into the system, but edge computing goes beyond this. More security layers are used because, instead of the data moving between the network nodes, the data moves from the Internet into the servers and onto the nodes. This provides an opportunity for creating additional firewalls and antivirus scans.

How are businesses using edge computing?

Businesses can derive many advantages from the edge computing concept. The edge process enables analytics and data gathering to occur at the source of the data. This enables companies to leverage resources from devices that are not necessarily continuously connected to a network like laptops, smartphones, tablets and sensors.

Autonomous vehicles and edge computing

Among the more specific examples is autonomous car technology. These are, in a sense, datacenters on wheels, and here edge computing plays a key role. To collect the high volumes of data, edge computing provides an advantage. In terms of data, Intel estimates that autonomous cars, with their many on-vehicle sensors, generate over 40 terabytes of data for each eight hours of driving. Given that this level of data cannot be easily sent to a cloud (and this also presents a safety risk in terms of delayed reactions), the use of edge computing becomes a necessity.

Security cameras and edge computing

A second example is with security systems. If a large complex is served by dozens of high-definition Internet of Things video cameras where data is continuously streaming that signal to a cloud server, these systems can be slow to respond. This is especially so if the security protocol is designed to respond to motion-detection. This set-up places a major strain on the building’s Internet infrastructure, with a high proportion of the bandwidth becoming consumed by a high volume of video footage.

With the edge concept, each camera would have an independent internal computer to run the motion-detecting application and then sent footage to the cloud server as needed. This improves efficiency and lowers bandwidth use.

Fleet management and edge computing

Edge computing also helps to improve the efficiency of fleet management. While a large volume of key performance data needs to be collected – wheels, brakes, battery, electrical – where such data requires a response, such as a potential brake failure, then some of this data needs to be collected and stored locally on the edge in order to minimize the risk of vehicle breakdown or accident.

An example of edge computing applied to fleet management is with trailer temperature. With most fleet monitoring systems, only temperature readings that are outside of a set range are reported back to fleet managers through telematics. The fleet manager then needs to assess whether or not there is a problem. However, with edge analytics, temperature readings can be analyzed onboard a vehicle and notified to the driver, empowering the driver to take steps to mitigate the temperature fluctuation.

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