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?
The initiative’s first focus is on communities in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Microsoft Airband Initiative Grant Fund supports innovative businesses that help billions of people get access to energy and the internet. pic.twitter.com/zcDrdPb5VF
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) January 5, 2018
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.
DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.
Audi, Ingolstadt and Deutsche Telekom sign pioneering 5G partnership
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.
Safe, #digital and #connected #mobility: #Audi partnered up with @deutschetelekom and the city of @Ingolstadt_IN for a #5G #technology partnership. Find out what possibilities the new 5G cellular standard opens up: https://t.co/CCKr1u4ZjU pic.twitter.com/bTMFji9asn
— Audi (@AudiOfficial) October 2, 2019
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.”
DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.
How edge computing can boost business efficiency
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.
5G wireless telecommunication corridor coming to Canada
Ontario and Quebec are partnering with major digital technology providers to construct a corridor of 5G wireless test beds throughout the two most populated provinces in Canada.
The goal of the $400-million public-private investment is to bring technological innovation to Canadian businesses — by allowing established players and startups to experiment with new products and innovative ideas within geographic concentrations of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions.
What is 5G?
5th generation wireless systems (5G) offer performance as high as 20 gigabits per second, said to be up to ten times faster than current 4G networks. As well as promising faster download speeds, 5G is also expected to usher in lower latency, which is the time it takes for the item to actually start downloading.
The development is a further sign of Canada’s commitment to place itself as a leader in new technologies, particularly with the promotion of startups offering connected services. The U.S., South Korea, Japan and China are also racing to establish hub areas with 5G services. Those who establish first are most likely to be ahead of this next-generation series of technological developments.
Public-private partnership to power new network
The project is called ‘Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation’ — or ENCQOR for short.
According to The Globe and Mail, the two provincial governments will provide $67 million, with the remainder coming from five private-sector partners, including:
- Ciena Canada
- Thales Canada
- IBM Canada
The partners will work with provincial coordinators Prompt, CEFRIO, and Ontario Centers of Excellence.
Over the course of five years, the money will go towards supporting 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises connecting to the advanced 5G platform. Other parts of the funding will go towards providing support in terms of research and technology.
5G could power smart cities and streets
Discussing the new plans, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told City News that the types of developments that companies could usher under the 5G arrangements cover the expanse from:
- autonomous vehicles
- smart cities
- improved traffic control and reducing accidents
- retail innovations, like food deliveries
- smart home technologies
“5G is the gateway to the future and we are just on the brink of this technological revolution,” says Bains. He said the news will help strengthen employment, with more than 4,000 jobs being created of which 1,800 of which will be specialized in 5G systems.
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