Creative Connectivity - the site for eHealth, telematics and wireless

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Squirrels, Grid Security and a Stuffed Rudd

Smart Meters may open up the grid to hackers.  But the industry still think squirrels are a bigger problem.  Which is why I’ve taken up taxidermy to highlight some of the problems.

Smart Power, Smart Meters and Smart Batteries

This week saw the launch of a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission, entitled Smart Power, which investigates the future of our electricity supply. It’s a small step in the right direction, but we need a leap.  But a better bet might be to replace smart meters with smart batteries.

Ericsson slashes cellular IoT device forecast by 20 billion

Back in 2010, made a very pubic prediction that by 2020 there would be 50 billion internet connected devices, of which 20 billion would be IoT type devices.  They recently said that only 1 billion of those would use cellular connections.  What does that mean for the Internet of Things?

NB-IOT - The Internet of Bikes and Labradors.

At the Mobile World Congress 2016 everyone was pushing Narrowband IOT (NB_IOT) as if it already existed.  It should be a viable alternative to LPWAN, but how much is still hype?.  This article attempts to discover the real state of progress and explain what else is needed to move from M2M to IoT.

Smart Meters Evidence Check

The UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee appears to be considering looking at the lack of either in DECC’s smart metering program – a classic example of policy trumping evidence.  This paper lists the issues and suggests actions which need to be taken to secure a credible evidence base.

Hearing Loss - the New Diabetes?

According to reports from the WHO, around 1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music or attending noisy events.  There is no doubt that we are addicted to music as an integral part of our lives, but there is little indication that the various industries supplying this addiction and the hearing aid companies who end up treating it see their products as part of the same spectrum of need.  The announcement of a collaboration between Starkey and Bragi suggests this may be changing.  This article looks at some of the issues around the growing problem of hearing loss.

LoRa vs LTE-M vs Sigfox

There‘s a battle going on for the infrastructure technology that will support the Internet of Things.  Currently the three most talked about contenders are Sigfox, LoRa and LTE-M.  Most of the debate is based on their technical features, although these will have little to do with their respective success.  This article looks behind the technology to see how the different business models will determine which is likely to prevail.

Why LTE should wait for 2.3GHz

In the UK, the regulator OFCOM is considering auctioning the 2.3GHz spectrum to mobile phone operators for LTE.  The problem is that interference from this could compromise the performance of devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ZigBee in the adjacent 2.4GHz band.  This article argues that the value of protecting the 2.4GHz spectrum may be orders of magnitude greater than the licence value of the 2.3GHz band, and that any proposal to allocate it to mobile operators should be delayed.

The Market for Smart Wearables

The consumer electronics industry has convinced itself that wearable technology will be the next big thing, with analysts predicting a market worth over $30 billion by 2020.  That belief is driven by a desperate need for major companies to find something to follow on from laptops, tablets and PCs all of which are being commoditised.

The problem is that their model for wearable technology is built around technology push, trying to shape their technology to fit consumers.  It is a strategy that is likely to fail, as wearable technology is more, rather than less, personal.  This report takes the contrary viewpoint, building the market opportunity from known consumer behaviour and preferences.  It suggests the market will still reach $30 billion in 2020, but with a very different mix of products being made by some very different companies.

What is 5G? And do we need it?

The mobile industry loves hype. Now that 4G phones have reached the market, suppliers are keen to promote the next dollop of “jam tomorrow” by offering the world 5G – something that’s still rather nebulous, but as always in this industry, allegedly better than what we have today.  But do we need it?  And will the quest for  more tech for more tech’s sake be detrimental to the industry.  This article looks at how power and influence has changed within the mobile industry to see whether 5G is a distraction or a necessity.

Smart Metering is FCUKED

Having delayed the Fiendishly Complicated United Kingdom Enduring Deployment of smart meters earlier this year because of technical delays, you might expect that the British Government would have spent some time reviewing the technology they had mandated.  If they had done so, it would have become clear that the program was out of control.  Under the surface, too many cooks have ratcheted up the technical complexity to the point where it is no longer fit for purpose. However, it appears that no-one wants to point out that the Smart Metering Emperor is stark naked.  This article takes an in depth look at why this project is turning into such a disaster.

To Ubiquity and Beyond - Bluetooth Smart and the Growth of Appcessories

What is an Appcessory?  Think of a cuddly toy for your three year old which interacts with the story on her tablet.  Think of the stylus you use for sketching on your iPad, where squeezing it changes the thickness or colour of the lines you’re painting.  Or a motor and rudder you clip on a paper plane which lets you control its flight by tipping your smartphone from side to side.  LED lights that come on when you enter the room, which you can program the colour of, or which even sense your mood from the way you’re walking.  Armbands that know you’re about to point at the TV and tell it to change channel before you even move your finger.  Clothes that tell you they need washing.  In fact many things that until recently were the preserve of science fiction are about to become possible and eminently affordable.

They’re the source of an explosive new market.  It’s based on the new Bluetooth Smart wireless standard and is predicted to have annual sales of over $130 billion by 2020.

Wireless Security for the Internet of Things

More and more Internet of Things products are appearing on the market, as start-ups and established companies combine to increase the momentum in this area.  But a lot that I look at have only paid lip service to security.  In this article I consider the current state of knowledge that has been applied to these emerging products and suggest the steps that designers need to take in the future.

The Cost of Wireless Standards

Putting a price on the invisible and paying for interoperability.    It costs more and takes longer to develop a short range wireless standard than most people think.  This article looks at the issues involved in taking a wireless standard from concept to a secure and interoperable specification, then estimates how much it cost to achieve that with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ZigBee.

Fifty Shades of Tariff

There’s nothing that better illustrates the sado-masochistic relationship between energy suppliers and their customers than Tariffs. They’ve evolved to be the whip that utilities deploy to beat their users into “correcting” their behaviour. This white paper explains the current complexity of tariffing schemes that are being designed in conjunction with smart meters, and highlights the conflict between these and the hoped for consumer behaviour change in energy use.

The Smart Gasman Cometh - a song for the Smart Meter age

It’s almost exactly fifty years since Flanders and Swann wrote their classic song “The Gasman Cometh”.  With the advent of smart metering it seemed an appropriate time to provide an update.

The Evolution of Interoperability. Making the Dream a Reality.

Anyone who thinks that a standard is synonymous with interoperability is sadly mistaken. The difference is an investment of around $10 million and five years of hard work. How many standards organisations can afford that?

A Bluetooth Ecosystem for Health and Fitness

Bluetooth has become the de facto wireless standard for health and fitness devices. Whether that’s a defibrillator, a weight scale, a heart rate belt, a glucose meter or a Wii Fit Balance Board, manufacturers have been enthusiastic in choosing Bluetooth to solve their connectivity issues. Altogether, over 20 million Bluetooth health and fitness devices have been sold, from hundreds of different manufacturers. This article explains why Bluetooth has been chosen and the demographics that are driving new, disruptive development in the consumer medical marketplace.

Trust Me – I’m not a Doctor

Healthcare is about to change as two disruptive forces come together. Those forces are Internet connected consumer medical devices and websites that bring the use of cognitive behaviour research and e-therapy to remote treatment. Together they’re poised to combine their respective segments of expertise to produce a new generation of consumer health products. It has the potential to be the most disruptive change to medicine in two centuries.
If it succeeds it will take healthcare out of the hands of today’s professionals and transfer it to the High Street as a true consumer offering.

 

 

About Creative Connectivity

Creative Connectivity is Nick Hunn's blog on aspects and applications of wireless connectivity. Having worked with wireless for over twenty years I've seen the best and worst of it and despair at how little of its potential is exploited.

I hope that's about to change, as the demands of healthcare, energy and transport apply pressure to use wireless more intelligently for consumer health devices, smart metering and telematics. These are my views on the subject - please let me know yours.

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