In-car wifi and cloud connected transport

There has been a lot of talk about IoT this year  (it stands for Internet of Things, for those that don’t know) – how everyday objects will be connected to the internet to enhance their functionality. But which particular “things” are going to make the biggest splash? And which will be adopted first? Judging by the tech-battle-ground going on in the automotive industry at the moment, I’m guessing that CARS will be the ideal place to start the IoT revolution.
After all, we are used to high-technology in our cars, and our roads already create a network of sorts. Lets look at some of the new ideas which might transform transport as we know it…
Gogoro is a manufacturer of high performance electric scooters. Not only do these “2-wheel Tesla’s” do 0-50km in 4.2 seconds, they are also making waves because they use a power network with no charging time! How is that possible? The Gogoro uses 2 batteries which you can swap in seconds for a fully charged one. A network of battery points provides fully charged batteries which you simply swap for your old one. Clever, huh? What has that got to do with IoT and networking, I hear you ask? Nothing yet, but here’s the thing…
Gogoro Scooter
As well as being faster and easier, Gogoro’s scooters are smarter. 55 sensors within the scooter analyse your riding constantly, and the network is always scanning your location and distance to the nearest power point station. It can optimise your battery usage based on how your drive, diagnose the performance, even customise the lights on your vehicle!
The combination of clever energy use and cloud-based connection makes the Gogoro scooter one to watch out for in 2015.
Their awesome-looking website is : http://www.gogoro.com/
But what if we need a more powerful internet connection in our cars than our mobile data will allow? One company which has a solution for providing full bandwidth WIFI in-car is Veniam.
Veniam turns vehicles into wifi hotspots. “An internet of moving things” is the tagline proudly displayed on their site. It works by installing in a car a self-configuring onboard unit which can expand the wifi network to any other car equipped with a unit, or to locally placed infrastructure.
Venium Network
With the WIFI network in place throughout enough cars, Veniam claim that their system would create a public WIFI network throughout cities and busy roadways, or controlled spaces such as ports or airports, where companies have a lot of vehicles, allowing cloud-based analytics and communication between drivers over the net.
Check out https://veniam.com/ for full details.
So that is one possible solution to providing full bandwidth WIFI in-car. What would we use such a powerful connections for? The current standard for communicating with devices WITHIN your car is bluetooth. One company in Taiwan has set out to change that, and their reasons why are pretty convincing!
Nexum is a designer of audio interfaces in Taiwan. Haven’t heard of them? That’s no surprise, unless you are in Taiwan itself, where Nexum sold thousands upon thousands of its in-car audio devices last year.
The Nexum Linka is a small, inexpensive wifi audio device, capable of connecting the cars sound system to every smartphone / device in the vehicle. You can play your music in super high definition (“HiFi over Wifi” is the catchy slogan!), and thats not all, as Nexum are eager to point out….
Nexum Linka
The Linka works by creating a wifi hotspot within the car, and once devices are connected to it the sky is the limit. The system could be used to stream movies to in car entertainment (something which bluetooth does not have the bandwidth to do), or to link the car to the outside world via you mobile connection.
You can earn more or buy Linka here : http://www.nexum-design.com/#!linka/c1gb
With the technology aimed at in-car computing improving all the time (just check out Broadcoms new chips for one such innovation: http://ubm.io/1C4WbuP ) we can look forward to real innovation coming from this industry. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll be going for a drive every time we want to take advantage of the best computers available. (just keep your eyes on the road though, yeah?)
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Networked Audio devices – an important part of IoT?

With all the speculation over the Internet of Things (IoT), we wanted to have a look at some networked devices which are already pushing the boundaries of transfer speed, automatic discovery and global data transfer – network audio devices.

Since the audio speaker was invented in 1874 (by Ernst W. Siemens, although Alexander G Bell was the first to patent audio transmission in 1876) the electronic transmission of sound has worked in the same basic way – low voltage electrical fluctuation carried along a wire. That changed in the last few decades, when in the 80’s analogue-to-digital convertors took over audio recording. They work by recording analogue sound as digital data and transmitting the data to a computer. Any data transfer method with sufficient bandwidth can connect converters of a sound card to a computer – USB, firewire, even (very recently) wifi.

But the breakthrough which ties audio technology to the IoT explosion is network audio – transferring many channels of audio over a network connection, typically a gigabit connection. Audio recording, especially at high quality, creates relatively large files – around 100mb per-minute per-channel. Audio is often “multi tracked” to record several sources at once. Stereo is 2 channels multi tracked together, but an Orchestral recording or broadcast transmission can use 64 or 128 channels simultaneously, sometimes more. This is where network audio comes into its own, with upto 2000 channels of audio able to be transmitted simultaneously over a gigabit network.

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(image – Yamaha pro audio diagram of a network audio system) 
Another thing which sets audio transmission apart from many other computing tasks is the need for real-time transmission. Even these huge amounts of data must be transmitted with low latency (delay between input and output), low enough to provide lip-sync capability between audio and video, or for broadcast to appear live on screen. Its generally agreed that latency over 80ms is unusable for sync with audio, and latency of less than 5ms is common. In fact, the latest network audio devices can be clocked at pico-second latency.

Lets have a look at some of the companies who are creating networked audio devices :

Audinate. Creators of the Dante protocol, which is rapidly becoming the most common network audio system used by manufacturers. Audinate supply Dante expansion cards to many leading recording and broadcast equipment manufacturers, including Yamaha, Soundcraft and Focusrite. They also created a rather cool “virtual soundcard” which is capable of transmitting dozens of audio channels between systems with no hardware necessary.

Dante Via creates a flexible software audio bridge for your computer to connect with local USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt and analog audio interfaces, transforming them into networked devices. When Via is launched we are expecting some very forward thinking tech which has implications for device discovery and file transfer / streaming.

https://www.audinate.com/

prod_dante_main ilive_dante_module

Focusrite. Focusrite have long been a name associated with audio-excellence. They have created a Dante-specific sound card range called Rednet. Rednet has been adopted by a diverse range of clients such as Fifa world cup 2014 and rock band band The Killers. These lightweight, dual redundant systems are starting to look more akin to server technology than music industry. Except they look cooler!

http://uk.focusrite.com/ethernet-audio-interfaces/rednet

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Tech markets compared

Following on from yesterdays post regarding tech trends in 2015, we wanted to see how much these trends would actually be worth. Internet-Of-Things and Wearables are the big buzzwords of the moment, but how big are they compared to todays giant tech products?

Predictions about the value of IoT vary between $50billion dollars for the smart home market and $2.7 TRILLION dollars. See the links below for details of these predictions. But what is realistic and how does it compare to tablet and smartphone sales, for example? We’ve crunched some numbers and made a chart:

cc_predicted_markets_blog

Sources:

http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/research/17941.html

http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/smart-homes-and-assisted-living-advanced-technologie-and-global-market-121.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2013/09/12/idc-87-of-connected-devices-by-2017-will-be-tablets-and-smartphones/

http://www.statista.com/statistics/259372/wearable-device-market-value/

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/idc-public-cloud-market-will-hit-72-9-billion-in-2015/51000

http://www.autonews.com/article/20140110/OEM06/301109910/the-race-to-market-the-connected-car

Exciting tech trends for 2015

The saying goes that by the time you see a bandwagon, its too late to get on it. But what will be next years bandwagons? We can’t say for sure, but here is a list of exciting technology which will make 2015 more fun!

Object storage

Object storage is the concept of storing files in the same way that you store data in a database. Rather than a file browser, the system can store a file anywhere and retrieve it by finding its ID and looking up its location. This will be essential for the next generation of cloud storage systems. Its worth money because it reduces admin staff massively, saves time and uses storage efficiently. For a more in depth explaination read this:  http://t.co/4RY7iVGLl6 

Cloud operating systems

These have been around for a while, not exactly the next big thing, but more an old idea done in a new way. Thinking about software and applications as cloud based rather than installs on local machines is clearly the way forward. Here are some examples you can use for free : http://t.co/iiKSSWthmH 

IoT

The Internet of Things is going to be a HUGE step forward for computing. If you haven’t already read about it, its the concept of networking everyday objects such a shoes, toothbrushes, plant pots, heating, oven etc… So these things can report data and be controlled remotely. Sounds like a joke right!? Well some major analysts claim its going to be worth more money over the next 3 years than tablets, phones, cloud storage and wearable devices COMBINED! Here is IDC’s prediction : http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24138513

Wearable devices (last years biggest bandwagon)

70% of ALL funding raised by companies last year was invested into wearable technology! Too late to jump on this bandwagon, Google, Android and Apple are all over it, but worth considering for any application that is written from now on – how will it work on wearable?

Here is Forbes take on Wearable tech for business: http://www.forbes.com/sites/salesforce/2014/09/07/wearable-tech-business/ 

Wireless charging 

Wireless charging has been in development for some time, but we are yet to see it implemented in most devices. The jury is still out on the exact wireless power tech which will emerge as the “industry standard”, but it basically works by inducing an electric current from one device to another via magnetic field. If you want to go back to basics and understand the technology, read this article : http://www.wired.com/2014/09/the-physics-of-wireless-charging/ 

We could go on, but before we start talking about hoverboards and that flying car we’ve been promised every year for the last two decades, lets just hope all the above gets perfected next year!