Saturday, 6 April 2019

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2019 Technology Jokes


This year April Fools' Day wasn't as fun as the last one, even though it was on Monday. Many tech companies that make effort didn't make one this year. In fact Microsoft went even further and banned any public facing April Fools' pranks. Anyway, here are some of the jokes that I found interesting.

Parallel Wireless 7G Vision
This one was important for me as it features me (Yay!) and also enhanced my video editing skills. Grateful to CW (Cambridge Wireless) for being part of it too.

Video is slightly long but funny hopefully



In short, the focus for the next few years will be do design a 7G logo that can explain the vision and connect with people. Did I mention 7GPPPPP?


Google Sssnakes on a map
Google temporarily added a version of the classic game Snakes into its Google Maps app for April Fools’ Day this year.

The company says that the game is rolling out now to iOS and Android users globally today, and that it’ll remain on the app for the rest of the week. It also launched a standalone site to play the game if you don’t have the app.

Jabra Ear bud(dy)


World’s first shared headphone - engineered for shared music moments. The website says:

The headphones come with an ultra-light headband that extends seamlessly to accommodate the perfect fit for every pair of buddies, so you’ll never have to enjoy another music moment alone. The Jabra Earbud(dy)™ comes with a unique Buddy mode that promises a shared music experience that is tailored to suit each person’s preferences. Fans of voice command will be thrilled to know that with just one touch, the Jabra Earbud(dy)™ can connect to dual voice assistant.


T-Mobile Phone BoothE

T-Mobile USA and their CEO John Legere never disappoints. They always come up with something interesting. Here is a video of the prank


From MacRumours:

T-Mobile is again fighting one of the so-called pain points of the wireless industry with the launch of the Phone BoothE, a completely sound-proof and high-tech phone booth that lets T-Mobile customers escape from noisy areas to make their phone calls. Inside the Phone BoothE you can charge your devices, connect to a smart screen called "Magenta Pages" to mirror your smartphone display, and adjust the lighting to take great selfies.

In regards to the name, T-Mobile is taking a shot at AT&T's misleading 5GE label: "The Phone BoothE is an evolution towards the new world of mobility. Like many in the tech and wireless industry today, we decided that by adding an "E" to the name, you would know it's a real technology evolution." 

Although this is an April Fools' Day joke, T-Mobile has actually built the Phone BoothE and deployed them in select locations around New York City, Seattle, and Washington, DC, where anyone will be able to use them. The company on Monday also revealed the T-Mobile Phone BoothE Mobile EditionE, which is more in line with a straightforward April Fools' Day hoax, as it's "literally a magenta cardboard box with a hole in it." 

While the actual site disappeared after April 1, the archived version can be seen here.

X-Ray vision Nokia 9 PureView

The Nokia 9 PureView has plenty of cameras on its back, but did you know that the black sensor isn’t a 3D ToF camera but rather an X-Ray sensor? Can be unlocked with the new Nokia X-Ray app in Play Store


"Digi-U" from Ericsson Digital


Parallel Wireless Adds AMPS (1G) Capabilities to Their Unified ALL G Architecture


From the press release:

Worlds First Fully Virtualized AMPS (vAMPS) to enable Modernization and Cost Savings

Parallel Wireless vAMPS is compatible with: Total Access Communications Systems (TACS) in the U.K.; Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) System in Scandinavia; C450 in Germany; and NTT System in Japan, among others, and will allow global operators to modernize their 1G infrastructure. The 1G vAMPS solution is also software upgradable to vD-AMPS, for operators who wish to follow that path.


Truphone foldable SIM (F-SIM) for Foldable Smartphones

F-SIM – the foldable SIM – designed especially for the new foldable smartphones and tablets demonstrated at this February’s MWC Barcelona, including Huawei’s Mate X and Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.

Widely tipped as the next generation in SIM technology, the foldable SIM works on minute hinges that allow it to fold smaller than any previous SIM form factor. Made specifically for foldable phones and other devices, Truphone’s latest innovation fulfils on its broader brand promise to engineer better connections between things, people and business—anywhere in the world.

The F-SIM comes in ‘steel grey’ and, for only £5 more, ‘hot pink’. Pricing structures vary depending on data, storage, roaming charges and device model.


Google Screen Cleaner in the Files app




Mother of All USB-C Hubs for Apple Macbook - HyperDrive Ultimate Ultimate Hub



Other funny April Fools jokes:

One of the funniest jokes is Qualcomm's HandSolo that was released back in 1998. You may enjoy watching here.

Related posts:

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Drones at Mobile World Congress 2019 and my upcoming webinar on 5G at #MWC19


Mobile World Congress featured many different drones for many different purposes and applications. While I wouldn't claim to have seen all or even most of them, I managed to go to the GSMA seminar 'The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones'. Key topics of the seminar included:

  • The support of safe BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) and autonomous operation of unmanned aircraft (UA)
  • The use of mobile connectivity to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of UA, by enabling BVLOS operation, supporting real-time data transmissions from on-board cameras and sensors
  • Mobile connectivity requirements for registration and identification, flight planning and approval, the transmission of meteorological information, geo-fencing, geo-caging and tracking

The best thing is that the presentations are available for anyone interested. Link at the bottom of this post. I have embedded some videos from the seminar in the playlist as well.


During the seminar, Telefônica talked about their fire fighting Antifire drones which are helping detect, survey and combat fires before, during and after a fire breaks out.


Turkcell talked about their Dronecell. The 5G connected drone can be used for many different purposes from inspection, photos and videos to providing temporary coverage in case of disasters. One of the interesting use cases was also surveillance (see video). They are also working with a local drone company, see here. For Dronecell they are testing with different vendors like Huawei, Airspan, etc. and also have their own hardware (see pic above).


The Latvian mobile operator Mans LMT talked about how Drones in combination with Sensors and AI can provide endless opportunities. In addition drones can also be used for delivering goods and rescue missions. Finally, LMT with Lufthansa Systems are working on a mobile, connected UTM platform for drone solutions and traffic management (see video below).



In addition enjoyed a virtual ride in Ooredoo’s 5G-enabled Aerial Taxi. Also happened to bump into Robert Joyce who used to work for Telefonica O2 UK and used to be very active in O2's small cells rollout during 2012 London Olympics. See here, here & here.

Huawei showed SkySite: A Drone with 5G base station & '5G Book' RRU. I blogged about it here.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) had a drone flight simulator. I didn't see it but tweet below


There were 10 Catalonian companies showing smart drones. Tweet below



Finally, Samsung Electronics, Cisco and Orange unveiled "A Drone carrying a very low latency, high-quality video system is piloted from the Orange booth at the Fira de Barcelona. The drone, which is located outdoors at an Orange datacenter, carries a 5G router (CPE) that is used to transfer commands to the drone and transmit a high-quality video feed with low latency. At the Orange booth, the pilot can be seen controlling the drone by using a 5G tablet. Aeromedia, a leading drone operator, collaborated in this demo." Sadly, I didn't manage to find this and couldn't see any videos either.


Here is a video playlist of Drones from MWC.






I am also running a webinar next week looking at 5G @ MWC 2019 on behalf of Parallel Wireless (#PWTechTrain) . Along with drones, I plan to talk about lot more things. Register here.


Presentations from "MWC19 Barcelona Seminar: The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones" available here.

GSMA IoT contains good amount of information on drones. Link.


Related Posts:

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Mobile Network Infrastructure Sharing in Japan over Electric Power Infrastructure

On the 3G4G Small Cells Blog, I have written about the Autralian operator Telstra trialing small cells on Tasmania’s power poles to fix mobile black spots. This looks like a similar initiative in Japan but at a much larger scale.

KDDI have an announcement in Japanese here but Rakuten has one in English:

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany) Power Grid, Incorporated, KDDI CORPORATION, SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc. announced that the four companies have reached an agreement to collaborate on trials of base station site and equipment sharing utilizing TEPCO PG’s utility poles and other electric power infrastructure, ahead of the introduction of 5th generation mobile communications systems (5G) in Japan. The trials are due to be begin in the first half of FY2019.

5G utilizes high frequency bands in order to enable higher speeds and greater capacity. As a result, the number of base stations required for 5G is expected to be larger than for 4G. The growing number of base stations not only creates difficulties in securing installation locations, but also calls for consideration on the impact too many antennas and other equipment might have on the landscape.

TEPCO PG has been working together with KDDI to explore the shared utilization of utility poles and other electric power infrastructure and base station equipment between mobile network operators, and as preparations are now complete, the companies are set to begin the trials using actual equipment.

The trials, which SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network are also set to join, aim to verify the feasibility of location and equipment sharing between mobile network operators. Specifically, the trials will evaluate the equipment, layout, workability, serviceability and the level of radio interference resulting from sharing the antenna for base station installations on utility poles. There are also plans to expand the number of companies participating in the trials to include other organizations planning to utilize 5G in the future.

Sharing utility poles among a number of mobile network operators makes it possible to flexibly build out base stations in urban areas and rapidly launch services in rural areas. It is also expected to address the issue of securing locations for base stations and lowers the impact of base station equipment on the landscape.

Through the trials, TEPCO PG, KDDI, SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network aim to reduce the infrastructure construction costs and contribute to the smooth nationwide introduction of 5G.

The picture on the top is from KDDI press release, translated using Google Translate.


Related Posts:

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Update from 3GPP on LTE & 5G Mission Critical Communications


Adrian Scrase, CTO of ETSI & Head of MCC, 3GPP presented an update at BAPCO / CCE 2019 on Public Safety LTE and 5G. His presentation is embedded below.

There has been quite a progress in this area since I wrote my last post on Release-14 here.
This is the list of features that are planned for Release-16. There is also an update on Satellite communications but I will look at it separately in another post. Here are the slides:



The presentation can be directly downloaded from 3GPP website here.

Related posts:

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Update on UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) from #BAPCO2019


I have discussed about the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) multiple times but I manged to hear about the progress first hand this week. Bryan Clark, ESN Programme Director, Home Office gave a keynote address at BAPCO on Day 2 and the title of his presentation was "2019: The year vision becomes reality"

British APCO or BAPCO Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019 was going to be a big launchpad for the ESN network. The ESN LinkedIn post said "Representatives from ESN and EE will be on hand to discuss coverage and ESN Assure. See an installation of the ESN Gateway solution within a police car, plus a live demonstration showing how ESN coverage can be extended from a vehicle into a building. We’ll also have a ‘Motorola Zone’ where you can watch demos of Kodiak and the ESN self-service portal – and a large touchscreen demo of the Samsung ESN Galaxy"


Bryan started by cracking a joke about people referring to 'ESN' as 'ES When' programme because it has been delayed multiple times. He said straight in the beginning that he going to talk about what the ESN programme is doing now and what comes next.

He started with this short video, embedded below but detailed info available on this LinkedIn post

x

So here is a short summary of the talk:
  • There are roughly 350,000 customers of this service
  • There are 137 separate organizations that will take advantage of this new this new technology. 
  • There are couple of vehicles in the display area (pic on the top and video below) and roughly 50,000 vehicles that need to have a kit
  • Over 100 aircraft need to have an air network access that currently isn't there. 
  • There are nearly 30 direct suppliers to the program and that doesn't include the whole supply chain through each of those suppliers.
  • Looking at the coverage, there is a commitment to providing a signal along half a million (0.5 million) kilometers of roads in England, Scotland & Wales. It extends 12 nautical miles out to sea and 10,000 feet in the air right across England, Scotland & Wales.
  • In London alone there are over 400 kilometres of tunnels that were actually almost finished cabling out.
  • 300 masts are being built as part of the ESN programme to extend services into remote areas.
  • EE has extended their network by adding 700 additional masts. 
  • Thousands of special locations will need to have effective access to ESN network
  • ESN is a large programme so it's hardly surprising that it's very late. It's Bryan's job over the past 10 months to work out how to get it back on track. 
  • People are going through quite a detailed review of where ESN has got to in terms of next steps. 
  • The programme now has a very clear and approved plan to complete the technical element of the work, most of it should be done by late summer next year.
  • One of the first products, Assure, is a way of testing the effectiveness of the network in the field. 
  • A demonstration of Push-To-Talk (PTT) on a 4G network will be demoed within 3 weeks.
  • This is the first generation end-to-end solution
  • Emergency services is critical national infrastructure so any new solution can only replace the legacy once we are absolutely confident that we've got an effective replacement
  • Even though the technical piece is quite challenging, when you compare it to the business change that follows, the technical part looks pretty simple. 
  • To ensure that everything works effectively operationally, plans are in place but more detailed plans are going to follow in the coming three to four months.
  • Individual components are already being tested in the field
  • Programme deployment should start by the end of 2019 in terms of having basically completed laying the core components and a clear plan will be in place for how to test in an operational context. 
  • The ESN programme is not only responsible for the replacement solution but also for operations to date based on the Airwave contract with Motorola currently
  • The number one priority is to provide critical voice communications of sufficient quality that people can rely on in the field and enable them to move away from the TETRA technology that served them so well. So we aren't going anywhere until we've got rock solid critical voice communications. It's our number one priority, simply because people's lives depend on it.
The following are various videos from the ESN demo area. The Gateway device (which is a mobile small cell) is supplied by Parallel Wireless*.



In case you missed BAPCO, Ken Rehbehn, a very well known Industry Analyst who works as a Principal Analyst at Critical Communications Insights and is also Montgomery County Firefighter/EMT, shared his observations and reflections from conference. Very grateful for his interview which is embedded below



Further Reading:




Related posts:

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

A Primer on Pagers


After Avengers clip about Nick Fury paging Captain Marvel, I was asked by a few people about what, why and how of Pagers. Similar questions were asked when Tron: Legacy was released. It took me a while but finally managed to make a non-technical introduction on Pagers for people with very basic understanding of technology.

Slides



Video


If you used pagers in past, tell me about the good, the bad and the ugly of pagers.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Can Augmented & Mixed Reality be the Killer App 5G needs?


Last October Deutsche Telekom, Niantic and MobiledgeX announced a partnership to create advanced augmented reality experiences over mobile network technologies. I was lucky to find some time to go and play it at Deutsche Telekom booth. The amount of processing needed for this to work at best also meant that the new Samsung Galaxy S10+ were needed but I felt that it also occasionally struggled with the amount of data being transferred.


The pre-MWC press release said:

Deutsche Telekom, Niantic Inc., MobiledgeX and Samsung Showcase World’s First Mobile Edge Mixed Reality Multi-Gamer Experience

At the Deutsche Telekom booth at MWC 2019 (hall 3, booth 3M31) the results of the previously announced collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, Niantic, Inc., and MobiledgeX are on display and you’re invited to play. Niantic’s “Codename: Neon”, the world’s first edge-enhanced Mixed Reality Multiplayer Experience, delivered by ultra-low latency, Deutsche Telekom edge-enabled network, and Samsung Galaxy S10+ with edge computing enablement, will be playable by the public for the first time. 

“The ultra-low latency that Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) enables, allows us to create more immersive, exciting, and entertaining gameplay experiences. At Niantic, we’ve long celebrated adventures on foot with others, and with the advent of 5G networks and devices, people around the world will be able to experience those adventures faster and better,” said Omar Téllez, Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships at Niantic.

The collaboration is enabled using MobiledgeX’s recently announced MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 product. Key features include device and platform-independent SDKs, a Distributed Matching Engine (DME) and a fully multi-tenant control plane that supports zero-touch provisioning of edge cloud resources as close as possible to the users. Immediate examples of what this enables include performance boosts for Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (MR) experiences as well as video and image processing that meets local privacy regulations. 

Samsung has been working together with Deutsche Telekom, MobiledgeX, and Niantic on a natively edge-capable connectivity and authentication in Samsung Galaxy S10+ to interface with MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 and dynamically access the edge infrastructure it needs so that augmented reality and mixed reality applications can take advantage of edge unmodified. Samsung will continue such collaborations with industry-leading partners not only to embrace a native device functionality of edge discovery and usage for the mobile devices and consumers, but also to seek a way together to create new business models and revenue opportunities leading into 5G era.

Deutsche Telekom’s ultra-low latency network was able to deliver on the bandwidth demands of “Codename: Neon” because it deployed MobiledgeX’s edge software services, built on dynamically managed decentralized cloudlets. “From our initial partnership agreement in October, we are thrilled to showcase the speed at which we can move from idea to experience, with full end-to-end network integration, delivered on Samsung industry leading edge native devices,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Senior Vice President Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

From the gaming industry to industrial IoT, and computer vision applications, consumer or enterprise, the experience is a great example of interactive AR experiences coming from companies like Niantic in the near future.  As AR/VR/MR immersive experiences continue to shape our expectations, devices, networks and clouds need to seamlessly and dynamically collaborate.

This video from Deutsche Telekom booth shows how the game actually feels like



Niantic CEO John Hanke delivered a keynote at Mobile World Congress 2019 (embedded below). According to Fortune article, "Why the Developer of the New 'Harry Potter' Mobile Game and 'Pokemon Go' Loves 5G":

Hanke showed a video of a prototype game Niantic has developed codenamed Neon that allows multiple people in the same place at the same time to play an augmented reality game. Players can shoot at each other, duck and dodge, and pick up virtual reality items, with each player’s phone showing them the game’s graphics superimposed on the real world. But the game depends on highly responsive wireless connections for all the phones, connections unavailable on today’s 4G LTE networks.

“We’re really pushing the boundaries of what we can do on today’s networks,” Hanke said. “We need 5G to deliver the kinds of experiences that we are imagining.”

Here is the video, it's very interesting and definitely worth a watch. For those who may not know, Niantic spun out of Google in October 2015 soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc. During the spinout, Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest up to $30 million in Series-A funding.



So what do you think, can AR / MR be the killer App 5G needs?

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Updated 5G Terminology Presentation (Feb 2019)


I made this video before MWC with the intention to educate the attendees about the various architecture options and 5G terminologies being discussed. As always, happy to get feedback on what can be done better. Slides followed by video below.







Complete list of our training resources are available on 3G4G page here.