5G Technology Begins To Expand Beyond Smartphones

Proponents of 5G technology have long said it will remake much of day-to-day life. The deployment of superfast 5G networks is believed to herald a new era for much more than smartphones – everything from advanced virtual-reality video games to remote heart surgery. The vision has been slow to come to mind, but the first wave of 5G-enabled gadgets is emerging.

Last among the first uses of 5G to enter the consumer market is the delivery of home broadband Internet service to cord-cutters: those who want to not only drop their cable-TV bills but also give up internet access via wires altogether. give. For example, Samsung Electronics Co. has partnered with Verizon Communications Inc. to offer a wireless 5G router. Which promises to provide broadband access at home. The router takes a 5G signal just like a smartphone.

Other consumer devices that are starting to hit the market include 5G-compatible laptops from several manufacturers, all of which are faster than other laptops and offer high-quality video viewing when connected to a 5G network. (The laptop requires a 5G chip to make that connection.)

In the latest: Lenovo Group Ltd., in association with AT&T Inc., in August released a 5G laptop, the ThinkPad X13 5G. The device, which started shipping last month, comes with a 13.3-inch screen and retails for around $1,500. Samsung also introduced a new laptop in June that offers 5G connectivity. The Galaxy Book Go 5G has a 14-inch screen, and retails for around $800.

OK, but what if you want a 5G connection on your yacht, miles offshore? You have good luck. Meridian 5G, a Monaco-based provider of internet services for superyachts – the really big ones – advertises 5G Dome Routers, a combination of antennas and modems that are within about 60 miles of the coast to access 5G connectivity. Allows sailing. Hardware costs about $17,000 for an average-sized Superyacht.

America is ready for China’s Huawei, and it just happened

Of course, all of these gadgets are only useful where 5G networks are available, which still doesn’t cover a lot of locations, onshore or off. The same holds true for new drone technology unveiled by Qualcomm Inc in August with 5G and artificial-intelligence capabilities. The company says the technology called Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform enables high-quality photo and video collection.

Drones equipped with 5G technology can be used in a variety of industries, including filming, mapping and emergency services like firefighting, Qualcomm notes. For example, due to new camera technology enabled by 5G, drones can be used for mapping large areas of land and for rapidly transferring data for analysis and processing.

Proponents of 5G technology have long said it will remake much of day-to-day life, bringing the so-called Internet of Things to a point where you can name any number of devices—home and office appliances, Industrial equipment, hospital equipment, vehicles, etc.—will be connected to the Internet and exchange data with the cloud at a speed that will allow for new capabilities.

“The goal of 5G, when we have a mature 5G network globally, is to make sure everything is connected to the cloud 100% of the time,” Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said at a conference in Germany last month.

But it will take years for 5G devices to become widespread, analysts say, as network coverage expands and markets develop for all those advanced new products.

By: Meghan Bobrowsky

Meghan Bobrowsky is reporter with the tech team. She is a graduate of Scripps College. She previously interned for The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Sacramento Bee. As an intern at the Miami Herald, she spent the summer of 2020 investigating COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and federal Paycheck Protection Program fraud. She previously served as editor in chief of her school newspaper, the Student Life.

Source: 5G technology begins to expand beyond smartphones

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Why Is China Cracking Down on Ride-Hailing Giant Didi?

Just days after Didi Global Inc., China’s version of Uber, pulled off a $4.4 billion initial public offering in New York, the Chinese cyberspace regulator effectively ordered it removed from app stores in its home market, citing security risks. The ruling doesn’t stop the company from operating -– its half-billion or so existing users will still be able to order rides for now. But it adds to the uncertainty surrounding all Chinese internet companies as regulators increasingly assert control over Big Tech.

1. What’s Didi?

It’s China’s biggest ride-hailing company. Didi squeezed Uber out of China five years ago, buying out the American company’s operations after an expensive price war. Its blockbuster IPO on June 30 was the second-biggest in the U.S. by a company based in China, after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, giving Didi a market value of about $68 billion.

Accounting for stock options and restricted stock units, the company’s diluted value exceeds $71 billion — well below estimates of up to $100 billion as recently as a few months ago. The relatively modest showing reflects both investors’ increasing caution over pricey growth stocks, and China’s recent crackdown on its biggest tech players.

2. What is this investigation about?

The specifics are still very unclear. Two days after the IPO, the Cyberspace Administration of China said it’s starting a cybersecurity review of the company to prevent data security risks, safeguard national security and protect the public interest. Two days after that it said Didi had committed serious violations in the collection and usage of personal information and ordered the app pulled. There are no details on what precisely the investigation centers on, when or where the alleged violations occurred or whether there will be more penalties to come.

3. Are there any hints?

The Global Times, a Communist Party-backed newspaper, wrote in an editorial that Didi undoubtedly has the most detailed travel information on individuals among large internet firms and appears to have the ability to conduct “big data analysis” of individual behaviors and habits. To protect personal data as well as national security, China must be even stricter in its oversight of Didi’s data security, given that it’s listed in the U.S. and its two largest shareholders are foreign companies, it added.

4. Is it just Didi?

No. The Chinese internet regulator has widened its probe to two more U.S.-listed companies, targeting Full Truck Alliance Co. and Kanzhun Ltd. soon after launching the review into Didi.

5. Was this out of the blue?

No. In May, China’s antitrust regulator ordered Didi and nine other leaders in on-demand transport to overhaul practices from arbitrary price hikes to unfair treatment of drivers. More broadly, Beijing is in the process of a sweeping crackdown on the nation’s Big Tech firms designed to curb their growing influence.

In November 2020 the authorities derailed the planned IPO of fintech giant Ant Group Co. and in April hit Alibaba with a record $2.8 billion fine after an antitrust probe found it had abused its market dominance. Didi, however, said on Monday it was unaware of China’s decision to halt registrations and remove the app from app stores before its listing.

6. Why does Didi matter?

You can’t really overstate just how dominant Didi is in ride hailing in China, accounting for 88% of total trips in the fourth quarter of 2020. When Didi bought Uber’s Chinese operations in 2016, Uber took a stake in the company that currently stands at 12%. Didi’s U.S. IPO was shepherded by a who’s who of Wall Street banks. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. with more than 20%, and others include Chinese social networking colossus Tencent Holdings Ltd. However, due to Didi’s ownership structure, Chief Executive Officer Cheng Wei and President Jean Liu control more than 50% of the voting power.

7. How’s the company doing?

While Didi had a net loss of $1.6 billion on revenue of $21.6 billion last year, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, its diversity cushioned it against the worst of the pandemic downturn. The company reported net income of $837 million in the first quarter of 2021. With growth in its core market beginning to slow, it has expanded rapidly into fields from car repairs to grocery delivery and has pumped hundreds of millions into researching autonomous driving technology. It’s also said to be planning to expand services into Western Europe.

8. What happens now?

On Didi specifically the critical question is what the review regarding user data finds. But analysts are already looking at the likely wider impact. Key issues are whether the action is likely to discourage other Chinese tech firms from embarking on an overseas listing, and whether the action marks a new direction for the regulatory crackdown. Didi itself said in a statement in would fully cooperate with the review. It warned though that the removal of the app for new users may have an adverse affect on revenue.

Based on the laws cited by the regulators, Didi is probably being investigated over its purchase of certain products and services from other suppliers, which may threaten national data security, according to analysts from Shenzhen-based Ping An Securities. “Didi will inevitably have to check its core network equipment, high-performance computers and servers, large-capacity storage equipment, large databases and application software, network security equipment, and cloud computing services, sort them out and make necessary rectifications to meet regulatory requirements,” the analysts wrote in a note on Monday.

Yang Sirui, chief analyst for the computer industry at Bank of China International, said that Didi went for its public listing in the US hastily, probably due to investor pressure. “Listing Didi as soon as possible meets the demands of the capital,” he said. “But if [Didi] had arbitrarily collected user privacy data, abused it, or monetized it illicitly, it will inevitably be punished by Chinese regulators.” Since its founding in 2012, Didi has undergone a number of private fundraising rounds, raising tens of billions of dollars from venture capital or major tech firms. According to its IPO prospectus, SoftBank Vision Fund is currently the largest shareholder of Didi, with a 21.5% stake. Uber (UBER) and Tencent (TCEHY) followed with a 12.8% and 6.8% stake respectively.

The Reference Shelf

— With assistance by Coco Liu, Molly Schuetz, Abhishek Vishnoi, and Colum Murphy

By:

Source: Why China is Citing Security Risks in Crack Down on $UBER rival $DIDI – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Didi is a Chinese vehicle for hire company headquartered in Beijing with over 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers. The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, and bike sharing; on-demand delivery services; and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging, and co-development of vehicles with automakers.

In March 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank Group Corporation approached DiDi with an offer to invest $6 billion in the company to fund the ride-hailing firm’s expansion in self-driving car technologies, with a significant portion of the money to come from SoftBank’s then-planned $100 billion Vision Fund.

DiDi claims that it provides over tens of millions of flexible job opportunities for people, including a considerable number of women, laid-off workers and veteran soldiers. Based on a survey released by DiDi in March 2019, women rideshare drivers in Brazil, China and Mexico account for 16.7%, 7.4% and 5.6% of total rideshare drivers on its platforms, respectively. DiDi supports more than 4,000 innovative SMEs, which provides more than 20,000 jobs additionally.

40% of DiDi’s employees are women. In 2017, DiDi launched a female career development plan and established the “DiDi Women’s Network”. It is reportedly the first female-oriented career development plan in a major Chinese Internet company.

References

Conquer Your Self-Doubt in Meetings

Self-doubt can afflict anyone, especially in meetings. Individuals may overreact to others’ reactions or compare themselves to what they see of others. As a result, they self-edit their contributions, robbing themselves and the team of ideas and hiding their true feelings which fester into further feelings of doubt and resentment.

But there are ways you can sidestep self-doubt in the moment and make your contributions count in meetings. First, claim space with an announcement. Second, name your point of view, either to yourself or to the group, to define your thought better. Third, explain your idea — and why it matters now. Last, invite feedback from others, so they can pause to appreciate and think more deeply about what you’ve just shared.

Recently promoted to her outgoing manager’s job, Rhianna often compares herself to her new peers — five women she looks up to. She wonders if she belongs in this room of senior executives, but there is no doubt in her manager’s mind about her qualifications. Rhianna has a PhD, has won awards in her field, has built a strong team, and is loved by her clients. Nevertheless, she is filled with self-doubt. When left unchecked, her thoughts devolve into demons of imaginary disasters.

Recently, Rhianna suggested a new idea during a leadership team meeting. No one responded. The conversation moved on. But Rhianna remained stuck in place, telling herself she wasn’t smart enough, her idea was insipid, and wasn’t this the case with all her contributions? They weren’t interesting or strategic enough to impress her colleagues. Such thoughts made her remain silent for the rest of the meeting and hesitant to speak up thereafter.

Many of my clients — successful executives in positions of authority — mask their inner scripts of doubt and fear. Their internal lashing is often the result of being overly calibrated to others’ reactions or too frequently comparing themselves to what they see of others. As a result, they edit their contributions, robbing themselves and the team of ideas and hiding their true feelings, which fester into further doubts and resentment.

Self-doubt can afflict anyone. Successful strategies to confront it need to help no matter the cause or context. On the basis of my work with Rhianna and other clients, I’ve identified four strategic ways to sidestep self-doubt in the moment and make your contributions count in meetings.

Claim space with an announcement. It’s easy to go unnoticed when everyone is excited about a topic. Owing to her natural diffidence, Rhianna would start speaking either too softly or too fast and lose her audience before she completed the first sentence. To avoid that pitfall, announce your contribution before launching into your subject.

For example, you might ask, “Can we pause to look at this from the customer’s perspective?” “Let’s step back and take a longer-term view of these metrics,” or “How might we think differently about our actions if we viewed them in the context of market microtrends?”

We create a drumroll by first announcing what we’re going to cover – it turns people’s attention our way, and they don’t miss the initial sentences of our idea. By framing the concept, we not only claim space for our contribution but also help focus the discussion.

Name your idea. Before sharing your thoughts, give your point of view a name. Because she wasn’t convinced of her own value, Rhianna shied away from taking up space; her body language, infrequency of speaking up, and paucity of words when she did made her blend into the background. Rhianna has since adopted techniques to name her thoughts, such as reviewing meeting notes for patterns.

She looks for underlying themes and tries to come up with an acronym or find a wordplay on a common phrase. During a recent meeting, phrases like “North America only,” “cultural blindness,” and “high-growth markets” allowed her to name her underlying idea “ROW together,” standing for “Rest of the world together.”

Use the name to anchor yourself — or if you want to, share it. Speak it out loud, and for wordplay like “ROW together,” present it with a little humor to alleviate your tenseness. It’s not always easy to do  on the spot, but naming your thought will define it better, give it more weight, and allow it to take up more space.

Explain your idea. Articulate only the skeleton of your proposal once you have announced and named it. Like a frame around a painting, this focuses your audience’s attention where you want it. Then, as you flesh out the thought, explain why it is important, and why now. Every idea vies with our calendars. Amid busy schedules, why should we care about this topic?

One of Rhianna’s ideas that she had not yet articulated related to the return to a hybrid work environment. Her company is debating various options, and her contribution, if acted on immediately, would address a common employee concern. Without a sense of timeliness, expect a polite golf clap but no momentum. When your audience is convinced that they need to act now, your suggestion will receive more attention.

Entertain feedback. When we doubt ourselves, we yield to our colleagues’ cues if they don’t follow up on what we’ve said. That was certainly true of Rhianna. The lack of response from others confirmed her worst fears: that her suggestions weren’t interesting and she wasn’t smart enough.

Before you relinquish the floor, offer a hook to involve others. Explicitly ask for feedback with questions like, “How many of you feel this way?” “What are your thoughts on this topic?” or “What stands out to you?” When you issue an invitation with an open-ended question, others can pause to appreciate and think more deeply about what you just shared.

As Rhianna has practiced these strategies, she’s been surprised. Even before examining her underlying fears more deeply, she says she’s found her voice. She’s no longer afraid to propose ideas and speak up in meetings and finds greater success when she does. By implementing techniques to land her perspectives, she’s found first-hand evidence that it wasn’t her ideas that lacked stickiness; it was her delivery, shaded by her self-confidence.

After altering how she presented her thoughts, she gained greater purchase on self-worth. Once colleagues adopted her proposals, she naturally adopted a more confident stance. When we doubt our own minds, digging deeper inside exposes more of the same faulty logic. By taking external action, we can liberate ourselves from the web of self-castigation and clear space for our creativity and that of our audience.

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Source: Conquer Your Self-Doubt in Meetings

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Critics:

Barriers to effective communication can retard or distort the message or intention of the message being conveyed. This may result in failure of the communication process or cause an effect that is undesirable. These include filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotions, language, silence, communication apprehension, gender differences and political correctness.

This also includes a lack of expressing “knowledge-appropriate” communication, which occurs when a person uses ambiguous or complex legal words, medical jargon, or descriptions of a situation or environment that is not understood by the recipient.

Communication to a great extent is influenced by culture and cultural variables. Understanding cultural aspects of communication refers to having knowledge of different cultures in order to communicate effectively with cross culture people. Cultural aspects of communication are of great relevance in today’s world which is now a global village, thanks to globalisation. Cultural aspects of communication are the cultural differences which influence communication across borders.

  1. Verbal communication refers to a form of communication which uses spoken and written words for expressing and transferring views and ideas. Language is the most important tool of verbal communication. Countries have different languages. A knowledge of languages of different countries can improve cross-cultural understanding.
  2. Non-verbal communication is a very wide concept and it includes all the other forms of communication which do not use written or spoken words. Non verbal communication takes the following forms:
    • Paralinguistics are the elements other than language where the voice is involved in communication and includes tones, pitch, vocal cues etc. It also includes sounds from throat and all these are greatly influenced by cultural differences across borders.
    • Proxemics deals with the concept of the space element in communication. Proxemics explains four zones of spaces, namely intimate, personal, social and public. This concept differs from culture to culture as the permissible space varies in different countries.
    • Artifactics studies the non verbal signals or communication which emerges from personal accessories such as the dress or fashion accessories worn and it varies with culture as people of different countries follow different dress codes.
    • Chronemics deals with the time aspects of communication and also includes the importance given to time. Some issues explaining this concept are pauses, silences and response lag during an interaction. This aspect of communication is also influenced by cultural differences as it is well known that there is a great difference in the value given by different cultures to time.
    • Kinesics mainly deals with body language such as postures, gestures, head nods, leg movements, etc. In different countries, the same gestures and postures are used to convey different messages. Sometimes even a particular kinesic indicating something good in a country may have a negative meaning in another culture.

10 Smartphone Tips Every iPhone and Android Owner Needs To Know

Some of the most useful smartphone features are hidden away in your settings menu, which means you might not have tried them out yet. To help you get more from your mobile, we’ve rounded up 10 need-to-know tips. Whether you’re using an Apple iPhone or an Android smartphone, you can easily configure your gadget so that it bats away scam texts or helps you reduce your screen time.

If you want to make better use of your phone, have a look at our advice on dealing with distractions, improving usability and keeping your personal information secure. Which? Best Buy mobile phones – if you’re due an upgrade, consult our expert reviews to see which phones have aced our tests Smartphone tips for iOS and Android

1. Silence annoying notifications

If you have lots of different apps installed on your smartphone, it might be beeping and buzzing more often than you’d like. To stop your phone lighting up with notifications every hour of the day, take a trip to settings and decide which app alerts are genuinely important. Turn off notifications on iOS – Go to Settings > Notifications to show the list of apps. Click on each app to turn off notifications and change the alert settings. Turn off notifications on Android – Open the Settings app, go to Apps & notifications > Notifications to take control.

2. Use Do Not Disturb mode for some peace and quiet

With Do Not Disturb turned on, you can temporarily disable notifications at specific times. You can still allow calls from certain numbers even while it’s enabled, or have it turn on automatically when you’re driving. Turn on Do Not Disturb on iOS – Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and turn on or off and find other settings. Turn on Do Not Disturb on Android – Open Settings, then go to Apps & notifications > Notifications > Advanced. Tap on Do Not Disturb to get started.

3. Cut down on your screen time

With many of us still working from home, it can be hard to mentally switch off after a long day of work. If you’re worried about how much time you’re spending on your phone, you can track your app usage. Parents might also want to use this feature, also known as ‘Digital Wellbeing’, to monitor how often their little one uses their own smartphone. Track screen time on iOS – Go to Settings > Screen Time to see daily and weekly use tallies, time on apps and even set a screen time passcode for children’s devices. Track screen time on Android – Open the Settings app and select Digital Wellbeing to set time limits or use tracking.

4. Adjust screen brightness to protect your eyes in low light

Most modern smartphones now have a feature that can reduce levels of blue light thought to interfere with sleep. If you’re using your smartphone in a dimly lit room, you might want to give it a try. Adjust brightness on iOS – Go to Settings > Display & Brightness to adjust brightness, light and dark screen, background and night-time settings. Adjust brightness on Android – Open the Settings app and tap Display for brightness levels, night settings and adaptive mode that automatically adjusts the screen to your surroundings. If you just want to adjust brightness, pull down the notification shade and slide the bar at the top.

5. Increase text size and strength

If you’re straining your eyes to read from your smartphone screen, you can increase text size in just a couple of taps. Increase text size on iOS – Go to Settings > Display & Brightness and Text Size to adjust the size, turn on Bold Text settings and adjust the display to zoomed, to enlarge text and app display size. Increase text size on Android – Open the Settings app, then select Display to adjust font size.

6. Delete apps and organize apps into folders

Setting aside some time to tidy up your smartphone can make it easier to find your most used apps. We suggest you try a bit of digital housekeeping to remove unused apps (they take up space on your phone) and organise the apps that you’re keeping into labelled folders. Delete apps on iOS – Hold down the app’s icon on your home screen and click Delete App to remove or Edit Home Screen to remove multiple apps, or hold and drag into a folder. Delete apps on Android – Click and hold on an app’s icon and go to App Info > Uninstall.

7. Block unwanted contacts and nuisance calls

Suffering from a constant barrage of phishing texts or spam phone calls? Blocking these numbers is straightforward and it’ll stop you from being tricked into handing over personal information. Block numbers on iOS – Click the Phone app, go to Recent and press the i icon on the right. Scroll down and click Block this Caller. Block numbers on Android – Open the Phone app and select Recent. Hold on the number and from the pop-up menu, choose Block/ Report Spam.

8. Decide which apps can access your location

Location tracking is vital for GPS and mapping, but not every app needs to use it. In fact, if you download an app that requests unusual permissions considering its primary function, that’s a red flag. For example, a calculator app shouldn’t want access to your camera. You can allow an app one-off access to your location later if it needs it. To manage location settings, follow these steps: Location settings on iOS – Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to toggle GPS, Bluetooth, wi-fi hotspot and mobile tower tracking. For individual apps, select an app and set the permission. Location settings on Android – Open the Settings app and select Location > App permission to review and adjust the permission status for each installed app.

9. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your online accounts

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is essentially an extra layer of security for your online accounts. It usually means that a unique code is sent to your phone, which you then enter after your password to confirm it’s you. Use two-factor authentication on iOS – Go to Settings and select your name > Password & Security to turn 2FA on or off. Use two-factor authentication on Android – Go to your Google Account settings at myaccount.google.com > Security. Select Google > 2-Step Verification, click On and follow the steps. For more details, see our guide: What is two-factor authentication and should you use it?

10. Make an emergency call

If you haven’t configured your emergency call settings, there’s no time like the present. Doing so means you can quickly contact the emergency services without having to flick through your contacts. Emergency calls on iOS – Go to Settings > Emergency SOS to turn on or off Auto Call. In an emergency, press the sleep/wake button five times to call an emergency number automatically, or after countdown, depending on Auto Call setting. Emergency calls on Android – Hold down the power button and from the menu, click Emergency > Emergency Information to add contacts and any relevant health information.

By Rosalyn Page

Source: 10 smartphone tips every iPhone and Android owner needs to know – Which? News

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Critics:

In mobile phones released since the second half of the 2010s, operational life span commonly is limited by built-in batteries which are not designed interchangeable. The life expectancy of batteries depends on usage intensity of the powered device, where activity (longer usage) and tasks demanding more energy expire the battery earlier.

Lithium-ion and Lithium-polymer batteries, those commonly powering portable electronics, additionally wear down more from fuller charge and deeper discharge cycles, and when unused for an extended amount of time while depleted, where self-discharging may lead to a harmful depth of discharge.

The functional life span of mobile phones may be limited by lack of software update support, such as deprecation of TLS cipher suites by certificate authority with no official patches provided for earlier devices.

See also

Three Changes That Will Make Rural 5G Access A Reality

Woman traveler using laptop computer while enjoying sunset in mountains. Freelancer girl working on netbook during vacation holidays in autumn. Distant work and travel, freelance as lifestyle concept.

In 2018 it was estimated by the Global Workplace Analytics that 3.6% of U.S. workers completely worked at home, five days a week. That’s a sluggish 173% change in a 13 year period. 2020 arrives and 85% of us are at home working (per choice or necessity). The US economy has only shrunk by 3.5% in 2020 even although 8 in 10 of us are in vastly different work surroundings with dogs barking, kids rightly needing constant help, support and entertaining. Something has actually gone right.

One of the logical reasons for why GDP has not been so severely damaged is the availability of high speed internet (HSI) to provide a fast, digital office space at home. But consider:

 

  • 48% of applications run on the cloud according to IDG so access to those applications needs bandwidth no matter where you are.
  • The average amount of time on a phone each day for an American worker is 56 minutes Access to a quality connection has increasingly become a barrier or a differentiator for employees.
  • Kids (and maybe us) are spending five to six hours a day on Zoom. The lack of bandwidth (cell phone or laptop) again causes an issue where employees cannot express, collaborate or present their ideas in the best ways.

If you live in an area where the speed of internet access is slow, (I’m defining HSI as having download speeds of at least 25Mbps and uploads of at least 3Mbps),

how much of a disadvantage are you, and your children, put in?  How much could your opportunity and income be affected, or existing gaps amplified?

Think of this disparity, the 2021 FCC Broadband Deployment Report shows 98.8% of urban dwellers have access to HSI. Only 82.7% of rural dwellers can say the same. Stretch that to tribal areas and we are down in the low 79.1%. Of the 15 million people who can’t access HSI, roughly 80% of them live in rural areas.   Why should people who are able to do identical work not have access to the same essential infrastructure?

5G and the intelligent edge creates a radical shift in economics

To effectively create a rural network that enables all citizens in the digital economy, means investing in 5G technology for both wireless and fixed networks. The 5G standard empowers a broader scope of use cases than ever before, with faster speeds, wider coverage areas, and improved security from the previous 4G networks.

But, it’s no use building this new network if people can’t afford it. And that’s where the intelligent edge comes in. It moves real-time computing power close to where it’s generated, meaning easier deployments and lower operational costs. Combining 5G with the intelligent edge can provide the same workload performance with less overhead, resulting in significantly lower cost. And when building the intelligent rural network, keeping costs under control will be a key factor in making it affordable to everyone.

The promise of Open RAN for rural networks

RAN (Radio Network Access) is the “last mile” of a network, the visible link from the network to a mobile phone. Operators have been working to open up RAN protocols and remove dependency on single-vendor systems. Already, large operators such as Orange, Vodafone, and MTN are planning to use virtual (vRAN) and Open RAN to bring coverage to new markets, because it provides more choices for equipment providers, lower TCO, and it is easier to upgrade parts as needed.

For rural networks where cost is a large factor in deploying new networks or upgrading outdated ones, Open RAN provides the opportunity for competitive bidding and frees CSPs to choose the best technical solutions for the situation, rather than being tied to single-vendor offerings. When talking about rural connectivity, Open RAN plus 5G create a promising combination.

Leveraging the intelligent edge and AI analytics to reduce costs

Past projects have shown that the costs involved in standing up networks over a large physical area have been considerable. Intelligent rural networks can leverage powerful new technology like distributed clouds and edge computing to bring down the cost.

Rural networks will also require remote, large-scale management and monitoring. End-to-end automation and AI-based analytics as integral parts of the network design and implementation can work to lower ongoing costs, as well as keep networks up and running efficiently. Given the large geographical areas involved, these management and monitoring tools also need to work remotely so that when issues arise, they can be handled quickly by technical staff.

Increasing opportunity for everyone

In the age of information, digital access is an imperative to ensure every citizen has an equal opportunity to thrive. If we fail to act now, we are failing a future generation. Imagine a broadband network that covers every single village, town, and city of America. Imagine fast, secure, and reliable internet at an affordable price—no matter where you live. Imagine the power of connecting fully wired smart cities to the “clever countryside,” building a nationwide economic network that provides a wide range of opportunities for everyone.

CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

Cyra Richardson is responsible for product strategy and execution, focused on driving digital transformation for our customers. A demonstrated technical entrepreneurial leader in AI, IoT, and embedded technology, she has delivered numerous significant products to markets worldwide across multiple platforms and has several patents to her name.

She spent 20+ years at Microsoft where she served in a range of leadership roles, most recently as General Manager of AI and IoT, as well as the AI and robotics incubation, focused on growth and business development for Microsoft’s global business AI and IoT markets. She was responsible for driving acquisition of technology and organizations for teams across Microsoft, as well as the integration and partnerships for IoT, including Microsoft’s machine learning and research technology. She was also a Windows Embedded engineering leader and group program manager. Prior to Microsoft, she was at Amazon.com as a business and technical leader, responsible for business/technical strategy and implementation/daily management for the Modern Mobile Web consumer shopping experience

Source: Three Changes That Will Make Rural 5G Access A Reality. The Dream Of A Workforce Empowered To Thrive No Matter Where It Lives

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Avaya The New Partnership Brings Changes To Telecomm

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Over the last nine months, Avaya has been making waves in the news with rumors swirling about. After exiting bankruptcy protection in 2017 and becoming a publicly traded company, Avaya reported nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenue in Q1 of last year. People started to wonder, “What is Avaya?” Avaya is a multinational tech company that specializes in unified communications.

Specializing even further, Avaya is one of the only UCaaS companies targeting government operations, which has a high barrier to entry for a number of reasons. As a leading provider of Avaya solutions, High Country has been watching the evolution of the company and the associated rumors carefully. Let’s review the recent timeline of this UCaaS leader and see where it might be headed next.

Avaya is two degrees of separation from AT&T, who began spinning off unitys in 1995. Officially founded as a public company in 2000, the organization was soon bought by two private equity firms in 2007, delisting from the New York Stock Exchange. Over the years, the company has introduced many innovative technology resources to the market, including multi-platform call centers, multi-site contact centers, speech-to-text features, and the comprehensive Avaya Unified Communications system.

Not long after becoming a private entity, Avaya purchased Nortel in a $900 million acquisition. Following that, the company became the go-to resource for major events, including the 2010 Winter Olympics. With this major increase in visibility, the public and competitors alike began to wonder not only “what is Avaya?” but also “what will they do next?”

Over the next few years, Avaya went on to acquire Sipera Systems, Aurix, and Radvision. In January of 2017, Avaya filed for bankruptcy protection, listing $5.5 billion in assets and $6.3 billion in debts. To increase liquidity, Avaya sold its networking business and related products to Extreme Networks for $100 million.

Since 2017, Avaya has undergone significant internal changes, including new leadership. After emerging from bankruptcy protection and re-entering the stock market, new leadership analyzed what seemed to be very volatile changes in progress and profits. Rumors began to circulate regarding a buyout. As stock prices bounced, Avaya announced the hiring of JPMorgan Chase to explore options and maximize shareholder value. This was one of the rare times the company publicly announced intentions with any kind of clarity.

In August of 2019, Mitel (a rapidly growing UCaaS giant) bid on Avaya for more than $5 billion. With additional rumors of private-equity buyouts that may or may not have been related to RingCentral, the general public grew wary. A merger with Mitel would require shareholders to accept stock in the combined company, so Avaya leaders began entertaining private buyouts that had a significantly lower sticker price.

In October of 2019, RingCentral officially invested in Avaya and the two companies set out to develop a UCaaS solution. Immediately following this announcement, Avaya stock jumped 11%.

The investment is not the outright sale most industry experts were anticipating, but it shook out to a $500 million investment from RingCentral. This partnership makes RingCentral the exclusive provider of UCaaS solutions for Avaya and will lead to a number of new solutions being introduced to the market on behalf of the two companies.

Next month, Avaya will be hosting their annual event, Engage 2020, where we can expect to learn more about where this new partnership will take UCaaS moving forward.All of the infrastructure changes within Avaya over the last year may make consumers hesitant to consider Avaya solutions for their business. In some cases, the customer may be right. In others, however, Avaya may still be the ideal solutions provider to take your business to the next level.

Source: What Is Avaya in 2020? New Partnership Brings Changes To Telecomm

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What AI Practitioners Could Learn From A 1989 MIT Dissertation

Child at laptop

More than thirty years ago, Fred Davis developed the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as part of his dissertation at MIT. It’s one of the most widely cited papers in the field of technology acceptance (a.k.a. adoption). Since 1989, it’s spawned an entire field of research that extends and adds to it. What does TAM convey and how might today’s AI benefit from it?

TAM is an intuitive framework. It feels obvious yet powerful and has withstood the test of time. Davis started with a premise so simple that it’s easy to take it for granted: A person will only try, use and ultimately adopt technology if they are willing to exert some effort. And what could motivate users to expend this effort?

He outlined several variables that could motivate users, and many researchers have added to his list over the years, but these two variables are the ones that were most important: 1. Does it look easy to use? 2. Will it be useful? If the learning curve doesn’t look too steep and there’s something in it for them, a user will be inclined to adopt. Many researchers have added to this foundation over the years. For example, we’ve learned that a user’s intention can also be influenced by subjective norms.

We’re motivated to adopt new tech at work when senior leadership thinks it’s important. Perceived usefulness can also be influenced by image, as in, “Does adopting this tech make me look good?” And lastly, usefulness is high if relevance to the job is high.

TAM can be a powerful concept for an AI practitioner. It should be front-of-mind when embedding AI in an existing tool or process and when developing an AI-first product, as in, one that’s been designed with AI at the center of its functionality from the start. (Think Netflix.) Furthermore, AI can be used to drive adoption by levering TAM principles that increase user motivation.

Making AI more adoptable

With the proliferation of AI in sales organizations, AI algorithms are increasingly embedded in tools and processes leveraged by sales representatives and sales managers. Adding decision engines to assist sales representatives is becoming increasingly common. A sales organization may embed models that help determine a customer’s propensity to buy or churn, recommend next best actions or communications and more. The problem is, many of these initiatives don’t work because of a lack of adoption.

TAM can help us design these initiatives more carefully, so that we maximize the chances of acceptance. For example, if these models surface recommendations and results that fit seamlessly into reps’ tools and processes, they would perceive them as easy to use.

And if the models make recommendations that help a sales person land a new customer, prevent one from leaving and help them upsell or cross-sell when appropriate, reps would perceive them as useful. In other words, if the AI meets employees where they are and offers timely, beneficial support, adoption becomes a no-brainer.

We also see many new products and services that are AI first. For these solutions, if perceived ease of use or perceived usefulness are not high, there would be no adoption. Consider a bank implementing a tech-enabled solution like mobile check deposits. This service depends on customers having a trouble-free experience.

The Newark airport’s global entry system uses facial recognition to scan international flyers’ faces. It’s voluntary, and the experience is fantastic. The kiosk recognizes my face, and a ticket is printed for me to take to the immigration officer. Personally, I find this AI-first process a better experience than the previous system that depended on fingerprints, and now I will always opt for the new one.

Using AI to drive adoption

And perhaps counter intuitively, what if AI was used to drive elements of TAM within existing technology? Can AI impact perceived usefulness? Can AI impact perceived ease of use? Consider CRM. It has been improved and refined over the years and is in use within most sales organizations, yet the level of dissatisfaction with CRM is high and adoption remains a challenge.

How can AI help? A machine learning algorithm that uses location services can recommend that a rep visit a nearby customer, increasing the perceived usefulness of their CRM solution. Intelligent process automation can also help reps see relevant information from a contracting database as information on renewals are being entered. Bots can engage customers on behalf of the representatives to serve up more qualified leads. The possibilities are numerous. All these AI features are designed to ensure that CRM lives up to its promise as a source of value to the sales representative.

Outside of sales, consider patients. In the past few years, many new technologies have been introduced to help diabetics. Adoption of this technology is critical to self-management, and self-management is critical to treating the disease. For any new technology in this space, patients need to see that it’s useful to them.

AI can play a role in gathering information such as glucose levels, activity and food intake and make recommendations on insulin dosing or caloric intake. Such information gathering could go a long way toward reducing the fatigue that diabetics feel while they make countless health and nutrition decisions throughout the day.

AI’s algorithmic nature makes it easy to forget that it’s another technology and that it can aid technology. Its novelty can convince us that everything about it is new. TAM holds up because it’s intuitive, straightforward and proven. While we boldly innovate a path forward in the world of AI, shed convention and think like a disruptor, let’s keep an eye on our history too. There’s some useful stuff in there.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Arun provides strategy and advisory services, helping clients build their analytics capabilities and leverage their data and analytics for greater commercial effectiveness. He currently works with clients on a broad range of analytics needs that span multiple industries, including technology, telecommunications, financial services, travel and transportation and healthcare. His areas of focus are AI adoption and ethics, as well as analytics organization design, capability building, AI explainability and process optimization.

Source: What AI Practitioners Could Learn From A 1989 MIT Dissertation

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The AI Practitioners Guide for Beginners is a series that will provide you with a high-level overview of business and data strategy that a machine learning practitioner needs to know, followed by a detailed walkthrough of how to install and validate one of the popular artificial intelligence frameworks: TensorFlow on the Intel® Xeon® Scalable platform. Read the AI Practitioners Guide for Beginners article:
https://intel.ly/2WQaiE8 Subscribe to the Intel Software YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/2iZTCsz About Intel Software: The Intel® Developer Zone encourages and supports software developers that are developing applications for Intel hardware and software products. The Intel Software YouTube channel is a place to learn tips and tricks, get the latest news, watch product demos from both Intel, and our many partners across multiple fields.
You’ll find videos covering the topics listed below, and to learn more, you can follow the links provided! Connect with Intel Software: Visit INTEL SOFTWARE WEBSITE: https://intel.ly/2KeP1hD Like INTEL SOFTWARE on FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/2z8MPFF Follow INTEL SOFTWARE on TWITTER: http://bit.ly/2zahGSn INTEL SOFTWARE GITHUB: http://bit.ly/2zaih6z INTEL DEVELOPER ZONE LINKEDIN: http://bit.ly/2z979qs INTEL DEVELOPER ZONE INSTAGRAM: http://bit.ly/2z9Xsby INTEL GAME DEV TWITCH: http://bit.ly/2BkNshu See also Intel Optimization Notice: https://intel.ly/2HVXVo5 Introduction | AI Practitioners Guide for Beginners | Episode 1 | Intel Software https://www.youtube.com/intelsoftware
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Japan Is Innovating Mobility As A Service And Creating A $61 Billion Market

Japanese trains are famous for cleanliness and punctuality. If a bullet train is five minutes late, it’s national news. Railway companies also operate large station shopping complexes and have played a major role in the growth of Japanese cities. But their bottom line is overshadowed by shrinking ridership due to the declining population. To compensate, they’re trying to address passenger concerns about the coronavirus while making it easier for tourists, women and elderly people to get around. That’s where a uniquely Japanese effort to promote mobility as a service (MaaS) comes in.

Made-in-Japan mobility

MaaS is sometimes thought of as on-demand transport such as ride-hailing services or vehicle sharing, but it’s more than that. According to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, MaaS is a system of search, reservation, payment, etc. that optimally combines multiple public transportation and other travel services in response to the travel needs of each local resident or traveler on a trip-by-trip basis. It is an important means that contributes to improving the convenience of travel and solving local issues by coordinating with non-transport services at destinations such as tourism and medical care.

The ministry is promoting MaaS, leveraging Japan’s transportation expertise, including the ability to move millions of people every day around large cities like Tokyo quickly, efficiently and on time, to further improve mobility in Japan. Public and private interest in MaaS in Japan has sparked expectations of major growth: in 2019, Yano Research Institute forecast the domestic MaaS market will hit 6.3 trillion yen ($61 billion) in 2030, up from 84.5 billion yen ($813 million) in 2018 and growing 44.1% annually from 2016.

In 2019, the Japanese government began to work on MaaS policies in earnest. They emphasize the need for data sharing to build standardized MaaS rules and platforms. They also stress the need to realize efficient mobility services by connecting a variety of mobility mode and infrastructure data, wider implementation of cashless payments and subscriptions with destination service-related data. In addition, they focus on new services provided by new types of vehicles. These include AI-equipped vehicles for on-demand transportation, electric small mobility vehicles, and self-driving mobility services. Japan is using this approach to cultivate its own spin on the concept, known as Japan MaaS.

“Japan differs from the West in that its public transit systems are predominantly run by the private sector,” says Tsuchida Hiromichi, director of the ministry’s Mobility Service Promotion Division. “This means different players can work together to make MaaS as efficient as possible.”

In a regional approach to promoting MaaS, the ministry is working with local governments and private-sector companies. The aim is both to improve transportation options for local residents, especially elderly people in rural areas, and to make it easier for foreign visitors to get around to parts of the country that are off the beaten path for travelers.

MaaS is already taking root in different regions of Japan, says Tsuchida. In Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City, Toyota Motor and Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu) launched a multi-modal smartphone mobility service called “my route” that lets users plan an outing by inputting a destination and then selecting from different routes and means of travel, including walking, buses, trains and taxis. The app has payment services as well as destination information such as restaurants and cafes. It entered full service last year, and joins a nascent MaaS infrastructure in Japan including popular apps that help commuters navigate complex transit networks in big cities.  

“Japan has many transportation players, with competition resulting in better services,” says Tsuchida. “That’s why transportation in Japan is punctual and safe and has broad coverage. Each of these aspects is sophisticated in and of itself but by combining them, MaaS in Japan has great potential.”

Creating a MaaS market

Hidaka Yosuke worked as a train driver, conductor and maintenance specialist for 12 years before he decided to become an entrepreneur by setting up his own company dedicated to rethinking transportation. Established in 2018, MaaS Tech Japan creates solutions that maximize the value of MaaS for companies and governments. It compiles big data on transport and payments and develops white label apps for MaaS.

“As a train driver, I worked in rural areas with many old people facing mobility challenges,” says Hidaka, who drove trains on the 575-km Tohoku Main Line and other JR East lines before becoming CEO of MaaS Tech Japan. “I became convinced that the rapidly aging society is not a problem that one company alone can solve.”

MaaS Tech Japan is a data integrator collaborating with transportation players to provide mobility solutions. It works with private companies and local governments including the prefectures of Tokyo and Hiroshima as well as Kamishihoro Town, Hokkaido and Kaga City, Ishikawa. It combines various kinds of data related to hundreds of providers such as rail and taxi operators, and conducts simulations on passenger flows to show clients how their transportation needs can best be served.

For instance, it has cooperated with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to suggest ways of easing congestion on mass transit systems to mitigate spread of the coronavirus. It has also proposed ways in which Kaga City can use mobility solutions to help elderly people get around and to help tourists discover lesser-known attractions such as its hot springs. Aside from local governments, MaaS Tech Japan is partnering with the state-backed New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Microsoft Japan, Tokio Marine Nichido and other players eager to promote MaaS.

The startup is also looking to incorporate MaaS solutions involving autonomous vehicles, energy savings and smart cities.

man sitting in office chair

“Aside from the challenges of aging populations and coronavirus, we want to help tackle climate change and the need to decarbonize the economy because this is all part of the smart city,” says Hidaka. “We want to work with businesses, consumers and governments because collaboration is the key to a solution for mobility. We aim to make a strong contribution in this area.”

Note: All Japanese names in this article are given in the traditional Japanese order, with surname first.

To learn more about MaaS Tech Japan, click here (website in Japanese).

To learn more about MaaS policy by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, click here (website in Japanese).

Japan

Japan

Japan is changing. The country is at the forefront of demographic change that is expected to affect countries around the world. Japan regards this not as an onus but as a bonus for growth. To overcome this challenge, industry, academia and government have been moving forward to produce powerful and innovative solutions. The ongoing economic policy program known as Abenomics is helping give rise to new ecosystems for startups, in addition to open innovation and business partnerships. The Japan Voice series explores this new landscape of challenge and opportunity through interviews with Japanese and expatriate innovators who are powering a revitalized economy. For more information on the Japanese Government innovations and technologies, please visit https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/.

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Prime Minister’s Office of Japan

Through innovation, Japan is offering solutions to various challenges that the world faces. Watch the “INNOVATION JAPAN” series and get inspired. Innovation Japan https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/in… _______________ Prime Minister’s Office of Japan YouTube Channel is operated by the Government of Japan. □JapanGov https://www.japan.go.jp/https://www.facebook.com/JapanGov/https://twitter.com/japangov/ □Prime Minister’s Office of Japan and His Cabinet http://japan.kantei.go.jp/index.htmlhttps://www.facebook.com/Japan.PMOhttps://twitter.com/JPN_PMO

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Chinese Scientists Claim Breakthrough in Quantum Computing Race

Chinese scientists claim to have built a quantum computer that is able to perform certain computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most advanced supercomputer, representing the first milestone in the country’s efforts to develop the technology.

The researchers have built a quantum computer prototype that is able to detect up to 76 photons through Gaussian boson sampling, a standard simulation algorithm, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing research published in Science magazine. That’s exponentially faster than existing supercomputers.

The breakthrough represents a quantum computational advantage, also known as quantum supremacy, in which no traditional computer can perform the same task in a reasonable amount of time and is unlikely to be overturned by algorithmic or hardware improvements, according to the research.

While still in its infancy, quantum computing is seen as the key to radically improving the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Chinese researchers are competing against major U.S. corporations from Alphabet Inc.’s Google to Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. for a lead in the technology, which has become yet another front in the U.S.-China tech race.

Read more: Why Quantum Computers Will Be Super Awesome, Someday: QuickTake

Google said last year it has built a computer that could perform a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years, reaching quantum supremacy. The Chinese researchers claim their new prototype is able to process 10 billion times faster than Google’s prototype, according to the Xinhua report.

Xi Jinping’s government is building a $10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences as part of a big push in the field. In the U.S., the Trump administration provided $1 billion in funding to research into artificial intelligence and quantum information earlier this year and has sought to take credit for Google’s 2019 breakthrough.

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DW News

Chinese scientists have announced their development of the most powerful quantum computer in the world. It works 100 trillion times faster than the fastest supercomputers out there and comes little more than a year after Google unveiled Sycamore, their own quantum computer. Chinese scientists have announced their development of the most President Xi Jinping has said research and development in quantum science is an urgent matter of national concern. And the country has invested heavily in this technology, spending billions in recent years. It has become a world leader in the field. Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/deutsche… For more news go to: http://www.dw.com/en/ Follow DW on social media: ►Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deutschewell… ►Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwnews ►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dwnews Für Videos in deutscher Sprache besuchen Sie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/deuts…#QuantumComputer#Cybersecurity#China

Exploring Nanotechnology & The Future of Renewable Energy

Imagine a future where every home, office or building is painted with solar panels and its bricks operate as batteries thanks to nanotechnology. There’s a lot of promise, but what is nanotechnology? And is it more science fiction than fact?

When you hear the term nanotech, chances are some sci-fi book or movie pops into your head, where they used the term to explain away some technological wonder or advancement. “Don’t worry about that, it’s nanotech!” It’s become a deus ex machina for science fiction writers.

But what we’re starting to see is that nanotechnology is responsible for great advances in physics, biology, chemistry, engineering and material science. It’s responsible for the new age of modern technology that will help civilization reach for the stars and more.

Nanotechnology refers to our ability to study and engineer technologies at a nanoscale, which is the range from 1 to 100 nanometers. That begs the question, “how small is a nanometer?” Well, if I tell you “A nanometer is one billionth of a meter … or one millionth of a millimeter” I don’t think that really clears things up. I don’t know about you, but my brain breaks trying to think about that scale. So, let’s try to put it in perspective: a human hair is around 75,000 nanometers wide – and remember, the range for nanoscale is 1 to 100 nanometers. Still not doing it for you? Let’s flip it around. Imagine a marble measures 1 nanometer. In comparison to that, the Earth would measure about one meter in diameter.1 Let that sink in for a minute… a marble compared to the size of our entire planet … that’s 1 nanometer compared to 1 meter.

Given how mind-boggling these scales are, we definitely have to give credit to the father of nanotechnology, Physicist Richard Feynman. It all started with the American Physical Society meeting held at the California Institute of Technology on December 29, 1959. Feynman gave a talk titled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” where he speculated about being able to construct machines down to the molecular level — and the concept behind nanotechnology was born. It wasn’t until 1974 that the term “nanotechnology” was coined by Professor Norio Taniguchi, while he worked on ultraprecision machining.

As he put it: “nanotechnology mainly consists of the processing of separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or one molecule.” We had the concept, then the term, but it wasn’t until 1981 that this theory became a reality with the development of a scanning tunneling microscope that helped scientist actually see atoms individually. Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer developed the microscope at IBM Zurich Research Laboratories in Switzerland and were later awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1986. That major achievement was followed by the Atomic Force Microscope in 1985, which had the distinct advantage of imaging on almost all surfaces, including biological samples, glass, composites, and ceramics. This would prove to be a major turning point.

With the advent of nanotechnology, scientists were now able to manipulate individual atoms. And that takes us into the realm of quantum mechanics, which is the science behind how matter behaves in atomic and subatomic scale. Thankfully, that’s out of scope for this video since that breaks my brain even more, but basically materials at this scale tend to behave differently and exhibit distinctive chemical and physical properties. Scientists were keen to learn and exploit this attribute to craft materials at nanoscale.

Since 1981, we’ve come forward leaps and bounds in the field of Nanotech. There’s so much that I could cover, but in the interest of time, I’ve picked two categories of examples that are helping to make what seemed like science fiction into science fact for our future. But I’d love to hear in the comments if there are any topics or examples you’d like to see covered in a future video.

Solar

The first category is one that I talk about a lot: solar. Nanotechnology is leading the charge for solar energy. Most silicon based solar panels, which accounts for about 95% of commercial solar, utilize nanoscale processes for manufacturing. Some are multi-junction solar cells, which layer different solar technologies to broaden the wavelengths of light that are captured and converted into energy. This layer cake of solar cell technologies are measured in nanometers. Thinner than a width of a human hair. But it’s the next generation of solar cells that are being researched now that could takes things to a whole new level.

Solar-Collecting Paint is an exciting future possibility.

Imagine the paint on your house or a building acting as a solar panel? Or how about your car? Chemistry professor Richard L. Brutchey from University of Southern California and researcher David H. Webber successfully developed solar collecting paint by using solar-collecting nanocrystals. At only 4 nanometers in size, nanocrystals can float in a liquid solution. You could potentially fit 250 billion nanocrystals on the head of a pin, they’re THAT small. Brutchey and Webber were able to find an organic molecule that would keep the nanocrystals conductive without sticking to each other.

So why isn’t this available in the market yet? Well those nanocrystals were built with cadmium, which is a toxic metal. Researchers have been busy trying to find alternative materials and there are some really promising leads.

Quantum dot solar cells

Quantum dot solar cells are one area to look at. Quantum dots are semiconducting particles that behave differently due to their size and the effects of quantum mechanics, like I mentioned earlier. They have energy similarities to atoms, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as “artificial atoms.” In June 2020 researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to create cadmium-free Quantum Dot solar cells. Their zinc-doped variant has a high defect tolerance and is toxic-element-free.

This year researchers at the University of Queensland were even able to break a new world efficiency record of 16.6% for a quantum dot solar cell made from a halide Perovskite. That’s a 25% improvement in relative efficiency compared to the last record holder from 2017, so there’s fast progress being made. But the big challenge is around commercialization of the breakthrough, so the university is working on a large scale printing process in addition to continuing to improve the efficiency.

Perovskite solar paint

In 2014, researchers at the University of Sheffield were able to develop a spray on solar cell using Perovskite which is a class of man-made compounds that share the same crystalline structure as the calcium titanium oxide mineral with the same name.2,3 It happens to be one of the most promising solar technologies in recent years because it has a broad absorption spectrum. It consists of a 300 nanometer thin film with a crystal structure that aids solar absorption and can operate efficiently during cloudy days as well. Scientific Director at Saule Technologies, Dr. Konrad Wojciechowski, says that this could be printed using an inkjet printer.4

Swedish firm Skanska tested it on a building in 2019 and is expected to start producing it in 2021 with the expected cost to be $58 per meter and an efficiency around 10%.

The reason why all of these examples are so exciting is that a paintable solar cell opens up the floodgates for where you can apply solar power. Painting the walls of a building, not just the roof, or as I mentioned earlier, your car. It should also help to reduce the costs of manufacturing solar technologies, which will make it more accessible. It’s potentially a huge win/win.

Energy Storage

The second category I wanted to look at for this video is nanotechnology being applied to energy storage. In a previous video I’ve walked through graphene and carbon nanotubes and how they’re impacting energy storage today. Specifically, in my supercapacitor video I talked about how companies like NAWA Technologies and Skeleton are building out graphene-based supercapacitors today. Skeleton’s products can be found helping to power major tram-systems in big European hubs like Warsaw and Mannheim.5

As a quick refresher, batteries and supercapacitors share some similarities in how they work. In a battery there’s a positive and negative side, which are called the cathode and anode. Those two sides are submerged in a liquid electrolyte and are separated by a micro perforated separator, which only allows ions to pass through. When the battery charges and discharges, the ions flow back and forth between the cathode and anode. But capacitors are different, they don’t rely on chemical play in order to function. Instead, they store potential energy electrostatically. Capacitors use a dielectric, or insulator, between their plates to separate the collection of positive and negative charges building on each plate. It’s this separation that allows the device to store energy and quickly release it6. It’s basically capturing static electricity.

In one recent advancement in batteries from July 2020, scientists from Clemson Nanomaterials Institute were able to achieve high rate capability, fast diffusion, high capacity, and a long cycle life thanks to sandwiching silicone nanoparticles with carbon nanotubes called bucky papers.7 The cycle life for lithium batteries with silicon based anodes is less than 100, but thanks to the new sandwiched silicon electrode structure they were able achieve 500 cycles and deliver three times more capacity than graphite. Silicone happens to have ten times higher capacity than graphite, but it expands by about 300 percent in volume as it absorbs ions. The end result is an anode that breaks apart. This nanostructure counters this factor and would help us replace graphite with silicone, so that our batteries can become safer and lighter.

But I’ve saved the craziest research I’ve seen in a while for last… Nanotechnology could potentially turn bricks into batteries. …well, more like supercapacitors, but that doesn’t have the same alliteration. Washington University’s Institute of Materials Science & Engineering took work from their microsupercapacitor research using Fe2O3 (iron oxide – or rust) as a conducting polymer, also known as rust-assisted vapor-phase polymerization. Rolls right off the tongue. I’m not going to get bogged down into the technical details, partially because of my broken brain, but what sets this process apart is that the nanostructures formed by this process are self-assembled. Other processes like this might take several steps and treatments, which makes this process unique.

So I can hear you asking how does this possibility relate to bricks? That red pigment in your classic brick is … you probably guessed it … Fe2O3 (iron oxide – or rust). By applying their polymer process to a standard red brick, you end up with a capacitor.8 Julio D’Arcy, assistant professor of chemistry, who worked on this research, described it:

“In this work, we have developed a coating of the conducting polymer PEDOT, which is comprised of nanofibers that penetrate the inner porous network of a brick; a polymer coating remains trapped in a brick and serves as an ion sponge that stores and conducts electricity.” -Julio D’Arcy, Assistant Professor9

This process leaves a blue PEDOT coating on one side of the brick, so that could be easily hidden on one side of the brick wall. They estimate that it would take about 50 bricks to power an emergency lighting system for 5 hours, so this clearly isn’t going to power your entire house. But then again, a building is made up of thousands of bricks, so there’s a potential for a building’s brick walls to act as a massive supercapacitor to absorb solar panel overproduction, or to cover peak energy use to smooth out demand, and pair with battery storage in a hybrid setup.

We’re already seeing some of nanotechnologies benefits in the world around us today, but the research and advancements we’re seeing in the lab, like these, are what to look forward to for the future. Nanotech may have been an overused and blanket term that’s lost a little bit of it’s meaning to most of us, but there’s real progress being made.


  1. Nano.gov, “Size of the Nanoscale” ↩︎
  2. Energysage, “Perovskite solar cells: the future of solar?” ↩︎
  3. Wikipedia, “Perovskite solar cell” ↩︎
  4. Energy & Environmental Science, “Towards the commercialization of colloidal quantum dot solar cells: perspectives on device structures and manufacturing” ↩︎
  5. Railway Technology, “Skeleton Technologies to provide ultracapacitor for Warsaw tram system” ↩︎
  6. Green Techee, “How does an ultracap work?” ↩︎
  7. New Atlas, “Silicon ‘sandwiches’ make for lightweight, high-capacity batteries” ↩︎
  8. Nature Communications, 11, “Energy storing bricks for stationary PEDOT supercapacitors” ↩︎
  9. Washington University in St. Louis – The Source, “Storing energy in red bricks” ↩︎

By: https://undecidedmf.com

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Undecided with Matt Ferrell

Exploring Nanotechnology and the Future of Renewable Energy. Imagine a future where every home, office or building is painted with solar panels and its bricks operate as batteries thanks to nanotechnology. There’s a lot of promise, but what is nanotechnology? And is it more science fiction than fact? ▻ Watch Exploring solar panel efficiency breakthroughs – https://youtu.be/2uIOeHCOr-0 ▻ Vice Versa with Matt & Ricky – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbaG… ▻ Follow-up podcast episode: coming soon – http://bit.ly/stilltbdfm ▻ Full script and citations: https://undecidedmf.com/episodes/2020… ——————– ▶ ▶ ▶ ADDITIONAL INFO ◀ ◀ ◀ ▻ Support us on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/mattferrell ▻ Check out my podcast – Still To Be Determined: http://bit.ly/stilltbdfm ▻ Tesla and smart home gear I really like: https://kit.co/undecidedmf ▻ Undecided Amazon store front: http://bit.ly/UndecidedAmazon ▻ Fun, nerdy t-shirts All shirts sold help to support the channel http://bit.ly/UndecidedShirts ▻ Great Tesla Accessories From Abstract Ocean – 15% Discount – Code: “Undecided” http://bit.ly/UndecidedAO ▻ Jeda Wireless phone charger: http://bit.ly/UndecidedJeda ▻ Get 1,000 miles of free supercharging with a new Tesla or a discount on Tesla Solar/Powerwalls: https://ts.la/matthew84515 PLEASE NOTE: For the Abstract Ocean discount you may have to click on the “cart” button, then “view bag” to enter the coupon code manually. Be sure to enter “undecided” there if you don’t see the discount automatically applied. All Amazon links are part of their affiliate program. Thanks so much for your support! ——————– ▶ ▶ ▶ GET IN TOUCH ◀ ◀ ◀ ▻ Twitter https://twitter.com/mattferrell ▻ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mattferrell/ ▻ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/undecidedMF/ ▻ Website https://undecidedmf.com ——————– ▻ Audio file(s) provided by Epidemic Sound http://bit.ly/UndecidedEpidemic#nanotechnology#renewableenergy#solarpanels#exploring#undecidedwithmattferrell

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