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You may have noticed a "+ New" button show up on Skype recently. It seems unassuming, but it marks a pretty significant change in how the instant messaging software works. With it, you can message anyone via email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter, and they can join the chat as a guest.
It's not full-on cross-platform integration as we've seen with services like Trillian, but that's likely impossible in an official capacity, so this is the next best thing.
See it in action in the video below, which features people dancing for some reason.
Most people probably haven't even heard about MU-MIMO, but it's about to be a huge upgrade to Wi-Fi technology and speeds. We've been living with 802.11 a/b/g/n for a while, and even through the 5GHz upgrade, the overall speeds didn't leap near Gigabit, or 10GbE Ethernet.
The 'MU' in MU-MIMO stands for 'Multi-User', with it being the new Wave 2 specification of 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology. The big difference is that multiple data streams can be taken into consideration, with multiple antennas on the base station and client device blasting out data all at once. If there's four antennas on the base station, and four on your Wi-Fi card, then you can expect four streams of data simultaneously.
Anshel Sag, Staff Technologist and Technical Writer, took MU-MIMO for a spin in his research paper on MU-MIMO and 802.11ad Wi-Fi, with some interesting results. Sag reported: "In our own lab testing at Moor Insights & Strategy using off the shelf equipment at retail stores, MU-MIMO smartphones when paired with a MU-MIMO access point, experienced a 75% TCP (transmission control protocol) download performance uplift going from 260 Mbps bandwidth with three smartphones to 455 Mbps with three MUMIMO enabled smartphones. In fact, overall network bandwidth utilization actually increased as we added devices to the network, rather than decrease, which it did in the case of nonMU Wi-Fi which can partially attribute to the poor Wi-Fi performance in crowded areas".
Fujitsu has announced that it has developed a new wireless communications receiver, which is capable of massive transfer rates of up to 20 gigabits per second. The receiver is tiny enough that it will fit into a smartphone, super-powering data transfer rates.
The new chip would make smartphones and tablets capable of transferring 4K or even 8K video virtually instantly, with 8K resolution videos featuring 16x the resolution of 1080p. Fujitsu is calling its new chip the world's first compact 300GHz receiver, thanks to its insanely fast wireless communication abilities.
Fujitsu's new chip is smaller than 1 cubic centimeter, where it combines both a receiver-amplifier chip as well as a terahertz-band antenna. Because the chip has high sensitivity, transmissions ranges are much shorter - just 1m away. A Fujitsu spokesperson said: "It is the first time such a highly sensitive terahertz band receiver has been made small enough to fit into a current-generation cellular phone". The company hopes to have the chip being built commercially in 2020.
An ISP based out of North Carolina is offering residents an insane 10Gbps fiber service, to both businesses and residents. Fibrant, which has deployed fiber throughout Salisbury, NC, "was created five years ago after city officials were unable to persuade private ISPs to upgrade their infrastructure", reports Ars Technica.
Fibrant officials don't expect much demand from residents for the 10Gbps bi-directional fiber, as the huge speeds are targeting businesses in and around the city. The 10Gbps service is now "available to every premises in the city", including all homes. Residents can expect to pay around $400 for the 10Gbps connection, which isn't too bad at all.
Robert Van Geons, Head of the County's Economic Development Commission said: "We don't want to oversell customers and have you paying for a 10Gbps service when you're using 100Mbps", while Fibrant Director of Broadband and Infrastructure Kent Winrich adding: "To be honest with you, we're not anticipating residents taking 10Gbps service. The reason for 10 gig is economic development... This is really geared toward attracting businesses that need this type of bandwidth and have it anywhere they want in the city".
Gogo has just received approval from the FAA to offer consumers 70Mbps in-flight Wi-Fi, up from the much slower speeds of 9.8Mbps. The FAA only just this week approved the final Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) required to use it.
The new system was meant to be streaming content on planes already, but the FAA didn't provide the final STC required, but now that it has Gogo is free to offer 70Mbps Wi-Fi to its customers. Gogo has over 500 aircraft waiting on antenna upgrades, with the plan now being to have the new antennas installed by early 2016.
2Ku will be installing the new satellite antennas, where they'll also be future-proofed to work with new spot beam satellites. This upgrade is going to be huge, as it will increase the speeds from 70Mbps to 100Mbps. 100Mbps shared across a plane full of people might not seem like much, but it's better than nothing.
During Q2 of 2015, half of US Internet homes now have at least one connected TV device, according to a report from The NPD Group. The statistic includes connected TVs, video game consoles, streaming media players, and Blu-ray players able to connect to the Internet.
45 percent of TVs sold in the second quarter supported apps, a drastic increase from 34 percent in 2014 and 24 percent in 2013. Not surprisingly, Netflix is the most commonly used video service among connected TVs, ahead of YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO GO.
"We're living in the Golden Age of TV where significant investments are being made in developing original series," said John Buffone, executive director of connected intelligence at NPD. "This is being enabled by growth in online services such as Hulu and Amazon Video as well as industry leading TV networks benefitting from the large pay TV subscriber base and fast developing over-the-top audience that uses apps on TV."
Comcast wants to provide every American it can with gigabit Internet goodness within the next two years, with the company hoping it can push 1Gbps nationwide within 24 months.
Comcast said back in April that it was upgrading its entire network to the new DOCSIS 3.1 standard, with some customers switching on by early 2016. Comcast's intent is to scale their network through their footprint over the next 12 months, with the force behind it seeing the company upgrade its entire network over two years, with areas that Comcast already serves receiving 1Gbps speeds.
Robert Howland, Vice President of Network Infrastructure said that it could take up to three years, but it hopes to get millions onto a gigabit service as soon as possible. Better yet, the DOCSIS 3.1 standard isn't limited to 1Gbps, as it is capable of supporting downstream speeds of up to 10Gbps, and uploads of 1Gbps.
LIVALL recently unveiled its LIVALL Bling Helmet, a custom designed smart cycling helmet that features Hi-Fi Bluetooth speakers, built-in LED lights, and other features designed to set itself apart from normal bike helmets.
Using the helmet's Hi-Fi Bluetooth speakers and microphone, it's possible to safely answer and end phone calls. LIVALL Bling also features a walkie-talkie function so wearers are able to communicate with riders around themselves.
LIVALL Bling also includes a built-in gravity sensor to detect falls, nano cadence sensor, battery power bank, remote control, Hi-Fi Bluetooth speaker, and mobile app.
Semiconductor and microcontroller company Microchip Technology announced a partnership with Intel to utilize its Enhanced Privacy ID (EPID) technology in future products.
"Microchip has long recognized the importance of security in IoT applications," said Ian Harris, VP of Computing Products Group at Microchip. "Collaborating with Intel to integrate its proven Intel EPID technology demonstrates Microchip's steadfast commitment to providing the very best IoT solutions, by working to enable designers with the safe and secure interoperation of their 'things' with Intel's devices, gateways and servers."
The IoT marketplace is growing drastically, but privacy and cybersecurity remain two major hurdles that must be addressed accordingly. EPID can be used for device authentication, standardization, and helps protect end-user privacy. The need for data security is crucial for the widespread adoption of Things in the workplace and at home, so expect similar partnerships from Intel in the future.
Verizon has teased that it has successfully tested out its new, insanely fast fiber-optic technology that goes by the name of next-generation passive optical network, or NG-PON2.
This new technology is capable of blasting speeds to users at anywhere between 10Gbps and 80Gbps, enough to download many Blu-ray movies in just a few seconds. The new technology uses an optical line terminal (OLT) which is capable of generating four wavelengths of light, each capable of transmitting data at 10Gbps down, and 2.5Gbps up.
Verizon's impressive new technology is capable of transmitting both the current GPON (or Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network) as well as the new, insanely quick NG-PON2, simultaneously. The system is even capable of switching between the four wavelengths in the case of something going wrong, where it can quickly restore the 10Gbps connection.