The growth of connected technologies will also drive demand for apps which have typically only found their way to smartphones and tablets. Since refrigerators, thermostats, and other connected home appliances typically don't rely on a traditional GUI to operate, apps are the best way for home owners to interact with smart technology.
"As users continue to adopt and interact with apps, it is their data - what they say, what they do, where they go - that is transforming the app interaction paradigm," a Gartner analyst recently noted. "In the next three to four years, apps will no longer be simply confined to smartphones and tablets, but will impact a wider set of devices, from home appliances to cars and wearable devices."
For example, an app would send out an alert via the connected refrigerator to the owner to notify milk - or another staple food item - is running low.
Despite the growth of connected technologies, after a recent security study discovered at least one connected refrigerator was part of an organized botnet, security issues will clearly need to be addressed.
A recent botnet with more than 100,000 hijacked PCs and electronics also included at least one refrigerator, according to security research group Proofpoint. The botnet also relied on "multi-media centers" and connected high-definition TVs, though this is the first public disclosure of a smart refrigerator - and household appliance - used in an organized botnet.
The 'Internet of Things' continues to frighten researchers trying to determine guidelines on how to defend connected devices that are able to connect to the Internet. Despite the security threat, consumers are expected to embrace the Internet of Things, though provides "great promise for cyber criminals," according to security experts.
These types of attacks targeting connected devices will only increase, security researchers warn, as more consumers begin to use smart refrigerators, washers and dryers, and other common household appliances.
If you're a resident of Provo, Utah, then this news is right up your alley: Google is now accepting registrations for its gigabit Internet service, known as Google Fiber.
The high-speed broadband will include any customers sitting on the former iProvo network, a fiber-optic backbone that was installed, and later sold to Google. Google did note: "We can't install fiber to everyone in Provo all at once, so we're going to work in waves, starting with the North Park area next month and finishing in the Foothills area hopefully by the end of this year".
Provo residents can choose from three different service plans, with the minimum offering 5/1Mbps, which will cost you a $30 one-time fee for installation. Higher tiers are available, with Gigabit Internet on offer for $70 per month, or a Gigabit Internet + TV offer for $120 per month.
Alcatel-Lucent and BT have teamed up to work on a new research project: 1.4Tbps broadband. The new technology using commercial-grade hardware, spun with a new protocol which pushes for these insane, next-gen speeds.
The new protocol has been dubbed Flexigrid, which allows multiple signals to be laid over the top of one another within the same cable. During testing, the researchers were able to layer seven 200Gbps channels, which created something they called an "Alien Super Channel", which was capable of driving 1.4Tbps across 255 miles of fiber.
The two connections were the bases of a BT research facility in Suffolk, to another BT Tower, in London. 1.4Tbps is... well, fast, very fast. How fast in real-world terms? Well, someone with this connection could stream some 64 hours of HD through Netflix, 38 hours of 4K through Netflix, or an insane 36,409 songs... all within a single second.
Automaker Ford will team up with researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), hoping to overcome the "technical challenges" currently facing autonomous vehicles.
"To deliver on our vision for the future of mobility, we need to work with many new partners across the public and private sectors, and we need to start today," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford Chief Technical Officer, in a statement. "Working with university partners like MIT and Stanford enables us to address some of the longer-term challenges surrounding automated driving while exploring more near-term solutions for delivering an even safer and more efficient driving experience."
Automated driving research is a major initiative among auto manufacturers, and partnering with two of the top universities in the country will help Ford. Specifically, the company will work with Stanford to develop sensor able to accurately see around obstacles, in an effort to try and develop a vehicle with "common sense."
During CES 2014, autonomous vehicles continued to receive a warm welcome from attendees, as each year autonomous technologies are spotlighted.
As it stands today, South Korea's largest mobile network, SK Telecom, has 'regular' 75Mbps LTE mobile broadband. The South Korea-based company has just announced plans to push out some insane mobile Internet speeds.
SK Telecom's upcoming '3band LTE-Advanced' will offer speeds of up to 300Mbps, or LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) by aggregating "more than two frequency bands". The service will roll out toward the end of the year. New Agency, Yonhap, reports that users can download an 800MB file in 22 seconds, which is just insane.
The company will be showing off its new blistering fast Internet at Mobile World Congress next month, in Barcelona.
The emergence of connected technologies, with products ranging from high-definition TVs and refrigerators to newer cars, there is huge potential possible for innovative companies. However, a lag in security of connected devices will give cyber criminals a new platform to exploit moving forward, depending how they access the compromised unit.
"Botnets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse," said David Knight, Proofpoint Information Security division, in a statement. "Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur."
Manufacturers and security experts are working on next-generation security products aimed at helping keep connected technologies more secure. As more consumers embrace 'smart' goods at home and in the workplace, this will continue to be a struggle in the looming years.
The lure of connected cars continue to cause quite a stir in the automotive and tech industries, though there is a growing concern over possible security threats. Cyber criminal focus will remain on PCs, smartphones, tablets, and connected household devices, but security analysts warn auto threats are right around the corner.
Google Android-powered vehicles will roll out before the end of this year, and will feature Google Maps, Google Places, Google Voice, Google Earth, and the Google Play store.
"I think Google will bring in some of its elements from the automated car research it's conducting, where it's focusing heavily on cybersecurity," said Praveen Chandrasekar, Frost & Sullivan automotive and transportation researcher, in a statement. And remember, they'll be working directly with [automotive] OEMs, who will tell them what their security requirements are."
Meanwhile, Apple has found its way into connected vehicles manufactured from the likes of Acura, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Toyota. Connected vehicles will become an intense battlefield in 2014, as future cars make use of connected technologies, even in cheaper vehicles.
Network hardware company Cisco Systems focused on the Internet of Everything (IoE), setting the landscape for people connected to mobile devices, smart buildings, transportation networks, data and other processes on a wide scale. The number of estimated connected devices is 15 to 25 billion by 2015, which will propel up to 50 billion by 2020.
"Cisco has led customers through every Internet transition over the last 30 years," said Blair Christie, Cisco Senior VP and chief marketing officer, in a statement. "The Internet of Everything is perhaps the most promising of these, creating unprecedented opportunities for organizations, individuals, communities and countries to realize dramatically greater value from networked connections between people, processes, data and things."
Cisco has been forced to adapt to a changing environment in which employees are largely embracing the 'bring your own device' craze. However, the IoE blows that out of the water, with service users able to benefit from long-form content, location-based and profile data, home/control/automation features, and sensor-collected data in the home and workplace.
Auto manufacturer Volvo used the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off its Sensus Connect connected-car platform, which recently added the Xtime ServiceTelematics technology into its offering. The Sensus Connect system provides a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for drivers, along with the ability to locate and pay for parking - and automated alerts if there is car trouble, with drivers able to easily schedule a tune-up.
"Technology should make your life easier, especially in the car," said David Holecek, Volvo connectivity brand manager, in a statement. "This fundamental consumer insight underpinned the development of Sensus Connect. It's not about offering a thousand apps. It's about giving you precisely what you need, before you even knew you needed it."
Connected cars were extremely popular during CES this year, and will continue to be shown at auto shows throughout the year. Following CES, auto makers immediately shifted focus to the Silicon Valley Auto Show - and will again shift gears and prepare for the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
The City of San Francisco is one of the leading tech hubs in the world, but budget cuts and political bickering shelved numerous attempts to get public access to free Wi-Fi in well-trafficked portions of the city.
The $500,000 project to bring free public Wi-Fi to Market Street in San Francisco has been completed, with a three-mile stretch of downtown road now supporting up to 50Mbps of free service. It's a far-cry from the citywide Wi-Fi promise made in 2007, but this is at least a good step in the right direction towards coverage across the city.
Silicon Valley company Ruckus Wireless contributed hardware, while Layer 42 Networks provided 1 gigabit Internet access service to the project. Market Street is one of the major thoroughfares in downtown San Francisco, with more than 250,000 people using the street per day. Throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley, tech companies are expanding free public Wi-Fi, as more consumers use laptops, smartphones, and tablets for personal and work activities. Similar Wi-Fi projects are currently underway in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States - and in select cities across the world - so the potential upside of these efforts could be tremendous.
I was expecting it to be my city next, but obviously Google has no love for me. The Mountain View-based everything giant is looking to install its own fiber-optic network in Kampala, Uganda.
Google has been installing the network over the last couple of months, officially unveiling the project on Wednesday. The new network will allow 10 local mobile operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to boost speeds up a factor of 100 in most places in Kampala. The city itself is home to around 3 million potential Internet users.
The ISPs will receive the huge speeds, and will be able to offer its customers up to two gigabits per second, which is just insane. Why is Google pushing a network in Uganda? Well, considering only 16% of Africa's 1 billion citizens have Internet, it can be big business. Google makes money from advertising, and getting more people online will have more people seeing ads, which lets Google print its money.
Tumblr has updated its app and has been entirely redesigned for iOS 7. The new update is available to download now on the iPhone or iPad. The app looks a lot sleeker than the previous version. It now includes a auto-complete for tagging, a faster reblog, a new interface for composing and choosing post styles.
"We've completely redesigned Tumblr for iPhone and iPad! It's faster and has a beautiful new look and feel, just like iOS 7."
Sprint and Best Buy are teaming up to help out college student by giving them 12 months of free service with the purchase of a new smartphone. The promotion is called the My Way student promotion and offers unlimited calling and texting with 1GB of data. The 1GB can be upgraded to unlimited for just $10 a month.
The student must purchase a smartphone at full retail price and pay for the activation fee of $36.They must include proof that they are attending college or high school, and the promotion is even for kids in middle school. Students can also get an additional 12 months to share if they refer a friend and go on the same account. Sprint mentions this promotion can save you $70 a month. This promotion will be going until the end of this year.
In this NSA and GCHQ controlled world that mimics 1984, Internet Service Providers are now having to step in and try and stop the spy agencies of the world from prying into your private lives.
News is coming from Deutsche Telekom, who has teamed up with security firm RSA, to work on building an Internet connection that can detect attacks early on, which will be known as "clean pipe" Internet connections, which push data through hack-resistant lines. The German ISP isn't giving us all the details just yet, but these connections will be tailor-made for small- and medium-sized businesses who are willing to pay a fixed monthly fee.
We should have more details on the "clean pipe" Internet connections early next year when it begins to roll out.
The Los Angeles City Council has approved a draft of RFP (or request for proposals) which would allos businesses that are interested, to develop a citywide Wi-Fi network.
Building this free broadband network "would require fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles," according to LA's Information Technology Agency GM, Steve Reneker, who talked with Ars Technica. Better yet, LA residents would receive free fiber Internet, a speeds of between 2Mbps and 5Mbps, with plans scaling up (if they choose to pay more) to gigabit.
Germany nearly turned into Australia there for a minute, with Deutsche Telekom attempting to introduce Internet throttling, where users' Internet speeds would be capped once they downloaded a certain amount of data.
But the Cologne Regional Court ruled that this would not happen, strengthening the rights of consumers. Deutsche Telekom has enforced users downloading over 75GB be throttled, something which will take place in 2016. The industry thinks Deutsche Telekom could split its customers into two groups: those who don't mind the capping, and those who consume digital data in many forms, especially the growing web form - YouTube, streaming services (music, TV, movies), and next-generation gaming.
The problem here is that the term Deutsche Telekom is using, is 'flat rate' where consumers connect to an Internet service through the fixed network, with a fixed price, for a pre-defined surfing speed, and 'do not expect restrictions' which is where the Civil Chamber of the Court will base its decision. At the moment, the judgment is not yet final.
While I potter around on my 8mbps connection, a team of researchers from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Strathclyde working on the Ultra-Parallel Visible Light Communications Project are claiming to have reached some epic speeds on Li-Fi: 10.5Gbit/s.
Yeah - that's fast. How does Li-Fi work? Well, it works by utilizing specialized LED bulbs to transmit data through parallel streams of light that are completely undetectable to the human eye. Harald Haas, a German physicist, and one of the project leaders at the University of Edinburgh said: "If you think of a shower head separating water out into parallel streams, that's how we can make light behave."
In order to reach the dizzying heights of 10.5Gbit/s, the researchers used a micro-LED bulb which was developed over at the University of Strathclyde, which transmitted 3.5Gbit/s through three primary colors - red, green and blue.
This is all being done while I'm on a piddly 8Mbit ADSL connection in Australia, which costs me $149.95 per month. LTE Advanced is being tested in Hong Kong, with 300Mbps LTE Cat 6 radio network being tested throughout Hong Kong by Hong Kong's CSL.
The network achieved 300Mbps by aggregating their 20MHz carriers at both its 1800MHz and 2600MHz LTE bands. At the moment, there are no smartphones that feature LTE Cat 6 radios, so CSL partnered up with ZTE to create an oversized device that was used for demonstration purposes. You can see in the shot above, they used four very, very thick antennas for the MIMO 2x2 implementation.
An FTP download speed of 172Mbps was achieved, which is a heck of download speed. If you're based in Hong Kong and wondering when you'd be able to jump on the 300Mbps service, you'll be waiting until early next year.
IDF 2013 - If there was a company who could make 4K streaming over USB 2.0, it would be DisplayLink. Back at Computex 2013 in June, we gave DisplayLink our Best of Technology award for its USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Adapter by DisplayLink and Targus.
At IDF this year, DisplayLink were showing off a new adapter that was capable of sending 4K video through a tiny USB adapter. In an ideal situation, the system would shoot video over USB 3.0, while giving users full connectivity options for any compatible DisplayLink device. This still works over USB 2.0, with the dynamically compensating data compression might skip a beat here and there.
DisplayLink's Director of Marketing, Andy Davis, said that the DisplayLink tech has no issue driving multiple displays, even at Ultra HD resolutions, the issue will come down to graphics drivers and video decoding capabilities of the PC it is connected to.
Today, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) announced that development has started on the new Media Agnostic USB Specification. This new spec will allow wireless storage solutions to communicate over the USB protocol without the need for a physical connection. More importantly, the goal of the specification is to allow wireless gigabit transfer rates leveraging existing USB infrastructure.
The WiGig Serial Extension v1.2 specification will provide the initial foundation for this new spec. This WSE specification will be formally transferred to the USB-IF from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
"We are pleased to see the USB-IF use the WiGig Serial Extension in its development of the Media Agnostic USB specification," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Advanced wireless usages of serial bus technology have the potential to deliver great benefit to users."
Additionally, wireless devices implementing the MA USB specification will retain compliance with the SuperSpeed (USB 3.0) and Hi-Speed (USB 2.0) protocols.