How light could help superfast mobile reach even further

BBC News: 11 October 2018
Internet connectivity through light waves could help 5G reach into buildings and underground

The global race towards superfast “fifth generation” mobile internet, known as 5G, is entering a key phase. The trouble is no-one knows exactly which technologies will be best for offering such a service. But one telecoms firm may just have had a light-bulb moment.

Continue reading “How light could help superfast mobile reach even further”

Why you have (probably) already bought your last car

: 10th October 2018
Driverless taxis – the transport of the future?

A growing number of tech analysts are predicting that in less than 20 years we’ll all have stopped owning cars, and, what’s more, the internal combustion engine will have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Yes, it’s a big claim and you are right to be sceptical, but the argument that a unique convergence of new technology is poised to revolutionise personal transportation is more persuasive than you might think.

The central idea is pretty simple: Self-driving electric vehicles organised into an Uber-style network will be able to offer such cheap transport that you’ll very quickly – we’re talking perhaps a decade – decide you don’t need a car any more.

And if you’re thinking this timescale is wildly optimistic, just recall how rapidly cars replaced horses.

Take a look at this picture of 5th Avenue in New York in 1900. Can you spot the car?

5th Avenue New York in 1900

Now look at this picture from 1913. Yes, this time where’s the horse?


In 1908 the first Model T Ford rolled off the production line; by 1930 the equestrian age was, to all intents and purposes, over – and all thanks to the disruptive power of an earlier tech innovation – the internal combustion engine.

So how will this latest transportation revolution unfold?

The driverless Uber model

First off, consider how Uber and other networked taxi companies have already changed the way we move around. In most major cities an Uber driver – or one of its rivals – is usually just a couple of minutes away, and charges less than established taxis, let’s say £10.

The company’s exponential growth is evidence of how powerful the Uber business model is.

Now take out the driver. You’ve probably cut costs by at least 50%.

Uber has been experimenting with driverless cars

So if we’re trying to work out when this revolution will begin in earnest the key date will be when self-driving vehicle technology is available and – crucially – has regulatory backing.

That could well be sooner than you think. The UK has said it hopes to authorise the first fully autonomous cars as early as 2021.

And, say enthusiasts for autonomy, it will only take one city to prove the technology is safe and useful and the rest of the world will very quickly rush to catch up.

So self-driving cars have cut our £10 journey to £5.

The switch to electric

Now imagine the current mostly fossil fuel-powered taxi fleet is replaced with electric cars.

At the moment electric vehicles are more expensive than similar models with internal combustion engines, but offer significantly lower lifetime costs.

They are more reliable, for a start. The typical electric car has around 20 moving parts compared to the 2,000 or so in an internal combustion engine.

As a result electric vehicles also tend to last much longer. Most electric car manufacturers expect their vehicles to keep on going for at least 500,000 miles.

These factors aren’t that important for most consumers – after all, the average driver in England does less than 10,000 miles a year and our cars are parked 95% of the time. However, they are huge issues if you’re using a vehicle pretty much continuously, as would be the case with a self-driving taxi.

The end of the road for the internal combustion engine?

Add in the low cost of recharging batteries compared to refuelling and you’ve got another dramatic reduction in costs.

And it’s worth noting that the cost of electric vehicles is likely to continue to fall, and rapidly. As they become mainstream, returns to scale will drive down costs. That’s the logic behind Tesla’s $5bn (£3.8bn) battery plant, the so-called “Gigafactory”.

How does this affect our £10 journey?

It brings another dramatic reduction. Fully autonomous electric taxi networks could offer rides at as little as 10% of current rates.

At least that’s what tech prophet Tony Seba reckons. He and his team at the think-tank RethinkX have done more than anyone else to think through how this revolution might rip through the personal transportation market.

‘Transport as a service’

We’ve now cut our £10 fare to just £1.

Mr Seba calls the idea of a robo-taxi network “transport as a service”, and estimates it could save the average American as much as $6,000 (£4,560) a year. That’s the equivalent of a 10% pay rise.

And don’t forget, when the revolution comes you won’t be behind the wheel so now you’ll be working or relaxing as you travel – another big benefit.

You still think that car parked outside your flat is worth having?

What’s more, once this new model of getting around takes hold the benefits are likely to be reinforcing. The more vehicles in the network, the better the service offered to consumers; the more miles self-driving cars do, the more efficient and safer they’ll get; the more electric vehicles manufactured, the cheaper each one will be.

Don’t worry about running out of charge

Don’t worry that rural areas will be left out. A vehicle could be parked in every village waiting for your order to come.

And range anxiety – the fear that you might run out of electricity – won’t be a problem either. Should the battery run low the network will send a fully charged car to meet you so you can continue your journey.

You’ve probably seen headlines about accidents involving self-driving cars but the truth is they will be far safer than ones driven by you and me – they won’t get regulatory approval if they are not. That means tens of thousands of lives – perhaps hundreds of thousands – will be saved as accident rates plummet.

That will generate yet another cost saving for our fleets of robo-taxis. The price of insurance will tumble, while at the same time those of us who insist on continuing to drive our own vehicles will face higher charges.

Human drivers banned

According to the tech visionaries it won’t be long before the whole market tilts irreversibly away from car ownership and the trusty old internal combustion engine.

RethinkX, for example, reckons that within 10 years of self-driving cars getting regulatory approval 95% of passenger miles will be in these electric robo-taxis.

Will cars parked outside houses soon be a thing of the past?

The logical next step will be for human beings to be banned from driving cars at all because they pose such a risk to other road users.

Take a moment to think about the wide-reaching effects this revolution will have, aside from just changing how we get around. There will be downsides: millions of car industry workers and taxi drivers will be looking for new jobs, for a start.

But think of the hundreds of billions of dollars consumers will save, and which can now be spent elsewhere in the economy.

Meanwhile, the numbers of cars will plummet. RethinkX estimates that the number of vehicles on US roads will fall from nearly 250 million to just 45 million over a 10-year period. That will free up huge amounts of space in our towns and cities.

And, please take note: I haven’t mentioned the enormous environmental benefits of converting the world’s cars to electricity.

That’s because the logic of this upheaval isn’t driven by new rules on pollution or worries about global warming but by the most powerful incentive in any economy – cold hard cash.

That said, there’s no question that a wholesale switch away from fossil fuels will slow climate change and massively reduce air pollution.

In short, let the revolution begin!

But seriously, I’ve deliberately put these arguments forcefully to prompt debate and we want to hear what you think.


You can tweet Justin at @BBCJustinR


Connect Tech releases new Carrier and Adapter for NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier


NVIDIA® Jetson™ AGX Xavier™ to TX2/TX1 Adapter

The Mimic Adapter from Connect Tech allows the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier module to be installed onto an NVIDIA Jetson TX2/TX2i/TX1 carrier.

Mimic – P/N AGX001
Mimic – P/N AGX001
  • Install NVIDIA® Jetson™ AGX Xavier™ on any NVIDIA® Jetson™ TX2/TX2i/TX1 Carrier Board
  • Easily compare performance between TX2 and AGX Xavier on your current hardware platform
  • Wide range of Xavier interfaces passed to TX2/TX2i/TX1 carrier
  • Dimensions: 92mm x 105mm





The Mimic Adapter from Connect Tech allows the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier module to be installed onto an NVIDIA Jetson TX2/TX2i/TX1 carrier. The Mimic Adapter is ideal for NVIDIA Jetson users who want to easily compare performance or upgrade their existing TX2/TX2i/TX1 designs to the new Jetson Xavier.

This small form factor adapter solution integrates easily onto any existing carrier board in Connect Tech’s Jetson TX2/TX2i/TX1 product line, as well as any custom platform. Enables a giant leap forward in capabilities for autonomous machines and edge devices.

Visit Product Page


NVIDIA® Jetson™ AGX Xavier™ to TX2/TX1 Adapter

Rogue Carrier for NVIDIA® Jetson™ AGX Xavier™ is a commercially deployable, full featured carrier, just slightly smaller than the Xavier module at 92mm x 105mm.

Rogue - P/N AGX101
Rogue – P/N AGX101
  • Commercially deployable NVIDIA® Jetson™ AGX Xavier™ platform
  • 6x 2-lane or 4x 4-lane MIPI CSI Camera Inputs
  • 2x NVMe M.2 Key M Slots, 3x USB 3.1, 2x GbE
  • Wide input power range 9-19V DC
  • Dimensions: 92mm x 105mm





Connect Tech’s Rogue Carrier for NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier is a commercially deployable, full featured carrier coming in just slightly smaller than the Xavier module at 92mm x 105mm. The Rogue Carrier provides access to the impressive list of latest generation interfaces on the Xavier while adding additional interfaces of 3x USB 3.1, 2x GbE, 2x HDMI and locking Mini-Fit Jr. power input connector. Rugged camera add-on expansion boards will also be available for use with the Rogue to interface directly with the Xavier high density MIPI CSI interfaces.

The NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier has an impressive 512-core Volta GPU and 64 Tensor cores with discreet dual Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA) NVDLA engines. The platform offers 20x the performance and 10x the power efficiency of the Jetson TX2. The new module supports an increase in bandwidth, performance, and introduces USB 3.1 and PCIe Gen 4.0.

Visit Product Page


Future cars to be made from revolutionary new material

University of Surrey Press Release 1st October 2018 A new material that is as stiff as metal but flexible enough to withstand strong vibrations could transform the car manufacturing industry, say experts from the University of Surrey.
In a paper published in Scientific Reports by Nature, scientists from Surrey joined forces with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of California to develop a material that has high stiffness and damping. The team achieved this near impossible combination in a material by using 3D woven technical textile composite sheets, with selected unbonded fibres – allowing the inside of the material to move and absorb vibrations, while the surrounding material remains rigid. Researchers believe their new material could usher in a new wave of trains, cars, and aircrafts, allowing customers to experience little to no vibration during their travels. Dr Stefan Szyniszewski, lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Materials and Structures at the University of Surrey, said: “The idea of a composite the resolves the paradox of stiffness and damping was thought to be impossible – yet here we are. This is an exciting development that could send shock waves through the car, train and aerospace manufacturing industries. This is a material that could make the vehicles of the near future more comfortable than ever before.” Fig. 1: (a) 3D woven (3DW) lattice material is composed of Z- (green), warp (red) and fill (blue) wires; (b) Yellow color indicates the brazing locations (at the top and bottom). (c) Cross-section of 3D woven lattice with the stiff skeleton (the brazed portion on the top and bottom) and free lattice members in the core of the structure, (d) SEM image of the brazed top face, which confirmed metallurgical bonding of the metallic lattices. Source: TheJunction

BT chooses Perle Terminal Servers for remote access and management of LDU’s


iolan-sts8dc_lgThe “residential phoneline” section of BT was operating a mixed X.25 and Ethernet environment. The goal for BT was to get rid of the X.25 WAN and have a direct IP connection to Loop Diagnostic Units (LDU). This would enable them to communicate with the exchanges at a much higher speed, allowing them to service their customers more efficiently and quickly. While moving to an IP Network, it was important not to replace all of the existing infrastructure that was not at the end of its lifecycle.

The Scenario:

A residential customer reports that their phone line appears not to be working. At BT’s headquarters a test of the line, via the exchange, is initiated. To test a phone line engineers connect to a LDU (Loop Diagnostic Unit) at the exchange that checks the line. This first check indicates whether the line is clear and operating or whether further investigation is required and an Engineer needs to be dispatched.

This initial check was previously done across the X.25 Network. A user on a remote network opened an application, entered an IP address and a port number, and sent a command to an LDU across the LAN and then through X.25 pads to a serial connection on the LDU. The LDU communicates via a serial link to request the specific line to test. The HQ gives the LDU the line or a batch of lines, the LDU tests and feeds back to the user on the LAN.

BT wanted a direct IP connection to the LDU, replacing the X.25, which would enable them to communicate with the exchanges at a much higher speed, allowing them to service their customers more efficiently and quickly. There was no requirement to replace the LDU, as this had not reached the end of its lifecycle. However there was a need to be able to access it over Ethernet, securely and remotely.

Most exchange sites have one LDU. Some have more than one requiring a higher number of serial ports. Each LDU has 4 serial ports, consisting of an admin port, a port to the exchange, an Xserver port, and a serial port for Ethernet Connectivity.

Working closely with Perle Systems, a suitable product from the IOLAN Terminal Server range was quickly identified. The selection process focused on key requirements including:

Redundancy – a backup feature to support the LDU’s in the event of loss of power
Security – meeting BT’s “Safe to Connect” Standard
Support – local UK based support.

IOLAN STS 8 DC Terminal Servers were installed at the Exchange sites, and connected to the LDU’s.

IOLAN Terminal Servers from Perle Systems helped BT keep their LDU’s while accessing them over IP remotely.


o meet the redundant power requirement, Perle IOLAN STS8 DC Terminal Servers were connected to 2 fused 50v feeds generated by a dedicated Wind Farm with a centralised earth going into the primary and secondary DC power inputs. The dual feed DC IOLAN Terminal Servers from Perle operate so that in the event the primary power source is depleted, the IOLAN pulls power from the secondary source and is able to switch back and forth as necessary, thereby ensuring continuous operation.

In addition, after extensive testing,  Perle IOLAN STS Terminal Servers underwent and passed BT’s “Safe to Connect” requirements, which is a series of requirements more stringent than normal Telco testing would require. The whole of the IOLAN STS Terminal Server range was tested and met the various standards needed.

IOLAN STS DC Rack Terminal Server is available with 4, 8 or 16 RS232 RJ45 Ports, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, Dual Feed 48v DC power ( 36 to 72v DC range ) and an advanced security feature set.


Broadcom uses Perle Terminal Servers in its R+D Labs

Perle Systems Case Study


Broadcom Limited is a Fortune 500 semiconductor manufacturer for wired and wireless communications.

To stay ahead of the competition in the fiercely competitive Telecommunications market, manufacturers spend huge sums on Research and Development. Broadcom spends more than $800 million dollars per quarter on R&D in labs located around the world.

For many years, Broadcom has been using Perle IOLAN Terminal Servers in these labs. Serial data acquired from microcontroller test beds in the lab is sent over Ethernet to remote servers using Perle Terminal Servers as the interface. Broadcom have been using Perle products for years and count on their performance, security and reliability every-day

Thousands of IOLAN Terminal Servers have been installed in numerous Broadcom locations around the world.


About Broadcom:

Broadcom Limited is a diversified global semiconductor leader built on 50 years of innovation, collaboration and engineering excellence. With roots based in the rich technical heritage of technology powerhouses AT&T/Bell Labs, Lucent and Hewlett-Packard/Agilent, Broadcom focuses on technologies that connect our world. With the addition of industry leaders LSI, Avago Technologies and Broadcom Corporation, the company has the size, scope and engineering talent to continue leading the industry into the future.


IoT and patient-generated data are unlocking health care value

Max Burkhalter

The Internet of Things (IoT) driven health care space focuses on wearables, telehealth, and servicing patient with chronic conditions as well as fitness, nutrition, and weight management concerns.

IoT-and-patientgenerated-data-are-unlocking-health-care-value_728_40178584_0_14142561_500According to a 2016 report from Grand View Research, Inc, the global connected health and wellness devices market was valued at $123.2 billion in 2015 but is expected to reach $612 billion by 2024. An increased reliance on tele-health as well as a rising number of individuals diagnosed with chronic illness is creating demand for disease management and continuous patient monitoring tools. IoT connected health devices with access to electronic patient health records can provide comprehensive health information and assist in creating personalized treatments.

IoT Driven Data Sharing
According to Deloitte, health care providers struggle with the fact that interactions with their most vulnerable patients are often sporadic, providing them with low insight into their patients’ daily decisions and activities. Compliance with treatment plans can be compromised and important information missed, leaving the medical provider blind to important health information and frustrated with bad patient outcomes.

If the flow of information and feedback between patients, providers, and caregivers is enabled with IoT connected devices, everyone is able to get on the same page for patient care. Decisions are now made with all pertinent information in hand and patient outcomes improve exponentially. Fortunately, new technology can make that possible, with IoT wearable medical devices that track internal patient data around the clock and make recording external data easy.

The IoT can help unlock patient data.

Patient-Generated Data
The key is patient-generated data (PGD), which is commonly defined within the industry as “health-related data created, recorded, gathered, or inferred by or from patients or their designees to help address a health concern.” Patient reported outcomes, medical-device data, and wearables data can all be part of individualized PGD, and supplemented by more generalized consumer-generated data in a health care setting.

Mass adoption of IoT devices and wearable medical devices, including sensors and mobile communication devices, is an industry growth driver as consumer preferences towards a more health-conscious lifestyle. The advantages of continuous monitoring for many chronic conditions encourages patient compliance and allows daily logging to become more reliable, delivering more accurate PGD for better outcomes.

The Role of IoT in Health Care Value
The latest versions of digital PGD is being increasingly generated by IoT technologies. Two key areas benefit from IoT-connected data collection medical devices, including:

Short-Term Care Planning
A short-term care period can be utilized to generate massive amounts of event related data and create a customized care plan that encourages patient compliance and provides support in the way of feedback, reminders, and continual monitoring.

Long-Term Chronic Disease Management and Home Care
Known health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes can be monitored narrowly with continuous data streams tracking any potentially concerning deviations from normal parameters and providing alerts both to patient and caregiver or doctor if required.

The use of IoT connected devices to record and share PGD presents substantial opportunities for health outcome improvements, patient engagement, and cost savings. Deploying wearable medical devices allows doctors to partner with caregivers to deliver treatment tailored to individual patients, creating a patient-centered environment that promotes compliance and contentment.

Complex patient monitoring devices can be interfaced to a single network connection and managed across the internet. Perle Serial Console Servers provide administrators with access from anywhere, allowing remote management to reduce cost while maintaining network security and patient privacy.