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High-tech satellite to beam broadband from space

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Intelsat, operator of the world’s first globalized network, recently announced that the Intelsat 33e, the second of the Intelsat Epic high throughput satellites (HTS), successfully completed all in-orbit testing and is in service.

Manufactured by Boeing and launched in August 2016, Intelsat 33e is equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft. With this exceptionally flexible HTS payload design, Intelsat 33e, operating from 60° East, will extend Intelsat’s HTS services in C-, Ku- and Ka-band to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions. This will enable the delivery of enterprise-grade, broadband services to fixed and mobile network operators, aeronautical and maritime mobility service providers and government customers. Intelsat 33e’s powerful spot beams will also enable the distribution of regionalized content for media customers operating in the region.

The customers committed to Intelsat 33e and the applications supported reflect the vast geographic coverage of the satellite:

  • Maritime broadband leaders GEE, Speedcast and Marlink
  • In-flight entertainment and connectivity leaders Gogo and Panasonic Avionics
  • Pakistani Internet service provider SuperNet Limited
  • Telecommunications infrastructure customers Telkom South Africa, Orange Cameroon, IP Planet, Vodacom, Djibouti Telecom and Africell RDC SPRL
  • Russian network service providers Romantis and RuSat LLC support enterprise applications
  • Media companies TV & Radio Broadcasting (formerly Television and Radio Broadcasting of Armenia) and MultiChoice of South Africa

In addition to existing customers, Intelsat 33e is attracting new customers. For example, Africa Mobile Networks (AMN), which delivers commercial service to previously unconnected rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, will use Intelsat Epic to help mobile network operators expand in these areas in a cost-effective manner and deliver social, economic, educational and other benefits to the population.

“The experience of implementing Intelsat Epic and bringing it to our customers has affirmed our beliefs about the potential of HTS,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “We have a dynamic, open and evolving platform that will increase in capability over time, providing a technology hedge for our customers that need to make investments today on which they can build for a decade of growth. Intelsat is delivering on the promise of HTS, and our design and strategy will advance our vision of unlocking access to new, larger and faster growing sectors for Intelsat and our customers.”

“Many U.S. government customers are eager to begin using Intelsat 33e,” said Skot Butler, President, Intelsat General Corporation. “Testing previously conducted with Intelsat 29e using a small, flat-panel antenna designed for aeronautical applications confirmed that the Intelsat Epic platform delivers superior performance for unmanned aircraft systems. The coverage Intelsat 33e provides is ideal to support U.S. Department of Defense mobility applications and means deployed forces in these regions will benefit from the same game-changing performance and efficiency that Intelsat Epic already delivers in the Americas and the North Atlantic.”

Intelsat Epic services were launched in March 2016 with Intelsat 29e, which is located at 310° East and offers a footprint spanning the Americas, the Caribbean, Eastern United States and the burgeoning North Atlantic region. Three additional Intelsat Epic satellites – Intelsat 32e, Intelsat 35e and Intelsat 37e – are scheduled for launch in 2017. Intelsat Epic’s global footprint will be completed with Horizons 3e, which is to be stationed at 169° East with a launch planned in the second half of 2018.  Horizons 3e will extend Intelsat Epic’s coverage to the Pacific Ocean Region and further expand Intelsat Epic’s presence in Asia Pacific.

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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