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MWC: Panasonic wants your connection

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Panasonic has used Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to introduce a suite of connected products for the first time in Europe.

The company’s IoT includes new connected technology for cars, public spaces and security, including the formal availability launch of the Panasonic Nubo, the industry’s first mobile connected 4G monitoring camera.

“Mobile World Congress brings together Panasonic’s consumer, automotive, business technology, industrial and eco solutions divisions,” said Tony O’Brien, Deputy Managing Director of Panasonic System Solutions Europe. “While we continue to have a very strong consumer electronics presence, increasingly revenue and growth is coming from our B2B sectors. Mobile World Congress gives us a chance to demonstrate how connected products are helping on that journey.”

In automotive, Ficosa, in which Panasonic took a 49% stake in 2015, introduced its Smart Connectivity Module. It integrates antennas, tuners and a local server to create a new generation of connected car, which allows multiple users to simultaneously browse the web, watch movies, listen to music, play online games and access GPS, from different mobile devices.

In addition, the company showcased the V2X Unit, a compact, cost effective module supporting car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications.

Panasonic Automotive also debuted OneConnect, the platform on which Panasonic’s Personal Radio by AUPEO! content service is built upon. It now features a preferred brand loyalty actions service that allows car companies and other brands to directly communicate with drivers and provide them with relevant content and contextual information. For example, notifications on software updates, service reminders and other messages can be seamlessly integrated into vehicle audio at convenient and unobtrusive times for the driver.

For public spaces, Panasonic Light ID links smartphones with digital signage, providing detailed information through blinking LEDs at a speed unrecognisable to the human eye. The system uses a dedicated mobile app to instantly share content between Light ID transmitters, such as displays and LED signboards, to smartphones.

In personal security, Panasonic announced the availability of Nubo, The world’s first 3G/4G Mobile Video Camera which allows users to monitor and treasure their valuables without the need for Wi-Fi.
Designed for both indoor and outdoor usage, Nubo is rain and wind resistant and offers sensor connectivity through an integrated wireless radio. Nubo also offers two-way audio which allows the user to communicate through the camera when an alert is triggered. It is now open for pre-order Europe-wide and will start shipping in Spring 2016.

Panasonic also introduced the world’s lightest fully rugged handheld tablets for business. Its smallest Toughpad device to date, the 4.7 inch FZ-F1 (Windows) and FZ-N1 (Android) handhelds are designed for postal and courier workers, warehouse, retail, manufacturing, field services and the emergency services.

The device has both voice and data capabilities and an HD capacitive multi-touch daylight readable display designed for use in bright sunlight, the rain and by those wearing gloves. The devices can also be used with the optional passive or active pen and are equipped with both 4G LTE / 3G data and voice communications.
To close the event, Panasonic showcased Green Tower, a comprehensive energy infrastructure management solution for increasing network reliability at reduced costs. Green Tower integrates Panasonic’s powerful Lithium-Ion battery and solar technology expertise with PowerOasis’ industry-leading management platform to provide network resiliency beyond grid availability with smart energy generation and storage, responsive control assets, and satellite connectivity for cellular communications and Wi-Fi cell sites.

Provided as a managed Energy as a Service, Green Tower allows mobile operators to avoid capital expenditure, reduce operational costs, increase energy efficiency, and enhance reliability through a paradigm shift from traditional static power to intelligent real-time, remotely managed systems.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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