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CES: 5G moves beyond mobile

The CES expo next week will showcase 5G high-speed mobile internet beyond its mobile phone implementations, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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This year will see integration of 5G in consumer technologies as global leaders in the high-speed Internet technology begin rolling out 5G infrastructure. The brands to watch are Qualcomm, Intel, Ericsson ands Huawei. The first three of these will use the CES expo in Las Vegas next week to highlight how far beyond mobile the technology can be taken.

Almost a month ago, Qualcomm announced that 5G would be coming to its System on Chip (SoC) products. In the same announcement, Qualcomm announced its 5G-ready Snapdragon 855 processor. All-in-one SoC solutions have proven to be profitable to the chip maker and convenient to integrate for smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and LG. 

Multi-gigabit 5G technology will also be demonstrated at Qualcomm’s stand on an unreleased OnePlus device, to show off its mobile applications. The Snapdragon 855 chip is claimed to download a typical movie in 17 seconds with its 5G modem, compared with six minutes for 4G. (visit www.qualcomm.com or main booth #10948 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre to learn more).

Qualcomm’s second stand at CES (North Hall #5609) will demonstrate automotive connectivity. Connected driving with the combination of integrated low latency 5G will increase the feasibility of connected car systems, as response time will be reduced.

Qualcomm’s modem rival, Intel, stole the show at last year’s CES expo with its “5G tunnel” where expo visitors could use a 5G device to transmit ultra high definition video content with multi-gigabit 5G technology.

“Intel’s new XMM 8160 5G modem provides the ideal solution to support large volumes for scaling across multiple device categories to coincide with broad 5G deployments,” says Cormac Conroy, corporate VP at Intel.

Intel is expected to bring its 5G-ready 8160 modems to market in the first half of this year. The company is also likely to announce a new 5G product at CES. (visit www.intel.com or Main Booth #10048 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre to learn more).

At CES 2018, Ericsson jointly showed the benefits of 5G with Intel, where Ericsson showcased its 5G tower technology and Intel showcased its modem. This tower transmitted over the 28GHz band, for which the company needed prior approval from the FCC.

This year, Ericsson is taking a different route by partnering with Veoneer, a company specialising in advanced driving assistance systems and automated driving. Veoneer will be using Ericsson’s secure cloud platform and 5G-ready network to improve response times for advanced driving and to improve real-time driving analytics.

• Bryan Turner is data analyst at World Wide Worx and writer for Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanTurnerZA

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CES: Most useless gadgets

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: Language 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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