Earlier this week, at the Mobile World Congress, Cisco announced that it will be collaborating with Ericsson and Intel to develop the industry’s first 5G router.
Cisco, Ericsson and Intel are also partnering with Verizon within an ecosystem to accelerate the pace of 5G innovations.
The companies expect the next-generation 5G router to enable business and residential customers to achieve significantly faster networking speeds, lower latency, and the ability to handle exponentially more Internet-connected devices. This advancement is intended to help accommodate the expected explosion of the Internet of Everything, and the streaming of high-definition video content.
This collaboration will help to enable secure, ultra-high speed wireless bandwidth. The solution will offer Gigabit-per-second speeds by combining Cisco’s enterprise networking innovations with Ericsson’s advanced 5G mobile networking technology and Intel’s next-generation 5G silicon. The announcement reinforces how industry collaboration will foster innovation in 5G via end-to-end technology development and trials. It also advances the next-generation partnership between Ericsson and Cisco to create the networks of the future, which was announced in November 2015. For this project, that partnership will be further enhanced by Intel’s contribution of 5G modem and device technology.
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015 to 2020), released earlier this month, the surge in mobile users, smart devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections is expected to increase mobile data traffic eight-fold over the next five years. Mobile video will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application, according to the forecast. A new generation of robust, high performance wireless networks will be critical in facilitating this growth, and 5G networks will be instrumental in helping the industry develop a new economic model for offering new services for digital business transformation – the rapid and escalating value derived from the interconnectivity of people, processes, data and things.
“Verizon continues to accelerate innovation around 5G technology by working closely with our partners,” said Ed Chan, Senior Vice President, Technology Strategy & Planning at Verizon. “We were the first to launch 4G nationwide. With 5G, we will again drive innovation across the technology landscape.”
“The announcement represents a major step forward in mobile technology that will have a tremendous impact on businesses and consumers,” said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s service provider products and solutions. “Only technology leaders of this caliber, partnering with a mobile and 5G visionary like Verizon, are capable of laying the foundation of tomorrow’s mobile network.”
“Collaboration among industry leaders in mobile, computing, and networking is critical to drive innovation and make 5G a reality,” said Asha Keddy, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Next Generation and Standards Group. “This new collaboration is especially exciting because it combines Intel’s silicon and networking expertise with the deep radio access, core and distribution network expertise offered by Ericsson and Cisco.”
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.