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MWC: Qualcomm debuts modem-to-antenna tech

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At Mobile World Congress last week, Qualcomm Technologies, announced that the entire Qualcomm RF Front End (RFFE) modem-to-antenna solution and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 Gigabit LTE, and 4K HDR video capture, are featured in Sony Mobile’s Xperia XZ2 smartphone. 

Qualcomm Technologies is the first company in the semiconductor industry to deliver a comprehensive solution from modem to antenna ports for use in a leading premium smartphone. Utilizing Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive solution – including for the first time, the entire Qualcomm RFFE suite – allows Sony Mobile to benefit from system level optimization which facilitates the delivery of global platforms with superior connectivity performance and power efficiency.

The Qualcomm RFFE solution harnesses radio complexity and simplifies the implementation of global Gigabit LTE in mobile devices with a system-level design spanning a suite of RFFE products that utilize modem intelligence and are tightly integrated in a set of comprehensive global RF front end modules. It also helps OEMs to provide superior RF performance and power efficiency to support high data rates in real world networks.

Qualcomm Technologies’ modem-to-antenna solution comprises a suite of RFFE components including:

  • Power Amplifier Modules including Duplexers (PAMiDs). The QPM2621, QPM2632 and QPM2643 PAMiDs support the global low, mid and high bands respectively and integrate our suite of PAs, duplexers/filters including SAW, TC-SAW and BAW technologies, switches and an antenna coupler.
  • QET4100 Envelope Tracker (ET). The envelope tracker utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically adjust the voltage supplied to the radio frequency (RF) amplifier to support peak operating efficiency thereby reducing power consumption and heat.
  • Advanced Antenna Tuning. QAT3550 Impedance Tuner provide advanced adaptive antenna tuning. This technology utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically optimize the antenna match with the active transmit and receive frequencies to mitigate signal degradation from hand blocking, metal back designs and other effects, and is designed to improve throughput, call reliability and reduced power/battery consumption.
  • QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 Diversity Receive Modules. These diversity receive modules combine our switches, BAW and SAW filters and low-noise amplifiers into a highly integrated module that is a user-friendly solution for implementing high-order MIMO and diversity receive paths for global LTE Advanced and Gigabit LTE architectures.

The QPM2621, QPM2632, QPM2643 PAMiDs, QAT3550 antenna impedance tuner, and QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 diversity receive modules are supported for use with the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

“With the proliferation of 4G frequencies and devices, coupled with 5G devices coming soon, OEMs and operators will be challenged to deliver high-quality user experiences while considering cost- and time-efficiency in developing mobile devices that work around the globe on a variety of networks,” said Christian Block, senior vice president and general manager, Qualcomm’s RF front end business unit. “Sony Mobile’s integration of Qualcomm Technologies’ RFFE modem-to-antenna solution showcases how Qualcomm Technologies works with customers to provide the tools they need to create new devices that can address the requirements and opportunities offered by Gigabit LTE and future 5G networks.”

With increasingly crowded networks, operators are challenged to bring maximum coverage and advanced features to users. Qualcomm RFFE modem-to-antenna solution is engineered to help operators maximize the use of all licensed, shared and unlicensed spectrum assets while delivering superior network coverage, device performance and worldwide roaming. With this solution, device OEMs can scale their products globally with support of hundreds of carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO combinations delivering connection speeds up to 1.2 Gigabit per second LTE.

“We are pleased to work closely with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to introduce innovative smartphones,” said Izumi Kawanishi, director, executive vice president, product business group, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies’ enables excellent RF Front End performance across low, mid and high bands, and its comprehensive tightly integrated modem-RFFE interaction, provides the system level optimization we need to deliver the best-in-class mobile experience our customers expect.”

As the radio environment becomes more complex, a well-designed, advanced RFFE system is critical to the mobile experiences end-users demand from their devices and to prepare for the launch of 5G devices. Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive modem-to-antenna solutions are optimized to support exceptional connection reliability, blazing-fast data speeds, superior indoor/outdoor coverage, world roaming capability and long battery life.

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UN calls for electronics overhaul to beat e-waste

Seven UN entities have come together at the World Economic Forum to tackle the escalating scourge of electronic waste.

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Seven UN entities have come together, supported by the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to call for an overhaul of the current electronics system, with the aim of supporting international efforts to address e-waste challenges. 

The report calls for a systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, trade unions, civil society and associations in a deliberative process to reorient the system and reduce the waste of resources each year with a value greater than the GDP of most countries. 

Each year, approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) are discarded — the weight of more than all commercial airliners ever made. In terms of material value, this is worth 62.5 billion dollars– more than the GDP of most countries.  

Less than 20% of this is recycled formally. Informally, millions of people worldwide (over 600,000 in China alone) work to dispose of e-waste, much of it done in working conditions harmful to both health and the environment. 

The report, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot,” launched in Davos 24 January, says technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), support gradual “dematerialization” of the electronics industry.  

Meanwhile, to capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and create global circular value chains, the report also points to the use of new technology to create service business models, better product tracking and manufacturer or retailer take-back programs.  

The report notes that material efficiency, recycling infrastructure and scaling up the volume and quality of recycled materials to meet the needs of electronics supply chains will all be essential for future production.  

And if the electronics sector is supported with the right policy mix and managed in the right way, it could lead to the creation of millions of decent jobs worldwide. 

The joint report calls for collaboration with multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, academia, trade unions, civil society and associations to create a circular economy for electronics where waste is designed out, the environmental impact is reduced and decent work is created for millions. 

The new report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes: 

  • International Labour Organization (ILO); 
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU); 
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); 
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); 
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); 
  • United Nations University (UNU), and 
  • Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions (BRS). 

The Coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG).  

Considerable work is being done on the ground. For example, in order to grasp the opportunity of the circular economy, today the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment announce a 2 million dollar investment to kick off the formal e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over 13 million dollars in additional financing from the private sector.   

According to the International Labour Organization, in Nigeria up 100,000 people work in the informal e-waste sector. This investment will help to create a system which formalizes these workers, giving them safe and decent employment while capturing the latent value in Nigeria’s 500,000 tonnes of e-waste. 

UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on e-waste projects, including UNU, ILO, ITU, and WHO, as well as various other partners, such as Dell and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a UNIDO e-waste project, co-funded by GEF, seeks to support sustainable economic and social growth in 13 countries. From upgrading e-waste recycling facilities, to helping to establish national e-waste management strategies, the initiative adopts a circular economy approach, whilst enhancing regional cooperation. 

Another Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) report launched today by the World Economic Forum, with support from Accenture Strategy, outlines a future in which Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies provide a tool to achieve a circular economy efficiently and effectively, and where all physical materials are accompanied by a digital dataset (like a passport or fingerprint for materials), creating an ‘internet of materials.’ PACE is a collaboration mechanism and project accelerator hosted by the World Economic Forum which brings together 50 leaders from business, government and international organizations to collaborate in moving towards the circular economy. 

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.

Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.

With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.

Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.

Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist. 

So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?

For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.

In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.

This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.

In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.

As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.

This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.

The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.

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