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Wearables change world of BYOx

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A while ago, BYOD was a hot topic, and although it mostly fallen off the radar, it is now being replaced with BYOx or Bring Your Own Anything. In particular, this is referring to wearable devices which need Internet access and bring some new issues to network administrators, says MARTIN WALSHAW.

There was a period a couple of years ago when it seemed that every other article you read mentioned Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Now it seems to have largely fallen off the radar, replaced by Bring Your Own Anything (BYOx) and has become an accepted part of the IT landscape under the wider heading of ‘mobility’.

But this doesn’t mean that BYOD has gone away. Far from it. Even if it’s not the hot topic, all devices that want access to enterprise networks or applications need to be tracked and secured according to the policies that have been put in place – this has become standard practice for businesses. On the horizon though is a new wave of BYOD, coming in all shapes and sizes, with wearable tech.

As consumer tech businesses scramble to create the next big thing, there is no doubt that we’ll start to see these having an impact on corporate resources. Some of these devices will have more of an impact than others: a fitness tracking wearable might eat up a little bit of bandwidth on Wi-Fi but an interactive and immersive device (for example, Google Glass) that is demanding access to files and broader Internet connectivity may start to bump up against firewall and access control issues. With wearables predicted to be a huge growth market, it’s a matter of when, not if, this will happen.

Unlike BYOD though, we’re aware of the impending issues. While smartphones, tablets and the like were dismissed as something of a fad, most businesses have learned their lessons and are better prepared to react to developments. What’s more, the professional use cases are more easily recognised (think wearable cameras for the police or head-mounted displays for surgeons), meaning there will be a greater readiness in some quarters to adopt the technology.

This greater awareness and willingness to embrace wearable technology puts most businesses in a position to prepare themselves adequately for the changing ways in which employees will be using technology in years to come. And as forewarned is forearmed, there should be no excuse for businesses to be unprepared for the impact of the new wave of BYOD. Here are a few thoughts on how to prepare your business for wearable tech:

·         Make sure that your applications are protected – no matter what devices are connecting to the network; if you protect data at the application level you should be in good stead

·         Plan for an influx of devices and the impact they will have on capacity and bandwidth

·         If staff will be using wearables for business purposes, prepare guidance on the applications and acceptable use

·         It’s crucial that your company maintains control over who has access to your network and data. Understanding who is accessing, where from and on what device will allow this level of control

Technology and processes can support businesses through the changing flow of data brought on by wearable technology, but businesses must also remember the people factor, and to communicate any BYOD policy. This will ensure that employees and processes are aligned and that business data is accessed within company policy, regardless of the shift in end-user technology.

* Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

 

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New USB standard doubles up

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The USB Promoter Group has announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, a major update of USB architecture that builds on the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0. It doubles the bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel.

The new USB4 architecture defines a method to share a single high-speed link with multiple end device types dynamically. This ensures that the connections best serve the transfer of data by type and application. As the USB Type-C connector has evolved into the role as the external display port of many host products, the USB4 specification provides the host the ability to optimally scale allocations for display data flow. Even as the USB4 specification introduces a new underlying protocol, compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and, Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices are supported; the resulting connection scales to the best mutual capability of the devices being connected.

“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. “The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”

Key characteristics of the USB4 solution include:

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables
  • Multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus
  • Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3

With over 50 companies actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification, the USB4 specification is on track to be published around the middle of 2019. Coincident with the release of the USB4 specification, the release of an updated USB Type-C Specification will be made to comprehend USB4 bus discovery, configuration and performance requirements.

USB Developer Days 2019, in the second half of this year, will include detailed technical training covering the USB4 specification and the latest for USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, and other exciting topics.

This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and is specifically targeted to developers at this time. Branding and marketing guidelines will be established after the final specification is published.

“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone,” said Jason Ziller, general manager of Client Connectivity at Intel. “By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

“USB4’s high throughput and advanced features enable new scenarios in consumer, enterprise, and intelligent edge markets, while maintaining interoperability with existing USB and Thunderbolt 3 devices,” said Roanne Sones, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft OS Platforms. “We are excited to work with our partners in the ecosystem to bring USB4 to market and showcase its benefits.”

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MWC: Cars begin talking to each other via V2X

Vehicle-to-everything communication is ready to roll out globally, says the 5G Automotive Association

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) announced that ‘Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything’ (C-V2X) communication technology was about to see its first commercial standard: LTE-V2X. In effect the 4G version of C-V2X, the initial version allows vehicles to communicate with each other and their surroundings. Together with 5G enhancements, it will facilitate broad scale improvements in road safety.

“These end-to-end integrated solutions bring enhanced safety, sustainability, and convenience to all road users,” said Thierry Klein, 5GAA vice chair and Head of the Disruptive Innovation Program at Nokia Bell Labs. “5GAA is very excited to be pioneering the revolution towards a smarter and more connected mobility world.”

C-V2X communication is the state-of-the-art, high-speed cellular communications platform that enables vehicles to communicate with one another, with roadside infrastructure, with other road users (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists) using either direct short-range communications or cellular networks. While C-V2X network-based solutions are already widely deployed, direct communication solutions will be commercially available as of this year. As such the C-V2X platform delivers safety, mobility, traffic efficiency, and environmental benefits. C-V2X is designed with an evolutionary path to 5G and supports safe and efficient operations of autonomous vehicles.

Click here to read about 5GAA members spearheading C-V2X.

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