Home Connectivity Reimagined

The need to be “connected” at all times and have a “smarter” home is putting a huge stress on our home networks. Think about the typical house today, which has 10 or more connected devices such as tablets, laptops, smartphones, gaming systems, appliances and so on. Forecasts expect this number to grow over the next few years with 35 to 50 or more connected devices in the average home.

Today’s home network infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with the increasing demands for bandwidth. To create the best possible experience for consumers, we must deliver faster broadband connections along with more consistent connectivity that extends to all corners of the home.

Faster Broadband Access

Networks need to be faster, smarter and flexible enough to be upgraded without disrupting existing infrastructure. This is why we are expanding the Intel AnyWAN product family with a new G.fast solution. The Intel AnyWAN SoCs, in combination with the new Intel AnyWAN transceiver VRX618, will give telco service providers the ability to harness the speed of the new G.fast standard to bring gigabit access to the home while still maintaining backward compatibility with legacy copper access technologies for smooth migration.

Home Connectivity Hubs

Once we have faster connectivity to the home, the goal is to carry that connectivity to the various devices within the home, with gateways serving as a “hub” or controller. I’m excited about the number of leading OEMs and service providers who are introducing new gateways and routers, including ASUS, Deutsche Telekom, Netgear and Phicomm. These new gateways are using Intel’s unique Wi-Fi offering that allows up to 128 clients — seriously, up to 128 clients — to share the same bandwidth simultaneously and still maintain high-speed connections. As a result, they can scale to accommodate the growing number of connected devices we are bringing into our homes.

For cable networks, we have been investing and leading innovations for many years, including a leading role in the specification and development of the DOCSIS 3.1 standard and, now, Full Duplex DOCSIS. This week during ANGA COM, we showcased with Cisco the first live industry demonstration of Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1, from cloud to client. Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 enables cable providers to offer higher speed connections at lower capex and also faster time to market of more sophisticated services and applications to their customers.

Whole Home Coverage

The challenge with many of today’s home networks is that using a singular connectivity hub doesn’t always provide consistent, reliable connectivity to every corner of a home. As you have probably seen in your own house, Wi-Fi throughput degrades as a connected device gets farther away from that central home gateway. Even with repeaters and extenders, the increased pressure on the infrastructure from more devices and connected activities results in inefficiencies and inconsistent throughput.

To address this challenge, Intel is introducing the Intel Home Wi-Fi Development Kit. Our partners can use this to develop a dynamic, adaptable network of gateways and intelligent range extenders. In addition to providing “coverage,” this type of intelligent network anticipates and adjusts dynamically, ensuring that consistent connectivity is delivered to each client device, regardless of the number of devices or bandwidth demands.

Connectivity is the electricity of the domestic revolution, and it needs to be just as reliable as any utility service in a home. As we embark on our path to a well-connected home, we can start to deliver on the promise of a truly smart home.

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The Future Is Symmetrical with Full Duplex DOCSIS

This past weekend, while I was attending one of the world’s biggest auto racing events in my hometown of Indianapolis, I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between the race and what I do at Intel. When cars are flying around the track, speed and reliability are absolutely critical. But what sets the winning drivers and teams apart is their intense dedication to continuous improvement that leads to better, more efficient ways of doing things, whether it’s faster pit stops or innovating next-gen technology. And I feel like we at Intel are achieving just that for cable broadband.

Nielsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth states that users’ bandwidth increases 50 percent each year, and, as a result, consumers are seeing continuous improvements in cable bandwidth. These faster speeds support the many smart, connected devices we now have in our homes and enable higher-quality connected experiences — from virtual reality to immersive PC gaming to 4K streaming and more. In fact, the number of connected devices per home is expected to grow to more than 35 by the year 2020. While this is exciting for consumers, it raises several questions for our industry: What does this mean for network infrastructure? And how do we expand its capacity to accommodate increased demand, without disrupting service, yet still provide great experiences?

The current generation of Ultra DOCSIS 3.0 solutions (such as those based on the Intel Puma 6 SoC) ushered in the first generation of 1 Gbps hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) cable networks. The most recent DOCSIS technology (DOCSIS 3.1), developed by Intel in collaboration with its partners, paves the way to multigigabit speeds, meaning it can compete with fiber alternatives. Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 (FDX) is the next step in evolutionary technology advancement that enables simultaneous gigabit upstream and multigigabit downstream, all over the same frequency spectrum.

Ready for prime time

Although not a new idea, full-duplex communication (the transmission and reception of signals at the same frequency at the same time) is a hot topic because of advances in signal processing that now allow actual commercial deployment of Full Duplex DOCSIS networks.

Intel and Cisco gave the industry its first live demonstration of Full Duplex DOCSIS, from cloud to client, at ANGA COM 2017. The specification, which Intel has played a leading role in developing, showed conference attendees how it enables service providers to offer higher speed symmetrical bandwidth. This creates the best experience possible for customers while lowering the total cost of ownership.

Exceeding expectations with technology

Since their first generation, Intel Puma SoCs have delivered DOCSIS technology that drives the advancement of Nielsen’s Law with lower cost compared to new fiber construction costs. Our next generation of Intel Puma SoCs will do the same, and Intel’s Full Duplex DOCSIS innovations will enable cable providers to deliver multigigabit speeds to tens of millions of homes across the country.

And the push for innovation doesn’t stop there. Intel is also investing in transforming networks as described recently by Dan Rodriguez, Intel VP of communications infrastructure, in a blog post about how network function virtualization (NFV), including cable access network workloads, will run on virtual machines.

We will continue to support cable operators with faster speeds and cost-effective solutions to roll out multigigabit symmetrical services through the latest Intel innovations: Intel Puma SoCs, FPGAs and Intel Xeon processors. With Full Duplex DOCSIS, the future is symmetrical and full of new, smart and connected experiences.

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The Intimacy of Autonomous Vehicles

This post was originally published on Core77.

Currently, most of the attention on autonomous vehicles is focused on the technology that lets cars drive themselves. However, in the near future, the industry will need to broaden its focus to include what is arguably just as important: the passenger. At Intel, we’ve been working on technology platforms that will allow cars to actually drive themselves for some time. More recently, our UX team has turned to designing, prototyping, and testing a number of experiences for how passengers will operate autonomous vehicles, how passengers will feel safe and confident during a trip, and how these automated systems will communicate clearly, so passengers will understand what an autonomous vehicle is doing, and why.

Much of this work has led us to spend quite a bit of time inside vehicles—incorporating new technologies and new interactions to understand what should be optimized on our platforms—and in this process, we’ve started thinking about the ways in which the physical interiors of autonomous vehicles may need to change. So I’d like to share a few initial thoughts as we begin to form hypotheses about what will be important in these new physical interiors.

One aspect of car ownership we often take for granted is the relationship between driver and passenger. With the exception of picking up a hitchhiker, a driver knows his or her passengers—family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances—and because of this, there’s a familiarity that lets people share such a small space. And even with taxis and ride hailing services, a front seat/back seat separation exists between driver and passengers, where passengers who share a ride almost always know each other. However, with ride hailing services introducing reduced-rate “pool” options, strangers are now riding in the backs of cars together. And with driverless “mobility-on-demand” services likely to be one of the first ways autonomous vehicles enter the market, we will likely see an increase in the number of passengers who don’t know each other, sharing rides regularly in vehicles without a driver.

Of course, most people have experience sharing rides with strangers. Buses, subways, airplanes, and trains are just some of the ways we travel together. But although we’re often shoulder-to-shoulder, the relatively large interiors, and larger number of people traveling together, make it easy for us to assume a certain degree of anonymity. It’s easier for us to keep to ourselves in the midst of the crowd. But with autonomous vehicles, the interiors are much smaller and hold far fewer people. It’s the closeness of the space—the intimacy— that will be a significant challenge for designers. These interior environments will need to address a number of competing needs. How will they accommodate groups of strangers, and also groups who know each other? How will they provide space for being social and for keeping to oneself? How will they create experiences that promote sharing while also safeguarding individual privacy? And all of these situations will undoubtedly be heightened with no human driver to help set context or mediate interactions.

So, the intimate nature of autonomous vehicles will most likely lead to a significant rethinking of vehicle interiors, prompting car companies to innovate in a variety of ways. But when it comes to designing how people will share these close spaces with each other, we’ve identified three general challenges that seem particularly important for designers to tackle first:

 

Being together & being apart

From one ride to the next, we see an ever-shifting need to be social or private. Some people will want to sit side-by-side, others across from each other, still others will want to sit in a small circle to share or socialize—all while other passengers may want their own more private, personal spaces. All of this means that seating will have to become much more changeable, flexible, and adaptable. How might seats be combined or separated? Can they be brought out or stowed away, to create more or less space? In what ways could seats be reconfigured into individual or shared seating?

 

New ways to create privacy

In such intimate spaces, the pressure to have some sort of social interaction with other passengers, even a brief hello, may be substantial. In some contexts, passengers will want to engage, but in others they may want to keep to themselves. Currently, people use headphones or stay heads-down in a book to signal that they are “unavailable” for conversation, but physical aspects of the interior might also be designed to help create discrete spaces. How might partitioning be incorporated into the environment? Could lighting be used to signal a need for privacy? What interior layouts will let passengers use their mobile devices without someone looking over their shoulder?

 

The ebb and flow of our devices

If one of the main value propositions for autonomous vehicles is to free up driving time for other activities, then passengers will likely use their mobile devices for chatting, texting, watching content, or being productive. This means that vehicle interiors must account for the various needs we have with our mobile devices. What physical areas (device “cup holders”?) will enable us to charge, view, and use our devices hands-free? How will the space accommodate the bags, cases, power cords, stands, headphones, and other peripherals we bring with our devices? And how will the space make it easy for us to remember our devices, so we don’t leave them behind at the end of a trip?

Again, these three challenges look at the interiors of autonomous vehicles as shared environments, much like taxis or ride-hailing vehicles, where passengers may or may not know each other. Many in the industry believe that autonomous vehicles will first hit the market as fleets of “robot-taxis”. This is likely because the value propositions of autonomous vehicles seem familiar and well-aligned with the current “anytime, anywhere” promise of ride-hailing services. For personally-owned autonomous vehicles, other interior design needs will arise, and many aspects of the above challenges may not apply at all.

It will be interesting to see all of the ways these interiors will come to be, as the industry marches on and autonomous vehicles become a reality. In a few short years, we might take a ride, if we’re confident they are safe and trustworthy. And we might continue riding in them, if the interiors are designed with our needs, comfort, and privacy in mind.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

 

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Smart Factory Solutions and Demos in Full Gear at Hannover Messe

The Factory of the Future, Industrial 4.0, and the smart and connected factory: Regardless of what it is called, the transformation of how companies are accelerating innovation represents a dramatic change in process based on new technologies. Among the catalysts are artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G, enabling the next turning point in modern industrial history. We need only look to the rapid growth springing forth from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to become aware of the tremendous potential that lies before us.

Recently, I wrote about how connecting machines is a bridge to the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). What’s exciting is how that bridge can enable the factory of the future, creating a dynamic workplace, where machines are networked together for smarter production. As we approach Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, I’m excited to share a sneak peek at a couple of the demos we have planned for our booth in the Digital Factory Exhibition, Hall 7, D12.

 

Industrial Wearables: Smart and Connected Workers

Recon Jet Pro glasses

Every manufacturer strives to make workers more productive and safer. Now, with connected wearable technology, you can provide them with the right data at the right time in order to improve efficiency and avoid safety hazards. Want warehouse workers to pick faster and with fewer errors? IoT-enabled smart glasses and headsets allow workers to access an inventory list, locate items, validate pics, and track progress – entirely hands-free. These wearable devices can also help other types of workers, like field service engineers sent out to repair equipment.

At Hannover Messe, visit the Intel booth to explore connected worker wearables like Recon Jet Pro smart glasses and consider how augmenting worker capabilities in the field can streamline and may even eliminate the need to send additional support to a site.

 

Automated Factory: Miniaturizing the Smart Factory with FPGAs

Cobots team up on some awesome manufacturing equipment.

Like other manufacturing scenarios, factory automation has helped Intel increase throughput and the precision of its factory processes. In the future, higher levels of automation are expected to enable autonomous manufacturing, which will eliminate nearly all manual steps needed to operate and reconfigure production lines. Internet of Things (IoT) is a key enabler for many automated factory imperatives, such as open standards-based automation solutions, information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) convergence, business intelligence, and dynamic collaboration.

Intrigued? At Hannover Messe, we’re teaming up with Exor to show how smart factory solutions can employ reconfigurable FPGAs that can adapt to changing protocol standards like time-sensitive networking. Join us to see how this can enable industrial solutions that are quick to assemble, robust, complete, and flexible.

 

Predictive Maintenance: Managing and Visualizing Factory Data

A cobot gets a little fine tuning before springing into action on the smart factory floor.

Unplanned downtime can bring production to a grinding halt, which is why situation operations managers do a lot of preventative maintenance in order to avoid equipment breakdowns. At regular intervals, whether needed or not, service engineers run diagnostics, great parts, and swap out components, even if they’re still good. Predictive maintenance is a potentially lower cost alternative that continuously monitors equipment health using IoT sensors to measure temperature, vibration, throughput, and more. Meanwhile, machine learning algorithms differentiate normal wear from problematic behavior for individual pieces of equipment. The result is that warnings can be sent when equipment maintenance needs are imminent.

At Hannover Messe, we’ll be showing a Fujitsu manufacturing solution that can monitor factory data in near real-time using a dashboard that consolidates, manages, and visualizes large amounts of data to make the manufacturing space more efficient.

 

Make Intelligent Connections at the Intel Booth

Join us at the Intel booth at Hannover Messe (D12, Hall 7) in Hannover, Germany, April 24- 28, 2017 and discover how Intel is powering the new IoT-enabled industrial revolution. We look forward to seeing you in Hannover.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Intersections of Collaboration: Creating a More Secure Ecosystem for Automated Vehicles

This is the third in a 3-part series of blogs on trends in next-generation automotive safety and security. In part one, I wrote about the 15 Hackable Points in Next-Generation Vehicles. In part two, I examined What’s Next in Automotive Security. To learn more, check out our eBook “The Car of the Future.”

In my previous posts, I wrote about how we can enable stronger security through a comprehensive car-to-cloud approach, and what’s next in automotive security. However, modern vehicle security goes beyond the door lock. That’s why Intel takes an approach that starts well in advance of product design. Here are six ways Intel is building security technologies into every point across the new transportation ecosystem.

 

An automotive sketch.

Designing for Rigorous Life Cycles

Like the systems they target, hackers’ techniques evolve over time. Intel’s design cycle includes ongoing internal and external security audits to evaluate and swiftly respond to new potential threats. In addition, to help minimize the attack surface of tomorrow’s connected and automated vehicles, ECU consolidation and virtualization shows significant architectural benefits as well as cost savings to the automaker.

 

An illustration showing 15 hackable points on an automated vehicle.

An Expanded and Hardened Automotive Security Portfolio

By adding focused expertise, Intel is accelerating our own capabilities for development of functionally safety products. Recent acquisitions of YOGITECH and Arynga software are reinforcing our already rigorous manufacturing methodologies and quality systems.

Developing a 5G Network

Get ready for breakneck speeds. 5G will deliver incredibly high bandwidth and low latency, opening the doors for fast and secure vehicle-to-everything (V2X) applications, OTA updates, and entertainment services. Intel is paving a path forward with expertise in network monitoring and enforcement to improve the authenticity and integrity of data transmitted across 5G networks. Moreover, by collaborating with leaders in the telecom industry, Intel is ensuring that secure connectivity solutions for the automotive industry will be ready when 5G arrives.

 

An image of a car dashboard with a touch screen.

Building a Heterogeneous Architecture

Rather than relying on a single compute architecture to handle everything, Intel- based platforms harness a flexible architecture of CPUs and integrated accelerators. With multiple domains of overlapping compute and sensor fusion, workloads can be distributed with greater safety and security. These designs are ideal for level 3, 4, and 5 automated vehicles.

 

Truck wheels roll on, across an endless desert, sensing the future.

Tapping Into a Trusted Analytics Platform

It’s easy to collect data. The challenge is extracting value from it. Intel developed the Trusted Analytics Platform (TAP), an open source software optimized for performance and security, to help developers securely connect big data with applications. This simplifies solution development so that transportation providers can derive value from data faster.

 

Sensors awaken, a bright car-to-cloud future, autonomous now.

Nurturing Ecosystem Collaboration

Intel is investing in partnerships with hardware vendors, software vendors, and integrators to develop secure solutions for the automotive industry. To accelerate collaboration, in 2016 Intel announced a USD 250 million Intel Capital investment fund for the automotive ecosystem. In addition, Intel is a founding member of the Future of Automotive Security Technology Research (FASTR) industry consortium, dedicated to being the security trusted advisor to the automotive ecosystem – www.fastr.org .

Learn more about the road ahead for automated vehicles by visiting intel.com/automotive. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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