Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be defended by drone-catching drones

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be defended by drone-catching drones

Authorities in South Korea are preparing to defend the Winter Olympics, to be held in Pyeongchang later this month, from drone-related terror attacks. 

What goes up must come down, so it’s no surprise that a counter-drone industry is emerging, dedicated to bringing rogue pilots down to earth with a bump.

The rise of readily available flying robots was always going to represent a safety risk. That risk is now more pronounced than ever; many consumer-level drones are capable of operating even while the pilot is sat miles away.

There are plenty of methods available for authorities keen to prevent drones from flying where they shouldn’t. Some are wacky rather than practical, like the Dutch police’s brief experiment training eagles to bring down quadcopters. Others are more sophisticated, attempting to track, jam, hack or spoof the drone in question into heading back where it came from or hovering in place.

Read more: Ralph Lauren deploys wearable tech for Team USA’s Winter Olympics uniform

The Winter Olympics’ aerial anti-terrorism measures

It appears as though South Korean officials will deploy a range of counter-drone measures at next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The most notable is the inclusion of a drone-catching drone, which will use a net to entangle nefarious drones and carry them safely away from the action.

The surrounding skies above the Olympic venues in Pyeongchang, Gangneung and Jeongseon have been classified as no-fly zones for the duration of the games. Should an authorized drone enter that airspace, South Korean officials have prepared a detection radar in partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST).

Signal-jamming guns will be fired towards the drones in question, which could result in immobilization, causing them to fall from the sky, return to their pilot or simply hover. That’s where the addition of drone-catching drones might come in handy.

Failing all of those measures, special forces agents have been busy rehearsing scenarios and will be ready to shoot down anything they don’t like the look of.

Read more: US Army grounds DJI drones over ‘cyber vulnerabilities’

Justified concerns

Fortunately, there hasn’t yet been an incident at a public event in which an off-the-shelf drone has been weaponized and used as part of a terrorist attack.

The high-profile stories involving drones disrupting sporting events, for example, tend to be the result of overzealous aerial photographers with no malicious intent. But reports have emerged from Syria and Iraq showing how such actions are both plausible and potentially lethal.

Authorities the world over are aiming to stay one step ahead and have countermeasures in place before the threat is realized.

Australian anti-drone company DroneShield has this week launched a new, smaller tool, the DroneGun Tactical.

The DroneGun Tactical works in a similar way to the company’s previous models. It aims to jam incoming drones with frequencies that will trigger the return to home function, leading authorities back to the pilot in the process.

The DroneGun Tactical is smaller than the previous anti-drone model, but is capable of jamming a wider range of frequencies.

Read more: Boeing engineers unveil heavy-lifting cargo drone


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Internet of Business

Rotterdam and IBM plan to create ‘world’s smartest port’ with IoT

port of rotterdam and IBM team up for smart, IoT-enabled port

The Port of Rotterdam and IBM have today announced a multi-year initiative that will harness IoT technologies to transform the port’s operational environment and prepare for the smart ships of the future. 

The Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is the largest shipping hub in Europe, handling more than 461 million tonnes of cargo and over 140,000 vessels every year. The port provides work for 90,000 people and accounts for 3.3% of Dutch GNP.

Although the Port of Rotterdam is already recognized globally for service quality and seen as the shipping gateway to mainland Europe, things are about to be taken up a notch.

In partnership with IBM, the Port of Rotterdam will undergo a multi-year digitization initiative. The aim is to enhance the entire 42-kilometre port area with IBM’s IoT technology and cloud data management. In other words, to make Rotterdam’s port the smartest in the world.

Read more: Maersk and Ericsson collaborate for IIoT success story

Creating the Port of Rotterdam’s digital twin

The IBM IoT initiative will effectively create a digital twin of the port. This replica will mirror the port’s operations and conditions, from ship movements to weather to water depth. Analysis of the digital twin will be used to track operations in real time, run test scenarios and improve efficiency.

The Port of Rotterdam processes over 140,000 ships every year. Managing the berthing of each vessel is a complicated task that can take several hours. IBM’s new digital dashboard is expected to speed up these procedures, saving shipping companies and the port up to one hour (and tens of thousands of dollars) per ship.

The dashboard will take data from a variety of sources, including IBM’s ‘digital dolphins’. These smart quay walls and sensor-equipped buoys will provide data on the status of berthing terminals, as well as water and weather conditions. The data gathered has benefits as part of a wider overview, but it will also give port operators the ability to predict the best possible time for ships to dock depending on cargo size, among other things.

IBM will also work with multiple partners to develop 3D metal-printing capabilities at RDM Rotterdam, the port’s innovation hub. Robotic welding arms will be used to create ship components on demand, speeding up the process from around 1,600 hours to just 200.

All of this technology is being put in place with a view to building a connected port able to host autonomous ships by 2025.

Read more: Rolls-Royce navigates Google deal on machine learning for shipping

Rotterdam’s smart port ambitions

Paul Smits, chief financial officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, is pushing for the port to be at the forefront of the autonomous wave set to hit the shipping industry.

“Here in Rotterdam, we are taking action to become the smartest port in the world,” he said.

“Speed and efficiency is essential to our business, and requires us to use all of the data available to us. Thanks to real-time information about infrastructure, water, air, etc., we can enormously improve the service we provide to everyone who uses the port, and prepare to embrace the connected, autonomous shipping of the future.”

Read more: Dubai shipping company Topaz links ships to shore with Maritime Connect

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Internet of Business

Huawei unveils global expansion plans for Huawei Pay

Read more: Crunchfish aims to make mobile payments swimmingly easy Putting security and usability first

Huawei has signed an agreement with UnionPay International in a bid to bring its Huawei Pay payment service to more countries around the world.

Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei is working with financial services company UnionPay to take its Huawei Pay service global and provide a better mobile payment experience for users of its mobile devices.

The two companies initially joined forces in 2016 in order to develop Huawei Pay, essentially an alternative to Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Now, they’re looking to expand the availability of the app.

With the app, Huawei and Honor smartphone owners are able to make payments by adding their UnionPay bank cards and placing their handsets on a POS (point of sale) machine. The service has only been available in China until now.

Read more: Crunchfish aims to make mobile payments swimmingly easy

Bold expansion plans

There are clearly many mobile payments apps out there and plenty of competition. Huawei is trying to differentiate its offering with the claim that it focuses no security, using all-device protection and payment token technology in order to protect users’ privacy and data.

Currently, the service is supported by 66 banks and 20 mobile devices, including smartphones and smartwatches. Huawei expects the app to increase in popularity as it sells more smartphones and smartwatches across the world. It claimed the expansion of the app will “increase the number of Huawei Pay transactions carried out annually”.

Alex Zhang, president of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service, said that mobile payment services are becoming an integral part of the global economy. “Open sharing is an important direction for the future of the digital economy and intellectual interconnection, which is why Huawei’s end-user cloud services built an open and globalised smart mobile ecosystem for the end-user experience,” he said.

Read more: Bank of America, FitPay partner to speed up wearable payments

Russia first

The companies confirmed that Russia will be the first market to get the service. At the moment, 85 percent of Russian POS terminals and ATMs accept UnionPay bank cards.

Larry Wang, vice president of UnionPay International, said it regularly forms partnerships with technology companies and financial organisations to “integrate the advantages of each party”.

He said: “This cooperation with Huawei is of great significance. Firstly, with this agreement, the two sides realise cooperation on a global scale, and issuers outside mainland China can now launch Huawei Pay pay-as-you-go once connected to the UnionPay Mobile Service Platform, which greatly saves time and costs.

“Secondly, UnionPay’s innovative products are an important propeller for the business localisation of the two parties, and it supports payment upgrades in more countries and regions.”

Read more: Internet of Banking & Payments: where every device is a payment device

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Internet of Business

Interview: Driving economic growth in the smart city of tomorrow

Interview: Driving economic growth in the smart cities of tomorrow

How does a smart city best leverage IoT technology to drive economic growth, Internet of Business asks Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant, part of InterDigtal?

Smart city technologies could drive more than 5 percent incremental growth and $ 20 trillion in additional economic benefits over the coming decade. That’s the bold claim made in a new report commissioned by mobile technology R&D specialist Interdigital on behalf of its Chordant smart cities-focused business, and produced in partnership with market research company ABI Research, Roles of Smart Cities for Economic Development. 

Those are some pretty big numbers and presumably involved some fairly complex calculations in the background, so Internet of Business spoke to Vanja Subotic, director of product management at Chordant InterDigtal, to discuss some of the issues raised in the report.

Read more: Cisco announces $ 1 billion smart cities fund

What’s the connection?

Internet of Business [IoB]: Your report makes a strong argument that smart city development is important to the wider economic development of cities – but can you explain the connection?

Interview: Driving economics growth from smart cities

Vanja Subotic of Chordant (InterDigital)

Vanja Subotic: Smart city developments, which include improvements in mobility, infrastructure, established practices and the overall quality of life, are instrumental in attracting businesses and consequently citizens living in those cities and working for those business. It is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, where smart city technologies aid in economic development, but increased economic development requires more investments in smart cities.

IoB: And how will open data policies impact the development of smart cities?

Vanja Subotic: Open data policies enable public data sharing among different city departments and outside with individuals and businesses. This in turn allows stakeholders to better understand situations and trends, while solving various challenges. By bringing all data assets into one environment cities can open the door to innovation that will result in efficiencies and benefits to citizens.

Read more: Juniper Research names UK’s top ten smart cities

Hoping it sticks

IoB: InterDigital has already said that this is not a case of deploying technology and ‘hoping it sticks’, but of city administrators making careful, strategic decisions. What do they need to consider in order to maximize their chances of success?

Vanja Subotic: Even in the technology realm, city administrators need to consider standards-based solutions to promote thriving ecosystems. Beyond that, there are other important factors to consider. City administrators will need to ask themselves what kind of cities they want to become and what the priority services and areas should be. This will require city stakeholders to think carefully about public-private partnerships, open data policies, citizen input and participation. This of course won’t be possible without a seamless procurement and execution process.

IoB: Are there any significant pitfalls that smart city administrators should look out for?

Vanja Subotic: Deploying technology isn’t always a simple process, so there are definitely pitfalls to be considered by smart city administrators. For example, not understanding existing governing structure, departments and data can hamper efforts, while struggling to secure funding and failing to apply a priority/phased approach can also significantly reduce the success of smart city projects. City administrators should also take into account working with legacy systems, the needs of citizens and properly ensuring an equitable approach across the socio-economic strata.

Read more: Climate change will be among KPIs for smart cities by 2020, says Gartner

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Internet of Business

Smart battery leader Moixa partners with Itochu for Japanese expansion

Smart battery leader Moixa partners with Itochu for Japanese expansion

UK smart battery company Moixa has agreed a partnership with Itochu, one of Japan’s largest trading houses. The deal includes a £5 million investment to push Moixa’s AI-enabled battery systems to the global market. 

Smart batteries from London-based Moixa can be installed in homes to store electricity when it’s at its cheapest. They are designed to give customers more control over their energy use, while protecting them from price hikes and power outages, and Moixa’s GridShare technology underpins a network of smart batteries that sells excess electricity back to the grid.

Itochu, meanwhile, is a sogo shosha (a Japanese general trading company), the second largest after Mitsubishi Corporation, and works in a wide range of markets, from textiles and  chemicals to information technology and real estate.

It already sells smart batteries, but Moixa’s GridShare technology has captured its interest. This is what enables Moixa customers to profit from their increased energy efficiency, since electricity stored during periods of low pricing or topped up by solar panels is sold back to the national grid, with a share of the profits going to each member of the network.

Read more: Japanese companies form alliance to accelerate smart factories

GridShare technology goes east

Itochu will have sold more than 6,000 units its ‘Smart Star’ home battery system by the end of March and plans to install GridShare as standard on its products by the summer of 2018.

Japan leads the way in terms of domestic energy storage. More than 125,000 smart systems were sold in 2016. Moixa and Itochu expect this number to exceed 500,000 in 2020. Japan also sits third in the global table of electric vehicle adoption. 

Koji Hasegawa, general manager of Itochu’s industrial chemicals department, said: “Moixa has pioneered battery management, and we are proud to be investing and working together to target the rapidly growing energy storage market in Japan.”

“Moixa’s GridShare will help our customers get more value for their home batteries and will offer solutions to help our partners manage Japan’s low-carbon transition.”

Read more: Brunel scientists develop flexible, wearable 3D-printed battery

Moixa’s ‘Virtual Power Plant’

The Moixa-Itochu partnership is a step towards developing Japan’s ‘Virtual Power Plant’. This forward-looking business model is based on making sure that distributed energy sources – including domestic solar panels and smart battery storage – are controlled in an integrated manner.

Moixa already has significant interest from stakeholders in Japan. Last year, it received investment from utility provider Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). It also has a partnership with Hitachi to develop a smart energy network in the Isles of Scilly.  

Moixa CEO Simon Daniel sees the Itochu partnership as the next step in his company’s global expansion. “Itochu is a major player in the global battery market and this partnership provides a real opportunity for us to expand our business in Japan and provide GridShare technology to many global battery companies,” he said.

“GridShare optimises the performance of home batteries by learning patterns of household energy use and solar generation, and adjusting to local weather and energy price signals. It can also help customers make more money by using their spare battery capacity to provide services that help utilities and electricity networks balance supply and demand.”

Read more: Metals shortages pose little risk to future battery production, MIT finds

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