Tokyo Olympics getting the internet of things treatment

23 Jun 2017

Tokyo Olympics. Image: Korkusung/Shutterstock

Technology and sport tend to go hand in hand, with video improvements, sensors and everything in between constantly upgraded. For the Olympics, this is no different.

This week’s internet of things (IoT) news is as varied as it is exciting, with an Irish-based research centre, in particular, catching the eye.

Cúram at NUI Galway has established itself as a life sciences hub over the past few decades, telling of its grand plans for the future earlier this week.

Opened as recently as September, the €68m centre for medical devices research has 24 industry partners and works with six of Ireland’s largest universities.

Internationally, this expands to 403 collaborators and, in just a matter of 10 months, the centre has accumulated €22m in EU funding under various research projects, nine of which it is leading.

Elsewhere, the world’s most powerful supercomputers have been named, with China once again leading the charge.

Two Chinese supercomputers and an upgraded supercomputer in Switzerland now rank ahead of the US in the overall global list, released earlier this week.

China last year revealed the most powerful machine in the world, the Sunway TaihuLight, with 93 petaflops of processing power. It is this machine that still reigns supreme.

But what else did you miss this week?

Olympic Games of things

Intel has partnered with the International Olympic Committee to bring IoT to one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

Running until the 2024 games in either LA or Paris, Intel’s deal will see a raft of new quirks brought to the Olympics, largely from a visual standpoint.

For example, Intel will supply “technological and content support” for the broadcasting of the Olympic Games. What this means, at this stage, is unclear.

There will also be 5G programmes rolled out from next year, presumably to be trialled at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

There will be VR presentation of the games, a drone light show and 360-degree replay technology.

“We are excited to join the Olympic Movement and integrate Intel’s innovative technologies to advance the Olympic Games experience for fans around the world,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO.

“Through this close collaboration with the Olympic family, we will accelerate the adoption of technology for the future of sports on the world’s largest athletic stage.”

Samsung chipping in

Samsung has released its first entirely IoT-focused processor, with the catchily named Exynos i T200 armed with souped-up security and the ability to support wireless connections.

It’s the latter that Samsung hopes will give it a leg up in the IoT market which, even at this stage, is probably still in its infancy.

“The Exynos i T200 is an IoT solution optimised to deliver both the performance and security demanded in the IoT market,” said Ben Hur, VP of system LSI marketing at Samsung.

“With various Exynos solution offerings, Samsung will deliver further differentiated value to not only mobile devices but also non-mobile spaces, including automotive and IoT.”

Samsung said its enhanced security function comes from a hardware block called the Security Subsystem.

Sigfox has London in its sights

French IoT company Sigfox has ambitious plans to make London its connectivity baby, aiming for its network to reach 95pc of the city’s population before the decade is out.

Arqiva, an established partner of Sigfox, will continue to service its existing network infrastructure, and WND UK will deploy, operate and maintain a nationwide network, as well as develop Sigfox’s services.

Sigfox’s network technology enables low-powered, low-cost devices to wirelessly connect to the internet. Its network, currently present in more than 30 countries, is already being used across the UK in applications including smart metering, facilities management and healthcare.

Telefónica goes big

NetComm’s US and Europe operations are due a boost, as the company has signed a global IoT supply agreement with Telefónica.

The partnership allows the latter to now offer new 3G, 4G, M2M and IoT capabilities for smart city, mobility, retail and energy applications across multiple geographies.

“Telefónica is driving digital transformation on a global scale with a focus on IoT innovation, and we are pleased to join Telefónica’s partner ecosystem as the need for smart remote communication between business assets and machines becomes ever more critical for enterprises globally,” said Philip Micallef, GM of M2M at NetComm Wireless.

Tokyo Olympics. Image: Korkusung/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic