New house blueprints reveal how we can solve Wi-Fi ‘deadspot’ issues

16 Jun 2017

Image: tommaso79/Shutterstock

Wi-Fi deadspots shouldn’t be a problem for future homes as new blueprints have been issued, showing how to build connected houses.

It has been a busy week for those in the field of the internet of things (IoT), with a series of reports quoting some rather big figures when it comes to its proliferation.

Some went as far as to say it is an unstoppable force, with market analysts IDC offering its latest prediction that IoT global spending will reach a staggering $1.4trn by 2021.

IDC also forecasts that worldwide spending on IoT will grow 16.7pc this year, reaching more than $800bn by the end of 2017, with the $1bn mark hit by mid-2019.

Areas such as manufacturing operations, freight monitoring and production, and asset management will be the key to this growth, with industrial IoT (IIoT) clearly the flavour of the month.

This is evident with low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) provider Actility, which this week revealed a new Series D funding round of $74m.

Actility said the financial backing would enable it to roll out IIoT solutions with its partners in areas such as logistics and supply chain, smart buildings, and energy and utilities.

Here in Ireland, editor John Kennedy had a rare chance to meet the ‘father of the internet’, Vint Cerf, who was in Dublin for the international Data Summit.

Cerf, along with Bob Kahn, designed TCP/IP – the infrastructure on which the entire internet depends to send and receive data – but admitted that the importance of privacy was not considered when they started off on their path.

“Remember, we were a bunch of academics, mostly engineers, and our interest at the time between 1973 and 1978 was to get it to work at all. And we were all about sharing information anyway,” he said.

Blueprints for a truly smart house

Moving on, every house appears to have ‘deadspots’, or areas where Wi-Fi seemingly can’t penetrate, bringing frustration to the dwellers.

However, houses built from now on can be created with connectivity at the forefront, with the release of a new set of guidelines from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

“The requirements consider the increasing number of smart home devices expected in homes over the next decade, and the growing demand for data-intensive usages such as virtual reality and simultaneous 4K video streams,” the alliance said in a statement.

“Wi-Fi Home Design will scale to accommodate both the growth in Wi-Fi devices and high-bandwidth applications.

One construction company called Lennar in the US is the first to sign up to the certification, and has said that its homes will allow future homeowners to “enjoy a truly connected lifestyle”.

Romania, the new fibre capital of Europe?

Prysmian Group, a major telecom cable systems provider, may have just made Romania the new fibre capital of Europe, with the opening of an optical cable plant – the largest on the continent – in the city of Slatina.

The new plant is part of a three-year investment worth €250m to meet the growing demand for optical cables for the deployment of new high-speed telecom networks globally.

“The digital transformation goes through the development of new broadband and ultra-broadband fibre optic telecommunication networks, and only the fibre can provide the necessary speed and reliability,” said Prysmian Group’s senior VP for telecom business, Philippe Vanhille.

“These strategic infrastructures must be based on a high quality and designed to provide high performance over time, so as to be ready for the services of the future like 5G, smart cities, smart transportation and smart homes.”

GM ready to mass-produce autonomous vehicles

We might still be quite a while away from seeing fleets of autonomous vehicles driving on our streets, but General Motors (GM) in the US is getting ahead of the game, announcing that it has just mass-produced its first batch.

According to USA Today, CEO and chairperson Mary Barra confirmed that GM has manufactured 130 of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt models, and is the only company capable of doing this at the moment.

“The level of integration in these vehicles is on par with any of our production vehicles, and that is a great advantage,” Barra said.

“In fact, no other company today has the unique and necessary combination of technology, engineering and manufacturing ability to build autonomous vehicles at scale.”

GM has been testing its autonomous vehicles since June, but the technology has to be improved upon before committing to another batch.

New robot can churn out hamburgers like nobody’s business

According to Business Insider, a robotics start-up called Momentum Machines has raised $18m in funding for its efforts to effectively put fast-food cooks out of work, thanks to a machine that can churn out hundreds of hamburgers in one hour.

Rather than being a simple conveyor belt, the machine is capable of typical chef duties, including cooking the meat, preparing the toppings and bagging the product for the customer on the other end.

There are plans to open its first retail location in the near future, with trials already completed in San Francisco, but no confirmation of a time frame has been given yet.

Potentially quelling fears of this innovation spelling the end for thousands of minimum-wage jobs, Momentum Machines said that it would add staff in other areas of the business, such as technology development and customer service staff.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic