17 Aug 2017

Is Fiber Internet Connection the Future of Smart Home?

What will be the next solution to the crowded internet space as more people set up smart homes?

Since the days of dial-up access, the internet connection comes into the house at a single point. Back in those days, a length of telephone wire connected the family computer to the outside world. The switch to WiFi and broadband didn’t change much, except households now connect their wireless router to the outside world – still through a cable.

All your devices connect to the internet through that central hub. In a typical house, you might have a Roku box, a laptop or two, the family’s smartphones, and an Xbox hooked up to the router.

In a smart home? You’ll have a lot more devices than that. Think light switches, thermostats, smartphones, surveillance systems, media streamers, medical devices, smart kettles, and maybe a Roomba.

The more devices connected to the network – and ultimately the internet connection – the slower the speeds become for each device. Think of those annoying “video is buffering” messages. Or choppy music playback through wireless speakers. Some devices might not work at all.

The increasing number of WiFi networks in your neighborhood also make the problem worse. The radio bands get crowded, and interference causes its own issues.

That’s not something you want in a world where things like wearable medical devices will need a stable, reliable internet connection.

What’s the solution to this crowded internet space as more people set up smart homes?

Fiber internet. 

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09 Aug 2017

­China’s Tech Scene and the Internet of Things

Is Beijing set to rival Silicon Valley as China’s tech scene continues to grow?

When you think about technology and the places it stems from, the most obvious location that springs to mind is Silicon Valley. The name was first coined in 1971, so the area holds a lot of history alongside its list of success stories.

Forty-six years later, Silicon Valley is no longer the only player on the technology block. Other cities, like London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, have thriving tech scenes producing exciting innovations.

But what about China? We’ve seen Samsung from South Korea, HTC from Taiwan, and countless companies from Japan. Is the growing popularity of Huawei any sign of China’s booming tech scene?

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02 Aug 2017

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as the New Standard

What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and is it really the “New Standard”?

If you’ve ever used Bluetooth on a device, you’ll know how frustrating it can be sometimes. Your battery drains faster than usual. If you move mere inches out of range, your connection drops. And that’s if the devices will pair in the first place.

What may be an annoyance for you is a big problem for the Internet of Things (IoT) community. Bluetooth is a protocol available for connected devices – in other words, Bluetooth is a language devices can use to speak to one another. It’s also predicted to be used by 60% of all devices by 2021. Users won’t rely on systems if they can’t move freely while using devices, and if communication between devices is unpredictable.

The adoption of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE or Bluetooth LE) as the new standard looks set to fix many of the old issues of Bluetooth.

Originally marketed as Bluetooth Smart, BLE’s main aim is to operate at a lower cost and with drastically reduced power consumption. That’s not to say you’ll lose communication range. Far from it – BLE aims to offer four times the same range as Bluetooth 4.2.

BLE dates back to 2006, first introduced as Wibree by Nokia. Adopted into the Bluetooth standard as part of the 4.0 spec in 2010, BLE already appears in today’s mobile operating systems.

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26 Jul 2017

Reviewing the Voice Recognition Competition: Alexa, Google, Siri and Cortana

Voice recognition seems to be on everyone’s mind, with all of the major players in the game. But who is really winning this competition?

It’s 5 pm, and you’re sitting in your living room, relaxing and streaming media to your Smart TV with the SURE Universal Remote app.

Out of the blue, your virtual assistant reads a text from a friend out loud, inviting you to dinner. You ask your AI to respond with a “yes,” and order you an Uber while you go upstairs to get ready.

Before you leave, you ask to set an alarm for 7 am the following morning. Your ride arrives, and you head off for dinner.

It sounds like something from a futuristic science fiction film, doesn’t it? But, with the recent growth in artificial intelligence (AI), it’s fast becoming a reality.

When it comes to AI and voice recognition, you have plenty of choices. Between the Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa, there is a smart home virtual assistant available for most devices.

Let’s find out more about them.

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20 Jul 2017

SURE Universal Introduces the First Software-Defined IoT Platform Based on Open Connectivity Foundation Standard

SURE Universal Ltd. Delivers a Complete Software Solution for IoT Based on OCF Standard Which Ensures Interoperability Between Different Appliance and Manufacturers

Tel Aviv — SURE Universal Ltd. introduces the Software-Defined IoT (SD-IoTTM) platform as the next-generation software solution for digital media, Smart Home, and IoT. At MWC Shanghai in July 2017, SURE Universal demonstrated an Android based Set-Top Box (STB) that includes both Smart TV and IoT gateway functionality based on OCF protocol.

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19 Jul 2017

Are Robotics the Future?

With news stories like Amazon’s alleged use of drones to deliver packages, some people wonder how integral robotics might be in the future.

The popularity of films like Wall-E shows we’re ready to embrace robots in our daily life. They’re an easy way to pass on the chores we don’t want to do. With advances in machine learning and more advanced artificial intelligence (AI), a future like the one seen in The Jetsons might not be too far away.

Let’s look at some of the robotics that may become commonplace in the next few years.

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12 Jul 2017

DVDs vs Streaming: Which is Better?

DVDs are becoming less and less common, and big video rental stores are dying out. Is streaming really the better option?

Do you remember the days of visiting a video rental store on a weekend? How long would you spend browsing the huge range of titles, guessing how good the movie would be based on the cover?

With the demise of Blockbuster in 2013, the film rental culture looked as though it might die out. People continued to buy DVDs and Blu-ray discs, though the sales of physical media fell by 17% in the UK in 2016, compared to a 23% boost for digital streaming revenue.

With improving internet speeds and better streaming devices, will streaming overtake DVDs as the platform of choice for film viewing?

Let’s look at the battle between DVDs and streaming.

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05 Jul 2017

IoT Wearables and Your Health

The boom in wearable devices has accelerated alongside the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) within the smart home.

Tech Republic predicts there will be 780 million wearable devices by the end of 2018.

If you haven’t encountered wearable devices yet, they often take the form of smartwatches or fitness trackers like the FitBit. They track the health and physical progress of the wearer.

They sound futuristic, but wearable technology isn’t new. The calculator wrist watch appeared in the 1970s. Steve Mann introduced the wearable webcam in 1994 – decades before GoPro made wearable cameras popular.

The Nike+iPod emerged in 2006, which saw a user’s movements synced to the music on their iPod. Google Glass first appeared in 2011, and both the Apple Watch and FitBit arrived in just the past few years.

But, when you consider the advancement in wearables combined with the latest in IoT technology, the future looks exciting and the possibilities are almost endless.

Let’s take a look at what’s in store when it comes to wearables and your health.

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28 Jun 2017

Is Technology Making People Less Social?

Following the growth of the Internet of Things, and the general boom in technology available to the public, more people question the impact technology has on the way society works.

95% of Americans now own a smartphone. 96% of Americans shop online, meaning fewer opportunities to chat with neighbors or take part in the local community. Concerns around privacy, and the inability to touch or handle items, still prompt shoppers to visit physical stores.

Such double-sided concerns beg the question – is technology making people less social?

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21 Jun 2017

­How Has Lighting Changed Our Lives?

To celebrate Summer Solstice this year, let’s take a look at how lighting has changed our lives.

It’s June 21st – the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. After today, the days grow shorter as we roll through the fall and into winter.

If you stop and think about it, though, you’ll realize summer has barely started.

The thought of shorter days and losing sunlight can get you down in the dumps, but with the huge advances in lighting technology, we’re never truly in the dark.

With daylight on our minds, let’s take a look at how lighting has changed our lives.

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