5 Technologies Changing the World

March 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM

 

In this age of technological advancement, the world is changing faster than ever. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry or area of our lives that hasn’t been touched by some type of technology. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest technological advancements that are changing the world around us.

 

Clean Energy

 

As more data is showing that the Earth is getting warmer, there is more attention being paid to clean energy as a real solution. In the past, attempts to combat climate change by implementing clean energy has been a hard sell. But scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs have been hard at work creating new options that make clean energy convenient and cost-effective. Since 1977, the price of solar cells has dropped 99.5% as a result of technological and manufacturing advances in clean energy. At this rate, it’s possible that solar will soon cost less than fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has also dropped dramatically and represents one-third of newly installed US energy capacity in the last decade. Wired and wireless networks are being built to support the energy industry as more countries and organizations are taking advantage these cost savings and moving towards clean energy, a trend that could have a big impact on the world.

 

Computerized Medicine


The role of wired and wireless technology and computers in medicine is expanding from record keeping to applied technologies that are leading to medical breakthroughs. Data analysis software is analyzing genetic sequencing to detect things like cancer and help determine the best course of treatment. Technology is aiding in huge advancements in prosthetic limbs and brain-to-machine interfaces will soon allow prosthetics to be controlled by our thoughts. Computers are also becoming more proficient at diagnosing diseases. Recently, an artificial intelligence system used patterns in 20 million cancer records to make a diagnosis that doctors weren’t able to make. Furthermore, it is expected that in 10-15 years we will be able to reverse paralysis with brain implants that will restore movement taken away by spinal cord injuries.  

 

3D Printing

 

There is a lot to like about 3D printers, they open up a new world of possibilities. 3D printers allow designers, engineers or consumers to take a design directly from their computer and make it into a physical object. From creating product parts without the cost of tooling, to prosthetic limbs, toys and even food, the possibilities of a 3D printer span as far as the imagination can dream. And with the price of 3D printers dropping dramatically, those possibilities will be open to more and more people, creating an expanded realm of innovation like we’ve never seen before.

 

Self-Driving Vehicles

 

Over the next 2-4 years, self-driving cars are expected to become a mainstream mode of transportation and reshape the world. There are already self-driving cars on the road that are safer than human-driven cars in most conditions. With cars being the leading cause of death for people ages 15-29 years old, a safer car could save a lot of lives.  Most self-driving cars will be used continuously through a ride-hailing app, Lyft is using them already in Boston. This would drastically reduce the need for parking spaces which take up 20-30% of usable space in most cities. Furthermore, the idea of cars communicating with one another to avoid accidents and alleviate traffic jams, all while allowing human riders to spend commuting time interacting with one another, working or studying, will truly be revolutionary.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Automation


Most people have had an experience with an automation in the form of an automated customer service system when calling a company or office. Those types of systems, which can be very frustrating at times, are going to become more prevalent. Fortunately, they’re also going to get much better. Smart devices will also be able to make better, more accurate suggestions and recommendations by learning humans’ patterns and preferences with increased automation. We are likely to see more automation and artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrating more and more industries. From manufacturing to fast food to journalism, more jobs will become fully or partially automated. We could see self-serve food kiosks in the near future and automated drones are already being tested to make deliveries. With all of these technological advancements comes a fear of lack of interpersonal communication, but hopefully with more services being automated, humans will take advantage of having more time to interact with one another.

 

White Paper: Wireless Antenna Mounting

March 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The key to any wireless network is the wireless antenna. It is the hub to which all other parts rely. When determining the right antenna for your application, you must first consider the best location for your antenna, then you have to figure out how to mount that antenna. Our white paper takes an in-depth look at different antenna mounting options for directional and Omni-directional antennas.  

 

Here are some of the common installation options covered for antennas and access points:

 

NEMA Enclosure Mounting:

  •       -   Typical configurations run a pigtail cable from the access point or radio to a bulkhead N-female adapter or coax lightning protector, then attach the antenna directly to the adapter or lightning protector
  •       -   Antennas can also be mounted remotely

 

Pole Mounting:

      -  Using rugged, clamp-style mounting brackets included with most of L-com’s Omni-directional antennas

      -  Upper and lower articulated clamp mounts used with sector-style antennas

      -  Yagi and patch-style antennas use tilt and swivel clamp mounting systems

 

Side of Building Mounting:

      -  HGX-UMOUNT can be used to mount antennas to the side, roof parapet or under the roof eaves of a building.

 

Mobile Mounting:

      -  Several options are available for mobile mounting, including magnetic mounts, NMO bulkhead-style mounts and using a CA-AM1RSPA010 mobile mounting cable

 

Window Mounting:

      -  Suction cups can be used for window mounting

 

Outdoor Access Point Mounting:

      -  Pole mounting or wall mounting are typically utilized for access points

      -  A NEMA enclosure might be needed to protect the access point, surge protectors etc.

 

Click here to read our Wireless Antenna and Access Point Mounting white paper.

 

All our free white papers are available from our website by clicking here.

 

Case Study: HBM SoMat

March 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

For more than 65 years, our customer HBM has provided precise and reliable products for a variety of test and measurement applications across a wide range of industries. HBM’s SoMat product line is an innovative portfoloio of precision data acquisition systems for field and lab analysis. Across industries including aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and everything in between, SoMat products  have helped companies by delivering rugged and modular data acquisition systems able to perform a range of on-board data processing while enduring harsh environments.

 

This issue HBM was having was finding a durable, custom interface cable solution at a competitive price for its SoMat product line. Their current cable did not provide the strain relief that was required by its customers. SoMat products used cables that had assembled backshells and because of the non-uniform shape of the cable bundle, the cables were pulling out of the backshell. This flaw was costing the company in product returns and repairs, and leaving customers unhappy.

 

L-com provided HBM with several custom engineered D-subminiature cable assemblies with molded backshells (similar to the one shown here) that were able to replace the existing assemblies. L-com’s cables solved the strain relief problem and reduced overall system cost without compromising design requirements, which fully met HBM’s customers’ requirements.

 

To read the full case study, click here.

 

The Full Spectrum of Wireless Communications Protocols and Standards

March 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The IoT is the driving force behind most wireless technology today. Everything including cars, smart homes, businesses and cities will be connected by the IoT. Plus, an estimated 300 million smartphones are slated to have artificial neural network (ANN) learning capabilities that would enable functions such as navigation, speech recognition and augmented reality.

 

With all the wireless technology rolling out and market demand for wireless communications applications continuing to grow, the development of different wireless technologies is also exploding to meet that demand. In fact, there are so many new technologies emerging that some directly compete with one another and frequencies overlap.

 

Many protocols are in accordance with IEEE 802.11 standards. The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) develops the most widely known wired and wireless standards, which encompasses local and metropolitan area networks. The fundamental IEEE standard of 802.11.n had of a minimum of 31 amendments through 2016, with more in the process. These cover everything from Ethernet, wireless LAN, virtual LAN, wireless hot spots, bridging and more.

 

Other IEEE standards include:

 

-    IEEE 802.15.4 for Simplified Personal Wireless and Industrial Short-Range Links

-    IEEE 802.15 Wireless PAN

-    IEEE 802.16 Broadband Wireless (WiMAX)

-    IEEE 802.22 for Wireless Regional Area Network (WRAN), with base station range to 60 miles

-    IEEE 802.23 for Emergency Service Communications

 

802.11 wireless technology began when the FCC released the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands for unlicensed use. The ISM bands were then established in 1974 by the International telecommunication Union (ITU).

 

These are the frequency allocations as determined by the ITU:

 

Min. Freq.

Max. Freq

Type

Availability

Licensed Users

6.765 MHz

6.795 MHz

A

Local Acceptance

Fixed & Mobile Service

13.553 MHz

13.567 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed & Mobile Service except Aeronautical

26.957 MHz

27.283 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed & Mobile Service except Aeronautical & CB

40.66 MHz

40.7 MHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed, Mobile & Earth Exploration/Satellite Service

433.05 MHz

434.79 MHz

A

Europe

Amateur & Radiolocation Service

902 MHz

928 MHz B

B

Americas

Fixed, Mobile & Radiolocation Service

2.4 GHz

2.5 GHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed, Mobile, Radiolocation, Amateur & Amateur Satellite Service

5.725 GHz

5.875 GHz

B

Worldwide

Fixed-Satellite, Radiolocation, Mobile, Amateur & Amateur Satellite Service

24 GHz

24.25 GHz

B

Worldwide

Amateur, Amateur Satellite, Radiolocation & Earth Exploration Satellite

61 GHz

61.5 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Fixed, Inter-satellite, Mobile & Radiolocation

122 GHz

123 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Earth Exploration Satellite, Inter-Satellite, Space Research

244 GHz

246 GHz

A

Local Acceptance

Radiolocation, Radio Astronomy, Amateur & Satellite Service

 

In addition to IEEE standards, other technologies have broken away from IEEE and made the move to special trade organizations and even changed their names. Plus, there is a slew of short range communications standards vying for dominance, including ANT+, Bluetooth, FirstNet and ZigBee. No matter what your wireless communication application is, rest assured that there are plenty of standards and protocols to refer to when designing your wireless network.

 

The IIoT and Manufacturing

February 22, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing many industries, including manufacturing. With the introduction of the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and all of its benefits, manufacturing is being transformed by value-add opportunities and smart technology. In fact, manufacturing, transportation and utility industries are forecast to make the largest IIoT investments. However, there is a lot of work that goes into IIoT implementation. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the IIoT is changing manufacturing.

 

Traditionally, manufacturing companies focused on large operations that required a large capital layout with the goal of consistency and repeatability. Organizations adopting IIoT technology must not only dedicate capital to technological improvements, but also change the way they do business. Return on investment is driven by connected operations, smart preventative maintenance and predictive analytics. As IIoT implementation accelerates the speed of business, companies must increase the speed of their internal processes to keep up the pace. Introduction of the IIoT has also shifted customer expectations. Customers expect companies to be nimble and adaptive, and so the manufacturing processes must evolve to meet those expectations.

 

With all of the changes that come along with the IIoT, completing a successful rollout is a challenging task. Security is an issue to consider, if your systems are breached, production can come to a halt. Another challenge is the slow adoption of standards and interoperability. It can be expensive to upgrade your equipment. Also, many manufacturers prefer to use their own proprietary technologies, which may not meet IoT standards. Correctly interpreting the analytics to create the best outcome is a challenge, it takes time to understand how to best integrate the IIoT as a part of the manufacturing process and into your specific business model. Resistance to change also can slow the adoption of the IIoT and its overall success in the industry. For smaller operations, implementing the IIoT and everything that goes along with it, may seem like an insurmountable task. Thus, many of the companies leading the way are large, complex, industrial operations that can absorb large projects, such as an IIoT rollout. 

 

The IIoT offers an array of benefits to the manufacturing industry, but integration of this revolutionary technology is a process that doesn’t happen overnight.

 

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