The Downside of Big Data

February 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Big Data is all the rage right now and is the driving force behind a lot of new technologies breaking barriers today, including data science, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though big data may help us to achieve medical breakthroughs, explore far away galaxies, plan and prepare for natural disasters and even feed the hungry, there are still some downfalls. Along with the insights and opportunities that come with all this data being collected, there are some significant issues that need to be recognized.

 

The first issue is privacy. The big data being collected contains a good deal of personal, private information about our lives and we are entitled to keep that information private. With so many apps and services being offered that use big data, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who should be able to access to our data and how much we should divulge. Finding a balance between accessing the benefits of big data while still maintaining some type of anonymity is an issue worth discussing.

 

Secondly, data security concerns are growing as fast as the big data industry. The high-profile data breaches last year brought to light how important it is to secure our data. Can we truly trust anyone to keep our data safe? If a trusted source is breached, sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can deeply impact our lives for years to come. Plus, is the legal system equipped to regulate data use at this large scale and if our data is compromised, can appropriate legal action be taken?

 

 

One more area of concern is data discrimination. With all this data available, how will it be used, and will people be discriminated against based on the data collected? For example, credit scores are used to determine who can get a loan and we’ve seen that those can be compromised, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives. The insurance industry also relies heavily on data to determine coverage and rates, meaning people could be charged more or denied coverage based on these reports. Increased detail in the data collected will also increase scrutiny from companies. Steps might need to be taken to ensure that resources or opportunities aren’t taken away from those who have fewer options and less access to information.

 

Overall, big data is making a lot of big advances in the technology industry. Care might need to be taken that this data is used in the proper way, that private matters are kept private, that people’s data is secure and that regulations are in place.

 

Antennas & the IoT

January 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

With all the excitement surrounding the development of the IoT, there is one important part that can’t be overlooked – the antenna. Antennas are integral to implementation of the IoT. Connecting all of the physical objects that make up the IoT requires antennas transmitting a massive amount of data. Thus, without antennas, there would be no IoT.

 

As IoT use increases, so does the demand for more antennas that meet the needs of IoT applications and meet the expectations of users. Thus, antenna manufacturers and designers have had a voice in the development of IoT devices and are meeting the call for antennas that are up to the task.

 

Here are some of the ideal traits for antennas designed for IoT applications:

 

Small Form Factor – One of the biggest trends in IoT antennas is smaller form factors. As IoT devices are being implemented in more industries, manufacturers are looking to shrink device footprint. And as devices get smaller, so must the antennas. These small form factor antennas include embedded antennas, PCB antennas and chip antennas.

 
High-Performance – Designers have been working to deliver small antennas without sacrificing performance capabilities because demand for speed and capacity is also growing. Even if the device is the size of a coin, its antenna still needs to meet high-performance standards.
 
Cost-Effective – Adding antennas onto all of these devices can be costly. As device demand increases, manufacturers have begun looking for antennas that will be economic to use on the devices. 
 
Beyond being small, powerful and cost-effective, there are some other areas of antenna technology that are emerging with the development of the IoT. These include:
 
Two antennas – While two antennas will not be necessary for MIMO communications with lower category LTE devices, two antennas will be needed for Cat4 and above in order to meet requirements for higher speed and throughput systems. LTE cellular networks will also continue to use two cellular antennas to fully achieve high-speed performance.
 
MU-MIMO – Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) has breathed new life into Wi-Fi by allowing multiple devices to communicate with the access point at the same time. This has made a significant improvement to wireless network throughput and impacted dense, high-capacity networks.
 
Low-Power – Low-power technologies, such as ISM-band solutions, are being developed to provide longer battery life for devices and allow long-range communications at a low-bit rate. Plus, smartphone technologies such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) are being adapted to be utilized in IoT applications.
 

How Big is Big Data

December 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Big data is the driving force behind many of today’s technological trends. Artificial intelligence, data science and the Internet of Things (IoT) all depend on big data to keep them going, but the idea of big data is still incomprehensible for many. The fact is, big data touches all of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. Here, we’ll help you wrap your mind around just how big, big data is.

 

Every time we use our smart phones, tablets or computers for things like GPS, social media, online purchases or to download a new app, we are creating data and leaving a digital footprint. This year, a mind-blowing 7.7 zettabytes (7.7 billion terabytes) of data is expected to be transmitted through mobile networks globally, which is only a portion of the total data being processed through data centers around the world.

 

What do we do with these billions of terabytes of data? All of this sensor information, photos, text, voice and video data is used by organizations for insights leading toward better, strategic business decisions. Currently, big data is being used in many industries, including the following:

 

Education – Data provides educators with insights to improve school systems and curriculums to better educate students. Data analysis can also help identify at-risk students, evaluate student and teacher progress, and better support teachers and administrators.

 

Government – Big data analytics allow government agencies to better manage departments and deal with issues like traffic and crime.

 

Health Care – Speed and accuracy are of the upmost importance in health care and big data allows patient records, treatment plans and prescription information to be managed more effectively than ever.

 

Manufacturing – Insight from big data allows manufacturers to solve problems faster and make more agile business decisions, which, in turn, improves quality and output while reducing waste.

 

Retail – Retail companies rely on big data to build relationships with their customers. Understanding customer wants and needs allows retailers to better market to customers, make transactions smoother and bring customers back to shop again.

 

 

Big data is being used for more than business profit, it is also being used to make the world a better place. Here are some areas in which big data is having a big impact:  

 

Disease Research - Data-driven medicine analyzes large amounts of medical records and medical images to identify patterns that can help discover disease early and develop new medicines to treat and prevent diseases like cancer.

  

Feeding the Hungry –  Big data can be used to improve agriculture by maximizing crop harvests, minimizing pollutants emitted into the ecosystem and optimizing use of machines and equipment.

 

Exploring Far Away Planets – Every NASA mission is based on millions of points of data that have been analyzed to expose every possible outcome.

 

Crime Prevention – Police departments use data to develop strategies for resource deployment and to deter crime when possible.

 

Natural and Man-Made Disasters – Sensor data is used to help predict which areas are likely to be affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and floods. These predictions can save lives by providing advanced notice to area residents. Identified trends in human behavior patterns can help relief organizations better provide aid to survivors. Big data is also used to monitor and protect the flow of refugees escaping war-torn areas around the world.

 

Of course, the more data we collect, the greater concerns become regarding privacy and security. Overall, big data makes our lives better and the benefit might outweigh the risk. Everything from crime prevention and cancer research to online shopping, crowdfunding and planning your next vacation has improved because of big data.

For more information on big data and how it’s processed, check out our blog post Big Data and the Information Autobahn.

 

5 Things You Need to Know About the Cloud

August 31, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

If you’re like most people, you probably have pictures or some other type of files stored in the cloud, but do you really understand what the cloud is? For many people, the cloud remains a mystical place that they still can’t quite comprehend. Here are 5 things you need to know about the cloud:

 

1.  When something is stored in the cloud, it is actually in a physical place. The cloud is like a giant IT data center, it is a massive infrastructure of thousands of servers that are connected by cables, switches, connectors and patch panels. All of these parts work together to store data, provide virtual desktops, global data access and more.

 

2.  Cloud computing relies on many geographically dispersed servers that provide millions of people with reliable and limitless access to their library of and images, video, audio and data files through the Internet. This frees up local RAM and hard drive space, but it also means that the interconnect components that make up the cloud need to be fast and dependable to keep up with user demand.

 

3.  The consumer cloud is different than a cloud for business. Consumer cloud computing is for those using cloud Internet services casually at home or in small offices. When it comes to business, there are several cloud models being used:

 

-  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – businesses subscribe to an application that is accessed using the Internet

-  Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – businesses create their own custom application for everyone in the company      to use

-  Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – the big names in tech (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.) provide a              backbone that can be used or “rented” for use by other companies

 

4.  The cloud is big business and is having a big impact on business. Worldwide public cloud services are anticipated to grow 18% this year to reach $246.8 billion. Cloud computing is also expected to be the most measurable factor impacting businesses in 2017. Cloud platforms allow for more complex business models and coordination of globally integrated networks – more so than many experts predicted. Cloud services are also increasingly being used by small and medium businesses, which is also increasing the revenue forecast.

 

5.  The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, and with the IoT has come increased use of cloud computing technology. Eventually, IoT devices may become extensions of cloud data centers.  The cloud is a powerful force in the technology industry and a global trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

 

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5 Things You Need to Know About Industrial IoT

July 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

With the Internet of Things promising a world that is fully automated where objects can communicate without humans, it only makes sense that this technology could be used in other ways –enter the Industrial IoT (IIoT). This next iteration of the IoT applies the IoT technology to industrial applications and is slated to revolutionize the way we do business. Here are 5 things you need to know about the Industrial IoT:

 

1.       It’s smart business

We’ve heard of smart houses, smart cars and even smart cities, now we’ll have smart businesses. The goal of the IIoT is to improve efficiency, productivity and operations on a global scale by linking people, data and intelligent machines. Machines will be able to communicate and work with each other in machine to machine (M2M) networks to optimize production and workflow. 


2.       It takes business into the Cloud

The IIoT integrates physical machinery with software and sensors that can be networked to the Cloud to provide real-time visibility of business assets. These smart machines deliver data that is analyzed and used to monitor and control operations and make real-time decisions, which improves operational efficiency, saves money and reduces waste.

 

3.       It is applicable across a range of industries

Pilot projects have tested and proven that the IIoT can be impactful across a large spectrum of industries that include healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, energy and agriculture.

 

4.       It breathes new life into old equipment

The IIoT will connect more than a century’s worth of existing mechanical and electrical infrastructure to the Internet. This includes manufacturing equipment, fleet tracking and HVAC systems. The IIoT has the power to reduce waste and improve operating costs with features such as a service alert sent before equipment breaks down, or monitoring the flow of gas valves in a refinery.

 

5.       It is the future of business

The IIoT is projected to be one of the fastest growing markets over the next several years with as many as 25 billion IP-enabled "things" being networked by 2020. It has been forecasted that the IIoT will generate nearly $320 billion in worldwide revenue and over 26% CAGR by 2020.

 

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