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.

 

Wired and Wireless Networks for the Energy Industry

September 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

The energy industry is getting a lot of attention these days with more people talking about how we can better harness and use energy. Here, we’ll look at the energy industry and how all sectors, including oil, gas and renewable sources, are using wired and wireless networks to connect their operations.

 

Oil and Gas

 

Offshore oil platforms are exposed to water, salt, vibration and extreme temperatures. Although in many cases the communications equipment used on these rigs are housed in protective enclosures some equipment must be located in exposed areas where they are subject to environmental extremes. This includes IP cameras used for surveillance of the platform, plus the cabling and converters that link back to the central control room on the rig. Wireless sensors and controllers are also located throughout the platform and are linked by outdoor antennas, amplifiers and access points used to operate the rig.

 

In petroleum refineries, wired and wireless sensors are used to monitor and control process applications and provide real-time data that can warn of system issues. Many valves and controllers are linked to a serial or IP network, as well as security and surveillance equipment that are critical to operations.

 

Natural gas pipelines depend on communications networks to monitor the safety and efficiency of the pipeline, which can span hundreds of miles over harsh terrain and in remote areas. These networks allow for real-time data to be sent to the control room that can detect leaks and issues with pressure and temperature. IP based surveillance systems along the pipeline also require network connectivity to provide added protection.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Solar energy networks use wired and wireless connectivity for long distance control and monitoring of solar panel arrays. For example, serial data cables connect to the power meters on the panel, theses power meters are then connected to the Ethernet network via a device server and antennas wirelessly connect the power meters back to the control center for monitoring and control.

 

Hydroelectric power has modernized operations by implementing automated systems in hydroelectric plants. Many of these systems use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) to control valves, motor starters, sensors and flood gate control systems that are critical to operations. Other systems use wireless networks to monitor and control the plant. Surveillance and security systems are also important in these plants to not only monitor for intruders, but also to visually analyze the dam and plant and watch for structural breakdown.

 

Monitoring wind turbines also requires wired and wireless networks. An industrial Ethernet switch allows signals to be sent to the turbine that change its speed and angle. Fiber optic cables connect the control center to multiple turbines over long distances for complete control of the wind farm and antennas are used to connect the local control center to a main control network.  

 

For more details on how wired and wireless technology is powering the energy industry, and how L-com’s products are being used, download our energy industry overview.

 

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