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.

 

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 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.

 

Industry Overview: Enterprise Networks

February 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In this week’s post we will take a look at the main areas or segments of an Enterprise communications network.

 

Data Centers/Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

 

Data centers (sometimes referred to as main distribution frames) are a crucial part of many businesses and institutions. The MDF is where the connection from the Telco or carrier typically enters the building. Many times the MDF is located in the basement or first floor of a building. The MDF usually houses server racks, patch panels, Ethernet routers and switches and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS). In a multi-floor building, the MDF is usually attached to the floor(s) above it via fiber optic cabling supporting many Gigabits of throughput per second to offer voice, video and data services to hundreds of users in the building.

 

Here is an example of a typical data center configuration:

 


Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF)

 

An Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) is the area where the MDF connects to on each floor of a building. Depending on the size of the building and number of users, the IDF can be thought of a small MDF used to serve users on the floor it is located on.

 

The IDF is typically made up of an equipment rack(s), fiber and copper cabling, patch panels, Ethernet switches and UPS systems

 

Here is an example:

 

L-com stocks a wide range of components and solutions to keep your enterprise network connected. To read and download our Enterprise Network Overview PDF click here.

 

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.

 

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