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Telecommunication fiber optic cables shed light on thunderstorm activity

Fayza Bjayou

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fiber optic cables

Thunderstorms and natural hazards are often powerful occurrences that may have adverse effects on humans and our environment. As we have seen, communities all over the world are increasingly affected by natural hazards which may include, wildfires, droughts, floods, tsunamis. Often, science and technology work hand in hand to help scientists explore and investigate nature and the environment in new ways. But sometimes, developments in one field may be prompted by something unrelated and rather unexpected.

New Research published in AGU’s journal of Geophysical Research, has discovered that the fiber optic lines, used for carrying internet and phone services, can pick up signals from thunder, which may help scientists in the development of detecting and recording environmental hazards. 

The research carried out by Penn State’s Geophysicist Tieyuan Zhu and Meteorologist David Stensrud, revealed that fiber optic cables recorded thunderstorm data. The fiber array, which is buried 1meter (3 feet) underground, picked up a wide range of frequencies amidst the change in weather conditions. The study revealed that the bandwidth detected from 20 to 130 Hertz, is consistent with microphone recordings of thunder and provides more detailed information about the event.

Fiber optic cables carry telecoms information in bursts of laser light. The study recorded the vibrations from the thunderstorm, which caused the light intensity in the glass fibers to change slightly. The ground motion was monitored by converting these laser light pulses into acoustic signals.

The study shows the possibility of finding out more about natural hazards with the help of fiber optic cables, which may facilitate further research about thunderstorm activity and deep structures of the earth. Gathering data to help characterize thunder-induced signals will give scientists a greater understanding of our eco-system and may help communities create and incorporate better natural hazard management in the future.

Reference:

Zhu, T., & Stensrud, D. J. (2019). Characterizing Thunder‐Induced Ground Motions Using Fiber‐Optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing Array. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

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India’s growing production powerhouse

Inside Telecom Staff

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India’s growing production powerhouse

Issues between the United States and China continue, however other countries can be forgiven for wondering why they should be considered as helpless bystanders as the worlds two main superpowers go head-to-head in a battle over which of them should attain or retain dominance in the global telecommunications business.

 

Perhaps one of the most expected responses is that of India. The country will be exercising its leadership and also its dominance in its 1.3 billion consumer market.

 

To avoid finding itself on the wrong side as the tech trade war heats up, the Indian government says it is planning to motivate the big telecoms equipment manufacturers to move towards making all of the telecoms equipment that they provide for India’s giant telecoms operators inside the country. This will mean security of supply. Critics also say that another motivation is to lessen the possibility of spying by foreign intelligence services.

 

There is currently a mandate to buy local telecoms equipment in the case of BSNL, which is a state-run company, however international vendors point out that expanding local production would not make sense just to service one specific network. They would require further incentives.

 

At the moment the likes of Nokia and Ericsson are building telecom equipment in India for the Indian market however the amount of local content going into the finished product is only around 40%.

 

So mainly for reasons of security of supply in a broken telecoms world, the government says it wants to push that proportion to 100%. This may take time, of course, however India represents a vast and increasing market so it must be confident that the big players at least, will be content to display ‘made 100% in India’ stickers on their finished boxes in due course. One of these main vendors will include Huawei.

 

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is actually scheduled to meet with the vendors, to discuss how Indian telecoms equipment manufacturing in India can be expanded.

 

In the meantime, India is already launching major initiatives to boost electronics manufacturing including components distant from mobile phones. This year alone, it has approved three separate schemes – the Production Link Incentive Scheme for large-scale electronic manufacturing; the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors, and the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme. The three schemes offer either cash incentives for sales goods that are manufactured in India; capital expenditure subsidy for electronic goods; and in the case of EMC 2.0, support for the development of “common facilities and amenities,” such as ready-built factory sheds for attracting major global electronics manufacturers.

 

It is predicted that these three schemes could result in smartphone and component production worth an amount of US$133 billion by 2025 and will more than likely attract global players like Samsung. Apple suppliers Foxconn and Wistron have already increased local production, due to India’s huge market of 1.3 billion people.

 

Globalisation rollback will not be going in one direction. The European Union has also announced that it is going full steam ahead on digital service provider platform regulations. This includes clipping the wings of Google, Facebook and Amazon. It has been on the agenda for several years and the United States government has not been slow to voice its opposition to such developments. Now the European Union has launched two consultations. The first is to update the e-commerce directive from 2000, and the other suggests new competition regulations to prevent the big digital platforms acting as gatekeepers to stymie European entrants.

 

 

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4 ways 5G will change our lives

Karim Hussami

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4 ways 5G will change our lives

5G technology is being rolled out in many countries worldwide, and is expected to have a substantial impact on our lives. Here’s how it will change things.

  1. 5G will change the way we shop for good – and will support the unprecedented shift in consumer behavior that was triggered by the health crisis. It offers high-performance, ultra-low latency networks that enable retailers to use immersive technologies such as AR to integrate the physical and digital worlds. This allows shoppers to try products virtually without the need to go to the store physically. The shopping experience will be enhanced with hyper-personalized digital experiences for customers, when in-store activity resumes.

 

  1. For the fact that 5G enables us to realize the potential of a fully connected world, it will push autonomous cars and drones more into the public space. 5G will give life to better and safer self-driving cars that will connect to other people, buildings, vehicles and street lights. Road safety will also benefit from a streamline system aided by 5G technology. Data collected from more IoT devices will be made possible which will expand a city’s ability to manage traffic flow, air quality, power use and public safety.

 

  1. Moving to more advanced forms of digital technology is a very important principle especially in regard to supply chain management. 5G will improve network speeds, simplify workflows among varying groups and will add new levels of end-to-end visibility on operations. Such improvements will translate into services that embody efficiency, quality and transparency for customers.

 

  1. Our trips to the doctor’s office may become a thing of the past as 5G facilitates virtual visits by low-latency, HD quality wireless networks. Telehealth services are being used more, since the start of the pandemic as it offers long distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, intervention and monitoring. With 5G technology, wearable or implanted medical devices will capture your vitals and transmit them more efficiently to health care providers, to allow them to detect early signs of heart attacks, strokes, or other life-threatening events.

 

 

 

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Confidence levels among tech startups have been shaken amid health crisis

Inside Telecom Staff

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Confidence levels among tech start-ups have been shaken amid health crisis

The pandemic has impacted industries across the world –with figures showing that almost 40 million people have lost their jobs since the health crisis. It therefore comes as no surprise that business confidence has been shaken. Many aspiring companies set out with a promising vision for a future – that did not include the pandemic.

The sharp drop in confidence levels has undoubtedly been caused by the prevailing and unprecedented impact of Covid-19. Studies have shown that many startups are worried about surviving the pandemic – as many reported having no contingency plans in place. A ‘plan B’ always comes highly recommended in case a company’s initial launch does not meet expected sales figures. Should a primary target not be met, a viable alternative must help diversify channels to help mitigate the impact of potential loss. The formal documenting of policies and procedure for startups, might seem cumbersome but there is a lot to gain from a careful, methodological approach; such information can be of great value when you are in need of clear guidelines to help you in a moment of crisis.

Despite the sharp decline in confidence levels, experts believe that tech startups are the most likely businesses to bounce back from the crisis. Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said that while coronavirus is the biggest challenge faced by businesses today, startups are well positioned to overcome adversity of this scale. “They are nimble, agile and able to respond to the challenges that arise on a day-by-day basis,” he said. “What’s more, demand for technology is higher than ever – consumers and businesses need innovative solutions to the problems they are currently facing. So, there are opportunities for those who can pivot and keep pushing forward.” In fact, many businesses in e-commerce, digital payments, e-learning and med tech have seen positive impact amid the health crisis. But travel and tourism platforms have not been so lucky.

With revenues hard hit in these few months, many small business owners have experienced significant cash flow difficulties. While adaptability is a key characteristic of smaller companies, dried up resources and funding may disrupt plans to move forward post-pandemic. Law360 reports, that “regardless of sector, the inability to generate adequate cash flow jeopardizes the ability to meet obligations to lender, creditors and investors.”

While the pandemic has shaken confidence, reports show that the vast majority of tech startups will plan to hire more staff and hope to raise further investment this year. Businesses need to explore new markets if they are to survive more permanent changes caused by Covid-19. The shift in consumer behavior may even bring about new opportunities for those who started out with an entirely different vision. But, strategies must align with and not fight, new, emerging trends.

 

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