Posted: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Last year we got involved in a project to bring high-speed broadband to a rural community in Hampshire as part of a number of trials to evaluate what technology could be used to serve a number of residents in a remote pocket of the country. Interestingly the villages of Little London and Smannell were a stone’s throw from a new housing development which was being served with a fibre to the premises (FTTP) product from Independent Fibre Networks Ltd making it a good location test with.
What was interesting with this project was the use of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) for Little London and a wireless solution for Smannell ensuring that all the houses and local businesses were served. The use of multiple technologies meant we were able to maximise the budget while ensuring nobody was left out. This along with our Service Exchange Platform meant that the solution also delivered choice to the residents so they had a number of ISPs to choose from to deliver internet their home.
While the final speeds still aren’t near FTTP they are faster than most urban areas and a huge increase over their previous ADSL service. This film was done as part of a look into broadband in the UK and was shown this month on BBC South.
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Posted: Monday, September 10th, 2012
Over the years internet connectivity has become an increasingly integral part of society – with its uses ranging from emails, voice calls and even heartbeat monitors in hospitals. So is it any surprise that seemingly impossible feats – such as seeing through brick walls via Wi-Fi – are no longer far from reality?
Yes, it’s true. Engineers at University College London have devised a new surveillance system, known as a “passive radar” which can see through walls as thick as one foot and unlike previous prototypes is merely the size of a briefcase. The device, consisting of simply 2 antennae and a signal processing unit, tracks frequency changes in Wi-Fi signals as they reflect off moving objects, allowing us to see things on the other side of the wall. Impressively, the system cannot be detected and operates in complete stealth. The UK Ministry of Defence has already registered an interest in the device and it is likely to become a critical method of intelligence gathering through its ability to scan buildings.
However, there seems to be one flaw in what is otherwise a huge advancement in technology: it only works with moving objects. There have been claims that eventually engineers will be able to increase the sensitivity to such levels that it will actually be able to detect the ribcage rising and falling as you breathe. Should this become a reality then there are no bounds to the huge number of uses it will have in future – including more domestic purposes such as burglar alarms and also the monitoring of children and the elderly.
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Posted: Monday, July 23rd, 2012
With The Olympics now a tantalising 4 days away we discuss what kind of technological legacy the games might leave behind.
The notion of an ‘Olympic legacy’ has become an increasingly important feature in the modern Olympics. Indeed any city seeking to host the games must build as convincing an argument as to how the positive influences of the games will endure long after, as they will over the suitability of their city to hold a magnificent spectacle at that time.
There are many examples of cities creating a positive legacy off the back of the games. In ’92, Barcelona cleverly invested in the simultaneous redevelopment of much of its coastline with new property; including hotels that encouraged record levels of tourism thereafter. While earlier in our Olympic series we explored how the Seoul ‘88 Olympics helped propel South Korea towards becoming the digital superpower it is today http://www.fluidata.co.uk/fluidata-olympic-countdown.
Of course it can go wrong too. The Athens Olympics legacy reads like a Greek tragedy; the games playing, if not the role of chief protagonist in Greece’s devastating plummet into financial penury, then at least acting as a member of the supporting cast. The cost of the games ran tens of billions over budget and Olympic stadium was left derelict and discarded years after. If games could win a medal for waste, Athens would have won Gold.
Such mistakes London will look to avoid, and despite concerns over the future use of the Olympic Park, in many ways London’s Olympic legacy looks bright – with the games set to be a catalyst for the physical transformation of a huge area of East London and hopefully the inspiration for more young people to become actively involved in sport.
More pertinently for our industry, London and the UK also look likely to reap the benefits from a rich technological inheritance. The advent of the games has triggered the long overdue deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity on London tubes and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While we are also set to experience a colossal 24 channel red button service on the BBC ‘Olympic Player’, the database and streaming technology behind it will be used for future sporting and entertainment events.
Behind the scenes, many Tier 1 internet carriers and ISP’s have been improving their network to cope with games demands, capacity which users will no doubt benefit from for years to come. Cisco, as one of the official games partners, have built a vast technology infrastructure to deliver voice, video and data to their technology partners and support what looks set to be the most connected games of all time. They have also been at the heart of delivering the Olympics technology centre; a centre which the government decided recently will be transformed, with the help of £350 million investment after the games, into a new tech hub for technology start up’s, investors and global corporations.
Over the next few weeks we will all be hoping we get to witness those ‘once a life time’ sporting achievements and moments, those moments immortalised in time, the moments where in 50 years people may ask ‘where you were when it happened’, but let’s hope that in the future, we’ll also still be thankful for the social, cultural, economic and indeed technological benefits that ‘London 2012’ could bequeath upon us long after its final race is run.
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Posted: Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Over the past few days a number of tube stations (including Kings Cross and Oxford Circus) across London have announced free Wifi access on their platforms. All it takes is a device which can connect to the internet and an email address to register with. It is expected that 80 underground stations will be able to provide the service in time for the upcoming Olympics and a further 40 by the end of the year. However, free access is only available for a limited time. The end of the Olympics will mark the end of free Wifi and from that point onwards only Virgin customers will be able to access the network without paying.
Virgin Media have been working with TFL to bring the tube stations up to date in time to fully showcase London as “Europe’s leading digital city”. It has been claimed that the speeds will be similar to that of 4G technology, however it is still unknown quite how well the network will cope with the huge levels of demand this novelty service will no doubt incur.
Public opinion on this matter is noticeably divided. There are those who see this as an inevitable outcome, a continuation of the modern advancement towards an increasingly digitalised society and something to be welcomed. However, there are others who question this development, concerned that this need for constant internet access is unhealthy and unnecessary.
Here at Fluidata, we champion any new innovations which are able to deliver faster speeds to places that have always been considered disadvantaged when it comes to internet connectivity. Here’s to the future of the internet – who knows what is waiting around the corner…
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