Saturday, February 28, 2015

TG Tech Briefs: Stories Worth Sharing for Week Ending February 28, 2015

Some recent tech stories that I find interesting and worth sharing.

12 Emerging Trends that Everyone Missed at CES Thomas Frye always has a unique and sometimes far-out perspective on things. For those interested, Frye’s DaVinci Institute is a local organization that hosts speakers and events for the geek-crowd. I’ve attended a few of his events, and they are affordable and usually interesting. Check them out.

Portable Battery Pack Market worth $11 Billion by 2020 The portable battery pack market is projected to grow by 20% per year for the next 5 years, $11B. Because this such a big market, we need to be realistic and accept that we will ride the coat-tails of other people’s technology and R&D investments.

Global Asset Management, 11 Years On This is a fun retrospective on what’ changed in battery-powered asset tracking over the last 11 years. What hasn’t changed? Battery technology for the most part.

Indoor Location Market worth $4.4 Billion by 2019 Here’s a sister industry that flies under the radar, but is 10 times the size of the criminal justice tracking market. The "Indoor Location” market is largely focused on retail, track and trace, and emergency management applications using tag-based, RF-based, and sensor-based technologies.

Speaking of indoor location, have you ever wondered why there is not a terrestrial or ground-based equivalent to the Global Positioning System? I have, and it turns out that there are two companies in the US developing such systems: UrsaNav and Locata. Such systems could reduce dependency on satellites (which can be taken out) and drastically improve location fixes indoors and other impaired areas. Only time will tell if these systems come to fruition.

Monday, February 23, 2015

TG Tech Briefs: Stories Worth Sharing for Week Ending February 21, 2015

Some recent tech stories that I find interesting and worth sharing.

Top Hacker Exposes Home Detention Bracelet Flaw A computer hacker in New Zealand has demonstrated how electronic monitoring bracelets can potentially be fooled by "spoofing". At a computer security conference, he demonstrated how a bracelet could be wrapped in foil, preventing it from reporting its location, then the signal mimicked by a laptop using a $500 transmitter and some custom software. What we don’t know is how knowledgeable this hacker was about the product he spoofed. Will demonstrations like this become more common as the electronic monitoring industry comes under increased scrutiny?

Newest US GPS 2F-8 Satellite Goes Active The fourth modernized Global Positioning System satellite launched this year has completed in-orbit testing and joined the constellation. The Boeing-built Block 2F series of a dozen spacecraft offers advanced atomic clocks, stronger anti-jamming, a new third civil signal, and longer design life. Three more GPS satellites are scheduled for launch in 2015. It’s nice to know that our GPS constellation is being upgraded on an ongoing basis.

Laser-Radio Links Upgrade the Internet This way-cool technology uses parallel radio and laser links to move data through the air at high speeds, in wireless hops of up to 10 kilometers at a time. This is being pitched as a cheaper and more practical alternative to laying new fiber optic cables, and is in trials with three of the largest U.S. Internet carriers. It is also being rolled out by one telecommunications provider in Mexico, and is helping build out the Internet infrastructure of Nigeria.

Wireless Gadget Recharging with Sound Waves Here’s yet another addition to the dozens of battery charging technologies under development. Under this approach, sound vibrations are harnessed from the air using piezoelectric transducers, which in turn convert that mechanical energy into electricity. This is all very theoretical at this time… a true R&D project, but interesting nonetheless.

TrackR Bluetooth Tag Sold with Luxury Designer Wallet at Macy’s Retailer Macy’s is now selling a $100 leather wallet from Royce Leather together with a Bluetooth tracking tag from TrackR to help locate the wallet if it gets lost. I thought this story was interesting not because of the technology (which is impractical for “true GPS tracking”) but simply because it illustrates how ubiquitous location-based services are becoming across so many different products. People generally understand the concept of location tracking, and I think that makes it more acceptable to society as a whole.

A Map of Every Device in the World That's Connected to the Internet This is just one those interesting pieces of info that seemed worth sharing.