ZTE’s new Firefox smartphone will only be sold on eBay

ZTE’s new Firefox smartphone will only be sold on eBay

Mobile manufacturers ZTE are to become the first company to sell a smartphone running the new Firefox operating system in the UK and the US markets. The handset, priced at £59.99, will be available exclusively on e-commerce site eBay.

The ZTE Open runs applications written in the web-based HTML5 language rather than a unique company-owned platform. Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox web browser, says the phone will inspire a “new wave of innovation”.

A spokesman for the Chinese manufacturers ZTE said the handset was aimed at first-time smartphone users. The phone is already on sale in Spain, Colombia and Venezuela, via telecommunications company Telefonica, and ZTE says the Open will be available “soon” on eBay in the UK and the US. It will be not be locked to a specific mobile network operator.

The ZTE Open is one of the first smartphones to rely completely on HTML5 based applications

New curriculum: A crash course in the digital economy

Higher education has a well recognised crisis: the gap between what is taught in business schools and what is expected by managers in high growth industries of their incoming employees.

It is a chasm that leads to unemployment, underemployment, and disengagement for the Millennial workforce, and frustration for enterprises who cannot find and retain qualified employees for jobs unfilled.

Higher Education institutions tend to resist innovation. They are risk-averse, while being overly concerned with maintaining tradition. It is easier for departments and professors to keep doing what they have been doing in prescriptive, conventional methods rather than find new ways to deliver education as a service in innovative and effective ways.

The solution is to engage students in active learning by applying the latest business research and enterprise architecture models to real business challenges. As a result of incorporating the use of social business, big data, mobility and cloud computing into the curriculum students leave prepared with the skills they’ll immediately use to service customers and collaborate with colleagues and partners in today’s global and digital economy.

This is exactly what Hult International Business School and IBM have partnered to do.

In an effort to combat the growing skills gap, IBM and Hult International Business School have partnered to create a first-of-its-kind curriculum that is focused on the emergence of the digital service economy, dedicated to preparing today’s graduate student with the critical skills they’ll need to be competitive and successful in today’s increasingly social and digital business landscape.

IBM and Hult are working to educate and enable students with skills that best serve today’s global, mobile and social customer. This new academic program provides Hult students with the opportunity to deepen technical and business skills in areas such as enterprise social networking, which has seen a significant uptake in adoption over the past five years and continues to grow and transform how organisations do business.

The new curriculum is part of Hult International Business School’s Corporate Partnership Elective program, and brings together MBA students with IBMers to help address the need for skills in areas like social business and analytics. Hult approaches the partnership with IBM as an opportunity for systematic innovation to improve its capability to bridge the gap between business education and the skills/competencies global hiring managers seek.

ARM to showcase Internet of Things at HQ

image

ARM says work is underway to transform its Fulbourn Road HQ into a hub for Internet of Things technologies. The chip giant and its partners have won £800k from the government’s Technology Strategy Board to deploy network technology and 600 connected sensors across its premises.

These are to be driven by ARM-based chips and will be used to control car park lights, meeting rooms, heating and water management systems, all with the aim of saving energy and demonstrating how the Internet of Things - or machine-to-machine communication - can achieve this. The whole system will be open for inspection.

Partners include: AlertMe, IntelliSense.io, Enlight, 1248, Red Ninja, Neul and Badger Pass.

Lee Omar, CEO of Red Ninja said: “We are delighted to be working with Internet of Things  thought leaders ARM, Alert me and Enlight to create apps that create real value from Internet of Things assets.  Our experience is creating value from large and diverse data sets, we are looking forward to mashing up this data to create innovative apps.”

ARM says: “This collaboration between some of the UK’s most advanced technology companies will also provide the technology industry with key lessons on how a new generation of intelligent, connected products and services can be fully implemented, with the potential for worldwide adoption.”

Cambridge-based AlertMe is extending its remit by providing ARM staff with kits to monitor their own homes for energy efficiency. EnLight is upgrading outdoor lighting, and Intellisense will measure pressure and flow in ARM’s heating and ventilation

Cutting edge telecoms sat launches

London-based Inmarsat, which provides mobile satellite telecommunications, has launched its latest spacecraft.

Alphasat I-XL rode an Ariane 5 to orbit, lifting clear of the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 16:54 local time (19:54 GMT) on Thursday.

The satellite is the product of a major public-private partnership involving Inmarsat and the European Space Agency. The 6.6-tonne Alphasat incorporates a host of new technologies that should benefit both parties.The Ariane flight lasted just over half and represents the first test of a new heavyweight class of chassis, or bus, that will allow European manufacturers to make telecoms spacecraft that weigh up to 8.8 tonnes with a power output of 22kW. This has led some to refer to the Alphasat design as the “A380 of space”.

For Inmarsat, the most important aspect of the new satellite is the inclusion of an advanced digital signal processor made in Portsmouth in southern England. This processor, allied to the platform’s smart 11m X 13m antenna system, can channel significant bandwidth and power on to specific locations on the ground.

In addition to its commercial duties, Alphasat has a number of experimental payloads to test. The most noteworthy of these is a laser-based communications system.

Developed in Germany, this technology will form the basis of Europe’s forthcoming orbital data relay system, which will permit gigabit connections between Earth observation satellites and the ground.

Alphasat will validate the laser terminal by downlinking pictures from the EU’s Sentinel-1a radar spacecraft when it launches next year.

City sensors: the internet of things is taking over our cities

The internet of things is taking over our cities. Here are five examples of how its shaping the urban environment:

Express parking
Los Angeles introduced a smart parking system, LA Express PARK, last May. Wireless sensors embedded in parking spots detect if they’re available and let drivers know via a smartphone app or digital sign. It is also able to measure demand, so prices can be adjusted accordingly.

Gunfire locator
ShotSpotter systems implemented in cities including Washington DC use acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunfire, so police officers can respond more effectively. The sensors narrow down the location of the gunshots by combining when each picked up the sound.

Smart grid
Intelligent systems in the electrical grid have been tested in cities in Italy, Canada and the US. Smart meters monitor consumption in real time, so households and providers can track energy use more accurately, and reduce bills or create structured pricing plans.

Pothole reporter
The Street Bump app was developed by the mayor’s office in Boston to help drivers alert authorities to potholes. The free app uses the accelerometer and GPS in a smartphone to detect bumps in the road. The data is aggregated to highlight streets in need of repair.

Air-pollution sensor
In 2011, A network of air-quality sensors was installed in Salamanca, Spain, as part of an EU-funded project to create sustainable traffic management systems. The data is used to measure how traffic regulation can affect pollution levels.

Oracle hitches Java to ‘Internet of things’

The company hopes that Java can supplant C in embedded-device development projects.

With an upgrade to the embedded version of Java announced Tuesday, Oracle wants to extend the platform to a new generation of connected devices, aka the Internet of things. Oracle also hopes that Java can supplant the C language in some embedded development projects.

The company is releasing Oracle Java ME (Micro Edition) Embedded 3.3 and Oracle Java ME Software Development Kit 3.3, providing a client Java runtime and toolkit for microcontrollers and resource-constrained devices. Version 3.3 is geared to low-powered devices and systems without screens or user interfaces. It also supports the ARMv5 through ARMv7 chip architectures and enables greater connectivity between edge devices and network peripherals and systems.

Oracle anticipates that Java developers can leverage their skills building applications for very small devices to begin developing solutions for the Internet of things, which includes devices ranging from street lights to home automation and security systems. Oracle appear to be making strides in addressing segments of the marketplace that historically have not been large users of Java.

The Java ME 3.3 Embedded rollout features improved device APIs to increase the number of external peripherals that can be integrated, runtime monitoring, and logging enhancements are featured. Supported developer boards include Raspberry Pi and Keil STM32 F200 Evaluation Board. Java ME SDK 3.3 backs Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit systems in addition to Windows XP 32-bit, and it has plug-ins for the NetBeans IDE and Eclipse.

Oracle also is looking to provide partners with the ability to customize Java ME embedded products for different device types and market segments with its Oracle Java Platform Integrator program, which provides support, patches, and updates. Downloads of Oracle’s embedded Java technologies are available at Oracle’s website.

Phone anti-theft put through paces in New York and San Francisco

 

New measures to curb soaring levels of mobile phone theft worldwide are to be tested in New York and San Francisco.

Prosecutors will test measures on Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 to measure effectiveness against common tactics used by thieves. Various cities across the world have called on manufacturers to do more to deter phone theft.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has written to firms saying they must “take this issue seriously”.

In a letter to Apple, Samsung, Google and other mobile makers, Mr Johnson wrote: “If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem.”

Kill switch

Prosecutors in the US are following a similar line - last month meeting representatives from the technology firms to discuss the matter. They are calling for a “kill switch”, a method of rendering a handset completely useless if it is stolen, rendering a theft pointless.

Statistics from the US Federal Trade Commission suggest that almost one in three robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone. In New York, 40% of robberies are phone thefts - a crime so common it has been dubbed “Apple-picking” by police.

London has seen a “troubling” rise in mobile phone theft, the mayor’s office said, with 75% of all “theft from person” offences involving a phone - 10,000 handsets a month.

Close scrutiny

The firms have offered theft solutions to help combat the problem. Apple’s Activation Lock - which will be part of the next major iPhone and iPad software update - is to come under close scrutiny.

Thieves will often deactivate a phone immediately to stop it being tracked after a theft. Activation Lock is designed to make it harder to then reactivate, as it requires the entry of the log-in details used to register the phone originally.

For Samsung and other handsets, prosecutors, aided by security professionals, will be testing theft recovery system Lojack.

"We are not going to take them at their word," the prosecutors in New York and San Francisco said in a joint statement.

"Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves."

Source: BBC

New class of car devices under development

Smart-Cars

A new class of devices are being developed that capture your car’s computer sensor data using your vehicle’s on-board diagnostic port (OBD II is available on cars built from 1996 onwards) and add another layer of additional features on top like cellular and Bluetooth connections, GPS, and a range of sensors.

The devices use this gathered information and turn it into a resource to help you easily troubleshoot a check-engine light, adjust your insurance rate based on how/when you actually drive, and create added safety features through tracking and emergency response services.

Here are a few of the products:

Automatic
Automatic is a Smart Driving Assistant that can save you money on gas, remember where you parked, and even call for help in a crash.

Clarvoyant
Plug in a Carvoyant device underneath your car’s dashboard. Instantly your car will begin wirelessly sending data to to the cloud where you can monitor its mechanical status or see where and how fast your teen is driving in realtime.

Dash
Dash connects your car to your phone enabling smarter everyday driving and helping to make the roads safer.

Delphi
Delphi gives your vehicle a voice so you know more about its health, location and past trips with the Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi. You can stay connected to your ride 24/7 through Verizon’s data network-and get helpful information about your vehicle’s operation.

Cloud your car
Cloud Your Car is a tool providing information about your employees driving behaviour. You will know the exact amount of working hours spent in a car and detailed vehicle usage. You will be notified about the most dangerous situations on the road like unexpected stops and private trips.

Source: http://postscapes.com/connected-car-devices

Microsoft introduce Lab of Things

Today at its Faculty Summit, Microsoft Research introduced the beta of Lab of Things, a new platform from the company that will support sensor information from the physical world in a simple way, allowing for more experiment by more people in more places.

Lab of Things is a system that links together physical data collection and Microsoft’s HomeOS. HomeOS  is Microsoft’s bid to turn your house into something slightly more automated. If you want to run an experiment that employs sensor data, Lab of Things will provide a backend for you. Also, you can access your experiment via mobile devices, store and share data in the cloud, and adjust the experiment itself by visiting the site itself.

Assume that you wanted to run an experiment that involved collecting temperature data from the top of radio towers around your city. Once you installed your sensors on the towers, and linked their data flow to the Internet, you could employ Lab of Things as the tool to collect, monitor, and analyse the information. Microsoft calls the service “near real-time.”

One of the Lab of Things’ objectives is to lower friction between idea and experiment by cutting out the need for scientists and software engineers. Here, have some code that works. This will allow for more total experiment, and also more experiment by the less well-funded; DIY hackers.

The lab costs nothing, but there is a caveat: If you are an academic collaborator, you can freely use the Lab of Things for your research. The Lab of Things license does not allow commercial use.

You can snag the beta Lab of Things SDK here.

IBM spearhead an industry-wide effort to solve big data problem

 

The explosion of big data has changed the way we do business, and this is particularly true for online commerce. With 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, millions of transactions are taking place on a daily basis resulting in a wealth of data about consumers and their desires. Thanks to advanced digital analytics and marketing technologies, businesses have the ability to analyse and capture this data to create personalised online experiences for their customers. 

But gaining actionable insights from those users is not an easy task. Businesses rely on a wide variety of marketing and analytics technology from a large number of vendors to make personalisation come to life. However, until now, there has been no standardised way to collect data about the interactions with customers across multiple technology platforms.

To make personalised marketing easier, IBM spearheaded an industry-wide effort to solve this big data problem. Today, a group of more than 20 companies announced that they’re developing the Customer Experience Digital Data standard. Through a standardised approach of collecting and managing data, this standard removes the barrier to innovation giving businesses the ability to rapidly adopt new digital marketing tools and services. This makes it easier for new digital vendors to succeed and spurs innovation for the industry as a whole.

The initiative began last year when IBM led the formation of a group with the goal of creating a standard format for capturing and reporting interactions. With their long history of developing and supporting open standards, they recognised that this was a classic situation where an industry-standard approach would help simplify the process and make it easier for retailers to deploy more services to improve the customer experience.

Over the past several months, the initiative has gained significant momentum, and many of the major web analytics, marketing technology companies and online retailers such as Adobe and Google have given their support. The standard is expected to be formalised later this year when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) releases final specifications for it.

With this new data format layer, digital marketers will be able to more easily deploy new digital services and quickly integrate them into their systems. It will also reduce the need for on-going data maintenance and auditing, freeing resources for more valuable work such as diving into analytics to develop insights and actions that help retailers better connect with customers.