£3.95 • November-December 2016
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FOR PUBLIC SERVICES AND PRIVATE ENTERPRISES
SUITX PHOENIX EXOSKELETON
How 5G will enable new medical solutions
PMR thriving as digital radio adoption accelerates
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Advances in Wi-Fi
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ISSUE 44 | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
14 8 18
Contents 4 News ytera engages in preliminary talks with H Sepura over a potential takeover of the company
8 Connected healthcare
22 IoT security nightmare
11 5G for health
he increasing profusion of IoT devices is T providing hackers with ever-more ways to breach cyber security defences, so can new technology fend them off?
ricsson and King’s College London E explore how low latency, ultra-reliable 5G technology can enable remote surgery using haptic devices and tactile gloves
24 Wireless broadband opportunity
14 Digital radio market anufacturers are optimistic about the M outlook for the cost-optimised digital professional mobile radio market as apps and interworking with other technologies speed adoption
20 Mission critical LTE ork to standardise mission critical W functionality in the LTE standard is well underway; CCBG chair Tero Pesonen provides an update on progress so far
roducts to manage long-term chronic P conditions and ensure compliance with medication regimens are a key focus for the eHealthcare industry
18 Business radio issues
emand for faster broadband is D growing, and improvements in technology now mean wireless solutions from the likes of Mimosa can compete with fibre and cable
26 Next gen Wi-Fi
S pectrum shortages mean the possible reallocation of the UHF 2 Band is causing concern in the UK business radio community, while interference from IoT devices is also a worry
02.11ad WiGig is the latest Wi-Fi 8 standard to reach commercial availability, but there are more standards in the works, as Wi-Fi president and CEO Edgar Figueroa explains
28 Lancom eyes new markets erman Wi-Fi provider Lancom Systems G is expanding into the UK and is shortly to launch a new flexible SDN-based cloud management network solution
28 www.wireless-mag.com | 1
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Kenwood DMR Solutions Now available for all applications...including yours With new hand-portables and mobiles joining the existing Kenwood DMR line-up of portables and repeaters, you now have the breadth of choice you need to build a voice and data communications system that’s precisely right for your operation; whether it’s mission, operations or commercial critical. The ergonomically styled TK-D240 and TK-D340 entry-level portables are designed to withstand the most demanding use in retail environments and offer 1-watt audio output and long battery life alongside a highly competitive price. The TK-D740 and TK-D840 mobiles feature 9 front panel programmable function keys and a large LED display ensuring retail staff are kept informed and shelves are kept stocked at all times.
The new Kenwood DMR Line-up • Low, mid and high-tier portables • Two-in-One digital and analogue with mixed mode • 2-inch colour LCD on high-tier hand portables • Call interruption for emergencies • Busy channel lockout • Built-in GPS on selected models • Long battery life and battery save feature • High performance DMR Tier II repeaters • Conventional IP network • AIS IP console interface • Clear, powerful audio • MIL-STD C/D/E/F/G standards for ruggedness • IP54/55 rated dust and water protection
To discover more about Kenwood DMR solutions, visit www.kenwoodcommunications.co.uk/dmr
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PHOTO CREDIT: SUITX PHOENIX EXOSKELETON
Wireless Editorial Advisory Panel Norman Burrows CEO, Fylde Micro Phil Cole co-founder/sales and marketing director, Wireless Logic Adrian Grilli MD, Joint Radio Company Phil Kidner CEO, TETRA + Critical Communications Association
The communications industry is busy discussing what 5G cellular technology might bring, and there is no doubt that the possibilities are exciting. Driverless cars might not be an attractive or even convincing prospect for some people, but the potential healthcare applications could be truly life-changing for some. Precision robotic surgery carried out from remote locations is one such prospect, while exoskeletons, which have already been developed, could enable people to walk again. Both scenarios require low latency, highly available, ultra-reliable networks – mission critical in other words, where the service simply cannot be allowed to fail. SDN and NFV technologies and the advent of network slicing will in theory enable mobile operators to guarantee service levels to particular industries or sectors such as health services. Whether the cost of implementing ultra-reliable networks makes good business sense has yet to be ascertained. 5G is expected to reach commercialisation in 2020, but the Digital PMR brings with it the ability to early phase will essentially just deliver more capacity and faster speeds, much as 4G did. Many of the really clever machine-toadd many more machine applications requiring ultra-low latency and high applications availability will not be realised until a later date. In the meantime, if you want a highly reliable network with coverage and capacity exactly where you want it, then private professional mobile radio networks are still the best option. The PMR market is growing strongly, and the migration to digital is proceeding apace. The digital installed base is expected to pass analogue next year. Besides the traditional benefits – such as group calling – digital PMR brings with it the ability to add many more applications, including location-based apps and data transmissions over the PMR network’s IP backbone. More than that, it is now possible to extend PMR into other radio technologies such as Wi-Fi and cellular, so users can get the best of both worlds. PMR vendors also have an advantage over their cellular OEM peers when it comes to mission critical applications. They have spent years working with end users who depend on critical communications, and they understand their needs and their operational procedures. This is a vital area of expertise that PMR vendors can bring to the party as 4G networks, to an extent, and 5G more fully, attempt to deliver mission critical solutions. Hybrid public and private networks are beginning to emerge, which may end up as broadband only in time. However, many end users will stick with PMR for a long time to come as it gives them the control and flexibility they want.
James Atkinson, Editor
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Hytera in preliminary talks with Sepura over takeover Hytera has made a bid to acquire rival professional mobile radio (PMR) manufacturer Sepura. Sepura, based in Cambridge, UK, confirmed the possible takeover to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Friday 4 November, saying that it is in preliminary takeover talks with Hytera Communications, based in Shenzhen, China. In the statement to the LSE, Hytera confirmed that it may make a possible offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sepura, and it has confirmed to the Board of Sepura that any offer, if made, is likely to be solely in cash. The LSE statement continued: ‘There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any such offer. As a consequence of this announcement, an “Offer Period” has now commenced in respect of the Company in accordance with the rules of the Code. ‘As required by Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, Hytera is required, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 2 December 2016, either to announce a firm intention to make an offer in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or to announce that they do not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline may be extended with the consent of the Takeover Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.’ The statement concluded: ‘A further
Chinese PMR manufacturer makes bid to acquire UK rival, which has hit debt problems after buying Teltronic
Hytera is required to make a firm offer or withdraw by 2 December 2016
announcement will be made in due course, as appropriate.’ Sepura is being represented by financial advisor Lazard. Cambridge-based Sepura has run into trouble over the past year after running up a large amount of debt following the takeover of Spanish PMR manufacturer Teltronic, delays to orders and cash flow issues. Its debt rocketed from just €1.1m in 2015 to €119.4m as of 1 April 2016 – the end of its financial year. The company raised £65 million in funding in May to help its cash situation. The firm has issued two profit warnings this year, which has seen its share price plummet from a high of nearly £2.00 to just
20.4p on 14 November, as Wireless went to press. Hytera has strong portfolios in the TETRA, DMR and PDT two-way radio standards. It acquired the TETRA business of German company Rhode & Schwarz in August 2011, which boosted its position in the TETRA space. It is not entirely clear why Hytera would want to buy Sepura, but the latter has made strong in-roads into the North American market with TETRA via the Teltronic acquisition (where the company trades as Power Trunk). Teltronic also has 4G LTE technology as part of its Nebula range of base stations and that may be an attractive proposition for Hytera.
Airbus upgrades Budapest TETRA network Simoco launches Airbus Defence and Space will equip Hungary’s Unified Digital Radio Communication System (UDRS) in Budapest with IP-backed TETRA technology as part of a nationwide
modernisation effort. UDRS is used by public security agencies, such as the police, border guards, fire service, disaster prevention, ambulances, armed forces and the security services.
Budapest upgrade is part of a nationwide modernisation project
Xd 700 Series of DMR radios
Simoco Group has expanded its Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) portfolio with the launch of the Simoco Xd 700 Series range of hand portable and mobile radio terminals. The 700 Series also includes integrated dispatcher services and push-to-talk smart phone functionality. The Xd SDP760 portable radio features full duplex calling, digital and analogue operating modes and an application partner interface (API) that enables customised apps to be delivered on the device and displayed on the large HD screen. The Xd SDP750 portable radio includes the same features as the SDP760, but as a compact without an HD screen display.
ETELM unveils longrange mission critical LTE base station ETELM has introduced the e-LBS, a new eNodeB LTE base station with what it claims is the longest reach ever developed for PMR 4G technology. The e-LBS is part of ETELM’s 4G Linked portfolio and is designed to enable operators to offer enterprise solutions and extend geographic coverage of their commercial networks at the same time The company developed the e-LBS specifically to be compatible with existing LTE infrastructure, and is also producing technologies to embrace TETRA and PMR over a single core network, including group call functionality. The e-LBS operates in the 700 MHz band (with plans for other bands like 400 MHz and 2.6 GHz coming in the near future), allowing a greater broadband coverage, significantly outperforming typical macro-cell sizes of traditional eNodeBs. It operates in a channel bandwidth of 1.4 MHz to 10 MHz and has full local or remote configuration and monitoring.
Airbus and Motorola to supply TETRA to Saudi operator Bravo Airbus Defence and Space and Motorola Solutions have both secured deals with Bravo, the Saudi Arabian mission critical network operator, which is an offshoot of mobile operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Bravo currently supplies critical communications to more than 180,000 users, including push-to-talk (PTT) services with iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) supplied by Motorola in 2005. It will replace this with TETRA and has ambitions to add LTE broadband in the future. Under the agreement, Airbus will supply Bravo with TETRA technology and all the necessary equipment required for mission critical communications. It will also update secure networks and refine a sustainable uninterrupted maintenance service in standard lead time. Motorola will supply its latest DIMETRA TETRA-based digital radio solutions along with its WAVE 7000 public safety-grade broadband PTT offering. The new TETRA network will be used by government and public safety agencies, many of which operate on individual networks, as well as offering enhanced services for the oil and gas industries.
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14/11/2016 10:03 16:43 06/10/2016
Hytera introduces new entry-level DMR radios Hytera has released new Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) models in the shape of the BD series, a lowercost, ent r ylevel series of handheld radios. The initial release of the BD series includes four models: BD30X, BD35X, BD50X and BD55X, which adopt two-slot TDMA technology, and provide output power from 2 to 5 watt and capacity of up to 256 channels, w it h comp ac t and lightweight design. The entry-level DMR series works in both analogue or digital mode and is being marketed as a perfect choice for users who simply need voice communications or need to replace their ageing analogue radios due to local mandates, as well as for users who want to get their hands on better communications tools with limited budget and spectrum resources. Hytera has also completed the enhancement of its existing PD3, 4 and 5 series of DMR radios by adopting new hardware and releasing up-to-date versions of software to enable more data features, such as radio registration service, encryption and roaming. The new radios follow the launch of Hytera’s flagship DMR model, the PD98X in August, which offers an improved audio experience through noise cancellation technology, while providing new features including full duplex call, recording capability via Micro SD, Bluetooth 4.0 for audio or data, and single frequency repeater mode to increase coverage.
West Midlands Fire deploys Edesix body-worn cameras Edesix, the UK-based body-worn cameras provider, is to supply firefighters in the West Midlands Fire Service with body-worn cameras. The cameras are being rolled out after a successful trial at 10 Birmingham fire stations earlier this year, during which a suspected gas explosion at a Birmingham home was filmed.
Simoco rolls out 80-site DMR Tier III network in Canada Simoco signs deal with Télécommunications de l’Est for NOMAD Digital Mobile Radio network Simoco Group has signed an exclusive d i s t r i but i on a g re e m e nt w it h Télécommunications de l’Est (TDE) following the completion of a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Tier III trunked network for the Canadian telecoms operator. The public network, which will operate under the brand name NOMAD, will be available to users in the regions of Eastern Quebec and Northern New Brunswick. The service includes full duplex calling modes, a wide range of end user applications and advanced Overthe-Air-Programming (OTAP) functionality, enabling TDE to manage network development efficiently. TDE will initially roll out the network across 50 existing sites and intends to eventually expand the network to more than 80 sites. The NOMAD network also i nclu d e s push - to - t a l k ( P T T ) functionality, using SLA’s Enterprise Secure Chat (ESChat) technology, which has been integrated using the D M R Ap p l i c a t i o n I n t e r f a c e Specification (AIS). The solution will deliver secure interoperability for users with commercial 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi,
ensuring smartphone devices can be connected to the network. NOMAD features Simoco’s unique IP Ethernet-based distributed architecture, making it easier for TDE to expand the network across wider operational areas, incorporating tens of thousands of devices. The network has been designed to carr y both voice and data transmissions, allowing TDE to offer customers a reliable telemetry network utilising Simoco Pulse products. Simoco Group has also provided its latest range of digital radios as part of the network, which include the SDP760 DMR portable radio and SDM730 DMR mobile radio, both of
which feature full duplex calling functionality and customisable APIs. Gary Correia, VP Americas Sales and Business Development at Simoco Group, said: “The NOMAD network will enable TDE to offer its customers all of the advanced functionality available through Digital Mobile Radio. ‘From the scalable nature of our IP-based solution, to its ability to unify a variety of communications mediums through its full duplex mode and PTT functionality, we are confident that NOMAD will be a future-proof investment when it comes to providing users with a mission critical network suitable for the demands of tomorrow. ‘Our 700 Series of digital radios will also ensure that users are able to use the network with the latest radio devices.’
The new DMR Tier III network will also support data transmissions
London Gatwick Airport deploys Airbus creates new PMR app Motorola digital radio system programme Motorola Solutions is deploying a MOTOTRBO Capacity Max system at London Gatwick Airport in the south of England, alongside channel partner Servicom. The new Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) system will double the capacity of the existing analogue network and is fully scalable, in readiness for the airport’s ongoing growth The system will bring enhanced voice and data communications to
1,300 users both airside and groundside. Ground staff, security personnel and maintenance teams across the airport will all benefit from the new innovation, and there are plans in place for further expansion. Gatwick will also use Capacity Max data performance apps such as TRB Onet PLUS, a dispatcher application that enables voice recording, mapping and event logging in the control room.
Airbus Defence and Space has launched a new application developer programme called SmarTWISP aimed at the needs of professional mobile radio (PMR) users in particular. It focuses on the company’s latest radio, the Tactilon Dabat, a full TETRA radio built into a smartphone that works as a platform for apps. The programme also incorporates other radio communications solutions from Airbus: the Tactilon Suite portfolio, and, especially, the multimedia group communication solution Tactilon Agnet. The latter interfaces with multiple applications to exchange professional information within groups. Developers can benefit directly from training sales channels, logistical and marketing help.
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PSCE to advise 3GPP on mission critical broadband specifications PSCE is now a Market Representation Partner and can advise 3GPP’s efforts to write mission critical mobile broadband standards into 4G countries across Europe with more than 600 participants. This allows PSCE to bring a comprehensive contribution to 3GPP as Market Representation Partner. The partnership between PSCE and 3GPP comes at a time when 3GPP has begun to discuss the standardisation of t h e f i f t h g e n e r at i on m o bi l e communications that will ultimately e n a b l e t h e d i g i t i s at i o n a n d mobilisation of businesses alongside supplying ICT industries with enhanced and improved upon mobile communication. In addition to 3GPP focusing on the overall standardisation of fifth generation mobile communications there are announcements from some
PSCE (Public Safety Communication Europe) has signed an agreement with standards body 3GPP to become a Market Representation Partner (MRP) to its mission critical mobile broadband working group. PSCE is an independent forum for public safety user organisations, industry and research institutes who meet to discuss and exchange ideas and best practices, develop roadmaps and improve the future of public safety communications. Being an MRP will enable PSCE to provide in-depth knowledge, intelligence and advice for 3GPP on the practitioner and end user requirements for mission critical mobile broadband applications,
services, networks and devices. The deal was signed on 21 October. Standardisation efforts are in full force within 3GPP to define mission critical functionalities applied to both 4G and the new fifth generation mobile communications for the PPDR community. The BroadMap project, under the co-ordination of PSCE, is in a position to provide 3GPP with opinions from a large community of PPDR practitioners and end users. In September, BroadMap completed a requirements validation study lead by BroadMap’s partnership across 15 end users in 15 European Countries. This study gathered opinions from over 240 PPDR organisations from 18
Nokia enhances mission-critical LTE public safety portfolio
Capita launches live streaming 999 smartphone video app
Nokia has expanded its range of LTEbased public safety solutions with the l au n ch of t h e Nok i a Group Communications portfolio. New features will enable first responder teams to securely communicate through new applications such as instant video connectivity, alongside traditional push-to-talk features on a single device, to enhance operations and safety. Key features include: high-capacity platform supporting real-time pushto-video for 1,000 active users and 20,000 push-to-talk active users per single server with the ability to scale; software license offered on a pay-asyou-grow basis; and dispatch consoles incorporating voice, video and mobile CCTV features. In addition, users can access: pushto-talk/push-to-video features preintegrated within a range of secured and certified devices supporting a wide range of LTE frequencies; alignment with 3GPP standards, ready for mission critical push-to-talk and pushto-video standards; fast call setup with latency below 300 milliseconds; and secured communications with end-toend encryption at the application layer.
Capita and West Midlands Fire Service have introduced a smartphone solution that enables 999 callers, with compatible mobile devices, to securely send live footage or images of incidents to emergency service control rooms. The 999EYE application will enable emergency control rooms to improve situational awareness of unfolding incidents by viewing live
footage streamed from eye witnesses at the scene. It works by sending, with the 999 caller’s permission, a text message to their smartphone containing a URL. Once clicked, a one-use-only live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to the control room. GPS coordinates are also delivered, helping to pinpoint the exact location of an incident.
The public will be able to send photographs and video into the control room
Hytera provides DMR to power supplier Hytera has scooped a contract to supply a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) system to one of the largest power suppliers in Lithuania. Hytera, together with its Baltic affiliate FIMA,
will install a DMR system for 24/7 inspection and maintenance of the country’s power grid for Lithuanian p ower supply comp any ESO (Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius).
governments that they are now de veloping strategies on t he implementation and execution of next-generation public safety networks. This next generation of public safety networks will effectively grant users belonging to governmental agencies with mission critical services over LTE on land. Since the 3GPP Release 12, accordingly 3GPP have also been working to standardise features for mission critical services. Therefore, PSCE believes it will be able to provide 3GPP with unmatched intelligence and international coordination for the improvement of broadband usability for the PPDR community.
Sepura secures new TETRA network and terminal contracts Sepura has won a number of new TETRA contracts. In Canada, PowerTrunk, the US arm of Sepura Group company Teltronic, is to expand its existing work with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) by adding more base stations and additional carriers to support TTC’s computer-aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location project. A further 1,000 hand-portable radios have also been ordered. In Europe, an as yet unnamed European public safety organisation has ordered 19,000 SC20 series handportable radios. The SC20s are Wi-Fi enabled and can support future broadband data services as well. In Jordan, Sepura has been awarded a contract to supply more than 1,000 TETRA radios to the Special Comunication Commission. The STP9000 hand portables and SRG3900 mobile radios, will be used by Jordanian security agencies. In the Canary Islands, Teltronic has deployed a mission critical LTE network to provide complementary broadband services to RESCAN, the private TETRA network of the Canary Islands’ public safety agencies. The solution utilises a Teltronic eNEBULA system deployed as a hybrid TETRA-LTE network.
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eHEALTHCARE – CONNECTED HEALTH
The next generation of technology fu Adherence to medication regimens and managing long-term health conditions are a growing focus for the connected healthcare industry, while artificial intelligence can help with remote diagnosis and treatment, reports Kate O’Flaherty round 80% of UK healthcare spending is accounted for by long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, mental illness, and obesity. In connected healthcare, this is driving the focus towards drugs adherence as providers strive to manage the progress of these debilitating conditions. The focus on adherence is partly being fuelled by drugs company research funding. They are interested in the area following a changing payment model in the US, which determines that drugs companies get their money only when the patient is better, rather than when the prescription is picked up. This model is likely to be replicated globally, says Frazer Bennett, healthcare technology expert, PA Consulting Group. There is also an increasing movement towards finding more efficient and therefore cheaper methods of managing public health. With this in mind, a growing number of mobile apps and platforms are aimed at encouraging users to take their prescriptions. Bennett cites the example of a social platform for drugs adherence similar to Facebook: ‘When you take the drug, a post is put onto your “wall” so friends can see. If you forget, this also appears on the wall.’ At the same time, technology is emerging that is able to monitor the progression of diseases and make sure drugs are administered at the right time. For example, one way of monitoring the progression of dementia is to measure gait.
Bennett explains: ‘The way you walk changes as you go through the stages of dementia. We can put sensors on you – which is similar to technology used by the film industry – to measure gait over time.’
Another key trend in connected healthcare is a move away from bespoke devices to commercial offthe-shelf based systems with multiple integrated sensors. According to Collette Johnson, director, medical and healthcare at Plextek, this reduces the system’s development time and helps to move products into the market far more quickly. Meanwhile, devices are becoming smaller as mobility takes over the sector. One company, miDIAGNOSTICS, is developing diagnostic tests integrated into silicon chips. These act as miniaturised labs, able to detect cells, proteins, nucleic acids, or small molecules using a tiny volume of body fluid. The results and data from the tests are connected to patients’ and caregivers’ mobile devices for diagnostics on the move. Another small form factor device is the health patch developed by
imec, the Holst Centre and TNO. Optimised for low power consumption, the patch is the first of its kind to track physical and cardiac activity, while monitoring bioelectrical impedance. For first-response situations where paramedics are needed, the First Response Monitor is a very compact, low-cost product that can measure and provide respiration
If a system is used for diabetes it should only measure blood glucose and not take in physiological data just because it can Collette Johnson, director, medical and healthcare, Plextek
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eHEALTHCARE – CONNECTED HEALTH
y fuelling healthcare
and heart rate. An ageing population means there is increasing focus on the elderly, too. There are lots of products for disease groups but the big problem yet to be solved is multi-morbidity – when a patient has lots of things wrong, says Jonathan Burr, founder and CEO of Intelesant. He explains: ‘When the problem is about multi-morbidity, solutions become more about daily living and management; more about the care aspect than the physiology and vital signs.’ With this in mind, Burr’s company, Intelesant is part of an NHS Test Bed project with Surrey & Borders NHS Trust called Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) for dementia patients. ‘Many people with
dementia will also have other diseases; for example hypertension,’ says Burr. ‘But dementia by its very nature creates challenges in the management of the other diseases. In this project we are looking at vital signs and also at patterns of daily activity – such as the use of electrical appliances – to give an allround view of a patient’s health.’
Barriers to adoption
But there are still barriers preventing connected health from reaching its full potential. The business case for introducing new technology into existing care pathways remains a big hurdle. According to Bennett: ‘It’s all well and good coming up with new technology but we have to
demonstrate it’s better, and sufficiently so that it’s worth the extra cost. One of the reasons it takes a very long time to get these in place is because of our centralised NHS model of funding.’ There is also a sensitivity about information-sharing across different health platforms due to patient data confidentiality issues. According to Robert Breedon, partner, head of health and care sector at Gowling WLG, there is also concern over the secondary use of data for research, and around consent from patients. This is seeing data security being taken more seriously, says his colleague, Jocelyn Paulley, a director at Gowling WLG. It is resulting in CIOs being appointed so there is accountability at board level, she says. But the biggest challenge faced by the connected health industry is reducing the unnecessary complexity of its systems and interfaces, says Plextek’s Johnson. For example, she says, if a system is used for diabetes it should only measure blood glucose and not take in physiological data ‘just because it can’. The industry also needs more innovative form factors, adds Johnson. ‘Simple systems with usercentred form factors are the way forward in this space.’
An AI future Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have great potential to transform connected healthcare. In the UK, this is already starting to take shape. In an NHS first, Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is using IBM’s Watson AI super computer to diagnose patients, using medical data and patients’ notes to offer treatment advice. More widely, machine learning is being used to analyse sensor data, says Karthik Ranjan, director healthcare and emerging technologies, at ARM. ‘We will start to see AI deployed among GPs. We already have telemedicine where you can have a video conference with your doctor. In the future you may be able to test issues such as a sore throat with sensors that can assess you remotely.’ Further down the line, a patient might be able to feed his or her symptoms into an AI machine which, combined with sensor data, would be able to choose a prescription without the need for a GP.
AI: Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is using artificial intelligence from IBM Watson to aid diagnosis
The Holst Centre
MEASUREMENT: Small health patches such as the one developed by the Holst Centre, imec and TNO (left) can track physical and cardiac activity, and measure bioelectrical impedance, while miDIAGNOSTICS has produced diagnostic tests integrated into silicon chips (below left)
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14/11/2016 16:44 03/10/2016 15:41
eHEALTHCARE – 5G APPLICATIONS
5G to open up new healthcare possibilities 5G is being built around use cases for industry and other sectors, as well as for person-to-person communications. One of the most intriguing areas is healthcare, so what surgical and therapeutic solutions might it enable? James Atkinson finds out from Ericsson and King’s College London
G promises to bring a wealth of new features, especially in the area of mission critical Internet of Things applications. Healthcare is one sector looking to capitalise on this opportunity. For example, Ericsson and King’s College London are collaborating to develop remote robotic surgery using 5G technology. The collaboration sprang from a chance meeting between John Cunliffe, formerly of Ericsson, and Peter Marshall, Head of Network Product Solutions in Ericsson, and Professor Mischa Dohler, Director of the Centre for Telecommunications Research in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London, whose research interests include 5G and the Internet of Things. ‘We agreed 5G would bring a lot of new opportunities so we thought; what can we do together?’ recalls Marshall. ‘King’s has a lot of expertise in tactile research, so we wondered whether we could add a remote sense of touch, and if so, what value would that provide for healthcare, remote response and emergency situations.’ After only a short time the team expanded to include Dr Toktam Mahmoodi and Dr Maria Lema Rosas, both from King’s College, London who have been instrumental in the recent collaboration and research. For the past 15 to 18 months, King’s and Ericsson and have been working closely together with the NHS on developing robotic surgery using haptic devices and tactile gloves. ‘It’s about providing a good,
tangible use case; creating something because it makes sense, not just because it is good research, and that’s where King’s adds such a lot of value,’ says Marshall. ‘By doing this research we can see what it means from a 5G architectural and technology development point of view. We can see how things will evolve over the next three years – adding virtual reality, for example.’
The current level of robotic surgery is represented by products such as the da Vinci Surgical System. It enables surgeons to perform operations by translating the surgeon’s hand movements into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. The instruments bend and rotate far more than a human hand is capable of doing, while a laparoscope – a thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end –
sends surgeons a magnified 3D HD view inside the patient’s body. Dr Toktam Mahmoodi, Lecturer in Telecommunications at King’s College London, explains that from a purely medical point of view there are two areas where 5G can advance this level of robotic surgery. ‘The first came out from our discussions with the doctors who told us they wanted to get back their sense of touch in robotic surgery, so as to improve precision further. They also wanted to have touch, movement and vision in a synchronised way that is not possible at the moment, because of the tight latency requirements,’ she says. ‘The second aspect 5G can provide is a sense of geographic distance,’ continues Mahmoodi. ‘At the moment, the doctor has to be in the operating theatre even when using robotic surgery. 5G now brings the possibility of carrying out operations remotely. These are the two main lines of development
TACTILE: The King’s College London and Ericsson 5G medical use case demonstration at 5G World 2016
that we think 5G will bring.’ The first showcase for the initial fruits of the Ericsson and King’s College collaboration was a demonstration of tactile robotic surgery at 5G World 2016 at Olympia in London earlier this year. The ‘Remote Control and Intervention’ 5G medical use case showed a probe as a robotic representation of a biological finger, which gives the surgeon the sense of touch in minimally invasive surgery, and which is able to send accurate, real-time localisation of hard nodules in soft tissue. In a real surgical environment it would mean that the robotic finger is able to identify cancer tissue, for example, and send information back to the surgeon as haptic feedback. The sense of touch was combined with real-time visual feedback from cameras of what was happening to provide a close view of the soft tissue model. From the technical point of view, the demonstration was enabled through software defined networking (SDN), which was configured to provide the necessary Quality of Service (QoS) by implementing networking slicing end-to-end.
5G network slicing
Network slicing moves away from the traditional one-size-fits-all network architecture. Using Cloud, SDN and network functions virtualisation (NFV) technologies, the network can be configured into slices to provide, for example, a mission critical healthcare service offering. The flexibility provided by these customisable software-defined functions allows the mobile operator to guarantee particular types and levels of services defined by geographical coverage area, duration, capacity, speed, latency, robustness, security and availability. The demonstration at 5G World Summit was largely devised by Dr Maria Lema Rosas, Research Associate at the Centre for Continued on p12
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Telecommunications Research at King’s College London, who says: ‘The Centre for Robotics Research has been working on haptic feedback for robot sensors and how to add this capability into robots. ‘There are several ways to embed sensors using tactile feedback, and we can gather information on laparoscopic surgery (also known as bandaid, keyhole or minimally invasive surgery) for example,’ says Rosas. ‘The question was how to de-couple the doctor from the robot,’ she continues. ‘We talked to the person who built the robot for the demo and he reproduced a biological finger with the ability to feel hard and soft material, and that replaced one of the laparoscopic tools.’ The team also worked with NeuroDigital Technologies, based in Almeria, Spain, the creators of the Gloveone haptic glove. ‘We decided to put these two together to see if one could control the other using gestures with the glove and once the robotic finger touched a hard object it would send back tactile information,’ explains Rosas. The demonstration also served to show how the different information streams behaved within the network, as the two video streams, the haptic glove and the robot sensors each have very different requirements.
The team was also keen to test the SDN tools by implementing a queue of assigned priorities to these different information flows. For example, by isolating the different flows, the team could ensure the tactile information had a guaranteed level of service, while the visual feeds from the video might have suffered. Rosas adds: ‘We also intentionally crashed one video to show people that by using SDN and network slicing we could still run one service even though there might not be enough network resources to run the other services. We do this using resource reservation, implemented by planning this into the network beforehand.’ Marshall points out that the mission critical aspects of remote surgery are heavily reliant on network slicing. ‘Being able to show the mission critical elements through network slicing was a very good addition to the primary demonstration of tactile capabilities,’ he says. ‘It was important for us to show
ROBOT SURGERY: At present the Da Vinci system represents the cutting edge in robotic surgery, but 5G will enable the surgeon to carry out operations from remote locations that even if you don’t have an always-available, low-latency, highdata-rate network, you can have this isolation between different information with different sensitivities,’ Mahmoodi notes. ‘You can ensure that if there is a bit of your network with that low latency or high data rate, then you can still put applications of high sensitivity into that part of the network.’ ‘Each slice has a business point of view,’ says Rosas. ‘So, for example, the healthcare slice would have a priority over most other applications and the mobile operator would have a service level agreement (SLA) with the healthcare industry to provide a certain quality of service. But 4G lacks the flexibility to provide this.’ Marshall adds: ‘You can do a lot with 4G, but if you are able to add augmented reality and virtual reality on top of that, then from a services point of view you are going from a small sphere of influence to a massive sphere of influence in terms of what you can actually achieve. ‘If you then add a sense of touch as well that takes you to another level again. From a service and application point of view 5G can offer a massive panacea of options and healthcare is one of them.’
Other 5G healthcare use cases
Mahmoodi points to the rehabilitation of patients as another area where 5G might help. ‘We have an ageing society. There was a record number of stroke patients in the UK in 2015, so that means a lot of people who need care. The trouble is that keeping them in hospital is too expensive, but there is not enough care available to look after them at home. ‘We think advanced wearable devices are key here,’ she says. ‘This is not sci-fi anymore; there are small companies who are making these kinds of products. A wearable device connected to a 5G network that would allow people to roam around and live and work normally. ‘But you would also need perfect coverage to maintain the connectivity, so you can move and roam around,’ she adds. ‘This is not possible with 4G and you would also need a highly responsive network, which again you cannot get with 4G.’ Telecare is another area where 5G could help to enable monitoring and compliance for those with chronic conditions who are on medication.
So what next for the team? Mahmoodi says they are working
with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust to trial some aspects of 5G technology, which could be available pre-2020, the generally agreed date for commercialisation of 5G. Rosas says: ‘The main difference I see now from seven years ago when I started is that then it was academia on one side and industry on the other. Before, industry would pick up on what we were doing, but now we are working together much more.’ Mahmoodi agrees: ‘Developments are happening faster now because of having the complete knowledge set in one place and the speed of modern communications to go with it. The interfaces here are close; it’s easy to just go and talk to a colleague.’ ‘It’s good to have this threepronged approach combining industry, academia and suppliers,’ affirms Marshall. ‘Whether you are a supplier, an academic or from industry, we all want to be at the forefront of technology. We all have a common goal, but we all come at it from slightly different angles.’ The team hopes to be able to present the next stage of its research in early 2017, when virtual reality and an expanded touch capability are expected to feature.
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PMR – COST-OPTIMISED DIGITAL RADIO MARKET
Business radio market p Despite the rise of other radio technologies and the continuing popularity of analogue systems, the cost-optimised digital radio market is seeing strong growth, and vendors believe there is plenty of life in the sector, reports James Atkinson
he popularity of digital Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) systems shows no signs of diminishing. In fact, all the digital PMR standards are growing, according to research firm IHS, including the cost-optimised digital technologies of police digital trunking (PDT), digital mobile radio (DMR), digital private mobile radio (dPMR) and NXDN. In June, IHS forecast the installed base of cost-optimised digital technologies to grow from nearly 5.7 million radios in 2014 to more than 15.7 million radios in 2019; the most growth of any PMR technology. More than two million shipments were made worldwide in the past 12 months, representing a growth of 30% on the previous year. The total global installed base of PMR, including analogue, is around 45 million. IHS is predicting that the digital installed base (including TETRA, P25 and Tetrapol) will overtake analogue in 2017. ‘But there are still more analogue cost-optimised radios being shipped than digital,’ notes Thomas Lynch, director for Security and Critical Communications Research at HIS Markit. ‘There are nearly 10 million cost-optimised radios in use at the moment with transportation and utilities being the biggest sectors.’ The cost-optimised digital technologies now have various price tiers from entry level to top tier. IHS says customers used to low analogue radio prices now have access to digital alternatives where previously the cost and system complexity would have been seen as a barrier. Lynch considers that dPMR
should really have been the technology that served that entrylevel market, but now that DMR in particular has multi-tier device price points, it seems to have colonised that space. ‘I’m not sure whether that was due to technology, price point or just that those companies with dPMR didn’t have strong enough regional distribution networks to push it,’ he says.
All the manufacturers Wireless spoke to agree that the various digital radio systems have attained the necessary basic functionality provided by analogue. The feature set may not be as rich as the more established TETRA standard, but they can equal and usually surpass what conventional and MPT1327 trunked analogue offers. ‘In terms of what analogue can do, DMR is already there, but in terms of what digital can do, we are only just beginning. We have not taken full advantage of digital’s capabilities yet,’ says GS Kok, senior vice president of Hytera. ‘Right now a lot of the features we have are voiced based or data features such as mapping. They are still passive, as the terminal just provides the data and a computer somewhere will make use of that data,’ he says. ‘But people expect more from their devices, such as dynamic location-based applications, so they can see where their colleagues are, for example, or be sent information on where something is.’ Barend Gildenhuys, technical director at Simoco Group, agrees
that the basic functionality is in place for DMR wide area and multisite trunking. ‘The DMR Association is now standardising services over that foundation including full duplex calling, encryption, mass re-registration and dynamic group number assignment to create talk groups on the fly. ‘All of these features were defined in ETSI DMR Standard Version 1.7.1., which was published at the beginning of this year, although it will take 12 months for products with those features to come out. Interoperability profiles between vendors will follow a couple of months after that.’ Mike Atkins, managing director, Kenwood European Headquarters (Communications), believes DMR and NXDN are both advancing very strongly in terms of functionality, but that there is always further to go. ‘Virtually everything is covered for what customers want, so it is more a case of the industry finding new things that customers do not realise they want yet.’ There will, of course, be proprietary features added by manufacturers, either because the standard hasn’t caught up yet, or as a way of differentiating themselves in the market. Individual customers ask for bespoke solutions, which also drives additional features that may or may not later become standardised. ‘There will always be nonstandard value-add features on top of the standard,’ says Sean Fitzgerald, solutions marketing manager at Motorola Solutions. ‘We do have plans for new models and so on, but a lot of the effort is really about
PMR can gain over other technologies, as it is easier for PMR vendors to create bespoke solutions for particular clients Mike Atkins, managing director, Kenwood European Headquarters (Communications)
improving the operational systems and adding new features and refinements to the capabilities. If you want something more exacting than DMR then you might as well go for TETRA, as DMR is unlikely to reach the equivalent of TETRA in terms of mission critical features,’ he adds.
Analogue to digital migration
The maturing of the functionality is helping to persuade end users to make the migration from analogue to digital. As GS Kok points out: ‘The migration to digital began in 2008 and we are around 50% of the way to replacing analogue now. But we are still adding new features, as customers are impatient to access the features and data applications they have on their smartphones.’ Most manufacturers report that migration is faster in the mid- to high-tier ranges where customers are looking for more sophisticated solutions and are prepared to pay for them. Jamie Bishop, market manager EMEA for Tait Communications, also points to the wider availability of ATEX products. ‘Industries that were unable to move to digital before – as there were not enough DMR or equivalent ATEX products around – can now do so and that is helping migration.’ With DMR Tier III trunked solutions reaching maturity, the big radio systems users on MPT1327 networks – who may only invest in new infrastructure every 10 to 15 years – are now looking to make the switch. ‘Some users with heavy functionality modes are preparing for a move to digital,’ reports Bishop, ‘and we expect some big infrastructure opportunities in the next six to 12 months. Transport and utilities are the most active sectors across the board in Europe.’ Atkins says the migration to digital has been very quick in the UK, and indeed Europe as a whole, but he says: ‘There will always be
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t provides good pickings
CONTROL: For many organisations the ability to have full control of their communications, including coverage and capacity, by having a private PMR network means two-way radio solutions will continue to be popular lower tiers, almost a consumer type market, that will stay with analogue. The professional unlicensed PMR 446 market is still very strong too for people who just want a back-toback system without having to bother with a licence.’ Ian Lockyer, marketing manager at Icom UK, agrees: ‘There are a lot of customers out there that are just comfortable with analogue….if it isn’t broken, why fix it? There are also many applications where only analogue will fit. ‘Obviously we are seeing a migration to Icom digital as customers need some of the extra benefits that it can provide. But we are finding that our three chief technologies, (analogue, digital and IP radio operating over Wi-Fi) are happily sitting alongside each other as two-way radio solutions for our customers.’ ‘We are finding that that all twoway radio sales are healthy across the board in all business sectors and in all areas of the country. With the evolution of technology, IP radio across a Wi-Fi network has found applications in a broad range of
diverse business sectors, so this is a sector that continues to offer growth,’ says Lockyer.
Value of applications
However, there is little question that while digital has the benefit of doubling the capacity of existing analogue channels and providing better quality voice, it is the greater range of applications available that is helping to drive the migration to digital. ‘My gut feeling is that if you just want voice you will stick with analogue and there is still a healthy market there,’ offers Motorola’s Sean Fitzgerald, ‘but the mid- to hightier customers are looking for the added value that digital can bring in terms of applications, particularly
data capabilities.’ ‘The main difference between analogue and digital is the applications,’ agrees Hytera’s GS Kok. ‘The iPhone wouldn’t have sold without iTunes and iStore – that’s how they won the customers. I don’t see any difference with PMR, as without applications you cannot really sell.’ As Kenwood’s Mike Atkins points out, it’s really about selling a wider solution, rather than just a radio system. Dispatch, location-based applications, workflow applications, telemetry and data are important ways for manufacturers, systems integrators and resellers to add value, while end users get a better return on their investment, as their network can now provide much more than just voice.
‘PMR can gain over other technologies here,’ asserts Atkins, ‘as it is easier for PMR vendors to create bespoke solutions for particular clients. We will see more and more of this; it is a key part of our industry’s future and we need this because basic terminal prices are falling and we have to keep our businesses running and be able to invest in R&D.’ Simoco’s Gildenhuys observes: ‘You can sell a lone worker or mandown solution that uses short data messaging (SDM) over DMR, but you may also be helping customers fulfil health and safety obligations to their staff. You can also use short data services for telemetry, but it is really about the remote management of assets. So, we need to package solutions around services to make it clearer to customers what the benefit is.’ Both Tait and Simoco have invested in industrial automation products for the utility sector in particular. Simoco’s Pulse range of data modems and integrated remote telemetry units is one example, while Tait’s GridLink is a product aimed at the electricity industry. ‘GridLink end points provide fault prevention and stop network outages,’ says Bishop. ‘Electricity companies get fined for outages, so if these end points prevent that, as well as providing remote control, it adds value to that utility as it can improve their business KPIs. It is a good illustration of the expansion of a PMR network from just mission critical voice services to something that adds more value.’ These kinds of value-add applications mean the supply chain has to get closer to the end user. ‘You need to know your customers much better if you are to advise them more,’ says Motorola’s Fitzgerald. ‘Becoming a trusted Continued on p16
I don’t think push to talk over cellular will account for more than 10% of the market over the next five years. Thomas Lynch, director for security and critical communications research, IHS Markit
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advisor may require more work, but the value goes up for us and it also promotes better customer loyalty. ‘We or the reseller are more integrated into their business and that helps with understanding workflows and improves relationships. It also often creates an ongoing revenue stream for the reseller, rather than just a one-off sale, as there is a continuing upsell path,’ he points out.
We are finding that that all twoway radio sales are healthy across the board in all business sectors and in all areas of the country Ian Lockyer, marketing manager, Icom UK ADDED VALUE: Digital radio has enabled the development of a much wider range of applications, which not only allows customers to get more value out of their networks, but also means additional revenue opportunities for manufacturers and resellers
There is a school of thought that argues that cellular technology will make PMR obsolete, and there is clearly a movement among public safety agencies to move to broadband solutions. But IHS describes the market entry of LTE into the critical communications world as ‘slow and protracted until now’. Its June report noted: ‘Challenges surrounding spectrum remain at the forefront, especially for mission critical users in public safety; although similar for other mission critical industries such as utilities and transportation. The cost of spectrum also remains an impediment.’ IHS’s Thomas Lynch says: ‘As far as push to talk over cellular is concerned, the jury is still out as to how effective it will be. I don’t think it will account for more than 10% of the market over the next five years, but it does have the potential to eat into the low end installed analogue base such as basic security, construction and hotels. I am not raising any alarm bells just yet, but it is on the horizon.’ Nonetheless, there is a general recognition among PMR vendors that they need to embrace adjacent technologies and find ways to seamlessly interconnect with them. Most have incorporated Bluetooth and sometimes Wi-Fi into their systems already, for example. ‘4G LTE, Wi-Fi and PMR all have their place,’ observes Simoco’s Barend Gildenhuys, ‘and you’ve got to focus on your strengths, but the focus also has to be on how do all these technologies interoperate to provide multi-communication conduits. ‘There has been an LTE bubble
PMR in the wider ecosystem
You need to know your customers much better if you are to advise them more. Becoming a trusted advisor may require more work, but the value goes up for us Sean Fitzgerald, solutions marketing manager, Motorola Solutions hanging around our industry for a while, but we see a lot of life in PMR still and I think it will remain the dominant technology for private communications networks,’ says Gildenhuys. ‘LTE is great for fast data speeds, but it has a lot of challenges around coverage footprints.’ Hytera’s GS Kok says: ‘The PMR industry will always be around, as the need for voice will always be there, but you need to embrace data if you want your business to grow. Anybody that wants to survive in the future has to look at converging all of their products together, so they work seamlessly, or it will be difficult to expand their business.’ He adds that China was one of the countries looking to migrate to
4G for public safety and other sectors. ‘But it is now investing heavily in PDT, so they may think twice for the time being. They are pushing us hard to come up with a PDT solution.’ ‘There is an increasing need to integrate different technologies,’ agrees Motorola’s Sean Fitzgerald. ‘PMR has connected to fixed telephony systems for some time and radios are here to stay, but there are some users who want more integration across other networks and systems.’ Motorola has its WAVE technology to enable PMR users to talk to cellular and other systems and send data, for example. Other vendors have solutions providing this kind of
The PMR industry will always be around, as the need for voice will always be there, but you need to embrace data if you want your business to grow GS Kok, senior vice president, Hytera
convergence too, but it is not about replacing PMR systems. Rather, it is about extending their reach geographically and technically by enabling them to interwork across other communication systems. Tait’s UnifyVoice and UnifyVehicle are examples of this. The latter can track people and assets via BLE tags, for example, or access other data applications when tethered to the PMR network. Bishop reports that Tait’s UnifyVoice is being used on construction sites in conjunction with a DMR Tier III system to enable cellular phone users to communicate with radio users. But it also enables organisations to push data out to staff in the field to improve their situational awareness.
Threats to PMR
All the vendors Wireless spoke to seem pretty relaxed about the threat of rival technologies for now. Most observe, however, that the price pressure at the lower end of the market is intense.
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The general view is that the PMR market is looking fairly rosy with plenty of opportunities ahead in the next few years. So, what might we expect to see coming down the line? Icom’s Ian Lockyer says: ‘We expect to see developments in the design and manufacturing of communication handsets with massive inroads in the development of SDR and digital technologies, perhaps combining multiple technologies such as PMR, Wi-Fi and LTE. We also think that the industry will seek more inventive
You get to a world where we provide a private LTE system from another manufacturer, because we have years of mission critical expertise Jamie Bishop, marketing manager EMEA, Tait Communications ways of making what we offer work for them.’ The company plans a new range of digital models for next year with a new design and functionality ethos. ‘They are software upgradable and will be licensed for different features,’ explains Lockyer. ‘So, you pay for the basic radio and you license up for the features that you want.’ He adds that saturation of the radio spectrum in large cities has caused the industry to look at other technologies to get what they can from existing infrastructure.
‘That is where you see DAS (Distributed Antenna System) being used to increase capacity and extend coverage outdoors and in larger building projects. The pressure to get more and more out of an existing radio system, improve coverage and meet ever increasing capacity will make these more relevant,’ he says. Hytera’s GS Kok points out that critical communications of some sort are required across many sectors, but while the cellular industry is now picking
CONVERGENCE: The ability to connect PMR technology to the wider communications ecosystem include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular is becoming increasingly important, as is the ability to use IP-based PMR networks to transmit data
Kenwood’s Mike Atkins says: ‘There is a race to the bottom on price and if you just sat still and did what you were doing 10 years ago you would struggle. You need to adapt to the changing technology and market, and if you do then the numbers are still there. If you offer the right packages you can make money, but you need to be clever to see the opportunities.’ Tait’s Jamie Bishop notes that the price war also has the negative effect of hindering innovation and the ability to deliver advanced applications, but says that his company is little affected by the squeeze, as it decided not to take on the lower end of the market. ‘Otherwise I don’t see much in the way of threats to the industry, although there are always spectrum issues of course,’ he says.
4G LTE, Wi-Fi and PMR all have their place, but the focus also has to be on how all these technologies interoperate to provide multicommunication conduits Barend Gildenhuys, technical director, Simoco Group
up on this area they are not finding it so easy. ‘We are in a better position than the big cellular OEMs as we have been designing critical communication products for years. When it comes to converging technologies, most of the OEMs haven’t got a clue, so they will struggle. ‘They may understand the mass consumer market where they sell loads of smartphones, but we understand critical communications customers much better. The future looks very interesting, but it’s about whether you are willing to embrace change,’ he says. Tait sums up its strategy as one of optimising and extending PMR to make the most of what it has invested in already, and becoming an essential critical communications partner. ‘This is where you get to a world where we provide a private LTE system from another manufacturer, because we have years of mission critical expertise and knowledge of end user operational procedures, which LTE manufacturers lack,’ says Jamie Bishop. Mike Atkins thinks the future is about multi-technology and having the right solution for the right user. ‘You have to keep adapting the technology to what the user needs and to the other technologies allied to it. If you can do all that there is plenty of business to be found.’ ‘PMR is a very mature industry,’ observes Motorola’s Sean Fitzgerald. ‘There is fairly stable growth in the installed base and we see that continuing. There are other technology threats, but what is interesting is that we have seen some users come back to PMR because of the specific things radio can do so well. ‘Other technologies cannot really compete with the core of what PMR does best, such as instant calling and group calling. It will be hard for anything else to match that for some time yet.’
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PMR – BUSINESS RADIO
The challenges facing With spectrum in short supply in parts of the country, Ofcom’s review of the UHF 2 Band is a concern for the business radio community, while proximate interference from new Internet of Things devices is a major potential threat, as Tim Cull of the FCS explains to James Atkinson One of the major issues facing the UK business radio community is the lack of spectrum in some areas of the country, particularly London. So moves to potentially reallocate the UHF 2 Band (450 MHz to 470 MHz) used by business radio in the UK are of considerable concern. The issue is that business radio is the biggest user of the UHF 2 Band, but its current use and configuration make it challenging to manage efficiently, with particular implications for managing congestion, future competing demand, and interference. There are proposals – particularly in Continental Europe – to repurpose the band for other uses. Ofcom is in the final stages of preparing its consultation into possible future uses of the band. However, there is little data available on what expected future usage of UHF 2 might look like, so the Federation of Communication Services (FCS) undertook a survey of its members earlier this year to get their views, with the aim of submitting the responses to Ofcom. Tim Cull, Head of Business Radio, FCS, says: ‘Ofcom is doing a really good job on UHF 2 and it is taking a very accurate measure of the temperature of the water. A lot of the questions in its mind are becoming much clearer for it.’ The latest Ofcom consultation is not out yet, so the business radio community is waiting to hear what it will say. ‘But Ofcom is communicating with everyone involved to work out what their
strategic approach to UHF 2 Band should be,’ says Cull. ‘The UHF 2 Band supports some quite important services for the UK, so we need to know what is going on, but the band is desperately fragmented. So, whatever Ofcom finally decides to do, it has to take into account a huge reorganisation process.’ This is because the UK has one of the most congested UHF 2 Bands, as it accommodates some 30 different user groups that all utilise it at different times and in different ways. ‘I don’t envy Ofcom’s job to refarm UHF 2,’ he says.
FCS UHF 2 Survey
Turning to the FCS survey on future growth in occupancy in the UHF 2 Band, the key message from members is that they expect it to grow considerably. The percentage change in total band occupancy is predicted to be 41.63%. All applications are predicted to increase: voice occupancy by 17.04%; data occupancy by 85.38%; and IoT/Telemetry occupancy by 160.44%. Cull says: ‘Ofcom agrees with the occupancy predictions of our survey on expectations of usage going forward. We had some surprising results, while others were much as expected.’ The value placed on continuing voice services was no surprise, for example. The FCS’ conclusion is: ‘Users already have voice, they know exactly why they need voice, that isn’t going to change and UHF 2 is the right band for this service.’
Another unsurprising result was the expectation that the use of business and mission-critical services will grow. ‘These are the types of services that are so important to a business they cannot afford for it to go wrong, because something bad will happen if it does,’ explains Cull. ‘There are usually safety implications attached to this too, which would be even worse,’ he continues. ‘If you don’t provide the right safety regime you are liable as a company.’ The conclusion is that the need for spectrum to accommodate this mission-critical requirement is therefore becoming stronger, not weaker. ‘When things go wrong, people switch to voice, because everyone wants to talk,’ he says. ‘So everyone, including Ofcom, and all credit to them for it, agrees that voice will be more important, not less in the future.’ A rather more surprising result from the survey was the expectation that there will be a
huge rise in data services. ‘The perceived value to organisations of data is no different in the business radio world than in any other, and usage is growing fast,’ says Cull. ‘People are starting to rely on data more, so they too are beginning to hunt for higher resilience systems,’ he notes. 4G LTE may be a very good and fast transmitter of data, but how reliable are public cellular networks? ‘It depends what you think the future of public communications will be,’ says Cull. ‘Some people are of the view that more and more data of all kinds – including social media – will pile onto mobile networks. In which case, will they be able to maintain an extremely high quality of service provision? ‘They may become more of a best-effort network, which may be less than some, although not all, customers may want. Those moredemanding customers may then turn to more resilient operators
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PMR – BUSINESS RADIO
g UK business radio
FUTURE USE: FCS members believe that usage of the UK business radio bands will increase, but with some areas of the country already facing congestion this is a matter of concern as they expect data use to rise dramatically over the next five years, putting limited spectrum under further pressure
with PMR networks and ask what they can do for them,’ says Cull. However, the concern is that some mission-critical data has to be quite resilient and quite fast. ‘That is a bit of problem,’ observes Cull, ‘because if you need, say 1Mbps throughput, something sufficient to carry lowquality streamed video, can we host that in the UHF 2 band? It will depend on the numbers. If it is only a few customers that will be okay, but if it is most of the customer base that is another thing.’ Cull’s personal view is that UHF 2 will not be able to host data usage to a sufficient level, so the industry may have to look at other bands and see if the necessary level of resilience can be added to them. He points out that the UK’s Emergency Services Network is an example of this kind of thinking. EE is beefing up the coverage, availability and resilience of its existing best effort 4G public commercial network to enable it to support mission
critical levels of service for the emergency services.
The expectation is that Ofcom will probably try to get its UHF 2 Band consultation paper out before the end of the year, but Cull does not expect it to include huge refarming proposals. ‘Where it goes wrong of course is international co-ordination if neighbouring countries do something else with the band,’ he says. However, he notes that one of the consequences of Brexit is that if the EU does come out with a directive saying the UHF 2 Band must be used for a particular purpose, then the UK will no longer have to obey that. ‘The future of the UHF 2 Band is far from being a dead topic,’ he concludes. ‘We won’t run another survey as we think this one has raised enough questions. But this will run and run; the whole industry will be affected by this.’
Uncontrolled interference from proximate transmitters A new threat emerged this year in the shape of interference from nonbusiness radio installations sited close to business radio base stations and repeaters. In some cases, the FCS reports the interference is so harmful it has almost wiped out transmissions from nearby business radio installations, rendering them unusable. In May, the FCS told members that: ‘The problem arises because the sideband and spurious transmissions from these new schemes, while apparently within legal limits as defined by the Harmonised Standards under the R&TTE Directive, are nevertheless still very high and extend over a very large frequency range.’ The expectation was that Ofcom would require the operators of these new schemes, which are often for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as remote controllers for street lighting, to take remedial action. However, Ofcom’s initial view was that it is powerless to do anything if the transmitters meet the basic Harmonised Standard irrespective of whether harmful interference results. Reflecting on this now, Tim Cull says: ‘The thing with all of these issues is to ask: what is the danger; and is the danger really going to be massive and quick to take effect? You don’t really find that out until you see how big the problem is.’ He observes that generally the UK radio communications industry is one where people get on and co-operate to sort something out between them without having recourse to Ofcom. ‘What’s gone wrong in this instance is that the installers not only installed their transmitters in a silly place, but they then refused to co-operate afterwards – and that is a rare thing. So, we need to find out how typical this might turn out to be,’ says Cull. He reports that since those initial installations were implemented, word has got out and a work around the issue does seem to be happening. ‘But how big the problem will get is difficult to say because it is early days yet for these kinds of IoT installations. But if it does go wrong, it really goes wrong, and you can prove that mathematically.’ The situation so far then is that there is not a deluge of serious interference problems; more like a steady trickle that is being noted, and despite the initial hiccoughs, so far people are managing to work around it. ‘The good news is that many of the IoT installers are business radio installers too, so they are aware of the problem unlike those first two installers who caused the initial alarm. So, it is early days and we’ll see how it goes,’ says Cull. ‘I think the exercise we went through to raise attention of the issue was very useful. People need to know they can’t just stick these things up without thinking even if they are as yet few in number,’ he says. The FCS was considering creating a technical study with the aim of submitting a specification proposal to CEPT and ETSI, but has decided to wait until it is clear that proximate interference is really is going to be a huge problem. ‘We are keeping a watching brief,’ says Cull. ‘No one is changing their view about the potential trouble this could cause though. It will be a horrific problem if the millions of IoT devices predicated do happen, but it seems to be evolving less quickly than expected.’
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CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS – MISSION CRITICAL LTE
Driving standardisa t The TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group is helping to shape the introduction of mission critical functionality into the 3GPP LTE standard. James Atkinson gets a progress report from CCBG chair Tero Pesonen
n April 2012, the TCCA (TETRA + Critical Communications Group) set up the Critical Communications Broadband Group (CCBG) to help drive the development and adoption of a common mission critical broadband LTE standard. Critical communications is a niche industry, so it came as an agreeable surprise when the mobile phone industry, which is largely focused on meeting the needs of mobile network operators and their billions of consumer subscribers, agreed to incorporate mission critical functionality into the 4G LTE broadband standard via the international standards writing body 3GPP. 3GPP set up a new Working Group, SA6 – Mission Critical Applications, to write the mission-critical standards and, in October 2013, CCBG’s influence on the process was given a major boost when it was invited to become a market representation partner to 3GPP, enabling it to provide direct input into the standards revision to ensure the needs of critical users are fully met. So far, SA6 has concentrated on establishing the Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) functional architecture for voice applications, which were included in LTE Release 13, finalised in March 2016. Tero Pesonen, chair of CCBG, says the group’s number one priority is to ensure the functionality required by the mission critical community largely already addressed in the mission critical narrowband PMR standards such as TETRA, Tetrapol and P25 ends up in the 3GPP LTE standard. ‘If it does not get in there, then it will very
difficult to achieve the global standardisation we want,’ he says. That said, Pesonen observes: ‘It is sobering to recognise that 3GPP is doing a lot of great work for a very important niche market. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, as there are so many strands that need pulling together.’
He adds that one of CCBG’s roles is to share information about the 3GPP process with the critical communications end users and industry. But 3GPP standards writers speak their own language, which is different from a firefighter. CCBG is able to ‘translate’ the different languages and provide a dialogue between end users and industry on one side and the specialist standards writers on the other. ‘That is why CCBG exists,’ says Pesonen. ‘CCBG includes public safety agencies, end users of all kinds and industry. That includes traditional TETRA vendors, plus all the major LTE vendors, and now more application developers are also joining CCBG too. Having that mix of representation enables us to have fruitful discussions and ensures we have the relevant competencies in place.’ One other thing CCBG has manged to achieve is to develop a process by which it can accommodate the speed of 3GPP’s work. ‘In the traditional critical communications world the typical turnaround time from government agencies for information and decision making is slow,’ explains Pesonen. ‘They are not used to providing feedback within the time that 3GPP
generally requires it, but we have put a process in place so that generally we get our input ready in time and that’s almost unheard of in the government sector!’
As to the work items for this year, more functionality will be added to the new MCPTT specification in Release 14, which is due for completion in March 2017. However, the key work items are developing specifications for mission critical video (MCVideo) and mission critical data (MCData). There are also three new work study areas. One study is addressing enhancements for the use of MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) for mission critical services (for example in areas such as service continuity, MBMS resource usage optimisations, QoS). A second is looking at enhancements to allow for a mission critical services user to obtain services from a partner system (migration) and for communication between different mission critical
systems (interconnect). The third one is focusing on specifications for interworking between LTE mission critical systems and non-LTE systems, such as P25, TETRA and legacy PMR systems. This is a good example of where CCBG has been able to influence 3GPP proceedings. ‘There was a proposal to leave an essential part of interworking out of the study,’ recalls Pesonen, ‘but we managed to bring it in with fairly wide support among 3GPP members. We argued that enabling short data services between PMR systems such as TETRA, for example, and LTE, is actually quite important. So, we were successful in also getting this requirement approved and, moreover, directly as a dedicated section into the MCData TS (Technical Specification).’ Pesonen reveals that the CCBG is working on a paper for the Hybrid Business Case, which is due for publication in early 2017. ‘We recognise that hybrid public and dedicated broadband networks are likely to be the case in a number of countries,’ he says, so ensuring a
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CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS – MISSION CRITICAL LTE
a tion of mission critical LTE PROGRESS REPORT: Standardisation of mission critical push to talk voice applications is largely complete, although further refinements are needed, especially for proximate services (direct mode) communications. Key tasks for this year include writing the specifications for mission critical data and video
standardised approach to interworking between the two is vital. Clearly there will also be a significant period of time of narrow band and broadband parallel use thus that will also need to be addressed.’
Testing and certification
CCBG is also looking at the issue of testing and certification. Personen points out that TETRA is an excellent example of a global multivendor standard. ‘We own the interoperability process. We issue certificates on our testing systems and that is the starting point for network-specific function testing. ‘We are investigating what things need to be done specifically for broadband critical communications,’ says Pesonen. ‘It is clear that the situation for consumer broadband products is sorted. If I buy a consumer LTE phone from any retailer it will work. But we need to be able to test and certify mission critical functionalities also and have a way to ensure interoperability of terminals and other equipment.’ CCBG is therefore working with
ETSI to set up an MCPTT plug-fest next June to test devices and servers. ‘Critical communications is a niche market, but the more we can ensure standardisation, the more we can have open interfaces for information exchange, and that encourages innovation and creativity – and that creates an enormous opportunity,’ argues Pesonen. He points out that the world view of the latest generation entering the public safety and wider critical communications sector is quite different from those who served in public safety organisations before the era of smart mobile phones. Thanks to new technology, this latest generation is used to a more information-centric way of working and that, believes Pesonen, is likely to revolutionise mission critical operational procedures. ‘It will be more data centric and less voice centric,’ he says, ‘so we need to pull this together and incubate it. It is a great challenge for us, but a big opportunity at the same time. ‘So, if we can bring everyone together as we work on the global standards it will benefit everyone,’
he continues. ‘And we should do so in such a way that railways, utilities and other critical communications users can adopt it too. That way we can all operate on shared networks as the Nordic countries already do with TETRA.’
CCBG has also been undertaking various studies on user requirements and asking what are the things that prevent agencies from harvesting the best from modern technology. One hindrance is that existing legislation has not caught up with the digital way of doing things, which is holding back migration in some areas. Finding harmonised spectrum for mission critical use is another challenge, while net neutrality issues could also make difficulties. ‘If all users and their data should be treated equally that can be interpreted as saying data from a fireman, which could save your life, should be treated with the same priority as a child accessing information on an iPad. As a parent, do you want a life to be saved or your child’s video session not to be interrupted?’ asks Pesonen. He notes that the rate of changing laws and regulation usually takes plenty of time, so the industry needs to raise the issue and highlight the hazards to policy makers, so that they can change the legislation by the time critical communications broadband services are being rolled out, to enable optimum use of the new technology. For now, CCBG has created and submitted its view for MCVideo and MCData prioritisation in order to maximise the value of Release 14 content. It also intends to continue embracing more and more different critical communications sectors in order to consolidate their needs into the 3GPP process. At the same time, it intends to take a more significant role in addressing the on-top-of-the3GPP-standard topics that are required to reach true open market
and multi-vendor supply, as well as encouraging competition in the critical mobile broadband communications market. Looking further ahead, Pesonen points out that LTE Release 15 will address the key technology concepts being proposed for 5G such as ultra-low latency and ultrareliable networks – features that are familiar to any existing mission critical network user. ‘The 5G work is very good for our community,’ enthuses Pesonen. ‘In that sense I am quite thankful to the automobile industry and others that are driving these 5G developments that need critical communications; it is helping to drive industrial convergence.’ Summing up, Pesonen notes that incorporating mission critical technology into the LTE standard is, of course, important, but he points to a much more general, but hugely important factor. ‘I would say that in the critical communications sector the killer app is trust. The end user has to know he can rely on everything to work when he needs it and in every possible layer.’
Key tasks and study items for 3GPP LTE Release 14 (close date: 9 June 2017) ■ Enhancements for mission
critical push-to-talk ■ Common functional architecture to support mission critical services ■ Mission critical video ■ Mission critical data ■ Study on mission critical system migration and interconnect between MCPTT systems ■ Study on mission critical communication interworking between LTE and non-LTE systems ■ Study on MBMS usage for mission critical communication services.
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INTERNET OF THINGS - SECURITY
Facing up to the IoT s T
he recent Mirai botnet DDoS attack in October 2016 orchestrated through Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as digital cameras and DVR players showed just how vulnerable the Internet and organisations are to attack via IoT applications. Meeting not long before the attack, the Cambridge Wireless IoT Security SIG discussed the threat under the title of: Don’t panic about IoT security, new technology will sort it out? Tim Phipps of Solarflare, one of the CW IoT Security SIG champions, set the scene by pointing out the nature of the problem, which he summed up as: ● Larger scale of data collection than we have seen before ● New technology coming to market from an emergent supply chain, which is immature and small scale ● Hundreds of poorly secured consumer IoT products. ‘IoT will be integral to home life, transport, payments and health,’ Phipps observed. ‘It is essential to life and is therefore a large target.’ He outlined the top three security challenges as: data loss (eg. credit card details); hijacking (of cars, or Iran’s nuclear programme); and consumer IoT linked products that are not secure, because they are designed to be fun and easy to use. Paul Tindall, of Sepura and a CW IoT Security SIG champion, added: ‘This is a Wild West industry; we have little control over these devices. There’s now a number of air interfaces for IoT and many standards, so it is deeply fragmented and that makes security harder to deploy.’ On top of that, he pointed out that there are other related issues that need addressing, such as: who owns the data; are the current legal frameworks relating to data fit for purpose for IoT; what is the role of regulators and where is the balance, as over-regulation stifles and underregulation kills?
‘What could possibly go wrong?’
Adrian Winckles, Cyber Lead at Anglia Ruskin University and Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Cambridge Chapter Leader, outlined some of the key
One of the biggest challenges facing the Internet of Things is security. The Cambridge Wireless IoT Security SIG met in London in September 2016 to discuss whether advances in technology could solve the problem, as James Atkinson reports things organisations need to be aware of and deal with. OWASP is a not-for-profit group whose mission is to build security into the software development process by explaining to developers, designers, architects and business owners the risks associated with the most dangerous Web application security flaws and recommending ways of dealing with them. Winckles explained that it is important for enterprises and organisations to have security high on the agenda in the boardroom, and stressed that IoT security is not just device security, but end-to-end security, including: the connectivity solution; data storage areas; and the multiple interfaces relating to the application. OWASP has identified 16 IoT attack surface areas. To defend these areas IoT users need to deploy: intrusion detection and intrusion prevention; end point protection; security incident event management; VPNs; anti-virus software; back end encryption; and SSL on everything (IPSec, etc).
But he pointed out that all of this is just for the infrastructure layers. According to Gartner, 75% of security breaches happen at the application layer, not the network layer. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US agrees – 92% of vulnerabilities are in the app layer, not the network. NIST also estimates that the cost of fixing a bug in the field averages at $30,000 vs. $5,000 during coding. ‘The trend is towards vulnerabilities in the software, which could be at the sensor level, mobile app, hub or cloud back end,’ said Winckles. He believes that security vulnerabilities too often get into IoT apps because developers do not have time to test their products adequately, as they are pressured by management to get products to market fast. In Winckles’ view, developers need to be taught secure coding practices and when it comes to testing an IoT application they need to test not just the functionality and user experience of the app, but its
DEFENCE: Darktrace’s solution learns the norms of an organisation’s networks and flags up any anomalies on its Threat Visualiser
security too. ‘If they are using thirdparty products they need to sanitise them; use a white box, not just lastminute black box testing,’ he urged.
The business case for security
Laurence Kalman, a commercial & technology and data protection specialist lawyer at legal firm Olswang, which hosted the event, observed that data privacy and security is foremost in clients’ minds at the moment He noted that less than 1% of objects are currently connected to the internet. The EU had around 1.8 million IoT connections in 2013, but this is predicted to rise to nearly six million in 2020. He identified some of the key legal issues around IoT, including: access to bandwidth and net neutrality; liability for damage caused by IoT products/services; automated contracts; interoperability of IoT devices/ systems; privacy; security; personal data + other data (cars, etc.) He observed: ‘The success of IoT will come down to user level of confidence in the use of their data – trust in other words.’ Turning to the IoT regulatory environment with particular reference to the EU, Kalman explained that there are no tailor-made regulations yet, but the area is attracting significant focus from regulators. The general thrust of that focus seems to be one of advocating a ‘human-centred’ approach to IoT to ensure that users trust that their data is being properly used. However, he noted that data ownership issues may lead to obstacles in accessing data. Public services may come to rely on access to data that is privately owned, so should access be guaranteed by law?
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INTERNET OF THINGS - SECURITY
T security threat
KEEPING UP: Despite deploying multiple cyber defence systems it is very difficult for organisations to keep up with the hackers, and the more IoT devices it connects to the more vulnerabilities are opened up
He added: ‘Not every piece of data will have obvious ownership rights attached to it immediately: so who has access? Who has rights to use that data in certain ways? What arrangements have stakeholders put in place? What privacy rights does the individual whose data is being collected have?’ For IoT to be successful there needs to be a strengthening of trust, in security and of end-to-end personal data protection, but Kalman said that we still have some way to go in sorting these things out. Kalman summed up by saying that IoT is a question of trust, and offered some key recommendations including: ● Carrying out privacy impact assessments – before launching any new apps ● Delete raw data as soon as the required data has been extracted ● Apply principles of privacy by design and privacy by default ● Empowerment is key: users must be able to exercise their rights and be ‘in control’.
Can technology solve the IoT security problem? Max Heinemeyer, senior cyber security analyst at Cambridgebased cyber security firm Darktrace, attempted to answer the
core question of whether new technology can solve the IoT cyber security issue. ‘It is very hard to keep up to date with security, and now there are millions of devices,’ said Heinemeyer. In the view of Darktrace, traditional cyber defence solutions are no longer enough. The problem is that defences are always one step behind the hackers. Darktrace advocates a different approach, which aims to move at the same speed as the threat, by automatically learning from an organisation’s on-going activity in real time to detect threat behaviours as they emerge. The company’s core product, the Enterprise Immune System (EIS), is based on unsupervised machine learning and probabilistic mathematics, which detects subtle indicators of compromise and threatening behaviours that bypass traditional security tools, even when those behaviours are new, complex and constantly changing. Using machine learning algorithms, the EIS passively forms an evolving understanding of an organisation’s ‘pattern of life’ or ‘self ’ without disrupting business operations, spotting very subtle changes in behaviours, as they occur. It works by analysing raw
network data, creating unique behavioural models for every user and device, and for the relationships between them. These behavioural changes are correlated and filtered, in order to detect emerging threats. ‘What it does is pick up anomalies,’ explained Heinemeyer. The system provides instant visibility into all network activity, notifying of in-progress attacks. For example, a CCTV camera should only connect to one place. Darktrace’s software can detect if the camera has been hacked by seeing it is connected to an IP address not normally associated with the organisation and as that is an anomaly, it sends an alert. ‘The point is to let the machines do the heavy lifting,’ said Heinemeyer. ‘You need machine learning technology to narrow down the noise by leveraging AI in the shape of matching learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning and neural networks.’ Heinemeyer concluded: ‘Will the new era of technology solve all of our problems? No, but it helps.’
The role of government and regulation in IoT
Derek McAuley, Professor of Digital Economy in the School of
Computer Science at the University of Nottingham and Director of Horizon, gave an overview of the current regulatory environment. McAuley’s key message was that many IoT applications will be covered by consumer protection regulations already. Anyone wanting to put an IoT product on the market needs to check if they meet the existing regulations that apply to their sector, business or service offering. For example, if you want to operate in the healthcare sector and gain access to NHS funding, you have to comply with the existing NHS Information Governance regulations. As a warning to the unwary, he cited the example of an automatic garage door opener using GPS linked to a smartphone. In the US, some 400 children have been killed by garage doors over 20 years. As a result there is a Safety Standard for Automatic Residential Garage Door Operators. So, even something as arcane as an automatic garage door opener can be covered by specialist regulation. ‘Don’t walk blindly down the path that thinks because this is new technology we get an open pass,’ said McAuley. ‘There will be regulations somewhere and that means possible litigation if you get something wrong.’
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WI-FI – FIXED WIRELESS BROADBAND
A wireless broadband opportunity Advances in wireless technology boosting speeds and capacity are opening up new possibilities for WISPs to take on wired broadband Internet providers, as Mimosa’s Jaime Fink explains to James Atkinson
he lack of adequate broadband Internet solutions has always been acute in rural areas, but customers in suburban and urban areas are also suffering from poor service due to the high cost of laying fibre. But now wireless technology has advanced to the point where it can deliver fibre-like speeds at a much-reduced cost. One US firm capitalising on this trend is Mimosa, which is carving out a niche for itself in this space with its cloud-managed, fibre-fast wireless solutions. Mimosa believes its solution has set the bar for broadband cost per megabit, which it says comes in at a fifth or sixth of the cost of fibre. Jaime Fink, co-founder and chief product officer at Mimosa, explains that the company has evolved four architectures and solution packages to target rural, suburban, urban and enterprise wireless broadband needs. ‘We looked for the sweet spot that would make business sense, assuming we could make it scale. Rural connectivity was the genesis of the idea, where we looked to bridge the gap between rural
towers. Our key target markets were those where fibre was not cost effective and there was no cable yet.’ For rural areas, Mimosa offers PTP and PtMP fixed wireless systems via its range of backhaul, access and client products. The solution has to transmit over very long distances and be able to penetrate tree foliage without degrading the signal.
However, it is the suburban areas usually serviced only by out-of-date copper solutions that offer the most competitive environment for the wireless internet service providers (WISPs) that use Mimosa equipment. Despite the higher population densities, it is still prohibitively expensive to deploy fibre in these areas. Mimosa’s suburban proposition is a very short-range solution. In July, it launched its MicroPoP solutions, comprising the A5 access point (AP) and C5 client device. It is designed to enable WISPs to immediately compete with cable and phone
providers by rolling out wireless broadband solutions rapidly and cheaply to homes and businesses in dense suburban and urban areas. APs are typically sited at every one or two residential or office blocks, delivering 200 Mbps to 300 Mbps per client. ‘The MicroPoP was designed to fit a short range - around 200m to 250m to penetrate through to the middle or maybe the other side of the block,’ says Fink. ‘The range is short enough to be able to penetrate tree foliage, so you keep the transmissions short and beamform them, then re-use the spectrum,’ he continues. ‘It provides a very reliable performance over that distance because it is engineered to do so.’ A key feature of Mimosa’s solution is the use of Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) and multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO) and smart antenna array technologies.
New wireless technology
The company has introduced more MIMO streams (8 by 8) for Wi-Fi
and fixed wireless applications, based on fast, low-cost chips from Quantenna Communications. Massive MIMO technology adds more capacity, while antenna beamforming allows the spectrum used by the access points to be reused by multiple clients simultaneously. Beamforming uses precise geopositioning information from each wireless client to focus wireless antenna transmit signals towards each individual client, thereby achieving improved focused wireless signals, and significantly reducing interference in the spectrum. The Mimosa system is also MU-MIMO capable so multiple clients on the same AP can be co-ordinated to simultaneously share spectrum, which improves system scalability and spectral efficiency. For fixed wireless applications, it is possible to scale spectrum re-use beyond a single access point, and stretch the benefits across an entire network. This enables broadband deployments requiring a fraction of the spectrum previously required, opening up service possibilities in even the highest population density deployments. ‘The ability to re-use channels and spectrum has enabled us to move into this market,’ explains Fink. ‘Now it is about how low cost can you go and can you scale your solution?’
BROADBAND: Sail Internet, a WISP based in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, deployed a Mimosa MicroPoP network in the large suburban community of Fremont
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WI-FI – NEXT GEN TECHNOLOGY
What next for Wi-F 802.11ad WiGig is the latest Wi-Fi standard to reach commercialisation, with the first certified products now available for trials. James Atkinson catches up with Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa to find out more about it and the other proposed standards coming down the line The 802.11ad WiGig Standard
The first certified products for the new 802.11ad WiGig Wi-Fi standard were announced in October by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which provides compliance certification to ensure there is the widest possible interoperable vendor ecosystem. 802.11ad WiGig is somewhat different from the previous standards developed by IEEE and promoted by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit industry association representing Wi-Fi product and solution providers. For a start, WiGig operates way up in the less-congested 60 GHz millimetre spectrum band (between 57 GHz and 66 GHz depending on region), rather than the usual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It is really designed to transmit very large amounts of data, very quickly, over short distances – typically between 1m and 10m. Applications might include: wireless docking between devices such as smartphone, laptops, projectors and tablets; augmented reality; virtual reality; simultaneous multimedia streaming of HD videos and films; more immersive gaming; and networking applications, such as bandwidth-intensive applications in the enterprise. Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance, tells Wireless: ‘Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig products
will deliver 8 Gbps performance, which is the fastest wireless broadband experience people have had, and it is very low latency too. ‘We’ve been working on 802.11ad for a number of years to standardise it and ensure interoperability between vendors. There’s likely to be a range of new applications that this technology will enable. A typical performance will provide a 5 Gb file in 12 seconds.’ Figueroa says he expects WiGig will reach laptops and other devices in 2017, but it is unlikely to be penetrating the mobile handset market until 2018. WiGig uses wider channels (four 2.16 GHz wide channels) in 60 GHz to transmit data efficiently, allowing users to download an HD movie in just a few seconds. This level of performance is critical to delivering a wired-grade experience for a variety of in-room and outdoor line-of-sight scenarios, according to the Alliance. The standard uses orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) as one of its main forms of modulation. OFDM transmits signals by separating the channels into hundreds of smaller subchannels, which are modulated with a low data rate. The clever bit is that these signals would normally interfere with each other, being so close together. But by making them orthogonal – that is, turning each signal at a right-
angle – they can be positioned much more closely together without interfering with each other. This greatly increases the spectral efficiency. WiGig devices use beamforming to focus a directed signal between devices to eliminate interference from other nearby devices and to enable high performance even in dense 60GHz environments. It can accomplish this kind of antenna beam management because the very high frequencies used mean the antennas are very small. The beamforming enables the equipment to shape the transmit and receive beams to get the best links. This also allows it to track and overcome any movement of the transmitter or receiver equipment or objects in between that might alter the characteristics of the transmission path. WiGig uses the same MAC (media access control) layer standard as the existing 802.11 standards enabling multi-band
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products supporting 2.4, 5, and 60 GHz to handoff between frequency bands by selecting the most appropriate band and data rate for the application and surrounding environmental conditions. Figueroa explains: ‘This ability to enable session transfer between 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 60 GHz allows users to maintain sessions. This capability is native to 802.11ad, but it is not something you will see immediately in products, but it is within the technology’s capability. We expect that multi-band devices will be popular straight away, however.’ ABI Research is forecasting that 180 million WiGig chipsets will ship to the smartphone market in 2017, with smartphone chipsets accounting for almost half of the 1.5 billion total market shipments in 2021. As part of the Wi-Fi ecosystem, WiGig delivers the highest level of security, and multiband devices will interoperate with more than eight billion deployed Wi-Fi products.
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WI-FI – NEXT GEN TECHNOLOGY
NEW STANDARD: The new 802.11ad WiGig standard will enable large amounts of data to be transferred very quickly over short distances in homes and offices. Other Wi-Fi standards currently being designed include ones for longrange Internet of Things applications and for use in TV White Space
The first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig products, which comprise the test bed for interoperability certification, are: Dell Latitude E7450/70; Intel Tri-Band Wireless; Peraso 60GHz USB Adapter Reference Design Kit; Qualcomm Technologies 802.11ad Wi-Fi client and router solution (based on the QCA9500 chipset); and the Socionext 802.11ad Reference Adapter.
The 802.11ax Standard
The latest widely available Wi-Fi standard is 802.11ac Wave 2, the first to use the 5 GHz band, which provides a big leap over the previous 802.11n generation of Wi-Fi systems. It brought: faster speeds of up to 7 Gbps; more spatial streams (four); wider channels (80 MHz and 160 MHz); 256 QAM (as opposed to 64 QAM for 11n); and beamforming. 802.11n uses single MIMO, but 11ac introduced multi user MIMO (MU-MIMO) enabling the system to set up multiple data streams on the same channel, thereby increasing the capacity of the
channel and therefore its ability to support more simultaneous users. 802.11ax is being touted as the successor to 11ac. The IEEE’s High Efficiency WLAN Study Group began working on 11ax in May 2013, but the final specification is some way off yet as it is not expected to be ready until 2019. It will be even faster than 11ac. Huawei, which is leading the IEEE’s 11ax working group, has reached throughput speeds of 10 Gbps in the laboratory. Detail is relatively sparse at the moment, but 11ax is expected to use MU-MIMO, and either OFDA (OFD Access) or OFDMA (OFD Multiple Access) to further improve
spectral efficiency. Huawei has claimed OFDA could increase spectral efficiency by 10 times, but a 4 times increase is seen as more realistic. It will also use an even higher order 1024 QAM modulation for better throughputs. It is expected to work in 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. ‘People are very excited about 802.11ax,’ says Figueroa. ‘It will bring a new era of spectral efficiency planning for scheduling mechanisms for connections, which we have never had before. It will also coincide with 5G connectivity, so 11ax is aiming at many of the 5G use cases. It could be complementary to 5G, but I hope it will be integral to 5G, as I hope it will address a lot of those 5G use cases as well.’
The 802.11ah HaLow Standard
The proposed 802.11ah, also known as HaLow, is intended to support extended range, lower power Wi-Fi for Machine-toMachine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications in the sub-1 GHz unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands. The ISM bands differ around the world: Europe - 863868 MHz; USA – 902-928 MHz; China – 755-787 MHz; and so on. A new physical layer and MAC have been developed for 11ah to enable the above ISM frequencies to be used. It will have much greater range than other Wi-Fi standards, but a lower speed. It will use an OFDM modulation scheme, although there are to be two versions; one for 1 MHz channel bandwidth operations for applications requiring an extended range, but which only send small amounts of data at low data rates; the second is for 2 MHz and above operations where higher data throughput rates are required. The MAC layer requires some
enhanced features to provide support for: large numbers of 11ah devices; power saving – a key prerequisite for many M2M and IoT applications; and throughput enhancements to enable the data to be transmitted as efficiently as possible. Figueroa comments: ‘It is very early on for this, but there is a lot of interest in it. The sweet spot is the medium range, medium efficiency, so it is not aiming at super low or super long range, but the idea is it will be much more efficient than current Wi-Fi.’
The 802.11af White-Fi Standard
This standard proposes a solution for deploying Wi-Fi in unused TV spectrum, or TV White Space, as it is known. It is essentially a form of spectrum sharing, but it means there has to be a way to detect whether the primary TV operator is using the band. One suggestion is to use cognitive radio technology to detect TV transmissions and move the Wi-Fi onto another channel to ensure there is no interference with the primary user of the band when using the same channels. Another possibility being explored in some countries is to have a geographic database of where and when primary users transmit and on what channels. Secondary users would employ this ‘geographic sensing’ to ensure they only operate on unused channels at the right time. Figueroa says: ‘802.11af is even further off than the others. Spectrum rules vary widely around the world, and many regulators have not opened up TV White Spaces yet, so it is a complicated environment and that is why there is not much progress on 11af as yet.’
People are very excited about 802.11ax. It will bring a new era of spectral efficiency planning for scheduling mechanisms for connections, which we have never had before Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance
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WI-FI – LANCOM SYSTEMS
Lancom expands into cloud management The Wi-Fi equipment market is dominated by US vendors, but Lancom Systems is a major supplier in its ancom Systems is now in its 15th operation and has grown L native Germany, fromyear25ofpeople to 270, while revenues have increased from €3m with a particularly to €50m. It has delivered an steady growth of strong presence impressively 14-15% a year. It is privately owned and very profitable, according to in the retail and managing partner, Stefan Herrlick. Lancom has two main areas of hospitality sectors focus. The first covers network connectivity products in the shape of – and now it is routers, VPN gateways, concentrators, and so on. ‘We focus looking to solely on enterprise customers from very small and medium-sized firms move into the deploying a safe VPN from the home to the office, all the way up to the UK, managing world’s largest discount chain where all 20,000 offices around the world are partner Stefan connected by Lancom,’ says Herrlich. The second area of focus is wireless Herrlich, tells LAN infrastructure. Lancom provides a range of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi James solutions for industrial environments, including access points, antennas, Atkinson controllers, switches, along with cloud networking and management
FLYING HIGH: Lancom has incorporated Wi-Fi access points into ski lift gondolas
tools – the complete end-to-end network portfolio. ‘Our model is to concentrate on the design and development of products,’ explains Herrlich. ‘Sales and services are provided by a huge network of partners, resellers, system houses and system integrators. So we rely solely on an indirect sales channel of some 7,500 resellers across Europe.’
Made in Germany
All of Lancom’s hardware is designed and manufactured in Germany from two sites, but it also develops its software in-house. Herrlich argues that this allows the company to be agile in bringing products to market and to develop customised solutions for its clients. For example, it developed a way for its Wi-Fi APs to wirelessly connect with retail electronic paper price tags. Herrlich adds that Lancom is particularly strong in the German retail sector where there are lots of PoPs that need to be networked. ‘Our network connectivity and our Wi-Fi products come together here and we think we have a very strong and powerful integrated solution.’ The company is also active in the hospitality sector, including hotels, bars, harbours and, somewhat unusually, ski areas. Three-quarters of all Swiss and Austrian ski resorts use Lancom products, while Austrian-Swiss company Doppelmayr has even installed small APs into ski lifts and gondolas, and on urban transit gondolas in the city of La Paz in Bolivia.
A key thing to note about Lancom is that all of its product lines use one common operating system – be it Wi-Fi, switches or the routing and gateway products. This makes them easy to integrate as an end-to-end system.
But Lancom has a new and major enhancement in the pipeline. In January 2017, it is due to launch the Lancom Management Cloud. ‘This marks the first time we have embarked on software defined network (SDN) technology for Wi-Fi LAN and WAN solutions,’ says Herrlich. By automatically knowing the topology and other key parameters, the configuration script is automatically generated and executed. So what used to take hours or even days will now take minutes, he explains. ‘We think the Lancom Management Cloud will be a very powerful tool, particularly for our partners, as it will enable them to establish a deeper relationship with their clients,’ asserts Herrlich. Lancom is now turning its attention to Europe’s second-largest market – the UK. He reveals that Lancom has three major deals in the works in the UK and has also signed a deal with UK distributor Westbase for it to build up the sales channel. ‘We will have to build up our presence in the UK the hard way. We are working with Westbase to develop a channel strategy and to create some visibility and presence. We will then work with our partners to pursue the big opportunities.’
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