Build to Rent

LONDON – Technology has changed all our lives so fundamentally in recent years that it is sometimes difficult to look back to an era when things were done differently. Today’s normality was, just a short time ago, unthinkable. Banking is a good example. Today, we take it for granted that we can access our accounts at any time and transfer money and pay bills quickly and cheaply. The chequebook is still available for those who need it, but it won’t be long before they too are consigned to history. Then take taxis. While in London at least, using a cab was once the preserve of those with substantial salaries – or travelling at somebody else’s expense – now the rise of Uber and others means that getting a ride home is a real option for many people. Property has, of course, been slow to embrace the benefits that digital technology can bring – one estimate is that the industry is around 20 years behind financial services – but that is starting to change and at pace. Just a few years ago, if the property press mentioned technology at all, it was to reference the influence of the likes of Rightmove or Zoopla. Today the phenomenon has its own name: proptech. A lot of attention has been paid to how proptech is disrupting the industry, most notably through big data potentially making the role played by many agents redundant. That is obviously a cause for concern and the introduction of new ways of working will obviously have to be done with care and compassion. But proptech also has the potential to bring huge benefits to both property companies and their consumers – and without the need for anyone to lose their jobs. In no sector...

Lamborghini’s Phone...

These days, most of us own a smartphone or even several. Smartphone manufacturers have also worked their best to bring near premium design and specs to budget devices. Yet, every now and then, the industry surfaces some device with a ridiculous price boasting marketing names such as “the most luxurious technology” and you’re just wondering who on this planet would buy it and most importantly, why. The latest—Lamborghini Alpha One—can be yours for $2,450. It’s sort of obvious that a smartphone delivered by a luxury carmaker like Lamborghini will undoubtedly come with a premium price, but is it really worth the money? The Android device features a “liquid metal” frame, “Italian handmade black leather” and the company’s ‘Raging Bull’ logo, the symbol of “strength, courage, determination and boldness.” The liquid metal is used in the device’s side frame and it’s basically an alloy often used in supercars, premium golf clubs and surgery tools thanks to its high strength, corrosion resistance, light weight (still, the device weighs 200 grams, above the 188 grams of the iPhone 7 Plus) and malleability. But this is where the premium features stop. The ‘supersmartphone’s feature set is not as impressive as its luxurious exterior: a 5.5-inch WQHD, 2560×1440 display with Gorilla protection, powered by a two-year old Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB. (Note: there are already on the market devices with 256GB capacity.) The Alpha One runs on Android Nougat and sees through a 20-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/1.8 aperture and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture, 4K video recording, optical image stabilizer and electronic image stabilization. It also offers dual SIM support. The Italian device features a DOLBY ATMOS dual-speaker 3D acoustics system optimized for mobile...

Alexa and AI

As the popularity of Artificial Intelligence is on the rise and corporate giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are racing to develop the best commercial AI product, the focus has shifted from humans being more intelligent like machines, to developing machines to act more like humans. This past July, Amazon acquired a Santa Barbara startup called Graphiq, previously known as FindTheBest, for an estimated 50 million dollars in hopes of using the company’s data analysis and search engine technology to make their digital AI assistant, named Alexa, even smarter. Alexa was first implemented in 2014 with the introduction of Amazon’s Echo, but has come a long way since then by developing complexity that far surpasses its competitors such as Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. The reason why Alexa has become such an advanced AI is due to the integrations that were built into the voice-controlled platform. For example, users can apply a skill to Alexa, which allows the AI to do various actions such as setting the oven temperature or turn on lights in your home with a simple command. There are currently about 250 or more products offered on Amazon.com that can be integrated with Alexa skills, but there are over 4,000 other products from other manufacturers that can also include the function. Smart Cars get Smarter In addition, Alexa’s API, or application program interface, allows it to integrate seamlessly into the automotive industry. Just recently, Amazon has already created partnerships with automotive manufacturers such as BMW, Hyundai, and Ford. While each car manufacturer will vary in how they will integrate Alexa into their product designs, the voice controlled command system that Alexa offers would remain the same across all manufacturers. For example, simple commands such as opening the car trunk, or...

Watch Out Fido

Just in time for the holidays, Sony has resurrected the robot pet it removed from shelves in 2006. This new model is called aibo, which stands for Artificial Intelligence robot. Aibo is also the Japanese word for “companion” or “friend.” The new model (no. ERS-1000) develops from a newborn puppy to an adult with personality shaped by the interaction with its owners and surroundings, thanks to the latest AI technology. This ability to form an emotional bond with members of the family makes each aibo unique, so no two will be the same. The new puppy’s rounded appearance makes it pretty irresistible. Sony has spent quite a bit on animation. That being said, I am personally a bit skeptical about how it feels to pet a piece of plastic, even though it’s premium plastic. The pup has the capacity of expressing its love for its owners through lifelike expressions and a dynamic array of movements, but it does make one wonder—is this the future of pets? The robot pet has a behavioral repertoire more limited than that of the least bright dog, but an aibo doesn’t need you to feed it (technically, it does when you charge it), doesn’t wake you up at 5am to take it out in the pouring rain and will never make a mess inside your home. Aibo’s ‘fur’ is ivory-white, and it has cute flapping black ears and a wagging tail. It’s about 30-centimeters long and comes with a package of sensors on the head, chin and back for pet detection, two cameras, four microphones for voice commands and internet connectivity, as well as the earlier mentioned upgraded AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog’s personality. The advantages of deep learning and AI tricks help it to...

Largest EV Station

Automakers have been hard at work, developing ideas for the cars of the future, but in order for the new vehicles to have a future, a proper infrastructure needs to be designed and put into place. The battery industry is in full swing with more and more scientists getting involved into the development of bigger and better ones, but regardless of their capacity, they all need to be recharged. This means that charging stations need to spring in at least as many locations as the conventional gas stations. Sortimo, a German company headquartered in Berlin, unveiled plans of what’s to become the largest electric vehicle fast-charging station in the world—the Sortimo Innovationspark Zusmarshausen. The project will be located along Germany’s six-lane A8 highway, in the industrial area in Bavarian-Swabia, between Ulm and Augsburg, in close proximity to Tesla’s Supercharger in Jettingen-Scheppach. The electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station will consist of 144 charging ports, which will allow for more than 4,000 cars to be refilled with energy on a daily basis. Of the planned charging columns, 24 are to be superfast chargers, with a charging capacity of record-breaking 350 kilowatts, meaning that a vehicle battery can be replenished in only a few minutes. Tesla’s ‘Superchargers’ currently stop at about 150 kilowatts, but even though this is more than what today’s car batteries can handle, the company is convinced that both battery capacities and the need for charging infrastructure are growing at a significant pace. Moreover, the Innovationspark will feature offices, shopping and dining areas, serving those who stop to recharge their vehicles. The images accompanying the announcement reveal that the planned station will be topped with green roofs, emphasizing on the development’s care for nature and awareness for the environment. The massive charging station will...

Procurement Payoff

Cutting costs never loses appeal, even in a robust industry and a thriving economy. Inescapable expenses such as insurance and taxes, along with competitive pressures, have forced property owners to become increasingly creative in finding opportunities to cut costs and work more efficiently. Processing payments for the various products and services that keep properties running smoothly is one of those inevitable expenses. This historically has been a manually intensive and paper-heavy process.  Routing one paper vendor invoice through payment can take as long as 30 days and cost up to $35 dollars, according to data compiled by Yardi. With potentially thousands of invoices coming in every month, those costs add up fast for property owners and managers. A recent analysis examined 25 million invoices that about 1 million vendors submitted for processing by Yardi Procure to Pay on behalf of more than 1,000 real estate businesses.  The study offered insight into ways that companies handling small and large volumes of invoices can streamline the process and reduce costs and staff burdens. The Yardi Procure to Pay study found that businesses submitting five or more invoices per month, which account for just 7% of vendors but 75% of invoices, often require accounts payable or property teams that spend significant amounts of time scanning, keying and verifying these large invoice volumes. Even vendors submitting a low volume of invoices—four or fewer per month—can spend an inordinate amount of time on invoices, often repeatedly calling client properties for status checks or sending duplicate invoices until they are paid. All this activity takes up significant time and effort from accounting departments and property-level staff.   Streamlined Approvals Fortunately, the procure-to-pay process has become dramatically more efficient in terms of labor and expense in recent years. Many real estate...

New from Google

Earlier this month, Google launched eight new hardware products — two versions of the Pixel 2, a new Daydream VR headset, two new Google Home speakers, an AI camera dubbed Google Clips, AI-enhanced headphones called Pixel Buds and the Pixelbook laptop. The second-generation family of consumer hardware products seems an effort to make up for the lost time in the hardware department. Google’s senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, reminded everyone at the launch that while late to the race, Google could still be a contender. After all, Apple was not first to market with MP3 players and smartphones, nor was Facebook the gate-clanging social network. Pixel 2 & 2XL Following last year’s Pixel, Google launched two new smartphones—Pixel 2 made by HTC and Pixel 2XL made by LG. The phones boast an overall score of 98 points in camera benchmark charts, surpassing every other smartphone currently on the market. Google managed to score higher with a single camera when competitors have done so with two. Google has also added the live photo and portrait modes, two of the features iPhone users have been playing with for awhile. Both phones are made of metal instead of glass or plastic, but for this premium look and feel the company had to ditch wireless charging. It does support wireless communication though, thanks to a glass window at the top of the phone. The headphone jack is missing on both models. Both devices run Android 8.0 (Oreo) with some custom software and features from Google. They’re water resistant and are powered by Snapdragon 835 processors with 4GB of RAM and storage of 64GB and 128GB. Connectivity-wise the devices support Bluetooth 5.0 + LE and have an USB-C port to be used with the headphones (there’s also...

Recon from Space

Earth-orbiting satellites have been part of the fabric of daily life for more than 50 years.  Billions of people depend on them to support fast, accurate execution of communication, weather monitoring, military and intelligence operations, and other activities. In recent years, the property management industry has become a leader in leveraging space systems’ elevated perspective for better-informed decision-making. Sharp Images from Orbit A key connection between satellites and real estate stakeholders is Westminster, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe, owner and operator of five imaging satellites launched between 2007 and 2016.  (Two other satellites launched in 1999 and 2001 were decommissioned, although their imagery remains available.)  Equipped with best-in-class optics and electronics, the satellites—GeoEye-1 and four WorldView-class sensors—crisscross the globe, snapping high-quality pictures from low Earth orbit (300 to 478 miles). Imagery from DigitalGlobe’s satellite constellation, which is capable of covering more than 620 million square miles annually, populates GBDX, a big data digital library and analytics platform.  Investors, insurance companies, environmental managers, urban planners and others involved in buying, developing and occupying properties tap into GBDX.  The high-resolution (about 12 inches) imagery aids site selection and development planning, property value and insurance assessments, solar and wind energy potential, code enforcement and more.  The collection, transmission, processing and dissemination cycle can take as little as two hours, and the data can be used to create 3-D, stereo and digital elevation models. Assessing Risk “If you’re thinking of purchasing property for investment or development, there’s a lot you need to know: what’s a building’s size, shape, configuration and proximity to neighbors?  Is a property flooded, burned or otherwise damaged?  What’s the possibility of fire, floods, wind or hail?  What is the best access route for emergency service providers?  Are there new additions or deletions that could impact value or...

Pacemaker Panic

The FDA recently released an emergency notice last recalling several implantable pacemakers due to recently discovered cyber security vulnerabilities. According to the FDA, devices manufactured by Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical) could be compromised by hackers with exploits that would allow a third party to affect the speed of the device or deplete its batteries. Fortunately, a simple firmware update will protect patients from any outside interference. Frequency Failure According to the FDA, hackers could take advantage of radio-frequency-enabled pacemakers to compromise the device’s authentication algorithm. Under the right circumstances, bypassing the device’s authentication key and time stamp would allow a nearby attacker to send “unauthorized commands” to the pacemaker via RF communications. Additionally, because the number of “RF wake-up” commands are not limited by these specific pacemakers, a third-party could repeatedly send commands to the device to drain its battery life. Both the Accent and Anthem pacemakers could also potentially reveal patient information to unauthorized parties. As of yet, there are no reports of any real-world infiltrations, and both the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the exploit code is “not publicly available.” The Department of Homeland Security warns potential hackers would need to be physically near their intended target. Additionally, the Department of Health promises only “an attacker with high skill would be able to exploit these vulnerabilities.” Nevertheless, the potential for real harm exists, especially because the flaw in the device’s software would allow a third party to slow or stop the device. Even though the possibility of of injury or death remains remote, influencing the speed or power on a pacemaker could result in life-threatening injury, thus spurring the FDA’s recall action. “These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow an unauthorized user (i.e., someone other than the patient’s physician)...

Rebel Retirees

As Ferris Bueller famously advised, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” For many older adults, the bells and whistles of the modern age continue to befuddle and frustrate, but as reporter Jane Morice suggests, seniors are adapting to this new world in some surprising ways. While technological advances may leave some older adults confused and cautious, many senior citizens are embracing an active, modern approach to aging. “The sharpest contrast between generations in 2017 is inarguably the comprehension of technology,” she writes before adding, “They’re not all old fogies in rocking chairs, watching the world go by.” Complicated Connections Social media and smart phones continue to flummox many older adults, despite apps and devices continue to simplify their user interface. While most grandparents have discovered the joys of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter remain mostly out of reach. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, 62% of adults over 65 have a Facebook profile, while less than 20% on Instagram and only 9% on Snapchat. Though most seniors now own smart phones (about 40%), few use them to their full potential. As the Pew Research Center discovered, some of that reticence isn’t merely stubbornness, as “older adults may also face physical challenges that might make it difficult to use or manipulate devices.” Online shopping also remains out of reach for many seniors, most of whom continue to feel a sense of discomfort with automation and online activities.  Baby boomers as a group appear the most comfortable with online shopping, while only 10% of the older crowd purchases items on the internet. Some of that doubt seems well-founded, considering the Department of Homeland Security estimates seniors “defrauded over the Internet” at twice the rate of...

Apple Update

Come autumn, the world stops to see the next Apple crop. In this case, we mean tech, not fruit! This year has been especially bountiful with the launch of an upgraded Apple Watch, new iPhones, the 10-year celebration of the iPhone and the first keynote to be hosted at the company’s spaceship headquarters in the Steve Jobs Theater. Apple Watch Series 3 Even though the star of the evening was the iPhone X, some other interesting stuff occurred on stage. For example, we met the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple’s newest wearable version, upgraded to LTE connectivity—basically, the watch now works as a standalone device, so you don’t have to keep it connected to your iPhone. If you already own an iPhone and don’t have a watch, this should be the next item in your Apple shopping bag. The gizmo will work with the same phone number that your iPhone has, synchronizing calls, iMessage and music automatically. It will use a separate connection when away from the phone, so you no longer have to carry both your watch and your iPhone next time you hop on your mountain bike or head out for a jog. Visually, not much has changed. The device itself is slightly thicker than the Series 2 model, but that’s to be expected considering the performance upgrades it has stored inside. The Watch Series 3 is decked out with some new band options too—the Sport Loop, designed for outdoor active situations, and Hermès leather straps. Technical specs of the new watch include a new dual-core processor with 70 percent better performance and a new W2 chip that boosts Bluetooth, wireless connectivity and power efficiency. The cellular antenna is the display itself, and there is a tiny electronic SIM card inside for...

Galaxy Note8

It’s not easy to follow the footsteps of a maligned predecessor. After last year’s disastrous Note7, many believed the Note8 would never exist. But Samsung has launched the Note8, aiming at a righting the wrongs of the previous iteration. The new phablet, launched in August, does its best to restore customers’ faith in the brand,  but not without a hefty price. How big is too big? At 6.3-inches, the device feels like a Gulliver. Don’t even dream about using it with only one hand. The front is all screen with just a thin bezel top and bottom and curved edges that bend towards metal sides. However, the curvature of the screen seems reduced, compared to the Note7—the change means less real estate on the rounded edges, which makes using the stylus easier. For protection, its glass front and back are coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 5.0. The Super AMOLED display sports bright, vibrant colors, with deep blacks and beautiful viewing angles. It features the same virtual home button and pressure-sensitive screen as the Galaxy S8. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the back of the phone, to the right of the camera module, which takes some finger gymnastics to reach it. Samsung offers both iris-scanning and face-scanning unlock systems, so you don’t have to rely on the fingerprint scanner as much. Still, the face-recognition feature doesn’t feel secure enough just yet, even though the South Korean company has improved it and works faster and more reliably. The iris scanner on the other hand, is fast and as secure as the fingerprint method, that if don’t mind holding the phone up, awkwardly close to your face while making your eyes as big as you can. Specs-wise, the Note8 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor,...

AR Glasses

What makes a pair of glasses smart? They can improve the quality of what you see. This process is called augmented reality (AR). You can navigate the internet by giving natural language commands, you can also synchronize with computers and smartphones for communication. Today’s smart glasses have almost all the features of a smartphone. People are already replacing their desktop computers with smart glasses. Recently, major companies in Silicon Valley have shown significant interest in augmented reality, a technology that integrates computer graphics and software into the real world. If you thought Snapchat’s Spectacles were expensive, check out these smart glasses for normal people…with a lot of money. Microsoft HoloLens They use a projection system to generate low-latency, multidimensional holograms. The mixed reality headset is made of plastic and is adjustable. You interact with the content, information or holograms using your gaze, gesture and voice. It’s one of the priciest headsets available, however Microsoft is clearly the leader in AR tech. Price: $3,000 ODG R-7 smart glasses system The ODG R-7 glasses are jam packet with sensors and features. The glasses are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor and pack 3GB of RAM, as well as 6GB of internal storage. The Snapdragon 805 processor is the first commercial mobile processor to support on-device 4K Ultra HD display, including support for 4K Ultra HD UI and 4 K Ultra HD video capture and playback, realistic 3D gaming and up to 55MP photo support. Price: $2,750 Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses After the success with Vuzix’s M100, the company developed M300, a pair of glasses that are made for enterprise and come with an Intel Atom processor powering performance, all in a comfortable, yet rugged design. The M300 runs on Android with 2GB RAM, 16GB of...

Kid Stuff

Watching a cartoon on a smartphone, tablet or smart TV has become a daily routine for many kids. Whether it’s Peppa Pig, Thomas & Friends, Talking Tom or online hits such as Mother Goose Club, Super Simple Songs or Wonder Quest, children spend hours with their eyes glued to those screens. As a parent, it’s almost futile to think you can control everything they watch. But YouTube came up with a handy companion. The YouTube Kids app enables adults be in command. The kid-friendly version of YouTube features a simplified design, a selection of age-appropriate content and, probably most importantly, parental control. YouTube Kids has a completely different design from the regular YouTube application. Kids can tap on large buttons to reach dedicated sections such as “Shows,” “Music,” “Learning” and “Explore,” indicated by icons of a play button, radio, lightbulb and binoculars, respectively. You should be aware the app does feature advertisements, but if you or your child come across any inappropriate content you can flag it in the same way you would on the original YouTube app. How it Works The YouTube Kids app has become a popular platform amongst families around the world. More than eight million weekly active viewers use the app. Recently, YouTube Kids was made available on LG, Samsung and Sony smart TVs in the 26 countries where the app is currently launched. Here are a few tips: Downloading the app on your device is free for iOS and Android platforms. Your device will need to be operating on iOS 7 or above or Android 4.1 or above. The app doesn’t require a sign-in or Google account. You can also watch YouTube Kids videos on your TV with a Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles and smart TVs. After the...

Lightyear One

We’ve been watching how solar power is slowly making its way in a variety of industries. The automotive industry has been working extensively with solar in recent years, with Tesla assuming a leading role. Most people, when talking about using solar energy to power cars, refer to sourcing electricity from solar panels. But a Dutch company has a different idea. Lightyear One is the creation of five Eindhoven alumni who have already built two solar cars, Stella and Stella Lux, for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class. (Both projects are prototypes of four-seater solar cars.) The startup Lightyear announced their plans to combine onboard solar cells with an efficient battery pack and an optimized design to deliver a road-legal, four-seat electric car that can charge itself directly from sunlight. A car that can go the distance “You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, in a prepared statement. “It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun.” The Lightyear One concept was unveiled in early July, touting a battery that can constantly replenish its power using the sun. In addition, the car can travel a range of up to 500 miles when fully charged. But most interestingly, the company claims that in the right sunny environment, such as Hawaii, the luxury sedan could potentially drive for months at a time between charges. This revolutionary feature solves for the notion that electric cars could be restricted to regions with reliable charging networks. The...

Hot Data

In 2015, flights produced 781 million tons of CO2 worldwide. This is barely 2 percent of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. Globally, humans produced over 36 billion tons of CO2. And here’s a really fun fact: data centers emit more CO2 than the global airline industry. Overheated Data Centers Every laptop owner (especially those who also own cats) knows that computers produce a lot of excess heat. Data centers, comprising tens of thousands of servers, waste massive amounts of energy and money trying to keep them cool. Throughout time, various strategies were tested, including moving facilities near the Arctic Circle (Facebook) or submerging servers underwater (Microsoft). While Facebook’s decision to build its first data center outside of the US in northern Sweden uses the -4F outside air to keep temperatures constant, a Dutch company took the reverse method: it uses the heat generated by servers to heat people’s homes. Repurposing Heat from the Cloud Back in 2015, Nerdalize worked with Eneco, a Dutch utility company, to test a heating system that feeds on residual heat of computer servers. Watch a video about the test. Their year-long pilot ran in five households. Each home had a server installed on the premise, powering a standalone wall heater. The heaters were slow, took about one hour to warm up and were also weak, able to provide sufficient heat only for a small room. But the fact that they worked encouraged them to explore the idea further. And an interesting idea it is—instead of paying for high-energy usage to cool the servers, they save households around $336 a year on their heating bills, while also cutting back on CO2 emissions. Per a company press release, each installation takes three tons of CO2 away from a household’s carbon footprint....

Game of Hacks

On Monday, HBO confirmed hackers breached the company’s servers and stole an unconfirmed amount of the company’s data including scripts, unreleased television episodes and much more. The incident is already being compared to the 2014 Sony hack, when approximately 26 gigabytes of data, including inflammatory emails and employee data, were released online. Though some of the network’s content has been leaked in the past – two years ago, stolen DVDs containing the four first episodes of Game of Thrones season five were leaked online – this is the first time HBO has experienced a cyber-attack of this scope. “HBO recently experienced a cyber-incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information,” the company said in a statement. “We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cyber security firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take our responsibility seriously to protect the data we hold.” While the total size of the data stolen has not yet been confirmed, the hackers claim they’ve accessed up to 1.5 terabytes of data. Experts believe the stolen information could include sensitive financial information and even employee records. Already leaks of some HBO content are appearing online, including upcoming episodes of Ballers and Room 104, as well as the alleged script for the fourth episode of Game of Thrones. In an email sent to reporters on Sunday night, the hacker group confirmed they planned to leak more of the information in the coming days, writing: “Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. It’s HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! You are lucky to be the first pioneers to witness and download the leak. Enjoy it & spread...

IoT Phone Home

As the Internet of Things expands exponentially, astronomers and tech companies are fighting it out in the newly crowded radio spectrum. In the high desert of northern Chile, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) scans the night sky, its 66 high-precision antennas seeking out the faintest radio waves. Unfortunately, the frequencies ALMA depends on to gather valuable scientific data exist on a previously unallocated radio spectrum suddenly crowded by competing interests, including all those smart devices scattered throughout our homes. “There are no spectrum bottlenecks for dedicated Internet of Things systems yet,” Kevin Ashton, co-founder and former executive director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Auto-ID Center, told Bloomberg BNA, “but we are seeing Wi-Fi services get maxed out, as there are only so many channels you can cram into the available spectrum.” “The extent to which the Internet of Things will be a threat to radio astronomy will depend upon whether the regulatory standards can be upheld in the face of the massive onslaught of lawyers funded by the private sector,” Carla Beaudet, RF Test & Measurement Engineer at National Radio Astronomy Observatory explains to Discover Magazine. “If the regulatory standards are upheld rather than modified every time somebody needs more spectrum, there will still be small windows of spectrum in which astronomers can observe.” Smart Spectrum Every smart device, from temperature savvy toasters to programmable thermostats, communicates via radio waves. Unfortunately, as the number of wired gadgets and intelligent contraptions multiplies, previously unobstructed frequencies are jammed with the chatter of clever toothbrushes and talkative televisions. While some bands are protected by the FCC – 1400 megahertz for hydrogen, for example – the rest of the spectrum gets shared by 29 services ranging from mobile phones to radio stations to military drones. As each...

Senior Living Security...

Hackers never sleep. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), data breaches increased by 40 percent last year, and the healthcare and business industries were amongst those hardest hit. Much of this increase can be attributed to the fact that Personally Identifiable Information (PII) including patient data and healthcare records present an alluring target to hackers. As Jay Shobe, Vice President, Technology at Yardi, explains: “Any centralized database is at risk of a breach. Because the cyber security continually evolves, it’s important to maintain constant network security that’s able to evolve as the threat evolves.” Yardi Takes Security Seriously. For healthcare providers and senior living communities, advances in software and data collection are helping keep costs, increasing operational efficiency and improving resident care. Unfortunately, advances in cloud-based productivity and convenience open the door to vulnerability. In Yardi’s latest whitepaper, Senior Living Data Security, senior living providers will get the latest information on the most common database and network vulnerabilities and discover how to protect their organization’s sensitive data with the industry’s most trusted cloud provider. Senior Living Data Security provides insight on the evolution and forecasts how data breaches will dominate the healthcare industry for years to come. Along with recommendations on how to develop robust security data protocols to safeguard sensitive information the whitepaper also provides suggestions on how to address network vulnerabilities and establish effective security protocols. Download Senior Living Data Security today, and see how multiple layers of security can help you stay proactive and hacker...

Laptop Ban Update

The Department of Homeland Security releases new air travel security regulations, but there’s no need to leave your laptop at home…yet. Responding to pressure from US airlines fearing adverse economic impacts as a result of a widened ban on in-flight electronics, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided not to extend its laptop ban beyond airports already included in the electronics prohibition.  European airlines were especially vocal about their opposition. Alexandre de Juniac, director general, and chief executive of the group, which represents 265 airlines, wrote in a letter to Kelly and Violeta Bulc, the E.U.’s top transportation official that expanding the ban could cost $1.1 billion a year in lost productivity, travel time and “passenger well-being.” While those fears have been put to rest, for now, foreign and domestic airports and airlines will nevertheless face stricter security requirements moving forward as part of the DHS plan to anticipate threats before they become a reality. “The United States and the global aviation community face an adaptive and agile enemy,” DHS said in a statement. “Terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a ‘spider web’ of threats to commercial aviation as terrorist pursue new attack methods.” Stay of Execution Currently, flights originating from eight countries – Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – must relegate any electronic bigger than a cell phone to the cargo hold. Airlines affected by the electronics restriction saw passenger numbers drop dramatically, prompting airlines from other countries to vigorously lobby against extending the ban. Ultimately, the DHS dodged the issue, preferring instead to focus on upgrading security on the ground. While European airlines greeted the DHS announcement with studied relief, de Juniac remained cautious about the financial ramifications of the new safety...