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Look out for these physical security trends in 2022

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Hassan El-Banna, Sr. Business Development Manager Middle East, Turkey & Africa (META) at Genetec gives us in AMEInfo, a Look out at these physical security trends in 2022.

Standardization of open and interoperable solutions across smart cities, faster hybrid cloud adoption, and a tighter focus on supply chain risks are some of the top physical security topics to keep an eye on

  • Organizations are employing spatial analytics data to cut wait times
  • Video analytics apps will be easier and more cost-effective to implement at scale
  • Smart city investments would reach $203 billion by 2024

The long-term impacts of the pandemic and other geopolitical events will generate new technical developments and considerations in 2022. Standardization of open and interoperable solutions across smart cities, faster hybrid cloud adoption, and a tighter focus on supply chain risks are some of the top physical security topics to keep an eye on.

Top physical security trends in 2022

Monitoring occupancy and space usage will continue to be a significant focus.

Occupancy tracking is still expanding nearly two years after the pandemic began, as businesses see value in the data collected. Organizations are employing spatial analytics data to cut wait times, manage staff scheduling, and improve company operations, in addition to safety goals.

Corporate organizations are also figuring out how to make their workplaces more efficient by splitting their work time between the office and home. The use of data on space utilization translates to increased operational efficiency, better resource management, and significant cost savings.

Large-scale deployments of video analytics will become more feasible.

Video analytics solutions have been in high demand in recent years. More companies are keen to invest as AI techniques such as machine learning, and deep learning continues to increase the power of analytics. However, complex video analytics still necessitate extremely powerful servers for appropriate data processing, making them impractical for large-scale adoption.

We predict that by 2022, video analytics apps will have matured to the point that they will be easier and more cost-effective to implement at scale.

Cybercrime will continue to evolve, requiring new approaches.

According to an analysis by Cybersecurity Ventures, global crime expenditures are expected to exceed $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. This is the most significant transfer of economic wealth in history, with a growth rate of 15% per year. According to the EMEA Physical Security in 2021 survey results, with the rise of work-from-home and the growing adoption of IoT, 48% of MEA respondents believed in the prioritization of the implementation of better business continuity plans. Against this backdrop, 67% of respondents planned to prioritize the improvement of their cybersecurity strategy in 2021. Cybersecurity concerns will continue to be a priority in 2022, with companies needing new approaches to face the growing cybercrime risks.

Businesses will need to be agile and sensitive to the expanding threat landscape as more devices come online and data processing becomes vital to operations. Customers want companies to keep their data safe and secure. Thus businesses must provide more openness. This will bring in a new cybersecurity model based on continuous verification rather than network and system hardening, alongside an increased focus on choosing partners who offer better degrees of automation.

The smart city movement will be aided by open architecture.

Smart city investments would reach $203 billion by 2024, according to a report titled IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Smart Cities and Communities 2021 Predictions. These smart towns are gathering massive amounts of data and seeking to improve urban safety and liveability. According to the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index 2021, the UAE ranks 29th amongst the world’s smart cities, with 78.5% of the respondents believing in the importance of data-driven physical safety procedures such as facial recognition as a part of necessary processes to improve law enforcement.

The ecology of the smart city also includes intelligent structures. Various businesses are attempting to evaluate data from different sensors and automate procedures. The problem is that this necessitates a shift away from proprietary solutions by cities and corporations. Human and data silos are inherently created by the closed-architecture concept, which stifles growth prospects.

By focusing on open and interoperable solutions, decision-makers will get the most out of their current technology investments by improving data sharing and collaboration. Longer-term, they’ll become more adaptable to changing requirements and more self-sufficient in data unification and ownership.

Adaptable access control technology will continue to be adopted by businesses.

Today’s businesses want more from their access control systems. They desire more flexibility in hardware choices, streamlined processes, and increased convenience for those who pass through their buildings daily.

Many businesses had to get innovative to comply with increased health and safety regulations during the pandemic. Regardless of where they are on the return-to-work spectrum, organizations today recognize that the new normal necessitates agility. This is why they’re investing in PIAM systems (physical identity access management).

Businesses may automate employee and guest access requests and remotely alter access rights for all employees using a self-service PIAM system, ensuring greater safety and compliance. Additionally, by combining access control and PIAM systems, onsite movement may be tracked, making it easier for businesses to spot possible COVID-19 transmission. We expect this trend toward more modern and adaptive access control systems to continue as the new year progresses.

Supply chain operations will receive more attention and emphasis.

Organizations are under pressure to evaluate their entire supply chain ecosystem as cyber threats get more sophisticated and global disruptions influence supply management everywhere. During the SolarWinds Attack, a flaw in its own IT resource management system exposed over 18,000 customers to malware, including Fortune 500 firms and US government agencies.

More enterprises and government agencies will widen the scope of their cybersecurity policies to create baseline security criteria for the products they acquire and the vendors they engage with, in a world where organizations no longer have clearly defined network perimeters.

Any supply chain issues in obtaining physical security equipment will encourage firms to become less reliant on proprietary solutions from a single provider. Should product availability, best practices, or lack of transparency for a specific vendor be questioned, decision-makers will be able to browse different vendor options and easily change out system components.

More businesses will migrate to the cloud and use a hybrid deployment model.

 The adoption of cloud computing is increasing. While many businesses aren’t ready to make the entire leap to the cloud, many are looking to the hybrid cloud deployment approach as a way to try out new apps.

As more physical security teams begin to experiment with cloud apps, the advantages of hybrid cloud will become clear. This will propel the use of cloud technology even further forward this year.

2022 Technology predictions from Veeam

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This AMEinfo’s article covered the views of 2 major personnel on their 2022 Technology predictions from Veeam Software, a privately held US-based information technology company.

Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam, and Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam, offer their outlook for the technology sector in 2022

  • AI and automation will replace entry-level jobs in the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries
  • Privacy-focused legislation will shift attention to data sovereignty clouds
  • Digital transformation powers ahead thanks to containers

Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam, and Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam, offer their outlook for the technology sector in 2022.

We start with Danny Allan with his 6 technology product predictions:

1- Acquisitions will stagnate as company valuations outstrip available assets

In 2021, global M&A activity reached new highs aided by low-interest rates and high stock prices. In 2022, we will see that momentum shift. Larger acquisitions will be few and far between as company valuations continue to rise. Only well-established, cash-rich companies will have the money required to make new purchases. The higher purchase threshold will make it harder for medium- and small-sized companies to grow and evolve, giving the advantage to larger, established firms.

2- AI and automation will replace entry-level jobs in the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries

The talent shortage will leave many jobs unfilled, making way for the advancement of artificial intelligence and automation to fill new roles. We have seen technology begin its takeover in the service industry with the introduction of robotic waiters during the pandemic. In 2022, we will see AI and automation capable of filling positions in other hard-hit sectors like the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries. These developments will mostly affect entry-level positions, like interns, making it harder for recent graduates entering the workforce to gain job experience in the future.

3- CI/CD will stabilize and standardize to become an IT team requirement

The Bill Gates memo in 2001 became the industry standard in how to design, develop and deliver complex software systems – and today it feels like there has been no standard since then. IT teams and developers fell into habits of adopting “known” technology systems, and not standardizing in new spaces, like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). In 2022, we’re going to see a shift towards more stability and standardization for CI/CD. IT leaders have an opportunity to capitalize on this high-growth and high-valuation market to increase deployment activity and solve the “day two operations problem.”

4- Tech’s labor market will be met with big money and big challenges  

The COVID-19 economy – and the subsequent great resignation – throughout the last two years certainly made its mark in the tech industry. As we continue to see turnover and lower employee retention, tech salaries will begin to grow in 2022 to incentivize talent to stay. I see this causing an interesting dynamic, presenting bigger challenges, especially to the folks in the startup and VC world. The bigger tech giants are the ones who can meet the high dollar demand and deliver benefits for a competitive workforce. It will be interesting to see in the years ahead what this does for innovation, which tends to come from the hungry startups where people work for very little for a long time. We could very well see a resurgence of tech talent returning to the “old guard” companies to meet their needs for stable (and large) salaries, forgoing the competitive, hard-knocks of startups that could cause a skill and talent gap that lasts for years to come.

5- New privacy-focused legislation will shift attention to data sovereignty clouds

With increased focus on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulating data protection and privacy in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enhancing privacy rights and consumer protection for Californians, other states and countries are facing pressure to enact comprehensive data privacy legislation. As this continues in 2022, I expect we’ll see much more focus on data sovereignty clouds to keep data within nations or within a certain physical location. This is a far more specified cloud model that we’re starting to see in EMEA with Gaia-X. Some will see this as an obstacle, but once implemented, this will be a good thing as it puts consumer privacy at the core of the business strategy.

6- Containers will become mainstream to support the cloud explosion of 2021

Businesses wrongly predicted that employees would return to the office, as normal, in 2021. Instead, remote working continued, and companies were forced to develop long-term remote working strategies to ensure efficiency, sustainability and to retain employees seeking flexibility. This remote work strategy demanded cloud-based solutions, resulting in an explosion of cloud service adoption. To meet this moment, containers will become mainstream in 2022, making the generational shift to cloud much easier and more streamlined for organizations.

Next, we go with Claude Schuck with his 4 security predictions

 Every enterprise in the Middle East looking to build a strategy around Modern Data Protection should keep the three important pillars in mind – Cloud, Security, and Containers. Businesses need to have a good understanding of what the cloud brings to an organization and why it is important. Secondly, before the pandemic, we had a centralized office where employees were all in one place. With decentralization now, the boundaries of the organization have become invisible. Data is all over the place, necessitating a need for a comprehensive security strategy to safeguard all entry points. And finally, we see an increased interest in Kubernetes as a critical piece of an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure. This has created a new area around container-native data protection that needs addressing.

1- Accelerated adoption of Cloud technologies

Although the cloud is not yet mainstream in the region, adoption is expected to witness significant growth in the Middle East as enterprises begin to “trust” in-country offerings with the big public cloud players like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services having opened data centers in the Middle East. Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services in the MENA region to grow 19% in 2022. Another big trend we see is that many governments across the Middle East are creating their own ‘Government Cloud’ in order to have control over their data and not letting it reside in the public realm. With this acceleration, Veeam is investing in more headcount in the region to be able to assist organizations as they transition to the cloud.

2- Security: cybercrime

In the Middle East, security will always be a top priority. Not only can cyberattacks affect day-to-day business, impact revenue, and create other problems, but above all, it affects the brand reputation and workforce. Enterprises will continue to invest and safeguard themselves against the ever-growing increase in cyberattacks, especially ransomware. Although organizations in the Middle East, in general, spend a lot on security technologies, there is a huge gap when it comes to planning and executing a security strategy. This mainly boils down to the complexity of the IT environment. There are still a lot of legacy systems. Protecting these complicated environments is a big challenge and becomes even more so in the transition phase of moving to the cloud. Regional CISOs need to have a stringent security program in place which includes important elements like stress testing of IT Systems, backups, a disaster recovery strategy, and educating employees to become the first line of defense for improving organizational resilience.

3- Security: data privacy and protection

In early September 2021, the UAE announced the introduction of a new federal data protection law. With this, data privacy and security are set to take center stage as consumers demand transparency and their “right” to be forgotten. By having the option of opting out, consumers can ensure that their data is being handled in a correct way and they are not targeted by organizations. But more importantly, international corporations that are based in the UAE and the Middle East can be assured that policies are being applied when it comes to data in-country – whether it be in terms of the way data is stored, IP is managed, or how customer and consumer data is protected.

4- Digital transformation powers ahead thanks to containers

The rapid adoption of Containers in enterprises, the need for on-demand resources, and the flexibility of workloads will drive digital transformation. The Lack of skilled resources and understanding around the technology is a big challenge for enterprises in the Middle East. Veeam, through its acquisition of Kasten, is simplifying container strategy and delivering the industry’s leading Cloud Data Management platform that supports data protection for container-based applications built-in Kubernetes environments.

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Why the Luster on Once-Vaunted ‘Smart Cities’ Is Fading

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Why the Luster on Once-Vaunted ‘Smart Cities’ Is Fading by Jim Robbins and published in Yale Environment 360 cannot be overlooked or worse ignored. It’s a matter of literally vital if not existentialist presence in the built environment. Especially in those countries of the MENA region.

“Smart cities” built from scratch have so far failed to live up to their much-hyped promise. Some critics argue that rather than grafting a new city onto the landscape, it is better to integrate high-tech for clean, efficient energy and transportation into existing cities.

1st December 2021

Last February, the Toyota Motor Company broke ground on what it calls Woven City, a built-from-scratch futuristic urban center on 175 acres in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Woven City is a reference to the way the project plans to weave together cars, robots, data, and computers to create a city that the builders say, is highly efficient, pollution-free, and sustainable.

The new city will be carbon neutral, Toyota says. Autonomous cars will run on non-polluting green hydrogen, while solar and wind provide other energy needs. And sensors embedded throughout Woven City will gather a range of metrics and process them with artificial intelligence to help the city constantly become cleaner and run more smoothly.

Woven City is one of a burgeoning number of “smart cities” that have been recently built or are now being planned or constructed. NEOM is a $500 billion sprawling futuristic city for a million people under construction in Saudi Arabia. Egypt is building a new smart capital near Cairo that planners say could eventually be home to 6.5 million people. Telosa, proposed by a former Walmart executive, would be a city of 50,000 in the western United States “in a place yet to be determined.” Numerous smart cities have been or are being built in China.

There’s no single concept of a smart city. But the basic definition is a city filled with sensors that monitor myriad aspects of life, from traffic to pollution to energy and water use. In the case of the Woven City, “smart homes” will feature sensors that will monitor the occupants’ health. All the monitors in these cities are connected to the backbone of these prototype communities, the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning the interconnection of tiny computers placed in everyday objects. The massive trove of collected data will be interpreted with artificial intelligence to make cities greener and more livable.

Some prominent smart cities have faced serious obstacles to realizing their utopian visions.

While proponents say these communities represent the future of a healthier planet, some prominent smart cities have faced serious obstacles to realizing their utopian visions. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi abandoned its smart city master plan because of financial problems that began in 2008 and continued because the cost of some aspects of the city was far more than forecast. Songdo is a completed smart city with a population of 170,000 in South Korea that has not been able to fill its buildings. It’s sometimes described as a ghost town, or, variously, as cold, impersonal, homogenous, and dully predictable.

One recent paper on smart cites grappled with ways these cities can introduce serendipity into daily life to combat their monotonous nature.

“There are a lot of good things that can come of” smart city concepts, “especially for the environmental applications,” said Shannon Mattern, a professor of anthropology at The New School for Social Research and the author of A City is Not a Computer. “But it really limits your [ways] of intervention to the types of things that lend themselves to quantitative measurement,” she said. “When you take messy ambiguous dimensions of human nature and try to find ways to algorithmicize them, there is always a failure there, something that slips through the cracks.” History, culture, and the spiritual aspects of life are among those aspects that critics cite as missing from — or are diminished — in smart cities.

There has been criticism, as well, of smart cities being alien to the landscape on which they are built. In her book Spaceship in the Desert, about Masdar City, Göckcę Günel, an anthropologist at Rice University, said both Masdar City and Neom “share the vision that the desert is an empty zone on which any kind of ideal can be projected,” she said. “That’s why I compared Masdar City to a spaceship insulated from the rest of the world.”

Songdo, a “smart city'” in South Korea, has struggled to get people and businesses to move there. AP PHOTO / THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, ANN HERMES

Despite the fact that trillions of dollars are being spent to create these spectacular, Oz-like, all-encompassing cities of the future, some leading analysts believe in a very different concept of smarter cities.

“I hate almost every effort at building a greenfield smart city,” said Boyd Cohen, a professor at EADA, a business school in Barcelona, who is one of the pioneers of the smart city concept and a longtime climate strategist. “A smart city without people is a dumb city. You are building a smart city in the absence of people, in the absence of history, in the absence of culture. The developers say, ‘We are going to build this great, amazing city and people will come,’ and they don’t. People want to live in communities and have culture around them.”

An alternative to a spanking new city rising on virgin land is to incorporate smart technologies into existing cities, Cohen said. Singapore, London, and Barcelona, are among the cities that lead the world in adopting smart technologies to more efficiently operate their infrastructure and become greener. In London, for example, sensors on light poles monitor air pollution and show particularly polluted spots that can be avoided. Because collecting trash is the most expensive part of the waste disposal process, Barcelona adopted “smart bins” that signal when they are full and ready for pick up. But technology is not always a be-all and end-all.

Cohen believes cities are on the front line of climate change and need to become smarter to survive it. “In 2009 [at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen] everyone thought Obama and the United Nations were going to save the world” with agreements to restrict CO2 emissions, he said. “It didn’t happen and still isn’t happening. So I turned my attention to cities. That’s the place where we will get faster action on climate change.”

Smart cities have run into trouble over the issue of who owns the data collected and how it will be used.

Urban planning, says Cohen, may be the single most important way to reduce fossil fuel pollution and consumption. Effective urban design — density, walkability, mixed use so people don’t have to drive long distances, and efficient, clean electric or hydrogen public transportation — is the foundation. “Then you layer in tech,” he said. “Technology around renewable and distributed energy. And to make our buildings more energy efficient. If you tackle energy consumption and transportation and urban planning, you have gone a long way toward solving the climate problem.”

Smart grids are a key component of smart cities. These power grids optimize the delivery of electricity by receiving information from users over the IoT. This data provides experts with information about how, where, and when energy is used. In some models, it interprets that data with artificial intelligence. But as energy sources are diversified — solar and wind from large and small sources, even individual homes, as well as traditional sources — it makes it harder for electrical systems to efficiently sense where power is needed and to allocate it. Because it can better manage available power, a smart grid avoids waste and can make the most of renewables.

A host of other smart applications are being used in cities. Parking is the bane of urban dwellers, so smart parking has gotten a lot of attention. Santander, Spain, for example, is considered one of the world’s smartest cities because it has 20,000 parking sensors connected to the IoT. Sensors under parking spaces can tell when they are empty and send that information to antennas that beam it to a control center. Signs guide drivers to the empty spots, limiting time spent driving around looking for a space and reducing fuel use, carbon dioxide and automobile pollution, and traffic congestion.

In Utrecht in the Netherlands, people ride “sniffer bikes” that measure three types of particulate air pollution, as well recording their location, speed, battery voltage, temperature and humidity, road conditions, and organic gases, which are sent to a central data hub. People can choose the cleanest route and are themselves de facto sensors, providing information to city managers.

A street view in Masdar City, United Arab Emirates, showing a tower that circulates cooler air. HUFTON+CROW / VIEW PICTURES / UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Water use is another prime target of smart applications. A smartphone app, for example, can alert residents to an undetected leak in their plumbing and allows them to monitor consumption and quality.

Barcelona has pioneered a smart water irrigation system in its public spaces. Officials inventoried the species of plants in each park and determined precisely how much water they need. Water and humidity sensors, coupled with data from weather stations and rain gauges, provide information on how moist the soil and air are, and allow delivery of the right amount of water. The city says it saves 25 percent on its water bill — more than 400,000 euros a year.

But smart cities have run into trouble over the issue of who owns the data that is collected and how it will be used. A Google affiliate called Sidewalk Labs had plans for a 12-acre smart city development, called Quayside, on Toronto’s lakefront. The project ran into a buzz saw of opposition, largely over whether it could be trusted to manage the data. Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist, wrote a letter to the city council and said the information technology behemoth could not be trusted. “The smart city project on the Toronto waterfront is the most highly evolved version to date … of surveillance capitalism,” he wrote. The company will use “algorithms to nudge human behavior” in the direction “that favors its business.”

Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel L. Doctoroff said the 2020 cancellation of the project was largely a result of the pandemic and economic uncertainty in the Toronto real estate market. “It has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan,” Doctoroff wrote last year.

It’s clear that the vision of what works as a smart city is still in the early stages, especially as technology and concepts continue to evolve. “It will take time to scale up the most sustainable models across a city, let alone the world,” said Cohen.

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How IoT and Ultra-Wideband Go Hand in Hand

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Zara Raza elaborates on How IoT and Ultra-Wideband Go Hand in Hand in this article on IoT for all. It is the most obvious trend in these days of renewed lockdown.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping how we interact with the world every day. This connected future is powered by sensors and actuators connected via the cloud to applications that serve us in ways that we never could have imagined just a few years ago. Standards such as IEEE 802.15.4 and ultra-wideband (UWB) enable devices to communicate with each other without the need for line of sight, which means IoT can finally become a reality in places other than our homes and offices.

Why Has Ultra-Wideband Been a Buzzword Lately?

Ultra-wideband was first seen in mobile technology with the premiere of Apple’s iPhone 11 launched back in September 2019. Since then, the state of the art sensing technology has gained traction and presence in the tech world, especially in the past year or so. In response to the rave reviews Apple’s latest model was getting, Android and Google phones quickly followed suit, and proceeded to incorporate the same UWB technology you can now find in the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra and in the upcoming Google Pixel 6 phone.

You might be asking yourself what makes this latest development so remarkable that it is in such high demand now, especially if UWB is not the first communication protocol to offer spatial awareness. It seems that tech geeks and the general audience are particularly interested in UWB because of how it enhances preceding technologies, such as wifi and Bluetooth, with an additional layer of accuracy. UWB has a high advantage in this field, as it can provide accuracy levels of 5-10 cm between two devices, while Bluetooth and wifi can only reach up to 5m. 

How Ultra-Wideband Will Transform The IoT Industry

We cannot talk about UWB without acknowledging IoT. The concept of interconnected devices known as the Internet of Things continues to show promising advances, and now, with the reemergence of UWB technology, IoT devices requiring location and movement data will boast a stronger performance than ever before. 

Thanks to UWB’s interoperability, this communication protocol can be harnessed to build upon smart technologies such as BlueTooth, wifi, and yes, the Internet of Things. UWB can play a significant role in revamping IoT devices already available while introducing even more sophisticated networks of interconnected devices to the public in the future. 

UWB is quickly serving the needs of the numerous IoT applications in the market requiring precision location tracking and spatial awareness. According to Adarsh Krishnan, principal analyst at ABI Research, the incorporation of UWB in IoT applications improves accuracy even up to the millimeter level. ABI Research expects UWB to be present in over one-third of smartphones shipping out by 2025.  UWB’s inherently strong security will significantly boost IoT protections as well, offering more protections for transactions that involve sensitive or private information. 

There are a number of ways UWB can be employed in tandem with IoT to provide the most important functionalities for both business and personal use, including:

Access Control

UWB endows businesses with the capacity to track their employees’ location on the premises of the workplace (whether they are indoors, outdoors, etc.), and grant contactless access accordingly. Homeowners can also leverage this technology using digital keys to protect their homes and prevent unauthorized access. Imagine how wonderful it would be to no longer worry whether you’ve locked the doors or not when you go to bed or leave the house! 

Indoor Navigation

Ever find yourself struggling to locate items, stores, or even people inside large grocery stores or shopping centers? Indoor navigation solves this problem by allowing you to know where everything you need is ahead of time. This way you can plan the order you’ll buy things when you want to save time during your shopping trip. Marketers can also utilize indoor navigation for location-triggered marketing campaigns.

Smart Home Solutions

It is possible to make your smart home even smarter with UWB-powered applications. These solutions will more efficiently monitor what devices are on and how much energy they’re using according to your needs. A smarter home empowered by UWB effectively prevents wasted resources and extra effort by making sure the TV is turned off when you’re not using it, automatically adjusting the thermostat, changing the light color on a smart bulb, or controlling the temperature of your fridge and freezer.

Device Tracking

People don’t have to worry about lost essentials, such as AirPods, wallets, and keys with tracking tags. Both Apple AirTags and Samsung Galaxy SmartTags have UWB capabilities to allow easy device tracking. Tile has also announced its first tracking tag incorporating UWB, the Tile Ultra, expected for release in 2022.

A Smarter World

IoT and UWB have one major component in common: they both offer more connectivity. Both location-precise technologies make homes, cities, and businesses smarter, allowing daily operations to become less of a hassle. We are seeing increased usage of such technologies in practically every sector today. Here are some industries that have made a great deal of progress in recent years to become ‘smarter.

Healthcare

There has been an increased presence of wearable technology in the healthcare industry. This grants accurate patient monitoring from the comfort of patients’ homes. There are three main groups of healthcare IoT (HIoT) applications in healthcare: identification technology, location technology, and communication technology. 

Identification technology allows healthcare providers to exchange patient data remotely, using different types of identifiers. Communication technology ensures an established connection between two or more healthcare staff and also connects doctors to patients. Some examples of these are Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), Near-Field Communication, wifi, BlueTooth, and Zigbee. Location technology can be used to track medical devices, or even humans, such as medical staff and patients.

Retail

Some of the biggest nuisances consumers experience while shopping in person are the long wait lines and the difficulty with locating items within a store. Additionally, when the pandemic emerged, people were scared to touch surfaces, making self-service options became more popular than before. Luckily, this opened up an entire range of opportunities for the retail sector. Amazon is leading the way with its self-service model, by omitting checkout lines to make payments in the store. Consumers only need to activate their ‘Amazon Go’ card, pick up what they need, and they are automatically charged. Ultra-wideband is ready to further transform retail with precise location tracking to aid in finding cars in parking lots, people in stores, and items that are hard to locate.

Real Estate

One of ultra-wideband’s most impactful capabilities in real estate is to unlock and lock doors automatically. The technology will also aid in improving access control, therefore, making homes safer. Most people have heard of the phrase smart home. These IoT-heavy homes are the future of the real estate world. Since there is a heavy demand for contactless technologies during the COVID pandemic, realtors are able to conduct property showings to potential buyers while keeping the entire process touchless. Smart homes are allowing realtors to continue their work without disruptions by implementing IoT and UWB technology.

Future Opportunities

UWB is likely to be around for a long time because it is a highly secure technology. Due to its precise tracking abilities and its use of Time of Flight measurements, a relay attack attempt to divert or redirect the UWB signal will most likely fail. This is because the UWB-lock or ignition uses distance to determine the proper device to send the signal. As UWB and IoT technology continues to grow, organizations can use these technologies for large-scale security applications. 

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What is the smart city, and why is cloud storage key?

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David Friend, a specialist in cloud storage elaborates on What is the smart city, and why is cloud storage key?

Smart cities will demand a new paradigm for storage

(The image above is of Jamesteohart / Shutterstock)

Today, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) have become big business. Throughout the 2020s, Harvard Business Review[1] estimates that these technologies will add $13 trillion to the global economy, impacting virtually every sector in the process.

One of the biggest drivers of the value-add provided by AI/ML will come from smart cities: cities that leverage enhancements in such technologies to deliver improved services for citizens. Smart cities promise to provide data-driven decisions for essential public services like sanitation, transportation, and communications. In this way, they can help improve the quality of life for both the general public and public sector employees, while also reducing environmental footprints and providing more efficient and more cost-effective public services.

Whether it be improved traffic flow, better waste collection practices, video surveillance, or maintenance schedules for infrastructure – the smart city represents a cleaner, safer, and more affordable future for our urban centers. But realizing these benefits will require us to redefine our approach towards networking, data storage, and the systems underpinning and connecting both. To capitalize on the smart city paradigm, we’ll need to adopt a new and dynamic approach to computing and storage.

Providing bottomless storage for the urban environment

In practice, the smart city will require the use of vast arrays of interconnected devices, whether it be sensors, networked vehicles, and machinery for service delivery. These will all generate an ever-growing quantity and variety of data that must be processed and stored, and made accessible to the rest of the smart city’s network for both ongoing tasks and city-wide analytics. While a smart city may not need access to all the relevant data at once, there’s always the possibility of historic data needing to be accessed on recall to help train and calibrate ML models or perform detailed analytics.

All of this means that a more traditional system architecture that processes data through a central enterprise data center – whether it be on-premise or cloud – can’t meet the scaling or performance requirements of the smart city.

This is because, given its geographic removal from the places where data is generated and used, a centralized store can’t be counted on to provide the rapid and reliable service that’s needed for smart city analytics or delivery. Ultimately, the smart city will demand a decentralized approach to data storage. Such a decentralized approach will enable data from devices, sensors, and applications that serve the smart city to be analyzed and processed locally before being transferred to an enterprise data center or the cloud, reducing latency and response times.

To achieve the cost-effectiveness needed when operating at the scale of data variety and volume expected of a smart city, they’ll need access to “bottomless clouds”: storage arrangements where prices per terabyte are so low that development and IT teams won’t need to worry about the costs of provisioning for smart city infrastructure. This gives teams the ability to store all the data they need without the stress of draining their budget, or having to arbitrarily reduce the data pool they’ll be able to draw from for smart city applications or analytics.

Freeing up resources for the smart city with IaaS

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is based around a simple principle: users should only pay for the resources they actually use. When it comes to computing and storage resources, this is going to be essential to economically deliver on the vision of the smart city, given the ever-expanding need for provisioning while also keeping down costs within the public sector.

For the smart city in particular, IaaS offers managed, on-demand, and secure edge computing and storage services. IaaS will furnish cities with the components needed to deliver on their vision – whether it be storage, virtualization environments, or network structures. Through being able to scale up provisioning based on current demand while also removing the procurement and administrative burden of handling the actual hardware to a specialist third party, smart cities can benefit from economies of scale that have underpinned much of the cloud computing revolution over the past decade.

In fact, IaaS may be the only way to go, when it comes to ensuring that the data of the smart city is stored and delivered in a reliable way. While handling infrastructure in-house may be tempting from a security perspective, market competition between IaaS providers incentivizes better service provision from all angles, whether customer experience, reliability and redundancy, or the latest standards in security.

Delivering the smart city is a 21st century necessity

The world’s top cities are already transforming to keep up with ever-expanding populations and in turn their ever-expanding needs. Before we know it, various sectors of urban life will have to be connected through intelligent technology to optimize the use of shared resources – not because we want to, but because we need to.

Whether it be a question of social justice, fiscal prudence, or environmental conscience, intelligently allocating and using the resources of the city is the big question facing our urban centers in this century. But the smart city can only be delivered through a smart approach to data handling and storage. Optimizing a city’s cloud infrastructure and guaranteeing cost-effective and quality provisioning through IaaS will be essential to delivering on the promise of the smart city, and thus meet some of our time’ most pressing challenges.

David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi Technologies, a revolutionary cloud storage company. David’s first company, ARP Instruments developed synthesizers used by Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and even helped Steven Spielberg communicate with aliens providing that legendary five-note communication in Close Encounters of the ThirdKind. Friend founded or co-founded five other companies: Computer Pictures Corporation – an early player in computer graphics, Pilot Software – a company that pioneered multidimensional databases for crunching large amounts of customer data, Faxnet – which became the world’s largest provider of fax-to-email services, Sonexis – a VoIP conferencing company, and immediately prior to Wasabi, what is now one of the world’s leading cloud backup companies, Carbonite. David is a respected philanthropist and is on the board of Berklee College of Music, where there is a concert hall named in his honor, serves as president of the board of Boston Baroque, an orchestra and chorus that has received 7 Grammy nominations. An avid mineral and gem collector he donated Friend Gem and Mineral Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. David graduated from Yale and attended the Princeton University Graduate School of Engineering where he was a David Sarnoff Fellow.

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