4G to affect TV reception in two million homes

Filters will be provided for Freeview televisions which experience reception problems following the roll out of 4G later this year. Ofcom estimates that the TV viewing in up to 2.3 million British households could be affected by 4G but only 40% of them have Freeview. Satellite receivers will not be affected, the watchdog claims.

A fund provided by the 4G auction winners will be used to pay for filters for those who need them. At the moment only mobile operator EE is able to offer customers the 4G service, which provides faster mobile internet connections. The other operators are currently bidding for licences in an auction run by telecoms watchdog Ofcom. Up to £180m from the auction will be used to fund the filters, a spokesperson from Ofcom said.

However, around 1% of affected Freeview households will be unable to use them and will be offered an alternative instead. Ofcom estimates there may be fewer than 1000 homes in the UK who will not be able to access those alternatives either and will be left without television services. A not-for-profit organisation called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL) has been created to tackle the problem.

“I look forward to working closely with broadcasters and mobile network operators to ensure everyone continues to be able to receive their current TV service,” said newly appointed chief executive Simon Beresford-Wiley.

“DMSL plans to preempt the majority of potential interference issues caused by 4G at 800 MHz and existing TV services. We’re focused on being able to provide anyone who may be affected with the information and equipment they’ll need to ensure they continue to receive free-to-air TV.”

Last month Freeview homes in South Wales had to re-tune their TVs and boxes following technical changes to a transmitter in order to make way for 4G.

General Electric embarks on internet of things UK recruitment drive

Energy giant General Electric (GE) is set to recruit hundreds of UK software engineers and data scientists in the coming months, as part of its “internet of things” strategy drive. The internet of things is not a new concept but the buzzword is becoming more frequent in the IT industry as the likes of IBM, Intel and Cisco spearhead projects aimed at connecting billions of machines capable of communicating without human involvement.

GE has a three-year strategy and a fund of $1.5bn to build out such projects, which it terms the “Industrial Internet”. William Ruh, GE software research vice president, is overseeing the investment, which includes the hiring of hundreds and possibly thousands of software engineers worldwide.

In an interview with V3, Ruh explained how GE is now developing its industrial internet strategy in the UK.

“This year we are working to expand our strategy and get the plans set. At the moment we are working on how to build out capability in the UK as it’s one of our largest bases,” said Ruh.

Ruh declined to comment on the exact number of UK staff GE would be recruiting but said the number would be “hundreds and hundreds”.

Read full article here: http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2237727/general-electric-embarks-on-internet-of-things-uk-recruitment-drive


Technology in Africa: Extracting insights from Big Data

The big data opportunity for Africa came into sharp focus this week when IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and key members of her executive team visited Africa to meet with clients and government leaders. “Going forward, data is going to be THE source of competitive advantage,” Rometty told a South African audience.

Already, African companies are harnessing big data to transform their businesses. Take Santam Ltd., the leading short-term insurance company in South Africa. The company is using predictive analysts to streamline the processing of claims and to spot potentially fraudulent claims. When Anesh Govender reported for duty as Santam’s head of operations for finance, his boss told him that he wanted to do more with less. Govender quickly spotted data as his leverage point. “I was amazed how much data was available but how little of it was being used” he said. Govender was one of the presenters at IBM’s South African gathering.

He decided to completely overhaul the claims processing system. In the past, every claim went through the same steps of being reviewed manually by staff members. Today, they’re all fed into a predictive analytics software program that channels routine claims into a queue for quick action. The others go through deeper analysis that takes into account not just the current claim but a lot more information about the customer and their past claim activities. Computer algorithms search for patterns that suggests the claims might be fraudulent. One example: Fraudsters typically start with small false claims and, if they’re successful, submit larger ones. Govender’s staff has tuned the algorithms so they identify the maximum amount of false claims without producing too many false positives—which require extra work by the claims processing staff. Today, they kick out only 1% of claims for deep fraud analysis, and about 30% of them are fraudulent.


The Internet of Things and The Good Night Lamp

The Good Night Lamp is a family of Internet-connected lamps. Turn the big lamp on and the little lamps turn on wherever they are. It is the brainchild of ‘The Good Night Lamp Team’, a UK-based team made up of founder Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Head of Products John Nussey and CTO Adrian McEwen. Collaborators include Konstantinos Chalaris and Tom Cecil.


The Good Night Lamp is for people who are away from home and would like to keep in touch with their loved ones. But this is not like anything that you have seen before. The project combines the simplicity of minimalist design with the high end capabilities of WIFI technology. It is a superb demonstration of the potential of the Internet of Things. Imagine your kids going to university for the first time, or an elderly relative living alone? By simply turning on a light, the message that they are home is relayed to loved ones. No need for long telephone conversations or texts.

The project is currently raising funds on the Kickstarter website – a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.You can even support the project yourself.

Here is the link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/designswarm/good-night-lamp

The Good Night Lamp transforms the IOT from a concept to a very viable, tangible and practical product. It comprises of a “family of lights”, made up of a larger light (primary) and two smaller ones (secondary). All the lights are made in the shape of a home. The idea in a nutshell is that it is possible to communicate one’s homecoming remotely to other holders in the “family”. The smaller lamps (secondary lights) are synchronised to the larger lamp (primary light) so once the primary lamp is lit, the secondary ones also light up.This is ideal in circumstances when a family member is away, even on the other side of the globe.


4G access will not cost more for Three customers

Mobile phone provider Three says it will not charge customers extra to upgrade to the 4G data service.

Three is due to get access to the fast data network later this year. Provider EE was the first company in the UK to be able to offer customers access to 4G and received complaints about its pricing structures. Existing customers were asked to pay an extra £5 for the same amount of data they were entitled to with their 3G contracts.

Last month the firm cut its entry price from £36 to £31 but the reduced cost was only available for new customers. Three says any customer with an “ultrafast-ready” smartphone, which includes Apple’s iPhone 5, Nokia’s Lumia 920 and the Sony Xperia Z, will qualify.

“As we add the next wave of technology to our ultrafast network, we’ve listened to our customers and thought long and hard about the right way to do it,” said Three chief executive Dave Dyson.

“We don’t want to limit ultrafast services to a select few based on a premium price and we’ve decided our customers will get this service as standard.”

Ernest Doku, from price comparison website uSwitch.com, said the move “flew in the face” of the current pricing strategy for 4G in the UK. “Three’s move could really force the other networks to reconsider how they price their own forthcoming 4G deals,” he said.

“That being said, there’s nothing stopping Three from putting tariff prices up across the board ahead of a 4G rollout, so it’s still a waiting game before we find out the true cost of super-fast mobile data in the UK.”