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Real-World M2M—and a Real-World Mobile Data Challenge

In the months since I attended the Smart Cities event organized by Qualcomm and CommNexus in San Diego, the buzz about “Smart Cities” and the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technologies has only grown louder and more intense. Which Smart City-relevant innovations are under development inside Qualcomm?

Known primarily for mobile chipset technologies, Qualcomm is working to optimize wireless networks and sensors that support M2M solutions and, ultimately, Smart Cities of the future. An often-overlooked part of this initiative is the company’s work in preparing the wireless industry for the imminent tsunami of data that will come when countless “things” equipped with M2M wireless sensors—part of the “Internet of Everything”—hit wireless networks. Qualcomm calls it the 1000x Challenge, referring to wireless industry predictions about a 1000x increase in mobile data usage between 2010 and 2020.

Last month, Qualcomm Executive Vice President and CTO Matt Grob presented at Meeting of the Minds 2012 in San Francisco. His presentation, “Next Big Innovation: The Mobile Internet Transformation—Meeting Network Capacity Needs of Cities,” showed how wireless connectivity is revolutionizing the way people live and interact with each other in cities.

A few examples of Qualcomm tech in this arena:

  • From Qualcomm’s perspective, a “smarter grid” employs digital wireless technologies that allow utility companies to safely and securely deliver prepaid electric services that save homes and businesses money through real-time monitoring of power usage over existing cell networks, thus reducing deployment costs for the utility and saving energy for the planet. At the same time, smarter grids enable customers to better manage their own energy usage.
  • One recent Smart Grid example is Qualcomm’s work with Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States. The success of this collaboration has enabled Duke Energy to install hundreds of thousands of communications nodes, which interface with electric and gas meters, line sensors, transformers, and other end points, meters, sensors, and distribution automation equipment, and optimize energy usage in five states.
  • Working with ECOtality, a maker of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Qualcomm participated in The EV Project, the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charge infrastructure in history. The project, now in nine states plus the District of Columbia, leverages cellular technology incorporated into charging stations, enabling EV car drivers to easily find charging stations with their smartphones. Moreover, the solution allows users to reserve stations as well as receive alerts users when the charge is finished or if it the charge has been interrupted.
  • Another exciting development, also involving EVs, is Qualcomm Halo’s teaming with Renault and Delta Motorsport in London. Qualcomm Halo, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, produces wireless charging mats that enable EV drivers to simply drive up and park over the charging mat—no exact alignment necessary (e.g., you have to line up your electric toothbrush perfectly on the charger in order for it to charge). Initially, the benefit is no longer having to deal with tangled charging cables. But looking beyond that, Qualcomm Halo envisions embedded chargers in the roadway. Even further out is the idea that these mats could be built into the road and connected to the overall Smart Grid. Depending on the time of the day, more or less energy resources could be devoted to that specific roadway, effectively channeling energy to where it’s needed most.

Cisco IBSG is also engaged with the Internet of Everything in a variety of ways, such as through the Connected Vehicle.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how M2M connections—and the Internet of Everything—can enable Smart Cities of the future.

 

 

 

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Enterprise SDN: Moving from box boundaries to software boundaries

November 1, 2012 at 7:10 am PST

Enterprise trends driving SDN and Network Programmability are becoming clearer.  The skyrocketing number of virtual/cloud devices is making human configuration infeasible.  A natural result will be that networks will move from being integrated based on physical box boundaries to being integrated based on software boundaries.  Put another way, traditional box based network integration will be overwhelmed by device proliferation.  Therefore businesses must adopt new approaches to device configuration and control.  This will include a new layer of network software which will instantiate, orchestrate, and dismantle virtual networks.

But what does this really mean?  Read More »

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Hardware vs. software: user questions (part 2)

June 29, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

In my prior blog entry, I answered the first of Durga C.’s questions to me.  Here’s all three of his questions:

  1. What is the role of the hardware in an RDMA transaction?  In other words, why does one need special hardware (e.g., InfiniBand, iWARP, RoCE, etc.) hardware to do RDMA as opposed to a “normal” Ethernet NIC? (see prior blog entry)
  2. Further, can you explain why pure software solutions (e.g., Open-MX) are better than nothing when you don’t have hardware support?
  3. Also, what is the difference between “RDMA” and “RMA”?

Let’s explore the last two of those questions. Read More »

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Hardware vs. software: user questions

June 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm PST

Durga C., long-time listener, first-time caller, sent me a few interesting questions that I thought I’d share with everyone.  Here’s his first question:

  1. What is the role of the hardware in an RDMA transaction?  In other words, why does one need special hardware (e.g., InfiniBand, iWARP, RoCE, etc.) hardware to do RDMA as opposed to a “normal” Ethernet NIC?

This one question is surprisingly complex.  Let’s dive in…

Read More »

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Empowering Choice in Collaboration

In my recent blog, Experience Matters in Collaboration (So does Architecture), I shared my thoughts on how we are facing a workplace that is no longer a physical place, but a blend of virtual and physical environments; where employees are bringing their preferences to work and BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device” to work) is the new norm; where collaboration has to happen beyond a walled garden; and any-to-any connectivity is a requirement, not a “nice to have.”

Cisco is committed to delivering a new collaborative workspace that meets our customer’s needs and empowers users to work their way—anytime, anywhere and on any device.  As we announced last week, findings from the Cisco IBSG Horizons Study on virtualization and BYOD  shows that 95% of organizations surveyed allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the office, and, 36% of surveyed enterprises provide full support for employee-owned devices.   These stats underscore a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go, a shift that will continue to gain momentum.

Over the last year, Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences.

Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.

Moving forward, we intend to double down on software offerings, like Jabber and WebEx, that provide the anytime, anywhere, and any device experiences. We will leverage key learnings and key collaboration experiences native to Cius in our other collaboration products.

Experience matters, and Cisco is focused on empowering individual collaboration styles more effectively and securely, while providing the broadest choice of collaboration options based on preference, location, and device.

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