In this digital era, governing bodies and infrastructure planners are designing initiatives to transform cities into smart cities. In order to make cities smarter, they are using digital technology in each domain of smart city such as transportation, traffic management, safety, energy and much more. Some of the urban services which are governed by the internet will improve the living standards of the citizens. There is a huge trade-off as well. Having billion of people, devices and things connected to the network will cause network surge. It is projected that currently fifteen billion devices connected to the internet, while it is expected that by 2020 the number will increase to 50 billion.
The multiplex assembly of devices connected to the network will gather data from all kinds of mobile devices, smartphones, and sensors making a hefty data stream. As the network is expanding day by day, consequently increasing the volume of data. Moreover, the data produced needs to be arranged, processed, secured and analyzed. Therefore, new processing technologies must be introduced at the network end so that the network providers operate in an intelligent way by managing the huge data in a distributed fashion across the region. As a result, the network can smartly analyze and elaborate the data and control processes through informing the analyzed information, connect people and things efficiently. These data processing techniques should be able to process data instantly and ensure precise result so that cities can establish a sustainable social, economical and environmental sustainability.
Smart cities should introduce new standards in order to ensure social and economic viability. They should provide a flexible and secure platform where data should be intelligently analyzed at the network edge and efficiently communicated to the cloud. These standards should be made in such a way that they define an easy way to control and manage the smart city ecosystem through handy set-up procedure and appropriate automation.
WHAT IS FOG COMPUTING?
Fog computing is a technology introduced in order to disburden the centralized cloud. It can be referred as edge computing as it operates on the network edge, unlike cloud computing which hosts and works from a centralized cloud. In fog computing, data is processed in smart devices locally without being sent to the centralized cloud for processing. It is considered as one of the best technology in the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT). The network architecture of fog computing is shown in the figure below.
Figure 1: an illustration of architecture of Fog.
In 2015, Cisco along with the City of Barcelona and certain other partners conducted a Proof of Concept (PoC) on fog computing. The main purpose of this PoC was to realize the vision of fog computing. Fog computing is useful when dealing with real-time applications in a limited spectrum. Having millions of devices connected to the network, the volume of data generated each second is more than petabytes and exabytes. This large volume of data being generated each instant cannot be sent to the cloud as there is always limited bandwidth provided by the network. Under such situations fog computing is an excellent solution. Rather than setting up channels to the cloud for the purpose of processing and utilization, it resources, analyzes and aggregates the data at network edge thereby reducing the requirement for additional bandwidth. Through this distributed strategy it helps efficiently utilize the allocated bandwidth and lower network maintenance costs.
FOG COMPUTING CHARACTERISTICS AND USES
Fog computing has several advantages but some of the noteworthy attributes are as following:
While talking about smart cities, fog computing enhances the abilities of IoT and Cloud Computing by aggregating the data before sending to the cloud for further computation. As the information from the sensors keeps on increasing at an exponential rate, the chance of potential bottleneck becomes more and more evitable. Moreover, due to the flow of a large number of data to the cloud may also incapacitate the real-time communication applications. Therefore, fog computing provides the most feasible and best platform for critical IoT applications such as smart grid, connected vehicle, machine to machine communication, smart cities, and some IoT services like Wireless sensors and Actuator Networks (WSANs). Analysis of fog and cloud computing is shown in the figure given below.
Figure 2: Analysis of fog and cloud computing.
In Chicago traffic light system is controlled with the help of smart sensors. For instance, it’s Tuesday morning, a day of big parade on the celebration of Chicago Cubs’ first World Series championship in more than a century. Big traffic is expected to enter the city as a large number of a crowd will be visiting to celebrate the victory of their team. With the increase in traffic, traffic volume is controlled through the smart traffic sensors and data are collected from the individual traffic lights.
The application developed by the IOT specialists functions by automatically adjusting the on and off patterns of the traffic light in real-time at the network edge by monitoring the volume of traffic as it becomes large or shrinks. Therefore, the visitors spend less time on roads and more time at the celebration.
FUTURE OF FOG COMPUTING FOR SMART CITIES
It is being suggested by Cisco that by utilizing both cloud and fog computing IoT services can be utilized more smartly than ever before. Cisco says that by combining both its Java Virtual Machine and IOS Linux platforms, it will be easy to port the applications to a supportable environment. Moreover, many businesses are adopting both fog and cloud computing. It is worth mentioning that after Cisco, Microsoft has also introduced Windows 10 IoT core as an optimal operating system for devices which lack screen and thus giving the utility to use Windows for smart devices. It is estimated by IDC that the volume of data being stored, analyzed and processed on devices at the edge will be 40 percent in upcoming years. Moreover, 50 percent of the IoT use cases will be controlled by the network.
In recent years, fog computing has become a necessary component for IoT architecture. It manages the services and controls the data stream from the network edge. This particular edge computing can thus reduce the CAPEX and OPEX as well as saves the time of deployment of smart city solutions. There are many verticals of smart cities where fog computing can be used such as smart health, smart grid, smart transportation, retail, industries and many others.
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The Internet-of-Things (IoT) and the idea of the “smart home” have grown dramatically in the last few years. Smart home technology has entirely changed our lifestyle in such a way that everything from the fridge to furnace everything is now interconnected. Everyone around the world is now embracing smart cities applications, yet the matter of security of personal data has become more important than ever. Recent reports about the risks of smart cities applications have revealed the security breaches of smart home security. It was revealed in 2011 that fitness tracker giant Fitbit found their profiles were public and accessible on Google. Smart home devices are prone to data breaching as well. It was reported in a recent article that Comcast’s Xfinity Home Security had some flaws. It showed that the windows and doors are secured when in fact they were unlocked and open. Tod Beardsley of Rapid7, in response to these security weaknesses told CSO that, “IoT devices tend to be designed with a happy path in mind, often don’t consider an active adversary.” In this article, we have discussed potential cyber security challenges for IoT devices based smart homes along with some possible innovative solutions.
What are the key security challenges in Smart Homes?
It is evident that each week there are new challenges reported about the IoT Security, fuelled by reports of homes suffering from ‘digital break-ins’ and family members intimidated by the perpetrators. Smart home security is the top priority of every individual. There are several potential smart home security solutions available that promise to keep smart home inhabitants safe with some intelligent supervision at home. Smart homes can assist its occupants to not only monitor their home remotely but also to ensure to safety of their children at home. However, deployment of IoT smart home solutions may cause potential security issues to our personal data and privacy at home. Many app-controlled smart home devices relay information about the home to external servers for processing. By storing information in the cloud, these solutions offer convenient control for the home. An overview of potential security vulnerabilities in various IoT-based devices such as smart plugs deployed in a smart home is shown in figure 2 below. However, homeowners who opt for several smart home devices may need a separate app for each product. As a result, there might be a greater chance of data breaches.
A case study of security drawbacks in Smart Homes
In this section, a case study of smart home security camera issue is presented. Specifically, network connected cameras have many security vulnerabilities because they don’t encrypt data and have weak policies regarding passwords. It was in an article by Infosec Institute. Although devices like webcam and hidden cameras are subject to give extra security assurance about one’s home. However, there could be some drawbacks of IP based connected cameras connected to smart homes. Specifically, it can allow hackers to access into IP base camera recordings. For the purpose of safety it is recommended to search about the history of security of the camera manufacturers so that you will come to know about the level of encryption used in the device. It also recommended to use secure Wi-Fi and strong passwords to optimize security. About 73,000 security cameras were hacked in year 2014 as a result of the unchanged default password. Weak passwords are more prone to cyber attacks and should be regarded seriously. Even though users cannot have the right to control device’s security infrastructure, users do have the power to avoid public networks and set highly secure passwords. Lack of security infrastructure in the manufacturing of smart home devices is the most evident cause of vulnerability of smart devices. A recent article by Business Insider asserted that IoT products lack particular industry security standards for their manufacturer.
Future Work for security in Smart Homes:
Although IoT has made our lives easy yet our personal data is more at risk. We are now responsible for our own protection against the weakly secured IoT devices. Since smart home devices purely rely on remote access and cloud servers, security of customer data in the cloud server and on the devices has become an inevitable challenge. Despite the fact that connected home products guarantee consumer’s convenience, these devices may have some serious loop holes. Security needs should be included at an early stage of product design, and implemented in every aspect of the system.
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With the recent advancement in wireless technology and enhanced smartphone capabilities, there has been an apparent increase in the utilisation of Push-To-Talk over Cellular (PTToC). PTToC is a feature which can only be implemented when Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) capability is installed in the cellular networks. PTToChas wide coverage since it uses a cellular network. Moreover, PTToC is implemented as a data call. Therefore, calls can be made even when voice channels are congested. A pictorial representation of PTToC is shown in figure 1 below.
Figure 1: An illustration of PTToC using various cellular networks.
The Role of PTToC in Mission Critical Communications
With the advancement in telecommunications, the PTToC utility is currently being used in many commercial applications, for example, Public Safety networks and business critical sectors. This technology works in harmony with Mission-Critical applications offered by the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Today’s cutting edge communication techniques have enabled organisations to combine traditional voice communication with growing data sources in order to make better and faster decisions. PTToC is an essential component of LTE-based solutions. Moreover, encrypted Push-to-Talk over cellular offers enhanced features such as location tracking, group texting and image messaging for real-time communications.
Key PTToC Capabilities
PTToC offers multiple benefits for the agencies and organisations in commercial and business sectors by giving mission critical services. A brief description of the PTToC salient features is given below.
Instant Global Connectivity
Since PTToC is operating on modern digital cellular network standards, the entire world has now same network infrastructure. Public safety agencies can now connect any where around the globe in the same way as it would connect with the terrestrial-based trunked radio systems.
Fast and secure public safety networks
PTToChas connection speeds equivalent to land-mobile radio communication. Thus,byintegrating the benefits of PTToC and LMR, users can be facilitated with seamless mobile communication. With the introduction of encrypted PTToC, organisations are able to increase the number of users, in order to make them capable of communicating over a DMR network in a secure way.
Flexibility in critical communication services
This technology is well suited to a wide-range of devices. The user can use this technology with their choice of device. PTToC is very handy so that field workers can use it easily while working in remote areas and harsh environments. Group call in PTToC enables users to exchange information simultaneously with multiple users, and by this means all the group members are fully aware of the situation.
In summary, the rise in the usage off PTToC is due to the speed offered by 3G and 4G mobile networks and the introduction of smartphones. With the introduction of new applications for PTToC technology, it seems that PTToC communications will be an essential component of emerging LTE-based solutions.
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Internet-of-Things(IoT), a technology which connects objects to the internet. Cisco has anticipated that by 2020, IoT will be consisting of 50 billion devices connected to the internet. As a result, there will be 6 devices per person. It is expected that IoT will fully transform our economy, society and standards of living. Businesses and enterprises strive hard to bring products to the markets more frequently, adapt themselves to regulatory requirements, and most importantly business leaders tend to innovate persistently. With a large number of mobile staff, growing customers and changing supply chain demand, IoT can help businesses and entrepreneurs to generate large revenue in business. Figure 1 below is depicting the connection of IoT devices to the cloud server in 5G.
Figure 1: IoT devices connected to cloud server using a 5G cellular network. [Courtesy of intel].
Only those companies will be able to maintain their position among their competitors that not only embrace IoT but also use it to transform their business. By integrating IoT into business operations, products and customer interactions, business leaders can build new business models and foundation of values. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, businesses will be able to generate revenue of approximately $11 trillion per year through incorporating IoT applications and products.
Businesses are now transforming their processes, operations and business models to benefit from the latest technologies. Smart cities, connected utilities, smart transportation, connected factories, smart health, smart grid and connected miles are few names of the result of this evolution. All industries are considering IoT a breakthrough technology in order to help them optimize their business, enter new markets and build a good customer relationship. Many industry experts, like IDC, estimates that businesses will spend over $20 trillion in the next four years to realize the potential of IoT. An illustration of IoT deployed in smart city verticals.
Figure 2: An illustration of Internet-of-Things applications Smart Cities.
The revolution of IoT may have begun but it isn’t implemented to the full scale yet. There is still plenty of time before its transformational powers will be fully felt. A number of technical, economical, and regulatory perceptions still need to be addressed. There are some companies out there who need to do something but are not sure about how. According to Harvard Business Review and Verizon statistics, it is concluded that less than 10 percent of companies have deployed IoT initiatives. Furthermore, only a small minority which is 56 percent have the proper strategy for IoT.
According to recent research conducted by Cisco about ICT companies and decision makers concluded that the top three challenges for implementing IoT initiatives in their business were: (i) Data Privacy; (ii) Standardization of IoT protocols and intra-operability among different business systems; and (iii) Design cost.
IoT supplier market is currently very fragmented with a massive amount of big and small companies providing single pieces of IoT implementation devices, applications, and solutions. As a result, making it more challenging for the companies to meet the demands of customer needs.
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Mobile network traffic is increasing enormously. It is anticipated that the cellular, packet core and backhaul architectures will not be able to function effectively. Thus by implementing the networking and storage capabilities of fog at their network edge, mobile service providers can improve their capacity, reliability, security and performance as well as networks will able to generate great revenue opportunities. Moreover, fog computing also serves as a cloud `platform for designing smart city solutions.
Figure 1: An illustration of Fog-as-a-Service (FaaS).
“Fog as a service” (FaaS) is a great opportunity for service providers to build an array of fog nodes across its footprint. These fog nodes will act as fundamental computing units to many smart city vertical designs. These fog nodes will host the local networking, computation and storage capabilities. The nodes can be packaged for outdoor deployment, possibly on rooftops, in street corner cabinets or integrated with fibre nodes or cells. Software infrastructure of fog might include virtualisation, sophisticated security, orchestration and the application of programming interfaces so that different stakeholders will be able to generate a variety of applications, which will run with minimum disturbance.
After the deployment of fog network, the FaaS provider will lease the fog capabilities to end users, specifically for smart governance, mission critical services; smart transportation, broadband services for load balancing between Wi-Fi and the,cellular network, caching, smart building energy management solutions and smart homes. If each of these smart city verticals builds their own big data analytic server then the overall cost will shoot to an excessive level and the city would carry bundles of overlapping fog nodes. It is cost efficient to build a central big data analytic server using central FaaS network for various smart city verticals such as smart health, smart grid.
Fog computing provides an opportunity to deploy Internet of things (IoT) in smart cities as well as in other verticals like smart grids, smart transportation, manufacturing, energy, enterprise/retail, healthcare, agriculture, hospitality and consumer. Deployment of these uses in each of the above-mentioned verticals and can be made possible through using fog computing. The advantage of fog networks as compared to cloud-based applications is improved security, bandwidth efficiency, scalability on multiple dimensions, high service availabilities and low latency rate.
It wouldn’t be reasonable to pay high charges to wireless network in order to utilize large amounts of sensor data from remote geographic locations to the cloud server. To collect disaster management data streams from remote areas to the governing body, smart cities could deploy fog nodes at the remote places to perform data analysis and send only the results and exceptions to the cloud server for smart decision-making. Fog computing also performs efficiently in time-sensitive applications e.g. haptics system, a system in which the round trip delay between the user interface and the computational resource is just a few milliseconds. The force feedback is provided on a joystick and if not detected, the touch impression is lost. These time-sensitive applications include telemedicine, training and games specifically, and smart highway applications where even a difference of a few milliseconds can cause huge havoc.
There are multiple cities around the world that have implemented the concept of fog computing into practical use with the help of Cisco and other partners. Currently, they are providing the services of smart urban management which include smart traffic management, smart security, smart lighting and power management. The extensive network of fog nodes exhibits some potentials of FaaS such as virtualisation at the boundary and support of multiple tenants.
In summary fog computing will be a key feature in the deployment of IoT service infrastructures and FaaS will be a vital opportunity for service providers. Fog is considered to be a multi-billion dollar opportunity for network service revenue as having a fog network directly attached to the cellular network would result in creating vast revenue opportunities. But if the fog implementation is not as good as competing network fog capabilities then it can kill your network.
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With the introduction of state-of-the-art technologies, the mobile industry is going through a radical transformation. The network is expanding day by day as a result of smart cities, mobile living, the Internet of Things (IOT) with a large number of sensors, connected vehicles, e-health, and the list goes on. In order to meet the demands of the growing trend of Internet of Things (IoT) and increasingly high customer expectations, operators need to formulate a new approach towards building a network that will be able to deliver extreme low latency and massive broadband to meet widely diverse uses.
AirScale is a modernised and up-to-date technology which redefines the way radio networks are built. It is a complete package, which offers complete radio access generation running on traditional Distributed Radio Access Network (RAN) sites as well as centralised and Cloud RAN. AirScale technology is set to simultaneously run all radio technologies such as LTE-Advanced, LTE-Advanced Pro, TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, 2G and 3G on a single base station as a Single RAN, thereby integrating carrier-grade Wi-Fi access, making itself 5G-ready and thus offering an unlimited capacity. Apart from this, it utilises 60 percent less energy compared to the Flex radio access platform, which is still widely used for energy efficiency purposes.
Figure 1: An illustration of AirScale technology used in cellular network.
AirScale also provides a way to close the gap between the IT and Telco worlds. AirScale Cloud RAN is running on the same servers as Mobile Edge Computing (MEC). As a result, interfaces such as Application Programming are opened up to a number of new applications, services, and plug-ins integrated into the RAN. Rapid delivery of software is provided by Cloud RAN on an IT platform, bringing a new level of agility and performance to networks. The President of Mobile Networks of Nokia expressed his point of view regarding this technology as, “The world will witness immense changes over the next few years. Broadband traffic will continue to surge as people go beyond video and take advantage of augmented and virtual reality. The Internet of Things will see billions of devices connected, and 5G will enable new scenarios such as Industry 4.0, smart cities, e-health and mobile living. Nokia AirScale is designed from the ground up for this new era, while also introducing ground-breaking cloud-based capabilities.”
The capabilities of AirScale were demonstrated at Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2016, where operators were able to get their hands on the AirScale base stations and watch it run 5G with 5Gbps data rates and under 1ms latency. With its high performance and flexibility, AirScale will be able to support wide ranging applications such as ultra-reliable communications for autonomous vehicles, ultra-low latency connectivity for synchronising industrial robotics, new live broadcasting services at large events and much more.
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World population is increasing rapidly. Due to this tremendous rise in population, the cities all around the world are facing complex challenges regarding urban infrastructure planning, governance, and transportation infrastructure. Airports, railways, ports, bridges, mass transits, highways and the networks that they are connected to, then all form infrastructure of the transportation. Commuters now prefer public transportation like rails and buses over roads.
In order to facilitate the customers, the public transportation systems and the station hubs are improved. Full connectivity is what the customer demands, therefore, transportation system should ensure that devices and people should be connected to the network. However, as the number of devices connected to the transportation ecosystems increases, the probability of cyber-attack also increases, making the transportation ecosystem more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. An illustration of vehicle-to-vehicle transportation is shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: A visual representation of vehicle-to-vehicle communication in smart cities.
Internet of Everything (IoE) aims to bring digital revolution by deploying smart roads, smart rails, smart buses, smart airports and smart pots globally. Enhancements in the smart transportation systems will result in high mobility along with an improved and secured transportation services for the people. Transport system administrators and organization are adopting digital strategies which will help in the provision of quality transportation services, improved productivity, enhanced passenger experience and will also help in generating good revenue changing.
The smart transportation system is evolving day by day to provide seamless passenger services. Smart transportation is aiming to implement cutting edge technologies like electric mobility, car sharing, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), and a system based on a demand-response approach in order to optimize the whole transportation system.
If you want to go for a vacation you do not have to fret about anything. Just pack your stuff and head towards the airport. As you are going towards the airport you observe that the traffic on the road is organized. It is because the transportation authorities are continuously monitoring the traffic and are attentive to keep traffic organized and ensure transits run smoothly. Like Utah’s Department Transportation, they deployed some digital transformation in the typical methodology in order to improve the infrastructure planning process and management of the highways.
As our digital citizen is heading towards the airport in his car, he gets an alert on his smartphone about the slow traffic ahead, which is because of a construction project already planned. Our digital citizen would not have to worry as he can switch from the route through mapped view of the construction site and seamlessly go ahead. Like other eighty percent of drivers in Texas, our digital citizen was also delighted with the anticipatory notifications that made him able for proactive traffic avoidance.
While our digital citizen arrived at the airport, the most dreadful part is yet to come which is, to wait in long queues at the checking points and counters for hours. Except the digital citizen, he doesn’t have to worry. Some airports like Copenhagen Airport are deploying smart technology to continuously watch and avoid passenger congestion, allowing more time to relax instead of waiting for their turn in the long queues. An example of IoT applications implemented at an airport is shown in the figure below.
Figure 2: Role of IoT applications at world’s biggest travel hubs.
Following smooth and a serene flight, our digital citizen has reached the holiday spot. He hops on the train, to reach his final destination.
Some cities like Dubai, are implementing digital strategies to fulfil the increasing transport requirements as with each passing day a large number of people are turning towards public transportation. Our citizen didn’t face any inconvenience like accidents and other complications. Advanced systems are deployed to avoid accidents via vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure. He is feeling relaxed as the smart transportation system is reliable and clean trains, simple ticketing procedures and has plentiful timetables. Upon reaching the final destination like other 90 percent of Seoul tourists, our digital customer is pleased with his overall travel experience.
Cities around the world are now looking for ways to fulfil their transportation requirements and expanding their transportation networks in order to enhance their corporation and interconnection. This development is making public transportation as well as mass transits, main artery of the smart cities technology, which aims to improve quality of life of the residents in parallel with supporting economic development, attracting business and workforce talent.
In short, smart transportation is considered a key factor against the challenges faced by the urban planners and city infrastructure planners to fulfil the requirements of the increasing number of mega cities in both developed and developing cities around the globe in order to maintain safety and smooth traffic flow.
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Nokia Networks is already globally known for its spectrum re-sharing, load balancing and traffic steering in different aspects. Now it is upgrading LTE-A technology globally that offers higher data rates to the subscribers and LTE operators.
Recently, in September 2015, the Nokia Networks have upgraded the Softbank’s commercial network by deploying LTE-A with faster data rates of up to 262.5 Mbps as claimed officially. The 1.4 times faster LTE-A technology has been facilitated with 3-band carrier aggregation on the commercial network.
By upgrading the LTE radio network to LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation, the mobile network can now be benefitted with three component carriers besides the two aggregated bands. In carrier aggregation technology, 10 MHz spectrum sources are aggregated on the 900 MHz band as well as the 1800 MHz band. While, 15 MHz spectrum sources are aggregated on the 2100 MHz band. To derive the data rate even faster, a data highway of 35 MHz has been deployed in the network which offers about 262.5 Mbps downlink data rates to the subscribers.
The LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation technology evolves alongside the subscribers’ demands for higher data rates as well as the capability of their smartphones to support the band combinations of Carrier Aggregation. Today the user equipment are being built to aggregate up to three frequency bands, while some equipment have already been into the market which aggregate two frequency bands at a time. The new LTE-A software by Nokia Networks facilitates the subscribers to achieve the highest data rates that can be supported by their devices and smartphones. With this technology, any combination of the bands can be aggregated out of the three frequency bands.
So far we have discussed the advantages of the LTE-A Carrier Aggregation Technology for the users and subscribers. If we analyze the benefits of this technology from the operators’ point of view, we find out that the LTE operators will now able to drive the development of a wider range of smartphone ecosystem with the three frequency band aggregation technology.
Since SoftBank is considered as one of the top ten largest LTE Operators worldwide, this new frequency band combination will be widely installed in the markets around the globe. When the 900 MHz band for 2G is reframed to the 1800 MHz band for LTE, and the 2100 MHz band for 3G is reframed on the LTE band, the LTE operators get the advantage of higher data rates due to this carrier aggregation of three components.
The LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation technology deployment has opened new horizons in the communication technology and set a global example for LTE operators in achieving higher data rates for 4G.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the exisitng internet infrastructure. Internet of Things ”means“ a world-wide network of interconnected objects uniquely addressable, based on standard communication protocols.
The new rule for the future is going to be, “anything that can be connected, will be connected.” But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other? To increase efficiency, energy, time, cost, resources and sustainable life.
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