Author Archives: Tim Cosgrove

About Tim Cosgrove

Tim Cosgrove heads two technology companies Co-Star and Cloud-Star who supply 4G LTE connectivuty products to the ICT industry globally and are based at Harrogate in the UK. Working at the forefront of the mobile communications industry gives Tim a unique perspective on the latest emerging technologies that help to improve how businesses and people communicate and operate in the future. Tim is keen to share his insights and passion for the latest technologies through the Co-star blog. Please get in touch if you have any technology related news or press releases that you would like us to share.

Vodafone to trial 5G in seven cities later this year

5g

Vodafone has made a big 5G announcement, as it’s just revealed that seven cities will become trial areas for Vodafone 5G later this year.

The cities in question are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, and the trials are set to begin between October and December 2018.

Vodafone claims this is the most comprehensive 5G trial announced to date, and adds that the trial will be used to test new 5G applications, including virtual and augmented reality in factories, hospitals and offices.

In advance of these 5G trials, Vodafone’s engineers are already busy laying the groundwork for a 5G network at more than 40 sites in these cities.

Above shows James Hope, Head of Networks for the North, Vodafone UK, pictured with one of the new 5G base stations in Manchester.

A vision for the future

The trials are part of an ambitious plan that Vodafone has dubbed Gigabit UK and which envisions a UK where everyone can get speeds of one gigabit per second or more, wherever they are. It’s a plan that will involve both the launch of a widespread 5G network and upgraded fixed broadband connections.

And speaking of Vodafone’s 5G network, the company has additionally said that these upcoming trials should help ensure it’s ready for a full commercial launch in early 2020.

That will likely put Vodafone ever so slightly behind EE and BT, both of which might launch in late 2019, but Vodafone is still in a strong position, having purchased the most 5G spectrum at the recent Ofcom auction, a purchase which Vodafone claims has allowed it to begin these widespread 5G trials, having already carried out an earlier trial with the spectrum.

It’s worth noting also that these trial cities might well be among the first locations to get full 5G once Vodafone does launch it commercially. The company hasn’t said as much but it would make sense given that it’s being trialled in these locations, and given that they’re major cities.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all. We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.”

Source: James Rogerson. 5G

3GPP makes 5G a reality by signing off standalone standard

3GPP

A 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership project) plenary meeting has approved the specifications for standalone (SA) 5G.

3GPP said the finalisation of these specifications marked another essential step in standardising the technology and that the industry is now on the “final sprint” towards commercial roll-out of 5G.

The latest SA specification, published in 3GPP’s Release 15, paves the way for 5G networks which operate independently from 4G.  It will allow 5G NR (new radio) to be independently deployed, enable end-to-end 5G architecture, and open up new business models for the telecommunications industry, said a statement from 3GPP, which was backed by its members.

This follows the release of 5G NR specifications for non-standalone (NSA) 5G in December last year.

On track

The new standard was delivered on time, according to 3GPP’s schedule. 3GPP is a collaboration between seven telecommunications standards development organisations which represent companies from across the communications industry.

Over 600 delegates from telecommunications companies, chipset vendors, internet firms and industrial partners, attended the plenary meeting to witness what 3GPP calls a “historic moment for 5G”.

Following the publication of Release 15, operators and vendors can now move ahead more quickly with advanced testing using equipment they know is standards-compliant. AT&T said, for example that it plans to roll out commercial 5G in 12 cities later this year.

Georg Mayer, Chairman of 3GPP Technical Specification Group Core Network and Terminals (TSG CT), said that Release 15 has made 5G a reality, moving it beyond purely vision and hype.  However, he noted that this is also just the first step in the 5G story and the hard work now begins on continuing to refine and develop standards to meet the needs of various customers and industries.

Ultra-collaboration

Many 3GPP member companies provided statements supporting the latest standard and the value that 5G is set to deliver.

Luke Ibbetson, Head of Vodafone Group R&D said: “This is another important step towards being able to realise the full potential of 5G as we look ahead to the next decade of mobile innovation. This adds further capability to the 5G family of technologies including 5G NR, LTE evolution and LPWA.”

“BT recognises another significant milestone on the path of 5G.” said Neil J. McRae, Chief Architect at BT. “This step provides the crucial foundation to enable the power of 5G to deliver on low latency, scale and high availability – the foundation that our customers need to usher in the fourth industrial revolution and the era of ultra-collaboration.”

Source: Sarah Wray. 5G

Vodafone to Help Sanku-Project Healthy Children Reach 100 Million People Across Africa in the Fight Against Malnutrition

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Vodafone today announced it is working with Sanku-Project Healthy Children (Sanku-PHC) to equip small flour mills in Africa with Internet of Things (IoT) services to provide fortified flour to millions of people.

Two billion people around the world suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Fortified flour battles against hidden hunger in developing countries, which includes pervasive issues of nutrition deficiency such as birth defects, child development issues, and blindness.

Sanku-PHC is bringing real-time, data-driven insights to 3,000 small scale flour mills over the next four years, with Vodafone’s global IoT SIM and USB Connect technology helping to significantly scale the programme and improve its efficiency. Sanku-PHC has created a first-of-its-kind technology – the ‘dosifier’ – which enables small African flour mills in rural areas to fortify flour with key nutrients during the milling process, in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective.

In the past, one Sanku worker could only monitor 25 mills, which would fortify flour to feed 125,000 people. Vodafone’s IoT SIM now connects the same worker to 100 mills, which will fortify flour for 500,000 people. The Sanku worker receives alerts remotely and in real-time when the mills run out of fortified flour or require maintenance.

“Our dosifier has been incredibly successful to date, bringing fortified flour to communities in need across the developing world,” said Sanku-PHC Co-founding President and CEO Felix Brooks-church. “Vodafone’s IoT technology gives us the ability to significantly optimise and scale operations. Sanku-PHC currently helps provide fortified flour to around one million people and, with this new IoT connection, we are on a path to reach 100 million people by 2025. ”

As a result of the partnership with Vodafone:

• Sanku-PHC dosifiers now have reliable, secure connectivity with Vodafone’s IoT SIM. Vodafone’s in-country roaming reaches the most remote areas, allowing access to up-to-the-minute information on maintenance, power supply and machine tracking via GPS;

• Sanku-PHC can accurately monitor fortification levels to ensure communities are receiving the benefits of fortified flour; and

• Vodafone’s M-Pesa mobile money service is being used to enable millers to securely make and receive payments on their smartphones, further improving Sanku-PHC ability to scale.

Vodafone and Sanku-PHC are rolling out Vodafone’s global IoT SIM and USB Connect technology to local flour mills in Tanzania and Rwanda, and will continue to implement the technology across Eastern and Southern Africa.

Source: Vodafone

Telefonica, Huawei and UPM Trial Quantum Cryptography

Telefónica, Huawei and UPM perform a groundbreaking field trial applying quantum cryptography on commercial optical networks to provide secure communication services

TelefónicaHuawei, and UPM (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) have performed a groundbreaking field trial, the first one worldwide, demonstrating the application of quantum cryptography on commercial optical networks, and their operational integration by means of Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies.

It is an advanced research pilot of secure communication services based on quantum technologies that Telefonica could provide to its customers in future. As Juan-Ignacio Cirac, distinguished physicist specialized in quantum computing and member of the Telefónica Board, says: “We can make a random bit sequence to appear at one place and simultaneously at another one, without making it pass in between. It is sort of magic, but something that Quantum Physics predicts. It is a way of exchanging secure keys that we have to make the most of, since it cannot be hacked”.

All secure communications are based on the use of cryptography, so data are encrypted using a secure key in a way that only those knowing that key can decrypt the messages exchanged among them. Current cryptographic techniques for key generation are based on highly complex mathematical problems, that require long calculations to be resolved. As computational capacity grows, the time required to solve these problems becomes shorter, reducing the security of the keys.

The continuous growth in computational capacity has required a steady increase in key sizes and the complexity of key generation algorithms. And these techniques can become completely futile with the advent of quantum computers, able to apply the principles of Quantum Mechanics to resolve problems considered unsolvable so far, including breaking the keys used by current methods, thus rendering most of our security infrastructure useless.

As Diego R. Lopez, Head of Technology Exploration & Standards in Telefónica’s Global CTIO Unit, states: “We have been working to develop a field trial that demonstrates the provision of secure communication services based on QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) using a commercial SDN-managed optical network infrastructure”.

Quantum technologies themselves provide a solution to this vulnerability of current cryptographic key generation methods. Quantum principles can be applied to exchange a key between the two ends of a communications link, so that this key remains secure with respect to any attack, and any attack attempt becomes detectable. This technique, known as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), not only provides protection against the threat posed by quantum computation to current cryptographic algorithms, but it can also provide a much higher security level for any exchange of data. However, QKD requires a high-quality optical fiber physical infrastructure, and Telefónica is very well positioned to provide services based on this technology.

María Antonia Crespo, Director of Transport and IP Connectivity in Telefónica Spain remarks: “Telefónica Spain’s optical network, in combination with our high-capacity photonic transmission systems, offer the required performance to provide secure channels based on quantum communication. This enhanced security is a key enabler for next generation networks, flexible, virtualized and software-defined”.

Up to now, QKD feasibility was demonstrated in laboratories and restricted field trials (as the one Telefónica and UPM performed back in 2009, demonstrating quantum key exchange over a fiber metro ring), but the actual deployment on commercial infrastructures and the integration with their operational procedures was still a pending issue. The installation in production facilities and using standard telecommunication systems is a first of its kind demonstration, which shows the capacity of the technology to reach real-world level of usability.

“The ability to use new network technologies like SDN, designed to increase the flexibility of the network, together with new QKD technology is what allows us to really converge quantum and classical networks on the existing optical fiber infrastructure.  Now we have, for the first time, the capability to deploy quantum communications in an incremental way, avoiding large upfront costs, and using the same infrastructure”, remarks Vicente Martin, Head of the Center for Computational Simulation who leads the team at UPM.

The field trial relies on a novel “Continuous Variables” (CV) QKD technology. A particular feature of the tested devices is that they are flexible, software-controlled ones. The systems are optimally adapted to a seamless integration in the dynamical environment of SDN and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) networks, where the creation and modification of the optical fiber paths and required encryption, follows commands received over software-based control interfaces. The latter functionality is ensured by integrating the CV-QKD devices with standard Optical Transport Network ones. The full scale QKD and SDN-NFV integration opens the way of providing high level security of novel flexible but critical infrastructures.

Momtchil Peev, Huawei Project Leader of the Quantum Communication Project in Munich observes: “The test CV-QKD devices that we present here have the inherent CV advantages: they do not need (ultra) low-temperature (bulky) Single Photon Avalanche Detectors and can (potentially) reuse classical optical coherent communication technology. Moreover instead of addressing performance records alone we have chosen a flexible design focusing on control and key delivery interfaces, showing the feasibility of more seamless future integration into modern networks”.

The field trial employs the optical infrastructure provided by Telefónica Spain, connecting three different sites within the Madrid metropolitan area where software-controlled CV-QKD devices, developed by the Huawei Research Lab in Munich in collaboration with UPM are installed, together with SDN-based management modules developed by Telefónica’s

GCTIO Network Innovation team and the components required to integrate QKD with NFV and SDN technologies developed by UPM. The combination of all these elements made possible the demonstration of the use of QKD techniques in a real production environment, combining classical data and quantum key transmission on the same fiber, and shows how these services can be managed and used by different applications.

Source: Telefonica

 

Ayla Networks Adds Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Support to its IoT Platform

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Ayla’s Device Connectivity and Management Expertise Plus GCP’s Application Enablement Strength Provide a Powerful Option for IoT Product Companies

Ayla Networks, whose Internet of Things (IoT) platform-as-a-service (PaaS) delivers industry-leading device virtualization and management, announced today that it will integrate its IoT platform device connectivity and management technologies to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), delivering a powerful end-to-end IoT solution that enables rapid time to market and business value for companies launching connected products.

“We are excited to work with Ayla to provide companies with the resources needed to succeed when developing connected products,” said Antony Passemard, head of product management for Google Cloud IoT. “Combined with the power of GCP, Ayla’s technology will enable more companies to tap directly into Google Cloud’s renowned application enablement, AI, machine learning and data analytics capabilities to deliver the outcomes that meet their business needs.”

Ayla Solution on GCP Represents a New Option for Companies

Adding access to GCP services strengthens Ayla’s complete connectivity, device management and application enablement solution. Through the combined strengths of GCP and Ayla technologies, companies can:

  • Achieve fast time to market by taking advantage of Ayla’s broad connectivity options and user-friendly device virtualization and management features.
  • Scale connected device deployments securely and with high reliability.
  • Attain rapid time to business value by leveraging Ayla’s flexible data pipeline along with GCP’s powerful application enablement options, both native and partner-based.

“Success in IoT starts with the ability to virtualize any physical device and rapidly connect it with other digital services and virtualized devices,” said David Friedman, CEO of Ayla Networks. “Then, the real value of IoT happens when the data from interconnected devices can be ingested into applications and services able to transform the data in ways that support better decisions and drive business outcomes.”

By integrating with GCP, Ayla will give companies a powerful new option for unlocking the value contained within their connected-device data. The Ayla IoT platform running on GCP is in beta testing with selected customers and expected to be generally available in Q4 2018.

About Ayla Networks

Ayla Networks, a leading provider of digital twinning, device management and application enablement for the Internet of Things (IoT), enables the world’s largest companies to connect and ingest data from nearly any sensor, system and cloud. By leveraging Ayla’s Agile IoT™ platform, customers are able to quickly productize future-proofed, connected products, while making device data usable for ongoing analytic insights and support for advanced business applications. For more information, visit www.aylanetworks.com.

Source: Ayla Networks

Sierra Wireless launches next-generation mangOH Open Source Platform to accelerate Industrial IoT

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Sierra Wireless , the leading provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), today released alpha samples of its next-generation mangOH® open source hardware platform, inviting the IoT developer community to influence the final product. mangOH Yellow, a “super sensor” for connected IoT, allows developers to measure and monitor virtually anything, with all of the interoperable building blocks needed to rapidly develop and productize low-power Industrial IoT applications.

The award-winning mangOH platform helps developers address many of the challenges that limit their ability to quickly and cost-effectively bring connected cellular LPWA (Cat-M1/LTE-M and NB-IoT) and 2G/3G/4G products to market. mangOH’s open source model, industrial-grade components and extensive ecosystem enable businesses to reduce time to market for Industrial IoT applications by up to one year and cut development costs in half.

“Whether you’re developing IoT applications for a startup or a Fortune 500 company, mangOH gives you a head start to a minimum viable product, right out of the box,” said Ashish Syal, Chief Engineer and mangOH Founder, Sierra Wireless. “Building on the success of mangOH Red and Green, we’re excited to release mangOH Yellow and give the IoT developer community the opportunity to influence the final product.”

Smaller and lighter, mangOH Yellow is targeted at IoT applications where compactness and low-power consumption are essential. The size and mechanical design will allow developers to build standalone and extremely compact proof-of-concepts/prototypes or to incorporate it into existing systems for instant IoT connectivity. Existing mangOH Red and Green and applications developed using the Legato™ open source Linux platform can be easily ported to mangOH Yellow. In addition to cellular connectivity, mangOH Yellow features built-in Bluetooth Mesh and BLE 5, as well as Wi-Fi and NFC. It also includes 14 advanced sensors and actuators on board in an ultra-low-power architecture for long-lasting, mobile, battery-powered applications. mangOH Yellow provides ultimate flexibility and functionality with an IoT connector slot to leverage the more than 15 IoT cards built by members of the collaborative mangOH ecosystem, which are available today.

Sierra Wireless also announced that Jabil, a provider of design, manufacturing, supply chain and product management services, has joined the extensive mangOH ecosystem. Jabil is the lead manufacturing partner for mangOH Red and the next-generation mangOH Yellow.

“mangOH is creating a disruptive opportunity in the IoT space for companies to innovate, and Jabil is pleased to join the ecosystem to help mangOH users cost-effectively take their prototypes to market,” said Rafael Renno, Senior Business Unit Director, Jabil. “We’re not only manufacturing mangOH, we’re also working with several large customers to develop new industrial use cases based on mangOH Red that will revolutionize industries.”

Co-Star supply the full range of Sierra Wireless routers. Please click here for more information>

LONDON TOP SPOT SIXTH YEAR RUNNING FOR CAR THEFTS AND RECOVERIES

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According to the 2017 league table of Top Ten Most Stolen and Recovered Vehicles, from TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), London is still the top region where cars are most stolen and recovered. For the second year in a row, Essex is in second place, whilst Greater Manchester moves from seventh place in 2016, back up to third in 2017.

The most popular car for thieves in London was the Mercedes Benz C Class, which is not surprising given the C Class came ninth in the overall best-selling cars list in 2016 and 2017 and continues to hold this position in 2018.[1]

In Essex it was the BMW X5 that was most commonly stolen and recovered in 2017 and in Greater Manchester it was the Range Rover Sport. The most expensive car stolen in London was a Rolls Royce Phantom worth around £120k. However, the average value of stolen vehicles has remained relatively static from 2016 to 2017, increasing slightly from £16,436 in 2016 to £16,977.26 last year.

TRACKER saw a 5% year-on-year increase in vehicle thefts and recoveries in 2017, with the total value of vehicles stolen recovered exceeding 12.5 million.  There has been an overall 30% increase in the number of stolen vehicles recovered by TRACKER since 2014.

Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation) says, “Whilst London remains the theft and recovery hot spot for the sixth year running, the Capital isn’t the only place where car owners need to be vigilant. Cambridgeshire, Sussex and Nottinghamshire all entered the top 10 regions for the first time this year, as thieves find fresh pickings in different areas.

“80% of all vehicles stolen and recovered by TRACKER in 2017 were stolen without using the owner’s keys, quite a significant increase from the 66% stolen by this means in 2016.  Of course, a TRACKER device won’t prevent your vehicle from being stolen, but if it is, it will significantly increase the chances of the vehicle being recovered quickly and returned by the police.

“We have a unique partnership with UK police forces and 2017 saw our technology assist officers to make 47 arrests.  Together, TRACKER, car owners and the police are closing in on criminals and clamping down on vehicle theft.”

TRACKER’S TOP TEN REGIONS WHERE CARS ARE STOLEN AND RECOVERED

2017 2016
1.     London
2.     Essex
3.     Manchester/Greater Manchester
4.     West Midlands
5.     Kent
6.     West Yorkshire
7.     Surrey
8.     Cambridgeshire
9.     Sussex
10.  South Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire
  1. London and Greater London
  2. Essex

3.     West Midlands
4 & 5 = West Yorkshire/Kent
6. Surrey
7. Greater Manchester
8. Merseyside
9. South Yorkshire
10. Lancashire

Soure: Tracker

USB Power Supplies With Surface Mount Housing Designed For Public Transport Applications

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Co-Star have developed a range of USB power supplies with a surface mount housing designed to fit on any surface either vertically or horizontally or underneath a dash that enables fast and easy installation into: Buses, Coaches. Trains and Taxis.

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Available as a single or twin port the USB chargers are dual voltage DC 12-24V and are compatible with all the latest types of smartphones and tablet devices including: Apple, Samsung, HTC and Sony.

The USB housing is manufactured using a tough nylon material that is glass fiber reinforced so it can be used in harsh environments including: Public Transport, Emergency Service Vehicles and Marine applications.

Tim Cosgrove of Co-Star commented;

” One of the benefits of using public transport is that it enables people to use the travelling time productively using their mobile devices so this really is a USP for Transport companies and it is crucial that they offer accessible charging facilities otherwise people will simply choose another operator that does have charging facilities. We have developed the housing using tough re-inforced materials that offers versatile installation options into all different types of public transport vehicles”.

Ordering information:

Single port version: Part No: CL.9/AS241-1                      Dual port version: Part No: CL.9/AS242-2

Source: Co-Star

 

EE SET TO SWITCH ON UK’S FIRST 5G TRIAL NETWORK IN EAST LONDON

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EE SET TO SWITCH ON UK’S FIRST 5G TRIAL NETWORK IN EAST LONDON

  • EE switching on UK’s first live 5G trial network in East London in October
  • 10 sites to be upgraded with latest 5G technology to enable next generation of mobile network
  • Consumers and businesses to experience UK’s first 5G network with beta 5G broadband devices

EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, will switch on the UK’s first live 5G trial network in East London in October, connecting real EE customers and businesses to 5G for the first time.

The trial will see 5G switched on at 10 sites around East London in areas including City Road, Old Street, Hoxton Square, St Paul’s and Chiswell Street. Five small businesses and five homes will have the chance to get connected to the unique 5G launch to trial the new technology, using prototype 5G broadband devices. In the coming weeks, EE will be using social media channels to find the UK’s first ever 5G trialists.

The live trial will demonstrate the ability of 5G to provide the highest speed mobile data connections, even in the most densely populated urban environments. 5G will create more reliable and responsive mobile internet connections, enabling widespread adoption of technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality in apps and services. EE aims to deliver live speeds in excess of one gigabit per second with this first trial.

EE aims to be the first UK operator to launch 5G, and will build the new mobile technology on top of its award winning 4G network, boasting the fastest speeds and the widest coverage.

Minister for Digital, Margot James, said: “We want the UK to be a global leader in 5G as part of our ambition to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. Together with the Government’s own test beds and trials programme, industry initiatives like this will help deliver the benefits of this new revolutionary technology to businesses and consumers across the UK.”

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer business, said: “This live trial is a big step forward in making the benefits of 5G a reality for our customers, and in making sure that the UK is at the front of the pack for 5G technology. We’re focusing our resource and experience across EE and BT to ensure that we continue to lead the UK market with a mobile network that keeps giving our customers the best speeds and the best coverage. 5G is a fundamental part of our work to build a converged, smart network that keeps our customers connected to the things that matter most.”

Source: EE

Overseas demand drives UK CV manufacturing in April

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  • UK commercial vehicle manufacturing up a fifth in April, with more than 7,000 units produced.
  • Exports demand continues to drive output, up 28.5% to take 70.9% production share.
  • Year-to-date production remains down, with 26,551 CVs produced so far this year.

UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing increased by almost a fifth (19.0%) in April 2018, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT). 7,299 CVs were built in Britain last month as a rise in overseas demand boosted production.

Production for export in the month increased by 28.5%, with more than seven in 10 CVs destined for international markets. Meanwhile, demand from domestic fleets remained stable, up 0.9%, with 2,124 vans, trucks and buses produced for UK customers.

Year-to-date production figures remain down, falling -10.2% on 2017, with manufacturing for both domestic and overseas markets declining -21.1% and -4.3% respectively. However, in line with the monthly figures, exports continue to account for the lion’s share of production, at 68.8%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

While it is positive to see an increase in CV production, given the fluctuating nature of fleet buying cycles, caution is advised when making month-by-month comparisons. However, today’s figures highlight just how dependent the industry is on production for export, particularly to the EU – our largest customer. If we are to see future long-term growth, government must negotiate the right Brexit deal to ensure our mutual trade remains free and free flowing.

Soure: SMMT