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.

EE brings first live 5G trial to the UK with Canary Wharf trial

  EE 5G trial canary wharf

EE has seemingly just hit a major milestone with its 5G trials and testing, as it has launched its first live 5G trial, which it also claims is the UK’s first live 5G trial.

Hosted in Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, the trial is designed to test 5G spectrum and devices for coverage, speeds and performance, and Canary Wharf was an obvious choice of location, as it’s a very busy area, with 150,000 people coming to the Canary Wharf estate every day.

5G will have to cope with huge data demands from vast numbers of connected devices, so it’s important to trial it in an area such as this that really will put it to the test.

Indeed, EE notes that high capacity zone testing is a critical part of its 5G launch programme, and as such it’s not stopping with Canary Wharf, as the network also plans to put ten more 5G sites live across east London later this month, with the trials aimed at both consumer and business technology.

Using 3.4GHz spectrum and Huawei equipment

This trial will use 5G New Radio over the 3.4GHz spectrum that EE acquired 40MHz of at Ofcom’s recent spectrum auction. This spectrum is likely to be the cornerstone of early 5G networks and EE wants to test how it behaves in a real-life setting. The trial will be carried out using Huawei equipment.

Fotis Karonis, 5G Technology Lead at BT Group, said: “This is the latest milestone in our 5G rollout – a live test of our 5G network, in a hugely busy ‘hotspot’, where we know there’s going to be demand from customers for increased mobile capacity. With constant upgrades to 4G, and laying the foundations for 5G, we’re working to always be able to deliver what our customers need – both consumers and the vertical industries that will make the greatest use of 5G. We were UK pioneers with 4G and today we saw the UK’s first live connections on 5G – this is a huge step forward for our digital infrastructure.”

This of course isn’t EE’s only 5G test. The network previously tested 5G in lab conditions, hitting download speeds of 2.8Gbps in the process. This was done using 3.5GHz spectrum. Last year it also became the first UK network to demonstrate pre-5G backhaul technology.

Source: James Rogerson-5G.co.uk

 

Waitrose Uses Smart Lock Technology To Offer The Ultimate Home Delivery Experience

Waitrose & Partners to deliver and put away your shopping while you’re out

While You're Away 2

Waitrose & Partners is to become the UK’s first supermarket to deliver groceries to customers inside the home and put them away while they are out.

The retailer will initially test demand for the new service, which is called ‘While You’re Away’, with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its dotcom fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.

Using Yale smart lock technology, the customer grants access to a Waitrose delivery driver by setting a temporary access code for the lock which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure app. The code is then sent to the driver’s device at the time the customer has booked for the delivery and is deleted once the delivery is complete.

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The driver will put refrigerated and frozen goods away and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or as instructed by the customer. The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, with the video available for request for the customer the next working day.

There is a minimum order of £25 and given the small number of customers involved at this stage, there is a minimum number of six orders, however this will be reviewed after the trial.

If the trial is successful, Waitrose & Partners anticipates being able to make the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019.

Customers can find out if they are eligible for the trial or can register their interest in using the service in the future by visiting www.wya.waitrose.com.

Archie Mason, head of business development from Waitrose & Partners, said:

“There is certainly an increasing demand among our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient to fit around their busy lifestyles. Rather than waiting for a delivery or trying to put everything away, it gives customers more flexibility to use that time differently, including more time enjoying cooking and eating the food they’ve bought.

“The concept of ‘in-home delivery’ has started to prove popular in other countries so we are keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”

Nigel Fisher, Managing Director for Yale UK, said:

“Working with Waitrose & Partners to develop the UK’s first in-home delivery service is an exciting premise for Yale, as we look to understand how smart products can enhance daily lives, as well as protecting your home. Our heritage and priority is in security, but the technologies we’re now working with means we can also collaborate with companies, like Waitrose, to also develop services that fit with modern life.”

Source: Waitrose

Business Admin & IT Career at Co-Star

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Co-Star are a leading supplier to the ICT industry based in Copgrove near Harrogate. We distribute a range of products used for 4G and Cloud connectivity. Our customer base is predominantly B2B and we supply Globally.

Due to continued growth we are looking for someone who has the necessary communication skills to deliver outstanding customer service and the IT skills to update our website and e-commerce sales channels. The job is varied and interesting and you will be working in a thriving and positive environment. We will provide you with training on how to operate our IT platforms and full product training.

In brief the job involves:

  • Communicating to a high standard with our customers.
  • Taking and processing telephone and internet orders.
  • Updating the company website.

 

What we are looking for:

  • An excellent communicator with good IT skills.
  • Someone enthusiastic who can actively contribute to the furure growth of the company.
  • Someone who can work well within a small busy team.

Interested ?

Than please e-mail your CV to: tim@co-star.co.uk or call Tim on 01423 340066 for more information.

Hours:

The hours are: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm.

Contact Details:

Our address details are: Co-Star, Jubilee Mills Business Park, Wath Lane, Copgrove, Harrogate, HG3 3TB.

JACK, TBC-France’s Secure, High-Quality Multi-Terrain Autonomous Surveillance and Response Robot for Critical Infrastructures

 

NEW: JACK, TBC-France’s Secure, High-Quality Multi-Terrain Autonomous  Surveillance and Response Robot for Critical InfrastructuresLast week, Renato Cudicio, President of TBC-France, kicked off the career of JACK, his multi-terrain autonomous Surveillance and Response Robot, which promises to revolutionize the surveillance of critical infrastructures.

Cudicio, a Canadian serial entrepreneur and founder of TBC-France, designed his brainchild as a secure autonomous mobile security solution for the protection of indoor and outdoor perimeters that host strategic activities, high value goods and data, and for Organizations of Vital Importance (or OIVs, as these locations are called in France).

With its state-of-the-art cameras, advanced mobility and obstacle detection software, embedded artificial intelligence and secure communications technologies, this tireless patrolman promptly detects intrusions or anomalies, and carries out effective risk assessments.

“A critical infrastructure can be any asset or system which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, such as utilities, telecoms, logistic platforms, and defense sites,” Cudicio explained at the launch before expounding the vision that underlies his robot as a unique key component of advanced security solutions.

JACK’s three founding principles

Cudicio laid out the three founding principles of JACK’s existence.

  1. First Responder

JACK is a First Responder: in the event of an alarm–which can be triggered by any unusual event, e.g. an intrusion, suspicious movement, or a smoke or fire alarm–the robot automatically and rapidly heads out. At 18 km/h in emergency mode, JACK speedily reaches its destination, and the guards in the control room can then safely and accurately assess the incident and decide whether further action is needed or not.

  1. Totally trustworthy

As a First Responder, JACK must not only be fast, but precise, and entirely secure and trustworthy, which explains why JACK:

  • Comprises only high-quality components that are traceable down to the last nut and bolt
  • Offers a range of advanced specifications which are based on partnerships with organizations that work with the European Security and Defense sector in Europe and many of which are often already audited according to NATO criteria
  1. Robot as a Service

Organizations look for results, first and foremost, and they prefer to avoid CAPEX investments in complex security equipment. Therefore, Cudicio has chosen to make JACK available only in RaaS (Robot as a Service) mode. His security robot comes with its own comprehensive ecosystem, which interconnects with partner or client surveillance infrastructure for optimal efficiency and minimal operating costs.

In Europe in general and in France in particular, the security of critical infrastructures, whether they belong to public or private organizations, is under strict State surveillance and governance. This sets extremely high standards, but also creates opportunities for security solutions like JACK, which are tailored to protect and oversee sites that ensure vital operations.

“My team and I take great pride in seeing JACK take another step in achieving a vision based on the creation of an autonomous security robot entirely made in France with high-end components that are reliable and sustainable, and come almost exclusively from France or NATO countries,” said Renato Cudicio. “Not only is this a guarantee of reliability, but it also positions JACK on the market as an innovative technological solution to secure critical infrastructures.”

JACK’s official launch took place in the presence of officials, partners, speakers, and representatives of the media and the industry at thecamp, in Aix-en-Provence, a “digital campus that propels Provence into the future.” The event featured a live demonstration of the robot’s capabilities.

“Invest in Provence” Label

Mrs. Sophie Joissains, Deputy City Councilor for the City of Aix-en-Provence and Senator of the Bouches-du-Rhône district and Mr. Jean Luc Chauvin, President of the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Provence Promotion, were present, among others, for the official launch.

Mr. Chauvin presented TBC-France with the Invest in Provence Label, a testimonial of recognition that Provence Promotion gives to companies that choose to grow in the Aix-Marseille Provence or in the Pays d’Arles region. This investment decision is mainly based on the four reasons most often cited by entrepreneurs who move to Provence – growth, diversification, openness to the world and well-being.

Last March, JACK won the Think Outside the Box Award, which Security & Safety Meetings presents each year to a to highly innovative product.

“These awards–as well as a highly positive response from the industry–are clear indicators that we’re on the right track with JACK,” concluded Cudicio.

TBC-France specialises in the design, manufacturing and distribution of state-of-the-art robotic technologies for the security sector.

Source: TBC-France

NB-IOT SKYROCKETS WITH NEW COMMERCIAL CONTRACT IN NORWAY

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Telia Company has secured the largest narrowband IoT contract in Norway yet. The three-year agreement with waste disposal container tracking company StalkIT, covers 100,000 connected devices in Telia’s nationwide narrowband IoT network.

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a new communication technology that enables excellent coverage indoors, outdoors and in the ground. It is ideal for things that run on battery or only send data irregularly. NB-IoT is a cost-efficient way of connecting devices to existing mobile networks.

Telia Company recently inaugurated its nationwide NB-IoT network and has now closed the first commercial contract with waste disposal container tracking company StalkIT. It has developed a service that provides waste management operators with new and detailed knowledge regarding the location and status of their containers. The three-year contract enables StalkIT to connect 100,000 devices to Telia’s NB-IoT network.

“We are proud to have a wide-ranging agreement with an entrepreneurial company with great ambitions,” says Jon Christian Hillestad, Vice President Enterprise at Telia Norway. “It is very exciting to see our pilot project from this winter going commercial with the potential to expand beyond the Norwegian borders.”

“All our customers need to do now is to mount the tracking device on their containers and switch it on,” says Einar Aaland, Chief Product Officer at StalkIT. “Our tracking service will provide them with a complete overview of where the containers are and what status they have, and the investment will provide quick returns because processes can be automated and waste can be reduced.”

Source: Telia

Vodafone to launch MediaCityUK hub to foster 5G innovation

 

Media City

Vodafone is launching a new Innovation Hub at The Landing (shown above) in MediaCityUK, Salford.

The Landing already offers workspace for companies and has developed a reputation for fostering high-tech and digital businesses. Vodafone’s new hub will give entrepreneurs and start-ups access to the latest tech resources, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), high-speed fibre and more.

Gigabit cities

Vodafone says it is opening the Innovation Hub as part of its commitment to Greater Manchester as one of the UK’s seven ‘gigabit cities’.

Last year, Vodafone struck a deal along with wholesale fibre network infrastructure provider City Fibre to deliver superfast Gigabit broadband to 12 cities in the UK by 2025, benefiting up to five million UK homes and businesses. Under the agreement, Vodafone has a period of exclusive rights to market ultra-fast broadband services on City Fibre’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

The seven cities announced so far are:  Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Vodafone says it plans to roll out Innovation Hubs in other cities too.

Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, called MediaCityUK “an emerging smart city”. He said Vodafone’s input would set Salford up as an example of what new networks and interconnectivity can deliver for a city and its citizens. He highlighted potential in areas including transport, energy and health.

Related: What is Gigabit LTE?

A living lab

The Innovation Hub will offer the opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop, test and commercialise their products.

Jon Corner, Chief Digital Officer for City of Salford and CEO at The Landing, said the Innovation Hub will turn the venue into a ‘living lab’. He said it will help to demonstrate that 5G is about more than just new handsets and faster speeds, noting that it will also have an impact on how networks are organised, and the way we share data and consume content.

Further, Corner said, 5G will enable businesses – such as the ones based at The Landing – to use immersive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to create completely new applications that change the way we interact on a day-to-day basis.

Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, commented: “I am delighted that Vodafone, in collaboration with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and MediaCityUK, will open the Digital Innovation Hub located in the heart of this connected city. The hub at The Landing will give UK businesses, start-ups and tech innovators access to 5G, IoT, high-speed fibre and our best technical resources and we plan to roll out these innovation hubs throughout UK cities.”

Source: Sarah Wray-5g.co.uk

 

Vodafone and 5G deveopment in the UK

Vodafone 5G in the UK

Vodafone 5g coverage

Updated 18th September 2018

Vodafone has amassed a decent amount of spectrum, won big at the recent 5G spectrum auction and is already carrying out various 5G trials, including some UK firsts.

It’s got big plans too, with seven UK cities set to get 5G trial networks imminently and an ambitious goal to bring 1 gigabyte per second speeds to its customers at home, work and everywhere in between.

Vodafone is in no rush though, having revealed that it probably won’t launch a 5G network before 2020 and probably won’t have widespread coverage until years after that. But doing things right is surely better than doing them fast, and its roll out timing and speed should still be roughly in line with most rivals.

Here’s everything you need to know about Vodafone 5G in the UK, including its launch plans, its spectrum holdings and what it’s currently working on.

Network and launch plans

Network

Vodafone has a large 4G network, with over 98% of the UK population covered at last count, which could help with 5G as well, because initially networks will likely use a mix of 5G and 4G technology.

This widespread coverage also shows that Vodafone has a strong commitment to upgrading and expanding its network, which will likely continue into 5G.

It’s also focused on speed, as Vodafone also has a 4G LTE Advanced network in some locations, which can be seen as a stepping stone between standard 4G and 5G.

With all that in mind it seems likely that Vodafone would make a big push into 5G, potentially seeing it catapult ahead of rival networks and develop new technologies faster.

Spectrum holdings

Vodafone came out of Ofcom’s recent 5G spectrum auction with 50MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum, which it paid £378,240,000 for and specifically acquired the 3410MHz – 3460MHz part of the band.

That’s more than any other rival acquired, as EE and O2 each got 40MHz while Three won just 20MHz. That could put Vodafone in a strong early 5G position, as 3.4GHz spectrum should be ideal for the upcoming technology, though notably Three already had some before the auction.

Vodafone also has 176MHz of immediately useable spectrum in other bands. This is less suited to 5G and Vodafone has less of it than EE, but it still has a reasonable amount.

Immediately useable spectrum 3.4GHz held 3.4GHz allocation Total spectrum held
176MHz 50MHz 3410-3460Mhz 226MHz
Note: ‘Immediately useable spectrum’ refers to spectrum in various bands that can be used now for 4G, 3G and 2G. Vodafone holds spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1.4GHz, 1.8GHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Note also that Vodafone should have plenty of opportunities to acquire more spectrum, as Ofcom is set to auction off some in the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz range and the 700MHz band at some point, and is also planning to look into other frequency bands that might have auctionable spectrum suited to 5G.

Launch plans

Vodafone plans to start offering 5G services in early 2020, which could see it launch slightly behind EE and BT, but probably around the same time as Three and O2.

This slightly later launch may also mean Vodafone is less dependent on existing technology from day one – a situation which O2 claims will lead pre-2020 5G networks to be ‘5G lite’.

Vodafone has additionally said that it sees its 5G roll out as following a similar timeline to 4G, which is to say it will be gradual, with 50% of UK devices getting a 5G connection by the mid-2020’s.

We don’t know which places will get Vodafone 5G first, but London is sure to be among them, as it’s the biggest UK city and as that’s where Vodafone’s 4G network started.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester may also be first in line, given that the network has announced trials in those cities (more on that below).

Current trial and development activities

5G trials

Vodafone has carried out the UK’s first trial of 3.4GHz spectrum for 5G use. The network also tested Massive MIMO in the process.

Perhaps even more excitingly, it’s announced 5G trials in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, which are set to kick off between October and December 2018.

This is apparently the most comprehensive 5G trial in the UK to date and will be used to test virtual and augmented reality in factories, hospitals and offices.

Vodafone is additionally set to carry out 5G New Radio field trial collaborations with Nokia and Qualcomm.

And Vodafone’s focus on speed has already hit a major milestone, as in partnership with Huawei it’s achieved 20Gbps speeds in a 5G field test.

Vodafone has also become the first mobile operator to complete a standalone pre-standard 5G test, and along with other companies has approved the first 5G standard.

These trials and Vodafone’s 5G plans in general are part of a ‘Gigabit UK’ plan the network has, which would see customers able to access speeds of 1Gbps or more wherever they are, using a combination of 5G and fast fixed broadband.

Other development activities

Vodafone seems primarily focused on speed and Internet of Things (IoT) applications with 5G, but it’s starting with the basics, and has partnered with Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Intel to both research 5G and prepare its network for the technology transition.

Vodafone has already started working towards a 5G network, including building some Massive MIMO sites in the UK. Massive MIMO base stations use 64 transmit and 64 receive streams, rather than the two elements used by current antennas. It’s a foundational 5G technology which will allow more data to be transferred as well as improving coverage, and Vodafone claims to be the first European network to deploy it.

And when it comes to the Internet of Things, Vodafone isn’t even waiting for 5G to expand its capabilities, as it plans to add Narrowband-IoT support to its existing network to bring 5G-like benefits ahead of time, by improving indoor coverage and supporting a high number of low-power devices within close proximity.

It’s already carried out a Narrowband-IoT test on a live commercial network, so we may see the fruits of its labour soon, but we’d expect even better IoT services from Vodafone once 5G does arrive.

Source: 5g.co.uk

5G used to send data to a self-driving vehicle at record speeds

Warwick 5G

One thing that 5G could make a lot more viable is self-driving and connected cars, as a new trial has shown, because researchers in the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick have just set a 5G communications speed record to a ‘Level 4’ low speed autonomous vehicle.

The trial used the 28GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) band to send data at speeds of up to 2.867 gigabits per second, which is almost 40 times faster than you’d get with fixed line broadband.

To put that into perspective, the researchers note that this is the equivalent of transferring an entire HD film in under 10 seconds, or a detailed sat nav map of the UK in just 1 second.

Useful and potentially life-saving

Being able to send data this fast is important, as it will allow vehicles to share data both with traffic management systems and with each other near instantly, which could help with a number of things from optimising the routes they take to avoid congestion, to potentially life-saving things.

Because, after all, autonomous vehicles will have their passengers’ lives in their hands, so they’ll need to know and be able to respond to situations on the road as fast as possible.

Examples of the information that could be transferred in this way include traffic information, high definition video images of the surroundings, and precise 3D road maps.

However, the ability to send and receive data at such high speeds could also transform in-car entertainment systems, since films would instantly be available.

Not the only test

The test was carried out using WMG’s 5G mmWave test facility, which is said to be one of the most advanced in Europe, and it’s part of an ongoing series of tests using mmWave spectrum with connected vehicles.

But this is just one of a number of recent trials involving autonomous vehicles. FiveAI is currently working towards a driverless car service in London for example, and moving away from cars, another recent trial has been exploring the potential of autonomous drones.

Source: James Rogerson- 5g.co.uk.

 

  • Company to provide standards-based push-to-talk broadband solution for ESN
  • Airwave public safety network to be extended through 2022

Motorola Solutions  and the UK Home Office have reached an agreement on terms for the new direction of the UK Emergency Services Network (ESN) as well as an agreement on terms to extend the Airwave nationwide digital radio network.

The ESN agreement supports the phased deployment of the ESN program, ensuring that public safety organizations will benefit from the new network’s capabilities as soon as possible. Public safety organizations across the United Kingdom will be able to roll out the capabilities of ESN at their desired pace while maintaining the Airwave network service to ensure uninterrupted service.

As part of its delivery of ESN User Services, Motorola Solutions will implement a 3GPP standards-based push-to-talk (PTT) software solution. This global platform uses technology from Kodiak Networks, which was acquired by Motorola Solutions in 2017. To allow for the new phased deployment strategy, the Motorola Solutions ESN agreement will be extended by 30 months through the end of 2024.

The Airwave agreement, which is expected to be completed later in the year, will extend the network on substantially similar terms for three additional years to Dec. 31, 2022, with the option to be further extended. The company will also upgrade this critical public safety network to ensure the requirements of public safety users continue to be met.

“We are proud to support the Home Office on its new delivery approach for ESN while at the same time ensuring public safety users have the Airwave communications network they need,” said Kelly Mark, executive vice president, services and software at Motorola Solutions. “We have been working closely with the Home Office to ensure that our services are aligned with this new phased deployment and timeline for ESN.”

Source: Motorola

Vodafone made a holographic 5G call and accelerated its launch plans

Vodafone made a holographic 5G call and accelerated its launch plans

Vodafone 5G

Vodafone has just completed the UK’s first live holographic call over 5G, with England and Manchester City Women’s Football Captain, Steph Houghton MBE being projected as a hologram from Manchester to Newbury.

During the call she gave footballing tips to 11-year-old Manchester City and Lionesses fan, Iris, emphasising in the process the potential for holographic calls to be used for remote coaching and training, as unlike just a phone call or even a video call, it’s almost like the person is actually there.

There are all sorts of useful things this technology could be used for, such as essentially placing all participants of a conference call in the same room, letting fans get closer to their idols – whether sports stars, musicians, actors or anything else, or just making calls a lot more personal and more like a face to face conversation. It’s one of many new technologies that the high speed and low latency of 5G could power.

Vodafone 5G

Of course, there’s other tech involved in holograms than just 5G, and as Richard Foggie of the Knowledge Transfer Network explained to the BBC, headgear or an enclosed ‘cave’ is required to view holograms currently, limiting their viability, but he predicts that five years from now that hurdle will have been overcome. By which point 5G should be widely available.

Coming sooner than you might think

In fact, you shouldn’t have to wait long at all to start getting 5G from Vodafone, as the network has also announced that it will bring 5G to Cornwall and the Lake District during 2019, with 1,000 5G sites set to be active by 2020.

That’s notable for two reasons. Firstly, Vodafone had previously said not to expect 5G from the network before 2020, so it seems as though it has accelerated its launch, putting it more in line with EE and BT.

Secondly, it sounds like the network will be putting a lot of focus on rural areas in the early days, which is surprising, but potentially a good thing, as there has been concern that rural places could initially get left behind, leaving a greater digital divide between them and cities than there is now. It seems Vodafone doesn’t want to let that happen.

Source: James Rogerson 5G