Tag Archives: communications

Japanese Ministry leads Connected Car Cybersecurity initiative



Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has drawn up guidelines in a bid to defend against the hacking of an envisaged next-generation driving support system that is expected to help accelerate the development of autonomous driving cars.

The ministry is concerned about the possibility that a cyberattack on the system might lead to traffic accidents.

The ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) Connect Promotion Consortium, which is developing the system with the government, plans to establish specifications on the technology to prevent such cyberattacks in autumn this year, sources familiar with the matter said. The consortium is made up of automakers and electronics-makers.

The system is aimed at helping ensure safe driving by distributing information on nearby automobiles and pedestrians, traffic signals and other relevant matters collected through radio communications to moving vehicles. The vehicles will alert the drivers to possible dangers.

The consortium will consider encrypting such information by using special technologies to prevent it from being altered, the sources said.

The next-generation driving support system is also expected to improve automatic emergency braking technologies for preventing collisions.

Autonomous driving uses such equipment as an on-vehicle camera and sensor that collect information on the surrounding environment, with related technologies being developed by automakers and electronics-makers.

The planned next-generation driving support system is being touted as a way to strengthen the safety of autonomous driving by providing information on blind spots, the sources said.

Toyota Motor Corp. is considering introducing equipment compatible with the system in a planned fully remodeled version of its Prius hybrid vehicle and other vehicle models.

Source: Japan Times/Telematics Info

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Tour de France stays connected with satellite phones

The phones will maintain communication in areas where mobile phone signals don’t exist.

The leading riders pass over the bridge in West Tanfield, Yorkshire, in the 2014 Tour de France.

Image source: The Guardian

Tour de France organisers have selected Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phones for their communications across the UK leg of the world’s most prestigious bicycle road race.

The organising committee will be using 100 of Globalstar Europe Satellite Services’ flagship phones to provide clear and reliable communications across the UK Stage 3 leg of the race – a new part of the Tour introduced for 2014. The phones will be used by members of the organising team, as well as by support and emergency crew.

Taking place from July 5 to July 27, the 101st Tour de France consists of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,664km. For the first time, the race begins in Yorkshire in the UK, with Stage 1 travelling from Leeds to Harrogate, for a 20th Grand Départ abroad. The race then heads south with London rounding off Stage 3 on July 7. The Tour de France will also go through Belgium and Spain.

Tour de France organisers said Globalstar’s satellite phones were selected for their ability to deliver clear reliable voice and data communications, including in regions where mobile reach is limited or non-existent.

Gavan Murphy, director of marketing at Globalstar Europe, said: “The Tour de France has to run its operations like clockwork and reliable communications in any location is critical. This is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we are delighted that our state-of-the-art satellite network and handsets are helping the organisers stay connected.”

Globalstar’s GSP-1700 satellite phone is marketed as a small lightweight consumer-friendly handset offering the ‘fastest handheld data speeds’ available in the satcoms space and delivering the ‘best voice quality’ in the market. Users of Globalstar solutions are said to benefit from the world’s only second generation satellite network in orbit, offering latency-free crystal clear call quality.


How safe is M2M and The Internet of Things?

Image source: ITU

In a new era of M2M communications development, there are approximately three billion devices connected to the internet and there are expected to be around 26 billion devices connect by 2020.

Almost anything and everything will have the ability to connect remotely to the internet, from heart monitors to trees in the Amazon.

The development of connectivity allows the bidirectional flow of information which enables people or machines to make real-time informed decisions without the problems of inaccuracy and time delay.  Although, many are questioning how secure are these connections? And are they susceptible to hacking or malicious intent?

It is still early days in the development of M2M communication but it is already proving to have numerous benefits, particularly for businesses. Some of the benefits include:

  • Accurate information
  • Instant access to information which allows quick business decisions
  • Asset tracking
  • Systems can be maintained and repaired remotely
  • Minimises the need for routine maintenance checks
  • Allows businesses to go beyond the initial point of purchase with their customers

Dale Taylor, solutions architect for Vodafone Global Enterprise, believes the benefits of the Internet of Things are already being felt. He said, “All this massive amount of information is actually becoming useful. It’s not that it’s not available- it’s about joining it all together”. He outlines specific examples of how it is developing our communication and benefiting people by referencing the European eCall initiative (where road vehicles notify the emergency services instantly when an accident occurs), telemedicine, security systems and smart meters. He believes M2M services are only just starting to show their potential.

However, the issue of security when it comes to M2M and the IoT is an important but complex topic. Identity controls can help to significantly reduce the danger of security threats making their way onto the network by ensuring communications are only issued from a classified device.

Antivirus software has always been the first port of call, although in terms of the IoT and the scale of the network this may not be a sufficient form of protection against virus’ and hackers. As human to human networking was once governed, machine 2 machine should technically be the same. At network level, protection and policies must be put in place, ensuring that M2M have only one single authorization port.

It is an exciting time for the M2M industry and there is no doubt that future developments hold the potential to completely reshape the way we work, live and interact. However, it is imperative that security is at the forefront of future IoT developments.

Cellular technology crucial to powering smart meter roll-outs and connected homes

A new report commissioned by Telefónica Digital determines that cellular, supplemented with small-scale RF mesh networking, is the best option for connecting smart meters

The global and open nature of cellular smart meter systems creates opportunities to  build connected, innovative home services on top of the platform

Cellular technologies, and not closed-off proprietary solutions, are the best solution for connecting smart meter systems across the world according to a new report from the Centre for Communication Systems Research at the University of Surrey.


The report is available to download here.


The report shows that a combination of cellular and mesh represents the ideal communications technology for smart meter deployments. Cellular is a proven, open, standards-based technology that is ready to support the needs of smart meters without requiring additional infrastructure.


Cellular future-proofs the smart home

The new research paper found that cellular technology will future proof smart meters – the cornerstone and the communications hub of the connected home – enabling smart grid, smart home and e-health revolutions, all currently in their infancy. The university report, commissioned by Telefónica Digital, found that the clear roadmap and continued development of cellular will support the smart meter as the technology continues to evolve to focus on high-speed capabilities, rich data services and an expansive coverage footprint.


The connected home market will reach $101bn (Visiongain) by the end of 2013 offering enormous economic opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs building connected services. The open, global standards-based nature of cellular technologies means services and products can be easily built on top of smart meter systems and rolled out globally with new smart meter deployments. Whereas proprietary systems limit innovation as smart home products cannot be rolled out effectively worldwide because they have to be re-engineered to support different systems and standards.


Smart meter connectivity

The Surrey University research found that cellular provides the best breadth of coverage and commercial viability to connecting smart meters. Cellular coverage is well-established and extends to the majority of the habited world. For the remaining population, the report recommends mesh technology supplements cellular, providing coverage in more remote areas and hard to reach spaces.


The report also outlines the following benefits of cellular technologies in rolling-out smart meter systems:


  • Global standard – cellular technology has high scalability with more than five billion connections worldwide and is based on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) meaning global inter-operability
  • Affordable cost – the connectivity cost is decreasing continuously and the cellular solution is commercially cost effective through global economies of scale
  • Real-time communications – average latency in the milliseconds
  • Trusted technology – the mobile cellular business has a deep understanding of security, information privacy, quality of service and overall experience. Cellular technology is trusted by government and finance sectors
  • Customer experience – cellular operators have rich heritage in understanding  customers’ needs and  bring more than 27 years of experience dealing with people and businesses


UK Government backing

Cellular was recently validated further when the UK Government selected the technology solution to deliver the majority of its smart meter roll-out across the country. Telefónica UK was awarded two out of the three communications service provider lots within the overall UK Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) tender. The initiative is the world’s most ambitious smart meter roll-out which will see over 53m gas and electricity smart meters installed across the UK by 2020.


Smart meters are key for managing energy systems more efficiently in the future and providing new information and services to consumers which reduce costs and carbon emissions. The £11bn UK smart meter programme is expected to deliver a net benefit to the UK of £6.7bn through reduced energy consumption and more efficient management and deployment of energy across the country. It is estimated that a smart meter enabled industry could save 2bn tonnes of Co2 a year in 2020 (source: Smart 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information Age).


About the research

The research was undertaken by Professor Rahim Tafazolli. He  is  the  Director  of  the  Centre  for  Communications  Systems  Research  (CCSR)  and  5G Innovation  Centre  (5GIC),  Faculty  of  Engineering  and  Physical  Sciences,  The  University  of Surrey in the UK.


He has published more than 500 research papers in refereed journals, international conferences and as invited speaker.  He is the editor of two books on “Technologies for Wireless Future” published by Wiley’s Vol.1in 2004 and Vol.2 2006. He is currently chairman of EU Net!Works Technology Platform Expert Group, board member of the UK Future Internet Strategy Group (UK-FISG).


He was the lead academic on IoT UK Strategic Research, Development and Innovation Agenda, a study jointly sponsored by TSB and RCUK (EPSRC, AHRC and ESRC).


Recently, with his team, he actively contributed to the Machine Type Communication to 3GPP RAN1 Technical Report (TR36.888).


He was appointed as Fellow of WWRF (Wireless World Research Forum) in April 2011, in recognition  of  his  personal  contribution  to  the  wireless  world.

Source: Telefonica


Arqiva signs £625 million contract to provide smart metering communications service

Arqiva has signed the contract to provide the communications service for smart meters in Scotland and northern England.

• Smart metering communications network will support the mass rollout of smart meters and become part of Britain’s critical national infrastructure

• Proven technology will enable Government timetable and benefits to be achieved

Arqiva, the prime contractor, will invest in a new smart communications network and associated equipment. This will provide a private, secure and resilient communications service to support the mass rollout of smart meters from the end of 2015. Sensus will provide the smart metering communications technology for the new network. EDMI will deliver the communications hubs that will be needed to connect smart meters and In-Home Displays (IHDs) in each home.

The Government estimates smart metering will deliver around £7 billion in benefits to homes and businesses nationwide, and is an integral part of Britain’s digital and energy-efficient future. Communications technology plays a crucial role – smart meters depend on the two way communication of data so that consumers can benefit from more accurate billing as well as real-time information to put them in control of managing and saving energy.

John Cresswell, CEO, Arqiva, commented:

“Following the news a few weeks ago on preferred bidders, Arqiva is immensely proud to have won the tender to provide the smart metering communications service in Scotland and northern England. This reflects the strength of our proven solution and our exceptional track record in delivering and running critical national infrastructure. Smart meters are vital in empowering consumers to save energy and this is the first step in delivering an energy secure Britain.”

Arqiva’s solution, through successful UK trials, has demonstrated its suitability for deployment in rural and urban areas throughout Great Britain. The solution is based on Sensus technology that has been successfully deployed internationally in more than 16 million smart meters and devices. It is capable of supporting the evolution of smart services more broadly, and through trials has already proved to be an efficient means of building a smart utility network.

Sensus Chairman Lou D’Ambrosio commented:

“As a proud partner in the delivery of this communications service, Sensus is delighted to serve Great Britain with clean technology that will conserve resources, reduce energy costs and lower CO2 emissions. Sensus technology is flexible and interoperable and provides financial and societal benefits for utilities and consumers in Great Britain and beyond.”

Source: Arqiva

Rohill announces pilot installation of LTEtraNode system

Rohill, specialized in the development, production and sales of professional mobile communication infrastructures today announced two pilot installations of its LTEtraNode system (a LTE/TETRA solution). To demonstrate their innovative communications solutions to international users Rohill has teamed up with two telecommunication operator companies. The pilots will be based upon public LTE to be integrated with TETRA networks and serve the mutual needs of mission critical and broadband of the blue light user groups. One pilot will be hosted in Europe where the other one will be located outside. Further details will be communicated in separate announcements.

As one of the leading providers of critical communication Rohill has successfully integrated TETRA with LTE from Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent and is working on integration with two further LTE platform suppliers. Besides integration with public LTE, Rohill is also working on private LTE solutions subject to availability of frequency spectrum and commits itself to support all leading LTE equipment providers.

“After the Critical Communication World exhibition in Paris this year we have received a very positive feedback and many inquiries for our innovative LTEtraNode solution. Rohill has been leading this industry and two years ago on Budapest Critical Communication World we have introduced LTE integration and have maintained our technology leading position in the mission critical wireless industry since then. Rohill sees heterogeneous network solutions as the future for country wide mission critical communication networks. For this Rohill fully supports open network and modern IP switching technology on carrier grade platforms. The strong advantage for the user is an integrated solution for voice and data according the TETRA feature set with support of broadband data applications. We are excited to make the next step now and work on two pilot installations in 2013 to integrate our solutions with private and public operator-based LTE networks” says Bert Bouwers, CTO of Rohill.

The LTE/TETRA solution enables the mission critical end user to access the same data capacity and capabilities that already have been successfully introduced for public networks. This together with equipment that meets the mission critical requirements in relation to the availability, reliability and encryption makes it an interesting solution for customers. The LTEtraNode solution and future developments will not only aim for the public safety market but for the whole enterprise market like transportation, utilities, oil & gas and industry.

TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) communication standard is widely used and deployed for mission and business critical voice communications. TETRA provides significant advantages compared to other radio systems, such as the voice quality, the communication features (trunking, priority/preemption, encryption, recording, etc.) and its interoperability capabilities. Private Mobile Radio (PMR) network users increasingly would like to utilize critical communications-specific broadband applications to improve quality of response and to improve efficiency.

LTE (Long Term Evolution), also known as 4G offers much higher uplink and downlink data rates lower latency (allowing a call setup time which is better than what can be achieved by the TETRA standard) and high-speed mobility compared to other access technologies. These features make the technology suitable for building the next-generation mission critical communications networks and applications. The networks are capable of delivering high-bandwidth and demanding applications such as video-based situational awareness, monitoring and interventional applications.

Source: Rohill


TCCA Joins 3GPP For Critical Work

LTE is set to offer increased interoperability between critical communications systems and ubiquitous networks based on 3GPP specifications, without compromising on the highest standards necessary for the secure operation of mission critical voice and data services.

Several new features are being worked on in 3GPP, which has led to a high degree of participation from public safety groups and now sees the TETRA and Critical Communications Association (TCCA) being approved as the latest Market Representation Partner in 3GPP.

At the detailed level, the TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group will work closely with 3GPP, on Spectrum, Architecture, User requirements and on strategic case studies.

The TCCA has set out a plan for its members service evolution, for data and voice for LTE, with four sequential steps identified:

  1. Upgrade existing Mission Critical V+D services until LTE readiness & maturity
  2. Uptake of Non Mission Critical data with commercial LTE
  3. Build Mission Critical Data LTE networks
  4. Migrate Mission Critical Voice

In his proposal to 3GPP, Phil Kidner, the TCCA Chief Executive promised that “The Association will bring a European and global input to 3GPP for critical communications”.

The formal signing of the 3GPP Partnership Agreement will take place at the next meeting of the Partners, in Fukuoka, Japan on the 30th October.

Source: 3GPP

Telefónica set to enable UK smart meter services

Telefónica set to enable UK smart meter services



Telefónica UK selected as preferred communications service provider for Central and Southern regions in UK Smart Meter Implementation Programme
  • Contract value is £1.5bn over 15 years
  • Subject to contracts being agreed

Telefónica UK, which operates using the O2 brand, has announced that it has been selected as the preferred communications service provider for two out of three lots in the UK’s smart meter tender. The Smart Meter Implementation Programme is a major national infrastructure project that will involve the roll out of 53m gas and electricity meters across the UK by 2020, helping consumers to better understand and control their energy usage.

The deal to provide the communications services across the Central and Southern regions is worth £1.5bn over 15 years and is subject to contracts being agreed.

Commenting on the news, David Plumb, Digital & New Business Director of Telefónica UK, said: “Telefónica is extremely proud to have been selected by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as a preferred bidder for the UK Smart Meter Implementation Programme. It’s a huge endorsement of cellular as the right communications technology and of our vision for smart meters to be the foundation of a smarter energy future for the UK. The decision is subject to contracts and we are working with the DECC on next steps and will be making a further announcement in due course.”

Telefónica’s proposed communications solution is based on its cellular network in the UK which is ready to support the requirement of smart meters. This will be backed up by the use of mesh technology to connect meters in areas without cellular coverage.

A further announcement will be made once contracts are in place.

Source: Telefónica Digital Team

Faster broadband coming to planes, trains and ships as UK eyes spectrum changes

The UK is looking to open up spectrum currently used by satellite Earth stations for vehicle-mounted stations that could boost broadband capacity in aircraft, ships and trains.

The UK’s communications regulator Ofcom is hoping to spur innovation in mobile broadband services by making it easier for satellite operators to use ‘Earth stations on mobile platforms’ (ESOMPs) to deliver passenger broadband.

Ofcom has proposed (PDF) three frequency bands that operators could apply for to support mobile Earth stations mounted on aircraft, ships or other land-based vehicles.

While alternative technologies are already used to provide wi-fi on board in transport, the regulator believes the spectrum could be used to provide links with higher capacity and spur a new market for mobile communications.

Several satellite operators are planning to launch commercial satellite networks in 2013 and 2014 that support the use of mobile earth stations transmitting in the 27.5GHz to 30GHz range, according to Ofcom.

Ofcom also points out that recent advances in stabilised antenna technology make it possible for earth station antennas to track a satellite in orbit even when it’s mounted on a fast moving platform.

While there was a risk the mobile Earth stations could cause interference to other fixed site satellite networks, Ofcom considered that risk “very low”. With the appropriate controls, the mobile stations would cause no more interference than fixed-site earth stations, it said.

It also notes that the aircraft and ship-mounted Earth stations can already operate in international airspace and waters, but that parts of these frequency ranges are used by terrestrial radio systems in some countries. That’s why Ofcom was proposing frequency ranges that are already authorised for satellite Earth station applications, such as the permanent Earth stations and high density fixed-satellite services.

Key proposals Ofcom is seeking feedback on under a public consultation are:

  • Radio equipment for land-based ESOMPs should be exempted from the need to have a Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence
  • Radio equipment for aircraft and ship mounted ESOMPs should be licensed under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 rather than licence-exempt
  • Licensing of aircraft-mounted ESOMPs should be done through variation of the aircraft radio licence issued on Ofcom’s behalf by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with no additional fee
  • Licensing of ship-mounted ESOMPs should be done through variation of the ship radio licence with no additional fee.

The deadline for stakeholders to respond to the proposal is 10 October 2013 and Ofcom expects to release a statement on the consultation in December.

Source: Liam Tung ZDnet

Topics: Broadband, United Kingdom, Wi-Fi