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Comms Express - Networking Specialists
Networking News
Ambitious plans to build smart cities in Britain using 5G technology will be thwarted by obsolete planning laws unless the government takes steps to replace them, according to a  senior telecoms executive.The outgoing head of O2 Ronan Dunne, who is leaving to head up US firm Verizon Wireless after a decade in his current post, told the Financial Times using "old industrial policy" would not help Britain succeed in the future.Accusing the government of using "analogue policy", he said: "The first ten years of television was radio in front of the camera. That’s exactly where we are in this digital revolution."People are adapting the technology to do what they’ve always done. The real opportunity is from ground up to re-envisage what the experience should be, what the process should be - that will be the step change."A more innovative and successful way of moving forward would be to copy the likes of Google, which is spreading broadband using wireless technology, rather than fibre optics, he contended.Mr Dunne said the new Digital Economy Bill was an example of inadequate legislation, as it does speed up planning applications for phone masts, but still falls short of the "radical overhaul" of planning laws that would allow the installation of up to 500,000 new small masts in a city the size of London to properly establish 5G communications and smart city technology.He concluded by warning that while Britain plays catch-up, other countries like the US will be much more clued up about the right sort of technology to use to prepare for the future.Mr Dunne is not the only senior official at O2 to express concerns that Britain will be left behind when it comes to 5G.Chief technology officer at the company Brendan O'Reilly told Computer Weekly last month that the UK's mobile infrastructure needs to be overhauled if it is to have the capacity to cope with the scheduled arrival of 5G in 2019, not least if the current rate of increase in data usage continues.  Image: iStockphoto/ipopba
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Last Updated: 2016-09-20 17:36:31
Tales from the 'Comms Blog'
So the race to bring driverless cars to the mass market is hotting up. But it begs the question would you drive one? In fact do you call it driving or riding or being a passenger? From a technological standpoint they certainly excite us here at Comms. We love driving but this futuristic concept would have seemed at home in some farfetched science-fiction film from three decades ago. So to think that they could become a reality is staggering. However in May a driver of an electric Tesla car was been killed in a road accident. We fully expected that this tragic incident would derail any form of progress. However the latest car manufacturers to throw its hat in the self-driving ring are the Ford Motor Company. The CEO of Fords, Mark Fields had this to say, “We’re rethinking our entire business model. It’s no longer about how many vehicles we can sell; it’s about what services we can provide. We understand that the world has changed from a mindset of owning vehicles to one of owning and sharing them.” This comes on the back of Ford launching Ford Smart Mobility (FSM), a subsidiary to develop in-car connectivity, ride-sharing and autonomous technologies. FSM is designed to compete like a startup, with the aim of translating Ford’s decade of work in autonomous systems into real products. Fields foresees a world transformed by driverless cars, Uber and climate change. “You could argue that in major cities, vehicle density will drop because of automated vehicles and congestion charges. Some cities might even outlaw personal use of vehicles.” One of Ford’s strategies to cope with this is to accelerate its efforts towards a fully autonomous car. Fields now says Ford will have a completely self-driving car, without a steering wheel, an accelerator or pedals, in production by 2021. It will initially be used only for robotic taxi services in restricted urban areas but should be available for consumers to purchase by the middle of the decade. Ford Fusions and the Lincoln MKZ are already being used for self-driving start-ups such as Faraday Future, Autonomous Stuff and Uber.  “It’s the absolute best vehicle right now for testing self-driving,” says Bobby Hambrick, CEO of Autonomous Stuff, a company developing retro-fit automated driving kits. “There are no other carmakers that are so open to work through third parties like us.” Fields also points to the multinational’s competencies in building and selling vehicles. “We’ve been working on autonomous vehicles for over 10 years,” he said. “And for 100 years, we’ve built high-volume product with quality and affordability.” Fields finished his keynote address by predicting that autonomous vehicles will have as big an impact on society as Henry Ford’s moving assembly line did a century ago. So it would appear that Ford is already very much in the game. Until next time...

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Last Updated: 2016-09-23 11:17:58
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