The 10 Best Ways to Boost Your Home Wifi

Wifi is one of the most important developments in the evolution of the internet—no one wants to be chained to a desktop—but it’s also one of the most frustrating. If you’re plagued by slow speeds, bad reception, and other wifi issues, here are 10 ways you can power up the wifi in your home.

How to Protest Safely and Legally

Hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you’re headed out in support or dissent, you should know what you’re getting into before you go. Even if you think the event is purely peaceful, someone else, another protest… Read more...

How IoT is making IBM’s Smart Planet smarter


Chris O’Conner, IBM’s General Manager for Internet of Things Offerings, has been involved with connected devices for almost 25 years. As a result, he has a unique view on the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), what it means for the future, and what we can learn from previous generations of technology.

We sat down with him as he prepared for IoT Slam to hear more and what he plans to talk about at the event.

ReadWrite: So as the General Manager for IoT, what does this mean for IBM?

Chris O’Conner: So for us at IBM it’s been a journey of experimenting with the IoT data, all these connected assets, And the early work that we did around Smart Planet. It proved that it was controlled, but the ability to do it in mass wasn’t quite there yet, and now we move to where we are

Chris O’Conner, IBM General Manager for Internet of Things Offerings
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Good robot design needs to be reponsible, not just responsive

Robots have become commonplace in many aspects of life including health care, military and security work. Yet until recently little thought has been given outside of academic circles to the ethics of robots. Silicon Valley Robotics recently launched a Good Robot Design Council — which has launched “5 Laws of Robotics” guidelines for roboticists and academics — on the ethical creation, marketing and use of robots in everyday life. The laws state:
  • Robots should not be designed as weapons.
  • Robots should comply with existing law, including privacy.
  • Robots are products; they should be safe, reliable and not misrepresent their capabilities.
  • Robots are manufactured artifacts; the illusion of emotions and agency should not be used to exploit vulnerable users.
  • It should be possible to find out who is responsible for any robot.

The laws have been adapted from the EPSRC 2010 “Principles of Robotics”. In Britain a few months ago

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IoT and LPWA: Perfect partners in a connected world

3D illustration.

Twenty years ago I was approached by a vending machine company that wanted to remotely monitor and record the temperature of their vending machine compartments to the nearest tenth of a degree. I understand that no one wants a warm soda, but the data the company wanted to record was more granular than necessary to solve their problem. The vending machine only needed to communicate whether it was above or below the recommended serving temperature of 38℉; measuring to the nearest tenth of a degree was overkill. We encoded the vending machine’s data in a much smaller size, which saved the vending machine company money on data rates while still giving the customer a cold soda.

I share this story to highlight a question decision makers for industrial, civic, and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) should be asking themselves: is it worth paying to collect and transmit data that is

Syed Zaeem Hosain, Chief Technology Officer, Aeris
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Where are all the women in tech? They’re in wearables

While we read about the gender gap in technology almost every day, it’s worth championing a sector that seems to have a strong showing of talented women in tech – the wearables industry. Women have an extensive history in the wearables field: There’s Leah Buechley, inventor of the Lily Pad Arduino; academics like Dr. Rosalind Picard, founder, and director of the Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab; Corinne Vigreux, founder, and COO, TomTom; and Ivy Ross, Vice President, Head of Design/User Experience for all Hardware Products at Google. Then, of course, there are a plethora of wearables companies headed by women including Vinaya, Wearable Experiments, ElektroCouture, Roar for Good and Bellabeat, to name but a few. Women in wearables include academics, entrepreneurs, female directors, designers, and engineers. They all  have been part of setting the wearables agenda and moving the technology
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When it comes to encryption, say no to status quo

Internet Security concept with lock and cloud symbol

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you didn’t have to lock the front door of your business when you went home at night? You’d never have to worry about losing your keys. Or, maybe the property owner could hang onto your keys for you. You would then rely on the building manager to unlock the door for you every morning and to lock up again when you leave.

Obviously, both scenarios are ridiculous and no business would seriously consider either. Yet if that’s true, why do so many businesses allow their IT organizations to operate from day to day without bothering to “lock up” and secure their digital assets, whether they’re housed on premises, or in the cloud?

See also: Dyn DDoS attack sheds light on the growing IoT problem

Make no mistake; the first scenario is exactly what’s happening when IT fails to deploy encryption to protect important

John Skinner, VP Business Development, HyTrust
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For real industrial internet insight: don’t just capture data, use it

Industrial Internet Research by McKinsey shows that IIoT will touch the 43% of global economy
Industrial operators already have mountains of data and its only getter bigger. A recent report by GE and Accenture found that for 80 to 90 percent of companies, Big Data analytics is among the top three priorities, and 76 percent expect their investment to increase over the next year. Data holds powerful answers for industries across the spectrum — from energy to health care to transportation and beyond — to increase productivity, improve the customer experience and open doors to new technologies and revenue streams. To get there, we need more than just data collection. Industry needs to be able to use data better and faster for smarter operating decisions, which is the promise of the Industrial Internet of Things. The pathway to this next stage of industrial productivity is through the individual machines from wind turbines to MRI machines to turbines, and more specifically through their control devices.

The Continue reading "For real industrial internet insight: don’t just capture data, use it"

What happens to transportation projects under President Trump?

Transportation has been vastly underfunded in the past two decades, according to most Democrats in the House and Senate. President Obama tried to raise taxes on oil imports and gas usage to fund transportation projects, but Congress has been a stone wall, refusing to raise taxes or spend more on infrastructure. You would think under Republican President-elect Donald Trump, things are about to get worse, but the billionaire businessman has advocated for more infrastructure spending throughout his campaign. See Also: Sustainability will be driving the smart city bus by 2020 In his announcement speech, Trump spoke about the need to spend more on our infrastructure: “We have to rebuild our infrastructure. Our bridges, our roadways, our airports.” Trump also lambasted Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plans, which included $500 billion in spending and loans, saying more is needed. It sounds like Trump is willing to spend hundreds of billions, if not Continue reading "What happens to transportation projects under President Trump?"

How IoT and citizen science can tackle urban disadvantage

The Centre for Urban Science and Progress at New York University has recently released the findings from a smart city pilot study. It’s the first in-depth analysis of a local New York Neighborhood intent on measuring the quantified community. They utilized IoT sensors to collect and analyze quality-of-life measurements at high spatial and temporal resolution in the neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Red Hook is an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. There is no subway service, only a few Internet hot spots and close to 70 percent of the population lives in New York City housing projects. Residents experience an asthma rate of more than 2.5 times that of the national average and more than a third live below the federal poverty line. The life expectancy of residents in Red Hook is 10 years lower than the national average. Red Hill was significantly affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy in
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Sustainability will be driving the smart city bus by 2020

Green city concept
A new study predicts that smart cities will be going green in a big way over the next five years, driven by international efforts to reduce carbon emissions. A new report from research firm Gartner predicted smart cities will move the sustainability file forward in line with the carbon reducing Paris COP21 deal. COP21 was signed on by 195 countries and seeks to substantially curb greenhouse emissions by cities. In light of this, Gartner expects that at least half of global smart cities will use climate change, sustainability and resilience as key performance indicators by 2020. “With the Horizon 2020 goals of energy efficiency, carbon emission reductions and renewable energy in mind, many cities in Europe have launched energy sustainability, resource management, social inclusion and community prosperity initiatives,” said Gartner research vice president Bettina Tratz-Ryan. This report comes as industry pundits are suggesting that smart cities are inheriting the environmental Continue reading "Sustainability will be driving the smart city bus by 2020"

How to use machine learning in today’s enterprise environment

use machine learning
One of the latest trends in the world of technology and engineering is “machine learning” — in fact, all of the big technology companies today have invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning projects. The term “machine learning” was first defined by Arthur Samuel, way back in 1959. He defined it as “the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed,” which basically means that a machine could learn from its own mistakes and reprogram itself to improve its performance over time. The idea gained popularity in the 90s when the concept of data mining came into existence. Data mining uses algorithms to look for patterns in a given set of information, which led to data-driven predictions and decision making. This encouraged engineers to develop complex machine learning algorithms by making use of data mining and predictive analytics.

Innovations that are driving business advantage

Today, machine learning algorithms are already being
Machine Learning use case across industries
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Lux Research asks: Just how valuable is that patent?

According to Lux Research, investors have invested $4.3 billion into the development of sensors over the past ten years.  However it’s the pattern of the 28,927 sensor patents that were given since 1975 that actually unveils the value and potential of these patents. Lux Research studied patent trends for five kinds of sensors.  These included physical, gas and chemical, environmental, vital signs and biometric ones.  These were studied across five value groups: automotive, food and agriculture, medical, consumer, and building and industrial, in order to pinpoint markets that were growing and markets that are already overly competitive. The studies show that sensor patents targeted at consumer electronics and medical device industries have the least entry barriers, whereas those patented for automotive, and building and industrial use have the biggest barriers. “While the physical sensor patent space is the most crowded, there are opportunities for component and Continue reading "Lux Research asks: Just how valuable is that patent?"

For this new smart city venture, small is beautiful

Annapolis, Maryland, USA downtown view over Main Street with the State House.
While corporate giants and big cities are adopting Internet of Things (IoT) technology at a fervent pace , a new venture seeks to help smaller businesses and towns take advantage of IoT’s vast potential too. Telecommunications consultancy B2 Group announced that it was launching Directed IoT. The focus of the new division is to aid the implementation of “last mile” IoT initiatives for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and mid-sized towns and cities. “In today’s market, many segments of the IoT ecosystem are under-served and we believe that the Directed IoT division can fill the gap in needed services and expertise,” said Bob Bilbruck, CEO of the Irvine, California-based B2 Group. The new venture aims to help modest-sized businesses and urban areas manage, operate and monetize IoT-based business models to get the most out of the new technology. B2 Group says its new division will help bring affordable IoT tech Continue reading "For this new smart city venture, small is beautiful"

U.S. backs research into smart shirts for emergency responders

The U.S. government is funding an Internet of Things (IoT) project that is developing sensor-based smart shirts for first responders. Fed Tech Magazine reports that the Department of Homeland Security is bankrolling research into wearables that can track the health of firefighters and other emergency crew in near real-time. See also: Canada’s health wearables coming in from the cold The initiative brings together two Canadian IoT startups as key proponents of the project, Hexoskin and SensorUp. Technology from almost 40 other IoT device makers is also involved in the system that allows first responder monitoring with just a one-second delay. The project will extend the current functionality of Hexoskin’s smart shirt that monitors the health of the wearer. This connected clothing is unique in that it uses sensors to track cardiac and respiration rates without requiring the user to wear equipment on the head or face. “SensorUp has developed Continue reading "U.S. backs research into smart shirts for emergency responders"

The Internet of Things? It’s not that connected yet

The Internet of Things (IoT) is great—if you want each of your devices to exist in its own connected-but-siloed world. What do I mean? Your Nest thermostat is undeniably smart when it comes to heating and cooling your home. And your Amazon Echo conveniently recites the weather report at the moment you need it. But what if you want your Amazon Echo to communicate with your Nest thermostat and let it know there’s a heat wave approaching on Tuesday? Tough luck…today. See also: Orchestration next big IoT hurdle, says Google The year of the Internet of Things has been discussed and predicted for years, and finally, devices are intelligent enough and the software and network capacity are large enough to handle it. Orchestration is the next big technology challenge. Right now, there are roadblocks standing in the way of our devices communicating not just with us, but with each other.
Chris Stone Headshot
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Canadians set to test this Astroskin smart shirt in space

Aqua satellite in space upon earth and rising sun, elements of this image furnished by NASA - 3D render
The Canadian Space Agency just signed a $2.4m deal with Carré Technologies to test a smart shirt that can be remotely monitored via several sensors from extremely far distances. The shirt is designed to keep track of the wearer’s health and will be worn by Canadian astronaut, David Saint-Jacques, during a six-month space mission aboard the International Space Station,  that is set for 2018-2019. See Also: Phillips launches ecosystem of connected health wearables The smart shirt, named Astroskin, gathers health data on activity levels, vital signs, including blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, heart rate and electrical activity, along with rate of breathing and sleep quality. Co-founder and chief executive of Carré Technologies, Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, explains, “Deploying our wearable sensors and software to the ISS is significant as this represents the ultimate remote patient monitoring scenario. The findings tracking the health of astronauts will be used to make our healthcare Continue reading "Canadians set to test this Astroskin smart shirt in space"

New smart jacket promises to get you past velvet rope lines

Velvet ropes and bouncers wielding clipboards adorned with lists that only the elite of the elite are privileged enough to be on are common associations with high-brow nightlife. This is especially true in major metropolitan cities like New York. Skipping the line is a privilege held by the few, but there is a new jacket being made that promises to give its wearer almost-magical access to these exclusive events. The Rochambeau Bright BMBR smart jacket is not only a fashion-forward jacket, but a skeleton key to exclusive events that are hard to get into for all but the most well-connected. The jacket itself is adorned with digital tags that enable you access to exclusive events including a personal tour at New Release gallery, tasting menu for two at Toro, and line-skipping access to some of New York’s most exclusive nightclubs. Only 15 of these jackets are expected to be produced Continue reading "New smart jacket promises to get you past velvet rope lines"

Is cybersecurity for smart cities being dangerously underestimated?

Computer hacker silhouette of hooded man with binary data and network security terms
As governments around the globe barrel headlong into the smart city wave, cybersecurity experts are raising the alarm about the proliferation of unsecured technology.  This is from a recent Trustwave study that surveyed 203 information security experts working with local and state governments in the U.S. See also: Dyn DDoS attack shows the weaknesses on the new IoT world In the survey 23% of respondents said that cities didn’t properly understand the cyber risks of smart city technology. Nearly one third of experts said cities were failing to allocate the appropriate budgetary support to properly secure smart city tech. The same number of those surveyed said that political wrangling led to interference with local decision-making over security relating to smart city initiatives. In other areas 27% of those surveyed identified publicly run WiFi networks as the area most at risk to hackers, followed by 19% who saw smart grids as most Continue reading "Is cybersecurity for smart cities being dangerously underestimated?"