What’s REALLY Next?

What is LiFi?

Where our current WiFi stems from radio waves, LiFi (light fidelity) transmits data through LED light bulbs.

With visible light, LiFi is able to transmit information at seriously high speeds. Using a photo-detector, light signals are received, and then converted into ‘streamable’ content. All of this is naked to the human eye.

To put it more simply, data is fed into an LED light bulb, which can then transmit it through its beam at rapid speeds into a photo-detector, providing you with Internet.

How is it done?

LED lightbulbs, or in this case our streetlights, can be potentially converted into a wireless router just by adding a small microchip.

It’s even more secure than WiFi, because light (therefore your connection) can’t permeate walls – meaning, potential hackers are unable to access your session.

The latest crop of smartphones are LiFi enabled, and can connect through the use of their camera sensors. Older models and non-LiFi enabled products will have to use a dongle until LiFi connectivity comes pre-equipped in devices.

The LiFi industry is estimated to be worth around Dhs 300 billion by 2021.

LiFi: What is it? An interesting and quick video explanation:

Sometimes it takes a few ‘false starts’ before new technology gains traction.  We were promised LiFi in Dubai in 2016!

“High-speed LiFi internet coming to Dubai’s streetlights this year.  Dubai is going to be the first city in the world to get it (and it will first be transmitted through the city’s streetlights).  Light Fidelity, or LiFi for short, has real world download speeds of multiple gigabytes per second.  Staying true to its ‘Smart City’ plan, Dubai is the first place where LiFi is being tested on a large scale…to roll out LiFi in Silicon Oasis by the end of 2016.  LiFi is also significantly cheaper than WiFi, but the pricing of LiFi in Dubai will be up to the service provider.”

Maybe 2018 will be the year…

Real, Universal Internet service

As an increasing number of customers look to digitally transform their businesses, a new model of computing is emerging. For the last 15 years, the IT industry has seen the rise of cloud computing, a highly centralized model for delivering IT services. But in an age where every type of device, from phones to cars to light bulbs to thermostats to heart monitors are alive and intelligent, there is a requirement for distributed, real time, processing of information.

But, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology need to work in concert with IoT infrastructure to deliver smarter, more predictive systems. This involves translating IoT into real-world applications. An example is driverless cars, whose adoption strategy has already been set by the Dubai government. Driverless cars will need to be connected to the city grid to move vehicles safely in the city. IoT, as it exists now, consists of disparate systems operating in silos.

Adoption of electric, driverless vehicles means much less maintenance and fewer mechanics, dramatic shortages of long-haul truck drivers becomes a non-issue for logistics (not as big a problem here). Traffic jams, parking tickets, accident rates even a need for a driver’s license become things of the past. Significant for this region is the projected outlook that there will be no oil demand growth after 2030 and the possibility that some oil reserves will never be needed.

Projected upsides and opportunities: Time currently spent driving could be opened up for movies or games (hello Netflix, Starz and gamers!). Electric utilities in developed countries would see soaring demand after years of stagnating growth. For law enforcement, 3D sensors and high-definition cameras would potentially make each vehicle a roving spy able to determine fault in an accident, witness street crime or spot suspicious patterns of behavior.

Interactive voice recognition: ‘Hello Google, Siri, Alexa, Whoever!’

While we are behind the curve on this booming advancement, it probably won’t take long before it is common in most homes.  Early implementations are starting to appear.  Here is one example recently received in an email alert:

“We have recently introduced EVA, Emirates NBD Virtual Assistant, to assist you via Phone Banking.
She is the first in the MENA Region and one of the few in the world who can converse with you naturally.  When you call (phone #), EVA will now greet you and ask the reason for your call.

Benefits of EVA: EVA understands your natural language in English or Arabic.  With EVA around, you no longer need to navigate long and winding IVR menus.  EVA saves your time by skipping menus and takes you to the right destination quickly.

(Tips for talking with EVA are provided):

  • Tell EVA the exact purpose of your call so she can guide you effectively
  • Avoid using generic words, such as “credit card”, “debit card”, “I have a problem”, “transfer me to an agent”, etc.
  • Make your call from a quiet environment
  • Please speak in the language you have selected
  • Please listen to her responses carefully and choose from the options provided by her.”

AI enters Cybersecurity

Qualified employees in cybersecurity are in such short supply and the surging need in this field is so great that consulting firms, security companies, and businesses are turning to artificial intelligence to help plug the gaps.

An expected, one million jobs in cybersecurity will go unfilled this year worldwide, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association says. Many companies that do fill open roles use employees from other departments or recent graduates who are untested in corporate cybersecurity.

And what’s really troubling, while many companies rely on a scarce number of human experts to defend their data, cybercriminals can marshal thousands of computers to launch attacks.

It is this discrepancy, says Sean Joyce, head of the U.S. cybersecurity and privacy practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, that is pushing innovation in the use of AI for cybersecurity forward. This includes help with predictive analytics to more quickly identify “hot spots,” or areas where specific, dangerous cyberattacks are percolating across the globe.

AI could be a big help combating “alert fatigue,” an industry term for what happens to cyber pros when they are faced with a constant barrage of security alerts. As the technology advances, it will become more predictive. The goal will be to use machines as a first layer of defense allowing people to focus on the toughest of cyber challenges.

And now for something completely different

Shelley, named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, is an artificial intelligence program taught to put the scare in you.

Researchers from MIT Media Lab launched Shelley with the intent to write horror stories taking inspiration from horror fiction posted online.

Shelley tweets the opener to the horror stories and then encourages followers to continue on. If the story proves popular, the AI program will respond.

Users have stretched their imaginations and posted a range of horror stories, ranging from classic ghost stories to gore-filled creepy tales.

The idea is that MIT researchers can learn more about how machines respond to emotion.

Researcher Iyad Rahwan said: “The rapid progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has people worried about everything from mass unemployment to the annihilation of the human race at the hand of evil robots. We know that AI terrifies us in the abstract sense. But can AI scare us in the immediate, visceral sense?”

Is this how the movie industry will start to gather film project ideas the same way that former news organizations now collect ‘citizen journalism’?  The pros and cons of these is for debate in another space.  Right now, we are simply posing a few responses to the question of ‘What’s really next?’  The next step, adoption, will be up to you…

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