Telework

With the new Internet era, people can distribue high quantities of information by the network. It has developed a new economical and business organization and we are entering into a new model of education and work thanks to the ICT.

TeleworkTelework consists off doing your work in a different place to the office using informatic and telecommunications networks. With this new model is possible to reduce travel time of the employees, increase the effectivity of hours dedicated to work and provide to the workpeople time to spend with family. But not all is good: with teleworking we are loosing groups of teamworks, loosing the corporation hierarchies (the teleworker many times only have to communicate with one boss), causing sedentay lifestyle to the employees, loosing the relationship with other employees, and a long etcetera.

Estimates suggest that over fifty million U.S. workers could work from home at least part of time. The call center industry and IT sector employ thousands of home-based workers but these are notables exceptions because very few companies employ large number of home-based full-time staff. However, the development of new video conferencing systems and technologies increase the number of teleworker day by day. Many public and private companies are now starting to use polycom systems and teleworking in order to avoid costs and becase they started to appreciate multiple benefits of teleworking. 

Statics

Technologies

Long distance telework is facilitated by tools such as groupware, virtual private networks, conference calling, videoconferencing and voice over ip. Telework technology requirements will vary by agency but many teleworkers requires:

  • Internet Service Provider (ISPs) to connect remote employees to the Internet, e-mail, and agency network.
  • Internet Access to allow teleworkers to use Internet for their voice, video, fax, and unified communications needs. Some examples are:
    • dial up telephone networks or PSTN for voice and data communications in narrow-band.
    • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) standards.
    • DSL standards to provide broad-band Internet connection.
    • Cable broadband access.
  • Network infrastructure comprised of the equipment and connections that make up a network:
    • VPNs as a remote access solution to access the network securely (firewalls, encryption…).
    • Remote Access Servers (RASs) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to provide the computer and associated software for teleworkers to access the network remotely.

technologies_telework

  • Laptop as a main teleworker’s tool.
  • Mobile Phone / Smartphone / PDA for data applications and instant communication anytime, anywhere.
  • Peripherals such as printers, scanners, fax or multi-functional devices.
  • Security policies for automatic backups and restore, biometric devices, data encryption, configuration management, software updates, virus and spyware protection software…
  • Collaboration tools to facilitate information-sharing for individuals in remote locations through an interactive forum. Examples include data conferencing, e-mail, phone and fax, instant messaging, presence technology, software collaboration, telepresence and web collaboration.
  • Software as a service (SaaS) providers to manage data storage, for example.
  • Video conferencing systems to allow remote users to connect using real time, interactive voice, video and data collaboration technologies. Some examples of video conferencing systems are: Polycom, Avaya Solutions or Verizon Communications Systems.

Currently, telework yields multiple benefits to government, public sector organizations, private sector, individual employee and the community. It is becoming increasingly prevalent in the modern workforce because its proven results and reliability are shown to significantly improve life holistically.

Both public and private sector organizations are reaping the benefits: boosting morale, enhancing continuity of operations (COOP) plans, saving real estate space and dollars, as well as enabling efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest.

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Google I/O at the Brightcove

Google I/O is an annual developer-focused conference held by Google. The event takes place in San Francisco (CA) but they have extended events in many cities around theIMGP6679.jpg world. The Brightcove, in Boston, showed off the Zencoder cloud transcoding service at the conference. I had the opportunity to join developers, engineers and passionate students to watch and discuss some of the conferences.

Google Play

Google Play is the Google’s distribution platform which allows to download music, books, movies, videos, games and applications. Google redesigned the platform both mobile and web versions. They also introduced new services such as Google Play Games and new features such as the personalize suggestions based on the user preferences and search history.

Google Play Games is the new game service with real-time multiplayer action and multi-platform synchronization. The gaming experience becomes more social, allowing for example to invite and play with your friends and share your scores. It can be synchronized with other platforms such as tablets, computers, smartphones running both Android and iOS, which is an interesting feature for the developers.

Google Play StoreA monthly music subscription service has been introduced for the Google Play Music. It allows to play all songs available in the market and also to upload your songs.  Google Play Books now allows to upload your files to the cloud and it includes a Read Now section that features books you have recently uploaded, purchased or read.

Google also announced a new education program that will help teachers manage and push out apps, books and other educational content to student tablets and computers: Google Play for Educational Program.

Google +

The social network of Google has been redesigned  with responsive design in the feeds, a tags feature to dig into more content and a new photo manager and editor.

google-plus-featuresWhen you upload hundreds of pictures, Google+ Photos will choose the best ones based on the bright and contrast, number of people in the picture, famous landmarks and attractions and it will use face-recognition algorithms to select the one where you and your friends appear in the picture.

Google Hangouts is a new application that substitutes Google Talk. The new multi-platform app allows to chat, share videos and pictures with your friends. It is available on Android, iOS and Chrome.

Google Maps and localization

Google released new APIs to improve localization and battery life on Android devices. An interactive map will recommend location, compare travel modes and integrate Street View and Google Earth on Google Maps. The new APIs includes better outdoor localization, indoor localization and navigation and human activity recognition.

Android2312719-a6

The most common IDE to develop Android apps is Eclipse which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. But Google developed their own IDE, Android Studio that runs on all operative systems.

The new features that Android Studio includes are the navigation drawer, a better integration with Google Analytics and the possibility to launch beta and alpha versions of the applications.

Samsung Galaxy S4

The new Samsung Galaxy S4 from Google is a completely unlocked device. It comes with an unlocked bootloader that gives to the developers a root access to the operating system. The phone will be release on June and it costs $649.

Samsung-Galaxy-S4-Google-Edition-2

Other features

Google Voice Search is already available for Android devices but Google wants to expand its voice search capabilities and other features on Google Search for desktop devices, a fundamentally change the way the people look things up on its search engine.

Google Wallet, the online payment method from Google, enables now to send money as a Gmail attachment over other interesting functionalities. It will be integrated on the Chrome browser wich gets faster, more secure and includes faster video-streaming.

The most useful google services

Google is the number one searching online engine used by millions of people everyday. But Google is more than a searcher: the list of products, services and tools is huge. Some of them started as independent projects developed by Google engineers, such as Google News or Gmail, others come from the acquisition of companies like Youtube or Blogger. Nowadays Google have hundreds of tools, services and applications including desktop, mobile and online products.

Basics

  • Gmail: One of the most used email services.
  • Google Translator: online translation tool to instantly translate text and webpages.
  • Google Maps: map-based services including street maps (Google Maps),satellite images, a route planner for travelling by foot, car bike or public transport (Google Transit), 360° panoramic street-level views of various locations (Google Street View)…
  • Google Calendar: an online calendar to keep track all events and receive event reminders.
  • Google Reader is a RSS feed reader.  It is the perfect tool for the people who like  reading blogs and news from several different web sites.
  • Google News: it is a news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide.

Suites, storage, payment… 

  • Google Drive provides storage space on the cloud. It is a way to synchronize with Google Docs (docs, spreadsheats, presentations), Google Drawings (drawings), Google Forms (forms), pivot tables, app Scripts..
  • Google Desktop is an interface to remotely access your computer files, images, emails, pretty much anything. It needs to install an app to start indexing all the content of the computer.
  • Google Play is a shop to buy and listen music, to read books, to find movies, games and Android apps.
  • Google Wallet provides a secure means of shopping in the virtual marketplace.

Photo and Video

  • Youtube: the most popular video platform.
  • Picasa is an image organizer in image viewer that allows to share albums and photos online.
  • Google TV to watch shows online or listen to radio.
  • Google Goggles is an image recognition app to search by taking a picture with the smartphone. The photo is used to find more information about products, famous landmarks, paintings, QR codes…
  • Google Talk allows to chat with google contacts on the internet using  Google Chat.
  • Google Voice gives you a Google number to forward call/text to all your phones. It also provides free PC-to-phone calls (US) and PC-to-PC video and audio calling, international calls, text message…

Following TV shows through Internet

September is when most of the TV series start, so now is the moment to get ready for it. Internet offers a lot of possibilities to follow them: official webpages, blogs, facebook’s accounts, twitter account’s… However, there are other interesting applications for the computer or smartphone:

  • Official webpages: the best way to know all the information related with your favourite TV shows. Moreover, if you’re in US, you can play it on streaming.
  • iMDB: the biggest database wich contains all the information about TV series and movies: plots, actors, curiosities, reviews…
  • iTV Shows for iPhone and iPad: shows management application to keep track of every show you follow and what episodes you have seen or not. The app will remind you where you left it and when the new episode is going to be aired.
  • MyTVShows: similar to iTV Shows but as a website service.
  • TV Shows for Mac: application to easily find and download new episodes: you only have to open TV Shows, subscribe to your favourite shows and turn it off. Next time a new episode is aired, it will automatically download it.
  • Miso for iPhone and iPad: a social network to share what you are watching. Check-in to TV episodes and movies to share what you watch and connect with friends who watch the same shows as you.
  • Blogs and unofficial websites: googling is the best way to find blogs and unofficial websites about your favourite TV series. You will usually find more information than official webpages and from different points of view. news, episode reviews, quotes, videos, photos or curiosities.

RPL protocol

Low power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) are a class of network in which both the routers and their interconnect are constrained. RPL routing protocol, which provides a mechanism whereby multipoint-to-point traffic from devices inside the LLN towards a central control point, as well as point-to-multipoint traffic from the central control point to the devices inside the LLN, is supported. Support for point-to-point traffic is also available.

RPL protocol is easy to adopt to network changes and allows to have multiple logical topologies over a single physical topology. Moreover, it provides a loop avoidance and detection mechanism, and it takes into account both link and node properties when choosing paths. However, it assumes other mechanism can be used to provide security.

Nowadays, RPL routing protocol is used in 6LoWPAN and generic LLN networks. There were some successful implementations in TinyOS, and with the deployment of IPv6 it is expected to have more implementations and successful results.

GPON

A Passive Optical Network (PON) is a point-to-multipoint, fiber to the premises network architecture in which unpowered optical splitters are used to enable a single optical fiber to serve multiple premises, typically 16-128.

A PON consists of an Optical Line Terminal (OLT) at the service provider’s central office and a number of Optical Network Units (ONUs) near end users. It reduces the amount of fiber and central office equipment required compared to point to point architectures. A passive optical network is a form of fiber-optic access network. GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) deals with optical communications a Gigabit level providing more symetric traffic and efficient resources utilization.

Smart cities

A smart grid is a form of electricity network using digital technology. The idea of two-way communications from suppliers to consumers to control appliances is not new, and systems have been implemented using analog technology for many years. The growth of an extensive digital communication network for the internet has made it practical to consider a more sophisticated type of smart grid: smart cities.

What are smart cities?

A smart city is a city that uses data and information technologies to provide better services to citizens, track progress toward policy goals, optimise existing infrastructure. A smart city enables new business models for public and private sector service provision.

In a smart city, all man-made systems come together and interact with one another: healthcare, public safety, transportation and mobility, energy, education and government services (public safety, street lighting, efficient waste collection or public infrastructures).

Smart Infrastructure and technology

There are a few key technology enablers for a city to become smart: pervasive sensor networks throughout city, node connections through standardized low-cost communications, real-time analysis and control of city systems, and integration of isolated systems across cities (IPv6 like Internet of Things). Nowadays several companies are working in order to provide and enhance this infrastructure.

Smart cities use four different technologies in order to collect, transmit, storage and process the data. Moreover, a service delivery platform is needed.

Example: Smart Santander

Smart Santander is an European research facility for Internet of Things architectures, services and applications in the context of the smart city. It combines three projects WISEBED (tools and mechanisms for wireless sensor networks), SENSEI (interconnection of sensors) and Telefonica’s Ubiquitous Sensor Network service platform (storage and interfaces).

The first pilot experience was on June 2011 with 300 Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Phase 1 started on December in order to expand infrastructure with 2000 IoT devices. Next phase will be on December 2012 with 5000 IoT devices and last phase is expected to be on August 2013 where all the advanced features will be prepared for exploitation.