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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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.

i2010 and Digital Agenda for Europe

The i2010 initiative was the EU policy framework for the information society and media for the period from 2005 to 2009. It promoted the positive contribution that information and communication technologies (ICT) can make to the economy, society and personal quality of life.

In 2010 a new initiative was launched – the Digital Agenda for Europe – that relies in the following planned actions: Digital Single Market, Interoperability and Standards, Trust and Security, Very Fast Internet, Research and Innovation, Enhancing e-skills, ICT for Social Challenges, and International.

i2010

i2010 was an EU framework which embraces all aspects of ICT and audiovisual sector from 2005 to 2009. The main objective was to establish a Single European Information Space to create a modern, market-oriented regulatory framework for the digital economy, which means to offer affordable and secure high-bandwith communications, rich and diverse content and digital services.

Moreover, i2010 promote innovationd and investment in ICT research in order to be an innovation and technological leadership. Another i2010 objective was to ensure that the benefits of the Information Society can be enjoyed by everyone, encouraging provision of better pulblic services andnimproving quality of life through flagship initiatives in the areas: European Information Society for all citiziens.

Digital Agenda for Europe

The Europe 2020 strategy was launched in 2010 to prepare EU economy for the challenges during the decade. The idea is to provide a new Single Market to deliver the benefits of the digital era, improve ICT standard-setting and interoperability, enhance trust and security, and increase European’s acces to fast Internet. Moreover the Digital Agenda wants to boost cutting-edge research and innovation in ICT in order to empower all Europeans with digital skills and accessible online services, unleasing the potential of ICT to benefit society.

Benchmarking of the different Spanish ISPs

In Spain there are 10.6 million lines and 72% of the Internet access is of high speed. All Spanish Internet Service Provider (ISP), which are companies that provide acces to Internet, offer integrated service of Internet, fixed and mobile telephony and TV for both residential clients and business ones.

The ISPs presents in Spain are Telefonica, Ono, Jazztel, Orange and Vodafone. However, Telefonica and ONO are the best choice ISPs for Internet service only, which offer affordable prices for both ADSL and fiber optics. ONO seems a better choice for wide band service.

Vodafone and Orange compete each other by offering the same services of mobile and Internet with similar prices, but orange seems more attractive for the new users. On the other hand, Jazztel could be a good choice for services of fixed telephony and Internet.

The Internet of Things and 6LoWPAN networks

The Internet of Things allow communications and data sharing from mobile phones, industrial/building automation, logistics, personal sensors, etc. It uses the IP network which provides a simple and ubiquitous interaction between devices and an increasing interaction with the services provided.

6LoWPAN working group of IETF is researching on Low-power RT with IPv6: The Wireless Embedded Internet. 6LoWPAN has a broad range of applications:

6LoWPAN

6LoWPAN is the acronym of a working group in IETF who provides IPv6 over Low-Power Wirelles Area Networks. They stateless header compression, enable a standard socket API, minimize the usage of code and memory and alow direct end-to-end Internet integration whith multiple topology options.

By communicating natively with IP, LoWPAN networks are connected to other IP networks simply by using IP routers. LoWPANs will typically operate on the edge, acting as stub networks. The LoWPAN may be connected to other IP networks through one or more border routers that forward IP datagrams between different media.

6LoWPAN introduce an adaptation layer that enables efficient IPv6 communication over IEEE 802.15.4 LoWPAN links. Because of that, 6LoWPAN format defines how IPv6 communication is carried in 802.15.4 frames and specifies the adaptation layer’s key elements:

  • Header compression: IPv6 header fields are compressed by assuming usage of common values. Header fields are elided from a packet when the adaptation layer can derive them from link-level information carried in the 802.15.4 frame or based on simple assumptions of shared context. 40Bytes of IPv6 header are compressed into 2 Bytes of 6LowPAN header.

  • Fragmentation: IPv6 packets are fragmented into multiple link-level frames to accommodate the IPv6 minimum MTU requirement. 1280 Bytes of IPv6 frame (minimum IPv6 MTU) have been fragmented to 127Bytes, which is the  802.15.4 MTU.


  • Layer-two forwarding: To support layer-two forwarding of IPv6 datagrams, the adaptation layer can carry link-level addresses for the ends of an IP hop. Mesh Addressing header is used to forward 6LoWPAN playloads over multiple radio hops and support layer-two forwarding and includes the Hop Limit, Source Adrress and Destination Adress.

RPL

RPL is a routing protocol over low-power and lossy networks like 6LoWPAN. It’s very useful in urban networks (including Smart Grid applications) and in building, industrial and home automation. DODAG (Destination Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph) is specified  to use in LLNs (Low Power and Lossy Networks) and support traffic with very different requirements in terms of path quality (poor, fair and good).

Nowadays, several groups are working on 6LoWPAN networking. ISA100 group, for example, is working to standardize wireless systems for automation.

The Internet of Things

Can you imagine being able to turn on the heating of your house from your mobile phone? Can you imagine a city where taxis broadcast their position in real-time? Can you imagine receiving a notification when someone knocks the door of your house when you aren’t home? Seeing him on real-time? Are you ready for the Internet of Things? 

Smart Objects

A smart object is an item equipped to interact with the physical world and communicate with the outside world and other smart objects. For example, a light sensor collects information from the environment and when it’s going dark, it orders the light-controller to switch on the lights and it also orders the window-controller to lower the binds. All of this devices are Smart Objects and they communicate between them in a Smart Grid.

Smarts Objects are equipped with a sensor or actuator, a microprocessor, a communication device and a power source. Moreover, technical aspects take into account such as power consumption and physical size, as well as  network mechanisms and structures had to be design.

Communication between Smart Objects

Smart Objects transmit information that they collect to other smart objects and they also receive information from other ones. Because of that, it is necessary to design network protocols, mechanisms and structures to allow an efficient communication between them taking power consumption and low-speed into account.

The current situation of smart objects is like some kind of islands where they communicate with an own protocol. Differents islands are interconnected by complex multi-protocol gateways. Although, Internet Protocol for Smart Protocols Alliance and IEEE working groups are currently standardizing protocols, architecture and mechanisms:

    • end-to-end IP-based architectures.
    • IPv6 Adress.
    • Low-power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) made of smart objects interconnected by unstable low-speed links.
    • Routing at the network layer (IP).
    • UDP (small packet headers, not packet control mechanisms) to send data in networks with smart objects like automation, temperature, sensors which may periodically report data.
    • TCP (high packet headers, packet control mechanisms) to send data to smart objects networks where is more important reliable delivery of data than high throughput.
    • Three models of connectivity:
      • Autonomous Smart Object Networks Model: internal smart object network without connection to the public Internet.
      • The Internet of Things: any Internet user will have access to the information provided by smart objects either directly accessing the device or by means of intermediate servers.
      • The Extended Internet: smart object networks partially or completely connected to the Internet with security protection.
    • Energy Management with Time-Synchronized Power-Saving Protocol (TSMP) . This protocol consists on constantly switching the physical radio frequency on which packets are sent and switch the radio off as often as possible.
    • Communications patterns divided into one-to-one communication, one-to-many communication and many-to-one communication.
    • Three different mechanisms to Physical Communication Standards divided by the range of physical signals:
      • IEEE 802.15.2: radio transmission mechanism for only a few meters.
      • IEEE 802.11: radio low-power transmission mechanism for serveral hundred meters.
      • PLC: wired transmission mechanism to send data over power lines. It has many uses ranging from long-range and it provision high-speed broadband.

Applications

Smart Object Networks applications cover a wide range of areas:

  • Smart Grids: the electric power grid will in the future be replaced by smarter components that talk to each other.
  • Industrial automation: automation of industrial processes by means of modern computer-assisted technology.

  • Smart Cities and Urban Networks: a large IP network interconnecting devices via various links for support these services like traffic management, speed control, vehicle tracking, emergency warning, education networks, biometric card systems, climate control, data collection and monitoring, social networking… 

  • Home Automation: multiple and diverse applications that include lighting control, security and access control, comfort, energy management, remote home management….

  • Building Automation: applications to save energy in buildings and provide critical functions such as fire emergency evacuation.

  • Structural health Monitoring: monitoring the conditions for a physical structure such as a bridge, tower, building or heavy machinery. 

  • Container Tracking: track the movement of containers. 

Standard-developing organizations and forums for telecommunications

Nowadays telecommunications are very important in our society and they’re an essential element in our daily live. Because of that, it is necessary to establish organisms to contribute in the develop and standardization.

IETF

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. The mission of the IETS is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use and manage the Internet.

The IETF is divided in 7 organizations:

  • ISOC (Internet Society): is an international, non-profit, membership organization that fosters the expansion of the Internet.
  • IESG (Internet Engineering Steering Group): is responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process.
  • IAB (Internet Architecture Board): provides architectural oversight
  • IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority): is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols.
  • RFC Editor: edits, formats, and publishes Internet Drafs as RFCs, working in conjunction with the IESG.
  • IETF Secretariat turn is financially supported.
  • IETF Trust hold and license the intellectual property of the IETF.

IEC

The International Electrotechnical Commission is the wold’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies (electrotechnology)

ISO

The International Organization for Standarization is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards. It is a non-governmental organization with the contribution of 163 countries, one member per country, and has developed over 19.000 International Standars on a variety of subjects and more than 1.000 new ISO standards are published every year.

ITU

The International Telecommunication Union is the leading United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues. ITU coordinate the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure, establish worldwide standards and address the global challenges of our times. Moreover ITU organize worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums.

The hierarchy of ITU is divided in 5 sectors:

  • Office of the Secretary General
  • Radio communication (ITU-R)
  • Standardization (ITU-T)
  • Development (ITU-D)
  • ITU-Telecom

ETSI

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies. ETSI brings together more than 700 member organizations who operate in an increasingly international and competitive environment.

ETSI purpose is to produce and perform the maintenance of the technical standards and much of this work is carried out in committees and working groups composed of technical experts, which are referred to as “Techincal Bodies” (TB).