Seeing the Road Forward for Smart Glasses

By Rudi Schubert, Director, New Initiatives, IEEE Standards Association

Rudi Schubert at AWE 2015Augmented World Expo (AWE) took place the week of June 8 in Santa Clara, California, providing a glimpse into the future of developing technologies ranging across augmented reality, virtual reality, and wearable devices. This industry segment is rapidly growing in public visibility, with products evolving and early devices becoming available to the consumer and industrial market. However, while activity has been accelerating, there are hurdles yet to overcome in bringing these technologies to broad acceptance and adoption in the market.

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) co-hosted a workshop at AWE that focused on the development of a technology roadmap for smart glasses. This workshop was designed to be a starting point to bring together stakeholders for an ongoing collaboration in identifying barriers to adoption, proposing solutions, and launching action plans to address these issues. Nearly 40 attendees engaged in a highly interactive discussion organized into four breakout groups to consider the use of smart glasses in a number of market segments. These groups focused on: mass consumer markets, industrial markets, military/first responder markets, and professional services markets (e.g., medical applications). The workshop’s stimulating discussion concluded with each group reporting on their findings to the full set of participants.

Interestingly, needs and expectations to achieve pervasive adoption were varied depending on industry segments. Consumer interests centered around convenience and cost; industry interests included return on investment and integration with legacy systems; and military/first responders highlighted rugged devices as a key need.  Many supporting details and more specific issues were documented and will be used in framing a white paper detailing these identified needs and offering recommendations on a roadmap towards satisfying the expectations within each of these market segments.

Participants from the workshop will be engaging in further teleconferences in the coming months to build out these issues and plan to reconvene later in the year where they will work towards completion of the roadmap and establish additional initiatives that can develop the solutions that will enable acceleration of wearable smart glass technologies and broad market acceptance.

View other sessions IEEE-SA participated in at AWE 2015.

Learn what IEEE-SA is doing in AR.

The Network, the Body, and the Future

By Jay Iorio, Innovation Director, IEEE Standards Association

Networking is, in a sense, the key metaphor for the modern age. It is the development of tools that enhance existing human activities in ways that would be impossible in the physical world. The network is really the virtual remapping of our lives, lives that pivot around interaction and collaboration. It started with the telephone.

The personal computer, a revolution in itself, really came into its own when it was connected in large numbers over networks. Even in its early, comparatively slow form, connecting to the Internet was compelling enough to draw new participants every day. Bulletin-board systems, ftp sites, and email seem basic or charmingly old-school today, but they opened up a whole new way of thinking of a computer as merely part of a larger whole.

As network bandwidth approaches the bandwidth within the computer itself, the distinction between computer and network in effect evaporates and turns the entire collection of networked computers into one big device. We are seeing hints of this today in the form of the cloud and new collaborative tools and modes. The cloud concept potentially turns cyberspace into one large virtual machine, where users don’t care about the specific location of code, data, or other resources, any more than they care about what their phone is doing internally.

As wireless networking was quickly incorporated into phones, the definition of a computer expanded to include mobile devices, which for many users now constitute their primary computer, and the number of connected devices exploded.

We are now poised for another revolution in which the connection goes well beyond connecting only computing devices and begins to include sensors, everyday objects, and the built environment. Much of what we have traditionally considered to be inert and distinctly non-electronic is becoming a part of this mega-network—a phenomenon currently referred to as the Internet of Things.

The current term for networkable objects with built-in electronics is “smart,” implying vaguely human characteristics of responsiveness to stimuli, at least the appearance of basic decision-making, and adaptability to the environment. In a sense, objects come alive as they are “wired” (wirelessly, no doubt) into the larger environment.

It is hard to predict how such a network might evolve over the decades, but it is hard not to imagine a physical environment that senses us, our needs, and our context and then evolves continuously in harmony with that profile. What we currently call Augmented Reality—the integration, from the individual’s point of view, of computer-generated sensory content with the physical world—could evolve to be the “display” for this new environment, an environment that would appear to the user as the physical world with which we are all familiar, yet enhanced with powerful, customized illusion.

As powerful as this promises to be, however, the picture will only be complete when the physical human body is connected to this internet of everything.

We are already seeing mass-market products that connect the human body to the outside world; even more importantly, the public mind seems to be acclimating to this coming reality. In an important way, the smartphone is really a wearable—you might leave your eyeglasses in the other room, but rarely your phone—and the general public has now experienced a decade of having their networked computer almost attached to them.

The conceptual leap from the smartphone to smart watches, biometric devices of all kinds, sensors, smart fabrics, and wearables in general is not that great, and the myriad potential health, medical, and fitness use cases do not require a futurist to imagine. This could be a change in medicine and health as radical as the development of antibiotics.

It will allow for continuous monitoring of medical conditions, ongoing communication with healthcare providers, and the greatly enhanced diagnostics that might derive from such ongoing monitoring, especially when correlated to patient behavior. The natural first step in this direction is wearable devices, and new ones are appearing every week.

But the collective imagination has always been fascinated by the possibility of actual human augmentation. The cyborg concept in various forms is perennial in popular culture, and it is natural for us to want to develop tools to help overcome our inherent physical limitations and let our brains do what our bodies can’t. In a sense, the entire superhero genre of entertainment is a collective, symbolic attempt to envision ourselves without the physical restrictions we have to live with.

Body hacking, direct-to-brain communication, implants for a whole variety of purposes, smart tattoos, and clothing that interacts with the body are all subjects of intense work today, and it’s not hard to imagine a near-future generation that sees implants with much the same nonchalance as today’s twenty-somethings see extreme tattoos. It is not far-fetched to imagine a generation from now when the human body is actually itself a part of the computing environment, with all that such a link implies in a liquid, cloud-structured network.

All this might sound like science fiction, but it is happening. Each of the constituent technologies is overflowing with innovation and creativity, which can turn sci-fi fantasy into Best Buy product in a remarkably short time—witness the burgeoning virtual-reality space, a technology that as recently as two years ago was commonly seen as perpetually fifteen years in the future.

Within a very short time, areas we currently call Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, smart spaces, robotics, artificial intelligence, and all kinds of medical devices could coalesce in such a way that all the terminology, wires, and computers seem to disappear and leave us simply with multiple channels of instantaneous, complex communication between our bodies and the rest of the world.

For more information on AR visit standards.ieee.org/innovate/ar.

WSIS Forum 2015 Highlights

By Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Technology Policy and International Affairs


From 25-29 May, the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2015 took place. The week was filled with panel sessions, high-level discussions and high-level statements from high-ranking officials representing governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. The sessions and discussions of the week supported the WSIS Forum 2015 theme of Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development.

The week started off with a series of parallel thematic workshops hosted by a range of global stakeholders, including Cybersecurity and Privacy in a World of Data Driven Innovation hosted by IEEE. Discussions centered on information and communications technology (ICT) and its growth and impact in an increasingly hyper-connected world, focusing on progress that has been made on implementation of WSIS Outcomes and discussing the current challenges and challenges that may lie ahead as technology advances at tremendous speed.

In the various panels and discussions, multi-stakeholder collaboration across borders and among industries and communities was stressed. Throughout the conference the topic of Internet of Things (IoT) in the context of being a significant driver in revolutionizing the Internet was in the forefront. During a session organized by Japan, Japanese business representatives shared their experience with developing IoT and practical related e-applications. Tetsuo Nakakawaji from Mitsubishi Electric Corporation noted that he believes we are not yet in an IoT era, since for this to happen technologies need to be further developed, especially in relation to security and stable Internet networks.

Cybersecurity was also a significant part of the dialogue during the WSIS 2015 Forum, with several sessions organized on the topic. In the Building Trust in Cyberspace: Working Together session, Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, noted that despite the tremendous opportunity, ICT comes with equally tremendous challenges in terms of trust and confidence. In his statements, he noted that this [trust and confidence] can only be achieved when different stakeholders work in cooperation and not in isolation. Uri Rosenthal, former Dutch foreign minister and special envoy of the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, promoted awareness-raising activities on the proper use of ICTs and the Internet, as users share the responsibility in using the Internet appropriately.

Through the series of policy statements, the need for multi-stakeholder model of cooperation to bridge the digital gap, particularly to connect rural areas, was stressed. Other themes included the need for affordable access to ICTs, the encouragement for innovation, the inclusivity of the Internet and the applicability of ICTs in cybersecurity.

In general, throughout the week there was advocacy for increased inclusion of ICTs in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universal set of goals, targets and indications that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and policies over the next 15 years. The current set of SDGs are due to expire the end of this year, and this September UN members states will meet to review and set SDGs that will become applicable from January 2016, with an expected deadline for the new SDGs in 2030.

At the WSIS 2015 Forum there was an emphasis on linking the WSIS process with sustainable development. The UN overall WSIS+10 review initiates in June. The WSIS+10 Process marks the ten-year milestone since the WSIS, two-phase summit (2003-2005) that defined the issues, policies and frameworks to address ICTs to foster development. The meeting in June will lead to the UN General Assembly decision in December 2015 that will set the course for WSIS beyond 2015.

For information on how to join the IEEE Internet Initiative’s growing world-wide community of experts in technology and policy making, visit internetinitiative.ieee.org.

Additional Resources
To showcase the impact of ICTs for sustainable development, a document that maps the WSIS Action Lines with the proposed UN Sustainable Goals was issued during the conference. This document draws direct linkages of the WSIS Action Lines with the proposed SDGs to continue strengthening the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for sustainable development. To access the details of the WSIS 2015 Forum, please refer to the WSIS 2015 Forum Outcome Document.

Recap: Smart City Summit and Expo

By Oleg Logvinov
2015-smart-city-summit-and-expo-645x362
Around the globe, enthusiasm continues to grow for the many benefits of Smart City initiatives. Multiple domains—lighting, power, information sharing, among others—are converging and the same is taking place around many of connected applications and services. This exciting dynamic was clearly demonstrated at the recent Smart City Summit and Expo held Jan. 21-23 at the Taipei World Trade Center. Launched last year by Taipei Computer Association, with broad organizational support from industry and research institutions, this year’s event showed significant increases in participation and collaborative thought on enabling practical new applications and services. Advantech, Asus Cloud, Chunghwa Telecom, Industrial Technology Research Institute, and Tatung co-organized the event.

W. Y. Lin, President Tatung Co said, “As one of the main co-organizers of the Smart City Expo we believe that Smart Cities, in which lighting and energy use, transportation and parking infrastructure, and highly secure information processing and sharing contribute to greater productivity, efficiency, convenience, with appropriate privacy protections, is one of the key near-term opportunities for the Internet of Things (IoT). To realize this opportunity we need to build a thriving ecosystem and this event provided us with clear evidence that with our partners we have the right vision and are on the right track.”

Forum sponsors included Ericsson Taiwan, IBM Taiwan and STMicroelectronics, which also provided me the honor of opening a half-day forum on Smart Living Forum: Trends, Technologies and Applications, where I could relate a lot of the exciting developments we’re seeing today. We see Smart Cities driving IoT growth, where a convergence with Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, Smart Cars and Smart Me is pushing progress. One item on many minds, especially in scenarios where data is shared across multiple domains, was how to assure privacy and data security as we move towards an even more-connected world, the world in which traditional vertical models are transforming into models embracing horizontal platforms spanning across multiple domains.

As Chair of the IEEE Internet Initiative and the IEEE P2413 “Standard for an Architectural Framework for the IoT,” it was rewarding to hear the views of many like-minded individuals who are committed to bringing technology and policy leaders together to ensure that we put in place an environment where we build safe systems that protect data.

That was just one of many other topics in the special forum session detailing IEEE P2413 and the importance of establishing a standard for an architectural framework for the Internet of Things. This session led to some unique takeaways from the participants, which included Hitachi, Siemens, dZhON Pty Ltd, Huawei, Tatung and ARM. For instance, Mr. Ogura of Hitachi pointed out that standards for the IoT era should be based on the “change is the norm” concept (symbiotic autonomous decentralized concept) in order to respond to the adaptability and coexistence requirements.

According to Dr. Alan Pan, Chief Strategy Officer, Tatung Consumer Business Group. “It was a great pleasure to be a part of the panel discussing the architectural framework for the IoT. The discussion clearly showed that scalable and secure implementations of IoT can only be built on the solid foundation, and such foundation needs a solid framework. It is both exciting and encouraging to see world-leading companies working together to make this vision a reality.”

Huawei spoke to the evolving requirement to integrate broad cross industry and cross SDO collaboration in Smart Cities standards development and the importance of an adopted global cross domain integrating architecture framework, such as IEEE P2413, to ensure the long term viability of effective go-to-market deployments.

All in all, this session was truly informative and initially generated over 750 registrants. Due to space limitations at the venue, we could only host about 500 participants and the room was packed. That’s clearly an indication of the enormous interest and support for an overarching IoT standard and the enabling technologies that will also support the Smart City – especially one that is evolving quickly from one-off projects impacting single-function applications, such as street lighting or traffic flow, to large-scale, municipal capital investments integrating multiple city services and departments.

Discover the many upcoming events related to smart cities.

Visit the IEEE Standards Association Internet of Things webpage for more information on IoT related standards, projects and events.

Oleg Logvinov is the Director of Special Assignments in STMicroelectronics’ Industrial & Power Conversion Division. During the last 25 years Mr. Logvinov has held senior technical and executive management positions in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries. He serves on the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Corporate Advisory Group and the IEEE-SA Standards Board. Mr. Logvinov also actively participates in IEEE standards-development working groups focused on the IoT and communications technologies. He is chair of the IEEE P2413 Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things Working Group. He is also chair of the IEEE Internet Initiative.

 

EuroDIG: A Regional Internet Governance Forum

logo_euro_dig
By Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Technology Policy and International Affairs,
IEEE-SA

IEEE is pleased to be participating in EuroDIG 2015 as part of our global efforts to connect engineers, scientists and industry leaders in an array of technology and industry domains, with policy experts to help improve the understanding of technology and its implications and impact on IG issues. We will with serving as the focal point on Plenary Two on Privacy and Data Protection in the Emerging World of Big Data and New Services. This session will address new paradigms for privacy in an increasingly connected world and an era of big data, including an examination of open standards, data protection models and privacy in business and innovation, and the session will be held on 4 June at 17:00 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

About EuroDIG
The Pan-European dialogue on Internet governance (EuroDIG) is an open platform for informal and inclusive discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to Internet Governance (IG) between stakeholders from all over Europe. It was created in 2008 by a number of stakeholders representing various European stakeholder groups working in the field of IG. EuroDIG is recognized as a Regional IGF.

Regional and national IGF initiatives follow the principles and practices of open, inclusive, non-commercial and multi-stakeholder participation in both the formulation of the initiative and in any other related events. They provide forums or venues for local or regional and national discussion on the topics and issues related to IG in support of and spirit of IGF.

EuroDIG is a network that is open to stakeholders that are interested in contributing to an open and interactive discussion on IG issues. The purpose of EuroDIG is to provide a venue in which European stakeholders can exchange their views and best practices on issues to be discussed at meetings of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), including the identification of common ground shared by all European stakeholders and highlighting the diversity of experience of the different European stakeholders; and to raise awareness in Europe and among European stakeholders about the relevance and value of multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Regional and national IGFs are focused on issues that face a city, town or country and help people to bring ideas and solutions forward to a global level. With the nature of IG issues today, national and regional IGFs have grown around the globe, generating conversation among all who want a voice in the future of the Internet where they live.

We hope to see you in Sofia!

WSIS: What’s It All About

WSIS bannerBy Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Technology Policy and International Affairs,
IEEE-SA

IEEE is pleased to be participating in the WSIS Forum 2015 as part of our global efforts to connect engineers, scientists and industry leaders in an array of technology and industry domains, with policy experts to help improve the understanding of technology and its implications and impact on IG issues.  We will be hosting a thematic workshop on Cybersecurity and Privacy in a World of Data Driven Innovation. This session will discuss the balance of security and privacy rights in an age in which global citizens are converging on the Internet, and new media, where technology and services are pervading and influencing culture.  View the full program of WSIS events.

Additionally, the IEEE invites everyone involved in Internet related technology development and policy making to join the IEEE Internet Initiative’s growing, world-wide community of experts in technology and policy. For information on how to get involved please contact, internetinitiative@ieee.org.

The agenda of the WSIS Forum is the result of an open consultation process with the involvement of all WSIS Stakeholders. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and its outcome documents are considered cornerstones of international discourse on Internet policy and governance. 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of WSIS, with the UN General Assembly set to evaluate its progress and decide its future.

What is WSIS?
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was a unique two-phase United Nations (UN) summit that began with the goal of achieving a common vision, desire and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information. The two-stage WSIS took place in 2003 (the Geneva phase) and 2005 (the Tunis phase).

WSIS started out as a primarily development-focused process and the first phase concluded by setting out a Plan of Action to put the “potential of knowledge and ICTs at the service of development.”  However, governance issues became a central focus of the Tunis phase and this was reflected in its outcome document, the Tunis Agenda, which set out a definition of internet governance, outlined the roles of different stakeholders, mandated the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and initiated the process towards enhanced cooperation.

WSIS is a significant event in the history of the Internet.  It recognized that not only governments should have a voice in the development of the Internet’s future, but also the voices of businesses, civil society, engineers and everyone who can play a role in its future should be heard. Today, annual WSIS Forums are an integral part to the follow-up of the World Summit on the Information Society.

WSIS Forum 2015
The WSIS Forum 2015 theme is Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development, and will be held on 25-29 May 2015, at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva. This event builds upon the tradition of annual WSIS May meetings, and its format is the result of open consultations with all WSIS Stakeholders.

The WSIS Forum 2015 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The WSIS Forum is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.  The Forum consists of two tracks: A High-Level Track, consisting of policy statements, WSIS prize ceremony, ministerial round table, and the Forum Track that will offer participants a series of high-level dialogues, action line facilitation meetings, country workshops, thematic workshops and knowledge exchanges, as well as an exhibition addressing issues that are critical to WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder settings.

We look forward to seeing you in Geneva!

Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 – The Beat Goes On

“At the start, in 1973, the goal was mainly to print on our new laser printer. By 1980, world domination was the goal.” – Dr. Robert (Bob) Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet

From its humble beginnings as a sketch on the back of a napkin in 1973 to its current standing as the global networking technology of choice, it’s safe to say predictions of Ethernet’s worldwide acceptance have come true. Ethernet is arguably one of history’s most disruptive technology innovations, driving critical advancements in networking, communications, and more. And now on the cusp of its 42nd birthday – with no midlife crisis in sight – this fundamental, ubiquitous networking protocol is ready to shake things up all over again.

At its core, Ethernet is a collaborative creation; throughout its venerable history, it has been shaped and molded by many hands. For instance, the dedicated, cooperative efforts of individuals and organizations around the world to develop and maintain the IEEE 802.3™ family of Ethernet standards have ensured Ethernet’s adaptability, scalability, and most importantly, durability. Its collective nature combined with the flexibility inherently encoded into Ethernet’s DNA allows it to respond nimbly to both industry needs and market stimuli. The result? Ethernet has evolved into, as Bob Metcalfe puts it, “a brand of innovation” on a global scale.

You may not even realize it’s there, but Ethernet is likely an essential part of your everyday life – it’s estimated that nearly all data traffic begins and ends on Ethernet interfaces. By leveraging Ethernet as a common foundation, technology pioneers have and continue to craft innovative new applications that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have come to depend upon at home, at work, and at play. While many users rarely recognize how much they’ve come to rely upon this key technology, they would certainly feel its absence if it were suddenly gone. For a better view of how and where Ethernet plays a role in our lives today, just take a look at this video:

In its earliest incarnation, Ethernet ran at 3Mbps. Fast-forward 42 years, and we now have an ever-expanding array of standardized Ethernet speeds, including 10Mbps; 100Mbps; 1Gbps; 10Gbps; 40Gbps; and 100Gbps. There are now a bevy of other new speeds either already making their way through the standardization pipeline or that are being given serious consideration for future standards projects. And it’s this continued evolution and progression that will open the door to a new generation of innovative technologies and applications that will not only further permeate but also elevate our daily lives.

There’s fresh momentum building within the Ethernet ecosystem as this indispensable networking protocol continues to diversify and is reinvented to meet the needs of an ever-broadening array of users. Demand from new market segments and emerging applications like wireless access points and data centers are directly driving new standards projects such as 2.5Gbps. Additionally, Ethernet is also being carried in unexpected directions, across unexplored terrain – for example, the automotive industry, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Imagine automobiles that are smarter, safer, and less expensive. It could happen thanks to automotive-grade Ethernet. Global analyst firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2020, typical mass-market cars will have between 50 – 60 Ethernet ports, while luxury autos will sport more than 100. In-vehicle Ethernet can cost-effectively provide needed support for sophisticated applications such as autonomous driving or driver-assistance features, interior and exterior cameras, embedded displays, and infotainment. It could also facilitate the connection between cars and external systems – like the aforementioned Internet of Things – that could help eliminate traffic woes and improve overall safety. By replacing traditional wiring with Ethernet, automakers can lower costs, reduce vehicle weights, and improve fuel economy.

Speaking of the IoT, it’s an innovative concept that seems tailor-made for Ethernet. Light fixtures that have an IP address? Smart diapers? Connected cows? All whimsy aside, the emergence of the IoT has opened the door to a new generation of technologies, devices, and applications that will substantially alter the world as we know it. Connected medical devices may soon become one of the best early detection weapons in the fight against serious health conditions. Smart city innovations are already helping to solve public safety, transportation, and energy challenges, elevating the quality of life for urban dwellers.

The explosive growth of the IoT doesn’t appear as if it will slow anytime soon. Technology research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. predicts some 4.9 billion connected things will be in use during 2015 alone, and that number is expected to soar to 25 billion by the year 2020. The one commonality among all of these connected devices and things is the need for a dependable means of communicating and transmitting data. With its unique ability to accommodate a wide range of speeds, Ethernet will be the key to progressing the IoT from the conceptual to reality.

At the ripe old age of (almost) 42, you might suspect that Ethernet would begin showing some signs of wear and tear. Instead, just the opposite is true – it continues to grow, evolve, and expand, charting new territory and serving as a springboard for the innovations of today, tomorrow, and beyond. For Ethernet, the best is truly yet to come.

For additional information about IEEE Standards Association, please visit standards.ieee.org.

For more information about IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards, please visit: