Con­nect­ing the city

Eric­s­son’s Todd Ash­ton talks about the com­pany’s vision of a con­nected pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem and city.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By tAN KIt HOONG bytz@ thes­tar. com. my By DAVIN ArUL bytz@ thes­tar. com. my

ONE day, the hum­ble bus stop will be trans­formed into an In­ter­net­con­nected WiFi hotspot with a live screen that gives real time up­dates on bus sched­ules and that time may be sooner than you think, says Todd Ash­ton, head of Eric­s­son Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Us­ing next- gen­er­a­tion 5G mo­bile net­works, it’s pos­si­ble to equip a bus stop with an elec­tronic bill­board that’s con­nected to the In­ter­net. This bill­board will not only serve up real time up­dates on when the next bus will ar­rive, but also could be a mo­bile hotspot of­fer­ing In­ter­net ac­cess to any de­vice.

While more ex­pen­sive to build than a tra­di­tional non- con­nected bus stop, Ash­ton says that it could also be seen as a rev­enue op­por­tu­nity – host­ing ad­ver­tise­ments on these live bill­boards could help spread out the cost.

It’s not just about con­nect­ing bus stops to the In­ter­net – Eric­s­son’s Au­to­mated Net­work Trans­port, as the sys­tem is called, gath­ers in­for­ma­tion about com­muters wait­ing at bus stops and can al­lo­cate more or fewer buses de­pend­ing on need, which could lead to sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings in the long run.

For ex­am­ple, dur­ing ma­jor sport­ing or en­ter­tain­ment events, the sys­tem can re­di­rect more buses to cer­tain ar­eas to han­dle the in­creased num­ber of com­muters at those ar­eas.

In fact, the build­ing blocks of such a sys­tem are al­ready avail­able today and it’s just a mat­ter of get­ting gov­ern­ments to in­vest and im­ple­ment sys­tems like this, he says.

One of the chal­lenges of creat­ing a con­nected city ( and by ex­ten­sion, a con­nected pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem) is to be able to den­sify mo­bile net­work cov­er­age.

Today, mo­bile net­works in­crease their net­work cov­er­age by build­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tow­ers which pro­vide cov­er­age over a large area.

The prob­lem with this is that there will in­evitably be ar­eas where such tow­ers can’t be built – whether due to zon­ing laws or avail­abil­ity of space.

In this case, Ash­ton says a se­ries of small cel­lu­lar base sta­tions ( or small cells for short) can be in­stalled to pro­vide wire­less data cov­er­age in ar­eas where larger cell tow­ers can’t reach.

While small cell tech­nol­ogy isn’t any­thing new ( many of­fice build­ings, in­clud­ing Eric­s­son’s of­fices al­ready have small cells in­stalled), it’s where these cells will be in­stalled in a con­nected city that’s in­ter­est­ing and the an­swer is the hum­ble street lamp.

Last year, Eric­s­son worked with Philips to de­ploy 100 con­nected street lamps, called Philips SmartPoles, in Los An­ge­les, United States.

The SmartPoles fea­ture LED lights in­stead of in­can­des­cent or flu­o­res­cent light­ing, but more im­por­tantly, inside each SmartPole is a small cell which pro­vides 4G LTE cov­er­age.

Ash­ton pre­dicts that con­nected cities of the fu­ture will have a com­bi­na­tion of macro net­works and small cells that to­gether can blan­ket an en­tire city with fast In­ter­net ac­cess. STUN­NING en­vi­ron­ments, fluid com­bat and the chance to gun down scum­bags, de­ranged fa­nat­ics and mer­ce­nar­ies – good enough rea­sons for a mul­ti­player- averse gamer to in­vest time and heartache in Tom Clancy’s The Divi­sion?

That’s a qual­i­fied “yes”. This third- per­son shooter looks, sounds and plays real good. What takes it down a notch is the repet­i­tive side mis­sions so essen­tial for grind­ing, which you need to do when go­ing solo.

The Divi­sion’s pri­mary fo­cus, af­ter all, is on its mul­ti­player ex­pe­ri­ence and whether or not it will prove com­pelling enough to have play­ers com­ing back over the long term.

The game is di­vided into an open- world, sin­gle- player “story” where it’s player vs en­vi­ron­ment ( un­named, though some folks have taken to call­ing it the Light Zone); and the com­pet­i­tive Dark Zone where it’s player vs player vs en­vi­ron­ment.

The best loot, re­wards and ex­pe­ri­ence points come from com­plet­ing mis­sions in the DZ, but items need to be “ex­tracted” by air so you can use them in story mis­sions. As I’m not one for mul­ti­player – and with­out PlaySta­tion Plus, I couldn’t even get into the DZ any­way – this re­view will largely talk about the story mode.

You are an agent in the Strate­gic Home­land Divi­sion, one of many sleep­ers among the general pop­u­lace await­ing ac­ti­va­tion dur­ing cat­a­strophic emer­gen­cies.

The game’s sce­nario is based on Dark Win­ter ( look it up), a 2001 high- level sim­u­la­tion in which the United States is tar­geted for a large- scale small­pox at­tack.

In The Divi­sion, New York has been hit by just such a bioweapon. The Green Poi­son/ Dol­lar Flu ( it was spread through in­fected cur­rency notes) has caused wide­spread havoc.

Man­hat­tan is un­der quar­an­tine, so Divi­sion agents have been ac­ti­vated to help the main emer­gency re­spon­ders, the Joint Task Force ( JTF), re­store or­der.

The lengthy pro­logue ( which I had no clue was just a pro­logue) re­quires you to pacify your neck of the woods be­fore head­ing across the Hud­son River into Man­hat­tan.

I thought that was pretty in­tense – been away from the con­sole gam­ing scene for a while – un­til the en­su­ing cin­e­matic and ti­tle se­quence made me re­alise that my trou­bles were just get­ting started.

Your first ob­jec­tive is to es­tab­lish a base of op­er­a­tions and ac­ti­vate its three wings – Med­i­cal, Tech and Se­cu­rity. You’ll need all of those up and run­ning for the story to progress.

Each wing is also a branch of the game’s over­ar­ch­ing story mis­sion. Ac­ti­vat­ing a wing there­fore opens up a se­ries of ( in­creas­ingly tough) mis­sions which give you the re­spec­tive “cur­rency” you will need to build more up­grades in it.

These up­grades in turn give your agent more tal­ents and perks, and help you inch closer to­wards the ul­ti­mate goal: find­ing the cul­prit be­hind the at­tack. Well, at least that ap­pears to be the pri­mary ob­jec­tive at this point.

The in­tel­li­gent and con­nected bus stops could serve ads to de­fray the cost of of­fer­ing In­ter­net ac­cess. — TAn KIT hoonG/ The Star

The SmartPole is an LEd street­lamp which in­te­grates a 4G LTE base sta­tion.

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