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