Example Communications Essay Look for wireless technology and three technologies within it.

Example Communications Essay Look for wireless technology and three technologies within it.
Wireless technology was little more than just a distant idea for the majority of ordinary consumers ten years ago. However, it has exploded over recent years with the use of 3G phones and wireless home computing increasingly commonplace.
It would be foolish tosuggest that wireless communication has reached its peak. Whilst mobile phonesand home computing will continue to be the major focus in the quest for everincreasing sophistication within the technology, new applications are emergingdaily.

One company, SecurecomTechnologies, based in Ireland, have been at the forefront of harnessingwireless technologies in the area of personal safety. They already have anumber of products in the marketplace designed to enable users to activate analarm signal to a remote emergency centre wirelessly. Their Benefon range ofapplications are used by vulnerable elderly people, lone workers and VIPs toincrease their sense of security and ability to effortlessly get in touch withhelp at the touch of the button.

They are now in the processof developing PERUSE1, which stands for 'Personal Safety SystemUtilising Satellite combined with Emerging Technologies'. The Peruse projectwill develop a Wireless Personal Alarm (WPA) solution which will be carried byor worn on a person and will allow the user to summon help at the touch of abutton. When the alarm has been activated, the WPA will transmit a low powersignal to a satellite communications headset which will forward a message to anauthorised number. This will include the identity of the person in distress, aswell as their current location. However, the ingenuity of the technology goesfurther as it will also have the potential to transmit the user's current stateof health and local environmental parameters.

It is envisaged that therecipient of the users SOS signal will be a fully equipped Emergency MonitoringCentre to whom the user will have previously given full instructions as to thesteps they would wish to have the Centre take on their behalf in the event ofan emergency.

There are two corecomponents that are in the development phase. The wireless personal alarm (WPA)and a 'dongle' which provides the handset for satellite communication use whichwill have a low power wireless link to the WPA.

The important issues hereare that the two components will need to take into account size, cost, accuracyof location and battery autonomy. The main benefits will be that the devicewill be able to be worn or carried on a person discreetly. This makes it idealfor professions such as personal security, where the ability to communicate amessage quickly and without fuss can often be of paramount importance. It willherald a new era in satellite communication. No longer will the user have totap a keypad to enter a number nor will they have to move the handset foroptimal signal strength prior to sending an emergence message. This technologywill be invaluable to professions such as mountain rescue and will also be atremendous benefit to those who enjoy hiking and climbing in the course oftheir leisure pursuits where conventional mobile phone technology can often berendered useless.

There are currently no known competitors for this potentially life saving technology for which Securecom hasfiled for both Irish and European Patent Applications. Prototypes have alreadybeen manufactured and pilot programmes and laboratory tests are well under way.

UWB (Ultra Wide Band)2is another example of emerging wireless technology. Alongside traditionalwireless uses, UWB can also detect images through solid objects, such as peopleon the opposite side of a wall. This has led to an equal number of supportersand opponents.

Although UWB can be used forconsumer applications in a similar fashion to Bluetooth technology such ascable elimination between a PC and its peripheral equipment, the moreinteresting applications focus on its 'radar 'like imagery. These applicationscould be used to find people trapped in a burning building, locating hostagesand captors behind a thick wall and finding objects such as those that might beburied in the ground. Heightened security at airports and other publicbuildings can use UWB technology to detect weapons on people and bombs inluggage and packages. In this age of heightened security, post 9/11, thebenefits of this emerging technology should not be understated.

A few companies have startedto develop UWB products, including XtremeSpectrum, Time Domain and Aether Wire.XtremeSpectrum is developing products to enable the sending and receiving ofmultiple streams of digital audio and video for both battery powered and otherconsumer devices such as digital cameras, DVDs, DVRs, camcorders, MP3 playersand set top boxes. Time Domain has developed a UWB chip set targeting threecore technologies: wireless communication, precision location and tracking, andhigh definition portable radar whilst Aether Wire is working on miniature,distributed-position location and low data-rate communication devices. One ofits goals is to develop coin sized devices that are capable of localisation tocentimetre accuracy over kilometre distances.

However, privacy violationis one of the major concerns of the technology's opponents. Any technology thatcan 'see' through solid objects can be used for illegal purposes as well aslegitimate ones. In theory, a UWB-enabled system could 'look through' the wallsof a house to locate valuable objects and could detect when the occupants arenot at home. Supporters, however, could rightly point out that this is adilemma shared by many technologies that are used to enhance public safety -the juggling act between increased security versus decreased personal freedom.It could be argued that baggage searches at airports via x-ray and metaldetection are common examples of us giving up privacy for better security, aprice most people are willing to pay.

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No other area is more at theforefront of the emergence of innovation in wireless technology than spaceexploration. Future missions to nearby planets like Mars will require spacecommunication technologies that can provide an interplanetary satellite andnavigation infrastructure via space systems that are far more compact andefficient than seen ever before. A longer term commitment will be necessary toresolve the challenges of efficient planetary communication due to the increasein distances involved as space exploration ventures further out into the solarsystem. To support planetary exploration, techniques developed for Earth-boundusage will be transferred to other planets as well. Exploration of Mars, forexample, will require a high accuracy positioning capability such as a 'MartianGPS' as an aid to exploratory roving vehicles.

This very day, the 'Mars Spirit'space rover continues to send data back to Earth, almost 18 months after ittouched down on the red planet, surviving more than 4 times its expectedmission length. One day it is highly likely that we may see astronauts walkingon Mars carting around wi-fi enabled PCs. In a remote Arizona meteor crater,NASA has already begun testing a mobile wi-fi system that could enable those ona Mars mission to easily deploy wireless data connectivity at a transmissionrate of just more than a megabit per second over a 2 square mile area, and thenchange that coverage area at will through the use of mobile access points,making it entirely feasible to explore different terrain on any given day.

Tropos Networks3developed the technology which NASA has adopted whereby the astronauts couldhave inter-connectivity via a three node mesh network. They would firstestablish a base communications station near their spacecraft and then set upan Ethernet connection between that base and a main access point. Then each nodein the network would pick up its wireless connectivity from the access point.

Testing is still in itsinfancy and there is some way to go before astronauts would be strutting theirstuff on Mars and communicating wirelessly with one and other and with missioncontrol in this way.

However, the Mars Spiritspace rover is still sending back images and data from the red planet today,relying heavily on wireless technology to do so. It may appear that thesevehicles have been designed solely for the purpose of space exploration butcloser scrutiny reveals applications that could also be modified and used onEarth. Unlike, say, a car manufacturing robot which knows where and when theengine or body appears on the assembly line, the Mars rovers are working in anunstructured and unknown environment. As a result, the rovers have had to learnabout their new home through their own sensors, including a set of nine camerason each rover. The rovers have two navigation cameras for a 3D view of theirsurroundings, two hazard avoidance cameras for a 3D view of nearby terrain andpanoramic cameras to capture the images of the planet's surface. However, therovers cannot just look around them, process the images and know where to go.Neither can the mission controllers on Earth grab a joystick and start steeringthe rovers whilst watching images being beamed back from thousands of milesaway. A key reason is processing power. The central processor in each rover hasa top speed of 20 MHz. Instead, during the Martian night, while a rover is'asleep', a team on Earth with much more powerful computers programs its activitiesfor the day ahead, and then sends basic instructions on where to go and how toget there. Along with taking pictures, each rover is examining the planet withseveral instruments on a robotic arm. The arms have 'shoulder', 'elbow' and'wrist' joints for manoeuvrability and are equipped with four sensors: amicroscopic camera for close up pictures of rocks, an alpha particle x rayspectrometer for determining the mineral content of rocks, another spectrometerfor detecting iron and a rock abrasion tool for cutting through the layer ofoxidation that forms on the surfaces of Martian rocks. As with the movement ofthe rovers, the arms are controlled mostly via prepared commands from missioncontrol.

Some observers have notedthat some of these applications may prove useful here on Earth. For example, arobotic arm that doesn't require real time human control might be good fordisabled people who use wheelchairs and can't control a joystick with theirhands. Using its own sensors, it could reach out and get things for the personin the wheelchair, for example.

In addition, a robot thatcan deal with new and unknown environments might save manufacturers money. Incurrent factories with 'robotic' workers, when the company shifts to making anew product, the whole factory floor has to be reconfigured and the robotsreprogrammed to deal with the new arrangement. A robot that could use feedbackfrom sensors to figure out where things are could adapt to changes by itself,saving the company the time and effort of building a new structured environmentand reprogramming the robots.

With all the emergingtechnologies around and, inevitably, with more to come, the inevitable hurdlewill be one of convergence and integration as the IT industry seeks to developthe tools that will be most sought after. Inevitably, there will be winners andlosers.

However, there is no doubtthat the wireless phenomenon is reshaping enterprise connectivity worldwide andis definitely here to stay. Business needs information mobility for bettercustomer interaction. Employees will be even more equipped to perform their jobfunctions from their workplace of choice and, though this sounds like utopia, asocietal change from office based to 'wherever they feel like being' basedmight conjure up an horrific vision of the future for company leaders who haveenjoyed the traditions of having all their employees working from under thesame roof.

Another major issue has tobe one of security. There are many issues when it comes to security overwireless networks. Wireless networks do not follow the rules of traditionalwired networks. Many times, the signals are carried far beyond the physical parametersthey are meant to be controlled within making it easier to intercept signalsand capture information.

There will also be thequestion posed of what happens to the have nots? - Those people anddeveloping countries in particular that don't have the resources to wirelesslyinteract with others. The same thing could be said about the Internet itselfbut satellites could alleviate that problem far more quickly than the abilityto put broadband connections in every office and home throughout the world.

Another major hurdle has tobe that business and society can only adapt at a certain pace. Technologyevolves far more quickly and there may be many a product developed for whichthe demand is not yet there. But the mobile phone and PC market driven by whatthe consumer wants will determine what the future of wireless holds.

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But there is no questionthat wireless communication is here to stay and will grow even more.

Signs of the new wirelesstechnologies abound. Consumers are setting up wireless local area networks(WLANS) in their homes. These allow multiple computers to hook up to one fastinternet connection or laptop users to connect from the comfort of their sofaor back garden patio. Away from home, 'Hotspots' that permit wirelessconnection to the internet are popping up everywhere, in book stores, coffeeshops, airports and even pubs. Within the next year, airlines are expected toannounce the availability of wi-fi during flights. However, until there isincreased competition in the market place, this new epoch will be there for theprivileged few as opposed to the mass market who will still be relying solelyon their mobile phones for wireless connectivity on the move. It remains to beseen whether the new generation of 3G phones has arrived too late to push asidewi-fi and it's even conceivable that mobile phone companies could one day findthemselves obsolete unless they look for new ways to attract and retaincustomers.

But issues like security,along with the problems of cost, intrusion on privacy and identifying suchthings as hotspot locations is not going to hold wireless communication andtechnology back. In the end, there will always be solutions to problems andwi-fi is no different in this respect.

David Reed, an adjunct professorat MIT's Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been studying the future ofwireless communications. He draws a comparison with the new wi-fi revolutionwith that of the 'paperless society' which was often mooted in offices andhomes all over the world with the advent of the PC. He said, The market willpush us towards a wireless future. People love paper but I can't find a singleperson who can say that about wires.4

As more wi-fi systems aredeveloped which will, in turn, drive the cost down it will become anincreasingly less disruptive way to communicate in the future and it willbecome very difficult for anything else out there to compete with that.

Example Communications Essay Look for wireless technology and three technologies within it. 9.6 of 10 on the basis of 3872 Review.