Archive

July 2022

Browsing

A TED talk by Graham Conway, principal engineer at the Southwest Research Institute, claims that electric vehicles are less green than ICE cars and this is well argued. While I don’t agree with all of Conway’s metrics, the point he makes is valid, which is that the things we need to do to make electric vehicles truly green haven’t been done yet.

We are nowhere near the maximum potential for an electric car. Conway argues that for the next two or three decades, the hybrid approach may be better – at least until we can fix the parts of the ecosystem that are making electric vehicles less green.

In the meantime, we must continue to explore alternatives such as green hydrogen; A process where hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. With that, if we continue our massive push to convert to electric vehicles, we could be in a better place faster.

Here’s Conway’s presentation for reference:

This week let’s talk about what’s really involved in switching to electric cars. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a laptop from Vaio that shows just how much you can get for less than $700—at least for now.

I’m not anti-electric

I’ll start by pointing out that I drive an EV and have leased one of the first Jaguar I-Pace electric cars to come to the US since 2019 when I did.

Last year I bought that car from a leasing company because I didn’t like anything better, and the lease buyout was much less than what I sold the car for. Seems like a good deal.

I’ve been covering electric cars since the late 1990s, when I was the top US battery analyst among many other titles. So, I love electric cars, but I also know their drawbacks and there are still many.

disadvantages of electric car

As Conway pointed out, electric cars can be driven indefinitely in a closed room without killing us and are certainly greener to operate. However, they have three major weaknesses.

The first is that due to the almost complete collapse of battery development in the early 1900s, battery technology is not where it would have been otherwise.

Lithium ion has one-third the energy density of dynamite, the common configuration being in cells such as small AA batteries that are difficult to cool, and if the battery catches on fire, it is difficult to put out. I know this directly because a fire broke out in a bicycle with a lithium-ion battery in my garage and even though I was trained as a fireman and was at home, I almost lost the house.

Lithium ion burns hot enough to melt aluminum and it will continue to ignite as long as the cells have enough energy to generate the heat needed for combustion. That’s why we have reports of a crashed Tesla on fire again in the wreckage.

Also, as Conway mentioned, manufacturing these batteries is far from a green process and the substance is a pollutant, meaning that the batteries must be recycled to prevent groundwater contamination.

The second weakness is that for large-scale cryptocurrency miners, there is no electrical power headroom in the world and the peak generation capacity of the power grid often comes from old, dirty and nearly obsolete production facilities.

Electric cars draw a considerable amount of electricity, and we don’t yet have the headroom in our grid to supply it. Cars are typically charged at night when renewable energy such as wind and solar is unreliable (wind) or non-existent (solar). So, even if you have a solar plant on your roof, if you are connected to the grid (not using the battery for power at night), and you change your electricity at night, you might end up with some kind of electricity. Pulling from a source that is anything but green.

Third and finally, we don’t have enough neighborhood electric capacity to handle the huge influx of electric cars. Last time I checked, if you find more than three cars charging at once in a block of houses, there’s a good chance your local transformer will grenade – and they really do boom when they go up.

I considered getting a Level 3 charger for my electric vehicle, and it would have cost me more than the car cost. Not only would I have to pull bigger wires and more of them (going from L-2- to L-3 phase), but I would have to pay to replace the local transformer and massively increase my home service level.

Now with solid state batteries (which are coming), the expansion of green energy sources (especially nuclear or geothermal ones that can operate at night), and the expansion of micro-grid technologies (small green generators that can be distributed Provided), we can turn to electric cars to serve as a tremendous force to work against climate change. But we are not there yet.

This is not a list of requirements that you can pick and choose from. You need all three elements to make electric cars truly green: green energy storage, sufficient green energy generation, and a more capable grid to deliver that energy reliably, cheaply, and safely. All of that is coming, just not in this decade.

Other Problems We Aren’t Talking About

The big deal is, what do we do with existing gasoline drilling, refining and distribution systems? The oil industry employs about 6 million people directly and 10 times more jobs are created indirectly.

Refineries, gas and oil pipelines, storage tanks and gas stations are all potentially hazardous material problems depending on how much oil and gas has leaked over the years. Even if the answer is zero, the equipment will need to be safely cleaned and then scraped.

Industries dependent on oil production ranging from plastics to cheap drugs (petroleum jelly) and some solvents would collapse without large-scale oil production, and the resulting economic collapse of an industry (what happens to all oil platforms and oil drilling rigs?) The ecological time bombs of the future subside the firms once owned by them.

Plans should be drawn up on what to do with these related industries and implemented before the car and truck industry moves to electricity so as to avoid enormous labor and ecological problems.

Plug-in Hybrids: The Short-Term Answer

As TED Talk also pointed out, you can get the same benefits as an electric car with a plug-in hybrid.

My wife drives a Volvo XC60 rechargeable plug-in hybrid. With the car coming up in a year and a half, we’re on our third or fourth gas tank (largely connected to the drive that exceeds its electric limit). It uses a very small and safe battery.

The Volvo XC60 also typically only requires the included Level 1 battery charger that plugs into a regular household electrical plug, unlike Level 2 chargers that require a two-stage hookup and a plug that plugs into an electric cloth. Uses dryer. His car will work with my level 2 charger, and it charges fast but not enough, in my opinion, to make a level 2 charger worthwhile.

Oh, and I should point out that while his car has a 20-mile power range, the latest version of his car doubles that to 40 miles, which makes the battery size far smaller and greener than the full-size one. Keeping it full is more ideal. On an electric car.

wrapping up

While I’m an electric car fan because they’re fun to drive and gas stations surprisingly pleasant to pass through, the electric car ecosystem isn’t where it needs to be to reap the full benefits of going electric just yet.

We need better, safer, more reliable and green battery technology. Charging cars requires more green energy, and we need a far stronger and more powerful grid to handle the extra load (cryptocurrency mining, which has taken off as of late, has led to arguably more powerful grids). pushing has helped). We also need a plan to more painlessly go away from oil. Otherwise, the infection will be noticeably worse than expected.

If we move to electric cars before all of these elements are in place, the result will not only be less of the positive impact on climate change that electrics would otherwise provide, but they will create many other environmental and social problems that we are prepared to tackle. are not. with.

Sometimes it’s better not to rush into new technology and instead be more measured in our approach. This is why, for now, a hybrid car may be a more sustainable option than electric vehicles, until we address other aspects of the conversion process to EVs.

Technical Product of the Week

Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook

I was a big fan of Sony’s Vaio line back when Sony had the Vaio — and I studied why Sony failed massively in the PC market in the early 2000s. It was not because it did not have a well differentiated and well manufactured product. The products were more innovative and better built than any other big seller of the time.

The bigger problem was that while the product broke less often than it did when it did break, the service experience was terrible. Hence, customers did not hold back and tended to replace their better looking Vaio PCs with vendors that are still in this market.

Vaio is now largely a standalone company. I was curious whether it maintained its product quality, so I requested the evaluation model of the least expensive new laptop for this review. I should point out that I haven’t tested the company’s service process, but I’ve been told that it has improved and today’s laptops are far more reliable than they were two decades ago when Vaio was part of Sony.

Priced at $699 in silver, the 15.6″ Vaio FE laptop runs an acceptable Intel i5 processor with limited integrated graphics. That means it tests well for things like web browsing, watching movies, and office work – But this isn’t a gaming machine or workstation by any means. Its graphics score indicates it’ll be woefully useless if you need graphics headroom for gaming, photo or video editing, or computer-aided design.

Vaio 15.6

The Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook is currently available in silver for $699 and in black for $799. (image credit: Vaio)


It played older and more casual games respectfully, and as mentioned, it streamed TV and movies just fine, though the speakers don’t do the included THX technology justice. It would be far better with a good set of headphones.

This Vaio FE has a fingerprint reader for security on the track pad (unusually), it lacks a touch screen, and has an older-style charger (no USB-C charging) that’s unusual on current-generation laptops – but the lower end is probably acceptable. USB-C chargers are a lot more useful in the sense that they’re more common now, so you’re more likely to find a charger you can borrow, and they can charge many of your smartphones in a pinch.

The fit and finish were sturdy, with a metal casing and a painted plastic keyboard. What I found was silver – and silver-painted plastic usually looks cheap – but this was by far the best implementation I’ve seen. Still, I’d pay an extra $100 to get it in black.

Vaio 15.6”-inch FE Series Notebook in Black Color

VAIO 15.6″ FE Series Notebook in Black color. (image credit: Vaio)


It was one of the first laptops to come with Windows 11 already on board, and with one exception the startup experience has improved.

That exception is that when it does its first major update, it doesn’t provide a progress bar, which makes you wonder if it’s doing anything at all. Since rebooting the machine can brick it, lack of notice can lead to some costly mistakes. Otherwise, the OS loaded fine and did a better job of bringing in my settings and favorites than Windows 10.

In the end, the $699 Vaio 15.6″ FE laptop in silver was a good high-end, entry-level laptop for school or remote work, has good battery life, isn’t too heavy for its class, and looks great. Is to be mistaken for a more expensive product.

All this makes the VAIO FE Series Notebook my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Misconceptions about embedded SIM cards (eSIM) for IoT are preventing companies from adopting this new technology. This is harmful, as eSIM patching is critical to successful secure IoT deployment.

eSIMs are slowly replacing standard SIMs in IoT devices and products such as smartwatches. They are also making their way into the machine-to-machine world.

However, the rollout has been slowed by unresolved conflicts between competing technical standards and tighter restrictions on data management rules globally. Despite the need for better IoT device security, removing barriers to adoption is less than likely any time soon.

Machine-to-machine, or M2M, is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables network devices to exchange information and take actions without the manual assistance of humans. .

controversial technology

Mostly led by the automotive and transportation industries, eSIMS also contributes to tracking operations in healthcare, smart mobility, utilities and other sectors. But eSIM technology remains controversial so far, noted Noam Lando, CEO and co-founder of global connectivity provider Webbing.

Webbing provides enterprise-grade solutions for Fortune 500 and IoT/M2M companies, as well as an embedded solution for a variety of manufacturers worldwide. The deployment is part of a phased process to ensure a secure and continuous Internet connection for all devices, no matter where in the world they are.

Lando said that “eSIM technology is a game-changer in telecommunications. It completely digitizes the cellular subscription provisioning process. As with any technology that is disruptive, it is important to better understand its benefits, clear up misconceptions, and help with IoT usage.” There are a lot of debates and discussions around it for its effect on expediting matters.”

Why all the commotion?

We asked Lando to go down the circuit boards to find out why eSIM technology is causing such an industry-wide uproar.

TechNewsWorld: Is the technology upgraded in eSIMS worth the current turmoil?

Noam Lando: eSIM technology promises cost-effective connectivity establishment and maintenance that is accessible anywhere in the world, regardless of device manufacturing or deployment as well as ultimate control. With the promise of eSIM technology, enterprises can scale their IoT deployments globally, reducing total ownership and business process management costs and shortening time to market.

This generates a lot of hype, especially when you have device makers like Apple, Microsoft, and Google that have eSIM as a standard feature in their new devices.

I understand a “BUT” here. It always takes BUT in the works. So what is the big but around eSIM development?

Lando: However, when companies look deeper into implementing eSIM technology, they realize that there are two standards: consumer and machine-to-machine (M2M). They are not sure which standard to use and often feel that the implementation of eSIM technology is not as easy for their IoT devices as it is for smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Therefore, there is a lot of discussion about the two standards and their pros and cons, especially around M2M.

What are the drawbacks of standard sim?

Lando: For traditional SIM cards, carrier provisioning is done at the manufacturing level. They can only host one profile and are not reprogrammable. That’s why you need a new SIM when switching cellular providers. It is not ideal for IoT deployment. Especially the global ones.

Noam Lando, CEO and Co-Founder of Webbing
Noam Lando, CEO of Webbing

Once the SIM is implemented, you have vendor lock-in. With thousands and even millions of devices in IoT deployments, it is impractical to change SIM cards when you want to change wireless carriers. This requires site visits, and it can be physically difficult to access the card.

In addition, issues complying with the global trend to impose regulatory requirements on communication services and data management. These include restrictions on data leaving countries and global enterprises requiring localized deployment with local wireless carriers.

This requires the storage, management and deployment of multiple wireless carrier-specific product SKUs that increase production and logistics costs.

The attraction towards eSIM seems to be evident. What are the main benefits?

Lando: eSIM technology provides a robust, scalable solution to the limitations of traditional SIMs. What makes eSIM unique is the technological advancement made in UICC, the SIM’s software, now called eUICC.

That new technology follows a new standard developed by GSMA. It is remotely programmable and reprogrammable, can host multiple cellular carrier subscriptions, and simplifies the selection, contracting, and onboarding of cellular providers with over-the-air (OTA) provision.

I think another but works here. What are the unresolved issues with eSIM replacement?

Lando: Consumer and M2M are implemented differently. Consumer Standard targets consumer devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, wearables, and other IoT devices with end-user interactive environments. It is secure by design, can host multiple wireless carrier profiles, and features carrier swap. However, it is designed for private consumer use.

How suitable are eSIMs for other uses?

Lando: The M2M standard targets industrial M2M and IoT devices such as cars, water meters, trackers, smart factories, and other components used in industrial, non-end-user interactive environments.

The M2M eSIM standard is also secure by design. It facilitates carrier migration and, in theory, provides remote centralized management and provision of carrier profiles. However, it is not as cut and dry as it seems.

That said, why isn’t the upgrade so promising yet?

Lando: M2M eSIM implementation is cumbersome, time consuming, and has long capital investment cycles. Implementing this requires collaboration between the enterprise, eSIM manufacturers and wireless carriers during the manufacturing process.

What are the biggest misconceptions about eSIM for IoT?

Lando: The biggest misconception about eSIM for IoT is that the benefits it provides to consumer devices can be implemented on IoT. Enterprises quickly realize that they have to implement a separate standard for IoT/M2M, which requires SM-DP (Subscription Manager – Data Preparation) and SM-SR (Subscription Manager – Data Preparation) to provision and manage carrier subscriptions remotely. Subscription Manager – Secure Routing). The M2M standard is cumbersome, requiring a substantial investment of money and time to organize the implementation of a wireless carrier.

Where do you see the fight between competing standards headed?

Lando: When looking at mobile data connectivity, there is no big difference between M2M and IoT device requirements when it comes to remote SIM provisioning. If anything, the benefits of eSIM (eUICC) technology are greater for M2M devices as they usually have a longer life cycle, and the demand for changing carriers at some point is high.

This can be for commercial or technical reasons. Hence, M2M devices are also likely to get eSIM instead of standard SIM.

Developers support eSIM to solve IoT and embedded firmware patch issues. eSIM hardware and eUICC components are certified in accordance with GSMA’s Security Accreditation Scheme (SAS). This guarantees a very high level of security. In addition, cellular connectivity is secure by design: data is encrypted, and users are securely identified.

What are the most important problems facing IoT and embedded technologies?

Lando: One of the most important problems facing IoT deployments is dealing with carrier lock-in and various global regulatory requirements. In such cases, enterprises require local deployment and local wireless carriers. Enterprises with global deployments need the flexibility to easily and efficiently change carriers to meet local regulations.

Why are companies not actively adopting eSIM technology?

Lando: From our experience, companies want the promise of eSIM technology, but the current ecosystem fails to provide it. The two eSIM standards disregard the need for enterprises to manage their own fleet of devices.

On the one hand, enterprise-based devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, scanners, and so on are covered under the consumer standard. Hence companies do not have complete control over setting up and managing career profiles with centralized eSIM management. The consumer standard requires the end user with the device to consent to the carrier profile being installed.

Meanwhile, the M2M standards for IoT deployments are cumbersome. They require a substantial investment of money and time to organize the implementation of wireless carriers.

It also limits the choice of customers due to a complex implementation to switch between carriers.

This is why we have developed WebbingCTRL, an eSIM, with a management platform that can be easily and remotely configured as the profile of any wireless carrier, paving the way for the adoption of eSIM technology in the IoT space. does.

One of the stories told in management classes as an example of a recurring mistake companies make when their industry is transitioning is focused on buggy manufacturers at the turn of the last century.

Those who found out were in the personal transportation business for cars. Most others who thought they were only in the buggy business went extinct as their market moved to cars, and they didn’t.

Seems obvious after the fact, but apparently it didn’t seem quite obvious at the time as most buggy makers and horse sellers and blacksmiths were out of business.

This story was originally published on January 17, 2022. As a result of its popularity, it is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT news series.

In the case of autonomous cars, we are looking at moving from car ownership to a service like Uber that will provide cars when we need them.

But, going forward, with services like Zoom initially and the metaverse eventually expanding the concept of holoportation – with drone deliveries and pandemics – will we need cars as much, or at all, in the future?

Holoportation, or literally the use of avatars to travel, is not considered personal transport today. But if it is successful, it could eliminate most personal transportation in the future, and in turn put existing car makers in the same category as they were buggy makers a century ago.

Should holoportation be considered part of the transportation industry, or should existing personal transportation be considered part of old school collaboration, social networking, and shopping?

Let’s talk about some of these big upcoming technology disruptions. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a head-mounted display from TCL called the NextWear Air that could become this year’s must-have gadget.

personal transport

Before the pandemic, private transport was mostly focused on air transport, human powered transport, and even motorcycles, mainly on cars falling into various classes. But with the increasing use of video conferencing and collaboration products like Zoom, Teams and Webex, the need for business travel has taken a significant hit.

Among the great things at CES this year, Portal and La Vitre showed off a way to meet family and friends virtually, while a solution called HoloPresence from ARHT Media showed how you can speak at any remote event without leaving your home. are, yet actually appear to be there.

While we are still bound by the habit of travelling, the pandemic is forcing us to rethink our safety and consider not travel aggressively. We don’t really need to go to the store anymore as the delivery options have expanded. Due to COVID, our doctors visit us far and wide, and we are able to use services like Amazon and eBay to meet our need of going to malls and department stores.

When cars become truly autonomous, why would we need one for a while to leave our homes? Just contact the car service and an automated vehicle will show up at your doorstep and act like a lift in a high rise. You don’t need to have a lift, so why would you need a car?

At CES, a lot of car designs looked more like rolling living rooms than cars, and many of them were ugly. But there are lifts too, and we don’t care what they look like more than we care about old yellow cabs or buses.

Also, we haven’t even begun to talk about flying cars and people-carrying drones, both of which are moving very quickly. Once vehicles become autonomous, we will no longer need professional drivers or driving licenses as humans will not be driving.

film and television

In video games, we have a concept called an NPC, a non-player character who follows a set script. But isn’t that what actors and extras do? Soon, it may be far easier to program an NPC to appear in a movie and convert a script into a realistic representation of the character, and much less expensive than hiring a person.

Actors can get sick, they can have behavioral problems, they can get into trouble off-screen that can result in their termination, and they get more expensive every time you use them. Movies today are largely shot with computer graphics anyway and it is much easier for a rendered character to work on a virtual stage than a human.

Now, it’s not just acting. Script writing can now be done using AI. You don’t need to cater or recruit virtual players, and with a digital movie-making engine, you can rewrite scripts and digitally recreate the scene while fine-tuning the result with a digital character rather than a human. can shoot with.

Studios like Dust are already creating relatively high quality content using fairly cheap digital tools, and an increasing number of films today use people as extras for scenes that previously required humans in those roles. .

So, do we replace directors, writers, actors, extras, camera people, and everyone else on film crew with some programmers and advanced artificial intelligence? The result is still a movie — and services like Netflix and Amazon today have a never-ending appetite for content. It seems to me that video game studios may well displace film studios before this trend ends.

Farming

Traditional farming methods are becoming largely obsolete due to climate change. We are moving to warehouse farms that produce more food in a much smaller space and can exist very close to customers located in cities.

Robots and autonomous devices on such farms are rapidly increasing in order to reduce costs and pollution and operate on a scale that conventional farms typically cannot match.

In addition, for livestock owners, we are developing healthier, tastier alternatives to beef, chicken and other animal protein sources.

These changes should not only be more reliable in times of rapid weather change, but also potentially be more beneficial to the environment because you don’t need to clear rain forests and you no longer need to eat other animals. . Some of the animals we eat are major producers of the methane gas that contributes significantly to climate change.

Does this mean that farming will become like manufacturing, especially as we start eating 3D printing? The farm of the future may just be another factory.

Production

Warehouses and factories are changing with the increasing use of robots and less need for human workers. Factories effectively grow into giant 3D printers that can produce cookie cutter products in volume, and much less expensive custom offerings thanks to increased automation.

Are factories still there after they are fully automated? Or are they just giant devices that 3D print the products we want on demand and ship them using the growing variety of autonomous vehicles and package-carrying drones?

Fully automated 3D printing factories should have fewer shutdowns, be less affected by inflation slowing their growth, and be more able to meet temporary demand using a periodic manufacturing model. In addition, because these automated factories will use 3D printing as part of their process, they may be smaller, more localized, and possibly more resistant to logistics disruption.

Wrapping Up: Tip of the Iceberg

I could go on for pages about the massive disruption of electrics replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, personal robots, military drones (we may not need military pilots or drivers in a few years), fast food. Robots are turning fast food restaurants into large food vending machines, and satellite-based data and voice services—and we already have advanced coffee vending machines that make a better cup of coffee than Starbucks.

Is personal transportation really personal, or is it becoming part of the communications market? Are restaurants, factories and 3D printers merging to be part of the technology market? Are movies and video games going to merge and provide different experiences but use the same build tools and back-end. If so, what do we call the result?

PCs and smartphones are rapidly merging, but is the result an advanced smartphone or a more portable PC? These are all things that will be addressed over the next decade and companies that figure out what new segment they are in will likely survive. Those who don’t anticipate these changes and evolve over time probably won’t.

But one thing is certain, this decade is going to be marked by an unprecedented turnaround and a lot of companies and people suddenly realize that the path they were on has come to an end. you’ve been warned.

Rob Enderle's Technology Product of the Week

TCL Nextwear Air Wearable Display Specs

One of the disruptors to come are head-mounted displays eventually reaching a price and performance level that makes them viable. The TCL Nextwear Air Head Mounted Display is powered by a smartphone or PC and projects an HD image into the glasses that’s like viewing a 140-inch screen from four meters away.

TCL Nextwear Air Wearable Display Specs

While it’s mostly for watching movies rather than monitors for work or gaming, it’s a significant step toward that latter category and, eventually, head-mounted displays will force a major shift between PCs and smartphones, especially when in the cloud. together with services. Windows 365.

Once they’re in widespread use, the need for monitors, screened laptops, and even personal TVs may be a thing of the past. We may decide that even when we are seated together, by using our own screen, which can be adjusted for our vision and unique problems (such as colorblindness), a better solution than the big screen experiences we have today. Will happen.

What makes these latest TCL glasses interesting is that they are 30 percent lighter than previous generations and they don’t look as dark. The specs deliver decent details (though I expect 4K glasses to be better eventually), deep colors and surprisingly deep blacks. They’ve made speakers that sound great and that means you can often leave the headphones at home (I still use the headphones on planes or when I’m near others).

Expected to cost just under $700, these specs are competitively priced when you consider that 140-inch displays cost more than any car you’ve ever bought, making them potentially a must-have. Real value – and become my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.