LED Light Bulb Data Speed Breakthrough

‘Li-fi’ via LED Light Bulb Data Speed Breakthrough
UK researchers say they have achieved data transmission speeds of 10Gbit/s via “li-fi” – wireless internet connectivity using light. The researchers used a micro-LED light bulb to transmit 3.5Gbit/s via each of the three primary colours – red, green, blue – that make up white light. This means over 10Gbit/s is possible.

Li-fi is an emerging technology that could see specialised LED lights bulbs providing low-cost wireless internet connectivity almost everywhere. The research, known as the ultra-parallel visible light communications project, is a joint venture between the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, Strathclyde, Oxford, and Cambridge, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The tiny micro-LED bulbs, developed by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, allow streams of light to be beamed in parallel, each multiplying the amount of data that can be transmitted at any one time.

“If you think of a shower head separating water out into parallel streams, that’s how we can make light behave,” said Prof Harald Haas, an expert in optical wireless communications at the University of Edinburgh and one of the project leaders.

Using a digital modulation technique called Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing (OFDM), researchers enabled micro-LED light bulbs to handle millions of changes in light intensity per second, effectively behaving like an extremely fast on/off switch. This allows large chunks of binary data – a series of ones and zeros – to be transmitted at high speed.

Earlier this year, Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute claimed that data rates of up to 1Gbit/s per LED light frequency were possible in laboratory conditions. And this month, Chinese scientists reportedly developed a microchipped LED bulb that can produce data speeds of up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps), with one bulb providing internet connectivity for four computers.

In 2011, Prof Haas demonstrated how an LED bulb equipped with signal processing technology could stream a high-definition video to a computer. He coined the term “light fidelity” or li-fi – also known as visual light communications (VLC) – and set up a private company, PureVLC, to exploit the technology.

Li-fi promises to be cheaper and more energy-efficient than existing wireless radio systems given the ubiquity of LED bulbs and the fact that lighting infrastructure is already in place. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and 10,000 times bigger than the radio spectrum, affording potentially unlimited capacity.

Another advantage, Prof Haas argues, is that evenly spaced LED transmitters could provide much more localised and consistent internet connectivity throughout buildings.

The disadvantage of traditional wi-fi routers is that the signal weakens the further you are away from it, leading to inconsistent connectivity within offices and homes.

Prof Haas also believes light’s inability to penetrate walls makes VLC technology potentially more secure than traditional wi-fi connectivity.

BT Accused of Profiteering over Nuisance Call ID Fee

BT Accused of Profiteering over Nuisance Call ID Fee
BT has been accused by an MP who heads a group set up to tackle nuisance calls of profiteering from the problem. The cross-party parliamentary group on nuisance calls says such services should be free of charge, in a report to be published this week.

The criticism follows news that the company has introduced a charge for its caller ID display service. BT said the service would remain free if customers signed up for a 12-month contract. The caller ID service allows users to screen calls and is generally seen as a good method to combat unwanted marketing calls.

Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart told the BBC that Ofcom and other interested parties were unhappy about BT’s decision to charge a £1.75 a month for the service. “When we started to look into this, BT talked about how important it was to have caller ID, but failed to mention that they were about to start charging for it,” Mr Crockart said. “This can be seen as profiteering on the back of nuisance calls.”

BT said that it “takes the issue of nuisance calls very seriously”. The company said in a statement: “We work with Ofcom, industry and consumer groups to tackle the problem.”

It also has a handset, the BT 6500, which bars calls from international and withheld numbers as well as up to 10 specified numbers. “BT is improving the network over the next 12 months, so that the caller display service will also be able to display full telephone numbers calling from abroad,” said a spokeswoman.

Unwanted calls and texts from companies selling products are on the increase. Complaints to the Telephone Preference Service, which allows people to opt out of receiving UK-based marketing calls, have gone up despite critics claiming the service is ineffective.

Consumer group Which? is leading a campaign to stamp out nuisance calls. It claims that 85% of people received a nuisance call each month, with nearly six in 10 people so fed up with it that they no longer want to answer the phone.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Millions of us are being bombarded with nuisance calls and texts, and people are totally sick and tired of it. We’re pleased to see MPs recognising that the current system is failing the public and that the government must go further and faster to call time on this menace.

“We need to see the law strengthened so people have greater control over use of their personal data and to make it easier for regulators to take action against companies breaking the rules.”

Mobile Users Win Penalty Free Switch from Ofcom

Mobile Users Win Penalty Free Switch from Ofcom
Mobile phone customers will be able to leave their contracts mid-term without paying a penalty if their provider puts up prices, the regulator has confirmed.

Ofcom said that customers must be given 30 days’ notice of any price rise in their monthly subscription – even if it is within the level of inflation. A provider must then allow a customer to exit their contract without a penalty. Mid-term price rises are allowed, but must be made clear to consumers.

There are no specific changes to the rules, but the way they were interpreted has differed among providers.

The regulator decided to offer guidance to providers to make it clear exactly how they should behave, and encourage competition. This will take effect in three months’ time and will apply to any new mobile, landline and broadband contracts, including some bundled contracts, entered into from that point in time.

“Ofcom is today making clear that consumers entering into fixed-term telecoms contracts must get a fairer deal,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer group director. “We think the sector rules were operating unfairly in the provider’s favour, with consumers having little choice but to accept price increases or pay to exit their contract. “We are making it clear that any increase to the monthly subscription price should trigger a consumer’s right to leave their contract – without penalty.”

The consumer group Which? has campaigned for clarity from the regulator.

“Consumers told us price hikes on fixed contracts were unfair, and now people will be able to leave these contracts and switch to a cheaper provider without being hit by extortionate exit fees,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?.

Ernest Doku, of price comparison website Uswitch, which could benefit from consumers shopping around for deals, said: “Hopefully it will make providers think twice about increasing prices – they won’t want to lose customers two months into a 24-month contract.

“But even if this move does not stop prices going up, at least consumers will be able to vote with their feet and say no to higher bills by moving to a new deal.”

Hackers may be Recruited to UK’s Cyber Defence Force

Hackers may be Recruited to UK’s Cyber Defence Force
Convicted computer hackers could be recruited to the UK’s cyber defence force if they pass security vetting, the head of the new unit has said. Lt Col Michael White told BBC Newsnight he would “look at individuals in the round” when assessing applicants. Recruitment would be focused on “capability development” rather than “personality traits”, he added.

The Joint Cyber Reserve Unit was announced by the government in September. Under the £500m initiative, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to recruit hundreds of reservists as computer experts to work alongside regular armed forces. The unit will defend national security by safeguarding computer networks and vital data, and it will also launch strikes in cyberspace if necessary.

It is hoped the move will address the shortage of people with the technological skills and knowledge to protect corporations, the military, and government systems from cyber attacks.

The MoD said the recruitment, which started in early October, would target regular personnel leaving the armed forces, current and former reservists with the required skills, and civilians with the appropriate technological knowledge.

When asked by Newsnight whether someone with the right skills would be ruled out if they had a criminal record for hacking, Lt Col White said: “I think if they could get through the security process, then if they had that capability that we would like, then if the vetting authority was happy with that, why not? We’re looking at capability development, rather than setting hard and fast rules about individual personality traits.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond unveiled plans for the cyber defence unit last month. Mr Hammond also told the TV news programme Newsnight he could foresee circumstances in which convicted hackers could be employed. “Each individual case would be looked at on its merits,” he said. “The conviction would be examined in terms of how long ago it was, how serious it was, what sort of sentence had followed. So I can’t rule it out.”

But one former hacker told Newsnight the government had already undermined its chances of attracting talented individuals. Mustafa al-Bassam, now a computer science student at King’s College London, was the youngest hacker in the Lulzsec group – which recently targeted organisations such as the FBI in the US and Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in a 50-day hacking campaign.

He told the BBC that revelations by former US contractor Edward Snowden about the extent of mass surveillance carried out by intelligence agencies – including the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s GCHQ – had dissuaded him from using his cyber skills to protect UK national security.

“I can understand the need for a government to protect itself, but when you go ahead and stomp on everyone’s civil liberties – as we’ve seen with all the mass surveillance stories that have been out over the past year – I think you can rest assured that you’re going to repel talented people,” he said.

Dr David Day, a Sheffield Hallam University computer forensics expert who provided evidence for Mr Al-Bassam’s conviction, told Newsnight it was a “terrible shame” someone convicted of malicious hacking would find it difficult to get a job in the industry. “If they have those abilities and those skills, then some of the best talent we can’t use,” he said.

Cyber attacks and crime have become more common in recent years.

In July, it emerged Britain was seeing about 70 sophisticated cyber espionage operations a month against government or industry networks. GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban told the BBC business secrets were being stolen on an “industrial scale”. And in a written statement in December last year, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in 2012.

Introducing Local Search to the Tyre Sales Trade

Introducing Local Search to the Tyre Sales in Gateshead
A new company selling tyres in Gateshead and the north East has now extended the range of its tyres to include 4X4 and high performance tyres. With the winter approaching this is an ideal time for Tam Tyres to look to expand its market.

Direct Submit have been asked by this company to help them expand their online presence and hopefully help raise their local business profile and help improve the Search Engine rankings. As we are all now aware of ‘local search’ should be an important part of any businesses marketing strategy with levels of local search being undertaken in the likes of Google and Yahoo increasing all of the time.

If your business isn’t using proper search engine optimisation targeted toward local North East (Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland, Durham etc) searches, you could be missing out on a stream of potential visitors who are twice more likely to buy than visitors who come across your site by any other means.

Direct Submit can provide you with a Search Engine Marketing solution to help your company increase the effectiveness of its website in the Search Engines and give it a distinct advantage over your local competitors’ websites who aren’t optimised for local searches. Why not call us today on 0845 2722350 and let us help you get more from local SEO.

LiNC Buildings and Maintenance Services

LiNC Buildings and Maintenance Services
Direct Submit are now working with LiNC Buildings, Maintenance and Facilities Management Services.  They offer a comprehensive range of services including construction fit outs, engineering, operations services, sub-contractor and service provider facilities management services throughout the UK.

LiNC Buildings have over 30 years’ experience in the buildings and service sectors and are now looking to expand their marketing to include the Internet and Search Engines. Using a combination of both on-site and off-site SEO, Direct Submit hope to help LiNC services quickly achieve recognition across the Internet.

Scheme to Ensure Payments to Small Companies ‘Not Working’

Scheme to Ensure Payments to Small Companies ‘Not Working’
A government-backed scheme to ensure small companies get paid on time is not working, the BBC has found. The Prompt Payment Code was established in December 2008 to help small suppliers recover the £30.2bn owed to them by some of the UK’s largest companies.

Around 1,500 firms have signed up to it – a number of them in the FTSE 100. But business leader and former trade minister Lord Digby Jones is among those who think the code is a failure.

The Prompt Payment Code was launched to encourage the big businesses to pay their suppliers faster. Signatories promise to abide by the terms set out in their contract – and not to change them retrospectively. Suppliers are also guaranteed the right to complain if they are unhappy.

The scheme is supposed to be further strengthened by the European directive on late payments, which says business to business payments should be made within 60 days and public sector bills should be paid within 30 days.

Smaller companies often face cash-flow problems if bills are not paid on time. Typically, they face extra costs – such as extending a bank loan to tide them over.

The construction sector is particularly badly hit by late payment. Steve Paul, who runs a plastering business in Staffordshire, said: “We are currently working on very tight margins and then not to get paid on time just causes you so much pressure, stress and aggravation and again we have a supply chain – we have to pay our guys who are working on site. “Some contractors are dragging payment terms to 45, 60 even 120 days. When you’ve got to pay all that money up front and try and run a business it’s nigh on impossible.” At one point they were owed £1.2m, causing cash-flow problems so severe that the company had to cease trading, Mr Paul said.

Lord Jones says he has known large companies to deliberately try to extend their payment terms as a business strategy. “I have sat in on board meetings of big companies who have said ‘we are paying on 60 days, let’s see if we can push it out to 90’. I have said: ‘If you are going to do it please don’t do it to small businesses.’ It is really damaging.”

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) says some signatories to the code have managed to stretch settlement periods to as long as 120 days – far longer than the limit set by the European Directive.

Mike Cherry of the FSB said: “We know around four in 10 businesses that are paid late will go on to pay their own suppliers late or struggle to pay their staff. It cannot be right that small businesses are in effect being asked to lend to their large customers.  “This can only have a negative impact on growth and investment.”

Lord Jones said the Prompt Payment Code was ineffective. “I think the code certainly has not worked. It was a nice statement of intent. At the end of the day, have you heard of any big business being shamed into changing?” Lord Jones added that as a result, small companies cannot afford to take people on – or invest in new equipment. “Somewhere, someone is paying an additional cost because the company at the top is basically borrowing off the small business rather than borrowing off the bank,” he said.

However Philip King, of the Institute of Credit Management – which operates the code – insisted it was having a positive effect. “There is evidence that companies that are signatories pay better than companies that are not,” he said. “And there is also research which shows companies that are signatories have improved their performance over the past four years.”

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills said: “It is not acceptable for businesses to fail to pay their suppliers on time and we are playing our part to help tackle the problem.  “This is a vital issue for small businesses and more can and will be done by government to help businesses tackle it.”

Tips for Working from Home

Tips for Working from Home
For many business owners, working from home can bring efficiency, reduce overheads and create more time to spend with family. The downside; distractions.

The following guide may be a useful tool for those either already working from home or thinking of doing so.

Have a Designated Work Area
Have a room to run the business from. Try to get your family to recognise when you in your workspace you are working and unavailable.

Keep Set Hours
It can be easy to take a few hours off in the afternoon, then work till late. The problem is that this ‘flexibility’ can led to you working to few hours or way too many. This may result in exhaustion or a reduction in the potential for growth in the business. A sensible approach is to try and work in keeping with your industry.

Attend Networking Events and Business Clubs
It is very easy to become solitary working on your own and at home. This will often cause a person to become uninspired or un-motived. Meeting new people at business and networking events can not only help keep you motivated, it may also result in more work.

Time Management
Set aside time each day / week for specific tasks. Answering emails and post, attending meetings, office paperwork, accounts, and of course some time off work.

By following the above advice, although basic, it should help you work more efficiently and help separate home from work!

UK to Create Cyber Defence Force

UK to Create Cyber Defence Force
The UK is to create a new cyber unit to help defend national security, the defence secretary has announced. The Ministry of Defence is set to recruit hundreds of reservists as computer experts to work alongside regular forces in the creation of the new Joint Cyber Reserve Unit.

The new unit will also, if necessary, launch strikes in cyber space, Philip Hammond said. Recruiting for reservists to join the unit will start next month.

The role of the unit is to protect computer networks and safeguard vital data. Mr Hammond told the Conservative Party conference that “the threat is real”. “Last year, our cyber defences blocked around 400,000 advanced, malicious cyber threats to the government secure intranet alone,” he said.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the “creation of the “Joint Cyber Unit (Reserve) will allow it to draw on individuals’ talent, skills and expertise gained from their civilian experience to meet these threats”.

Mr Hammond told the Mail on Sunday clinical “cyber strikes” could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware. He told the newspaper: “People think of military as land, sea and air. We long ago recognised a fourth domain – space. Now there’s a fifth – cyber.

“This is the new frontier of defence. For years, we have been building a defensive capability to protect ourselves against these cyber-attacks. That is no longer enough.

“You deter people by having an offensive capability. We will build in Britain a cyber-strike capability so we can strike back in cyber space against enemies who attack us, putting cyber alongside land, sea, air and space as a mainstream military activity.

“Our commanders can use cyber weapons alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts.”

The MoD said the recruitment of reservists will target regular personnel leaving the armed forces, current and former reservists with the required skills and civilians with the appropriate technological skills and knowledge.

Cyber-attacks and crime have become more common in recent years. In July the British intelligence agency, GCHQ, told the BBC the UK had seen about 70 sophisticated cyber espionage operations a month against government or industry networks. In a written statement in December last year, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber-breach in 2012.