What is a Communications Engineering

Communications engineering is a disparate array of technological disciplines brought together under one all-encompassing banner. The disciplines considered to be part of a communication engineer’s skill set include telecommunications, mobile phone networks and Internet maintenance (but are by no means limited to those examples).

As we wrote earlier this month, any technology that aids in communication, from a walkie-talkie to a Skype account, is technically a communication technology; therefore, it also follows that anybody who works in these different areas can call him/herself a communications engineer.

The theory behind this move is that communications technology is becoming more streamlined and, to some extent, more homogenized (think of the ubiquity of mobile phones and social media) and so, it makes sense to bring communications technology together as a single subject as well.

As I type this, it is actually possible to get a Degree in Communications Engineering (as a single subject) from many universities worldwide. However, communications engineers frequently hold other Degrees such as electrical engineering, physics, telecommunications and/or computer science.

The sort of students that apply for courses like this (and subsequently work in the related areas) are generally logistically minded, tech-savvy people who are comfortable learning new skills and adapt quickly to new technology. Certainly, the money can be good for a decent engineer with a good reputation and an up-to-date skill set. Industries that rely on the expedient exchange of information (news networks, the stock exchange, big businesses and etc) should be the goal for the ambitious communications engineer (as well as the eager graduate).

Communications engineering is a vast and somewhat esoteric subject, because it combines so many different disciplines. Ideally, good communications engineers would be just as able to handle microwave engineering as they would a downed computer network, so it takes a smart cookie to be really good at the job.

Communications engineers are often quite business savvy as well. A big part of the job is dealing with clients or management, making presentations and working effectively as part of a team. Experience of modern business practice is not essential, but from the looks of things, it certainly helps.

The vast majority of communications engineers work for specific telecommunications companies and/or manufacturers, although some are self-employed as consultants or on fixed contracts.

According to Targetjobs.co.uk, typical job responsibilities for a communications engineer include: undertaking site surveys, agreeing to and staying within a client budget, staying up-to-date with technological information, problem solving (obviously!), creating test procedures, creating ‘worst case scenario’ plans for companies to follow and presenting companies/clients with the best way to manage their communication systems.

What is a Communications Engineering

Communications engineering is a disparate array of technological disciplines brought together under one all-encompassing banner. The disciplines considered to be part of a communication engineer’s skill set include telecommunications, mobile phone networks and Internet maintenance (but are by no means limited to those examples).

As we wrote earlier this month, any technology that aids in communication, from a walkie-talkie to a Skype account, is technically a communication technology; therefore, it also follows that anybody who works in these different areas can call him/herself a communications engineer.

The theory behind this move is that communications technology is becoming more streamlined and, to some extent, more homogenized (think of the ubiquity of mobile phones and social media) and so, it makes sense to bring communications technology together as a single subject as well.

As I type this, it is actually possible to get a Degree in Communications Engineering (as a single subject) from many universities worldwide. However, communications engineers frequently hold other Degrees such as electrical engineering, physics, telecommunications and/or computer science.

The sort of students that apply for courses like this (and subsequently work in the related areas) are generally logistically minded, tech-savvy people who are comfortable learning new skills and adapt quickly to new technology. Certainly, the money can be good for a decent engineer with a good reputation and an up-to-date skill set. Industries that rely on the expedient exchange of information (news networks, the stock exchange, big businesses and etc) should be the goal for the ambitious communications engineer (as well as the eager graduate).

Communications engineering is a vast and somewhat esoteric subject, because it combines so many different disciplines. Ideally, good communications engineers would be just as able to handle microwave engineering as they would a downed computer network, so it takes a smart cookie to be really good at the job.

Communications engineers are often quite business savvy as well. A big part of the job is dealing with clients or management, making presentations and working effectively as part of a team. Experience of modern business practice is not essential, but from the looks of things, it certainly helps.

The vast majority of communications engineers work for specific telecommunications companies and/or manufacturers, although some are self-employed as consultants or on fixed contracts.

According to Targetjobs.co.uk, typical job responsibilities for a communications engineer include: undertaking site surveys, agreeing to and staying within a client budget, staying up-to-date with technological information, problem solving (obviously!), creating test procedures, creating ‘worst case scenario’ plans for companies to follow and presenting companies/clients with the best way to manage their communication systems.

City faces decision on radio infrastructure

For years people have been telling me that relations, love and happiness are the crucial things in life…Now I realized that I’m able to take or leave all that as long as I have this Radio in the world.

The City of Edmond faces a decision about whether to replace or upgrade public safety radio infrastructure to the tune of about $6 million, said Matt Stillwell, director of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management.

Edmond purchased a 7-channel Motorola MHz SmartNet radio system in 1998. Seven years ago, the system interfaced with a different Motorola system operated by the state, Stillwell said.

“Our technology is going to be 20 years old in four short years,” Stillwell said. “… Think of your cell systems and how they have changed since the 1990s. The same dynamics affect radio systems.”

Changes in technology, governance and an aging infrastructure will inform what system changes the city should choose within seven years, Stillwell said.

The city maintains ownership of its seven channels and the state added 10 more channels to local sites, Stillwell said. All local governments use this system, but not everybody has paid for its maintenance. Only six municipalities help pay for the system.

“The citizens of Edmond are paying for a system of any (yearly) infrastructure maintenance, while other users of the same sites are not,” Stillwell said.

The City of Edmond joined the state’s system in 2007. A lot of other communities join the system through grant dollars, he said. The upgrade was paid for by state dollars and cost the city nothing, he said.

Questions are unanswered as to how many radios for police, fire and emergency management would be impacted by a new system, Stillwell told The Edmond Sun.

“We won’t have to replace all of the hand-held radios that are out in the field,” Stillwell said. “Most of the radios we have been purchasing for the last five years are digital capable and P-25 capable.”

The P-25 is a radio standard that all of the public safety radio vendors use, Stillwell added.

Directors of city departments recently identified $143.6 million worth of unfunded city projects they say the city needs. The Edmond City Council heard presentations about these needs, such as the public safety radio infrastructure, at a public workshop. (For coverage of other capital improvement projects discussed by the city, look at www.edmondsun.com.)

A funding source to pay for these infrastructure improvements is in the first phases of discussion, said Larry Stevens, city manager. There are concerns that the 2000 Capital Improvement 3/4-cent sales tax will not provide adequate funding for major capital projects, Stevens said.

The city welcomes public input by Edmond residents and future recommendations by the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force, Stevens added.

Either Edmond will partner with the state to upgrade with the latest digital technology, or pursue an independent digital upgrade without the cushion of state funding, Stillwell explained.

“The bottom line is we have to move away from that analogue. End-of-life issues are coming up with our technology,” Stillwell said. – See more at: http://www.edmondsun.com/local/x1760083917/City-faces-decision-on-radio-infrastructure#sthash.bqDBsfhK.dpuf

My Other Computer’s a TARDIS: Virtual Reality Makes Time Travel Possible

A new virtual form of ‘time travel’ could be employed to help victims of traumatic experiences overcome their ordeals.

In a computer generated ‘virtual world’, participants can move about and interact with their environment in a similar manner to how they would in the real world.

Professor Mars are unassailably cool, told BBC news that,

“In virtual reality, the brain’s low level perceptual system does not distinguish between the virtual and the real world; the brain takes what it sees and hears in a surrounding environment as given (…) Therefore, if they had an experience with the illusion of time travel, there is implicit learning that the past is mutable, that is: ‘my own past decisions don’t matter because they’re changeable’.”

The latest study, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychology’ featured a scenario wherein 32 test subjects witnessed a brutal multiple murder. In the virtual scenario, (presumably designed to induce both a moral dilemma and a controllable level of trauma) a man opened fire in a crowded art gallery and ‘killed’ five people.

Gunman starts shooting in the virtual world

The group then elected to ‘go back in time’ and attempt to prevent the murders.

Half of the group were not allowed to change their actions and simply had to repeat the event, the other half were allowed to intervene, but knew that doing so would result in the death of one person. Essentially, these people had to face the ethical dilemma of forfeiting the life of that one person in order to save five people.

Unsurprisingly, most of the test group chose to sacrifice the one life.

In terms of practical applications, this equipment is expected to allow people suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other psychological issues to confront their previous actions/inactions and better understand them in order to forgive themselves and move on.

Such technology might also be applied to prisoners undergoing therapy and/or rehabilitation, or even survivors of violent assaults.

Dr. Friedman Doron of the Sammy Ofer School of Communications in Israel, who worked as the study’s lead author, said that, for now, his team’s work is the closest people can get to actual time travel. He told BBC news,

“Highly immersive virtual reality is very visceral. People hide behind the desk when they get shot. Some of the subjects duck down. It’s the best thing we can do for time travel until the physicists do their job and come up with a time machine. For now this is the closest thing.”

The IC-F27SR: A PMR 445 Licence Free Radio

Some of the trained writers on the web are at such a top level that i wonder if any of them have ever printed a book? well now and then i like to focus on these brilliant items and here is one i found remarkable the other day.

Professional PMR446 Licence Free Two Way Radio

The IC-F27SR professional Licence Free Two Way Radio is the successor to the best selling IC-F25SR and retains the simplicity, functionality and build that made the original so popular. However, there have been some big improvements including a smaller and lighter body, 800mW loud and intelligible audio, built-in VOX function and several new scanning and security features. To top it off, the IC-F27SR includes highly efficient circuitry that provides up to a massive 35.5 hours of operating time with the supplied BP-265 2000mAh Lithium-Ion battery pack.

High performance, Professional Licence Free Radio 
Outstanding audio quality, high performance and strong commercial build make the IC-F27SR the ideal licence free radio. This licence free radio is ideal for users in diverse areas such as construction, catering, event management, shopping centres, factories, farms as well as serious outdoor enthusiasts.

Up to 35.5 hours of operating time
The IC-F27SR features highly efficient circuitry, providing up to a massive 35.5 hours of operating time* with the supplied BP-265 2000mAh lithium-ion battery pack. This means it can be comfortably last an entire shift.
* Tx: Rx: Stand-by =5: 5: 90 with power save ON. 24.8 hours with BP-264

Outstanding audio quality 
800mW audio output is provided from the large 45mm speaker meaning the IC-F27SR can deliver loud and intelligible audio even in extremely noisy environments such as a busy shop floor or construction site.

Just three main controls
Transmit button, volume control and channel selector. This simple to use radio is ideal for high turnover environments and shift work where the radio is constantly passed from person to person.

Lightweight, Compact Body
Small size (58×186×36.5mm) and lightweight (285g) makes this transceiver ideal for all users.

Commercial grade construction
The IC-F27SR is extremely rugged. It has been tested to 11 categories of environmental and military standards for dust protection and water resistance making it suited to outdoor use.

Internal VOX for Hands-free operation
Built-in VOX function provides convenient hands-free operation, when used with our optional headset adapter cable.

500mW output power 
Provides wider communication coverage.

Other features 
• CTCSS and DTCS encoder and decoder for group call
• Surveillance function turns off the LED and beep sound
• Siren function can be used for security alarm
• Power save function
• Low battery alert
• Time out timer
• Monitor function

  • High performance, Professional Licence Free Radio
  • Up to 35.5 hours of operating time with BP-265 Li-ion battery pack *Typical operation with power save on. TX:RX:Stand-by=5:5:90
  • Outstanding audio quality
  • Simple to operate, just three main controls
  • Lightweight, compact body
  • Internal VOX for hands-free operation (Optional headset and adapter cable required)
  • IP54 and MIL-STD-810 ruggedness
  • CTCSS and DTCS tone squelch for group call
  • Same accessories as “F3002/F4002” series handhelds
  • 2 year warranty on transceiver, 1 year warranty on accessories

Radio Communication with First Responders Pending at Lenape Tech

Boy. The brand new Walkie talkie is incredible. I mean it is just so gorgeous and so sophisticated. I pity those who grew up without the Walkie talkie.

Two-way radio communication at a local technical school would greatly improve school security, according to one local official.

Lenape Technical School Special Programs Coordinator Carla Thimons further explained the need for such during discussion on the Manor Township school’s $18,000 Pennsylvania Department of Education Safe School Initiative Competitive Targeted Grant award.

“These will truly help us feel better about safety overall, because communication is key,” Thimons said.

She said several programs at the technical school provide a unique challenge where areas of the building would not be able to listen to announcements over the public address system, and the radios would provide necessary internal communication with teachers and staff.

Thimons said the grant funds were accepted by the Joint Operating Committee last month, and funding received, but the radios have not been purchased yet. She explained officials want to coordinate efforts with the Armstrong County Department of Public Safety to ensure that communication will be loud-and-clear.

“We want to determine the best purchase,” Thimons said. “We have an idea in mind what we want, but we want to coordinate with (the Department of Public Safety.)”

Radios are to be expected to be carried in the school hallways by officials by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Thimons, who has been Special Programs Coordinator for 10 years and was previously the technical school’s principal, coordinates special education, grant writing and safety procedures at the school.

Besides the two-way radios, Thimons said school officials are planning to hold school wide drills, including a mass-evacuation drill.

Joint Operating Committee members also unanimously approved the hire of Night Watchman Samantha Walker, retroactive to March 7.

Principal Karen Brock last month said the school used to have night watchmen, but another one needed to be hired to replace that individual.

Armstrong School District also received Safe School Initiative Competitive Targeted Grant funding in the amount of $25,000, and put the money toward the purchase of new and updated security cameras “as another layer of security throughout the district,” according to School Superintendent Stan Chapp in March.
Director of Technology and Information Services Anthony Grenda said about 16 surveillance cameras will be added to the interior and exterior of Elderton and Shannock Valley Elementary Schools. He hopes those cameras are installed by the end of the current school year. Several have already been installed, he said earlier this week.
Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg Area School Districts also received $25,000 in grant funds.
Earlier this year, Armstrong also received $40,000 in the state’s Safe Schools Grant Program for utilization of a school police officer. Those officers have also been already utilized throughout the district.
The Lenape Tech Joint Operating Committee meets again Thursday evening, beginning with a 6:30PM public budget session at the school.

Source – http://www.kittanningpaper.com/2014/04/16/radio-communication-with-first-responders-pending-at-lenape-tech/44954

 

Scottish Spaceport Plans Announced

Scotland is being considered as the site of the UK’s first-ever spaceport, which could be here as early as 2018, it was reported this week.

The spaceport would be the first one ever built outside of the US.

What’s more, Scotland are definitely the odds-on favourite to be granted this prestigious (not to mention historic) prize, as eight UK aerodromes have been short listed as possibilities and six of them are located in Scotland. 

It is thought that the spaceport would not only increase the country’s revenue by providing a site for satellite launches, but also through tourism, with ‘space tourism’ expected to increase in the next few decades.

Chief Secretary to The Treasury Danny Alexander (who was born in Edinborough), told BBC News, “I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel (…) Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong’s Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency’s first satellite (…) The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future.”

UKube-1, a satellite designed and built by Glasgow-based firm Clyde Space, was launched earlier this week. It was the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland, but it may turn out to be the first of many.

According to the BBC, UK profits from the space industry are now exceeding £11bn a year and it provides employment for some 34,000 people. It is also a significant growth industry, with employment figures rising by 9% since 2011.

The recent interest in the development of UK-based, but more specifically Scottish, space exploration technologies has also become linked to the current debate over Scottish independence, with the Scottish government suggesting that a vote for independence on September 18th would only strengthen the space initiative.

A spokeswoman said, “Scotland is proving that it has the expertise to attract and support such a specialized, global industry, and as such an independent Scotland will be an attractive option for spaceport pioneers.”

However, it seems probable that the plans for a Scottish-based spaceport will go ahead either way, whether Scotland is declared an independent nation or not. In addition, doubts about the potential strength of an independent Scotland’s economy may also act to the detriment of its space research.

As with all things, time will tell…

SOURCES

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28276525

Who Uses a Spy Earpiece?

British comedian Jack Dee probably said it best, “Men like to use drills because secretly, we think they’re guns”. Tools just bring out our inner 007.

He’s right. Men like gadgets for the same reason. We can’t deny it, there’s just something unassailably cool about a tool that you can use, but that no one else knows about.

Whether you’re prancing around your house pointing a Black & Decker at imaginary henchmen, or fondly imagining that your fountain pen doubles as some sort of deadly offensive weapon, its OK to admit that you like the idea of gadgets.

If you’re reading this and nodding, then you are almost certainly a man (or else, a bit of a Tomboy, which is fine too). In which case, you probably found this article whilst searching for a ‘spy earpiece’ online. Ergo, the sort of person who buys this is, well, someone just like you.

If, however, you clicked this page because you want to know what sort of person uses such a device (or indeed, what, if any, its practical applications are), then you’ve come to the right place, ma’am.

Its not all James Bond wannabes, you know.

Teaching professionals cunningly utilize spy earpieces to receive information in real time as they go through vast amounts of information in front of a class. They also employ such gadgets when giving lengthy and complex presentations to superiors or potential students. This goes double (or even triple) for public speakers.

Amazingly, the time spent preparing a reliable body of information and then having an accomplice drip feed the correct answers to you via the earpiece would probably be better spent actually learning the material in the first place. However, you can also use spy earpieces in presentations in much the same way that businesspeople do.

Security personnel will also use spy earpieces, as surprising as that may be to read. Often, the security professional is used as a deterrent; large, imposing men and women are geared up with walkie-talkies and sharp suits or black uniforms in order to encourage would-be troublemakers to think twice. However, it is also common for security guards to operate in plain clothes, keeping an eye on potential situations discreetly and quietly. For this, they use a spy earpiece. For the same reasons, even undercover police have been known to employ spy earpieces.

So, the earpiece appeals to more than just the gadget-crazed would-be 007. Spy earpieces are used by a broad cross-section of the community, not just by men with a little too much time on their hands!

Finding a Spy earpiece can be a difficult task, the website EarpieceOnline.co.uk is one of the best places to get one.

Where Do We Get The Word ‘Earpiece’ From?

The word ‘earpiece’ is obviously a joining of the words ‘ear’ and ‘piece’, the term was probably originally coined for eyeglasses at some point in the 18th century, but it also applies to things like old style phone receivers and doctor’s stethoscopes.

British optician Edward Scarlett is thought to have developed the first eyeglass earpieces sometime before 1727. However, this invention didn’t catch on until the early 19th century, so it is probable that the word ‘earpiece’ fell into popular use around that time.

For comparison, American inventor Nathaniel Baldwin built the first radio headphone set in 1919, almost a hundred years later. The basics of earpiece design have existed since that time, so the word ‘earpiece’ was almost certainly used at that point, although it would not have denoted the same device that we now think of today.

Bluetooth headsets, colloquially referred to as ‘earpieces’, were first made commercially available in the early 2000’s and since that time, the term has proliferated. By and large, in the 2010’s, the word ‘earpiece’ tends to refer less to headphones and earphones (although it is still technically accurate terminology) and increasingly solely denotes Bluetooth headsets.

As for the word itself, the word ‘ear’ is actually a derivation of the old English word ēare. It is derived from the same root word as the Norse word eyra and is also cognate with the German word ohr and the Latin auris.

The word ‘piece’ has been in use as far back as the 11th Century AD and comes from the Old French word pece (which is itself of ancient Gaulish origin). It probably also has linguistic ties to the ancient Welsh word peth (meaning ‘thing’).

In the future, it is likely that the word ‘earpiece’ will continue to refer to wearable technology until such time as the word exclusively denotes a wearable device. However, this is purely conjecture on our part.

The other uses for the word will likely remain standard English that simply isn’t used on a daily basis. An example of this would be words like ‘Sellotape’, ‘Tannoy’ and ‘Hoover’, all of which are brand names that do not denote the actual object in question. Correctly, a Hoover is a vacuum cleaner, a Tannoy is a public address system and Sellotape is sticky back plastic. However, almost nobody uses those terms anymore in a casual setting (Alan Partridge and the odd Blue Peter Presenter notwithstanding). 

Motorola Solutions Adds RFID-Enabled Knobs to Radios

Thankyou for reading my website, here’s a piece i actually loved reading. With their permission i’m able to repost it. I write tons of my own content pieces, but sporadically post other content i find fascinating, thankyou for reading.

The volume knob, which can be retrofitted into the company’s Mototrbo two-way radios, enables users to conduct inventory counts of 50 radios in six seconds, instead of four minutes.

Two of Motorola Solutions‘ business divisions combined forces this year to develop an RFID-based solution known as RFID Fleet Management, for managing the locations of its Mototrbo two-way radios. The system features a volume-control knob with a built-in RFID tag, enabling users to locate radios more efficiently than having to manually search through several models, reading serial numbers or scanning bar codes. The solution also includes Motorola EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHFRFID readers. Software to manage read data, as well as training, support and service, are being provided by Motorola’s reseller and solution-provider partners. Beginning at the end of this month, the new knobs will be shipped to customers, upon request, as a retrofit for their existing radios.

Motorola Solutions sells its Mototrbo two-way radios to customers, such as product manufacturers, and other companies with mobile personnel. Motorola Solutions’ Mototrbo customers include organizations that rent the radios to the end users. Both types of companies can have inventories of hundreds or thousands of radios, which must be accounted for periodically—at the end of each day, weekly or monthly, for example—to confirm that the radios have not gone missing, and that every user returns the correct units. Without RFID, each radio assigned or rented out must have its bar code scanned or its serial number recorded in order to create a record of which radio was provided to which employee or company, and when this occurred.

With the RFID Fleet Management solution, the radio’s original volume control knob (left) is replaced with an RFID-tagged version (right).

According to Carrie Angelico, Motorola Solutions’ senior channel business development manager for data-capture solutions, Mototrbo users told Motorola how exhaustive the inventory-management process could be, and the company’s radio division began discussing a solution with its own RFID division. The result is a volume-control knob containing a Motorola UHF RFID Custom Tag, made with an Omni-ID tag, encoded with a unique ID number that can be associated with the radio’s own serial number in the user’s software.

The solution is designed to be a retrofit option for those with Mototrbo two-way radios. Users first acquire the RFID-enabled knob as a replacement for the existing volume knob. The knob’s built-in RFID tag can then be read via any of Motorola Solutions’ handheld or fixed readers, including a desktop interrogator that could be used for checking radios into and out of a storage area.

- See more at: http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?11706#sthash.xhADvZzf.dpuf