Sunday, 28 November 2010

iFitness - Taking Fitness to the Next Level

I normally workout with my ipod and have experienced increase in endurance levels when I listen to my favourite numbers.I really don't know if its just a mind block or a reality.

When I was working out at the gym today just thought it would be really good if we have a wireless jukebox stationed any where in the gym where they can load tons of songs and the exercise equipment should also have an wireless dongle or an in-built wireless card which can connect to the wireless jukebox.

The exercise equipment should also have a screen which will show the playlist that is available on the jukebox and as we workout one can select their music/video songs/movies and have a kick ass workout.

Friday, 26 November 2010

NFC - Near Field Communication

NFC ( Near Field Communication ) is a short-range ( upto 10 cm ) wireless technology that allows the exchange of data between devices.Now that instead of carrying your wallet/purse filled with credit/debit cards, one can just flash their mobile phone against the NFC reader/scanner which in turn recognize and validate your identity.To make it more secure one needs to punch in their pass-code to complete the transaction.
Initially companies came up with different ideas to fit in NFC chip into the mobile device.

1.A Micro SD card with NFC chip, which will be provided by your bank/organisation, one needs to insert the Micro SD card into their mobile phone and download a simple application which will interface with the Micro SD card.

2.Few American banks came up with NFC stickers ( like the ones we normally see at the book store ) which can be stuck on their mobile phones.

NFC Developments in India

We all would have seen amazing videos on Youtube about different gadgets and still wonder when would we personally use them in our daily life ! NFC is no such technology, guess what SBI ( State bank of India ) has recently acquired 20% stake in Alittleworld (ALW ) developer of NFC based cost bank branch solution and paid around ( $ 18 million ).

Tyfone developer of ( Side Tap Micro SD ) cards has two new Indian investors namely HDFC Holdings and Polaris Software Labs .Tyfone is based out of US and has offices in Bangalore.

Citi bank recently did a trial with Indian customers ( Citi Tap & Pay ) where they used a Nokia 6212 classic phone pre-loaded with Citi Tap & Pay application enabled with Master Card's pay pass contactless payment technology.

Around 3000 customers signed up for the 26 week- trial with over 250 merchant locations and 50,000 purchases made during the trial.

Various Applications

Coca Cola has recently tied up with European NFC payment company Ping Ping to incorporate NFC into their vending machines.

Accenture is working on NFC Airline ticketing services.This includes right from sending the NFC ticket to the customer where one will download it to their mobile device and use it for check-in,security,boarding.This will reduce printing and associated costs.

Apple has come up with iTunes Kiosk where one can download apps and movies on to their iphones

NFC can also be used as a passkey to enter into your office/department/hotel rooms or be it your own house !

Smart Posters, where NFC chip is embedded into the poster and one can just flash their mobile device and download more information about the event or can send in their contact info or even buy their tickets.

Square- Payments via iphone App

I came across this really cool, out of the box start-up " Square " where they created a iphone app along with a really small credit card scanner which can be plugged into the headphone jack of the iphone.

All you need to do is, just plug the card scanner into the headphone jack on your iphone and you are ready to collect payments via credit/debit cards.This cool app can be downloaded free from itunes and square will charge you a small percentage on each transaction.

The best part is once you swipe your credit-card it will ask you for your signature.And you need to sign using your finger since iphone screen doesn't detect anything like say stylus.And you can key in your notes about the product you sold or even take a picture of the product you just sold for your reference.

Once you are done you can also email the receipt of the transaction to the customers email add along with a Geo Tagged map of the location where you made this transaction.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

GSAT 5P - India's Communication Satellite

Have you ever thought about number of satellites operating in earth orbit ? Any Wild Guesses ? Am sure you will be amazed to know the answer ! According to NASA there are approximately 3000 satellites operating in Earth orbit and there are roughly 8000 man-made objects in total ( includes the dead/active satellites ).

These Satellites are being tracked by SSN (Space Surveillance Network) and their job is to track any object in earth orbit which is over 10 cm in diameter.

Now coming to our own ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) will be launching GSAT - 5 Prime which is a pure communication satellite which weighs 2300 kgs and this satellite will be carried by GSLV ( Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle ) and uses Russia's Cryogenic Engine.

GSAT - 5P carries 36 transponders ( 24 normal C-band transponders and 12 - Extended C-band transponders ) which will provide continuity of service to Television & Telecom channel customers across India.

The major role of GSAT - 5P will be to replace INSAT - 2E which was launched with Ariane V117 on 2nd April 1999 and the INSAT - 2 E supports the following list of television channels.

ISRO is looking at 20th December'10 as a window to launch the GSAT -5P and this mission has a 12 -year life period.

Launches in 2010

GSLV -D3 carried GSAT - 4 which was the 19th Geo-Stationary Satellite built by ISRO and GSAT - 4 was not placed in the orbit as GSLV -D3 ( launch vehicle ) could not complete the mission.GSLV -D3 used indigenous cryogenic engine which failed after ignition. ( Unsuccessful )
Launch Date: April 15th , 2010 , Mission Cost: 330 cr.

PSLV - C15 was the 17th flight of PSLV ( Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ) carried Cartosat - 2B, ALSAT - 2A & NLSs, STUDSAT. ( Successful )
Launch Date: July 12th, 2010.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

MiFi - Killer Product once 3G Rolls-Out in India

3G is the Buzz word in town, for the ones who have been using a 3G mobile and never got a chance to experience the high-end service and craving for 3G roll out here is a blog to know what's in the kitty from our service providers.

I don't want to get into the list of service providers and their huge investment details for the roll-out.

Tata Docomo is the first service provider to roll out their services and trust me their plans are cheaper than ever expected and am sure they are looking at the volume game.

Lets see what user comforts can 3G bring in:

  • Better voice clarity
  • Better mobile internet browsing experience
  • Smooth audio/video streaming without buffering
  • Video Calls
  • Super speed downloads
  • LIVE TV on mobile
  • On-line Games and lot more VAS ( Value Added Services )

On the technology front, HSDPA ( High-Speed Downlink Packet Access ) is the mobile communications protocol from the HSPA ( High - Speed Packet Access ) family which allows UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems) to have higher data transfer speeds. And 3G can bring in lighting speeds ranging from ( 3.1 Mbps - 21.1 Mbps )

Heard about mobile Wi-fi hotspots ? why not share our 3G data service and connect upto 5 Wi-fi enabled devices ?

I came across Mi-Fi a credit-card sized mobile wireless router with a SIM card which connects itself to the cellular data network and acts as a wireless router where one can connect their smart phone,laptop or any Wi-fi enabled device to this mobile wireless router and access internet service on the move ! All it needs is a rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery where one can browse continuously for 5 long hours and comes with a 40 - hour stand-by time.And not to forget the power adapter which comes with this device.

This mini can provide 30-foot ( 10 M ) range of network coverage which is quite amazing considering the fact that it converts cellular data network signals into Wi-fi signals at a blink of an eye.

Another interesting feature about MiFi is its built-in GPS which can be used for location based services.Few models come with external memory card option where all the connected devices can access the data on the memory card.This little gadget can create virtual office in no time, a clear winner during outdoor meetings and can always come in handy at all times.

This will be a killer product once people start recognizing the power of 3G and its unlimited capabilities.

Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.

~Max Frisch

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

In-flight Wi-Fi

Google's recent news of giving away Free In-flight wi-fi for the holidays ( triggered me to write a blog on In-flight wi-fi service offered by Aircell's GOGO.

This service is available with 9 major airliners across USA like United, Delta, Virgin America, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier, Air Canada and US Airways .

Now, one must really be thinking that using this service is going to be quite an expensive affair, but its really not. Their pricing plans are so cheap that it would cost you just $ 4.95 for 1.5 hours on a single flight and a 24 hour pass would just cost you $ 11.00.For frequent flyers a 30 day pass would cost them just $ 40.00.

What makes me think now is their business plan behind the whole idea of giving away this technology for such a cheaper price.Going by the reviews I guess only 5-10 passengers are opting for this service on a single flight.

Technology Behind GOGO's In-flight Wi-fi:

Their technology is quite simple,they have High Gain antenna's across the US facing skywards which will cover the area above the United States and the aircraft has 2 underbelly blade antenna's and Aircell's transceiver which will send/receive signals to/from these ground stations.

When it comes to download and upload speeds, their advertisement says up-to 3.0 mbps, but the fact is, on an average the download speed ranges from ( 700 kbps - 1.5 mbps ) and the upload speed ranges from ( 100 - 450 kbps ).

One can access GOGO service on any Wi-fi enabled devices with Windows/MAC OS and not to forget the smart phones like Iphone,Blackberry,Droid and it even supports the latest Ipad.

we also need to consider the fact that the commercial jetliner's will be cruising at speeds anywhere between (500 - 900 km/h) at an altitude of ( 25000 ft - 40000 ft ) and outside temperature is close to (-55 Deg Celsius ) at 35000 ft.Another setback of GOGO is that the service is not available under the altitudes of 10,000 ft and the service actually shuts down
which is most likely for the users to shut down their devices before they land.

The GOGO's terms and conditions prohibits the use of any form of VOIP service like Skype, Goggle Voice chat but people have successfully tested such services and few feel that VOIP traffic will blocked automatically after few minutes into the call.

Similar services like GOGO In-flight Wi-fi

GOGO In-flight Wi-fi is only limited within the US and to use one such service on a transatlantic flight is possible but with heavy price tag . Here they use Inmarsat a group of 11 satellites which is specially used for mobile satellite services and provides seamless mobile voice and data communications around the world -on land, at sea or in the air.

Facts about GOGO's usage over the period of time

  • Over 1,500,000 websites being visited daily
  • Over 3,500,000 Emails being sent weekly
  • Over 250,000 audio/video files being downloaded monthly
  • 1 GB of Total data being transferred on a single flight

And guess what the whole package comes with a price tag of just $ 85,000 and hardware which will be installed on flight is just 15 lbs in weight.