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Mobile World Live TV

MWC 2018 with Mobile World Live TV

This week I’m at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona reporting for Mobile World Live TV.

David McClelland reporting for Mobile World Live at MWCMobile World Congress is where the mobile industry meets. Each spring, over 100,000 visitors swarm into Barcelona to get a first look at the technologies that will feature in our pockets, homes, offices, cars and cities in the coming months.

Mobile World Live TV is the official broadcast channel of MWC, playing on over 100 screens around the Fira, live on the web and to tens of thousands of hotel rooms across the city.

Each day I’ll be hunting down the best start-up stories from in and around 4YFN at Mobile World Congress for my very own 60-minute show on the channel.

What is 4YFN?

Connecting start-ups from around the world, 4 Years From Now is where the firms and technologies we expect to see maturing in, let’s say, 4 Years From Now showcase themselves, speak to investors and network with others who can help take them to the next stage.

4YFN is 20,000 visitors, 650 start-ups, 110 hours of keynotes, workshops and panels discussing how technologies such as 5G, AI, Machine Learning, Internet of Things and Blockchain will continue to permeate our lives in the next 4 years from now.

The first episode of the show broadcasts on Tuesday 27th February at 15.00 CET with repeats each evening at 21.00 CET. Watch live – and on-demand after MWC – on Mobile World Live TV site.

Mobile World Live

Super Cuts: iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 Launch Highlights

My ‘super cuts’ highlights packages for major tech product launches have become increasingly popular. In summer 2017, Mobile World Live commissioned me to produce video packages for the much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Apple iPhone X smartphone launches.

Standing now on another packed commuter train, I glance up to see a carriage full of people staring down at their smartphones. In fewer places is it more evident how mobile technology has become central to our lives.

It’s no wonder then that smartphone launches from the likes of Apple or Samsung attract significant attention from the media as well as the public, all eager to learn about the newest devices and their features.

That why quick-turnaround highlights packages – like those I’ve been producing over the last couple of years – have become very popular online and shareable on social media.

The full Apple press conference clocked-in at just under two hours, the Samsung Unpacked event at just under sixty minutes. Yet, shortly after each event, I’d edited and voiced crisp broadcast-spec packages capturing the most important moments and the energy from the entire event.

Similar items I’ve produced for media outlets have performed very well, capitalising on speed of production and the thirst for information on the latest mobile hardware.

Head over to Mobile World Live TV to see the full Apple iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8 stories, or take a look at some of my previous packages for MWL TV and International Business Times. And do drop me a line if you think a quick-turnaround package might work for your outlet or brand.

The Metro

Flashy Tech in Metro: Li-Fi

In today’s Metro tech section I shed some light on Li-Fi, a flashy new wireless tech that uses your living room light to help you browse safer and faster.

In a nutshell, Li-Fi is just like Wi-Fi except it uses visible light from domestic LED light bulbs to carry data, instead of invisible radio waves from a Wi-Fi router. As I put it in the Metro story, think Morse code on steroids.

Of course, using visible light does raise a few questions: many of us do not have our lights switched on during the day, some of our connected devices may sit under a desk in the dark, and rapid flashing or flickering is known to provoke headaches or worse.

I spoke with Professor Harald Haas, the luminary behind Li-Fi (here’s his TED talk on Li-Fi), who is well-practised at batting away these concerns as well as speaking of the technology’s benefits in terms of security, speed and even health:

Metro Li-Fi

Professor Haas is the co-founder of pureLiFi, the Edinburgh firm attempting to turn the technology into a viable commercial proposition. Its latest product, the pureLiFi-XC, features a USB adapter the size of a thumb drive with drivers certified for Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS and Linux. Android and iOS smartphones and tablets are not supported yet, but pureLiFi hopes one day its technology will be embedded into all devices, just as to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are now.

Li-Fi-enabling our light bulbs may prove more of a stumbling block, however. Each LED light that supplies a wireless data stream must be controlled by a Li-Fi access point which, in turn, must be network-connected. pureLifi may need to provide more ingenious ways to minimise the friction of installation if it is to muscle-in on Wi-Fi’s patch, particularly if it is to make waves in the domestic sector.

Nevertheless, if growth in connected smart-home and internet of things devices means that demand for radio frequency bandwidth exceeds availability – the so-called ‘spectrum crunch‘ – then technologies like Li-Fi will certainly have a place in our homes and offices of the future.

BBC Rip Off Britain: Keyless Car Crime

The new series of Rip Off Britain – series nine! – began on BBC1 this month and once I am on-hand as its resident technology expert.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Angela about how high-tech car criminals are able to hack their way past current keyless security systems. I also shared a few tips that may help concerned viewers prevent their cars being stolen. Here’s a quick taster:

Car crime has largely moved on from the coat hanger and hot-wire days of old, with crime rates decreasing by 80 percent since 1993 according to the Office for National Statistics. However, a new wave of tech-savvy car criminals is now making easy work of making off with many makes of car.

I’ve been following the high-tech car crime trend closely, trying to understand the ways in which criminals are able to bypass or subvert car keyless security systems – whether through signal amplification, wireless jamming or keyless code capture. Criminals often steal to order, targeting high-value vehicles that are driven to so-called ‘chop-shops’ and sold on for parts.

Next week I travel to Glasgow for BBC Rip Off Britain Live. I find the live shows particularly enjoyable because we are able to be responsive to news stories as they break. As such, I can’t say yet exactly which stories I’ll be covering, but I believe we’ll be discussing how the Internet of Things has made our homes vulnerable to hackers.

BBC Rip Off Britain airs on BBC1, weekdays 9.15-10.00. Watch here on BBC iPlayer.

Computer Weekly

Where Emerging Technology and Business IT Intersect

I have written for Computer Weekly for a while, peppering the venerable title with reviews, opinion pieces and even video.

I have now taken the reigns of its Inspect-a-Gadget column, where my remit will be to cover where emerging technology meets with business IT. Or, less elegantly, what the latest gadgets and consumer tech mean for the workplace.

Among my recent stories there, I have looked at how the all-new Bluetooth 5 standard ups the ante for the Internet of Things, got an early hands-on with the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry KEYone smartphone, and visited London Tech Week to meet a UK startup that claims to have cracked Siri for the office with its UMA conversational AI:

Earlier this week, I began looking at some new entries to Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017.

Keep an eye out for new stories on the Computer Weekly Inspect-a-Gadget column or head over to my Twitter feed.

The One Show - Toddlers and Tablets

Healthy Habits with Smartphones and Tablets – The One Show

This week I appeared on BBC1’s The One Show sharing advice on how parents can help their children to develop healthy habits when using smartphones and tablets.

One Show - Toddlers and TabletsFor the film, we visited a high street phone store and let a dozen under-elevens loose to observe how they used the selection of phones and tablets on display.

I’m a dad, and like most parents, I feel as if I’m making it up as I go along – which, of course, I am. How I introduce my children to technology is no exception.

Understanding a little about how children develop, what their needs are at different ages, and how easily influenced they are by adults around them, can all help make sure that children – and their parents – have a happy relationship with gadgets.

Technology offers amazing opportunities but, for me, the old adage that ‘too much of a good thing is a bad thing’ stands as true with smartphones and tablets as it does with anything else.

The One Show is on BBC1 at 7pm most evenings, viewers in the UK with a television licence can watch here.

Tech TV at London Tech Week 2017

It’s London Tech Week 2017 and all week I’m fronting Tech TV, the festival’s official broadcast channel.

Based at London Tech Week’s flagship event, TechXLR8, I am interviewing inspiring industry leaders, getting hands-on with some cutting-edge tech and…

…watching people fly around in jetpacks:

Richard Browning, the founder of Gravity, built the rocket man suit with the help of friends over eighteen months and is already a world record holder with it. Richard spoke live on the main stage at #LTW before heading outside and giving us a demo.

Now in its fourth year, London Tech Week showcases the capital’s bustling technology scene, bringing together cutting-edge developments in 5G, VR and AR, AI and Machine Learning, Connected and Driverless Cars, and more.

Alexa: How to secure my Amazon Echo?

My feature on how to secure your Amazon Echo was published in TechRadar last week. Here is my take on why securing these intelligent home hubs is of vital importance.

Muting your Amazon Echo

Hear no Evil? Muting your Amazon Echo (Credit: Flickr / Rob Albright / CC BY-NC 2.0)

Voice-activated intelligent virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are starting to play an important role as the hub of our connected homes.

Buttons are obsolete. Simply by conversing with my Alexa I can control my central heating and the lighting around my house and garden; I can buy products with my voice, check my personal calendar, set alarms or reminders, update my things to do list, read my favourite book or play any song, album or playlist on Spotify. With my voice.

Hear no Evil

The convenience this offers is staggering and, in a little over three months since I plugged it in and powered it on, my Amazon Echo has already changed many behaviours in our household. For the better? I think so. However…

With convenience comes compromise, especially when it comes to security. We should never be blinded by the utility of any new piece of technology.

I made one mistake in extolling the virtues of our Amazon Echo above. You see, all of these amazing things and more can be commanded not only with my voice, they can be asked by anybody’s voice.

Voice Recognition versus Speech Recognition

While Alexa has enviable speech recognition – the ability to understand and interpret natural language input by speech – she has yet to learn the skill of voice recognition. Often confused, voice recognition is the ability to uniquely distinguish between different people’s voices by analysing physical and behavioural characteristics.

With voice recognition Alexa would know whether it was me (ie authorised) ordering that Nintendo Switch console from Amazon Prime, or if it was my Mario Kart-loving daughter trying her luck (sorry, denied). Did I just ask Alexa for a 2am alarm call or was somebody outside my living room window attempting to play a prank?

Amazon has no plans to introduce voice recognition into the Amazon Echo just yet. Nevertheless, there are steps that Echo owners can take to make sure they enjoy the convenience of a virtual assistant without the worry of being woken up by a 2am prank alarm call.

Pop over to TechRadar to read my 8 top tips to lock down your Alexa.

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