My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: March 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Minister Paulwell in Parliament debut two 700MHz Licenses for 4G LTE for Monday July 15 2013 Auction - 4G LTE Means After Earth Everything is Possible

“The 700 MHz band spectrum tends to be more penetrative and propagates farther, meaning that the signal goes through walls more easily, giving better coverage inside buildings, and requires fewer towers to cover a specific geographic area”

Excerpt from Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell announcement in Parliament of 2 Telecoms Licenses for 4G LTE Wireless Broadband Internet Tuesday March 26th, 2013  

4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) 100MBps Wireless Broadband Internet is coming by the Fourth Quarter of 2013. That the verdict that has many in the Telecoms world abuzz with excitement over Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell announcement of two (2) Telecoms Licenses for the deployment of 4G LTE Wireless Broadband Internet using the new 700MHz band to be put up for auction to the highest bidder by Monday July 15th 2013.

This as stated by Minister Paulwell on Tuesday March 26th, 2013  in Parliament as detailed in the article “Wireless broadband licences by July”, published Wednesday, March 27, 2013,The Jamaica Observer and “Two mobile licences to be put on auction – Paulwell”, Published Wednesday March 27, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It’s a fulfillment of the promise made by the Minister to utilize the UHF Bands for Wireless Broadband and in the process urging the Free-to-Air Broadcasters to accelerate their plans for DSO (Digital Switch Over) by 2015 as opined in my blog article entitled Phillip Paulwell allocates 700Mhz and Fiber Optic License for LTE - Broadcasters effectively on notice for Digital Switch Over”.

This as 4G LTE is mainly for Data and VoIP (Voice over IP), not Voice Services. An albeit it slated for a five year Build out, it’ll take at most three (3) years, the majority of the time spend laying Fiber Optic Cables for Backhaul to interconnect the major Hubs or Drop Nodes and Microwave RAN (Radio Access Network) for the Spur sites.

The Last Year of the Five Year Period will be the full launch year and in the process, the incumbent Telecom Provider will have at least achieved 50% coverage with the last two (2) years left for optimization and expansion to achieve the 90% Geographic coverage required by the Telecom License.

Minister Paulwell said as much in an almost prophetic manner when he’d announced the Telecom Licenses, quote: “Very soon, voice telephony will become a free service. We are almost there already. All you need to do is to purchase the data and you can use so many other voice [applications] free of cost”.

The (2) Telecoms Licenses are structured as follows:

1.      700 MHz Band is divided up into three (3) Blocks of Spectrum; two (2) are on offer for the upcoming Auction
2.      Both Telecoms Licenses are 15 Year Leases on Spectrum, not inclusive of any microwave Spectrum that the incumbent may chooses to utilize
3.      4G LTE Wireless Broadband Network has to be built in five (5) years
4.      4G LTE Wireless Broadband Network has to achieve 90% Geographical coverage of the island
5.      Tower and Infrastructure sharing is now mandatory, with ALL Telecom Providers having to share Towers and all other Infrastructure such as Building space to minimize the Environmental Impact
6.      One of the Telecom Licenses has a requirement for the Telecom Provider to build what appears to be their own Fiber Optic Undersea Link to guarantee Reliable interconnectivity to International Gateways with the opportunities for revenue from International Calling. I’m hoping that this’ll be a requirement of BOTH Telecom Licenses by the time this comes to Auction on Monday July 15th 2013.

By the end of a Five Year Build out in 2018 the following are expected:

1.      Voice Service basically be a free service, possibly subsidized via advertising as noted in my blog article entitled LIME and Digicel Networks routing Callers to Voice Mail - Hit and Run Advertising while Test out Free Voice Calling”.
2.      Streaming will mean the Death of Free-to-Air Broadcasters, who’ll by then have no choice but to go DSO to survive in a VOD (Video on Demand) World as predicted in my blog article entitled LIME  launches IPTV Streaming Service LIME TV in Barbados on schedule - Lady Gaga's Bad Romance for Digital Cable and Free-to-Air Broadcaster”.
3.      Price for Broadband internet will drop to JA$1500 per month, half of current prices
4.      Smartphone penetration’ll greatly increase as already predicted in my Geezam Blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy” and my blog article entitled “Blackberry popularity wanes as Jamaicans go smartphones - Android and Apple's Smartphone Revolution” .

Please take not of that last prediction, as it’s a given, really.

The Telecom Provider will have to build their own GSM Voice Network to facilitate Communication among its Staff and Engineering Crew on the road, as we can’t afford for Telecom Provider Digicel and LIME to monitor our Voice Traffic and learn of our plans.

This leaves the Telecom Provider with opportunities to make revenue from Voice Calling and basic 3G Data Services in the Interim as they lay the Backhaul Infrastructure for the 4G LTE Network. Possibly via the route described in my blog article entitled LIME and Digicel Networks routing Callers to Voice Mail - Hit and Run Advertising while Test out Free Voice Calling”.

This in anticipation in the coming competition in Data Services fuelled by the rise in Mobile Computing in Jamaica as prophesied in my blog article entitled “OUR Telecom Provider Stats indicate JA$14 billion profit for Second Quarter of 2011AD - Telecom Providers Stacking up all Faces on the Argo Video Calling and VoIP on smartphones”.

Minister Paulwell anticipates as much, stating it thus in his presentation, quote: “It will also force the existing player to shift focus from voice to data services. There remains a significant shortfall in the provision of data services islandwide. This will now be corrected and thereby enable Jamaica to improve its international e-readiness ranking”.

Meanwhile Testing and build-out will continue for the 4G LTE Wireless Broadband Network, which will require Fiber Optic Backhaul to interconnect the main Hubs or Drop Nodes. The Telecom Provider will have to incorporate Solar and Wind Power into their BQ (Bill of Quantities) in a bid to reduce the cost of Power Consumption as suggested in my blog article entitled Alternative Energy and 4G - Green Lantern Core” and “Telecom Providers and Alternative Energy - Stormy Weather and the MTV Generation”.

This in a bid to make the 4G LTE Wireless Broadband achieve the five 9’s i.e. 99.999% uptime by having its own Power System that’s not susceptible to the vagaries of Power Supply outages, consisting of Both Solar Power and Wind Turbines mounted on the Towers as noted in my blog article entitledAlternative Energy and Helix - a test case for Wind Power for Telecom Providers”.

This requirement is necessary if any new entrant into Telecoms wish to be taken seriously by Business Customers whose main concern is Cost and Reliability of their Internet Services as noted in my blog article entitled Telecom Providers, Alternative Energy and ISO9001 - Alcatel-Lucent, I shrunk the Node B Kids.

It can also be seen as part of their Marketing Strategy to demonstrate that they are a green company, a strong selling point to increasingly environmentally conscious Jamaicans way for FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) operating in Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitled Alternative Energy - A Telecom Provider's Strong Tower” and “Alternative Energy and Telecom Providers - An Environmental Marketing Strategy”.

For me personally, this announcement is long in coming and has me filled with hope of working with yet another Telecom Provider to assist in the Deployment of their 4G LTE Wireless Broadband Internet Network just as I did when I was at CLARO (2008 to 2009). Hopefully too, over that period, other Telecoms Services, such as Satellite Broadband will also be developed and deployed as noted in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Alternative Energy - Stormy Weather and the MTV Generation”.

The anticipation of the Future and employment in the Telecoms Sector again has a bright aura that makes the Gloom of the current Financial Crisis in Jamaica seem like a far-away dream. I make things like All-Electric Vehicles and smartphones in Jamaica as opined in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Telecoms - Electric Cars and smart phones coming look like a strong possibility.

And why do I feel so positive?

Because I know, from my experience working with Mexicans from America Movil, through hard work, dedication and a little dreaming, After Earth (2013) Everything is Possible.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why UWI's Science and Technology Faculty getting SPIE funds Optics Research

“The opportunities for employment and economic sustainability are therefore quite significant. A highly technically literate workforce could potentially make it more profitable to move technology jobs to Jamaica and the region instead of India and China. It is also worth noting that innovations developed in one area can and often drives growth in disparate sectors”

Excerpts from the interview with Lead research and Lecturer in the Department of Physics at UWI Mona, Dr. Kert Edward by The Jamaica Gleaner on Sunday March 10th, 2013

It seems that the UWI (University of the West Indies) is finally catching on to the idea of making money via Research. This as they’ve decided, on the suggestion of Lead research and Lecturer in the Department of Physics at UWI Mona, Dr. Kert Edward, to restructure the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences at the Mona, Cave Hill and St Augustine campuses as the Faculty of Science and Technology as stated in “UWI rebrands school of science - Eyes optics for industrial applications”, published Sunday March 10, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The name change is thanks to Dr. Kert Edward securing a grant from the SPIE (Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers) for the UWI to make money from patents and discoveries in Photonics or Optics Research, a field that covers everything from Lasers to Fiber Optic Technology, which is related to Telecommunications, the main reason it caught my eye.

Fiber Optic Communications and any Optical System’s going to be big business in the future. The trending right now may be toward Tablets and smartphones, but there’s also a trending towards the Development of Optical Computers and Communication systems based on Electromagnetic Radiation in the IR (Infra-Red), Visible and UV (Ultraviolet) spectra.

Some of these developments may result in FLORA (Fiberless Optical Receiver Array) technologies for ultra-fast Communications using visible light that may even double as LED lighting as noted in “Multi-tasking micro-lights could spark a Communications revolution”, published January 25, 2013, Physorg. A development deserving of its own article, I might add.

Signs of this can be seen in the coming development of an Optical Cable standard for Thunderbolt that was developed by Intel for Apple as noted in Optical Thunderbolt cables in Mass production”, coming soon published January 2, 2013 11:11 AM PST by Topher Kessler, CNET News.

In my blog article entitled Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables are coming by the Third Quarter of 2013 – Apple Mac's to finally get upgraded as Optical Computer now closer to practicality” I predicted it’ll be introduction to Apple iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air and Mac Mini as an upgrade that’ll make these product super-fast – and super desirable.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple chose to replace the internal Peripheral connectors completely with Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables and Ports directly to their Motherboard in this summer of 2013 refresh of the Mac Line.

Coupled with the Development of Optical Processors by IBM by (International Business Machines) that they may begin to license in 2015 as noted in my blog article entitled “IBM develops 25Gbps Photonic Optical Processor at the 90nm level - IBM's Red Dawn (2012) for Optical Processors”.

Dear reader, we may be on the threshold of Optical Computers with clock speeds bordering on 10Gbps without the need for exotic cooling methods to match the larger Hard-drives and read-write speeds that 100GBps Optical Thunderbolt Cables are capable.

Most likely these Optical Processors will show up in Servers that are running chipset made by IBM but’ll eventually be licensed (or developed?) by Intel. Eventually everything, from RAM (Random Access Memory) to SSD (Solid State Drive) to the very Motherboard’ll have to be made Optical to reduce bottlenecks and thus result in a cooler running PC sans electric components.

This means the development of technology based on Optical Storage, reading and writing of Data such as the use of Quartz Glass to store Data as noted in my blog article entitled “Hitachi develops Eternal Storage using Bits embedded in Quartz Glass for 2015 Debut – Diamonds are Forever until WRECK-IT Ralph Breaks the Ice”.

Thus UWI’s rebranding is very strategic and timely.

I only wish that along with this, they’ve also take a leaf out of The UTECH (University of Technology) Faculty of Engineering playbook and go off the Grid for newly rebranded Faculty of Science and Technology using a combination of Solar Panels and Wind Turbines via a partnership with JPS Co as noted in my blog article entitled JPS Co to build 100 KW Solar Plant at UTECH - Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) Benevolence as LNG Project now Taken 2 the next Level for 2015AD”.

Equally too, UTECH can take a page out of UWI’s handbook and introduce Tablets for its Students in all faculties as the Department of Medical Sciences at the UWI is currently doing as noted in my blog article entitled “UWI Medical Sciences Students get deal on JL Mobile SmartTab Tablets and cheaper ebook versions of Textbooks - From Gross Anatomy to Islandwide Push towards Tablet Adoption”.

UWI’s Faculty of Science and Technology is already in collaboration with UTECH in developing Hydrogen Gas as a replacement for LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) used in Cooking Gas cylinders as noted in my blog article entitled UTECH partners with GOJ and UWI to develope Hydrogen Cooking Gas Cylinders - EU Funded 3 Year Project is Chasing Mavericks to push Jamaica into the Hydrogen-Electron Economy”.

I’d like to suggest a further expansion of this partnership by merging the Faculty of Engineering at UTECH with UWI’s Faculty of Science and Technology for the furtherance of Research and Development in Jamaica in the STEM (Science, Technology Energy and Mining) field in Jamaica.

After all, the more minds we have working on Research and Development into Optics, the faster this initiative may attract more funding from other multilateral funding agencies such as SPIE. In the process, FLORA and Fiber Optic Communications technologies, starting first with Fiber Optic based Thunderbolt that’ll come first to the Apple’s Mac line of computers that’ll debut technologies  developed to cope with the faster speeds, setting the trend for the PC world to follow.

This is Welcome to the Punch (2013) at a multi-billion dollar Optics Revolution coming to Computers, starting first with Servers, then Desktops and Workstations and eventually evolving to smartphones and Tablets.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

GOJ can develope UAV's as a means of giving the Police eyes in the sky - Inspiration for Aviators in Jamaica via G.I. Joe Retaliation

“With respect to vehicles and their location, we are certainly working on that, it is budgeted for. We hope, in the next financial year to acquire a proper vehicle tracking system that will give us a real-time demonstration of deployment”

Excerpt from the presentation by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Dr. Annmarie Barnes at the Wednesday 27th February 2013 meeting of the PAAC (Public Accounts Committee of Parliament)

Ever since the story broke in October of 2012 the Jamaican Press that the Police High Command shelled out close to JA$$400 million of Taxpayer's money repairing vehicles at unknown private garages over the past 1 year and six months (18 months) as noted in “'Secret' mechanics keep police cars rolling - $400 million paid to private garages in 18 months”, published Sunday October 21, 2012 by Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, a little storm in a teacup has been brewing. 

So it comes as no surprise that the GOJ’s decided to bell the Cat by introducing Vehicle Tracking for the Jamaican Police, with plans for its implementation at the start of the Financial Year 2013-2014 which begins in March 2013 as reported in “Tracking system coming for police vehicles”, published Saturday, March 02, 2013 BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

This is the main reason why this caught my eye, as it’s Telecom related. So this was inevitable; the GOJ has to do the very same thing like a lot of Private Sector companies; bell the Cats or Dogs, whichever the JCF members aka the Jamaican Police like to be caricatured.

This as this level of tax waste by doling out taxpayer's money to unknown Auto Mechanics  was revealed by the AGD (Auditor General's Department) via - you guessed it - an Auditof the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) aka the Jamaican Police as reported in “Cop car chaos - Audit reveals wide-scale lack of accountability in repair of police vehicles”, published Wednesday November 28, 2012 by Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Audit specifically covers the years 2007 to 2011 and it was via this audit that the GOJ discovered this JA$400 secret spending spree over the 1 year 6 months and the Vehicle Tracking System was a recommendation by the Auditor General Pamela Monroe-Ellis Report in a bid to streamline Police usage of their Fleet Vehicles.

This makes Procurement of vehicles more transparent as noted in “Gov't seeking to streamline fleet procurement policy”, published Monday, October 29, 2012 7:40 AM, The Jamaica Observer. Read the hyperlinked article at your leisure, but the revelations are startling:

1.      The JCF has no idea as the extent of its fleet
2.      The JCF doesn’t keep details records of who owns what vehicles
3.      The JCF has refused to hand over information related to the Auto Mechanics that fix Police Vehicles, citing Security concerns

This is on the same level of lack of transparency and accountability  as the November 2012 report in the Press of the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) buying its Parliamentarians brand new SUV’s as noted in my blog article entitled “GOJ buys SUV's for Ministers of Government from Toyota Jamaica - All-Electric Vehicle Importation Support is needed from GOJ to be The Master of our Fuel Consumption”. The Parliamentarians taxpayer waste involves a lot less money, actually US$694,000 or JA$ 63,068,552.18 million spent on procuring a total of twenty (20) SUV’s.

Thus, despite the excesses in both of these little swirling cups of coffee, it’s obvious the Police High Command’s excesses, albeit justifiable, is waaaaay more excessive by about 534%. Worse, the Auto Mechanics may just as well be owned by the Police Officer is very similar to stories of Jamaican Police Officers alleged running and owning taxis and other businesses to which they give “protection”, which means the Police High Command is committing Fraud.

Apparently, at first blush, it would appear that the Police are really rough drivers, damaging Police Vehicles and Public Property in their pursuit of rogue elements of society and thus an explanation for the decline in murders but spike in robberies as noted in “Major crimes down, robberies spike”, Published Saturday March 23, 2013 by Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But from a common sense point of view and my own experience driving fleet vehicles when IK was working at C&W (2001 to 2004) and CLARO (2008 2009), the one time I’ll admit too using it, I suspect the excessive wear and tear of Police vehicles comes down to poor maintenance of vehicles assigned to Police personnel.

Most likely, they’ve used their vehicles to take one too many personal excursions unrelated to actual Police work, no different than Private Sector companies who drivers may take their company’s fleet vehicle for a spin to do their own personal business on the road. This is one of the niceties of driving a fleet vehicle for a Private Sector company, especially a Telecom Provider which I discovered; you can get a lot done on the road you couldn’t do if you’re otherwise deskbound.

Thus when the new year rolled around, the Parliamentarians in March 2013 began asking where the Police did their patrols, potentially running the risk of exposing this sensitive info to the Public – and Criminal at large as noted in “Should public know number of vehicles assigned to different areas?”, published Friday, March 01, 2013 by The Jamaica Observer.

However, like the Politicians, the Police need vehicles to do their work and in fact are actually operating with approximately 50% of the vehicles required to do their job as noted in “Police operating with 50% of required fleet”, published Thursday, February 28, 2013 BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Observer senior reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Dr. Annmarie Barnes in February 2013:

1.      JCF currently has 1,554 Police Vehicles, roughly 50% of the required number of vehicles
2.      JCF currently 180 are awaiting repairs.
3.      JCF has 40 plus vehicles to be removed as they're not roadworthy
4.      JCF's desires a fleet size is 3000 vehicles
5.      JCF aims to have 2000 vehicles in the next five (5) years

But strangely the GOJ’s silent on the use of JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) aka the Jamaican Army helicopters to do Aerial Patrols with JCF escorts as this is also a major source of waste of Taxpayer Dollars. JDF’s helicopter fleet is not the most reliable as noted in the article “Helicopter problem stalls Gov't Pedro Cays visit”, published Thursday, September 20, 2012 3:40 PM, The Jamaica Observer and “JDF chopper near-miss!”, published Sunday, January 27, 2013 by Kimmo Matthews, The Jamaica Observer.

This prompts me to suggest the idea of the Police to have its own Aerial Patrol using UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or Drones as originally suggested in December 2012 by Horace Cunningham in his post “UAV project for surveillance: need some advice” posted December 8, 2012 at 7:14am by Horace Cunningham, DIY Drones.

The potential savings and the increased level of Surveillance will aid significantly in Crime-fighting and a gradual reduction in virtually every area of Jamaica via these Silent Remote Controlled eyes in the sky. When not in use for Crime-fighting, the JCF can earn revenue much like the JDF, via leasing out the Drones for:

1.      Promotions by Telecom Providers and other Private Sector entities
2.      Aerial mapping of Agricultural lands
3.      Census Taking
4.      News Reporters for investigative journalism as speculated in my blog article entitled “Griffin Helo TC US$50 Apple iPhone controlled Helicopter – TVJ and CVM TV's Flight of the Navigator”and my Geezam blog article entitled “US$60 Griffin HELO TC Helicopter at CES 2012

Having an Open Competition in Jamaica among UAV Drone designers from High Schools and Colleges with the winner’s in different size categories for Drones. The winning Design Teams would get the chance to work with the JDF Air Wing to build their UAV would help to tap into the creative energies of our local Jamaicans Talent, making it possible to have our own home built Drone Fleet to achieve the above and even more.

The technical know-how we already have as evidence by our able and more than capable aviator in the JDF Air Wing, as nothing’s secret about designing aircraft. The communications package and tracking of the aircraft may present difficulties as it relates to accessing reliable GPS, but in lieu of that, we can use Mobile Tower Triangulation as suggested in my blog article entitled “Mobile Triangulation without GPS - a solution to crime under our noses”.

My expansion on this is in light of the civilian applications that are a popping up UAV’s or Drones, the more colloquial and to-the-point name for remote controlled vehicles bristling with Surveillance electronics as noted in “Just Call It A Drone”, published 3/02/2013 @ 6:50PM by Greg McNeal, Contributor, Forbes.

Non-military and peacetime usage for Drones is on the uptick, with Defense contractors seeing more requests and orders from Public and Private non-Government interests within the US of A as noted in “UAV Makers Attract M&A Interest Despite Defense Cuts”, published 12/19/2012 @ 2:26PM by Richard Tekneci, Wall Street Journal via Forbes.

Granted, Jamaica doesn’t have a large land area to patrol, muchless difficulty in accessing much of the interior. The lower cost associated with Jamaica via the JDF designing and building Drones for the JCF controlled by a CCN (Constabulary Communications Network) NOC (Network Operation Center) should be obvious to the GOJ. And with the above peacetime operations as suggested, the JCF can actually become a cash positive Police, with their local designed and built Drones being used as a source of Revenue for the JCF and the JDF Air Wing.

This despite any perceived problems of invasion of Privacy associated with its increased usage in the US of A as noted in “Homeland Security: Let's be clear about aerial drone privacy”, published February 22, 2013 8:59 AM PST by Declan McCullagh, CNET News and “House orders Pentagon to disclose domestic drone use”, published March 7, 2013 5:48 PM PST by Declan McCullagh, CNET News as such issues  we can solve via effective legislation .

So I’d like to add to the Auditor General’s raft of suggestion to streamlining the procurement of new Vehicles by the JCF that they can also research the idea of a competition for High Schools and Colleges to design Drones for constructing by the JDF and usage by the both the JDF and the JCF.

Combined with MNP (Mobile Number Portability) for Unlocked Mobile Phones in Jamaica in order to get the New Area Code as noted in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Games Catching Fire of Mobile Computing” this is Jamaican’s G.I. Joe Retaliation (2013) against Crime.