#WirelessWednesday! Some Drones are Consumer Toys, but They’re About to Bring Big data to all Industries

We are used to seeing drones being used to take amazing photos and videos of places that are unpassable for humans but to be used for everyday business? It may seem crazy but Gigaom gives a strong argument for why and how drones will benefit big and small business. Keep reading—

by Biz Carson 

Drones may be touted for the future of delivering Amazon packages or a pizza and it’s obvious they have found a niche with consumers who want to produce cool videos of hard-to-reach places. However, one of their yet-untapped applications is as an internet of things sensor in the sky.

In a panel at Gigaom’s Structure Connect conference on Tuesday, 3DRobotics CEO and co-founder Chris Anderson and Autodesk’s SVP Amar Hanspal made the point that drones are as much a connected device as a wearable or a light bulb, and their applications will provide more than cool aerial footage.

For one thing, a drone has access to the sky, an sensor-less area where it’s normally expensive and dangerous to send humans to gather the same level, Anderson said. Once the drones start flying, they’re generating mountains of data in many forms.

“One of these can gather about a half terabyte per hour per drone, and there are hundreds of thousands of them out there,” Anderson said. “In terms of a big data opportunity, you’ve seen what Google did with street view. This is sky view. The question is what are we going to do with it?”

Both Anderson and Hanspal see drones moving beyond its current use as basically a flying GoPro and becoming an industry tool, scanning everything from a construction site to a farm.

“In the press you hear about Amazon delivering a book or pizzas may come to your house,” Hanspal said. “That is a cute thing to talk about, but the real action is in more B2B, industrial applications.”

Hanspal has already seen drones used in disaster situations to map and create 3-D images, like in the Washington mudslide in April. “Just like robots, drones don’t complain,” Hanspal said. They can also have smaller-scale applications like just mapping a park or creating a 3-D rendering of a building.

Anderson described a “scan van” that he wants to launch in the next few months that could travel around a city like a food truck and mapping construction sites. Once at a site, a “scan van” could open up a hatch on the truck and a drone would launch, flying over a structure and then returning to the helipad. Inside the van would be all of the equipment — Anderson hinted at possibly in partnership with Autodesk — to process the data within the truck and create 3-D models on the spot. Farmers could also use drones to monitor their crops and know where to spray pesticides if infestation creeps up or spot a water leak.

Anderson sees industries like farming and construction as jumping off points for industrial use, in part because of their locations. There’s less of a safety concern if the drones are flying over open fields or in an area where people are always wearing hard hats, Anderson said. Right now, farmers aren’t clamoring for drones, but that’s because they don’t know drones could be the answer to a lot of questions they have.

“This is bringing big data to the biggest industries in the world,” Anderson said.

Photo by Jakub Mosur

Tech Tip Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! Are you wondering if your home could use a signal booster? If so this week’s #techtip is just for you. Keep reading-

A common question we see in Tech Support is, “I have poor signal where I live I need a booster, what do recommend?” This is a broad question, so to help the customer out we ask a few important questions.

  • What is the square footage of your home?

This is an important question, as we have different boosters that cover different sized areas, our DT (small room), DB Pro (whole home), and AG Pro (large building).

  • What is the signal like outside your home?

This information is top priority when recommending a product; typically if the customer can make a phone call outside our systems can work efficiently. If they cannot, we recommend getting a signal reading off of their phone outside, preferably on the roof (likely place for outside antenna).

To gather signal readings on your phone, many customers own smart phones these days. Luckily there are apps for gathering signal readings from your phone. For the iPhone in the App Store you can download the app called: “Fieldtester” (free app). For iPhone 5’s and newer, you will need to go into your Settings, then into Cellular, and disable LTE. This will allow you to have more accurate readings. With the Fieldtester app opened you will want to look at the area that says “Phone Signal” below that you will see a percentage and below that a negative (-) number with “dBm” next to the number. To know what a good and bad signal is here are some tips, at -50 (next to the tower) is a great signal, and at -105 (our systems will not work) is a poor signal. Typically a good range we recommend is if the customer can fall between -70 to -90 outside.

In the google play store, a customer who has an Android phone we typically recommend downloading the app called: “Advanced Signal Status” (free app). This app is a little different than the iPhone’s “Fieldtester” app. When you download the app you will see the 3G and 4G broken up into different sections. The 3G will show your CDMA (voice) and EVDO (data) with RSSI signal. There you will see the dB readings. Similar to the iPhone, a good signal will be -50, and bad -105. The 4G will state LTE RSSI signal and have its reading as well.

If that customer is able to provide us with this information we can recommend the best product for their needs.

As always if you have any questions about this week’s tech tip, or just a technical question in general, feel free to leave us a comment below, or you can contact our technical support team directly at (866)294-1660 or email us at tech@wilsonelectronics.com.

Apple unveils new iPads at Oct. 16 event

Happy Friday!
In case you were wondering what all the Apple fuss was about yesterday, we have included it all for you here right on our blog. According to this article from the SF Gate, Apple made some upgrades to their iPads. Keep reading to learn more!

Apple on Thursday unveiled a new iPad Air 2 that will improve upon its past tablet models.

The latest iPads will include Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their devices and authorize purchases with their fingerprint. That option is already available on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new device is 18 percent thinner than the previous iPad Air.

iPad Air 2 will come in silver, space gray and gold. It starts with $499 with 16 GB, $599 for 64 GB and $699 for 128 GB. Apple also introduced a new iPad mini 3, starting at $399. Pre-orders for the two devices start today. They ship starting next week.

Last year, Apple unveiled the iPad Air, a 9.4 inch tablet that weighs 1 pound, much lighter than previous iPads. On Wednesday, a user guide for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 was posted on the iTunes store, indicating Touch ID for the tablets would likely be announced on Thursday, according to blog 9to5Mac.

Apple is still the leader in tablets, with 37 percent of all households owning an iPad in the first quarter, according to survey of 10,000 U.S. households by research and consulting firm Parks Associates. After Apple, about 16 percent of households had an Amazon tablet and 14 percent had a Samsung tablet, the firm said.

But tablet sales haven’t been as robust. In Apple’s third quarter, iPad sales declined 9 percent to roughly 13 million units sold. Part of the reason why people may not be buying new iPads is because Apple builds strong products that people want to keep longer, said Tim Bajarin, president of research firm Creative Strategies. Additions to the new iPads such as the Touch ID, could convince some people with the iPad 2 or first generation iPad to upgrade, he added.

Analysts predicted Apple would discuss Apple Pay and more details about Mac operating system Yosemite. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple Pay begins on Monday, while Craig Federighi said Yosemite will come out today.

What to Expect From Apple’s Big iPad Event Tomorrow

Since Apple’s second event of the fall is right around the corner, we thought it would be fitting to entertain ourselves with the following Mashable article pasted below. Check it out–

Tim_cook_wwdc_2014
Has it only been a month since Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in Cupertino, California, to reveal not only two new iPhones, but its first entry into a new product category since the iPad, the Apple Watch?

Considering all that’s gone on since — the millions of phones sold, a major iOS 8 flub and a nonstop rumor mill — you might think many months or even a year had passed. But no; it’s only October, and Cook is clearly keeping his word of making this a very busy fall.

See also: Apple iPhone 6: The Review

With Apple’s upcoming iPad event on Thursday, almost no one is expecting entries into new product categories. “[It’s a] low-key event on campus, so I don’t anticipate any big news,” Van L. Baker, vice president and research director for Gartner’s Mobile and Client Computing Services, wrote in an email.

New iPads

With the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s new design language became crystal (but not sapphire crystal) clear. Edges are out, curves are in.

The new iPads — expected to be the a second-edition Apple iPad Air and a second-edition iPad mini with retina display — will likely resemble the iPhone 6. I suspect the Gorilla Glass displays will meet the anodized aluminum case in a similarly seamless way. However, don’t expect either iPad to get much slimmer; each is currently only 0.02-inch thicker than the iPhone 6 and 0.01-inch thicker than the 6 Plus. Apple probably won’t want to give up that sliver of battery, which on a device as large as an iPad can account for an hour or more extra battery life. What’s more, if Apple can avoid having the iSight camera stick out of the case, I think it will.

If Apple does introduce a thinner iPad, it may have to confront an unanticipated issue. Prior to the iPhone 6 Plus, there was no such thing as “Bendgate.” Now, people are walking into Apple stores simply to bend products. Apple has been developing the new iPad for months, and the company certainly could not have made any significant design changes in the last month to account for bendability.

Design aside, there are some pretty sure bets for the upcoming iPad. It’s a no-brainer for Apple to add the Touch ID fingerprint reader, and leaked photos show them doing just that. It’s less clear whether Apple will also add near-field communication (NFC) chips to the new tablets.

Apple Pay, the secure mobile payment system introduced last month, relies on both the biometric Touch ID fingerprint reader and NFC to complete transactions with the iPhone 6. While Apple Pay hasn’t launched yet (more on that later), it’s probably not because Apple was waiting for the new iPads.

For now, Apple’s NFC implementation is only for Apple Pay; third parties can’t yet tap into the chips. So the only reason to include NFC in an iPad would be for mobile payments, and I just can’t wrap my head around any shopper pulling out an iPad — or even an iPad mini — to hold it near a transaction reader. It would make sense for Apple to include NFC in the updated iPad mini, but to leave it out of the full-sized tablet.

Not everyone agrees with that, though. Tim Bajarin, the president of Creative Strategies and longtime Apple watcher, thinks we should expect Touch ID and NFC in both new iPads.

Rumors of a much larger iPad also bound, a 12.9-inch device that might appeal to design professionals and mobile office workers. I think Apple will announce this product on Thursday, too, but it won’t ship until next year. Bajarin thinks it’s unlikely we’ll see or hear anything on the 12.9-inch iPad in 2014 at all.

Pricing, storage and gold

Apple should introduce its first gold iPad. OK, so it won’t be real gold, like the 18-karat gold Apple Watch that the company showed off last month, but for some, even faux gold is a status symbol of sorts.

The company’s decision to change up storage sizes on the iPhone 6 (16GB, 64GB and 128GB, but no 32GB), may indicate a new storage strategy. Perhaps these iPads will start at 32GB and then offer 64GB and 128GB options. That, however, seems unlikely. I still expect a 16 GB iPad, but there may not be a 32GB offering any longer.

Apple will likely also retire the heavier and slower iPad with retina display (the “iPad 4“). As for pricing, the original iPad Air will likely continue running the now older A7 chip and sell for $399. Base price for the new iPad Air 2 will still be $499, and an iPad mini running the A7 chip may fill the low-end iPad space and sell for $299. Base price on the new iPad mini will probably still be $399.

Apple Pay, OS and the kits

It’s no secret that Apple will announce Apple Pay going live at hundreds of stores around the country on Thursday. Tim Cook may use the occasion to give a much deeper dive into Apple Pay than he did last month, and he also may walk us through the setup and reveal tidbits like how it can be used to manage and renew credit cards and merchandise returns.

While much of the event will have a mobile focus, Apple will also likely use the event to officially launch OS X Yosemite, especially because of the way the desktop and laptop OS now integrate with its mobile platform.

Apple TV

Apple stopped calling Apple TV a hobby ages ago, but aside from software and component updates, Apple hasn’t paid much attention to the product’s design since the 2011 update. I suspect that Apple may finally do something about that; it could turn Apple TV into a dongle that gets plugged directly into an HDMI port (a la Google Chromecast). But I think Apple likes the idea of a box that can still accommodate an ethernet cable. The Apple TV box may, however, get a lot thinner — and, like everything else Apple is doing these days, lose all its sharp edges.

More significant than the design changes, though, will be Apple’s introduction of HomeKit for Apple TV. Bajarin said he expects Apple to demonstrate more HomeKit and HealthKit apps, but the biggest news may be deep integration of smart home automation inside Apple TV. Gartner’s Baker, however, agrees with Bajarin, saying he is less sure about any Apple TV updates at this launch.

Systems and 4K

Missing from last month’s Apple event was any mention of desktops and laptops, increasingly the likelihood that Apple will unveil a number of system updates. Bajarin put his money on Intel Broadwell, or 14-nanometer architecture, CPUs for laptops like the MacBook Air. The Intel chip could also show up in an updated Mac mini, which hasn’t seen an update in almost two years.

There’s also a chance that Apple could introduce a Retina MacBook Air, though Bajarin said it’s unlikely.

What’s more likely is the introduction of Apple’s first 4K display on its 27-inch (and maybe 21-inch) iMac. Design professionals would go crazy, though they may not like the price — which would probably be significantly higher than Apple’s top-of-the-line iMac.

The great unknown

Despite these predictions, Apple can be a vast and unknowable beast. The event may focus squarely on iPads and leave out almost everything else.

Tim Cook might avoid mentioning Bendgate completely, or he could tackle it — along with Hairgate — with a smart quip.

The company could also blow our minds and finally unveil the first real Apple TV set, or iTV. (I know, I know; it probably won’t.) Baker certainly doesn’t see that in cards; he said, “Thursday is just a “business as usual event” without “much impact.”

He makes it sound like a yawner, but I’m not buying it. After almost a year of “meh,” Apple is going for the “wow.” It may not always succeed, but I think the days of “business as usual” are done. At least for now.

Tech Tip Tuesday

Can you believe it’s already the second Tuesday in October?! We can’t, but we sure are excited for this week’s tech tip! Keep reading–

We are often asked here in Tech Support about which is stronger–the Sleek (460107) or the MobilePro (460113)? Comparing the 460113 and the 460107 is like comparing apples to oranges. The 460107 will boost the voice, text, 3G, and 4G LTE with a 26 dB gain. However, your device sits right against the cradle, so it will not lose as much gain through the air. The 460113 will also boost voice, text, and 3G, but it has a 40 dB gain. It is designed to emit the signal 1-3 feet away from the device, but you will lose gain through the air. They both can be moved from the car to a building fairly easily, so the deciding factor is usually if you want the cradle, or the wireless.

If you know you want the Sleek cell phone signal booster, but you aren’t sure which model is right for you, (the Sleek 3G, the Sleek 4G, and the Sleek 4G-C), keep reading! We are asked this question all the time, so no worries. This product line is a great and versatile system to help with signal in a home, office, or vehicle.  To assure coverage for all carriers, we have several options for you, which explain all the options with the different models. Please note that all of our Sleek boosters will enhance your voice and 3G data signal for most major carriers. Our Sleek product line will fit almost all phones and MiFi devices.

As always if you have any questions about this week’s tech tip, or just a technical question in general, feel free to leave us a comment below, or you can contact our technical support team directly at (866)294-1660 or email us at tech@wilsonelectronics.com.

InstallerNet Partners with Wilson Electronics to Give Customers Direct Access to a Nationwide Installation Program For Cellular Signal Boosters

InstallerNet, a Boston-based company that coordinates the installation of consumer and commercial electronics through the largest network of independently owned mobile and home electronics installers in the United States, announced today a new partnership with Wilson Electronics, the leading manufacturer of cell phone signal booster solutions for mobilebuilding and machine-to-machine (M2M).

InstallerNet will provide nationwide installation services for Wilson Electronics products sold through major online and brick and mortar retailers.

The new partnership provides Wilson Electronics’ customers with instant access to installation support via InstallerNet’s nationwide network of certified installers.

How it works:

  • Wilson Electronics’ customers will have the option to schedule their appointment on-line, or call InstallerNet directly.
  • InstallerNet will then select a fully trained local installer from its network, and tailor the experience to the customer’s specific needs.
  • Whether it’s home, mobile or M2M application, InstallerNet is positioned to professionally install the products to maximize their performance.

“We’re excited to give customers the option of using InstallerNet’s network of professional installers to help install our signal boosters in their vehicles and homes,” said Lonnie Arima, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Wilson Electronics. “This partnership is a direct result of our commitment to helping our customers stay connected in life and in work using their cellular devices.”

Wilson Electronics’ cellular signal boosters overcome the problems of dropped calls and slow data rates by amplifying weak cellular signals. The boosters work by picking up the signal from a cell tower, connecting the signal to the cellular device, and then sending a boosted signal back to the tower. Wilson Electronics’ products can be purchased from a variety of authorized resellers.

“InstallerNet is extremely excited to partner with Wilson Electronics,” said Bill Erdman, COO of InstallerNet. “Besides being the clear leader in the product category, Wilson will be the first partner to utilize our complete solutions for both home and mobile installations–a trend we see increasing.”