Monday, May 28, 2012

Milestone for wi-fi with 'T-rays'

Milestone for wi-fi with 'T-rays'

Researchers in Japan have smashed the record for wireless data transmission in the terahertz band, an uncharted part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.
RTD terahertz wi-fi device
The device will be improved first by adding an antenna to increase its efficiency

The data rate is 20 times higher than the best commonly used wi-fi standard.
As consumers become ever more hungry for high data rates, standard lower-frequency bands have become crowded.
The research, published in Electronics Letters, adds to the idea that this "T-ray" band could offer huge swathes of bandwidth for data transmission.
The band lies between the microwave and far-infrared regions of the spectrum, and is currently completely unregulated by telecommunications agencies.
Despite the name, the band informally makes use of frequencies from about 300 gigahertz (300GHz or about 60 times higher than the current highest wi-fi standard) to about 3THz, 10 times higher again.
It is used principally for imaging in research contexts, as terahertz waves penetrate many materials as effectively as X-rays but deposit far less energy and therefore cause less damage.
Until recently, the technology required both to generate and detect these "T-rays" has been too bulky, costly or power-hungry to offer a plausible alternative to existing devices tucked within smartphones or wi-fi routers.
That looks set to change; in November electronic component firm ROHMdemonstrated a 1.5Gb/s (1.5 billion bits per second) transfer rate at a frequency of 300GHz.
Terahertz wi-fi would probably only work within ranges of about 10m, but could in theory support data rates up to 100Gb/s - close to 15 times higher than the next-generation 802.11ac wi-fi standard that is under development.
The new work, by researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, demonstrated 3Gb/s transmission at 542GHz.
At the heart of the team's 1mm-square device is what is known as a resonant tunnelling diode, or RTD.
Tunnelling diodes have the unusual characteristic that the voltage across them can sometimes go down as current is increased.
RTDs are designed such that this process makes the diode "resonate", which in the current work's design means it sprays out waves in the terahertz band.
The team is now working to improve their proof-of-principle device and extend its range deeper into the terahertz regime, as well as increasing its power output.

Cell phones take over people's lives

Cell phones take over people's lives

In the year of 1947, the fundamental idea behind the mobile phone was created. It was nothing fancy just a clever mechanism for long-distance communication. Sixty four years later, the cell phone has evolved into something that barely resembles the original, beast-like structure. Now, smart-phones reign over the world, ostentatiously boasting touch screens, fast internet connections and games. The original purpose of the cell phone - a device to promote fast and easy means of communication, has been lost behind the great façade of capitalism and consumer demand. The exponential increase in communication data and speed has left the world in a societal dilemma that remains at the core of the first world countries today. While virtual societies on the World Wide Web thrive in these conditions, real relationships stagnate and languish.

To begin with, everywhere one looks, people have cell phones grasped tightly in their hands all the time, fingers constantly caressing the blinking screen. In school, there is always a person in class whose eyes are glued onto a bright device underneath the desk and refuses to communicate with the rest of the class. Data to each other are not conveyed through the mouth, but through the medium of the internet via the mechanical movements of the fingers. Sincerity of the message cannot be clearly seen, but has to be\ deciphered. Because texting is so much more efficient than speaking, we become slothful. The ubiquitous presence of the phone has led people to abandoning real life conversation and they seek to hide behind the veneer of social networking services and texting.

Speaking from a personal note, I remember a case where cell phones had a detrimental effect on a family dinner. While everyone was eating and talking around the dinner table, my sister was immersed in the world of the smart phone. Her fingers ran up and down the screen, replying to the barrage of text messages from her very many friends, many of whom she rarely meets in real life. Even when our parents called her and addressed her, she looked up as if she was distracted and talked as if family communication was not as worthy as the conversation between online friends. Her priorities were clear and it was unethical. Thus the atmosphere of the table degraded to a level of awkwardness and frustration that made everyone uncomfortable. Cell phone dissolves unity within a family.

It is not just personal experience that speaks against the phone, but basic human psychology. When you invite a friend over, and all you do is wait for text messages from another person, you are going to create an uncomfortable and uncivil situation. It is only logical that the proliferation of phones and the increase of the augmented times spent on the device will create a generation that is in desperate need of people who have real communication skills. People will not be able to confront or connect with someone face to face because when a person communicated only by writing, he feels more secure and more confident than he would be in real life.

A deterioration in people skills is not the only negative societal effect. Cell phones and increased useof digital technology has led to the destruction of the days of books. Gone are days when people had their noses stuck in great classics, immersed in the romantic world of the Bennets, the harsh, cold worlds of Raskolnikov and the radical world of Emil Sinclair. Because entertainment is only a click away, there is an incentive to play instead of working. Education falls and ignorance rises. Basic grammatical errors are constantly present and advanced vocabulary is seldom used. Advancement is stagnating.

This problem’s genesis lies at the core mindset and fundamental structure of society and capitalism. All our life is focused on overcoming our next opponent, regardless of your affiliation. Emotions or desires. In this capitalistic society, everything is centralized on competition. If someone gets a grade percent average, you must get a better one. If someone gets a high SAT score, you must get a score that transcends his. If someone gets the latest phone, you must also get it. Thus the vicious cycle exacerbates at an exponential rate. When your son’s gets his first phone in third grade, your son must get it in second grade. We become indoctrinated to the idea of phones ever since we are young.

Regardless of its effects, we have senselessly embraced new technology without much evaluation. Phones thus became an integral part of society. We inhale it, we drink it and we smoke it; and it feels good for a while until its the poison subtly laced into the solution contaminates our world. In the blink of an eye, we are attached to it, just like cancer patients are attached to life support.

Northcote fire questions safety of smart meters

Northcote fire questions safety of smart meters

Peter and mum Sophie Tzirozidis. Picture: Adam Elwood
Peter and mum Sophie Tzirozidis. Picture: Adam Elwood
A FAMILY’S narrow escape from a Northcote house fire prompted a Darebin officer to raise concerns about smart meter installation.
Christmas St resident Sophie Tzirozidis hailed her 12-year-old son a hero after he ran to the front of their house, stopped traffic and alerted neighbours to help evacuate his grandfather, Peter, and grandmother, Vicki, before they were overcome with smoke.
“If Peter hadn’t have come running out screaming for help my parents would have died from smoke inhalation because my father’s had a stroke and he can’t walk and my mother couldn’t move because she was in shock,” Ms Tzirozidis said.
“The fire started from the smart meter and the flames spread straight up to the roof.
“There’s nothing smart about smart meters - they’re terrible.”
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade estimated the damage at $300,000.
One brigade officer, who refused to be named because he was opening “a political can of worms”, said this was the third serious fire in Northcote he’d attended in the past six months that started at the smart meter.
He said the power companies were involved in “a massive cover-up” denying responsibility.
“The problem is not with the meter itself but with connecting it to wiring in older houses,” the officer said.
“Unless something’s done (to fix the problem), unfortunately we’ll see a lot more of these fires and we just have to hope no one will get hurt.”
The MFB officer said he’d repeatedly watched power company authorities visiting the houses after the fires and claiming sabotage or other factors were involved to take the heat off them.
Drew Douglas, a spokesman for CitiPower, which installed the smart meter at the Christmas St property, said the company ruled out the smart meter as the cause of the fire.
“We’re working with other authorities to determine the exact cause of the fire,” Mr Douglas said.
“The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has not recorded any increase in fires with the installation of smart meters.”
Last year the State Government backed the previous government’s decision to roll out smart meters to every home in Victoria by the end of 2012.
The meters reflect usage by measuring hourly consumption.

Hydro smart meter rhetoric just propaganda

Hydro smart meter rhetoric just propaganda


Ted Olynyk of BC Hydro would have us believe the smart meters are the best thing since sliced bread (Customer feedback important to BC Hydro, May 11). If he is truly interested in customer feedback, perhaps he would provide an answer to some of his "questionable" claims made in defence of the new smart meters.

He states that the meters provide "faster power restoration when there's an outage." Power is restored when the power problem has been repaired and has nothing to do with electric measuring meters.

Olynyk claims that like the smart meters, the old meters have problems. I don't know about you folks, but I have never had a problem with the old meters, nor have we ever had a Hydro employee come by to repair our meter, in the 40 years that I have lived in this province.

He states the new meters will "help save energy and money" and the savings would be "passed on to our customers."
If BC Hydro were truly concerned about saving their customers money, why were millions upon millions of dollars used to purchase new meters when the old units had been functioning properly for many, many years?

He also claims that complaints of high power bills and consump-tion comes "from customers with the old meters." I disagree! Is Olynyk prepared to provide proof of that statement? He claims "a colder winter" is the reason that power bills are higher. I have an old meter and my power consumption has not increased any significant amount.
The public is expected to believe the foregoing statements coming from a corporation whose executives hid Hydro losses in order to give themselves handsome annual bonuses.
My old power meter will remain in place regardless of BC Hydro propaganda.
John Walker Cobble Hill

Smart meters cause concern in county

Smart meters cause concern in county

Residents say they have issues with safety and security

By Collin McRann
Staff Reporter
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012 10:23 AM CDT
With the San Miguel Power Association getting ready to install smart electric power meters in Telluride this summer, a few residents have voiced concerns.

Two residents, Bärbel Hacke of Lawson Hill and Elisabeth Gick of Telluride, have presented a letter to the association’s board of directors with around 80 signatures attached to it.

Gick said she is worried about heath and safety issues associated with the meters.

“I would like to err on the side of caution,” Gick said. “I feel a little queasy about this whole thing, and I will take the opt-out option, but I would like it to be more affordable for people who want to take it. Three hundreed dollars a year is not affordable to a lot of people.”

SMPA plans to install the meters this summer.  The association initiated the transition and says the new meters have several advantages over the old ones because they record power usage with more detail, staff is not required to manually read every meter and they also provide information to quickly locate the cause of power outages. SMPA is stipulating that if a resident wants to keep an old meter, they will be charged $25 per month to have a technician check the readings. SMPA has been planning the transition for some time.

But not everyone is convinced that the meters are better. Smart meters planned for installation report electrical usage remotely via the electrical wires. This has caused some concern because sources on and off the Internet report that smart meters can detect what electrical devices or appliances are in use within a home.

However, the association maintains, only overall electrical usage is recorded.

“There are some misconceptions with people thinking the meters can do more than they do,” SMPA Communications Executive Becky Mashburn said. “Some people were thinking the meters could actually identify the activity that’s taking place in the home. They can tell us the energy use, just like the current meter can. But they stop at the exterior of a building and measure and record energy use and that’s the only info they provide, not what someone is doing.”

With a continuous reading of a customer’s electrical usage, the association says it can help customers more closely monitor their monthly bill and potentially lower it.

Another potential set of problems brought up by Gick and Hacke are security issues related to the information the meters transfer. Hacke said she is worried about hackers getting information out of the meters. Mashburn said the association’s meters are secure with little risk of outside interference.

Meter hacking has been an issue in other parts of the country, but in most cases customers themselves have done the hacking to lower their monthly electrical bill. A May 2010 FBI statement warns electrical companies about customers tampering with smart meters to lower their bills.

Mashburn said the meters’ transferred signal is encrypted and can only be read by proprietary equipment. She added the equipment has also been selected to provide the best service to the area and reading the.

SMPA has around 14,000 meters to read every month, Mashburn said.

In Hacke and Gick’s letter, the two state they simply want clear answers about the meters and why they are being implemented. They also request another public meeting to be held in Telluride. Their letter has been published in today’s edition of the Planet on page 10.

The two also presented the letter to the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners, but were directed to take the issue up with SMPA board members.

“I still feel that even if it’s last minute, I still have the right to a good answer,” Gick said. “We did an informal survey, if people knew about smart meters, and it was pretty funny that a lot of people thought we were talking about parking meters.”

Smart meters pose health hazard: expert

Smart meters pose health hazard: expert


RF radiation constitutes serious risk, he testifies


Hydro-Québec's proposed rollout of 3.8 million wireless smart meters "may constitute a risk of serious, as well as irreversible, damage to health," according to a report by a U.S. public health professional testifying before Quebec's energy board Thursday.

David Carpenter, director of the University at Albany's Institute for Health and the Environment, urged that precautionary measures be taken to offset potential health problems related to radiofrequency emissions from the wireless meters.

There hasn't yet been a comprehensive study on the impact of the relatively new devices and their RF radiation on human health, Carpenter told the board.

While the body of evidence is incomplete, it "is strong enough that as a public health official it is my responsibility to tell you that we should do what we can to reduce exposure in ways that are neither excessively expensive or excessively regulatory," he said.

"If government does not acknowledge that there is reason for caution, it will be like the situation we had with smoking and lung cancer."

The meters that Hydro-Québec proposes to use in its $1-billion project to deploy smart meters across the province by 2017 would be mostly located on exterior walls.
But meters situated inside occupied rooms such as kitchens would increase exposure to RF energy that would be especially problematic for children, according to Carpenter's report and testimony Thursday.

In a report filed with the Régie de l'énergie, Carpenter said that alternatives include hardwired technology.

Meters inside homes should be moved to the outside or at least positioned so that they don't face occupants.

Carpenter was retained by the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique and Stratégies Énergétiques, both intervenors in the case.
Carpenter was not accorded the status of an expert witness by board president Richard Lassonde on Thursday.

Lassonde accepted Hydro-Québec's key position that Carpenter had not himself done research directly related to RF radiation.

Carpenter, whose curriculum vitae runs to 32 pages, is the former director of the third-largest public health lab in the U.S., testified about RF and power-line emissions and cancer before the U.S. President's Cancer Panel in 2009 and is among the external reviewers of grant proposals for Quebec's cancer program.

The hearings continue.

Read more:

Concerned citizens say ‘no’ to proposed Maple Ridge cell tower location

Concerned citizens say ‘no’ to proposed Maple Ridge cell tower location

Residents living in the Whonnock area of Maple Ridge say they were shocked when they received a letter in the mail last month telling them about a proposed cell tower in their neighbourhood.
“It was just like, ‘what, they can’t do that can they?’” said Janet Foster, who has lived on 110th Avenue in Whonnock for 38 years.
The proposed Telus tower, to be built by Alcatel-Lucent Canada, would be placed at 27649 110th Avenue, which is adjacent to Janet’s property, and she did not want the structure going up without a fight.
A group called Whonnock ACT (Against Cell Tower) was formed, and they have been fighting the proposal ever since. Part of the battle they faced was learning about the process to build one of these towers, and the steps corporations take to inform residents.
Janet’s daughter Margo called the experience “intellectually and emotionally exhausting.”
“We have been trying our best to get information and attention from Telus, Alcatel-Lucent, Industry Canada, our Member of Parliament, our MLAs, and our local government,” she said. “None of us has expertise necessary to deal with the technical aspects of this kind of proposal, or the experience to know how to fight big corporations and governments.”
Residents told Global BC that they feel they are trying to be taken advantage of, and that their concerns about the tower are not being heard.
“It’s stunning to think [Industry Canada] can say that health, environment, and property values don’t count,” said Janet.
Industry Canada said they require “all all radiocommunication and broadcasting operators to comply with Health Canada's Safety Code 6 to ensure the safety of Canadians.”
But that’s not enough for Janet. “There’s a concern about water here too,” she said. “We’re all houses on wells.”
Neighbour Brenda Ingram, who has lived in the area for five years, agrees with Janet, saying her main priority is health issues. “Then we were concerned about the environment,” she said. “There was our own water, the fish, and the wildlife, questions about whether we live in a flight path.”
“Industry Canada said there would be no impact to our property values,” she added, but as she said her family sold their former home in Maple Ridge to move out to the rural area, they are now unsure of what to do. “We don’t want to take a risk with our four and five years olds [grandchildren],” she said.
Shawn Hall from Telus said they were surprised by the response to the opposition to the proposed tower, and as a result Telus has decided to “take a step back.”
“What we’ve decided to do in this case is to take a step back and temporarily hold off and continue some consultation and take another look at the area and see if this is the best site or if there’s alternatives,” he said. “Unfortunately that might mean, if we’re not able to get a tower up and running in the next year or two, the area will start seeing degraded service as increased demand outstrips our current capacity.”
Ingram said she understands the need for the towers, but that’s not the point.
“We’re not against cell towers,” she said, “we get it. We all have cell phones, we just don’t want [the towers] to be in residential areas.”
The District of Maple Ridge does not have a policy around cell towers, and as a result the process just follows Industry Canada’s default policy.
Councilor Corisa Bell said that is part of the problem.
“I believe we need to have a discussion around that to have a policy in place,” she said. “As well as for the citizens to know that we have something in place.”
Bell said the process around cell towers is a “little out of the District’s hands”, but council has sent a letter to Alcatel-Lucent outlining their concerns as well and that letter is filled with the need for more assessments done on the area, and many unanswered questions.
Those questions will hopefully be answered now the proposal has been put on hold.
“I feel sad to realize there are people who care more about money than their homes,” said Margo. “I feel disgust and contempt toward those who would seek to destroy the character of this neighbourhood.” 

Read it on Global News: Global BC | Concerned citizens say ‘no’ to proposed Maple Ridge cell tower location

Today’s environment influences behavior generations later

Chemical exposure raises descendants’ sensitivity to stress

Today’s environment influences behavior generations later

Monday, May 21, 2012
By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Michael Skinner
PULLMAN, Wash. — esearchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Washington State University have seen an increased reaction to stress in animals whose ancestors were exposed to an environmental compound generations earlier.
The findings, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put a new twist on the notions of nature and nurture, with broad implications for how certain behavioral tendencies might be inherited.
The researchers—David Crews at Texas , Michael Skinner at Washington State and colleagues—exposed gestating female rats to vinclozolin, a popular fruit and vegetable fungicide known to disrupt hormones and have effects across generations of animals. The researchers then put the rats’ third generation of offspring through a variety of behavioral tests and found they were more anxious, more sensitive to stress, and had greater activity in stress-related regions of the brain than descendants of unexposed rats.
"We are now in the third human generation since the start of the chemical revolution, since humans have been exposed to these kinds of toxins,” says Crews. "This is the animal model of that.”
"The ancestral exposure of your great grandmother alters your brain development to then respond to stress differently,” says Skinner. "We did not know a stress response could be programmed by your ancestors’ environmental exposures.”
The researchers had already shown exposure to vinclozolin can effect subsequent generations by affecting how genes are turned on and off, a process called epigenetics. In that case, the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance altered how rats choose mates.
The new research deepens their study of the epigenetics of the brain and behavior, dealing for the first time with real-life challenges like stress. It also takes a rare systems biology approach, looking at the brain from the molecular level to the physiological level to behavior.
"We did not know a stress response could be reprogrammed by your ancestors’ environmental exposures,” says Skinner, who focused on the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and genomics aspects of the paper.  "So how well you socialize or how your anxiety levels respond to stress may be as much your ancestral epigenetic inheritance as your individual early-life events.”
This could explain why some individuals have issues with post-traumatic stress syndrome while others do not, he says.

Crews says that increases in other mental disorders may be attributable to the kind of "two-hit” exposure that the experiment is modeling.

"There is no doubt that we have been seeing real increases in mental disorders like autism and bipolar disorder,” says Crews, who focused on the neuroscience, behavior and stress aspects of the paper. "It’s more than just a change in diagnostics. The question is why? Is it because we are living in a more frantic world, or because we are living in a more frantic world and are responding to that in a different way because we have been exposed? I favor the latter.”
The researchers also saw intriguing differences in weight gain, opening the door to further research on obesity.

Contact:Michael Skinner, professor, Washington State University School of Biological Sciences, 509-335-1524,
David Crews, professor, University of Texas at Austin, 512-471-1804,

Telus, Rogers and Bell see mobile tsunami on horizon

Telus, Rogers and Bell see mobile tsunami on horizon

Say smart phone adoption is just the first wave

Talk, text, email, entertainment, and next, the deluge.

Telecoms around the world are scrambling to build and maintain wireless networks that can satisfy the expectations of government, business and the public.

If you were to create a graph showing a century’s worth of communications technology adoption, starting back with phone, TV, mobile, Internet, it would look flat relative to the upward spike that began a couple of years ago when the iPhone hit the market.

“It’s happening with mobile networks around the world,” Bernard Lord, president of the Canadian Wireless Communications Association, said in an interview. “It’s the fastest technology adoption rate ever — greater than the traditional Internet, greater than PCs, greater than mainframe computers.”Lord recalled one statistic that stood out for him at an international conference for the wireless industry last week in New Orleans.

“One of the speakers said there were more people connected with mobile devices in the world today than people that have electricity or running water.

“It’s as if a few years ago we were riding bicycles and going 15 kilometres an hour on dirt roads. Now we are driving tractor-trailer trucks that go faster than Ferraris. And there are more of us, and more devices. The dirt road has to become a 64-lane highway.”

Whether it’s a projected $32-billion boost to the Canadian economy from the creation of a digital payments system, smartphone access to a live TV broadcast or an interactive map for navigating an unfamiliar city, it’s an enterprise that needs a wireless system to travel on. It’s a big job, getting bigger by the day.

Radio waves travel on what the industry calls spectrum. AM and FM radio stations occupy a range of frequencies — spectrum — on the airwaves. Mobile phone communications do the same.

A decade ago, a network of high-powered cell towers on a relatively narrow spectrum served all of a telecom’s wireless customers.

Not today. Industry Canada has been staging multi-billion-dollar auctions in which telecoms bid on spectrum to increase the carrying capacity of their wireless systems. They can’t create new spectrum out of thin air, so regulators are busy reallocating existing frequencies.

For example, the recent eviction of Canadian and U.S. television networks from the 700 megahertz frequency to a narrower digital frequency was intended to free up more space for mobile communications. In other words, the government is pushing TV and other communication services aside to make room for mobile.

Neither the regulators nor the mobile service providers have much choice in this.
As a rule of thumb, each customer converting from a conventional cellphone to a smartphone immediately consumes 25 to 30 times as much air time on a carrier’s network.

Telus compares it to their recent wireless installation in refurbished BC Place.
“In days of voice calling, one cell site, one channel, would have sufficed. Today, to serve the requirements of the same number of people, there are 100 channels, 100 cell sites. You just need a tonne of capacity when people are using smartphones,” Eros Spadotto, Telus executive vice-president for technology strategy and operations, said.
Mobile banking, introduced barely two years ago, is already old news. This week the Canadian Bankers Association announced a consensus among banks and credit unions on guidelines for a “voluntary, secure, open” mobile payment system.

A day later Rogers Communications and CIBC announced plans to introduce later this year mobile payments for retail purchases — you tap your smartphone to pay at the till. No cash, no ATM card needed.

Bell Canada and Telus are negotiating with financial institutions to deliver the same service.

If you’re a wireless service provider, it’s an exciting and expensive challenge. Canada’s three largest carriers, Telus, Rogers, and Bell Canada, spent a combined $1.1 billion last year on research and development — mainly to stay a year or two ahead of their mobile subscribers, rather than trade blows with the competition.

Again, they don’t have much choice.

As many as 60 per cent of the big three carriers’ most lucrative customers, so-called post-paid subscribers whose phone bills are totalled up at the end of the month, now reach for smartphones when they want to check a friend’s whereabouts, send a photo or update their status on Facebook — and that proportion grows daily.

Earlier this month the big three announced a joint agreement to use a common set of software development tools that will allow independent app developers to develop products that will work across mobile networks — both in Canada and around the world.
Telus has spent $900 million since 2009, has 600 full-time R&D employees, and about 3,200 involved in technology and the operation of its core communications networks.
Some of that investment goes to hardware, but a lot of it goes simply into figuring out how to keep the system running seamlessly.

“It is absolutely a challenge,” Spadotto said. “It is stunning. Take a look at some of the new devices that have come to bear in the market — whether they are the Apple devices or Android, they have really changed the users’ perspective on how they use the network and their expectations of the network — and it has caused fundamental changes in the way we design and build networks.

“Canada in particular, and I would say Telus specifically, have gone from a situation where you could be a fast follower of what’s happening in other parts of the world, predominantly in the U.S., to where now we are very much at the forefront of R&D.
“Because of that we are actually inventing stuff now. When we invent stuff, I would say our inventions tend to be around methods and procedures, whereas the invention of equipment is really around the purview of the manufacturer.”

Smaller mobile transmitters are considered superior to large ones because you can concentrate them, like the Telus BC Place project, in areas that are likely to attract high volumes of activity. Telus, for example, has a concentration of mini-transmitters in the vicinity of English Bay to support the annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival.
Money is flooding out to create so-called LTE or Long Term Evolution wireless networks offering the capacity and speed to support the volume of information that smartphones are expected to move — such as tens of thousands of people simultaneously sending out photos of an exploding firework during the festival.

Bell and Rogers have state-of-the-art LTE service in 17 regions around the country, Telus has 14. All plan expansions. Telus, for example, plans to offer the service in 20 British Columbia communities by year’s end.

Where does this all end?

“In a lot of ways, it doesn’t,” Spadotto said. “We’re deploying our LTE network right now and, believe it or not, we’re already toying with LTE release 10 or some people call it LTB or LT advanced. That’s already in our labs. The market has created such an insatiable need for this bandwidth connectivity that we are somewhat on a technology treadmill right now. It won’t end.”

It may just be starting.

Even as smartphone adoption accelerates, Gord Nelson, Rogers vice-president for B.C. said, “we’ve got another new phenomenon going on where tablet [computer] deployment is exploding throughout the world with people now having a laptop, a notebook, an iPad, a smartphone, and so on. There is explosive growth across the board.”

The difference between a wireless Internet connection on a smartphone, and the in-home connection on a laptop connected to the Internet via a family’s Wi-Fi device, has vanished, Nelson added.

“We’ve invested about $625 million in the last five years alone [in B.C.]. My sense is that we are going to continue to see huge investments like that in Canada for Rogers ... because there is that insatiable demand for this type of connectivity. I quite frankly don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. I think we’re at the early stages of the adoption of this technology and I think it’s going to continue to explode.”

Robert Switzman, senior director of emerging business for Rogers, anticipates an upwelling of mobile communication in which smartphone use emerges as just one of many components.

“It’s not just you and your phone, or you and your laptop or tablet or gaming console. It’s manufacturers working on connections to cars to track their reliability, health authorities and doctors, on and on, or tracking the performance of home energy systems, appliances,” Switzman said.

“Very quickly, we’re looking to a world of connected fridges, appliances, light switches, all that type of stuff — and with that comes your ability to use the Internet to see what’s happening in your home, control things, get real time information. It changes the way you interact in your day to day life with your home, with the stuff in your home, manage your energy better.”Bell’s Wade Oosterman said the key will be a continued commitment by the federal government to ensure there’s enough spectrum to sustain industry growth.
“From phone calls, to text messaging then email, now web browsing, mobile TV, banking. The list grows and grows,” Oosterman, Bell mobility and residential services president, said in an interview.

“From a technology perspective if you can stay ahead of that curve or at least keep up with that curve, Canadian consumers can’t get hurt.
“There’s no point having a really great set of functionalities if you then don’t have the capacity to satisfy that functionality. All you have to do is try to make a phone call in New York City and you know what I mean. You can’t get out anywhere. The networks are too congested. You go to look something up on your browser on the fly and you just spin and spin and spin. The networks are congested.”

Read more:

Mobile addict parents guilty of child 'neglect' warns psychologist

Mobile addict parents guilty of child 'neglect' warns psychologist

Parents who constantly fiddle with mobile phones or iPads in front of their children are guilty of “benign neglect” and risk driving them to a lifelong dependency on screens, a leading psychologist has warned.
Children are in danger of developing an addiction to screen technology, a psychologist has warned
Children are in danger of developing an addiction to screen technology, a psychologist 
has warned Photo: ALAMY

A generation of young people is growing up with a virtual addiction to computers, televisions and smartphones with striking similarities to alcoholism, according to Dr Aric Sigman.
By the time they turn seven, children born today will have spent the equivalent of an entire year of their lives watching some form of small screen, he told an audience of doctors.
The effect could be long-term changes to children’s brain circuitry similar to those in other forms of dependency, he said.
He told the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual conference in Glasgow that parents need to “regain control” of their households.
He said: "Passive parenting' in the face of the new media environment is a form of benign neglect and not in the best interests of children. Parents must regain control of their own households."
Last month a Europe-wide report called for nurseries to ban televisions and called for parents to resist pleas to let children have them in their bedrooms, in a bid to fight obesity among young people.
Dr Sigman, who is both a biologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, drew on research which suggests an association between high levels of screen use and both type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In a presentation on the parallels between screen dependency and alcoholism, he said that on-screen novelty and stimulation caused the release of dopamine, a chemical which plays an important role in the brain’s “reward” system and may be linked to the formation of addictions.
It is estimated that teenagers now spend up to six hours a day in front of some form of small screen.
Children as young as 10 now have access to as many as five different screens at home, often watching two or more at a time, he said in a presentation to the conference and screen dependency.
But parents’ behaviour can play a key role in determining how children will treat technology, he said.
Boys whose parents watch more than four hours a day of television are more than 10 times more likely to develop the same habit as those whose parents do not, he said.
He also singled out parents who maintain high levels of “eye-to-screen contact” at home warning that they are likely to instill similar behaviour in their children
"Technology should be a tool, not a burden or a health risk,” he said.
“Whether children or adults are formally 'addicted' to screen technology or not, many of them overuse technology and have developed an unhealthy dependency on it.
“While there are obviously a variety of different factors which may contribute to the development of a dependency – whether it involves substances or activities – the age, frequency, amount of exposure along with the ease of access and the
effects of role modelling and social learning, all strongly increase the risk.
“All of these contribute to a total daily exposure to, or ‘consumption of', an activity.
“And all are prerequisite factors that contribute to the risk of dependent overuse of technology.”
He called for children under three to have no screen time at all, and no more than an hour a day outside school for those under seven.
Sue Palmer, author of the book Toxic Childhood, said that screens were altering the way children develop basic communication skills.
“Learning to read people’s faces and expressions and body language is absolutely essential in order to develop empathy,” she said.
“The children are simply not getting enough experience of them.”
She said that one midwife had recently told her that it is becoming common for mothers delivering babies to text or post updates to their friends from the delivery room.
“They are not even really present at their children’s births any more,” she said.