HaLow shines bright for Internet of Things

Our weekly roundup of interesting stories online including the emergence of a new wireless networking standard for IoT and big changes ahead for BlackBerry and Internet Explorer.

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January is always a busy month in tech, and the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlights the industry’s latest and greatest. Consumer and enterprise technologies continue to overlap, and there were a few snippets for enterprises at this year’s CES, too, as vendors and industry organizations unveiled their strategies for the coming year.

Wi-Fi HaLow offers IoT networking

One of the most significant was the launch of a Wi-Fi network standard for the Internet of Things. At the show, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wi-Fi HaLow, a long-range, low-powered wireless networking standard that will operate at sub-1 GHz frequencies — making it theoretically capable of reaching up to a kilometre away. The certification process for the Bluetooth-busting tech will start in 2018 and support up to 18 Mbps, said the Wi-Fi Alliance. It’s based on the IEEE’s 802.11ah, which is already far down the technical standardization path. Enterprise applications are many and varied. Imagine tracking all of the wearable health monitors in a hospital at once, for example.

BlackBerry embraces Android

BlackBerry has finally thrown in its lot with Android, effectively killing off BB10, the operating system that it built atop QNX when it bought the operating system in 2010. Speaking at CES, CEO John Chen said the firm would release one phone this year, and maybe a second, but that neither will run on its in-house OS. A BB10 phone may be a possibility in a couple of years, he said. That seems unlikely, though; the app ecosystem will have atrophied even more by then.

Time is up for older versions of IE

If your users are still on older versions of Internet Explorer, then it’s time to switch if you haven’t already. Microsoft is discontinuing support for IE 8, 9 and 10 on Jan. 12. This means the older versions will no longer receive security updates or technical support, potentially making them more prone to malware; 2013’s IE 11 and Microsoft Edge, the browser released with Windows 10, are now the only supported versions of the operating system. The last patch for the older versions will appear on Tuesday, urging users to upgrade.

Best of expertIP

While Microsoft seals off the past, some are looking to the future — and it’s looking a little tight, explained Christine Wong, blogger at expertIP. She summarized IDC’s predictions for the coming year, and one of the big themes was economic uncertainty. A weak demand for oil is likely to put the brakes on spending, she said, which has caused IDC to revise its 2016 forecast downwards.

IT departments will face multiple pressures during the year, she warned, because line of business managers will gain more control over IT budgets. At the same time, they’ll be asked to develop capabilities around analytics and cloud computing, effectively meaning they’ll have to do more with less.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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