Browsing: Advanced Communications

If you’ve ever used a device that picks up signals over the air, you know that sometimes you just can’t get the signal to come in clearly. You point the device every which way, move it all around the room, do a little dance, but nothing seems to work. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation. Maybe it’s sunspots, who knows? While that’s an annoyance for us, sometimes people’s lives depend on that signal getting through. People like firefighters. One of my group’s more recent projects has been to help make sure that their signals get through, wherever they are. Like many people, I’m in awe of what firefighters do. With seemingly little regard for their own safety, they routinely…

When I go home after work, my wife and I are typically focused on the present moment, especially on our young son. As new parents, we benefit from many innovative products and services—from improved car seats and creative toys to safer cribs and video baby monitors. One of the first products that we bought for our son’s nursery was a Wi-Fi-based baby monitor. When we brought it home and plugged it in, it connected effortlessly with our Wi-Fi router and smart phones. It helps provide safety and security—and, perhaps most importantly, sleep—for the three of us. As consumers, we just assumed that these “Wi-Fi Certified” products would be “interoperable”—that the many different devices and components in the Wi-Fi universe would…

Earlier this week at NIST, we brought together a diverse group of people who will have a profound influence on the future of our cities and the services provided to their citizens. These 300 leaders from government, industry, and academia came to attend an event called the Global City Team Challenge (GCTC) Tech Jam. The GCTC program, launched in 2014 by NIST with a number of partners from the federal government and industry, is one way that NIST is supporting the Administration’s Smart City Initiative announced last September. Two of the questions I get most often when I mention this topic are: What is a “smart city”? And why is NIST involved? I’ll offer my perspective, and I encourage you…