Category: Uncategorized

BOOK RELEASE – Artificial Intelligence for Wireless Networking: NO MORE POOR WI-FI

SAN FRANCISCOJan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Ajay Malik, former Head of Architecture & Engineering, Corporate Network at Google and author of bestseller book RTLS for Dummies‘, announced today the upcoming release of ‘Artificial Intelligence for Wireless Networking.’  Today, it could be argued that Maslow’s perception of what constituted basic physical needs has been surpassed by something even more fundamental – Wi-Fi.  Many devices today do not even have a wired option.  Users need high-quality, consistent and secure wireless connectivity to do their jobs and live their everyday lives. When Wi-Fi isn’t working, it isn’t just internal employees who are affected. Students can’t do research, shoppers can’t purchase goods, clinicians can’t treat patients, consumers can’t watch Netflix or YouTube. Poor Wi-Fi is no longer an inconvenience; it means lost customers, reduced productivity, degraded experiences, lost revenue and brand damage.

Wi-Fi is available from all major vendors such as CiscoGoogleHPEExtreme NetworksNetgearRuckus today.  And yet, even after years of evolution and constant innovation, “Wireless networks today require a great deal of manual effort and time to support,” said Aglaia Kong, CTO, Corporate Network at Google “There is a need for an autonomic wireless management system that “watches” the network, “understands” normal functioning, “analyzes” real-time performance against norms and then “acts” to automatically solve known problems.”  Artificial Intelligence has now graduated from science fiction to reality. Cheap computer processing power, GPUs, hardware accelerator ASICs have made it real.  “I have no doubt that future Wi-Fi networks will be completely dominated by AI,” said Malik. “Through this book, I introduce various theories and subfields of AI.  It is my humble attempt to equip you with the practical experience and understanding to assist in designing, building and running an AI-enabled Wi-Fi network.”

This book is useful for anyone who wants to learn about AI or is looking to solve problems in the field of wireless networking.  Network administrators,  Wi-Fi Product Developers, Service Providers,  Networking students, AI researchers, and innovators will find this book useful in their respective areas of interest. “AI has the potential to transform a wireless network into an intelligent network that learns from its immediate environment and adapts to render a reliable experience,” said Sujai Hajela, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Mist Systems.  “Malik explains various artificial intelligence techniques through storytelling and explanation in a way that’s both fun and gripping.”

Artificial Intelligence for Wireless Networking’ includes sections on:

  • Fundamentals of AI
  • User Experience Intelligence
  • Automated Wireless Network Operation
  • Active Security Protection
  • Implementing AI in your Network

Although no one can predict what the future might hold, AI is blurring the lines between science fiction and scientific reality.  This book delves into the possibilities of using brain-waves to fine tune the Wi-Fi performance to user’s psychological expectations.  The examples in this book will leave your grey cells tickled, building your ability to think the AI-way!

Often, AI is viewed as a potential threat to human jobs. To tackle this uncomfortable zone, Malik addresses possible collaboration options with various AI Systems and the skills that will keep you relevant and in demand.  This book will inspire, educate, and challenge you to use artificial intelligence not just for wireless networks but well beyond.

The book will be released in April 2018 and is available for pre-order at https://thetechfool.com/ai4wifi  Please use COUPON CODE: PREORDERAI to get 25% off list price.

For more information, or to request a review copy, contact Ajay Malik at https://thetechfool.com/ or (408) 203-5641 or 188744@email4pr.com

QUANTUM COMPUTING OPENS NEW FRONT IN CLOUD!

As the amount of data in the world is rapidly increasing, so is the time required for machines to process it. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Real-Time Analytics, and Machine Learning algorithms are needing the cloud to be infinitely faster as well as to require unlimited computing power and an endless amount of storage. Interestingly, this is happening on heels of the slow down of Moore’s law. Chip maker Intel has signaled a slowing of Moore’s Law, a technological phenomenon that has played a role in almost every significant advancement in engineering and technology for decades. We are no longer able to cram transistors in the circuits at the velocity we have been doing.

By 2025, the needs for traditional compute functionality in the cloud will be so large that it can never be built.

Quantum computing’s arrival promises to revolutionize the cloud. What quantum computing provides is massively parallel processing, atomic-level storage, and security using the laws of physics rather than external cryptographic methods. If you have not begun looking at it, the time is now. The cloud will soon be powered by quantum computing, and software will be written in another way.

IBM, Microsoft, Google, Intel, D-Wave have made tremendous advances this year. It is now here to push the bounds of computer performance further forward.

What is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is about making use of quantum states of subatomic particles to perform memory and processing tasks. Classical computers switch transistors encode information as bits which represent either a ONE or a ZERO. In contrast, quantum computers use the fundamental building blocks of atoms (such as electrons, protons, and photons) themselves. These subatomic particles spin, so if the spin is in one direction — up, for example — that could be the equivalent of the ONE in a conventional computer, while a particle with a down spin could be a ZERO.

As per the laws of quantum physics, it may not be clear whether a particle has an up or a down spin. Or, perhaps something in between. These subatomic particles possess all of those properties all at the same time. This is called superposition. ONE qubit (a new term to refer to a quantum bit unlike classical bit) can exist simultaneously as a ZERO or a ONE. Two qubits can exist simultaneously as the four possible two-bit numbers (00, 01, 10, and 11). These superpositions allow qubits to perform multiple calculations at once rather than in sequence like a traditional machine. For example, you can compute four calculations with two qubits.

 

What quantum computing gives you is massively parallel processing!

An understandable example is Grover Search Algorithm. Think about a game where an prize is hidden behind one of four doors and you have to find the prize while opening as few doors as possible. A traditional computer will need to do, on average, a little over two operations to find the prize as it has to open each door in succession. The quantum computer, however, can locate the prize with one action because it can open all four doors at once! You can perform eight calculations with the three qubits. The number of such computations double for each additional qubit, leading to an exponential speed-up. A quantum computer comprised of 500 qubits would have a potential to do 2^500 calculations (much larger than the Shannon Number) in one operation.

 

Top five things you should know about it

  • We will write programs differently. New programming paradigms and languages, new algorithms, as well as a new way of writing logic!
  • Quantum computer is “thousands of times” faster than a conventional computer. Google announced it has a Quantum computer that is 100 million times faster than any classical computer in its lab.
  • Quantum computing revolutionizes the way that we approach machine learning and artificial intelligence. It will accelerate machine learning remarkably. Quantum computers will reduce power consumption anywhere from 100 to 1000 times because quantum computers use quantum tunneling.
  • Quantum computing will destroy the internet security as it is known today. It would be able to crack several of today’s encryption techniques such as RSA and ECC within days if not hours. In this regards, Quantum computing is like a deja vu of discovering the use of enormous energy locked in an atom. Nuclear fission was found in 1938, nine months before the beginning of the Second World War, and it changed the world. Quantum computing could be the IT equivalent of an Atomic Bomb. We are now in a race against time to prepare modern cryptographic techniques before they get broken. New security methods that will allow us to secure data using the laws of physics rather than using external cryptographic methods.
  • Quantum computing is not for every problem. Classical computers are still better than Quantum computers at some tasks such as spreadsheets or desktop publishing. However, Quantum computing will be incredibly useful for solving notable chemistry issues, self driving cars coordination, financial modeling, weather forecasting, and particle physics, etc.Have you written your first quantum program yet? In the next few articles, I will go over how how to program using Quantum computing, how to determine which problems are best to be addressed between Quantum computing vs. Classical computing, how it impacts Machine Learning, and how you will develop killer apps such as self-driving car coordination as well as the challenges/solutions in the world where cryptography and quantum computing intersect. Quantum computing revolutionizes the way we approach computer science and logic. A lot of algorithms will need to be redesigned/rewritten using quantum computing paradigms – looking forward to it!PS: Isn’t this a remarkable pic? The heading picture is from the October 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world’s most notable physicists met to discuss the newly formulated quantum theory. Seventeen of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners!
Tags: , , ,

Augmented Wi-Fi: Driven by AI

‘Hey, what is your Wi-Fi password?’, People ask me when they come to my home almost within first few minutes.  And, I either give them my Wi-Fi Network Name/password or configure it on their device. But, then there is so much of risk! I essentially connect them to my local network.  If there is a “hacker” software on their device, it can perhaps start figuring out what is breakable in my home network. It can probably hack my network in more ways than I can imagine.  What if it can access my “identity,” my “social security number,” “bank accounts,” “passwords” etc.  Let us not even go there.

Or, consider the scenario when I am not at my home.  I look for a Wi-Fi Networks around me and make assumptions.  I assume that the ‘Name’ that sounds reasonable must be the one provided by the owner of those premises.  For example, when I am at San Francisco International Airport, I use #SFO_Free_WiFi and trust that it is correct one. My kids use it too and here goes my parental control. They now roam uncontrolled. And, don’t forget that we have to accept/agree to every privacy violation the Wi-Fi provider wants us to opt-in. Remember the London incident where when people connected to the public free hotspot, the terms and conditions included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up!

Not only that, each Wi-Fi network is a separate private network. My home network, my office network, hotel network, or any coffee shop network etc. are all separate networks. When my wife calls me when I am in another city and if she is having problem with the home Wi-Fi, I can’t help because I am on a network which is different from my Wi-Fi network at home. Most of us are turning into Wi-Fi engineers to configure Wi-Fi at home. Have you seen the web pages that show up when you configure the Wi-Fi access points from WPLink, Linksys, NetGear etc. EeroGoogle, and other companies, have tried to create mobile apps or simplified versions but they go only so far too.

All these problems are solvable by making use of sophisticated tools, understanding what client isolation means, identity management software, Cloud-based Wi-Fi networks, VPN setups, etc.

It has reached the masses but still, needs an engineer to configure or operate.

And, if you take a moment, in this age when its all about mobility, SSID is something that is tying you to a location, tying you to the “premises”, tying you to the “owner of the premises.”  The need to connect with a SSID to get Wi-Fi access needs to go away. In this IOT world, this is even more important than anything else. Over 50 billion devices to be connected in next five years and many of them will be connecting over Wi-Fi. Configuring each device or every IOT gateway with Wi-Fi configuration parameters is just not practical.

Last year, I wrote that Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize Wi-Fi. I had mentioned how machine learningcan help with user experience or network operation. I strongly believe that brainwaves can be used to augment human experience of the Wi-Fi network and eventually, internet. And, another area where AI will help is seamless identity based login and user’s control on the policy. AI will help us to create a Wi-Fi network that follows the user, follows the device, and requires no SSID to connect. A Wi-Fi network that is so smart, it will enable the “access” based on who you are, what you are, or what your intentions are and not who the owner of premises is. The concept of SSID as we know today will go away.  This is what I call Augmented WiFi. Artificial intelligence augmented Wi-Fi. Augmented Wi-Fi will not just help with user experience or network operation; it will also enable seamless login and user policy control.

It all began with SSID

Every time I look at SSID, the quote from Dr. Seuss comes to my mind.

It all began with a shoe on the wall. A shoe on the wall shouldn’t be there at all – Dr. Seuss

Every wireless network has a name and Service Set Identifier (SSID) is simply the technical term for that name. A wireless device (client) must use SSID (this network name) and the corresponding password (if any) to connect to access the resources of the traditional wired network behind the Access Point. The wired network can be an organization intranet or the Internet, depending on the placement of the Access Point.

SSID also enables multiple independent wireless networks to coexist in the same physical area. It is a very common to have a separate SSID for guest users versus employees, for example.

This has been the architecture from the ‘day one’. What goes on behind that SSID is going to vary wildly depending on the environment in play. The SSIDs are defined by the owner/administrator of the Wi-Fi Access Point and the policies, the security, the privacy, the data collection, roaming, everything is controlled by the owner/administrator of the Wi-Fi Access Point.

To paraphrase Rousseau, man is born free, yet everywhere he is caged. The free movement is curtailed by the arbitrary lines known as borders. And, SSID is yet another border!

In Augmented Wi-Fi, when a user enters a premise, the user’s device is automatically connected to the user’s private network segment that has the policies as set up by the user. It is done based on user biometrics or something else. I could not have asked for a better ID than the Face ID in iPhone X. User gets the experience, the user has opted in for. User doesn’t have to succumb to idiosyncratic agreements desired by the owner of the premises. Owner of premises does not control anything around Wi-Fi. It becomes free. The user does not have to ask SSID or password. In fact, the SSID is not even advertised by the Access Points. A user is always in the user’s private network.

As a user may have multiple identities, for example, at home, as an employee at work, a volunteer at a non-profit or so on, the user can be part of multiple private networks although the user does not feel it.

Yes, some end goals like this have been thought as part of HotSpot standards also but they have been lost in the SSIDs or Cloud-based Wi-Fi. You can think of Augmented Wi-Fi as the next evolution of Wi-Fi. It will enable the consistent experience, remove configuration, better privacy, security, air utilization and a true borderless experience.

Everything Apple does is Magic but iBeacon?

Apple iBeacon did not exist when I wrote RTLS for Dummies. And, almost four years after Apple announced iBeacon, it has failed to live up to the kind of sky-high expectations Apple’s involvement evokes. People often ask me why iBeacon, despite the seductive promise of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality applications, has not disrupted the indoor location industry.

Before I address that, let me just start with what iBeacon is and how it works.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create location transmitters. These are small, unobtrusive devices, typically battery based, installed throughout your facility and transmit a “location code” (referred to as Major/Minor Number) using BLE protocol (2.4GHz).

In many ways, iBeacons are exactly like the United States’ satellite navigation system – NAVSTAR GPS. NAVSTAR GPS has 24 satellites around us that transmit a code (called a ranging signal) on two frequencies in the microwave part of the radio spectrum — 1575.42 MHz (L1 frequency available for civilian use) and 1227.60 MHz (L2 frequency for military use). The receivers (such as mobile phone, car GPS receiver, etc.) listen for the signals from the satellite and then by using multilateration with knowledge of distance from four or more satellites, the GPS receiver computes its own position.

This is how you use iBeacons too. The receivers, such as mobile phone, listen for signals from the iBeacons and then use the location code (major/minor number) and RSSI (received signal strength indicator) for distance. The receiver can use that to determine its location context.  Once the receiver has the “location context”, this can potentially revolutionize a user’s entire world —from what happens when you enter your home to attending your kid’s sporting events.

One of the most obvious applications is in retail. With iBeacon, you could visit a store and tap in to find where everything on your shopping list is. Or a retailer can alert you to a particularly good deal in the next aisle. There are lots of other uses as well. On its developer’s page, Apple proposes iBeacons could be used to greet people as they arrive at a sporting event and let them know about a nearby museum exhibit. Retailers can also use data generated from such interactions to see where shoppers traveled in store and which items caught their attention.

Not only this, you can use iBeacons to act as BLE receivers too! This way you can attach the iBeacons to assets and install iBeacons (or any other BLE receivers) in the facility and enable asset tracking. You can locate the “assets” that are transmitting iBeacons – identifying the location of each asset by its major/minor number and RSSI as seen by one or multiple receivers. This enables you to use iBeacon for asset tracking, employee time card management and much more.

Is it something Apple invented?

Not really. People have always recognized the need for indoor location technologies such as iBeacon as GPS does not work indoors. GPS signals fade away as they pass through solid objects, such as buildings and mountains. Cricket, published a location-support system for in-building, mobile, location-dependent applications in 2000. It allows applications running on mobile and static nodes to learn their physical location by using listeners that hear and analyze information from beacons spread throughout the building. In my book, I also described landmark tags. In landmark system, the locating infrastructure consists of beacons (location sensors) that are small devices attached to fixed locations within the geographic space. Each beacon transmits a data string that uniquely identifies the location of the area where it is fixed and receivers. And so on.

However, what Apple has done is nothing short of amazing. They created an OPEN standard for beacons. This made the entire location industry come together. Before iBeacons, a particular vendor’s beacons were proprietary. They worked only with that vendor’s software. With iBeacons, now anyone can create iBeacon or location-based services using iBeacons. It is NOT limited to iOS.

Then what is stopping the mass use of iBeacons?

iBeacon is the first open, interoperable indoor locating system and I have no doubt it will succeed. However, no one has yet definitively cracked the code on how to make adoption easy. iBeacons come with following challenges:

  • DEPLOYING BEACONS IS HARD: The struggle starts from the moment you start looking for spots to install the iBeacons inconspicuously and then it continues. Programming and installing each iBeacon is a time consuming manual affair.
  • MAINTENANCE AND UPGRADES ARE HARDER: Whether you have to periodically change batteries of beacons by going from beacon to beacon in person, finding and replacing a malfunctioning beacon, changing beacon parameters, or security updates – nothing is easy. With batteries, you also end up establishing processes for re-charging, storing, and disposing of the batteries you’ll use in iBeacons for location transmitters or asset tags.
  • SECURING BEACONS IS A PROBLEM: If you are deploying beacons, you need to know how to ensure that all beacons are in their place. No beacon has accidentally (or sometimes maliciously) moved to another location. Or, if there are rogue iBeacons that were not installed by you on your premises.
  • IT IS KIND OF EXPENSIVE: You might end up spending big money on human labor to manage beacons or on network management software to manage these Bluetooth beacons and the mesh network behind them.
  • BEACONS ARE EASILY BLOCKABLE: Beacon signals are often obstructed by physical objects.
  • SCALE: Ideally, for maximizing the value of your deployment for your use case whether wayfinding, proximity services, personalized experience or asset tracking, you need a pervasive deployment. That means many, many iBeacons.

Many Wi-Fi companies such as CiscoArubaMist Systems added BLE (Bluetooth low energy support) in their Wi-Fi Access Points so that the access points can act as iBeacon transmitters as well as BLE receivers to alleviate the need of additional battery or installations. This is a step in the right direction indeed!

We are gradually making a transition to a new era where it is not the computer or mobile phone that we carry but a digital environment that will support us in our daily lives by assisting us in a sensible way. The dream of ambient intelligence where the technology fades into the fabric of daily life, becoming both more pervasive and yet invisible is not far away.  I see iBeacon in its current form as the first big step in that direction and we will see many more creative ways to embed iBeacons in our surroundings.

Apple recently killed headphones that are not Bluetooth enabled: A sign that Apple is determined to fix any Bluetooth Adoption issues!

There’s an untapped universe of data around physical locations that businesses can utilize and iBeacon has the potential. It is the right approach. It can transform real-time location-based services across retail, hospitality, healthcare, industrial and many more industries.

AUGMENTATION REVOLUTION

Throughout humanity’s history, people have been exploring approaches to stretch the biological limitations of the human body. We have been creating the means and devices to augment our physical beings to overcome our genetic and environmental weaknesses from the beginning such as wearing shoes, using eyeglasses for better vision, prosthetic limbs, artificial organs and even more physical power through the performance-enhancing drugs to name a few.

“Three important revolutions have shaped the course of the history of mankind,” Yuval Noah Harari writes in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

. If you have not read this book yet, I highly recommend it. The cognitive revolution kick-started history about 70,000 years ago. The agricultural revolution sped it up about 12,000 years ago and the scientific revolution, which got underway about 500 years ago. And, I believe, a new revolution has just begun. Augmentation Revolution.

In the Augmentation Revolution, the aim is to develop technologies and techniques for overcoming current limitations of human cognitive and physical abilities. No one knows where this revolution will end, but by the end of next decade, I believe that every individual on earth will be using one or more augmented capabilities in their daily lives. We’ll be relying more and more on these enhanced abilities. Our actions will depend upon our “level of augmentation.” We will no longer be able to distinguish between the natural and the augmented.

Superhuman, supernatural, or paranormal abilities have always fascinated us. Religion, History, Guinness books, Comic books list many of such powers. We admire Zeus’s power to hurl his thunderbolts or Sanjaya ability to see events at a distance about 50 miles to share the war details live to blind King Dhritarashtra in Mahabharata. We love to talk about Hanuman flying in the sky to cross the sea between India and Lanka, or Jesus suggesting to throw the net on the right side of the boat to find some more fish. It is no accident that superman, batman or iron man in cinemas draw huge crowds. We find comfort and hope in our superheroes.

And, in last few decades, we all got additional powers with the invention of computers, mobile devices, internet, Wi-Fi, and cellular technologies. We all got access to vast knowledge instantly with a brain extension called Google, an ability to instantly connect nearby or far with mobile phones, and much more capabilities.

And, now, breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), internet of things (IOT), Cloud, nanotechnologies, sensing technologies, genetic engineering, pharmacology, bioengineering combined with our understanding of how brain and body function are creating paths for this augmentation revolution. The augmented human will be smarter, happier, healthier, stronger and efficient. And, for the first phase of this revolution, you don’t need to have a chip implanted in your body or brain, or involve any biological tricks or chemicals. Just the IOT, AI, ML, and cloud is enough.

For example, specialized sensory receptors areatplay when we see colors, hear sounds, feel textures, smell flowers or taste sugar. There is no specific receptor for the time, and yet we are consciously aware of the passage of time. Although invisible and ephemeral, time is an essential variable in the perception of user experience. All the more so in the digital era. People are looking for network performance aligned with their needs, abilities, and expectations, at that moment, on that device. Every minute of network slowness is magnified when you are doing something time critical. As simple and measurable the concept of slowness might seem – we construct the experience of time in our minds. Perceived time is not isomorphic to physical time. And, this is where there is an opportunity to augment using IOT.

Our brainwaves are “signatures” of what is happening inside the brain i.e. how we are feeling. For example, the brainwaves are different when we are relaxed vs. when we are time-pressed. IOT sensors can be developed to capture these brainwaves. External IOT sensors (passive antenna with high impedance at least 10e12 Ohms can be integrated into Wi-Fi access points) or neural electrodes (that can be embedded in wearables such as in-ear, outer ear, or eyeglasses arms) can be used to capture the brainwaves. Once the brainwaves are captured, those can be analyzed in the cloud to fine tune the network availability and performance not just based on some “metrics” such as “Wi-Fi statistics” but as per user’s psychological needs. I will share more details on how brainwaves can be used to fine tune Wi-Fi waves i.e. how Wi-Fi performance can be aligned with the expectations at the user’s psychological level in another article. In this example, I am focusing on Wi-Fi, but once the brainwaves have been captured, the possibilities are endless!

Although we are talking about using artificial intelligence, cloud, IOT, Augmented Human is not to be confused with all the work that is going on in AI and Robotics. It is at the other end of the spectrum. Augmented Human is about making use of the technology to transform the way we live, interact and perform UNLIKE the use of technology to make robots and computers to be able to think and act like humans. Augmented Human is what I believe is the next evolutionary step for humankind. In fact, the fear that computers and robots will take over our jobs and our lives is NOT real. Because, in reality,we will evolve into a much more advanced and augmented human being. The technology, AI, and robotics will support everything we do at a whole new level. Only ask, I have to you is please don’t remain native – adapt to the augmentation. I am sure you have heard ‘It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself’. Not sure if Charles Darwin said these words as is, but I agree.

Tags: , , ,