AXUM: THE FUTURE OF WIRELESS AUDIO

This article is the transcript of an interview with Igal Golva, CEO of Axum earphones, wireless earphones with secure fittings, designed for people doing exercise. A really interesting article about why these earphones are different to others on the market and what their plans are for the future of the company.

Mobile audio has always been a difficult balancing act. The need for great audio on the go has never been more prevalent. With smartphones now a staple for most people’s daily commute, exercise and fitness, the need for an audio solution that can be portable while still sounding good is the holy grail.

Apple, with the iPhone 7 has also forced people’s hands. The headphones they used to use are no longer as easy to pull out and plug in without the use of a dongle. This is where Bluetooth audio options come into play, and where the Axum wireless headphones are planning to make a splash. Currently on Indiegogo, the Axum are aiming to give people great audio, while ensuring they maintain that mobile, ultraportable feel. Currently at 528% funded, the Axum is proving to be a product many people want to get their hands on. We had a chance to talk to Igal Golvan, CEO at Axum, about what the headphones can do for audio and fitness and how they hope to change the way people view Bluetooth audio.

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CGMagazine: Could you tell us a little about what Axum does and how these new headphones stand above the competition?

Igal Golvan: First of all, we not only offer four hours playtime (while others offer 1.5-2 hours) you can also get an additional four with the portable charging case. We achieved it by eliminating any unnecessary features. We are aiming to reach fitness junkies like us that need three things: fit, sound and battery life.

Our designers made a unique design that will fit you during the most extreme sport activities. In the last months all we did was test the earphones in every sport activity you can imagine .This included cycling, running, CrossFit , snowboarding and even sky diving .

The issue with True Wireless Earbuds is that all our competitors see this product as the latest technology in the headphones industry and as such they’ve aimed the technology at early adopters. Unlike them we understand the real potential of the product to become the mainstream earbuds of athletes, as the lack of cables is something so comfortable no one can even imagine, only when doing sport activities and listening to Axum earphones will you really understand the definition of freedom!

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CGM: Could you go over what M-voiD® sound technology brings to the table?

IG: Sure. M-voiD stands for Multidisciplinary virtually optimized industrial Design. It’s a technology for the realistic simulation of audio systems using CAD data. It is a sophisticated technology that paves the way to reproduce outstanding sound performance to let consumers discover that earphones deliver the emotions and excitement comparable with a concert.

Realistic and predictive simulations by means of a fully coupled multiphysical electrical-mechanical-acoustical simulation model are the heart and driving backbone of M-voiD® technology. The major advantage of M-voiD® is that acoustic problems can be identified and resolved in the virtual domain before any prototype is being built.

Sound characteristics are virtually measurable and assessable and can be optimized on the virtual model. It is not just limited to the graphical reproduction. M-voiD® listens to the virtual sound of the earphone already on the computer by means of a special reproduction technique (called auralization), enabling improved sound. Bottom line, while even the largest companies out there can test 100 or maybe 10,000 prototypes to check and improve the sound quality before releasing the final product, we had the ability to test sound quality from over 10 million prototypes.

Besides that, Konzept-X also helped us with the driver design itself to maximize the results after we’ve changed the internal design.

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CGM: With your Indigogo doing so well, do you foresee this will delay the final release?

IG: Exactly the opposite. We planned to wait until the funding period is over to head into mass production, but now that we understand the demand we’ll start doing it ASAP.

CGM: Why the choice to go with Indigogo over an option such as Kickstarter?

IG: We thought about KS, however the Indiegogo team was much more supportive and offered lots of relevant information on how to succeed with crowdfunding . We are product people and don’t understand crowdfunding, so a supportive team was something very important for us.

CGM: Do you plan to offer a retail version of these headphones?

IG: Of course, but first we’ll ship everything to our backers and then we’ll think about retail.

CGM: For the gamer on the go, will these offer anything beyond what is already in the wild?

IG: The perfect fit of Axum earbuds is something like you’ve never experienced before, you can see the bulky design of other brands such as Samsung and Motorola The last thing you want to do is wear those gigantic things all day long.

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CGM: How do you think these headphones will do with the fitness crowd beyond just the music listener?

IG: We believe that beside the sound quality, the fit and comfort is something they’ll be addicted to. We noticed the reaction of the people while testing them out in the gym and we guarantee that once you try Axum earbuds you’ll never be able to use wires again!

CGM: Are there any obstacles you will need to overcome to bring these to market?

IG: Yes, there are many obstacles of unawareness from the customers. Many people are not familiar with this concept and think of it as a regular mono Bluetooth ear piece, so we are heading to a long journey of explaining our product and turning it into mainstream.

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CGM: How do you feel these headphones will do with a crowded market? What sets Axum apart?

IG: We have full confidence in our product. First of all we know 100% that no matter how good your BT earbuds are, if they are not True Wireless they can’t compete with us. As for other True Wireless companies out there, based on their design they’ve never thought about athletes as their potential customers and it’s a shame as this concept is perfect for fitness and exercising. So we already have a huge advantage on them.

Intel Made A VR Headset And It’s Totally Cord-Free

Intel just announced its own virtual reality headset called Project Alloy, a VR competitor to the Oculus Rift,HTC Vive and the forthcoming PlayStation VR headsets. But what separates the Alloy from the pack is that it’s completely wireless (the wire above is for capturing video for the demo) and it should give you complete spatial awareness without all the dongles the Rift and Vive currently require.

It does this using two of Intel’s RealSense cameras to continuously map your environment. It can even map your hands.

Intel calls the idea “Merged Reality”, essentially combining inputs from cameras around your environment into a virtual world. And Intel was able to pack everything — the processor, sensors and controllers — into one cord-free headset.

During Intel’s demo, however, the RealSense camera didn’t seem quite as fluid as you’d hope, especially if it’s your primary means of reacting to the digital world around you. Intel says that its hardware will be open source in the second half of 2017 (ugh), so the headset won’t be available anytime soon. Intel is also working with Microsoft so Alloy can run Windows Holographic, the software which powers Hololens, according to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson. Microsoft says that Windows Holographic will also be released in an update for all Windows 10 PCs next year.

Source – http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/08/intel-made-a-vr-headset-and-its-totally-cord-free/

Why 2 Way Radio is wonderful for Your Company

Effective communication is crucial to the success of any business. Poor communication can easily lead to the collapse of any business regardless of size. If you’re running a huge business where keeping in touch with your staff is important, then you must put in place a very efficient communication system. A system that is not only efficient but also cost effective. These two factors are the reason 2 way radios are popular with modern businesses . A 2 way radio is a communication device that can both transmit and receive signal. It allows users using the same frequency to have a conversation at minimal or zero cost.

Why you should consider using a 2 way radio for your business

There are numerous benefits that a business will enjoy by making a 2 way radio its choice of communication. First, the radio provides a platform where you can conveniently keep in touch with your staff anytime you want. If you are the manager and the firm has several departments where you cannot physically access the staff, then this is the perfect device for you. Second, it’s easy to manage, unlike mobile phones that rely on the service providers. With radio system, you manage it from your premises.

The fact that a 2 way radio can only receive and send information at a set frequency improves your business’ safety. You can keep the frequency a secret such that only certified individuals can access crucial information. The radio also allows you to create several channels for specific groups. This option allows you to call individual groups whenever the need arises. For example, if the information is meant for security department, it will not be necessary to have it broadcasted to other groups.

Its broad geographical coverage is another reason you should have this communication gadget. If your business Covers a vast geographic area such as a farm or a construction site, this is the perfect mode of communication to employ. It can also be an effective security monitoring system if it’s well managed and utilized. Combining this system with GPS and the CCTV can significantly improve matters of security for your business.

But who can use the 2 way radio system?

A 2 way radio is one of the most user friend and flexible communication gadgets. Any firm can use it regardless of size. The radio is indeed the perfect model for a business that is struggling with geographical coverage challenges. It is ideal for shift workers, security staff, production line inspectors, farm workers, construction sites, shop watch and the list is endless. Anyone can use it. It only requires a little bit training on how to receive or to send a signal, and the user will be good to go.

Advantages of 2 way radios

One thing that stands out from this system is the reduced cost of communication- the cost is almost zero-rated compared to the other systems such as mobile phones. A 2 way radio is also very simple to use since you simply press the button to start talking. This speed can be crucial in cases of emergency compared to mobile phones where you will be needed to dial several buttons to make a call.

With this radio system, you can talk to multiple users at once- this is not possible with mobile phones. The gadget is built to military specs -the radio can be used in wet conditions and can withstand even a drop on the concrete surface. 2 way radio is one of the devices that can work in all areas of your business where mobile phones don’t work. The last but not the list of the advantage is that the radio stays on site, and thus different shifts can conveniently share it.

Key questions before installing a 2 way radio system

There are several questions that you must get clear answers to before you install a 2 way radio system. First, the area that the radio system is going to be used must be known. This will determine the power of the transmitter needed to cover that area. The number of people projected to use the radios should be the next question. The answer gives the number of radios required. The last question should be your budget. You must purchase what you can afford without compromising on the quality. With these questions answered, then you can have the most efficient 2 way radio communication system for your business.

How Does GPS Tracking Work

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a network of 24 satellites placed in orbit for navigation purposes. It was invented in 1960 and positioned by the US Department of Defense for military work but later released to the public as well. GPS navigation system works 24 hours a day anywhere in the world, and is free to use. The system sends signals to navigation devices to calculate the exact location, time and speed of a vehicle, person, aircraft or water equipment. Today it’s used widely by drivers, trucking companies, and shipping firms to track their cargo and know the best route to use.

How GPS Tracking Works

There are at least four satellites available anywhere one stands on earth. All the satellites circle the earth two times a day and send signals to various areas. Any GPS receiver including mobile phones takes this signal information and calculates the user’s location.

How this method works involves calculating the difference between when the signal was sent and when it was received. This difference tells the receiver how far the satellite is, and the distance comparison of several satellites within the same area confirms the location on the electronic map.

The more satellites found within a receiver’s location, the easier it is to calculate speed, distance, and destination. At least three satellites are needed to calculate position, but a fourth satellite makes it possible to tell the speed, direction and estimated time when you are on the move.

Personal Tracking

Mobile GPS technology has made it possible to track people wherever they are. Today any phone can be tracked by the police or mobile service providers. Other mobile devices that help with tracking include jewellery such as watches, bracelets and even chips embedded in the skin.

Smartphones are also equipped with built-in GPS system that can provide the user with direction and navigation instructions. Most of these phones can tell you exactly where you are, including streets and attraction figures. They can alert you if you are going the wrong direction and give you the correct navigation.

Asset Tracking

It is so easy to track your cargo when it’s on the go. A tracking device or chip can be placed on the assets to know exactly where they are, the direction they are heading and when movement stops. Animal tracking devices are also commonly used to locate where cattle and wildlife are all the time.

Aircraft Trackers

GPS aircraft tracking is essential for both private and commercial planes. Though the primary agenda is safety and convenience, GPS works differently on the aircraft as compared to how it’s used in cars. Aircraft tracking enables traffic controllers to know the position of the plane and keep it safe when flying.

GPS also help the supervisors know when the plane will arrive and find it in the case of an accident. However, the greatest use of GPS tracker in aircraft is to ensure the pilot follows a particular path predetermined by the aircraft controller.

Vehicle Tracking

A GPS-enabled tracking device is placed on a vehicle to transmit data through cellular or satellite networks. This device will send the data to a chosen application such as NetTrack for the user to read. The tracking updates and information such as location, speed, direction and stop come in real-time.

GPS tracking system for vehicles enables people to track their cars when they are stolen, keep a tab on your business tracks and know where your child is with the car. It’s an easy and convenient way to keep track of vehicles, be it trucks, small vehicles or fleet of buses.

GPS and Two-Way Radio Integration

Two way radios are great devices used by campers, police force, and emergency dispatch for safety, tracking, and communication. However, they have shortcomings such as lack of real-time transmission, slow updates and being unreliable. Two way radio with GPS makers such as Garmin has integrated their systems with GPS capabilities. The GPS will help to know where someone is at all times even when the device is off, update locations in real time and store data for future use. It’s also handy in case of emergencies to get help and aid search activities.

UK Law

In the United States and most of the other developed countries, the use of GPS tracker by government authorities is limited. They must have a search warrant. Otherwise, any data found will not be admissible in court.

However, UK Law has no specific legislation on GPS trackers. The United Kingdom does recognize that some information is personal data, but it allows government surveillance without permission.

Far offshore windfarms present communications challenges

This is an interesting article debating the different types of communication that can be used over a long distance, and as they distance moves further and further, the different types of communication drop off or become part of an infrastructure. As engineers battle with this problem, knowledge of how radio frequencies and applications becomes paramount.

As offshore windfarms are built further and further from land, alternatives to conventional VHF communications are going to be required

A cornerstone of any major project is clear communication between all parties. As we move windfarm construction further offshore, maintaining efficient voice and data communications becomes essential. With many projects now being constructed beyond the range of VHF radio and cellular telephone, such as a Gemini or Dudgeon offshore windfarms, crew transfer vessel (CTV) operators and their clients are experiencing challenges achieving practical and affordable offshore communications. My experience on two far offshore projects in the last 15 months has shown that creative thinking can work together with existing equipment such as TETRA radio to reduce the risks and stress that poor communications can generate.

Communication solutions on offshore windfarms depend on the phase that the operation is in, the size of the project and the distance from shore. Many smaller, older windfarms rely on VHF radios to communicate between shore and vessel and shore/vessel and work team on the turbines. However, VHF is limited in range being a line-of-sight system, and the signal has trouble penetrating structures such as wind turbines due to the Faraday cage effect. Conventional cellular telephone coverage is also possible on nearshore sites, with some windfarms installing a cellular mast within the windfarm. Vessels at anchor off the Dutch port of IJmuiden can thank the windfarm industry for good connection when waiting for a pilot if they have contracts with the provider KPN.

When moving further offshore, luxuries such as a cellular mast will not be installed during the construction phase, and it is most likely that VHF radios will not be sufficient. It is common for the developer to install a TETRA radio network – similar to those used by national emergency response services such as police and fire departments.

TETRA, or terrestrial trunked radio as it is properly termed, is a secure network allowing one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many communications. This means that the marine controller can speak directly and privately to one party or to the entire offshore spread depending on what is needed. It transmits on a lower frequency than VHF so covers a greater range. This still is not enough to cover the distances experienced on far offshore windfarms. If multiple base stations are used, each base station can then automatically rebroadcast a message thus expanding the network coverage. On a recent construction project, it was found that there were communications blackspots in the area of the sea passage from the base port to the site. This was later eliminated by fitting full base station units rather than just handheld transceivers on the CTVs. The CTVs then became vital links in the communications network and ensured the blackspots were reduced or eliminated altogether.

TETRA has many other advantages, including the ability to penetrate the tower of a wind turbine, and calls are not dropped when moving between base station carriers due to the network configuration. This is especially important if vessel-carried base stations are relaying far offshore. The network is also secure, which ensures that commercially sensitive information cannot be intercepted. With the one-to-one mode, it also means that managers can have detailed conversations on sensitive subjects.

However, anecdotal information received from vessel crews in the field appear to indicate that TETRA, although a good system, is not foolproof. One vessel master reported that, after 15 months on site, they still had blackspots with TETRA and sometimes have to use the cell phone application WhatsApp to request that turbines be started or stopped so that he can land a team.

TETRA does not solve the operational problems experienced by vessel-operating companies who require frequent voice and data communication with the CTVs to ensure a smooth delivery of service. As most sites far offshore are outside of cell phone coverage and clients demand that daily reports are issued on time, creativity is needed. There is a simple solution that could solve all of the communication problems far offshore – installing VSAT satellite communications on each CTV, which allows instant telephone and data transfer.

However, the practicalities of chartering in today’s windfarm industry eliminates this option, as the client will not want to pay for installation and operation, and a vessel owner cannot afford such a luxury. Charterers therefore need to make a decision: either they assume responsibility and the costs for practical workable satellite communications on their vessels or look for practical alternative solutions to deliver what is needed far offshore.

One practical solution to maintain communications between the marine co-ordination centre and vessels is to step back a generation and use medium frequency/high frequency single side band radios, which are common equipment on larger CTVs and is standard on service operation vessels (SOVs) or installation vessels.

When used in conjunction with the digital selective calling (DSC) function of the GMDSS standard, voice communications can be maintained at long distance without operating cost. Unfortunately, current guidance for the marine co-ordination in windfarms as found in the G9 Good practice guideline: The safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry does not yet consider marine co-ordination and communications in far offshore windfarms.

Another practical solution to improve data communication is to install powerful WiFi antennas on the decks of SOVs and other major offshore assets to allow CTVs to have internet access when they are in close proximity. CTVs can then download passenger manifests and weather reports and upload the daily progress report and synchronise planned maintenance and email systems.

CTVs spend considerable time in close proximity to the SOV during passenger transfer, bunkering or waiting for the next assignment, and it is relatively easy to set up the computers to connect and synchronise without operator input, thus reducing the risk of distraction. SOVs should be designed with space for CTV crews to use as a secure office so that laptops can be left connected to the network. In this way, crews can have two computers and prepare work when on shift, transfer via a data stick and upload when they go off shift.

One of the most effective tools that we have identified is WhatsApp, which seems to require very low signal strength to connect and transfer brief messages. On recent projects, we have found that most vessel/office communication occurs in this medium, including fault finding and incident reporting and investigation. Crews have found it quicker to video a CCTV system playback and send via WhatsApp than download the CCTV video and send it via a file transfer service. As synchronising an electronic planned maintenance system offshore is very time consuming, our superintendents have taken to sending the worklists via WhatsApp to the vessels who then confirm back with text or images when a job is complete. The superintendent then does the PMS administration from their office with the advantage of high speed network connections. Experience with WhatsApp has led me to believe that agile, low data applications will form part of the future of offshore communication.

Far offshore projects have moved from planning and dreaming to reality. However, effective and cost-efficient communication solutions have not moved with them. Like most challenges with far offshore windfarms, there is no single solution, but experience has shown that, with creativity and flexibility, projects can communicate with their teams and operators can manage their vessels.

Better equipment earlier on in the construction phase, such as MF/HF radios in the MCC and on the vessels, TERA base stations on the vessels and open deck WiFi on construction assets will all assist in improving safety and reducing stress while ensuring that unnecessary costs are not incurred.