Google announces RCS for business-to-consumer communication

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and is the upgrade that SMS has desperately needed for a long time. Over the past couple of years, Google has dedicated itself to facilitating carriers’ transition to RCS on a global scale and Google announces that it is working closely with 43 carriers and various OEMs to make this a reality. Today, Google announces Rich Communication Services for businesses to communicate directly with the consumer. Companies can send communications directly to your phone on the Android Messages app with more useful and interactive messages. Google announces…

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FCC hopes opening up communication airwaves will boost innovation

Today, the FCC voted to move forward with a proposal to open up communications spectrum beyond 95 GHz. In a statement, it said that spectrum above this range has been thought to be at the edge of what's usable, but now it wants to provide different l…
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Quantum Video Call Displays the Future of Secure Communication

Secure Quantum Communications

China launched its Micius satellite in 2016, and in the time since, it has accomplished a couple of remarkable feats proving the viability of quantum technology. The first of its achievements saw the Micius team in China sending a single photon from a ground station in Tibet to the satellite 500 kilometers (310 miles) away.

In August 2017, the satellite used quantum cryptography to send data to Earth, which hinted at the potential of sending information that’s virtually unhackable. A month later, on September 29, Micius was used to facilitate the first ever quantum video call between the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna — 7,600 kilometers (4,722 miles) apart.

Previously, we knew that the 75 minute call used Micius to send data, contained in photons, to two stations operated by China and Europe. Now, however, we know the specifics regarding how everything came together.

A graphic showing the relationship between Micius and the Chinese and Austrian ground stations, which were connected by the Micius satellite for a secure quantum video call.
A graphic showing the relationship between Micius and the Chinese and Austrian ground stations. Image Credit: Austrian Academy of Sciences

For starters, the photons were used to transmit a quantum key both academies needed to participate in the quantum video call. Using Micius, a series of photons that move in unpredictable patterns were first sent to the Chinese ground station at Xinglong. Once the Earth rotated and brought the Austrian ground station at Lustbühel Observatory near Graz into view, Micius sent another series of photons.

“Thus, the transmitter in orbit and the receiver on the surface of the earth received a randomly generated unique number sequence of zeros and ones – the quantum key,” explains the Austrian Academy of Sciences in a post detailing the experiment. If a third party had somehow managed to observe the quantum key during transmission, it would have been immediately noticeable. In this situation, the key isn’t utilized, and another is sent until both teams are confident their respective keys haven’t been observed.

Once the ground stations acquired the two keys, they were sent to their respective academies using ground-based quantum communications over optical fiber cables. According to MIT Technology Review, the final step was setting up a secure video link using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). In addition to the call being 75 minutes long, it also resulted in 2 GBs worth of data transmission.

“The experiment has shown that quantum communication is absolutely secure against eavesdropping and also works on a global scale,” said quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger, who led the Austrian team, in the blog post.

Future Quantum Networks

The video call isn’t meant to be the final test for quantum communications, or a sign that it’s perfect. As MIT Technology Review points out, the satellite is only thought to be secure while its connecting to ground-stations back on Earth, but that security is not a guarantee. That said, the teams are aware of this potential flaw, and state it can be addressed using an end-to-end quantum relay. Faster quantum encryption is also expected to become invaluable in the future of cybersecurity. 

Communication’s Next Frontier
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Given that it has only been a year since the Micius satellite was launched, the call is still an impressive feat. The teams acknowledge this is only the beginning for practical quantum communications.

“Our work points towards an efficient solution for an ultralong-distance global quantum network, laying the groundwork for a future quantum internet,” the teams said in their research, published to the journal Physical Review Letters.

The post Quantum Video Call Displays the Future of Secure Communication appeared first on Futurism.

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Slack communication app slacking off, removes Apple Watch app in latest version

In the latest release of Slack for iOS, the company has removed its Apple Watch counterpart as a whole. So, for those who were hopeful that the Watch app would go independent, this is sad news.

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Research Shows Communication Between Both Halves of the Brain Increases With Age

Growing Older

We all age. It’s an inevitable part of life that brings with it adventure, experience, difficulties, learning opportunities, and so much more. It also, as explored in a new study published this week in Human Brain Mapping, includes increased communication between regions in the brain. According to the study, this change happens to compensate for the parts of aging that aren’t so positive.

Specifically, as we age there is an increasing amount of bilateral communication in the brain; meaning that the two halves of our brain communicate with each other more as we grow older. Now, this isn’t new information, but this study did step into previously unexplored territory in our understanding of this phenomena. The team of researchers accomplished a first by directly manipulating this communication, using a brain stimulation technique known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This technique allowed them to better understand if the process is a positive or negative adaptation. It was performed while adult subjects undertook memory-related tasks, giving the research team practical insight into how their brains responded.

Image Credit: Seanbatty / Pixabay
Image Credit: Seanbatty / Pixabay

Brain Age

According to lead author Simon Davis, Ph.D., “This study provides an explicit test of some controversial ideas about how the brain reorganizes as we age…These results suggest that the aging brain maintains healthy cognitive function by increasing bilateral communication.” This communication increases, according to the study, “as needed,” — depending on how your brain transforms over time.

The researchers also found that patients with stronger white matter pathways, which exist between the halves of the brain, showcased greater bilateral communication. This signifies that it is likely that the brains of those with similar pathways might retain higher levels of functioning later in life.

This study has unveiled crucial information about the inner workings of the brain as it ages. Not only is this phenomenon now understood to be a progressing method of compensation, but we better understand bilateral communication, as well as how the pathways between the halves of our brain contribute to our brain health over time. This study, and others like it, will continue to contribute to research that could support a more robust understanding of the biology of aging, and provide clues about how we and our brains can stay healthy throughout our lives.

The post Research Shows Communication Between Both Halves of the Brain Increases With Age appeared first on Futurism.

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