London Underground has awarded Virgin Media the contract to provide a Wi-Fi service for the London Underground stations. By the start of the Olympic Games, the Wi-Fi service will be available at 80 of the 217 stations. By the end of the year, this is expected to have increased to 120 stations. The Wi-Fi service will only be accessible at platforms, ticket offices and escalators. This will be disappointing news for a number of London Underground commuters but there is sound reasoning why the Wi-Fi service will not be available in the network’s tunnels.
Huawei, a Chinese telecoms equipment company, investigated the possibility of implementing a 3G service throughout the underground tunnels, but it was soon discovered that building work would have to be conducted because of the lack of space between the trains and tunnels. Virgin Media would have faced the same problems if they wanted to supply a Wi-Fi service in the underground tunnels and therefore it wasn’t viable or feasible to consider doing so.
Kevin Baughan, Virgin Media’s director believes that the limited Wi-Fi service will be welcomed and not met with disappointment. Baughan stated “Every Wi-Fi station you pass through is going to give you the chance to stay connected, by quickly updating Facebook, Twitter, email and the like. Even while travelling, people will have a great experience.”
This Wi-Fi service will be free for everyone to use during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, once these events have finished, commuters who want full internet access will have to pay on a pay as you go service. This will not affect existing Virgin Media as it will be incorporated into their existing tariffs. The pricing tariffs have yet to be confirmed but it is expected that they will be released once the Wi-Fi service is up and running.
London’s mayor, Boris Johnson is particularly happy with the news that a Wi-Fi service is set to be available at London’s Underground stations. Johnson proclaimed “It’s vital that we harness the massive opportunities stemming from the digital revolution, by creating a vibrant, world class industry to attract investment and create jobs for Londoners. Millions of passengers will now be able to connect to their work, friends or access the latest news and travel information whilst on the move.”
Nokia have switched on a trial of a free wi-fi service which will cover key shopping areas in central London. The trial is set the last until the end of this year and will then go under review to deem whether it has been a success or not.
Nokia has set up 26 hot spot areas around central London which will support the wi-fi service. The areas that are being used for this trial run are mainly concentrated around the busier West End shopping areas. Victoria, Marylebone and Westminster will also be involved in the trial. Nokia have stated that users will not have to register or sign in to use the wi-fi service and therefore minimising the time needed to access it.
The wi-fi hotspots are located on phone boxes which are owned and operated by their partner Spectrum Interactive. The hotspots are built around web links that run at 20 megabits per second but download speeds are restricted to ensure others can access the service.
Craig Hepburn, Nokia’s director of digital and social media stated “The trial is going to help us understand what people are using it for so we can improve it in the future.”
If this trial is deemed a success, Nokia plan to turn this service into a fully-fledged free wi-fi service in 2012 and in time for the London Olympics. This trial is so far Nokia’s largest project that they have undertaken in this sector and is perhaps being used as a preliminary run before organising similar trials in cities in Africa and India.
The wi-fi service available around London is currently very fragmented, for example in central London; free wi-fi is generally accessible via solitary access points such as in hotels and public houses.
Due to the fragmented nature of free wi-fi available in London and with the city set to host the majority of the Olympic Games, various plans are being made to make it easier to access fre wi-fi to aid visitors and tourists find their way around the city. Discussions are also taking place about making wi-fi accessible on London tube stations so that passengers can access the internet whilst waiting for trains.
The number of applications which people have accounts with online has grown exponentially in recent years. This is leading to an increased tendency to leave account passwords in wills for friends and relatives.
A study by Goldsmiths at the University of London found that 1 in 10 people are leaving such information behind. This has come from the recognition that people can have their digital identity stolen by hackers if it is left hanging online. Furthermore such accounts are often hit with large amounts of spam.
Matthew Strain, a solicitor told Sky New “With more photos, books, music and so on being stored online and in digital format, the question of what happens to these when people are gone becomes more important everyday.” Such data held in the cloud is collectively worth billions of pounds.
Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner stated “the burden of proof should be on controllers – those who process your personal data. They must prove that they need to keep the data, rather than individuals having to prove that collecting their data is not necessary.”
Terremark decided to locate their flagship data centre in Amsterdam rather than London after concerns were raised regarding power shortages caused by the Olympic games.
The data centre is going to be one of 50 which are to be dotted around Europe.
Hermann Oggel, president of business at Terremark in a statement said:
“London was full with the Olympics, with no power. And no power is a big issue.”
The server racks in addition to the other equipment are expected to utilise 46MW of power when running at full capacity. The Amsterdam-based Network Access Point (NAP) will possess the highest level of performance, power and connectivity across the company’s entire European datacentre network.
In addition to the Olympics being a spanner in the works with regards to placing the data centre in London the two parties could also not agree on the financials.
“We spoke to utility companies in London and looked at premises, but found it economically better to manage from Amsterdam,” Oggel.
Verison is positioning itself to take a slice of the Cloud market which it predicts will grow to $150 billion by 2020 from around $10 billion – which it is at now.
“We think we’ll have a pretty big share of that” Kelly Baily, group president of Verizon unit Terremark Worldwide. “A lot of companies are moving into this space”
Verizon have already purchased Terremark and CloudSwitch for a collective $1.4 billion and are actively in the process of making further acquisitions.
Sony has had a difficult year, not least because of the hacking scandal in April but also because of the earthquake in Japan as well as the London riots.
Sony CEO Howard Stringer spoke at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin yesterday and highlighted the difficulties of the last 12 months, but was optimistic about the future.
“This year at Sony we have been flooded, we’ve been flattened, we’ve been hacked, we’ve been singed” said Stringer.
April saw Sony face one of the largest hacks in history leading to the data of 75 million users being compromised.
However the summer saw Sony embark on getting the service back online and they have done so with surprising success.
“We have more than 3 million new customers since the network came back online, and sales are exceeding what we had before the cyber attacks” said Stringer.
Also highlighted at the conference was Sony’s intention to go for the competitive approach of bringing together gaming, music and film under the umbrella of the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN). This will place Sony strongly within the market place among the likes of Apple.
The 2012 Olympic Games, which is being held in London, UK, will attract millions of people to the country’s capital over the course of the July and August next year. With the attention of hundreds of millions of people who will be watching around the globe, experts and police believe the games will be a vulnerable target to physical and cyber criminal attack.
Since the games were awarded to London in 2005, security and the risks to the safety of the public have been under constant review. The threats take many forms from terrorism to ticket fraud, to what some experts are calling a blended attack. This type of attack is a threat to both the physical and cyber based systems of an organisation.
With threats to the IT infrastructure of businesses a daily concern (or at least it should be!), the focus an event the magnitude the Olympics brings has meant huge organisations have started thoroughly reviewing their corporate IT operations well in advance of the 2012 games. It is estimated that the Olympics will generate £2.1 billion in tourism alone. If proper systems are not in place by the time the Olympics is underway, organisations of all sizes are exposed to the threat of cyber attacks which threaten not only the commercial operations of a company but their reputation as a business.
Financial institutions are already fully aware of the importance of the day to day threats posed and have planned an exercise later this year to fully test the sectors readiness in the event their IT infrastructures are compromised. This will provide an ample opportunity for these organisations to review their plans for the forth coming Olympic Games and analyse what is in place for this huge event.
Referred to as the Market Wide Exercise (MWE) and co-ordinated by the Financial Sector Continuity organisation, the test will be headed up the Financial Services Institution (FSA), HM Treasury and the Bank of England. This will be the sixth MWE, with the previous exercise in 2009 demanding that future tests focus more on “strategic decision making, dependence on suppliers and the return to business as usual”.
With Business Continuity a focus of the exercise, it should present opportunities for organisations to fully test their Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans. Should companies suffer any serious downtime during the Olympics, the impact on revenue, status and reputation could be irreparable, when the world tunes in to follow London in 2012.