12 things we want to see on iOS 12 at WWDC – CNET

Apple’s WWDC conference is almost here, which means one sure thing: a preview of the next version of iOS. The last version of Apple’siPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 11, had some pretty significant updates: a new control panel, ARKit, new Siri functions, central file directories, more Pencil support on iPads, a whole new iPad multitasking system, and more system storage management control.

Apple’s WWDC conference is almost here, which means one sure thing: a preview of the next version of iOS. The last version of Apple’siPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 11, had some pretty significant updates: a new control panel, ARKit, new Siri functions, central file directories, more Pencil support on iPads, a whole new iPad multitasking system, and more system storage management control. And that doesn’t even include some notable features that came in followup point releases, including a battery health beta and improved ARKit in iOS 11.3, and Apple Pay Cash in iOS 11.2.

Reports suggest that iOS 12 might be more of a “High Sierra” style update, fixing bugs and improving overall function, saving a broad overhaul with big new ideas for iOS 13 in 2019.

So, with our expectations thus lowered, this is what we’d like to see most. There are certainly plenty of areas for improvement.

Less bugginess overall

More than eight months later, iOS 11 has lots of weird bugs. Sometimes, apps float in the corners of the screen. Notifications sometimes don’t show up. Autocorrect can act strangely. “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode ends up working when I’m not driving, and sending me messages when I am. And there are many more random freezes now than remember in years past. Make everything work more smoothly, please.

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Smooth over the iPhone X oddities

If most of Apple’s 2018 phone lineup is going to have the iPhone X’s Face ID and home button-free design, as rumored, it’s time to touch up what’s been bothering us most about the iPhone X: the strange pull-down-from-the-corner Control Center, or the way the top bar of information now hides key bits of info. The side button controls for resetting and turning off the phone are pretty confusing, too. Hopefully iOS 12 will smooth over the experience in advance of the wave of similar-looking phones.

Make Siri better

Siri has improved over time, but it still siri-ously lags behind Google Assistant (and AmazonAlexa) at contextually connecting to all the things we’d like it to. A few things Google Assistant and Alexa do now could be really helpful. First, there should be even more contextual follow-ups to questions, so that Siri doesn’t lose the conversational thread so much. Second, a bigger focus on app-like ways to launch particular sub-functions — say you want to launch an audio game, or control your TV for while — like Google Assistant does with Actions or Alexa does with Skills, could help a lot. That would involve Siri connecting with more platforms and things.

Make Control Center better, too

For the second year in a row, Control Center is on the wish list. That’s because last year’s total update offered more buttons to launch things, but still lacked deeper controls to key features, and deep customization. Only a certain set of features can be added to Control Center, but not everything. 3D Touch can be used for some sub-settings, but not for others. And why can’t we pick our Wi-Fi network or connect Bluetooth devices from contextual 3D Touch menus? More settings should be controllable, and more app shortcuts should be added. And the way Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is sometimes “turned off” but kept on? Don’t get me started.

Add iPhone X swipe features for all phones

The brilliant way that the iPhone X can swap apps by swiping at the bottom of the screen should make its way to iOS in general (it’s still a home button double-press on Touch ID iPhones). Why make it something only X owners can appreciate? Or, why not make it something that can be toggled on and off?

Improved battery management

Considering all the focus on battery performance over the last year in Apple’s previous iPhones, leading to Apple releasing a battery-management tool update to iOS 11, it’s a good chance for iOS 12 to go further. Apple’s battery health tool is in beta now, but a revamped version with ways to optimize for improved battery life would be a big help. It could be the battery version of Apple’s storage optimization in iOS 11.

Multi-user (and kid accounts)

Apple is totally behind the curve when it comes to making iOS devices easy to multiple people to use. That’s especially true for the iPad, where there should have a “kid mode” that locks out features, but toggled as easily as it can be on an Amazon tablet or a Chromebook. Maybe we don’t all share iPhones, but we certainly share iPads.

Add AI features to the camera app, like Google Lens

Apple made a huge splash with the AR features in ARKit last year, but it’s time to go deeper… and to the camera. Google Lens has been one of the most intriguing Android updates in Oreo, using the camera to quickly scan and identify the world. Apple’s own camera app added QR code scanning last year, but adding more AI-enabled modes with AR would be a solid next step.

Face ID redo button

If the iPhone doesn’t scan your face properly and has a Face ID fail, which happens quite a lot, there should be a much clearer way to try again (as you can do on the Galaxy S9), or flag that when you’re logging in. Right now, Face ID doesn’t really explain what didn’t work when it doesn’t work, and how to initiate another pass… it just doesn’t work, and leaves you staring at the lock screen.

Find a way to make 3D Touch do something more useful

Apple’s implementation of 3D Touch over the last few years has been bizarre. While the pressure-sensitive technology has always been impressive in theory, it’s rarely used much, or consistently, across apps and the OS. Even worse, the difference between pressing in and tapping-and-holding can get confusing. iOS 12 should rethink 3D Touch, or maybe minimize it.

Notifications: Better, and more control

It’s still strange how notifications pop up on the iPhone, especially on the home screen. Yes, this is generally how smartphones work… but considering how many people complain about notifications (or turn them off completely), a new layout, or a way of organizing all the notifications, seems in order. And it should be far easier to simply control (or toggle) notifications, versus the labyrinth that greets users in Notification Settings.

Let the iPhone and iPad continue to be different and unique things

Last year, the iPad started to grow into its own more productivity-focused OS versus what the iPhone can do. The two devices should keep splitting. The iPad should gain even more ways to multitask and share information on a larger screen. The iPhone should find ways to present key information as needed without having to swipe around to find it; maybe by minimizing the grid of apps and creating a new layer on top. Hopefully the changes continue, instead of staying the course.

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Check out these Memorial Day smart-home deals – CNET

The prices aren’t quite as low as Black Friday, perhaps, but if you’re looking for deals on smart-home gadgetry, you could really do a lot worse than Memorial Day weekend.

The prices aren’t quite as low as Black Friday, perhaps, but if you’re looking for deals on smart-home gadgetry, you could really do a lot worse than Memorial Day weekend. Many brands offer special discounts, and a number of retailers will often match those discounts in-store, making it a good time to splurge on those connected lights or security cameras you’ve been thinking about buying.

Among the best deals: the Siri- and Alexa-compatible Honeywell Lyric T5 smart thermostat for just $99 at Best Buy, complete with a free Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker. Most retailers also have Philips Hue smart lights marked down by 15 percent, and you’ll also find good deals on Nest thermostats bundled with free Google Home Mini smart speakers.

In short, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s out there. To that end, take a look at the standout deals we found from the top retailers (and if you spot a good one that we missed, let us know in the comments).

AmazonSave $40 when you buy two Amazon Cloud Cams ($200). Read the CNET review here.Save $15 on the Amazon Echo smart speaker ($85). Read the CNET review here.Save $100 on an Amazon Echo and TiVo Bolt 3TB DVR bundle.Save $10 on the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker ($40). Read the CNET review here.Save $150 when you buy two Amazon Echo Show touchscreen smart speakers ($310). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 when you buy an Amazon Echo Show and Amazon Cloud Cam bundle.Save $40 when you buy two Amazon Echo Spot touchscreen smart speakers ($220). Read the CNET review here.Save $30 on the Amazon Tap wireless smart speaker ($100). Read the CNET review here.Save $70 on an Amazon Key Home Kitwith an Amazon Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock ($220). Read about CNET’s first-hand experiences with Amazon Key here.Save $15 on the Belkin WeMo Light Switch ($35). Read the CNET review here.Save $15 on the Belkin WeMo Dimmer Switch ($65). Read the CNET review here.Save $30 when you buy two Ezviz Mini 360 smart cameras ($150). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the Garmin Speak Plus voice navigator with Amazon Alexa and built-in dash camera ($180). Save 10 percent on select Lifx smart bulbs. Read CNET’s review of the Lifx Mini here.Get a MiariGear Mini Smart Plug for $10.Save $125 on the Netgear Arlo Pro 2-camera Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Security Camera System ($295). Read the CNET review here.Save $153 on a Netgear Arlo Cam 2-pack ($197). Read the CNET review here. Save 15 percent on select Philips Hue bulbs, starter kits and accessories.Save $50 on a 2nd-gen Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller ($150). Read the CNET review here.Save 15 percent on a TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Lite 2-pack ($46.74). Read the CNET review here.
Best BuySave $15 on the Amazon Echo smart speaker ($85). Read the CNET review here.Save $10 on the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker ($40). Read the CNET review here. Save $15 on the Belkin WeMo Light Switch ($35). Read the CNET review here.Save $15 on the Belkin WeMo Dimmer Switch ($65). Read the CNET review here.Save $20 on the Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug ($25). Read the CNET review here.Save $30 on the C by GE Sol Smart Lamp with Amazon Alexa ($120). Read the CNET review here.Save $10 on a C by GE C-Life 2-bulb Starter Kit ($55.24). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on a Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat ($100), plus get an Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker for free with your purchase ($50 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the JBL Link 10 Portable Bluetooth smart speaker with the Google Assistant ($100). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the JBL Link 20 Portable Bluetooth smart speaker with the Google Assistant ($150). Read the CNET review here. Save 10 percent on select Lifx smart bulbs. Read CNET’s review of the Lifx Mini here. Save $40 on the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote with Harmony Hub ($140). Read the CNET review here. Save 15 percent on select Philips Hue bulbs, starter kits and accessories.Save $22.50 on a Philips Hue White Ambiance 4-bulb LED Starter Kit ($127.49), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free with your purchase ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $30 on the Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm LED Light Panel Starter Kit ($200). Read the CNET review here.Save $20 on the Nest Thermostat E ($149), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in your choice of finish ($199), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $170 on the Netgear Arlo Pro 3-camera Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Security Camera System ($410). Read the CNET review here.
Home DepotSave 10 percent on select Lifx smart bulbs.Save 15 percent on select Philips Hue bulbs, starter kits and accessories.Save $20 on the Nest Thermostat E ($149), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in your choice of finish ($199), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.
Lowe’sSave $20 on the Honeywell Lyric C1 Security Camera ($99). Read the CNET review here.
Save $20 on the Nest Thermostat E ($149), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in your choice of finish ($199), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.
TargetSave $25 when you buy both the Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers.Save $20 on the Nest Thermostat E ($149), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in your choice of finish ($199), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $70 on a Netgear Arlo 2-camera Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Security Camera System ($260). Read the CNET review here.
WalmartSave $25 when you buy both the Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers.
Buy a Google Home Max smart speaker, get a free Google Home Mini smart speaker ($49 value).Save $20 on the Nest Thermostat E ($149), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.Save $50 on the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in your choice of finish ($199), plus get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Read the CNET review here.
Additional dealsGet a GoPro Hero5 Black with extras for $200
Best 2018 Memorial Day tech sales
See all CNET deals

Some purchasing links were pulled from the CNET price tracker, which means that CNET earns a commission if you end up using those links to buy something.

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Amazon’s best Memorial Day deals for your smart home – CNET

Memorial Day is this Monday. Best Buy, Amazon and several other retailers are offering deals on a handful of smart home products. Over at Amazon, you can save big bucks on two-packs like the Arlo Pro smart camera and Echo Show smart displays.

Memorial Day is this Monday. Best Buy, Amazon and several other retailers are offering deals on a handful of smart home products. Over at Amazon, you can save big bucks on two-packs like the Arlo Pro smart camera and Echo Show smart displays.

From cameras to smart plugs and a handful of Amazon Echo products, the deals are in full swing for the long holiday weekend. Here’s the rundown on how to get the most bang for your buck:

Smart cameras44 percent off Arlo HD Cam two-pack: Save $153 when you buy two of Arlo’s HD cameras.30 percent off Arlo Pro Two Camera Security System: Save $125 on a two-pack of the Arlo Pro security camera. Here’s CNET’s Arlo Pro review.
18 percent off Ezviz Husky HD Outdoor Camera: Save $14 on this outdoor HD camera from Ezviz.
27 percent off Ezviz Mini O 720p Cam three-pack: Save $40 when you buy a three-pack of this 720p cam. Here’s CNET’s Ezviz Mini review.
17 percent off Ezviz Mini 360 two-pack: Save $30 on the all-seeing Mini 360. Here’s CNET’s Ezviz Mini 360 review.
17 percent off Amazon Cloud Cam two-pack: Save $40 on a two-pack CNET’s favorite smart camera. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Cloud Cam review.
19 percent off Amazon Cloud Cam three-pack: Save $70 on a three-pack of CNET’s favorite smart camera. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Cloud Cam review.
Amazon Key and Echo 24 percent off Amazon Key hardware: Save $70 on locks and cameras for Amazon Key service. Read our thoughts on Amazon Key.
33 percent off Echo Show 2-pack: Save $150 on two of these smart displays from Amazon. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo Show review.
20 percent off Echo Dot: Save $10 on the already-affordable Echo Dot. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo Dot review.
23 percent off Amazon Tap: Save $30 on one Amazon Tap. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Tap review.
15 percent off Echo Spot two-pack: Save $40 on a two-pack of this smart screen-speaker combo. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo Spot review.
14 percent off Echo Show and Amazon Cloud Cam bundle: Save $50 when you buy an Echo Show and Cloud Cam together. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo Show review and Amazon Cloud Cam review.
17 percent off 2nd-Gen Echo and Tivo Bolt Vox bundle: Save $100 on the 2nd-gen Amazon smart speaker and Tivo’s voice-controlled, 4K DVR. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo 2nd Gen review and a look at the Tivo Bolt Vox.
15 percent off Amazon Echo 2nd-Gen: Save $15 on the solid Amazon Echo 2nd-gen. Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo 2nd Gen review.

Smart plugs38 percent off MiariGear Mini Smart Plug: Save $6 on this space saving plug.
15 percent off Kasa Smart Plug Lite two-pack: Save $8 on a two-pack of TP-Link’s lite version smart plug.

Smart lighting15 percent off Philips Hue: Save on all Philips Hue products. To read about our favorite base kit, check out CNET’s Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit review.
Other smart home deals25 percent off Rachio wifi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller 2nd Gen: Save $50 on the smartest way to water your lawn. Here’s CNET’s Rachio Smart Sprinkler review.
15 percent off Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Router: Save $33 on TP-Link’s Kasa router.
22 percent off Garmin Speak Plus wth DashCam: Save $50 and put Alexa in your car. Here’s CNET’s Garmin Speak review.

Additional dealsBest Buy’s smart home deals are liveBest 2018 Memorial Day tech salesSee all CNET deals

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Best Buy Memorial Day deals to smarten your home – CNET

Best Buy has some great deals on smart-home tech this Memorial Day. From thermostats to speakers, here are the best deals to be had. One of the best deals is the Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostat.

Best Buy has some great deals on smart-home tech this Memorial Day. From thermostats to speakers, here are the best deals to be had. One of the best deals is the Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostat. It’s just $99, and it comes with a free Amazon Echo Dot.

Best Buy also offers a number of deals on smart lighting, ranging from dimmer switches to smart bulb starter kits, like the ones from Philips Hue. Here’s a rundown of the best deals across smart home categories during Best Buy’s Memorial Day sale.

Smart speakersAmazon Echosmart speaker for $85 (15 percent off). Here’s CNET’s Amazon Echo review.Amazon Echo Dotsmart speaker for $40 (20 percent off). Check out CNET’s Amazon Echo Dot review.JBL Link 10 Portable Bluetooth smart speaker with the Google Assistant for $100 (33 percent off). Read CNET’s JBL Link 10 review.JBL Link 20 Portable Bluetooth smart speaker with the Google Assistant for $150 (25 percent off). Here’s CNET’s JBL Link 20 review.
Smart lightingBelkin WeMo Light Switch for $35 (30 percent off). Here’s CNET’s Belkin WeMo Light Switch review. Belkin WeMo Dimmer Switch for $65 (19 percent off). Check out CNET’s WeMo Dimmer Switch review. C by GE Sol Smart Lamp with Amazon Alexa for $120 (20 percent off). Read CNET’s C by GE Sol Smart Lamp review. C by GE C-Life two-bulb Starter Kit for $55.24 (15 percent off). Here’s CNET’s C by GE C-Life bulb review.Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance four-bulb Starter Kit for $170 (15 percent off). Check out CNET’s Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance review.Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED smart bulb for $42.49 (15 percent off).Buy a Philips Hue White Ambiance four-bulb LED Starter Kit for $127.49 (15 percent off), get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value).
Philips Hue White two-bulb Starter Kit for $59.49 (15 percent off). Read CNET’s Philips Hue White review.Philips Hue White smart bulb four-pack for $42.49 (15 percent off).Philips Hue Go portable smart lamp for $68 (15 percent off). Here’s CNET’s Hue Go preview.Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm LED Light Panel Starter Kit for $200 (13 percent off). Check out CNET’s Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm preview.Philips Hue Motion Sensor for $35 (15 percent off). Read CNET’s Philips Hue Motion Sensor preview.
Smart thermostatsHoneywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat for $100 (33 percent off), get an Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker for free ($50 value). Check out CNET’s Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostat review.Nest Thermostat E for $150 (12 percent off), get a Google Home Mini smart speaker for free ($49 value). Here’s CNET’s Nest Thermostat E review.Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd generation in your choice of finish for $200 (20 percent off), get a Google Home Minismart speaker for free ($49 value). Read CNET’s Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen review.
Other smart home dealsNetgear Arlo Pro three-camera Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Security Camera System for $410 (30 percent off). Check out CNET’s Netgear Arlo Pro review.Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote with Harmony Hub for $140 (22 percent off). Here’s CNET’s Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remove review.Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug for $25 (45 percent off). Read CNET’s Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug review.
Additional dealsBest Buy’s Memorial Day deals on laptops and tabletsBest 2018 Memorial Day tech salesSee all CNET deals

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Plan Your Next Adventure, With Journalist Explorer Kinga Philipps

ATLANTA, May 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — For more than a decade, Kinga Philipps has been traveling the globe… rappelling, caving, scuba diving, free diving, jumping out of airplanes and swimming with sharks as the host of two TV shows, including “The Wildside with Kinga Phillips.

ATLANTA, May 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — For more than a decade, Kinga Philipps has been traveling the globe… rappelling, caving, scuba diving, free diving, jumping out of airplanes and swimming with sharks as the host of two TV shows, including “The Wildside with Kinga Phillips.” In fact, Kinga has channeled her adventurous spirit into a career as a writer, producer and on-camera journalist for all the networks. Just in time to start planning this year’s next great adventure, this unique journalist is available to share her vast experience as a world traveler. Learn about a hot new “dream” destination, and some unique tips to make travel both safer and easier.

Kinga gave expert tips on Summer Travel! Kinga gave expert tips on Summer Travel!

When Planning a Trip, Where to Start
First, it should be noted that 52% of Americans do not take all their vacation days. Most people squeeze in time off during obligated trips, like staying a couple of extra days during a business trip or turning a kid’s soccer trip into a vacation for the whole family. That why Kinga is partnered with Hampton by Hilton whose Real Travel campaign encourages travelers to make the most of these trips. A few tips for the next business or family trip: set aside some “ME TIME” and research a location. Find the hidden gems. Hampton by Hilton has 23-hundred properties and value-added amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi and free, hot breakfast, plus they have amazing fluffy waffles. Travelers can book their next Real Travel getaway at Hampton.com and Hilton Honors members even get a guaranteed discount when they book direct. For more information, visit Hampton.com.

Best Travel Tip Using Rewards for a Vacation
Like most, Kinga never wants to see a vacation come to an end, but loves looking forward to that next adventure and is a fan of anything that facilitates that. That is the great thing about the new Barclays Arrival Premier Mastercard. It rewards loyalty year after year so you can keep vacationing. Take a look at the card’s terms and conditions, you can earn 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases, after that, keep earning unlimited 2X miles on every purchase! The Arrival Premier Card is awesome because the more it is used, the more miles earned to use toward vacations and there are no airline, seat or hotel restrictions. Kinga loves it because she can book the vacation she wants and use miles to redeem for travel statement credits anytime, anywhere, year after year. For more information, visit ArrivalPremier.com.

A Destination That May Not Have Been Thought of
Puerto Rico is Kinga’s top choice! It has everything from pristine beaches to delicious food, and it has truly become a cultural Caribbean hub for those who like to enjoy a completely different culture without the need of a passport, because it is a part of the U.S. With 135 hotels open and 1,885 restaurants operational island-wide, Puerto Rico is very much open for business and has been welcoming travelers. Nearly all Americans (90%) like it when the money they spend on vacation helps the local economy of a destination, so Kinga recommends booking a flight to Puerto Rico and checking it out! Staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants, buying from local businesses and partaking in Island activities is the best way to support. For those wanting to save a buck or two, they will find the hottest summer deals here, when they visit: SeePuertoRico.com.

Advice for Staying Healthy While Traveling
Getting sick while traveling can put a damper on even the best of vacations so that is why Kinga always has non-drowsy Oscillococcinum with her. Take it the moment one feels body aches, headache, fever, chills or fatigue coming on. It is ideal for travelers on the go as it comes in easy-to-take pellets that dissolve under the tongue. It is also TSA friendly as there is no need for water, and it tastes great! Everyone ages two and up can take it and it is widely available in supermarkets and drug stores. For more information, visit www.oscillo.com.

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Traveling for the holidays? Here’s the smart home list to check twice – CNET

The appeal of the smart home is, in part, the management and monitoring that happens while you’re at work or out for the evening. Your smart home can perform just as well over multiple days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you.

The appeal of the smart home is, in part, the management and monitoring that happens while you’re at work or out for the evening. Your smart home can perform just as well over multiple days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you. If you’re hitting the road this weekend, we’ve got the tips you need to leave your smart home home alone with confidence.


15
Give the gift of a smarter home in 2017

Thermostats

If you have a smart thermostat, most will detect that you’re away and offer a way to change the thermostat remotely. After all, that’s probably why you bought the thing in the first place. It’s a nice perk when you’re out for a few hours or a workday. For longer periods of time or for thermostats that include a vacation mode, it’s a good idea to check the threshold settings before an extended absence. Sure, you can adjust remotely, but the whole idea here is to set it and go. So before you leave, set the temperature ranges on your thermostat so you can save money while keeping your home safe.

High and low temperature thresholds save the most energy when they are set closer to the outside temperature than you’d probably prefer when at home. However, they should still be safe enough for your home.

Now Playing:Watch this: Best smart home tech for the 2017 holidays
1:42
Lights and shades

My parents always left the TV on when we were away so people would think we were home. I thought it was a weird game of pretend as a kid, but as a homeowner it makes sense. Lighting isn’t a fail-safe protection against intruders, but having your lights or TV set to mimic human activity is a good start. Smart switches and schedules can do just that.

A good rule of thumb is that outdoor lights should be on at night and off during the day, while indoor lights should go on and off in different rooms. If you have smart switches, consider creating a schedule based on time of day that replicates what you’d typically do while home.

If you have automated window shades, consider setting them to stay down while you’re away. Keeping lights on might deter crime, but leaving your shades open could turn your living room into a holiday window display for a burglar.

Cameras, doorbells and security systems

Several new smart home security systems hit the market recently. While they do most of the work for you once they’re out of the box, it’s important to give them a quick status check before you leave. Security settings will differ depending on what products you have. Regardless of brand, it’s a good idea to make sure motion sensors, cameras, locks and doorbells have fresh or fully charged batteries and notifications correctly enabled to reach the right emergency contacts.

When it comes to cameras, be sure the lens is free of dirt, cobwebs or decor that might obstruct the view. If you’ve turned down motion sensitivity or set your camera to ignore motion in some areas inside your home, now is a good time to put those features back to maximum vigilance. Finally, ensure all notification settings are set to notify the appropriate people at the appropriate times.

Environment detectors

Leak, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors offer peace of mind every day, and even more so when you’re out of town. Making sure all of these have fresh batteries, a solid Wi-Fi connection, updated apps or firmware and correct notification settings is worth a few minutes of your time before you hit the road.

If your detectors aren’t connected to a live monitoring service, it’s even more important to get a notification sent to the right mobile device. That way, you can ask a friend or neighbor check out any suspicious alerts.

Robot vacuums and other small appliances

There are several robot vacuum cleaners out there with some version of a scheduling option. If that’s a feature you use often, turn it off while you’re away. If no one’s home to make messes, the vacuum doesn’t need to run. Plus, if you’ve enhanced the sensitivity of the motion detector portion of your security system (as I suggested), a robot vacuum could trigger false alarms.

You’ll save battery life and wear and tear on your vacuum by making sure it isn’t running when it doesn’t need to. The same goes for other small appliances that might run on a smart schedule or with smart switches. Run through your list of managed devices to be sure everything is on or off accordingly.

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New Windows 10 preview gives you a slicker Edge browser and more

Yesterday (May 24), we reported that a new Windows 10 preview wouldn’t emerge this week due to some major issues. Well, it turns out Microsoft was mistaken – more on that later – and in fact a fresh build has just been released for testers to play with over the weekend.

Yesterday (May 24), we reported that a new Windows 10 preview wouldn’t emerge this week due to some major issues. Well, it turns out Microsoft was mistaken – more on that later – and in fact a fresh build has just been released for testers to play with over the weekend.

So, let’s take a look at what’s new with build 17677 for Redstone 5 (the next big update due later this year), which has just been pushed to testers on the ‘skip ahead’ program or fast ring.

For starters, a number of improvements have been made to Edge, with the firm continually tinkering with its browser to make it a more compelling offering (while promoting the product in various ways, as we saw yesterday on the laptop battery longevity front).

Edge now has a rejigged interface, with the Settings menu being better organized into groups of entries to make it easier to find whatever you need to adjust. Plus keyboard shortcuts are now clearly labelled on the menu, where appropriate.

Various other tweaks have been made, including the addition of more options to the Downloads pane (for example, to be able to ‘show in folder’ after you’ve downloaded a file).

Microsoft has also made it easier to organize groups of tabs that you’ve set aside in Edge, giving you the ability to rename any group to something more descriptive or memorable. And all your top websites are now listed in the Jump List, which is on the Windows taskbar (or Start Menu).

Narrator, the screen reading app, has also seen some attention, specifically to Scan mode, which allows the user to navigate swiftly around the likes of web pages, apps and emails using the arrow keys and keyboard shortcuts.

With this new build, Scan mode is now able to support the selection of content in Edge, Word, Outlook, Mail and more. Common selection commands work, such as pressing Ctrl+A to select everything.

Cellular cleverness

Finally, you may remember that a month ago Microsoft introduced a new network driver – which should make for a better, more reliable cellular connection – to build 17655 of Windows 10. In this new build, that MBB USB NetAdapter driver has been made the default driver.

So if you’re running a laptop with cellular connectivity, when you use mobile broadband you’ll experience this new driver by default. If you hit trouble, Microsoft’s suggestion is that you use Wi-Fi or a wired connection instead. Such is the life of a tester on the fast ring…

As ever, there are a multitude of other minor tweaks and adjustments, and you can check out the full list in Microsoft’s blog post.

And coming back to what we mentioned at the outset of this story, what happened to the reported ‘rollback issues’ which were supposed to delay this build from launching this week?

Head of Windows testing, Dona Sarkar, informed us in a tweet that there wasn’t actually a rollback bug at all, but in fact a deployment issue was the problem – and that was a gremlin which was apparently relatively easy to overcome.

Some of the best laptops of 2018 run Windows 10

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia Kicks Off Summer #AtTheOmni

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Summer is arriving early at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Families, groups and locals are welcomed to enjoy a full lineup of resort activities and deals this summer travel season.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Summer is arriving early at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Families, groups and locals are welcomed to enjoy a full lineup of resort activities and deals this summer travel season. Live the luxury of Omni Montelucia not only at an incredible value, but also with enticing daily spa specials, flavorful culinary adventures and rich live entertainment, making it the ultimate destination for experience-seekers.

“Whether looking for a staycation or planning that family destination vacation, we’re excited to offer something for everyone through incredible values and fun activities,” said Frank Ashmore, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia General Manager. “Families and friends can come and make lasting memories at Omni Montelucia this summer.”

SUMMER STAY PACKAGES

When the summer heat descends on the desert, look no further than Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia for a cool and luxurious escape that takes you worlds away with no passport required.

Fee Free Summer Getaway: Plan that perfect weekend staycation or girls’ getaway between May 25 and September 30, 2018 to take advantage of an incredible summer value. Rooms starting at $135 on select days with no added parking or resort fees. See booking special at www.OmniMontelucia.com or enter PROMO Code: PKGFRE Sunsational Sunday: Arrive on a Sunday and receive a 10% discount for a one-night stay, 20% discount for two nights or 30% discount for three to five nights off the best flexible rate, through December 31, 2018. See booking special at www.OmniMontelucia.comSummer Block Party: Book between May 25 and September 3 to receive 10% off best available rate for a room block of five or more, a Food & Beverage credit valued at $50 per person – includes a 4-course family style menu with choice of non-alcoholic beverage for groups of eight or more guests – one room upgrade and planning call with an experienced professional to coordinate an activity like our Reach For The Sky experience. Reach For The Sky Experience: Enjoy the natural beauty of the desert and get your group up in the air for the best sights Arizona has to offer. Imagine being greeted with a new pair of designer sunglasses from the resort’s boutique before departing on an early morning, up-in-the-sky-before-the-sun-rises adventure over the Grand Canyon. Luxury ground transport, gourmet snacks and coffee will make the early call-time a breeze. Spend the afternoon unwinding with a much deserved afternoon at award-winning Joya Spa. Enjoy refreshing fresh-squeezed juice spritzers, a healthy spa lunch on the rooftop pool deck overlooking the iconic Camelback Mountain and indulge in signature spa body rituals. Feel even more energized with a group naturopathic class with the resident doctors where each guest receives a health consultation that incorporates the benefits of B12 and IV Therapy. Activity at an additional cost. Call (888) 444-OMNI to learn more.

SEE YOU AT JOYA SPA

Back by popular demand, Joya’s Summer of Spa offers amazing daily deals and seasonal services beginning in June through September. “Summer of Spa was such a hit last year, we’re happy to bring it back,” offered Stevie White, spa director at Joya Spa. “The spa’s results-driven treatments and salon services will fuel the mind, body and soul for ultimate relaxation.”

Daily deals, like Spa-Tacular Sundays, Happy Hour Monday, Wellness Wednesdays and Sensational Saturdays, offer more opportunities to enjoy the lush amenities of the spa. Seasonal treatments, like the Summer Splash Manicure & Pedicure, which features a fresh exfoliating “cocktail” body polish – a mix of organic vodka, basil and watermelon seed oils, sugar and rice bran oil – leave you feeling renewed and refreshed. 45-minutes per treatment, $59 each.

Enjoy a true holistic experience with IV Quench Therapy. Increase energy, improve sleep, balance mood and more with curated treatments delivering essential vitamins and nutrients directly into the bloodstream. Select a formulation from the menu – like Energy, Detox, Immune and more – or consult with the onsite physician for a personalized treatment. 60 minutes per treatment, $195 per guest.

Thursday, June 7, attend Joya Spa’s Under the Stars Party. Guests will be transformed through relaxing mini-services, enjoy hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and complimentary wine, and depart with a spa sample bag that includes a certificate to return for a 50-minute Classic Massage or Transformation Facial. $120 per guest, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Reservations required.

Call (480) 627-3020 for all spa service reservations or visit www.OmniMontelucia.com for additional packages and group offerings.

CULINARY DINE-AROUND

Kicking off Memorial Day weekend through September 30, come experience the Summer Dine Around with daily offerings including delicious pre-fixe Sunday Family Dinners and Saturday Tapas Tours. Your palate will be transported to Spain’s Andalusian region.

The Chef’s Kitchen Dinner series offers an exclusive dining experience. Indulge in the best and most flavorful locally grown ingredients in an interactive kitchen setting. Each family-style dinner is created by Executive Chef Marcos Seville and artfully paired with the perfect beverage. Events are limited to 24 people. Reservations required, please contact Haley Hill at (480) 627-3111.

Thursday, June 28 – National Bourbon Celebration Thursday, July 26 – Rosé & Gluten Free Dishes Wednesday, August 15 – A Tribute to Julia Child

To learn more on Chef’s Kitchen Dinner Series or the Summer Dine Around series visit www.OmniMontelucia.com.

THROUGHOUT THE RESORT

Relax and renew this summer at Omni Montelucia – from poolside days, to cool evenings under the stars, a full lineup of activities for time spent with friends and family is good for the soul.

New Poolside Cabanas are perfect for getting friends or family together. Each includes covered seating for up to 6, towel service, complimentary WiFi, two upgraded chaise lounges, mango fresca, an order of chips & salsa and bottled water. Reservations starting at $99Fancy a little music? Música en Vivo features the stylings of local musical artists, performing upbeat, contemporary jazz. Enjoy Friday and Saturday evenings 6:00 to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Mbar Savor home-made breakfast breads, locally made sausages, imported Spanish cheeses, and gluten-free options, with The Art of Breakfast Brunch experience. Available Saturdays 7:00 a.m. to Noon and Sundays 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Prado. $35 per person Guests can bring out their creativity and gather with friends at one of the monthly Vino & Canvas classes. Savor a glass of wine and depart with a custom piece of artwork Wellness is always within reach at Joya Motion Studio with daily classes, including favorites like Ride & Shine Cycle that overlooks Camelback Mountain and Sunrise & Sunset Yoga sessions that are just $10 for resort guests and $15 for locals

For more information on these events and more, visit www.OmniMontelucia.com. Images available for stories here.

About Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Ranked 6th on Travel + Leisure’s 500 “Best U.S. Hotels List” and one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Spas” in 2014, Omni Scottsdale Resort is an exclusive oasis inspired by the exotic locales of Morocco and Andalusia in Southern Spain. Nestled at the base of picturesque Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona, the resort boasts 293 spacious guest rooms, including 38 luxury suites and two presidential suites, and award-winning culinary experiences including the critically-acclaimed Prado restaurant. Omni Scottsdale Resort’s crown jewel – Joya Spa is home to Scottsdale’s only Hammam treatment spa – a rejuvenating Moroccan-inspired hot and cold bathing ritual. Located just 15 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), the resort’s meeting facilities include more than 100,000 square-feet of modern luxury banquet and event space, including 27,000 square-feet of indoor meeting space, along with eight outdoor gardens, courtyards, and lawns perfect for conventions, board meetings and weddings. A member of the Omni Hotels & Resorts portfolio, Omni Scottsdale Resort is a privately owned and debt-free legacy purchase. To get additional information or book accommodations, visit www.omnimontelucia.com or call 1-480-627-3200.

About Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences at 60 distinct luxury hotels and resorts in leading business and leisure destinations across North America. With more than 25 iconic golf courses and 16 award-winning spas featured in dynamic locales nationwide, every Omni proudly opens its doors to share the true spirit of its destination. Reflected through local color, personalized service, unique wellness options, signature restaurants and creative culinary offerings, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every guest and a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest loyalty program. As a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance, Select Guest is further expanded through the DISCOVERY® loyalty program offering members additional global benefits. Omni is committed to reducing hunger and is on a mission through its Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative to provide millions of meals each year for food banks to feed children, families and seniors in communities in which it operates. For information or to book accommodations, visit omnihotel.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.

Media Contact:
Leigh Lehman, Current PR
(310) 967-3409
LLehman@talktocurrent.com

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Amazon Key took over my door for 3 months. It wasn’t as creepy as I expected – CNET

Weeks after Amazon Key was installed at my house, I still hadn’t scheduled an in-home delivery.

  • “What if my dog gets out and bites someone?”
  • “What if there’s a creepy delivery person?”

Weeks after Amazon Key was installed at my house, I still hadn’t scheduled an in-home delivery.

“What if my dog gets out and bites someone?”
“What if there’s a creepy delivery person?”
“What if the camera cuts out during a delivery?”

Amazon Key is an in-home delivery service offered to Prime subscribers in select cities. Purchase the Amazon Key Home Kit, which includes a smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam security camera to use the service, which enables an Amazon-contracted “delivery provider” to unlock your front door and drop off Amazon packages inside your home. You get alerts through the Amazon Key app about upcoming deliveries and you can watch the delivery in real-time straight from your phone. Amazon also records and saves video clips of each delivery for your review.

I felt a vague unease about a person I didn’t know being able to unlock my front door, even though I could monitor them on the Amazon Cloud Cam that comes with Amazon Key. Other folks expressed similar concerns in the months following its launch, including general privacy questions about giving Amazon access to the inside of your home (both through their delivery providers and through the Cloud Cam).

Amazon has an entire landing page dedicated to “Terms and Conditions for Amazon Key,” with various links to the privacy notice, terms of use and more.

The Cloud Cam terms of service gave me the most pause. I copied the text below straight from their support page:

c. Cloud Cam Recordings. Cloud Cam streams your Cloud Cam Recordings to the cloud when it detects motion. Amazon processes and retains your Cloud Cam Recordings in the cloud to provide and improve our products and services. You give us all permissions we need to use your Cloud Cam Recordings to do so. These permissions include, for example, the rights to copy your Cloud Cam Recordings, modify your Cloud Cam Recordings to generate clips, use information about your Cloud Cam Recordings to organize them on your behalf, and review your Cloud Cam Recordings to provide technical support. Learn more about Cloud Cam, including how to delete your video clips.

Amazon wasn’t the first company to offer in-home delivery. Smart lock maker August, now owned by Yale parent company Assa Abloy, introduced a pilot program for its August Access in-home delivery service last September. August officially launched August Access earlier this year with delivery partner Deliv and retailers like Macy’s, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s and PetSmart.

As in-home delivery services become more ubiquitous, especially with large companies like Amazon, balancing privacy concerns and convenience will become increasingly important. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you’re more concerned about package theft or subscribing to Amazon in-home delivery.

2016 FBI crime statistics show that only 18 percent of the property crimes reported to police were cleared. That means if your package disappears, there isn’t a great chance that it will be recovered, although Amazon’s “A-to-Z Guarantee” and the “Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee” do give you the chance to submit a claim if you have an issue with a delivery, including a theft from your front porch.

Now Playing:Watch this: Amazon Key in-home delivery worked much better than I…
1:53
An Amazon Key overview

Two devices are required for Amazon Key in-home delivery to work — a smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam. Amazon lets you choose from among eight different smart locks from Yale and Kwikset, but you’re limited to the Cloud Cam as your security camera. Fortunately, the Cloud Cam is a great all-around indoor home security camera, so much so that I gave it an Editors’ Choice award in 2017.

Amazon sells the lock and Cloud Cam bundled in the Amazon Key Home Kit for $290 (currently on sale for $220) — just pick the lock you want and place your order. I bought the Yale Assure Smart Lock Touchscreen in oil rubbed bronze to match my other door hardware.

You can also order the devices separately, but make sure to get the Amazon Key editions of the Amazon Cloud Cam and the Yale Assure Smart Lock Touchscreen — they are slightly more expensive than the regular models because they add in extra cables that allow Amazon Key to work.


11
Installing the Amazon Key Home Kit

You can either install the Amazon Key Home Kit yourself or pay a professional to install it for you. Search with your zip code to see if professional installation is available in your area. It costs an additional $140.

A local provider did install the kit for me at my house, scheduled through Amazon Home Services. He was very knowledgeable about the camera and the smart lock and installed them both quickly.

Seven of the eight lock options — including the Assure Smart Lock Touchscreen I chose — require a complete replacement of your existing deadbolt. That’s easy enough to swap out, in theory, but my front door didn’t sit perfectly flush with my doorframe. The installer spent time working on that to make sure the lock would open and close on its own, without someone having to nudge the door to ensure a clear path for the deadbolt.

Related linksAmazon’s Cloud Cam strikes the right balance for home securityAmazon Key’s big privacy test is now in your handsNeighborhood security cameras sacrifice privacy to solve crimes

I can install a deadbolt, but I don’t have the tools to fix a wonky door alignment. If you’re like me, consider paying for the installation.

The installer also started to help with the app setup, but I asked to handle that part myself so I could see what the process was like.

Use your existing Amazon account credentials to login to the Amazon Key app. Select “Setup” in the app to follow the steps shown above to configure the Cloud Cam and the smart lock. It should only take a few minutes.

You can view your camera’s live feed in both the Amazon Key app, as well as the Cloud Cam app. Be sure to read my full review of the Amazon Cloud Cam for more details on the device itself.

You have to subscribe to Amazon Prime to use Amazon Key. Amazon Prime costs $119 per year, or $13 per month ($6.50 per month for student subscribers). You also have to live in one of these US cities to access the in-home delivery service.

Testing it out

Actually using Amazon Key was a lot less creepy than it seemed initially.

Once everything is set up, orders you place through Amazon Prime default to in-home delivery. You get alerts sent to your phone along the way, letting you know the status of your delivery — along with any other information you need. You can even block in-home access leading up to the delivery in the app if something comes up and you change your mind.

I never ran into a problem. The alerts were reliable and the deliveries were uneventful. All of the packages were dropped off just inside my door and when I got home, my orders were already sitting inside.

One day I inadvertently locked the storm door, so the deliverer couldn’t open the main front door. Instead, the delivery provider left the package on the porch accompanied by a note in the app explaining what had happened. Simple enough.

If you have an Amazon smart speaker, you can lock your Amazon Key-compatible smart lock with Alexa. The skill specifically enables you to say, “Alexa, lock my front door,” or ask, “Alexa, is my front door locked?” Amazon says all Amazon Key-compatible smart locks work with Alexa.


47
46 indoor security cameras for a safer smart home

Letting Amazon inside your house

If you’re a Prime customer who frequently orders through Amazon and you’re worried about package theft, the Amazon Key in-home delivery service is a good solution.

The smart lock and Cloud Cam that make up the $290 Amazon Key Home Kit work well together, allowing easy access to your front door and recording clips of package deliveries for later review in the Amazon Key app. Prompt alerts keep you informed of upcoming deliveries. The in-home delivery portion was surprisingly tame, too — no one wandered around my house or otherwise abused their temporary access.

I was a little nervous the first time I scheduled a Key delivery. I tidied up our entryway, I triple-checked to make sure my dog was safely tucked away in a bedroom and I felt generally weird about a stranger unlocking my door without me being there. But I ultimately scheduled four deliveries through Amazon Key — three successful, one with the storm door locked — without being creeped out.

The delivery provider never once walked into my house; the most I ever saw was an arm reaching in to drop off a package.

While I started out hesitant about in-home delivery, I’d be comfortable enough to use it going forward (and to recommend it to frequent Amazon customers) — as long as I can keep an eye on whoever’s delivering the packages from my phone.

The only major concern I still have relates to the possibility of my Wi-Fi network and Cloud Cam video stream not working optimally during a delivery so I couldn’t watch what was happening in real time, or adequately review the clip later on.

How do you feel about someone delivering packages inside your house? Weigh in below in the comment section.

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Amazon Key took over my door for 3 months. It wasn’t as creepy as I expected
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PicoBrew Pico Model C makes automatic beer brewing almost easy

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Mobile industry ‘shouldn’t wait’ for 5G to roll out small cells

“if you take anything away with you today, then it’s don’t wait for 5G to plan for small cells,” was the cry of one speaker at SWCS World in London this week.

“if you take anything away with you today, then it’s don’t wait for 5G to plan for small cells,” was the cry of one speaker at SWCS World in London this week.

It was hardly surprising to hear such a plea at a small cell-focused event, where many of the speakers have a vested interest in shifting their wares to operators and local authorities, but he did have a valid point.

Small cells will be a critical component of 5G networks, helping to deliver the micro capacity and coverage that will power a wealth of next-generation applications that will require constant, low latency connectivity.

But small cells have a role to play in existing 4G deployments, particularly in urban areas, and if operators deploy them now then they are futureproofing themselves for 5G.

Small cells for 4G and beyond

Recent studies have suggested that although 4G speeds aren’t rising as rapidly as they once were, the availability of 4G is increasing as operators focus on coverage for the time being, including in busy cities.

Small cell shipments rose by 39 per cent year-on-year to 2.3 million in 2017, according to IHS Markit, which predicts that the market will be worth $2.8 billion by 2022. Most deployments are taking place in rural and remote areas, but over the next few years, more outdoor cells will be rolled out as operators look to boost urban coverage.

In London, the City of London Corporation is building a small cell network with Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTIL) and O2 with the aim of improving 4G coverage, delivering superfast public Wi-Fi and preparing the capital for 5G in the future.

“The City for a long time has had legacy problems with our mobile networks,” Steven Bage, strategic infrastructure advisor at the City of London Corporation told SCWS World. “We have big problems getting the signal where it needs to be for our users.”

As the finance capital of Europe, it was seen as unacceptable to have poor mobile coverage thanks to the numerous tall buildings blocking signals. Small cells were identified as the ideal solution, with the corporation offering its street furniture as hosts for the micro network infrastructure.

At the time of writing, 240 small cells have been installed and the plan is to reach 400 by March 2019.

Small cells for 5G

But it’s impossible to ignore 5G whenever a small cell deployment is concerned. With 3G, the focus on small cells has been on coverage and with 4G it has been about urban capacity, enterprise applications and IoT. For 5G, small cells will be absolutely essential.

Early 5G networks in the UK will make use of 3.4GHz airwaves recently auction by Ofcom, while mmWave frequencies of 24GHz and higher will be used to deliver fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband services in countries like the US. Most 5G networks will eventually make use of a combination of both, delivering the right balance of range and capacity.

However mmWave’s short range makes it challenging to provide a signal in complex indoor environments, which is why small cells will be so important in providing coverage for mission critical applications such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

4G coexistence

Qualcomm has just announced what it claims the industry’s first 5G NR (New Radio) platform for small cells. Central to its appeal is the ability to choose whichever radio access network (RAN) technology is best for their needs and to reuse software and hardware designs across different types of spectrum.

This is in part due to the recognition that 5G will have to coexist with 4G.

“LTE deployments are not going to disappear,” Irvind Ghai, head of Qualcomm’s business connectivity unit, told attendees.“[4G and 5G] will coexist because 4G has brought new applications such as IoT, high speed mobile broadband and private networks. The 5G small cell we are creating is also Power over Ethernet (PoE) capable so you can use it in the same network.”

Aside from the headline benefits of 5G it will also deliver lower cost per bit, more usable spectrum and entirely new radio architectures. But if 5G is going to offer significant capacity enhancements straight away, do operators really need to invest in small cells so soon?

“It would depend on operator strategy but if you take a look at 5G mmWave site and the propagation characteristics – even if the [signal hits] a tree – it is obstructed,” he added. “A small cell deployment [can help] with short distances.”

Planning concerns

There are also planning issues to contend with regardless of which generation of technology is used. A lack of consistency with planning regulations means some authorities demand individual planning applications for every small cell – a process that is clearly impractical for deployments that require thousands of cells.

The industry has pleaded with councils to adopt a more uniform approach and to recognise that the economic value of mobile infrastructure is greater than the revenue that might be generated from granting planning permission.

However landlords are an issue too, with private properties hosting small cells and mobile masts.

“We have two types of developer – one who manages [a building] and is interested in its ongoing use,” said Bage. “The other is one who builds it and hands it over so nobody has an ongoing interest for its connectivity.”

Other countries such as Australia and Singapore have building regulations that require any new building to have provisions for mobile infrastructure, and it’s something Bage would like to see.

“I think that’s the way we have to go, if we want to compete as a country,” he said.

Want to find out more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5Ghub!

Check out the best mobile deals for May 2018