Sunday, June 1, 2014

Video streaming more eco-friendly than DVD viewing

WASHINGTON: Video streaming can be much better for the environment, requiring less energy and emitting less carbon dioxide (CO2), than some traditional methods of DVD renting, buying and viewing, a new study has found. 

The researchers cite modern devices such as laptops and tablets as the reason for this improvement, as they are much more efficient than older, energy-sapping DVD players. 

Furthermore, the driving that is required to go and buy, or rent, DVDs makes this method much more energy- and carbon-intensive, researchers said. 

A significant proportion of the energy consumption and carbon emissions for streaming comes from the transmission of data, which increases drastically when more complex, high-definition content is streamed. 

In their study, the researchers, from America's Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and Northwestern University, estimated that if all DVD viewing in the US was shifted to streaming services in 2011, around 2 billion kg of CO2 emissions could have been avoided and around 30 petajoules (PJ) of energy saved — the equivalent of the amount of electricity needed to meet the demands of 200,000 US households. 

In 2011, they estimated that 192PJ of energy was used, and 10.4 billion kg of CO2 emitted, for all methods of DVD consumption and streaming in the US. 

From this, they calculated that one hour of video streaming requires 7.9 megajoules (MJ) of energy, compared to as much as 12 MJ for traditional DVD viewing, and emits 0.4kg of CO2, compared to as much as 0.71kg of CO2 for DVD viewing. 

To arrive at their results, the researchers compared video streaming with four different types of DVD consumerism: DVDs that are rented from online mailers; DVDs that are rented from a store; DVDs that are purchased online; and DVDs that are bought from a store. 

Video streaming was limited to TV and movies and did not include shorter videos that are streamed online through YouTube etc. 

They found that video streaming and the online rental of DVDs required similar amounts of energy; however, the renting and purchasing of DVDs from a store were much more energy intensive, due to the impact of driving. 

"Our study suggests that equipment designers and policy makers should focus on improving the efficiency of end-user devices and network transmission energy to curb the energy use from future increases in video streaming," said lead author of the research Arman Shehabi, from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. 

"Such efficiency improvements will be particularly important in the near future, when society is expected to consume far greater quantities of streaming video content compared to today," Shehabi said. 

The study was published in Institute of Physics Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Apple software to drive smart Ferrari

First the mobile phone, now the car. Having revolutionised personal communicationApple now wants to change the way we drive.
The technology group will next week launch its first in-car operating system with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo as it attempts to take the lead in a fierce race to dominate tomorrow's smart cars.
The breakthrough comes amid a swirl of market rumours that Apple could be eyeing a bid for electric carmaker Tesla MotorsGoogle and other technology companies are already working on plans to develop their own car models alongside traditional automotive manufacturers.
The deal marks the first time that Apple is embedding its software in devices other than its own branded products. The choice of the Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz is seen to be in keeping with the US tech group's high-end phones.
Apple's head of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, joined the Ferrari board in 2012, saying at the time that he had "personally dreamed of owning a Ferrari since I was 8 years old and have been lucky to be an owner for the past 5 years."
Cars connected to the internet and seamlessly integrated with personal communication devices are seen as the harbingers of vehicles that can drive themselves, mobile offices and "mobility solutions" for cities where all vehicles are controlled or monitored from a central database.
Carmakers are engaged in a fierce battle for control of car dashboards as incumbents fight with technology companies such as Microsoft and IBM to develop the software systems that will power the connected cars of tomorrow.
Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, used his keynote speech at January's Consumer Electronics Forum, the technology industry's annual symposium, to herald a new era of "connected cars" that would see automobiles become "the largest social mobile devices we own."
The official announcement of Apple's deal will be made at next week's Geneva Motor Show, sources told the Financial Times. A number of other manufacturers are expected to incorporate it into models in 2014. Apple, and the carmakers declined to comment
Drivers will be able to use Apple Maps as in-car navigation, as well as listen to music and watch films. Calls can be made through the system, which will tie into the Siri voice recognition platform so that messages can be read to the driver who can respond by dictating a reply.
An Apple powered car has been expected since the launch of its updated iOS 7 software. Cars can already play music through Apple devices but this allows the iOS software on the screen to be built into the car.
Apple showed the first images of the "iOS in the Car" platform at a developer conference last year, which in effect mirrors the iPhone on the in-car display.