ITProPortal's James Laird is up on Tyneside at the moment, taking in all the goings on at Thinking Digital 2013 - one of the UK's leading ideas and innovation conferences. Things kicked off yesterday with a series of pre-conference events, including a startup pitch competition that saw hometown heroes BubblePix and London's own YPlan advance to the finals. The winner will be decided later today, so watch this space to see who is crowned Thinking Digital's startup champion. This morning, the event's jampacked schedule got underway in earnest, with Thinking Digital's Herb Kim assuming the role of emcee and giving us a broad overview of the conference, its evolution, and its aims. Stay pinned to this article for all the best news from Thinking Digital 2013.
Meanwhile, Will Dalton has been in East London, telling us about all the developments coming out of Digital Shoreditch. Today, IBM's Kevin Farrar stated his belief that the festival's collective focus can be considerably broader than emerging technologies and niche markets, thanks to trends like big data. Addressing London's digital community, the leader of IBM's Global Entrepreneur initiative commented on the remarkable progress being made across the board in technology, and how its continued acceleration is presenting us with more capabilities than ever before. He explored ways in which the world can use its resources more intelligently. Farrar says harnessing big data and systems that effectively process it will enable far better management and distribution. Thanks to the ability to put sensors almost everywhere and track all kinds of objects, animals, people and locations, IBM reports that 90 per cent of the data in the world today has been generated in just the last two years. And with technologies being refined to handle this data more quickly than ever before, Farrar said opportunities are now boundless. Follow the link above for more details.
In case you somehow missed it, Microsoft has unveiled its next-generation gaming console, the Xbox One. The updated gaming and entertainment device will debut "later this year," Xbox chief Don Mattrick said during a launch event at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters. The Xbox One will come with a revamped controller and Kinect sensor, which Microsoft said "is now an essential and integrated part of the platform." Unlike its rival, Sony, Microsoft actually showed off the new Xbox One at its press event. Some joked on Twitter that it looks like a VCR. You can already pre-order the brand new Microsoft Xbox One from popular British retailer Zavvi for a whopping £399.99. Which is more than thrice what you'd pay for the entry level Xbox 360. Check out the links for all the specs and stats.
Finally, researchers in Germany have set a world record by transmitting 40 gigabits per second over a one kilometre wireless link. The technology, dubbed Millilink, is the same speed as the fastest commercial fibre optic links, and could represent a major breakthrough for carrier backbones, broadband Internet access in rural areas, and ultra-fast last mile access for customers who haven't had fibre rolled out in their area. So you have some idea of the scale of this accomplishment, the most advanced Wi-Fi technology, 802.11ad (WiGig) manages around 7Gbps over a distance of a few metres. 802.11ac can theoretically be used over longer ranges, but even with 8-antennae MIMO it maxes out at around 7Gbps. To achieve 40Gbps (a transfer speed of around 5GB/sec, or a Blu-ray disc in five seconds), the German researchers use a massive, 80GHz block of wireless spectrum between 200 and 280GHz. In comparison, your Wi-Fi router at home probably uses just 20MHz in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz range.