Mobile Communications - Quo Vadis?

Talk by Russell Haines
September 9th 2009

Russell J. Haines is the Chief Standardisation Officer and Principle Research Engineer for Toshiba's European Telecommunications Research Laboratory in Bristol. Russel holds a PhD and a first-class BEng(Hons) degree from the University of Bristol. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Eur Ing, a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the IET and ACM. He has more than twenty-five patents and numerous journal and conference papers to his name. He is an active member of the IET Bristol Local Network, currently Vice-Chair and Schools Liaison Officer, and also mentors and supports colleagues to Chartered Engineer and Senior Member of the IEEE status.

In his talk Russell showed that historically wireless communications were the norm. Such wireless systems were initially rather primitive consisting of foot messengers, semaphore, smoke signals and the like. With the event of telegraph and telephony wires became the norm for a period of time but wireless has now again become a prime means of telecommunications around the world with cellular mobile telephones and WLAN Computing.

The first mobile wireless telephone system to emerge was in St. Lewis. This was a city wide car to car system using a single frequency and single base station. The contention between users was high and before long this system migrated to a multi- cell multi-frequency system to reduce contention and increase user satisfaction. From this start mobile telephony has been a fast moving technology with modulation techniques, network access protocols and cell size evolving to provide better use of bandwidth, availability and increased functionality. In parallel the computer industry has developed WLAN ( WIFI) as a means to support mobile computing and internet usage via laptop, notebook and palm computers.

At the current time mobile computing and telephony are coalescing to provide Martini services ( Any time, Any Place, Any Where).and the "mobile phone" terminal is now capable of a wide range of applications covering business and leisure applications. Such applications include Telephony, Messaging, Internet Browsing & Email, Dictaphone, Digital Camera ( Still & Movie), Game Station and Music Player.

Over the next 2 years additional applications are expected to be introduced and are likely to include Mobile TV , E-book download/viewer, Health Monitoring by radio, Location ( personal or pet) using onboard GPS, Office Applications Terminal with computing being carried out by a remote server (s) so reducing on board programme/data storage and power requirements.

To enable such developments the technologies will continue to develop. Such technologies will include:
  • Further reduction in cell size ( Femto Cells) to allow even better use of bandwidth.
  • Improved Base Station efficiency
  • Novel ways of charging phones
  • Integration of GPS with Video and Web access to enable "Tag and Click" which will enable the mobile phone to provide information and services specifically relevant to the immediate locality. ( Local Advertising , mapping ect)
  • Pull out displays
  • Projector / Holographic Displays
  • Gesture Interfaces
  • Speech recognition
  • Micro Payments Protocols.

In the more distant future we can expect to see:-
  • More standardised communications technologies with less regional variations
  • Frequency deregulation and the better use of under /unused frequencies
  • Reconfigurable phones with extended hardware life, the functionality being kept up to date by means of software upgrades. Such phones could be dynamically configured to meet local network variations.
  • Evolution programming such that only the software modules required to meet a specific users functionality requirements are resident on the phone. Other functionality would not be stored on the phone in order to provide quicker more user friendly operation. Additional applications could be downloaded from the network when required.

The meeting closed with a vote of thanks proposed by John Coneybeare.

Julian Todman

Henry Ford

A Talk by Derek Fey

Derek, a member of RPEC, graduated from Southampton University and immediately joined EMI, Feltham, where he worked on a number of missile system projects before moving on to Pye's. When Pye's got themselves into severe financial difficulties he applied to BAC and took up a post in Bristol in 1966. He worked at BAC/BAe for 23 years as a Design Engineer in the Guided Weapons part of the company. During the period he worked on autopilots, control systems, aircraft systems, wrote software and designed installations. When the cold war ended his project was run down and he left to become a freelance Auditor for Quality systems to ISO 9000. He finally retired completely in 2000. His wife Joyce, a keen supporter of RPEC, assisted Derek with the presentation. Joyce has a Chemistry Degree from Southampton and did research for BP who employed only 12 basic research scientists for their whole empire. She has Patents for the work she did to find oil which could withstand the very high temperatures used in the then new engines being built for Concorde.

Derek has visited the Ford complex in Detroit twice and on his latter visit was struck by how negative the attitude to Ford was in the UK. His illustrated presentation will provide a personal (and more positive?) view of Ford from the perspective of one who has a large number of relatives (30 approx) living in the Detroit area.

Henry Ford, the son of a farmer, was born in Greenfield, Michigan on 30th July, 1863. Having worked at a number of jobs previously he joined the Edison Illuminating Company in 1891 in Detroit to work and became the chief engineer. His spare time was spent building a car in his garden shed. His first car was "Thin Lizzie" mounted on bicycle wheels and lacking both reverse gear and brakes.

Ford had married Clara Ala Bryant (c. 1865-1950) in the year 1888 when he supported himself by farming and running a sawmill. They now had a single child: Edsel Bryant Ford (1893-1943).

After starting a car manufacturing company that ended in failure and one which he abandoned (this became the Cadillac Car Company), in 1903 he founded the Ford Motor Company which started production of cars. They sold well and by 1907 the profits exceeded a million dollars and in 1909 Henry decided to manufacture only one type of car - the Model T. By 1918 half of all the cars in the USA were Model T's. Model T Ford

Henry Ford never claimed to have invented the motor car but he started the assembly line and mass production of motor cars. Initially it took 14 hours to assemble a Model T car. By improving his mass production methods, Ford reduced this to 1 hour 33 minutes. Between 1908 and 1916 the selling price of the Model T fell from $1,000 to $360. He paid his workers $5 a day when the going rate was less than half that; so that they could afford to buy his cars.

"The Flivver King" a book written by Upton Sinclair denigrated Ford and used the afterwards much repeated phrase "You can have a car of any colour as long as it is black" The adjacent picture disproves this - though whether the colour is as hard wearing as the original black may be questioned.

Ford kept to the Model T for too long - Chevrolet overtook Ford supplying more cars Finally Edsel who advocated new stiles was allowed to design the new bodies. Edsel became the president of the company and also ran the Aircraft Works at Willow Run.

20 millionth Car Henry driving the 20 millionth car out of the Works.Ford had a stroke in 1938 and retired but returned to run the company after his son, Edsel Ford, died in 1943. Although initially an opponent of the USA becoming involved in the Second World War, after Pearl Harbour, Ford turned over his vast production resources to his country. For example, the Ford plant at Willow Run produced over 8,000 Liberator bombers during the war. Henry Ford died on 7th April, 1947.

One of Henry Fords ambitions was to highlight the progressive peacetime history of America, industrial, scientific and literary. He felt that History in America was alwaya equated to War of Independance and the American Civil War. While he did not say "History is Bunk" he did imply that the history as taught in the schools was such. To achieve his ambition he estableshed The Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum. The Greenfield Museum is the largest outdoor museum in USA covering 90 acres of a 240 acre site and consists of the original buildings and their contents used by outstanding Americans and ones of general interest. The house that he was born in did not have as long a distance to travel as say the Florida Laboratory of Thomas Edison.

Derek Fey presented a selection of slides from the Greenwich Village ably assisted by his wife Joyce though focusing did present some problems.
Greenfield Village Thomas Edison was a great friend of Henry Ford's, His statue is the only one in the village, his Fort Meyers Laboratory from Florida is here - Henry and Thomas used to escape in winter from the cold of Michigan to pursue their work in the warmth of Florida. However Henry was not content only to have this one laboratory - he transferred many of Edison's buildings - The Edison Menlo Park Compound, The Edison West Orange Laboratory, The Edison Laboratory, The Edison Homestead and his first work place as an engineer - The Edison Illuminating Company. A locomotive named Edison is also on site.

Cotswold Cottage In the Henry Ford Museum is a test tube that contains the last breath breathed by Thomas on his deathbed. The museum contains several relatively morbid exhibits Such as the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was sitting when shot and the limousine in which JFK was assassinated.

Among the slides shown were:- The Wright Brother Bicycle Shop, The Heinz House, The Robert Frost House, A Cotswold Cottage and The Clock from Sir John Bennetts Jewellery Shop in London.

For decades, Sir John Bennett's shop - with its figures of mythological giants Gog and Magog - has intrigued and enthralled Greenfield Village's visitors. Prior to 1930, the jewellery and clock shop was a popular presence in the City of London, where its animated giants chimed the quarter hours above the busy thoroughfare of Cheapside.

Following the visit to Geenfield Village Derek showed a map and picture of Edsels and Eleanors House at Grosse Pointe by the shores of Lake Clare. This is where Edsel's wife Eleanor died in 1975 bequething it to the Nation. The house has a fine collection of original antiques and art, and beautiful lakefront grounds. It is open to the public with the proceeds going to charity.
Henry Fords House of Birth
(Click to see more)

Henry Ford's Greenfield Village

Michael Clinch gave the vote of thanks to Derek for the interesting talk and the audience showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

I personally was taken right back to my first meeting with Robert Lee Frost the poet, when the slide of his house was shown. This occured by his graveside in Old Bennington, Virginia, where with 30 odd American companions Glenys and I finished a case of champagne toasting the poet. ( It is too long a story of how our tour acquired the case, but our hotels and restaurants insisted on allowing their own drinks only, so we visited the poet and paid our respects in a proper manner) In consequence I read some of the poets works and found he echoed thoughts, that occur when you have no need to think, and when your mind wanders aimlessly creating some really great thoughts (or not as the case may be). His gravestone carries the following quote at his request:
"I had a lover's quarrel with the world".

As Derek was very impressed by the trees in Michigan I have selected the following from a poem by Frost.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Marcus Palmén