David Mitlyng for Xairos
The Dawn of Time (Synchronization)
The need for accurate clocks goes back to the days of the ancient mariner.
But accurate synchronization between many clocks is a recent necessity.
Digital networks rely on precisely synchronized nodes to efficiently route digital bits, like traffic through a congested intersection.
This wasn’t necessary for early communication networks.
Then came synchronous optical networking (SONET) and other network protocols in the 1980s.
They required synchronization using time distribution tied to a Primary Reference Clock (PRC).
Fortunately there was a clock available from GPS, which conveniently opened up for civilian use at the time.
Today’s networks have only gotten more complicated, requiring an alphabet soup of standards and protocols to achieve more accurate and resilient timing.
But GPS still remains the accidental reference clock.
Last Week's Theme: Turning a Supertanker Requires a Tug Boat
- Continuing work on the the quantum clock synchronization (QCS) demonstration system.
- Featured in a KingsCrowd interview: "Most people don’t realize that the Global Positioning System (GPS) does much more than provide location services via satellite. GPS also serves as a highly specific timekeeper that can track each billionth of a second across the planet. But experts across industries are raising a red flag that the GPS system is susceptible to collapse, which could have catastrophic global consequences."
- Follow up from three conferences with potential partners and customers:
- Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems with timing and synchronization hardware providers that are potential partners.
- IQT San Diego with quantum hardware partners.
- Commercialising Quantum focused on the business side of quantum technology.
- New IP under development.
- Looking to further expand the team and add Quantum and Timing experts to the Advisory Board. Announcements coming soon.
- Evaluating new business opportunities.
- China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs Li Song issued a warning to the US against "attempts to dominate outer space," referring to the US ban on anti-satellite missiles.
- Following Samsung’s use of quantum random number generation (QRNG) chips in their Galaxy Quantum 3 cell phones, China Telecom is offering a smartphone “with a quantum-secured encryption module and purpose-built SIM card that can encrypt and decipher voice calls on the phone using the quantum key distribution”.
- Western countries, including Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, met in Washington DC last week around “building a quantum technology alliance of democracies – notably excluding China from a key global forum on this critical area of research.”
- Funding for quantum computing companies is accelerating, according to Crunchbase. “Last year, VC-backed quantum startups saw a record of over $823 million come into the sector. That’s a greater than 70 percent increase from 2020. That’s also a significant uptick from previous years when funding struggled to hit $200 million.”
- Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force, states that “lesson from the Ukraine war is the resiliency provided by large proliferated constellations.”
- Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA
- Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA
- Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY
- Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY
- Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah
- Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA
- ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO
- IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO
- Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA
- International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK
The economic value of GPS was highlighted at a Geospatial World Forum panel last week.
"In 2021, GNSS & EO downstream market generated 200 billion euros in revenues and are set to reach almost half a trillion over the next decade," according to Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director at EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA).
"Just in the US alone, GPS is approaching $1T in terms of economic impact and is doubling every 2-3 years. But it is a single point of failure," agreed Gillian Smith, Vice President of Marketing at NextNav.
Separate reports estimate that a GPS outage would cost the US economy $1B a day, and the UK economy over 1B GBP per day.
And even though GPS is so embedded in our modern world, there are drawbacks.
Recent news that Russian fighter pilots are using GPS receivers explains why some within the military are reluctant to give better performance to commercial devices.
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