Research Picks – May 2017

Low memory protocol for IoT devices

Researchers in Slovenia have taken a close look at the problem of “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices that have only a limited amount of computer memory but need to be able to communicate sufficient information nevertheless. Their work has resulted in a novel communication protocol for such devices with a low memory footprint. The new protocol, dubbed extensible mark-up connectivity (XMC), is designed for the transmission of messages between an embedded device and a remote system and works in conjunction with their new language extensible mark-up device descriptor (XMDD) to allow for flexibility and independence. Importantly, it can be implemented with a low-cost upgrade to equipment and offer a multitude of advantages, including speed and the aforementioned flexibility.

Vinkovic, S. and OjsterÅ¡ek, M. (2017) ‘The internet of things communication protocol for devices with low memory footprint‘, Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp.271-281.
New music business

Technology has outpaced the music industry in how consumers collect and listen to music, old and new. Ever since the first mp3 was downloaded via a file sharing system and played on the earliest mp3 players, the industry has been running scared and is only just catching up with the way in which consumers want to hear music. Researchers in Indonesia point out that lots of models have emerged as technology has evolved. On-demand music subscriptions, advertising driven streaming and much more. These are not necessarily operated by the traditional companies within the music industry and have in some instances emerged in parallel with the technology and in the internet tools rather than music publishing and marketing of physical discs carrying music, such as vinyl records and CDs. The team has looked at the way in which “actors” that deliver music are networked, whether from the traditional side of the industry or the tech-oriented areas.

Dellyana, D., Simatupang, T.M. and Dhewanto, W. (2017) ‘Business model types associated with network structure changes in the music industry‘, Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.112-129.
Network on a chip

A new tool for high-level exploration of 3D network on a chip (NoC) devices has been developed by a team in China. NoC devices can outperform current mainstream communications “bus” architectures but the conventional two-dimensional format has limitations compared to the emerging three-dimensional approach. The new tool will facilitate the design of the 3D devices in the field of NoCs and help avoid some of the putative bottlenecks, such as wiring, that will stymie efforts as these systems evolve. The team says their tool can explore more options than current tools as well as evaluating fabrication costs, network throughput, and power consumption, so that more effective and efficient devices emerge from the design process.

Wu, J., Xie D. and Tang, L. (2017) ‘A high-level exploration tool for three-dimensional network-on-chip‘, Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.164-178.
Privacy settings

The easy accessibility of information on online social networks (OSN) has boosted the significance of ‘privacy settings’ as a frontline of defence against information misuse. Of course, there is no privacy setting to protect one against the owners of any such service other than the company’s moral stance on hosting and accessing the data and information you share with it voluntarily. A model is reported by US researchers that sits at the intersection of protection motivation theory (PMT), social exchange theory (SET), and privacy risk research. The model allows the team to examine behaviour through both the use of privacy settings (adaptive/desirable behaviour) and the non-use of privacy settings (measuring maladaptive coping response). “The results of this study suggest, that to reduce users perceived privacy risk (and thus assuage users’ hesitation of using the site), trust is very important,” the team reports. “Thus, online social networking [providers] should act in good faith to avoid backlash from their users and they should not make changes that will negatively affect their users.”

Stern, T. and Kumar, N. (2017) ‘Examining privacy settings on online social networks: a protection motivation perspective‘, Int. J. Electronic Business, Vol. 13, Nos. 2/3, pp.244-272

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.