Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nutanix appoints Ben Gibson as CMO

Nutanix has appointed Ben Gibson as Chief Marketing Officer. Most recently, he was Chief Marketing Officer at F5 Networks, and before that, he served as Chief Marketing Officer at Veritas, where he led the company’s rebranding efforts following a spin-off from Symantec. Prior to Veritas, Ben spent five years as Chief Marketing Officer at Aruba Networks.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric delivers inter-metro connectivity between parties

Equinix announced the direct physical and virtual connection of its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers around the world, enabling customers to connect on demand to any other customer from any Equinix location.

The new inter-metro connectivity will be delivered through the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric), which was previously called the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX). The idea is to use the SDN capabilities in the exchange to enable any customer to dynamically connect its own infrastructure across Equinix locations or connect to any other customer on the Equinix global platform, regardless of location.

Equinix said these new capabilities enable any customer to more efficiently interconnect and request connections to any of the more than 1,000 participants including some of the world's largest enterprises, cloud service providers (Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud) and SaaS providers (including Salesforce, SAP and ServiceNow, among others).

The new ECX Fabric capabilities are immediately available in all ECX locations in North America and the EMEA region, including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, New York, Paris, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Zurich.

In Q4 2017 and early 2018, ECX Fabric is rolling out to seven new metros in the Americas and EMEA regions (Denver, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Helsinki, Miami, Milan and Munich). Equinix will extend connectivity to São Paulo within the Americas region, and between APAC region ECX Fabric metro locations (Hong Kong, Melbourne, Osaka, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo), in 2018.

John Nishimoto, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, Windstream, stated: "The integration of the Equinix global platform expands Windstream's addressable footprint, increasing the availability of high-transport solutions—including our recently launched Software Defined Network Orchestrated Waves (SDNow)—for our customers. Equinix has a robust aggregation of enterprise businesses, cloud service providers and traditional network operators, all of whom are customers of Windstream's Cloud & Connectivity business unit. We look forward to participating in this fully integrated global platform."

Separately, Equinix announced the expansion of its Internet Exchange into nine new metros in the EMEA and Americas regions in Q4 2017 and early 2018, including Amsterdam, Denver, Dublin, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Manchester, Milan and Stockholm.

In addition, Equinix announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other conditions, €1.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of its senior notes due 2028.

Bell Canada implements Cisco Segment Routing in next-gen core

Bell Canada has implemented Cisco Segment Routing in its next-generation core network. Specifically, Bell recently upgraded the‎ first four IP core routers to support seamless connection between network data centers and its Smart Core network. The deployment is part of Bell's ‘Network 3.0’ transformation plan.

Cisco Segment Routing delivers network automation and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities to simplify network operations, increase network robustness, optimize network utilization and offer innovative network services.

Cisco predicts Internet traffic per month per user in Canada will be up to 142.6 GB in 2020, from 63.3 GB in 2016 – with 74% of Internet traffic being video.

“Segment routing is a significant step forward on our mission to transform the way our network interacts with our people, processes and technology at Bell,” said Stephen Howe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Bell Canada. “As our Network 3.0 transformation progresses, and with segment routing now in place, we now have the foundation to enable greater network reliability, as well as enhanced speed and agility from Bell in responding to clients’ needs. Using new IP routing protocols, we can improve the reliability and performance of our Smart Core network, including our network data centers, helping us to better manage overall network operations and offer our customers a superior service experience.”


Broadcom nominates 11 directors for Qualcomm's Board

Broadcom notified Qualcomm of its intention to nominate a slate of 11 individuals for election to Qualcomm's Board of Directors and to propose certain other matters for the consideration of Qualcomm stockholders at Qualcomm's 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.  The nominated directors are:

  • Samih Elhage, former President of the Mobile Networks Business Group of Nokia Corporation. Previously held the role of Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Nokia Siemens Networks and Nokia Networks, subsidiaries of Nokia. Also served on the Boards of Alcatel-Lucent Corporation, Alcatel Shanghai Bell, and Quickplay Media Inc.
  • Raul J. Fernandez, Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and former Chairman and CEO of ObjectVideo, Inc. Also served as CEO of Dimension Data North America and as Chairman, CEO and President of Proxicom, Inc. Serves on the Boards of AtSite, Inc. and Perfect Sense, Inc., and previously served as a Director of Kate Spade & Company.
  • Michael S. Geltzeiler, consultant for Temasek Holdings. Previously served as Senior Vice President and CFO of ADT Corporation and before that, CFO and Group Executive Vice President at NYSE Euronext. 
  • Stephen J. Girsky, Managing Partner of VectoIQ, an independent advisory firm. Previously served in a number of capacities at General Motors, including Vice Chairman. Serves on the Boards of United States Steel Corporation, Brookfield Business Partners, Drive.ai, and Valens Semiconductor Ltd. Previously served as a Director of GM following its emergence from bankruptcy and as Lead Independent Director of Dana Holdings Corp.
  • David G. Golden, Managing Partner at Revolution Ventures. Previously spent 18 years at J.P. Morgan, including five years as Vice Chairman and Director of technology, media and telecommunications investment banking. Serves on the Boards of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. and Blackbaud, Inc. Previously served as a Director of Everyday Health, Inc. and Barnes & Noble, Inc. 
  • Veronica M. Hagen, retired President and CEO of Polymer Group, Inc. (later renamed AVINTIV Specialty Materials Inc). Also served as President and CEO of Sappi Fine Paper and held multiple positions at Alcoa, including Vice President and Chief Customer Officer and business unit president of Alcoa Engineered Products. Serves on the Boards of Newmont Mining Corporation, the Southern Company, and American Water Works Company, Inc. Previously served as a Director of AVINTIV, Jacuzzi Brands, Inc., and Covanta.
  • Julie A. Hill, owner of The Hill Company. Serves on the Board of Anthem, Inc. and was a Director of WellPoint Health Networks Inc. prior to its merger with Anthem. Has been a trustee of the Lord Abbett Family of Mutual Funds since 2004 and previously served as a Director of Lend Lease, Ltd., Resources Connection, Inc., and Holcim US. 
  • John H. Kispert, Managing Partner of Black Diamond Ventures. Previously served as President and CEO and a Director of Spansion, Inc. through its merger with Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. Serves on the Boards of Gigamon Inc. and Barracuda Networks, Inc. Previously served as a Director of Cypress, TriNet Group, Inc., and Extreme Networks, Inc., where he was Chairman. 
  • Gregorio Reyes, former Director and Chairman of the Boards of Dialog Semiconductor plc and LSI Corporation, and former Director of Seagate Technologies Public Limited Company. Previously was a co-founder and Chairman of Sunward Technologies Inc., Chairman and CEO of American Semiconductor Equipment Technologies, and President and CEO of National Micronetics. Held positions at National Semiconductor, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Eaton.
  • Thomas S. Volpe, Managing Member of Volpe Investments LLC. Previously CEO of Dubai Group LLC, a diversified investment firm based in the United Arab Emirates, and before that, served as Chairman of Prudential Volpe Technology Group. Served on the Boards of Linear Technology Corporation and EFG-Hermes Holding Company.
  • Harry L. You, President, CFO and Director of GTY Technology Holdings Inc. Previously served as Executive Vice President in the Office of the Chairman of EMC Corporation. Served as CEO of BearingPoint Inc., Executive Vice President and CFO of Oracle Corporation and CFO of Accenture Ltd. Previously served as a Director of Korn/Ferry International.

Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom, stated: "We have repeatedly attempted to engage with Qualcomm, and despite stockholder and customer support for the transaction, Qualcomm has ignored those opportunities. The nominations give Qualcomm stockholders an opportunity to voice their disappointment with Qualcomm's directors and their refusal to engage in discussions with us. In light of the significant value our proposal provides for Qualcomm stockholders, we believe Qualcomm stockholders would be better served by new independent, highly qualified nominees who are committed to maximizing value and acting in the best interests of Qualcomm stockholders."


Broadcom bids $130 billion to acquire Qualcomm

In what could become the largest tech merger to date, Broadcom announced a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Qualcomm for $70.00 per share in cash and stock, making the offer worth $130 billion in total, a 28% premium over the closing price of Qualcomm common stock on November 2, 2017

Broadcom cites the following benefits of a merged company:

  • Creates a Leading Diversified Communications Semiconductor Company: Qualcomm's cellular business is highly complementary to Broadcom's portfolio, and the combination will create a strong, global company with an impressive portfolio of technologies and products.
  • Accelerates Innovation to Deliver More Advanced Semiconductor Solutions to Global Customers: As a result of enhanced scale, reach and financial flexibility, the combined company will benefit from the ability to accelerate innovation and deliver more advanced semiconductor solutions to its broad global customer base.
  • Compelling Financial Benefits: The combined company will have an enhanced financial profile, benefiting from Broadcom's proven operating model with industry-leading margins. The combined Broadcom and Qualcomm, including NXP, will have pro forma fiscal 2017 revenues of approximately $51 billion and pro forma 2017 EBITDA of approximately $23 billion, including synergies. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Broadcom's Non-GAAP EPS in the first full year after close.

"Broadcom's proposal is compelling for stockholders and stakeholders in both companies. Our proposal provides Qualcomm stockhold

Huawei and China Mobile develop control plane protocol for Broadband Network Gateways

Huawei and the China Mobile Research Institute have developed a Control Plane and User Plane Separated Protocol (CUSP) for cloud-based Broadband Network Gateways (BNGs).

The companies said their CUSP draft defines protocol requirements for information delivery, reliability, and security mechanisms needed for communication between the control and user planes in cloud-based BNG architecture with separated control and user planes.

The protocol has been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for consideration as a standard.

"The CU-separated BNG architecture allows network resource pooling to improve resource utilization and enables centralized virtual control plane to accelerate service efficiency and shorten new service provisioning time,” said Hu Shujun, an expert at the China Mobile Research Institute. “These are the business values brought by the architecture. The standards proposal submitted at the meeting was well received by industry experts, and the interface protocol and information model for interaction between the control and user planes will drive the new architecture to mature and become applicable. On the way to standardization of this architecture, we are open to new thoughts and welcome conversations with more industry experts to accelerate this process."

  • In March 2017, Huawei worked with the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) to complete the industry's first function and performance tests on broadband access for one million home subscribers. 
  • In June, Huawei and China Mobile Shaanxi successfully carried out the world's first commercial trial of the CU-separated BNG architecture on a live network.

Ericsson to open 5G Life Campus in Hasselt, Belgium.

Ericsson will open a 5G innovation center in Hasselt, Belgium at Corda Campus, a technology park.

The "5G Life Campus" will be fully connected to Ericsson’s R&D center in Aachen, Germany, where 5G development and international pilot projects are executed.

The new Belgian facility will o provide industry players with a test environment to develop and trial new applications using the latest technologies for the next generation of mobility, potentially years ahead of the expected commercial launch of 5G in Belgium.

Raf Degens, Director of Corda Campus, says: “Corda Campus is a high technology campus, where more than 200 innovative companies work on new products and services every day. With Ericsson, this 5G Life Campus will provide industries a way to prepare for the future and grow faster.”

Silver Peak hits SD-WAN milestone: 600 customers

Silver Peak announced a milestone for SD-WAN - it now has over 600 production customer deployments for its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution.

Silver Peak's EdgeConnect architecture eliminates the need for conventional branch routers. The platform consolidates network functions including SD-WAN, routing, WAN optimization and security into a single, centrally orchestrated application-driven SD-WAN solution.

Example customers include A. Zahner Company, Centurion Medical Products, CorTrust Bank, EMC Insurance, Halff Associates, Inc., IMMI, Produce World and Simpson Strong-Tie.



Samsung cranks out 512-GB Flash for mobiles

Samsung has begun production of the first 512-gigabyte (GB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) for next-generation mobile devices. A smartphone with 512GB of flash would be capable of storing approximately 130 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) video clips of a 10-minute duration.

The new devices stack together eight 64-layer 512Gb V-NAND chips and a controller chip.

Samsung said its new 512GB UFS doubles the density of its previous 48-layer V-NAND-based 256GB eUFS, in the same amount of space as the 256GB package.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

ARRIS completes acquisition of Ruckus Wireless

ARRIS completed its previously-announced acquisition of the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business from Broadcom.

When the deal was first announced in February 2017 the announced price was $800 million in cash, plus the additional cost of unvested employee stock awards, following the closing of Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade.

Ruckus Networks will operate as a dedicated business under Enterprise Networks. Its target vertical markets span hospitality, education, government, service providers, multi-dwelling / tenant units, sports / entertainment venues, and transportation centers. ARRIS said another opportunity for Ruckus is the small-cell CBRS LTE market.

Dan Rabinovitsj—previously COO of Ruckus Wireless—will lead a new ARRIS Enterprise Networks business segment.

The business will focus on the delivery of innovative, high-performance wireless and wired network infrastructure, with a robust channel-led sales strategy.

"This combination underscores our shared vision of achieving market leadership across wireless and wired networks in close partnership with our valued customers and channel partners," said Dan Rabinovitsj, President of ARRIS Enterprise Networks. "We're very excited about the collaboration opportunities across our product portfolios to enable connectivity from the office to the home and to all the places in between. Joining ARRIS means we still do what Ruckus does best, but on a larger, global scale. I'm excited to lead the Ruckus Networks team into our next stage of growth and innovation."

"I'm proud to welcome the 1,700 talented Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch Business employees into the ARRIS family," said Bruce McClelland, ARRIS CEO. "It's an important milestone, not only for ARRIS but for our industries. Ruckus' unmatched expertise in wireless and wired networking perfectly complements our growth strategy of driving towards a constantly connected, mobile future. The acquisition brings diversification to our portfolio, building on our strength in networking and helping us to serve new verticals. Ultimately, our combined portfolios and scale will help our customers and partners deliver a smart, simple connected world for billions of people."

Broadcom completes Brocade acquisition - one year since bid


Broadcom completed its acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems. Brocade will operate as an indirect subsidiary of Broadcom and will be led by Jack Rondoni as General Manager. Previously, Rondoni served as Senior Vice President of Storage Networking at Brocade, having joined the company in 2006. "We are pleased to complete this transaction, which strengthens Broadcom's position as a leading provider of enterprise storage and networking solutions...







ARRIS to Acquire Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch Business for $800M from Brocade

ARRIS agreed to acquire Brocade Communication Systems' Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business for $800 million in cash, plus the additional cost of unvested employee stock awards, following the closing of Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade.

ARRIS expects the acquisition to be accretive to its Non-GAAP earnings per share in the first 12 months. The deal is contingent on Broadcom closing its acquisition of Brocade, previously announced on November 2, 2016 and approved by Brocade shareholders on January 26, 2017. Broadcom presently expects to close the Brocade acquisition in its third fiscal quarter ending July 30, 2017.

Brocade to Acquire Ruckus Wireless for $1.5 Billion


Brocade agreed to acquire Ruckus Wireless in a deal valued at approximately $1.5 billion, consisting of $6.45 in cash and 0.75 shares of Brocade common stock for each share of Ruckus common stock. Ruckus' wireless products add to Brocade's enterprise portfolio and will also significantly strengthen Brocade's strategic presence in the broader service provider space. Ruckus has over $370 million in annual revenue and over 1,000 employees w

MEF 3.0 Certification - new subscription model



Want to learn more about the new subscription model for MEF 3.0 certification?

In this video, Bob Mandeville, President & Founder of Iometrix, talks about all of the changes for certification of MEF 3.0 products and services.

Iometrix has developed a radically different certification test platform for MEF 3.0. The certification model undergoes profound changes and the way that companies can access certification also undergoes profound changes.

See video: https://youtu.be/Ac5nsoFXWs0


NTT DOCOMO licenses its IP to Samsung

NTT DOCOMO has granted a patent license to Samsung Electronics Co. covering DOCOMO's standard-essential patents. Samsung will pay an undisclosed licensing fee to DOCOMO.

DOCOMO confirmed that it has now granted standard-essential patent licenses to more than 30 companies. The company said its R&D and patent licensing covers mobile-network and service technologies for systems based on the W-CDMA, LTE, LTE-Advanced and to-be-standardized 5G standards.

MEF 3.0 - Transformational Global Services Framework

by James E. Carroll

MEF, which is the industry organisation that first brought common service definitions to Carrier Ethernet, introduced its “Transformational Global Services Framework for “defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks.”

MEF 3.0 is essentially an umbrella term encompassing all the organisation’s previous and promoting its long-term vision of the “The Third Network” -- the first network being the Internet, the second network being business-class Carrier Ethernet services. The goal is to enable the dynamic applications of the digital economy to run seamlessly over multivendor, multicarrier networks.  MEF brings its existing body of work with Carrier Ethernet and its latest work in LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs to enable on-demand, cloud-centric experience.  Think of it as SDN+NFV operating in multicarrier domains according to a common set of specifications.

Certainly, the acronyms are a mouthful. Over the years, there have been doubters as well as to whether the work of the MEF was essential for the advancement of networking technology, or whether it was just another industry forum backed by a handful of industry players. With this latest MEF 3.0 iteration, the sweet spot of software-defined wide-area services is in sight – the automated, orchestration of services across multi-provider networks.

What is included in MEF 3.0

There are four spokes to the MEF 3.0 wheel
       
  • Standardized, Orchestrated Services - including Carrier Ethernet, wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, Security-as-a-Service, and other virtualized services that will be orchestrated over programmable networks using LSO APIs. MEF 3.0 CE R1 is the first release within the MEF 3.0 framework, while work on standardizing orchestration-ready wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, and security services currently is progressing within MEF.
  •         Open LSO APIs - MEF’s LSO Reference Architecture guides the agile development of standardized LSO APIs that enable orchestration of MEF 3.0 services across multiple providers and over multiple network technology domains (e.g., Packet WAN, Optical Transport, SD-WAN, 5G, etc.). MEF recently announced the first releases of two LSO SDKs (software development kits) that feature inter-provider APIs for address validation, serviceability, and ordering and an intra-provider API for network resource provisioning. The LSO APIs included in these SDKs are available for experimental use by MEF members and associated MEF programs.
  •         Service and Technology Certifications. MEF is increasing the agility of its popular certification programs to accelerate availability and adoption of MEF 3.0 certified services and technologies. Iometrix continues as MEF’s testing partner, but the certification process is now being virtualized and taken into the cloud. A subscription model will be used for that vendors and carriers will be able to certify that their services and technologies comply with the latest MEF 3.0 standards. This should speed up the certification process considerably from days to minutes.
  •         Expanded Community Collaboration. MEF is working with service and technology providers, open source projects, standards associations, and enterprises to realize a shared vision of dynamic services orchestrated across automated networks. MEF has created a new compute, storage, and networking platform – MEFnet – that enables development, testing, integration, and showcasing of prototype MEF 3.0 implementations using open source and commercial products. MEFnet projects will help accelerate the understanding and adoption of MEF 3.0, as well as provide immediate feedback for standards development within MEF.

Just last month, MEF announced a collaboration with The Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).  Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), a Linux Foundation to jointly facilitate development of an LSO Framework and the creation of standardized open LSO APIs. This too aims to automate the “entire lifecycle” for services orchestrated across multiple provider networks and multiple network technology domains.

The accolades from MEF members are pouring in. In a keynote address at the MEF17 event in Orlando, Kevin O’Toole, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Comcast Business, described MEF 3.0 as a “pivotal moment for carriers - a generational leap”. He predicts that this common orchestration framework will reach maturity right at the time when big bandwidth pipes are reaching deep into the last mile. Comcast sees “transactional gigabit” connections being ubiquitous – meaning not only lots of bandwidth but smart bandwidth with the ability to transact with third-party networking services. He foresees rapid price compression matched with powerful new services.
A big carrier like Comcast, which soon will have DOCSIS 3.1 running in all its major U.S. market, certainly has sway to influence the market.  If they like MEF 3.0, that’s certainly a good omen.

Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon, said MEF 3.0 “covers the critical areas needed for the next generation of innovation in SDN/NFV based services,” and expressed confidence that this standardization of the orchestration of software-based services will help it launch new services with the visibility and control demanded by developers. The same type of positive feedback was also heard from CenturyLink, Windstream, GBI and Telecom Italia Sparkle.

Lots more work and convincing needs to happen

MEF has already standardized the orchestration of static Carrier Ethernet 2.0 services.  It is also ready to go with MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet services. However, we are still in the early stages for the orchestration of dynamic wavelength services. At MEF17, several proof-of-concept demos from optical transport equipment vendors and their service provider partners are on display. It’s good progress, but there is a significant distance between the proof-of-concept stage and mature carrier service. The same could be said for orchestrating dynamic IP services over the WAN – we’re not yet at the stage of standardized deployments. With SD-WAN services, the MEF has published common definitions, but again, it is everyone for themselves when it comes to orchestrating SD-WAN services with multicarrier interoperability. Eventually, MEF would like to add dynamic security services to its list of standardized capabilities.

Bear in mind that the ambition of this MEF 3.0 is all encompassing – a global framework. However, the MEF as an organization has been driven by Tier One operators in the U.S., including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Charter, Windstream, Level 3, and CenturyLink. The notable international operators backing MEF include Colt, PCCW, PLDT, Orange, and Telecom Italia Sparkle. There are a handful of other carriers as members too, but this leaves out the majority of service providers, whose support is essential before we can say that MEF 3.0 has become the defacto global services framework. With Carrier Ethernet we can see a global adoption. MEF reckons there are about 150 companies – including 100 service providers – selling Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certified solutions. Together, these account for an estimated $80 billion in annual global sales of products and services. 

Now it’s time to see if the same traction can be found for MEF 3.0.


The other missing ingredient in this recipe for transformational global services is the presence of the global public cloud providers. It is one thing to orchestrated services, but to achieve that end-to-end vision there are bound to be many connections originating or termination in the hyperscale data centres of Alibaba, AWS, Fabeook, Google, or Microsoft. They will have to join the party too. 

MEF 3.0 - Looking to Expand the Community



Will MEF 3.0 help to expand the community beyond the Tier 1 Service Providers who have been the biggest backers of MEF to date?

Erin Dunne, Director of Research Service, Vertical Systems Group, comments on how the provisioning of automated, agile services presumes a deep ecosystem and common standards.

See video:  https://youtu.be/dZv7tIMoW0A


Former Intel exec Diane Bryant joins Google Cloud

Diane Bryant, former Group President at Intel, has joined Google Cloud as Chief Operating Officer. She will report to Diane Greene,

Bryant is known for her leadership Intel’s Data Center Group (DCG) as general manager and executive vice president.  Intel's DCG generated $17 billion in revenue in 2016. She also serves on the board of United Technologies.



Bitdefender attracts 30% investor at $600m valuation

Vitruvian Partners, an independent European private equity firm, has acquired an approximate 30% minority stake in Bitdefender Holding B.V..

Bitdefender, which employs 1,300 staff across nine offices, said its software is protecting 500 million users in over 150 countries. More than 40% of sales are currently generated in the U.S. Bitdefender is based in Bucharest, Romania.

Following the acquisition, Vitruvian becomes the second-largest shareholder with co-founders Mariuca and Florin Talpes continuing to hold the majority stake. A group of private investors hold a minority stake in the company.

Gemalto and DOCOMO develop multi-profile SIMs

NTT DOCOMO and Gemalto announced the world's first multi-profile SIM for use in multi-carrier collaborative services, allowing users to switch between profiles, which include data such as contact information and telephone numbers, on their smartphone or tablet in multiple countries.

DOCOMO said the new SIM will help customers planning to stay overseas long term, such as expatriates and students, to access the DOCOMO network while in Japan, but also enjoy voice and data communications services provided directly by affiliated carriers in their respective service areas overseas, thus avoiding the need to insert the SIM card of a local carrier or carry a rental device.

The multi-profile SIM draws on DOCOMO's experience in international communications services and Gemalto's telecommunications know-how. The commercial launch is expected sometime in fiscal 2018.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

NTT DoCoMo will lead in 5G

by James E. Carroll

From our 20-year archive of telecom news, we know that NTT DoCoMo announced the first 4G mobile network trial in 2003 at its R&D facilities in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.  Seven years later, full-scale LTE trials were underway across the Tokyo metropolitan region.  On December 24, 2010, NTT DOCOMO officially launched its "Xi" LTE service across Japan, delivering peak theoretical speeds of 75 Mbps from some buildings and 37 Mbps peak speeds across much of its national network. In the first 18 months after the service launch, DOCOMO already had 5 million subscribers (Aug 2012). The service has been a clear customer favourite since then. The carrier likewise was among the earliest mobile operators to introduce flat-rate data plans, to introduce VoLTE service, and to adopt LTE-Advanced technologies.

Given Japan’s early-adopter status for technological innovations in general, and DOCOMO’s deep R&D programmes, the 5G wave quite likely will begin here.  DOCOMO has previously stated its intention to roll out commercial 5G services across Japan ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. This is likely to mean a nationwide rollout of 5G, or at least major metropolitan areas across Honshu, and not just a small collection of 5G base stations in a single neighbourhood, as some other carriers will be tempted to do just to claim to be “first” in rolling out the next generation technology.
DOCOMO press machine is already ramping up with 5G announcements every month.


8K Video over 5G

Earlier in November, DOCOMO and Sharp demonstrated a 12-channel MMT (MPEG Media Transport) transmission of 8K video over 5G. The trial, which was conducted on November 1 at its DOCOMO’s Yokosuka R&D, was supported by the Japan Broadcasters Association, a big backer of 8K video encoding and MMT encoding. Each of the 12 channels required 80 Mbps. The companies reported the successful transmission of stable multi-channel 8K video with a high bit rate to multiple devices with the use of error detection and correction technology. Japan is likely to be an early adopter of 8K consumer video screens. DOCOMO’s 5G network may be a viable platform for this application.



5G for Vehicular Communications
DOCOMO is working with Toyota, Ericsson, and Intel to test 5G to vehicles in motion. Testing earlier this month at Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo demonstrated data speeds of up to 1 Gbps for 4K-resolution video communications with a vehicle travelling at 30 km/h. 

For this set-up, the moving vehicle was equipped with an Intel GOT 5G Automotive Platform terminal and a compact on-board antenna head designed for connected car trials. DOCOMO’s 5G trial environment provided coverage over the nearby Odaiba area using three Ericsson base stations and Cloud-RAN. The vehicle successfully streamed live 4K video at data speeds of up to 1 Gbps downlink/600 Mbps uplink with low latency.

The NTT Group and Toyota continue to collaborate on 5G-connected cars. We will have to see how the technology performs at higher vehicular speeds and how the network performs when thousands of connected cars in the same area try to use the network simultaneously.



5G to Connected Vehicles with Digital Signage

A further refinement of 5G-to-the-vehicle is a project underway between DOCOMO and Sony. This concept involves a 4K digital signage system fitted to the outside of the New Concept Cart developed by Sony. The idea is for the vehicle to display a concept stream of advertising as it cruises down the street.

Presumably, the content would include live streaming, otherwise, local storage could ensure high-quality video replay without requiring a 5G network. However, we can see that DOCOMO is experimenting with new concepts to leverage 5G.



Testing MediaTek’s 5G Silicon

While we await a final 5G specification, some silicon vendors are rushing pre-commercial chipsets to market. DOCOMO is working with MediaTek on one such implementation.

MediaTek’s 5G chipset claims to increase the spectral efficiency of mobile devices by up to 2.3 times compared to existing LTE technology. The device integrates DOCOMO's non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) radio access technology with MediaTek's multi-user interference cancellation (MUIC) technology, which is required to achieve NOMA.


The idea with NOMA is to multiplex signals at a base-station transmitter to leverage the increased signal processing capacity of user devices and cancel interference among multiplexed user signals. MediaTek says its MUIC technology removes interference from other users when a base station transmits a signal to a number of users simultaneously. The silicon apparently is being developed for smartphones or other portable devices as an alternative to Qualcomm or Intel 5G modems.

In covering NTT DOCOMO’s race to 5G it is important to note that collaboration with other industry players is the name of the game.  As part of a mid-to-long-term strategy outlined in May, DOCOMO, which currently serves more than 70 million mobile customers in Japan, plans to launch “exciting and unexpected services” under a company-wide project called "empower+d challenge" (empowered challenge), which will “enable customers to realize their aspirations and achieve greater affluence.”

Through the creative application of virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT technologies, DOCOMO envisions that 5G will lead to new customer experiences, lifestyles and work styles.



Since early last year, DOCOMO has been an active member of the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance, which has pushed for early 5G trial specifications across multiple spectrum bands, including bands above and below 6 GHz. Other founders of this group include KT, SK Telecom and Verizon. This work led to the inclusion of the first 3GPP 5G NR specification to be included in the upcoming Release 15 - the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.

Vendor collaboration with DOCOMO

Earlier this year, DOCOMO announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials in Japan based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications under development by 3GPP, specifically involving mid-band spectrum at 4.5 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum at 28 GHz. The trials were to be based on device prototype and base station solutions from Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson, respectively.

Working with Huawei, DOCOMO recently conducted an outdoor 5G trial for ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) using a 4.5 GHz system. The trial featured a stationary mobile terminal that received signals at distances of 0.8 to 1 km from the base station. During the trial, DOCOMO achieved an over-the-air latency of less than one millisecond together with a packet transmission success rate of more than 99.999%.  Impressive performance results!

In June, DOCOMO confirmed the addition of Nokia to it 5G ecosystem. Nokia participated in a demonstration of low-latency 4K video streaming during a 5G Tokyo Bay Summit 2017 earlier in May. More broadly, the collaboration is also known to include the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform, will commence with the key interoperability testing of multi-vendor technology using the 4.5 GHz frequency band. 

Ongoing tests of the Nokia 5G FIRST solution include the Nokia AirScale base station transmitting over a 5G radio interface to the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform. The companies plan to test end-to-end applications over the air between the base station and the device on the 4.5 GHz frequency band, which is a candidate band for 5G services in Japan. The collaboration with NTT DOCOMO will specifically involve Nokia's AirScale Active Antenna equipped with massive MIMO technology and digital beamforming, designed to provide enhanced cell range, maximised performance at the cell edge and increased spectral efficiency. The 5G FIRST platform, designed to support multi-vendor end user devices for 5G, incorporates the Nokia AirScale base station and AirFrame data centre technology.

With Samsung Electronics Co., DOCOMO has demonstrated a 5G data speed of more than 2.5Gbps with a mobile device that was in a vehicle travelling 150km/h, sufficiently fast for connectivity onboard most trains. This trial took place in November 2016 at the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Transmissions were conducted using the 28GHz high-frequency band. The development work also featured massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technologies that incorporate beamforming.

Cisco is supplying its Network Services Orchestrator to help DOCOMO carry out network device provisioning and transform its service lifecycle. DOCOMO first deployed Cisco’s network functions virtualization (NFV) system in 2016.

Another one of DOCOMO’s 5G partners is Sumitomo Electric. Together, the companies are looking to 5G to power the real-time collection and delivery of traffic information using high-definition sensors. There are currently tests underway at an outdoor course within the Yokohama Works of Sumitomo Electric. Sensors are installed along the course and in vehicles. The vehicles are equipped with DOCOMO 5G terminals that communicate with DOCOMO 5G base stations throughout the facility. Traffic information is analyzed in real time and then fed back to drivers and pedestrians. Clearly, the aim is the smart city, where data from the public roadways can be analyzed and shared in near real-time. For a mobile operator such as DOCOMO, a successful business case and trial would mean millions of 5G endpoints with the municipal, provincial and perhaps national governments as potential long-term clients of the network – a fantastic underwriting opportunity for the new infrastructure if such a deal could be struck,

From the municipal 5G business case to the personal       

A few months back, NTT DOCOMO Ventures announced an equity investment in Petametrics, a San Francisco start-up that provides “LiftIgniter”, a personalization API to deliver a wholly unique experience to every individual user impression.

LiftIgniter was founded by Indraneel Mukherjee, a former Google researcher, and a team of machine learning and math PhDs., The personalization engine is powering various NTT DOCOMO e-commerce services. The idea here is to capture data points from consumers and then perform deep analysis to uncover macro trends. With LiftIgniter, the machine learning-based personalization algorithms run 24/7, learning and reacting to each impression in real-time to predict and serve up tailored content for every user touchpoint. The company says its platform is agnostic across all content, languages and devices. While not necessarily specific to 5G, the number of endpoints envisioned by these developers appears to be of high magnitude, meaning that is could be a very potent use case for 5G-enabled IoT.




Friday, December 1, 2017

The AWS rocket continues its ascent

The annual AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas provided a big stage for the world’s biggest cloud company and maybe 40,00o of its best friends, customers, and erstwhile ecosystem partners whose business models have not yet been subsumed by the power that is Amazon.

Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon Web Services, is certainly setting high ambitions and at the same time boasting of the substantial lead the company is building over Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and especially Oracle, which still fancies itself a close competitor despite lacking the hyperscale data centers that the top three competitors are assembling worldwide.

Like many keynotes, Jassy’s three-hour presentation on Wednesday introduced a new set of marquee customers who are in the process of migrating their IT infrastructure into the AWS embrace.  Some big names include Expedia, the National Football League, and Disney, which has long been using AWS for various cloud workloads but which has now designated AWS as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider.

As for ecosystems partners, everyone wants to jump on this wagon. Amazon Marketplace network security partners highlighted during the keynote included Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Barracuda, Trend Micro, Sophos, Tenable, F5 and Imperva.  AWS also recently announced Symantec as another key partner – one who is going “all in” by moving workloads to the AWS infrastructure. But beware! AWS recently launched its own security monitoring service – just like how it is now offering a deep set of video encoding services under its own label. Will this become a recurring pattern? First, encourage a wide ecosystem but then introduce your own service?

Here’s a few of the recent AWS service launches:

Amazon Neptune – a new graph database service that spurs insights from relationships among highly connected datasets. The core of Amazon Neptune is a purpose-built, high-performance graph database engine optimized for storing billions of relationships and querying the graph with milliseconds of latency.  The service is delivered as a fully managed database and runs within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, enabling data in transit and at rest to be encrypted.

AWS Fargate – a new way to deploy containers on AWS. Fargate is like EC2 but instead of a virtual machine you get a container. Fargate uses existing ECS primitives, APIs, and AWS integrations. Fargate provides native integrations with Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon CloudWatch and load balancers.

Amazon Time Sync Service – this is a time synchronization service delivered over Network Time Protocol (NTP) which uses a fleet of redundant satellite-connected and atomic clocks in each region to deliver a highly accurate reference clock. AWS will provide this service at no additional charge in all public AWS regions to all instances running in a VPC.

Amazon FreeRTOS -  an IoT microcontroller operating system that simplifies development, security, deployment, and maintenance of microcontroller-based edge devices. Amazon FreeRTOS extends the FreeRTOS kernel, a popular real-time operating system, with libraries that enable local and cloud connectivity, security, and (coming soon) over-the-air updates.

AWS IoT Analytics - a fully managed service that provides analysis of data collected from IoT devices

Amazon Translate - a neural machine translation service that uses machine learning to provide fast language translation of text-based content and enable the development of applications that provide multilingual user experiences. The service is currently in preview and can be used to translate text to and from English and the supported languages.

Amazon Transcribe - an automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that lets developers add speech to text capabilities to their applications.

One other footnote:

  • Equinix announced the extension of direct, private connectivity to the AWS Direct Connect service to four additional data centers in Helsinki, Madrid, Manchester and Toronto, bringing 

In his keynote address,  Amazon CTO Werner Vogels talked about how AWS is democratizing access to next gen technologies especially machine learning and AI. Amazon is certainly bringing down the cost of centralized processing and storage by leveraging the power of scale and extreme efficiencies.
Democratizing is a tricky adverb as it implies a feeling of egalitarianism, or at least that the outcome will be for the public good. Too soon to say that, but cleary Vogels has an ambition to make cloud services more human-centric.

AWS is quickly moving up the stack to support image and speech processing as the cloud-enabled GUI for next gen applications. There is an urgency to "liberate" workloads, meaning to decouple workloads from on-premise servers so that they will flow seamlessly onto the AWS cloud. In terms of market dominance, AWS has released a steady stream of Fortune 500 enterprises declaring them to be "the preferred cloud infrastructure provider." The company is now claiming a 44.1 percent share of the global cloud market, compared to its next nearest competitor -Microsoft -at 7.3 percent.

A few notes:

New GPU-powered EC2 instances -- the new P3 instances offer up to eight NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and are designed to handle compute-intensive machine learning, deep learning, computational fluid dynamics, computational finance, seismic analysis, molecular modeling, and genomics workloads.Each of the NVIDIA GPUs is packed with 5,120 CUDA cores and another 640 Tensor cores and can deliver up to 125 TFLOPS of mixed-precision floating point, 15.7 TFLOPS of single-precision floating point, and 7.8 TFLOPS of double-precision floating point.

Amazon Rekognition Image -- a cloud service that uses deep learning to provide scalable image recognition and analysis. It leverages deep learning techniques to build and integrate object and scene detection, real-time facial recognition, celebrity recognition, image moderation, as well as, text recognition into applications and systems. Amazon developed the service by using its archives of its own Prime Photos to analyze billions of images each day. Examples shown included large scale facial recognition to identify faces in a crowd by comparing to social media sources.

Caltech - AWS is forming a research partnership with Caltech focused on AI, data science, and machine learning. Researchers from the Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) and Electrical Engineering (EE) departments at Caltech will use the AWS Cloud (including Nvidia GPU instances) to train deep neural networks using open source projects like Apache MXNet. Of course, Amazon will bring financial support.

AWS Cloud9 - a web-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for writing, running, and debugging code. Cloud9 was developed by a start-up of the same time, which Amazon acquired last year. It supports multiple programming languages, including Javascript, Python, and PHP. AWS expects Cloud9 to provide a seamless experience for working with serverless applications.

AT&T and AWS are working on a cellular LTE-M Button that utilizes the newly announced AWS IoT 1-Click service. The idea is for enterprises and developers to integrate their operations/workflows with AWS IoT, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) and many other AWS solutions. For example, pressing the button could trigger the order of office supplies or the submission of a customer service request.  AT&T will offer the LTE-M button at $29 for the first 5,000 units. The button will be released in early 2018. Prices will be higher after that. This will help in scaling IoT. It also appears to tweak the business model a bit. Apparently, no data charges? No monthly charges? The click of a button obviously does not put a strain on the LTE network. If the battery is fixed, perhaps the expectation is that the button will function for 48 months and then deactivate itself when the battery dies.

See also