Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cisco returns to growth, announces $25 billion stock repurchase plan

Cisco reported revenue of $11.9 billion for its second quarter of fiscal 2018, net loss on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis of $(8.8) billion or $(1.78) per share, and non-GAAP
net income of $3.1 billion or $0.63 per share.

Due to the recently passed tax reform legislation, Cisco took a $11.1 billion charge.

Cisco has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.33 per common share, a 4-cent increase or up 14% over the previous quarter’s dividend.

Cisco’s board of directors has also approved a $25 billion increase to the authorization of the stock repurchase program.

“We had a great quarter which demonstrates that our strategy is working. Our business is growing, we have a fantastic innovation pipeline, our balance sheet is strong and we have a team that’s executing incredibly well,” said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco. “The network is more critical to business success than ever, and our new intent-based networking portfolio has great momentum including the fastest ramping new product in our history.”

Some highlights:

GAAP total gross margin and product gross margin were 63.1% and 61.5%, respectively. Product gross margin increased compared with 61.1% in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

The total customer base for Catalyst 9000 switching platform more than doubled to reach over 3,100.

Product customer segment revenue:

  • Enterprise +3%
  • Public Sector +8%
  • Commercial +14%
  • Service Provider (-5%)

Revenue growth by geography:

  • Americas +6%
  • EMEA +6%
  • APJC 0%

There was $5.5 billion in deferred revenue from recurring software subscriptions, up 36% yoy.

Equinix to acquire iconic Infomart Dallas colo data center for $800m

Equinix has agreed to acquire the Infomart Dallas data center, including its operations and tenants, from ASB Real Estate Investments for $800 million.

The iconic Infomart building, which is located at 1950 N. Stemmons Freeway in Dallas, is one of the largest interconnection hubs in the U.S. and one of the largest buildings in Texas at 1.6 million square feet (147,094.2 m2) over 7 floors.Infomart is currently home to four of eight Equinix Dallas International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers (DA1, DA2, DA3 and DA6), which combined, support approximately 3,500 built out cabinets.

Equinix said the transaction increases the number of its owned assets by four, increasing recurring revenue from owned assets to more than 45 percent. The facility offers multiple, diverse fiber entry points, and provides significant expansion opportunities to Equinix through the existing underdeveloped capacity (approximately 11MW of power), as well as the potential to develop additional capacity (approximately 40MW of power) on land adjacent to the Infomart building. It currently has approximately 45 tenants, including networks, colocation providers, office tenants and Equinix. Today, Equinix is the largest tenant accounting for approximately 40 percent of the lease revenues from the facilities




Qualcomm pushes LTE to 2 Gbps with 7nm Snapdragon X24 Modem

by James E. Carroll

Qualcomm introduced an LTE modem supporting up to 2 Gbps download speeds, pushing 4G to new performance levels.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem is the industry's first-announced chip built on a 7 nanometer FinFET process. It is also Qualcomm's eighth generation LTE multimode modem and third generation Gigabit LTE solution and the world’s first commercially announced Category 20 LTE modem.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem delivers 2x the speed of the Company’s first generation Gigabit LTE modem. The Snapdragon X24 supports up to 7x carrier aggregation in the downlink, as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers – both mobile industry firsts – for a total of up to 20 concurrent spatial LTE streams.

Qualcomm said mobile operators could allow devices that feature the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem to utilize all spectrum assets available whether in licensed spectrum or with License Assisted Access (LAA). Additional system capacity improvements are made possible through support of Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO), a Massive MIMO technology that is foundational to future 5G NR networks. In the uplink, Snapdragon X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM.

The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem pairs with an advanced RF transceiver built in 14 nm FinFET process technology, and the Qualcomm QET5100 Envelope Tracker, making it the first announced modem to support 60 MHz envelope tracking for up to 3x uplink carrier aggregation channels with simultaneous High Power User Equipment (HPUE) support in Band 41, engineered to deliver power-efficient connectivity for the next generation of mobile devices

One additional feature, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem brings support for the concurrent multi-constellation multi-frequency global navigation satellite system (GNSS).

The chip is currently sampling Qualcomm will host demos of the X24 LTE at Mobile World Congress in conjunction with Ericsson, Telstra and NETGEAR.

“As the world’s first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, designed to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019,” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH. “Further expanding on the use of 4x4 and LAA capability, the Snapdragon X24 packs a powerful array of the most advanced 4G LTE technologies commercially available, helping mobile operators to fully mobilize their spectrum assets and maximize the capacity of their Gigabit LTE networks, and mobile device makers to offer consumers a tangible glimpse of our 5G future”.

Qualcomm debuts Wireless Edge Services for enterprise and IoT security

Qualcomm is introducing a set of trusted software services rooted in its chipset architecture and designed to meet the requirements of new enterprise and industrial IoT customers to securely provision, connect and manage long life-cycles of billions of intelligent wireless devices through their cloud platforms.

The idea with Qualcomm wireless edge services software is to provide predictability and security throughout a device's entire lifecycle. By rooting a trusted service within the silicon, a device can be on-boarded and managed in a predictable way. These trusted services would be exposed through new APIs and available on Qualcomm chipsets – initially its MDM9206, MDM9628 and QCA4020 – and later on, select Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms. Capabilities include plug n play onboarding, on-demand, over-the-air feature activation, emergency and routine upgrades as well as third-party service enablement throughout the device life-cycle.

Large enterprise, industrial cloud providers and users could use the capabilities to provision and manage massive amounts of connected 4G and 5G devices in a trusted, security-rich and scalable manner. Qualcomm said its wireless edge services can provide strong protection against compromised devices and network attacks through hardware-based device integrity.

“With the introduction of Qualcomm wireless edge services, we continue to evolve and augment our leading Snapdragon portfolio to better serve our expanding base of customers across many industries and unlock the potential associated with trusted wireless access to billions of increasingly capable edge devices” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH. “We are excited by the initial response from cloud, enterprise and industrial companies and are looking forward to working with them as well as our traditional customers to accelerate the transformative opportunity supported by advanced security, intelligence and wireless connectivity capability at the edge.”

Qualcomm cited ecosystem support from Alibaba, Baidu, Mobike, Quectel and others.

Equinix hits 2017 sales grow rate of 21%

Equinix reported Q4 2017 revenue of $1.200 billion, up 27% over the same period last year. Full-year 2017 revenues amounted to $4.368 billion, a 21% increase over the previous year, including $359 million of revenues from the acquisition of 29 Verizon data centers. Net income for the full year was $233 million.

"In addition to strong financial performance, Equinix achieved a number of significant milestones around interconnection, innovation and acquisitions in 2017 that add even more value to our role as a strategic partner to companies in the execution of their digital business strategies. As we approach our 20th anniversary and reflect on what we've built, we believe our platform will become even more important for our customers in the years to come. We have a clear vision of our strategy and the opportunities ahead, and we are looking forward to another successful year," stated Peter Van Camp, Executive Chairman and Interim CEO and President, Equinix.

In its quarterly update, Equinix also announced new expansions in the Culpeper, Houston, London, Paris, São Paulo, Silicon Valley, Sofia and Washington, D.C. metros totaling more than $500 million of capital expenditures.

Some additional highlights:


  • 2017 CAPEX was $1.379 billion, up 21% yoy
  • Total crossconnects at the end of Q4 were 277,800, up 21% yoy





Ciena brings enhancements for 5G

Ciena announced a series of enhancements to its product set to help operators scale their current 4G networks, while simultaneously preparing for the impending evolution toward 5G.

Ciena said its 5G Network Solutions are designed to provide scale and automation. The solutions are composed of Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical (6500 and Waveserver) and Packet Networking (3900 family, 5100 family, 8700 Packetwave) platforms – as well as new products and capabilities, including:

  • New deterministic packet capability that will support 4G/5G converged fronthaul/midhaul networks offering digital radio transport over standards-based Ethernet
  • New IP functionality that will provide the necessary connectivity features required for IP-based network infrastructures
  • Programmable Network Slicing capabilities that will allow network operators to logically partition and virtualize network resources from Layer 0 to Layer 3
"With expected 5G performance gains ranging from 1,000 times the volume of data to ten times the reduction in latency, operators need to prepare their end-to-end wireline network now. As the industry leader in coherent optical, edge packet platforms, automation, and multi-domain service orchestration, Ciena is uniquely positioned to support operators through every step of their multi-year journey to a common wireline infrastructure that supports 4G and beyond,” stated Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, Ciena.

Huawei launches urban 5G “Wireless to the Home” CPE trial with TELUS

Huawei launched an end-to-end user trial for “Wireless to the Home” (WTTx) 5G service using a specially-designed 5G CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) unit in downtown Vancouver..

The trial is being conducted as a “5G Living Lab” in collaboration with TELUS. Initially, the 5G fixed service is being delivered to the home of TELUS employees.

In addition to the unique 5G in-home equipment, the network utilizes the 5G gNodeB and related elements built as part of the TELUS/Huawei 5G Living Lab. The trial system operates on the 28GHz mmwave band with 800 MHz of bandwidth and includes many 3GPP key technologies, such as Massive MIMO, F-OFDM, and Polar Code.

"mmWave technology will be an important tool in ensuring widespread deployment of 5G technology in Canada. Huawei’s 5G solutions and terminals will enable 5G coverage over a neighbourhood or small community cost effectively, while providing more convenient and high-speed home broadband Internet access services." said Dr. Wen Tong, Huawei Fellow, and CTO Huawei Wireless, "This friendly user trial will drive the global 3GPP unified 5G standard and build a solid foundation for the 5G early commercialization."

CommScope expands its portfolio of 4xMIMO antennas

CommScope introduced new antenna models that support 4xMIMO (4T4R multiple input/multiple output), advanced modulation and carrier aggregation of unlicensed frequency bands.

Late last year, CommScope introduced a 4xMIMO, ultra-wideband antenna for the 1400 MHz–2700 MHz range.  The company has also released an extensive antenna portfolio for FirstNet operating in the 700 MHz band. The company continues to add antennas to its portfolio that support different frequency band combinations in 4-, 8- and 12-port configurations, with 4xMIMO support on both low and high bands.

CommScope also offers a high gain, small cell antenna with 4xMIMO functionality in the 1.7–2.7 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, plus 2x2 MIMO support in the 5 GHz band.

CommsScope said this antenna enables operators to use carrier aggregation for License Assisted Access (LAA) to combine unlicensed bands with licensed bands to reach gigabit speeds at small cell sites. This antenna will also help operators be ready for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

“Gigabit LTE is a localized phenomenon, meaning each cell site requires different approaches and solutions for adding capacity and throughput,” said Dr. Marty Zimmerman, engineering fellow, CommScope Mobility Solutions. “Antenna selection is an important factor for macro sites as well as small cells where unlicensed spectrum will be utilized.”

CommScope also introduced an integrated antenna solution based on xRAN open interface specifications. The 5G radio/antenna solution supports millimeter-wave spectrum and works on a completely virtualized baseband with an open interface. This solution integrates a beamforming active antenna array operating at 28 GHz and will be available for trial with a third-party baseband platform to create a high performance and highly flexible 5G access network.

 “Our integrated antenna will enable the full capabilities of 5G millimeter-wave spectrum bands while offering maximum flexibility in an evolving air-interface environment,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope. “As a contributing member to the xRAN organization, we endorse the benefits of an open baseband interface for enabling more innovation in the wireless marketplace.”

U.S. Intelligence officials warn against Huawei and ZTE

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, five senior national security officials from the CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI, and NGA each said the equipment and services from ZTE pose a significant risk to government users and to U.S. national interests.

The testimony centered on the questions of values, of proximity to the Chinese government, and of establishing positions of power in the market rather than on technical merits or specific security threats posed by equipment from these vendors.


Will mobile networks be ready for Waymo's driverless ride-hailing service?

by James E. Carroll

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has confirmed an order for several thousand of the Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be delivered to Waymo, the autonomous car subsidiary of Alphabet (Google's parent company) this calendar year for deployment in several U.S. cities. Although the actual size of the order was not disclosed, it is believed to be between 3,000 and 10,000 autonomous vehicles. You may have already seen driveless Waymo minivans on the streets in live testing. Last year, FCA delivered 500 of the Pacifica minivans, adapted for self-driving, to Waymo for the test fleet. An earlier batch of 500 Pacificas was delivered in late 2016. The vehicles have racked up over 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometres) of testing on U.S. streets so far.

With this order for thousands of self-driving Waymos, the prospect of a commercial launch is in sight. For mobile network operators, this could be a golden opportunity. The question is whether mobile operators are bidding for this business.

"With the world's first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we've moved from research and development, to operations and deployment," said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. "The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale."

Although we do not know which mobile operator(s) Waymo has been working with, we do know that the connection from vehicle to the network must be LTE at best, as none of the big four operators have 5G trial networks in place for this level of testing.

Two conclusions can be drawn. (1) The autonomous vehicle R&D programs are ahead of the 5G movement. (2) the first generation of autonomous vehicles may not require 5G at all.
In many ways, 5G networks promise to be an ideal platform for autonomous vehicle fleets. Think about:
(a) reduced network latency
(b) dense small cell deployments ideally near street level in urban cores
(c) high bandwidth throughput
(d) network slicing
(e) enhanced security

Autonomous vehicle fleets would also be the ideal 5G customer for mobile operators. Let's say an operator such as Waymo procures and deploys a fleet of 5,000 vehicles. The connectivity requirement will be 24/7. These vehicles are described as "data centers on wheels." Some estimates say each autonomous vehicle could generate 4TB of data daily. Of course only a percentage of that data would need to be offloaded in real time, if at all, but clearly the

Background on Waymo

Waymo began developing its self-driving platform in 2009. At the time it was known as Google's Self-Driving Car project and was led by Sebastian Thrun, former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.  The Waymo identity was adopted in December 2016. The company remains based at the Google campus in Mountain View, California.

Late last year, Waymo began test driving the Pacifica minivans in the Phoenix metro region without anyone in the driver's seat for some months. The test program has been expanding rapidly since then. Just after the New Year, Waymo announced that Atlanta would be its 35th test city,
In its 9-year of development, Waymo has worked on every aspect of its forthcoming Transportation-as-a-Service platform.  Its software is perhaps the key differentiator that will set it apart from the many fast followers. It is also the subject of the ongoing lawsuit launched by Waymo against Uber regarding purportedly stolen intellectual property.

Beside Fiat-Chrysler, we know that Waymo is working with a few other technology suppliers. Waymo’s cloud service provider, of course, is Google. On the hardware side, Intel has disclosed that it supplied sensor processing, general compute and connectivity technologies for Waymo's test fleet of Pacifica minivans. This includes Xeon processors, Arria FPGAs, and Gigabit Ethernet and XMM LTE modems. The partnership between Intel and Waymo was cited in a blog post by  Brian Krzanich in September.

Collecting mapping and other data from the fleet

At CES 2018, Intel disclosed that its Mobileye next-generation aftermarket collision avoidance system is capable of "collecting dynamic data to make cities smarter, safer and Autonomous Ready."
The idea is to harvest valuable information on city streets and infrastructure to create high-definition crowdsourced maps. Mobileye is developing a Road Experience Management (REM) to make this easier. Many companies, as well as government authorities, will see value in harvesting this data from the vehicle. Collecting this data need not require an autonomous vehicle. Plenty of regular buses, taxis, and trucks criss-cross cities every day on established routes. Retrofitting these vehicles for mass-scale data gathering can be as simple as installing a single camera and sensor, along with a mobile broadband connection. In fact, Mobileye has announced a number of players who are already moving in this direction:

  • The city of Dusseldorf, Germany is expected to equip 750 vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect to investigate the suitability of Dusseldorf’s existing infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and connected driving. The project is funded by the German federal government.
  • London black cabs will be fitted with Mobileye 8 Connect to create an HD map of the city. Gett, a start-up working on mobility solutions, will equip approximately 500 London black cabs this year.
  • New York City will also get an HD map based on Mobileye crowdsourced data. Buggy TLC Leasing, which provides leasing of vehicles for ride-sharing services such as Uber, is expected to outfit approximately 2,000 New York City-based vehicles with Mobileye Aftermarket.
  • Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance will equip approximately 1,000 to 2,000 trucks with Mobileye 8 Connect to generate an HD map of where these vehicles operate.¬¬¬


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Google Cloud offers TensorFlow processors, delivering teraflops for ML

Cloud Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) are now available in beta on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The Cloud TPUs are a family of Google-designed hardware accelerators that are optimized to speed up and scale up specific machine learning (ML) workloads programmed with TensorFlow.

Google's TPUs are built with four custom ASICs. Each Cloud TPU packs up to 180 teraflops of floating-point performance and 64 GB of high-bandwidth memory onto a single board. The boards can be connected via an ultra-fast network to form multi-petaflop ML supercomputers. These "TPU pods" will be available on GCP later this year.

The Cloud TPUs can be programmed with high-level, open source TensorFlow APIs. GCP is making a number of reference Cloud TPU model implementations available, including:

  • ResNet-50 and other popular models for image classification
  • Transformer for machine translation and language modeling
  • RetinaNet for object detection

Google adds that its cloud TPUs can also simplify the planning and management of ML computing resources. By purchasing the service, users benefit from the large-scale, tightly-integrated ML infrastructure that has been heavily optimized at Google over many years. The cloud TPUs are protected by the security mechanisms and practices that safeguard all Google Cloud services.

Google Builds a Custom ASIC for Machine Learning

Google has developed a custom ASIC for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) is tailored for TensorFlow, which is an open source software library for machine learning that was developed at Google.

In a blog posting,  Norm Jouppi, Distinguished Hardware Engineer at Google, discloses that the TPUs have already been in deployment in Google data centers for over a year, where they "deliver an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning." The stealthy project to develop in-house silicon has been underway for several years.

A number of Google applications are already running on the Tensor Processing Units, including RankBrain, Street View, and the AlphaGo application that recently defeated the Go world champion, Lee Sedol.

Google plans to deliver machine learning as a service on its Google Cloud Platform by providing APIs for computer vision, speech, human language translation, etc.

https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2016/05/Google-supercharges-machine-learning-tasks-with-custom-chip.html


  • TensorFlow was originally developed by the Google Brain team and released under the Apache 2.0 open source license in November 2015. At the time, Google said TensorFlow can run on multiple CPUs and GPUs.

Verizon completes its first 5G call

Verizon completed its first over-the-air call on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system using licensed millimeter wave spectrum.

The call, which was completed at Nokia’s facility in Murray Hill, New Jersey earlier this month, used Nokia's 5G CloudRAN solution, which is comprised of the Nokia AirScale baseband and radio, AirFrame server, and AirScale Cloud RAN running 5G NR 3GPP-compliant software. Qualcomm provided 5G NR prototype devices in smartphone form factors.

The companies described the test as an important milestone on the road to preparing Verizon’s network for widespread implementation of commercial 5G mobile services for consumers and enterprises.

“With this first 3GPP NR standards-based connection, Verizon continues to lead the development of 5G technology,” said Ed Chan, senior vice president and chief technology architect, Corporate Network & Technology, Verizon. “By partnering with Nokia and Qualcomm to combine 5G technology with our deep millimeter wave spectrum, we’re well on the way to being the first to usher in the next era of wireless communications for customers.”

“Nokia’s 3GPP-compliant high-capacity 5G solution supports pioneering operators like Verizon in leveraging their assets to make a true difference with 5G for their customers,” said Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks, Nokia. “Using the successful interoperability testing we conducted with Qualcomm as a basis, we’re now applying our standard-compliant 5G technology in this trial with Verizon to push the commercialization of 5G.”

Verizon, Qualcomm and Novatel to expedite 5G NR mmWave rollout

Verizon, Qualcomm Technologies, and Novatel Wireless, are pushing ahead with plans to expedite the rollout of 5G New Radio (NR) millimeter wave (mmWave) technology.  The companies have agreed to collaborate on over-the-air field trials based on the 5G NR Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP, with hopes of moving the mobile ecosystem towards faster validation and commercialization of 5G NR mmWave technologies at scale before the end of the decade.

The expedited plan call for an initial focus on 5G NR operation in 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave spectrum bands. The goal is to achieve robust multi-gigabit per second data rates with mobility at significantly lower latencies than today’s networks. Over-the-air trials are expected starting in 2018, that will be compliant with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. The trials will utilize 5G NR mmWave mobile test platforms from Qualcomm and will employ advanced 5G NR Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques.


Qualcomm shows 5G NR mmWave prototype

Qualcomm unveiled a 5G NR mmWave prototype system based on the 5G New Radio (NR) Release-15 specifications.  Peak download speeds of up to 5 Gbps are possible.

The prototype system, which operates in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands above 24 GHz, demonstrates how advanced 5G NR mmWave technologies can be utilized to deliver robust mobile broadband communications at multi-gigabit-per-second data rates in real-world mobile environments.

Qualcomm's prototype leverages the company's optimized mmWave RF Front-end design in a smartphone form-factor to test and trial real-world mmWave challenges, such as device and hand-blocking. It employs Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive analog beamforming and beam tracking/steering techniques, which is required for robust and sustained mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility. It also supports 800 MHz bandwidth and advanced 5G NR technologies including LDPC channel coding for data channels.

AT&T expands its push into microservices

AT&T has added Accenture to its Microservices Supplier Program, which offers a new approach to delivering business functionality for software developers.

Teams from Accenture and AT&T will develop microservices using scaled, agile and DevOps processes. The collaboration is expected to improve customer experiences, reduce support costs, and get services to market faster.

AT&T describes microservices as one of the key pillars of its next-gen network platform. In 2017, AT&T deployed more than 300 microservices, with hundreds more planned for 2018.

“Our collaboration with Accenture allows us to quickly deliver the products and services our customers need to stay competitive in today’s technology-based economy,” said Pam Parisian, president, Technology Development, AT&T. “Soon, they will be able to access a whole new level of scalability and functionality as we shift legacy business functions into flexible, software-centric capabilities.”

Steve Tibbetts, a managing director at Accenture said, “By decomposing legacy systems into suites of small, modular and independent services, we can co-develop new products more rapidly than ever before. Together with AT&T, we are able to deliver an enhanced experience for their customers.”

AT&T launches Microservices Supplier Program

AT&T is launching its microservices supplier program in partnership with IBM.  The idea is to offer a new approach to delivering business functionality for software developers. AT&T said that it is a heavy user of microservices for its internal systems.

Under this partnership, IBM will collaborate with AT&T to design, develop and deploy microservices that will transform AT&T’s business backend processes. IBM’s creation of microservices across sales, ordering, and enterprise data will enhance and modernize AT&T’s mission-critical systems. This enables higher-performing backend processing with minimal downtime while allowing the whole business to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics through the deployment of new fast and easy to access services and capabilities.

“Our software journey has focused on virtualizing our network functions to give more speed and flexibility than the traditional hardware model,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re now looking at the 2,200+ apps in our IT system. And we’re starting to break them up into microservices to create agility, speed, and scalability that wasn’t possible before. Microservices are at the very core of our vision for the future of our network.”

Earlier this week, AT&T introduced Acumos, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications, built with microservices.

AT&T moves Acumos into open source as an AI-enabling platform

AT&T, in collaboration with Tech Mahindra, is backing an open source artificial intelligence (AI) platform called Acumos that can be used to build smart applications.

Acumos, which will be hosted by The Linux Foundation, makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. More specifically, it provides the capability to edit, integrate, compose, package, train and deploy AI microservices. Acumos will provide a marketplace for accessing, using and enhancing those applications.

“Our goal with open sourcing the Acumos platform is to make building and deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website,” said Mazin Gilbert, vice president of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs. “We’re collaborating with Tech Mahindra to establish an industry standard for AI in the networking space. We invite others to join us to create a global harmonization in AI and set the stage for all future AI network applications and services.”

“We’re opening up AI. We’re focusing on the telecommunication, media and technology spaces, starting with the network. The platform will be available to anyone and the more users who adopt it, the better it will get,” added Gilbert.

AT&T said the Acumos platform is built on open source technologies and can be powered by AT&T Indigo, its next-generation platform for delivering a seamless network experience.

Earlier this year, AT&T moved its ECOMP into the open source curation of The Linux Foundation under the newly launched ONAP project. With Acumos, AT&T said it was acting to place the initial framework into open source as quickly as possible.

Blue Danube intros 96-element, Multiband, Massive MIMO Antenna

Blue Danube Systems, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, introduced its 96-element, second-generation 5G-ready Massive MIMO system.

Blue Danube's the BeamCraft 600 series supports simultaneous beamforming over multiple frequency bands and across multiple cellular standards, allowing operators to deliver increased capacity through a single compact system.

The company said its Massive MIMO can dynamically direct radio frequency (RF) beams where mobile traffic is high and without changes to existing cell sites or smartphones. The 96-element BeamCraft 600 supports up to two active mid bands using 16 software configurable beams, double the capacity of the company’s previous generation. An integrated passive low-band option is also available to further conserve antenna mount positions.  Blue Danube has deployed active solutions in 3 mid bands to date (AWS, PCS, DCS) and will trial the multi-band BeamCraft 600 in 2Q’18. Additional products supporting higher frequency bands including TDD will be available in 2H’18.

“Blue Danube’s portfolio of Massive MIMO products enables operators to flexibly customize RF energy to optimize capacity, coverage and cell edge performance.” said Mark Pinto, CEO & President of Blue Danube Systems. “Our 5G-ready architecture allows beam-based network management leading to virtualization of the network RF functions. By avoiding the rigidity imposed by other radio architectures, we are enabling a completely flexible RAN ecosystem.”


  • Blue Danube Systems is headed by Dr. Mark Pinto, who previously was was an executive vice president at Applied Materials, where he launched the company’s solar business. Earlier in his career, Dr. Pinto was CTO of the Lucent Microelectronics Group and general manager of a wireless/wireline product division.
  • The company was founded by Dr. Mihai Banu, who developed the Blue Danube concepts independently since 2006. Previously,  he was R&D director at Agere Systems, working on analog circuits, RF systems for wireless LANs and wireless circuits research, and before that was Head of the Communications Circuits Research department at Lucent Technologies.
  • Investors in Blue Danube Systems include Sequoia, Northgate, Silver Lake, and AT&T.

Wix.com is onboard with Google Cloud Platform

Wix.com, which offers website services to small businesses, has chosen G Suite productivity and collaboration apps from Google as its exclusive cloud productivity offering for its users.

Wix.com already uses the Google Cloud Platform, Google Maps API, YouTube and AdWords.

Yuval Dvir, Head of Online Partnerships from Google Cloud added, "We are delighted to be part of Wix's growth and we will continue to help SMBs get the best of Google Cloud as part of our strategic partnership with Wix."

Coriant forms IoT partnership with Prodea

Coriant announced a partnership with Prodea to deliver IoT services. The companies will leverage Coriant’s new Multi-Sided Platform Partnership Program and Prodea’s new IoT Service X-Change platform and ecosystem tp accelerate global adoption of IoT services.

Prodea’s IoT Service X-Change is a platform offering turnkey solutions and a framework for rapid IoT service creation and delivery with a comprehensive ecosystem of best-of-breed offerings including guaranteed quality of service. It was developed to solve a number of real problems in the IoT industry, such as:

1) Empowering service providers to participate in the IoT value chain beyond connectivity;
2) Providing a vehicle for efficient launch of partner-powered IoT solutions; and
3) Enabling monetizable and scalable services, rather than just technology components.

“While service providers, enterprises, and other organizations have been working to bring profitable IoT services to market, the full potential of these services has not been realized. In most cases, the challenge has been less about technology and more about optimal approaches to business models, specific verticals, and ecosystem partners,” said Homayoun Razavi, Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Sales & Digital Marketing, Coriant.

“We chose to partner with Prodea not only because of their technology innovation, but also because their IoT Service X-Change can form the basis for our Multi-Sided Platform Partnership Program’s distribution of IoT services from ecosystem partners to customers worldwide. We believe this brings together all the right go-to-market ingredients, enabling service providers and enterprises to accelerate monetization of IoT services.”

Twilio posts sales of $115 million, up 41% yoy

Twilio, which enables developers to embed messaging, voice, and video capabilities directly into their software applications, reported Q4 2007 revenue of $115.2 million, up 41% from the fourth quarter of 2016 and 15% sequentially from the third quarter of 2017.

There was a GAAP loss from operations of $20.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with GAAP loss from operations of $12.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. Non-GAAP loss from operations was $3.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with non-GAAP profit from operations of $0.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Twilio was serving 48,979 active customer accounts as of December 31, 2017, compared to 36,606 as of December 31, 2016.

“We are kicking off our tenth year as a company with fabulous momentum. I’m very proud of the team for our fourth quarter performance, but my excitement lies in the foundations we’ve laid for the next ten years of Twilio,” said Jeff Lawson, Twilio’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are poised for a stellar year ahead, built on our relentless focus on customer success, quality, and software-fueled innovation.”

One Africa Network envisions a regional traffic exchange

The Smart Africa Alliance (SAA) and Global Voice Group (GVG) have agreed to build an African Regional Traffic Exchange and Financial Settlement (ARTEF) Platform as part of the One Africa Network (OAN) initiative.

The idea is to establish a harmonized African telecommunications framework that would give African countries the potential to make significant leaps in development through lower intra-region communication costs. For consumers, the goal would be to lower the costs of communications by eliminating roaming charges. This would boost intra-African traffic, leading to more trade and economic growth. Calls from one OAN country to another would not have to leave the OAN zone to incur international changes.

As Patrice Baker, CEO of GVG, pointed out: “The OAN is a major initiative for the socio-economic development of Africa. The idea of a free roaming zone and the necessity of establishing a harmonized African telecommunications framework has been discussed for many years across the continent. It is time now for action. As a technical partner and provider of the traffic exchange platform, GVG is strongly committed to assist SAA members in the successful implementation of the OAN.”

http://smartafrica.org
https://www.globalvoicegroup.com

Monday, February 12, 2018

Oracle to open 12 new cloud data center regions worldwide

Oracle announced plans to significantly expand its cloud infrastructure footprint by opening 12 new data center regions worldwide. The company seeks to increase the breadth and depth of Oracle Cloud services available across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

The regional expansion will include locations in Asia including China, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Korea; Europe including Amsterdam and Switzerland; and North America including two in Canada and two new US locations to support U.S. Department of Defense workloads.

Oracle's portfolio includes the breadth of cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) and new services in security, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence.

“The future of IT is autonomous. With our expanded, modern data centers, Oracle is uniquely suited to deliver the most autonomous technologies in the world,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. “As we invest, our margins will continue to expand. And with our global datacenter expansion, we are able to help customers lower IT costs, mitigate risks and compete like they never have before.”

In addition, Oracle announced the industry’s first end-to-end financially backed cloud warranty for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Oracle said it is now the only cloud infrastructure provider offering guaranteed service levels across performance, manageability, and availability: the three key characteristics defining how enterprises measure cloud infrastructure providers. Under terms of the new performance SLA, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure guarantees it will deliver more than 90 percent of published performance every day in a given month. If it falls below that level for even as few as 44 minutes a month, customers may claim service credits according to Oracle’s terms of service.

“No cloud provider in the world can match what Oracle guarantees,” said Thomas Kurian, President of Product Development, Oracle. “Our competitors offer narrow commitments and countless exclusions in fine print while Oracle’s SLAs deliver an industry first: guaranteed performance, manageability and availability in the cloud.”

Orange to test 5G Fixed with Cisco and Samsung

Orange is planning to launch a 5G millimeter wave trial in the second half of 2018 in Romania. Cisco and Samsung Electronics have been selected to participate.

Orange is believed to be the first operator to conduct a multi-vendor 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) customer trial in Europe.

 Samsung will provide commercial 5G home routers (indoor and outdoor customer-premises equipment (CPE)), 5G Radio Access Units (RAN) comprised of a compact radio base station and virtualized RAN elements, as well as 5G radio frequency planning services. Cisco will supply its Cisco Ultra Gateway Platform, delivering a 5G virtual packet core on top of Cisco NFV Infrastructure. The mobile gateway will be deployed with Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) for enhanced throughput and flexibility.

“Together with Samsung and Cisco, we are joining forces to drive the development of 5G and prepare for its progressive roll-out starting 2020,” said Arnaud Vamparys, senior vice president, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange. “This trial will demonstrate how FWA, NFV and multi-vendor interoperability create new opportunities and gives us flexibility to build our next-generation network as a multi-service network.”