Daily Archives: October 3, 2019

The Unwanted Wars

Why the Middle East Is More Combustible Than Ever
By Robert Malley – The war that now looms largest is a war nobody apparently wants.

A conflict could break out in any one of a number of places for any one of a number of reasons. Consider the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities: it could theoretically have been perpetrated by the Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group, as part of their war with the kingdom; by Iran, as a response to debilitating U.S. sanctions; or by an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq.

If Washington decided to take military action against Tehran, this could in turn prompt Iranian retaliation against the United States’ Gulf allies, an attack by Hezbollah on Israel, or a Shiite militia operation against U.S. personnel in Iraq. Likewise, Israeli operations against Iranian allies anywhere in the Middle East could trigger a regionwide chain reaction. Because any development anywhere in the region can have ripple effects everywhere, narrowly containing a crisis is fast becoming an exercise in futility.

The Middle East has become the world’s most polarized region and, paradoxically, its most integrated. That combination—along with weak state structures, powerful nonstate actors, and multiple transitions occurring almost simultaneously—also makes the Middle East the world’s most volatile region. It further means that as long as its regional posture remains as it is, the United States will be just one poorly timed or dangerously aimed Houthi drone strike, or one particularly effective Israeli operation against a Shiite militia, away from its next costly regional entanglement.

Ultimately, the question is not chiefly whether the United States should disengage from the region. It is how it should choose to engage: diplomatically or militarily, by exacerbating divides or mitigating them, and by aligning itself fully with one side or seeking to achieve a sort of balance.

Economically, it ranks among the least integrated areas of the world; institutionally, the Arab League is less coherent than the European Union, less effective than the African Union, and more dysfunctional than the Organization of American States. Nor is there any regional entity to which Arab countries and the three most active non-Arab players (Iran, Israel, and Turkey) belong.

Yet in so many other ways, the Middle East functions as a unified space. Ideologies and movements spread across borders: in times past, Arabism and Nasserism; today, political Islam and jihadism. more>

Updates from Datacenter.com

If you don’t test your back-up power, don’t expect it to work!
Datacenter.com – Last week we again conducted a black building test. This time including the power expansion which will be active soon. We always have full confidence in our black building test, but it’s good to test this regularly. After a series of power outages at various data centers, we ensure there is a power supply when you really need it.

If the power goes out for a short or long time, that is of course annoying if your favorite TV show was just on TV. But if a power outage means that your critical IT infrastructure no longer works, there are far-reaching consequences for your company. How is a power outage picked up by Datacenter.com.

For companies, organizations and governments, reliable power supply is one of the most important reasons for placing their IT equipment in a data center. Recent high-profile data center failures brought the issue of reliability to the fore. Historically, data center power cuts have been experienced by many blue-chip banks and telecoms providers, so no-one can claim immunity from such problems.

To guarantee the reliability of that power supply, we test our emergency power supply on a monthly basis. During such a test, we activate the generators to ensure the redundant power supply path works appropriately. By setting up a switch that starts our redundant set of emergency power supply, synchronizes with the mains, and delivering power to the IT equipment. During regular generator tests, the generator is putted next to the grid so the equipment that is not behind UPS remains switched on. This means that the cooling system and the lighting will continue to work during such a test. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Electrolux implements worldwide 3D factory and material flow planning
Siemens – Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Electrolux AB sells appliances for household and commer­cial use in 150 countries around the world. With around 58,000 employees and 46 pro­duction sites, the company develops and manufactures products of numerous brands: in addition to Electrolux, the top brands Grand Cuisine, AEG, Zanussi, Frigidaire and Westinghouse enjoy a particularly high reputation.

In 1996, the German AEG brand was acquired from Daimler Benz, together with several divi­sions and locations of the group. This is how the factory in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, founded in 1964, came to Electrolux, which today produces 600,000 stoves and 1,400,000 cooking ranges per year for the European market.

We attach great impor­tance to implementing in detail the essential product characteristics of each brand in development and production,” reports Bernd Ebert, director of Global Manufacturing Engineering − Food Preparation at Electrolux. Based in Rothenburg, Ebert ensures that all Electrolux cooking appliance factories imple­ment uniform processes and systems.

As part of a comprehensive digitalization strategy covering all areas, 11 digital manu­facturing projects are on the agenda of the Swedish global corporation. Ebert has assumed responsibility for two global proj­ects with the highest priority. They aim to create “digital twins” of all manufacturing sites: In the virtual manufacturing project, an advanced planning tool was selected and introduced for early design verification to develop products that are production- and assembly-friendly. For example, assembly sequences and movements will be planned and optimized three-dimensionally to pre­vent collisions. The prerequisite for this is the development of three-dimensional fac­tory layouts, which is the focus of the sec­ond project, 3D factory layout. The layouts will be created using a standard factory planning tool that can simulate both the plant and the material flow on the basis of 2D data in order to optimize capacity and efficiency.

Software selection began in 2014, when only a few had powerful software for 3D factory planning. A small, specialist team led by Ebert worked closely with the company’s IT department in Stockholm. Starting in 2015, Teamcenter from Siemens PLM Software was deployed there as a strategi­cally important product development plat­form for product lifecycle management (PLM) at Electrolux.

Discussions about Siemens’ future strategy led to an offer to test a pre-release version of the 3D layout software Line Designer in an early adopter program. more>

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Updates from ITU

The network operator of 2025: can telcos retain a leading role in the digital era?
ITU News – After building much of the infrastructure for the digital transformation we see across industries and society, traditional telecommunications network operators continue to be confronted by extensive changes in markets, technologies, consumer demands and value chains.

“We’re talking about the industry that 20 years ago was the sexiest industry in the world,” said Tomas Lamanauskas, founder and Managing Partner at Envision Associates, Ltd. “We’re at a little bit of a different stage now.”

That could be the understatement of the decade.

With new market players, multi-billion dollar mergers, massive infrastructure investment requirements and shrinking traditional revenue bases, the question arises: Can telecommunications companies (telcos) retain a leading role in the digital era? And what role will regulators have in this increasingly dynamic space?

The answers to these questions have great implications for people worldwide whose lives could be greatly benefited by a range of services from mobile banking and smart farming to intelligent transport systems and customized, precision healthcare solutions. And they have great implications for ITU, which counts telcos as some of its most active, most influential traditional private-sector members. more>

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