Category Archives: Broadband

Updates from McKinsey

How purpose-led missions can help Europe innovate at scale
By Ilan Rozenkopf, Pal Erik Sjatil, and Sebastian Stern – Europe is at an important economic inflection point. The continent has the required assets for future prosperity, including leading economically in worldwide sectors such as automotive and pharmaceuticals, and is making progress in important innovations that will help it compete. Nonetheless, European business faces a challenge that is eroding its economic position relative to other global powers: building new leading clusters or companies that can innovate at scale. Addressing this challenge is vital to the continent’s economic future.

We suggest building on Europe’s economic strengths and social capital to tackle the challenge. European business leaders should raise their sights and set new ambitions, both for their own organizations and for collaboration across private and public sectors on fundamentally important projects for the future. Building on a concept originally proposed by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, we call these “missions”—bold and inspirational initiatives to collaborate at scale on socially and economically important topics capable of attracting public support.

This approach can help Europe address its innovation challenge in its own distinctive way, marshalling resources and harnessing ideas and diverse cultures in a set of common ambitions. It could also compensate for structural disadvantages relative to China and the United States, such as a comparatively fragmented domestic market and a less cohesive system of government action.

In sum, missions offer a significant opportunity for European business leaders to take an even stronger lead for more innovation at scale in Europe. Fostering ambition-led collaboration enables scaling of disruptive innovation and proven ideas in a way that leverages Europe’s strength in diversity and, thus, the harmony underpinning its social market economy. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Ciena’s role in recent 400G industry-first milestones
Are you confused about the recent 400G milestones announced and how this is different than what has been discussed for a few years?
By Helen Xenos – In recent weeks, we have seen two 400G announcements come out, the first from AT&T followed by a second from Internet2, each speaking of achieving new milestones in the industry. To the casual observer, it may not be clear what is new about these announcements. Haven’t we been talking about 400G deployments for several years now? Well, yes and no.  To understand the importance of these announcements, you need to take a closer look. With Ciena innovations playing a key role in both cases, here are some insights.

The first point to understand is that in networking, 400G can mean different things. 400G is a term loosely used to describe a communications link that can carry 400 billion bits per second, or 400 Gigabits per second (400Gb/s). There are two types of 400G connections:

1) 400G wavelength: here, 400Gb/s are carried over a single carrier in a fiber optic cable that can transport a mix of different client traffic rates (ex. 10GbE, 100GbE or 400GbE) across long distances over an optical infrastructure. A coherent optical transponder is used to aggregate client traffic and transport them over a single 400G wavelength.

Apart from Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai, coherent optical solutions capable of 400G speeds are relatively new. WaveLogic Ai is the exception, with commercial, volume shipments beginning in the fall of 2017, and the foundation for the majority of 400G deployments in the industry to date.

The key value of WaveLogic Ai is that users can double traffic carrying capacity per wavelength versus 100G/200G solutions and reduce footprint, energy consumption and cost per bit. Network providers can select capacity rates from 100G to 400G and transport traffic at 400Gb/s for 300km distances, 200Gb/s for 3000km distances and 100G for ultra-long-haul links. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Because you asked. Adaptive IP.
In light of the digital disruption being driven by 5G, IoT, AI, and edge cloud, many of our customers have asked us to help them reimagine their IP networks in a way that allows them to scale in a simpler and more cost-effective way. We listened and answered their call with Ciena’s Adaptive IPTM.
By Scott McFeely – IP, or more formally referred to as Internet Protocol, is the common language that enables billions of interconnected humans and machines to “talk” to each other on a daily basis for business and consumer applications and use cases. IP is the “language” and foundation of the largest human construction project ever created – the internet – and it works because it’s based on open industry standards.

The internet has evolved over time and will continue to do so well into the future, as more humans and machines come online with new and evolving applications and use cases, such as 5G, Fiber Deep’s Converged Interconnect Network (CIN) architecture, and IP Business Services. This means that the way IP networks are designed, deployed, and managed also needs to evolve to maintain pace.

Over the decades since its introduction in the 1970s, by the legendary Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, IP has continually evolved to maintain pace with ever-changing application and end-user demands. This evolution has also led to new RFCs and protocols being standardized, adopted, and deployed within routers (at last count there were over 8,000 RFCs and protocols). It has more importantly led to many of these protocols associated with IP no longer being required, updated, or maintained. This is analogous to human languages where words, phrases, and even whole languages, such as Latin, are no longer commonly used over time.

What do we do with these obsolete protocols? We can eliminate them from modern IP networks to reduce storage, compute, complexity, and operating costs. We call such IP networks “lean” and it allows operators to move away from traditional box-centric IP network designs running ever larger and more complex monolithic software stacks, as many traditional IP vendors have and continue to implement today.

Operators are asking for something different. They are asking for Adaptive IPTM, a simpler way to deliver IP.

Last year, we introduced Ciena’s Adaptive IP solution, based on our Adaptive NetworkTM vision, specifically to deliver IP differently. The foundation of the solution is lean IP-capable programmable infrastructure supported by multiple Ciena Packet Networking platforms, but we didn’t just stop there.

While 5G, IP business services, Fiber Deep, and other bandwidth hungry applications are driving the need for more IP at the network edge, the need for more capacity delivered with the lowest power and smallest footprint has also become key. This is particularly true for power/space-constrained DCI applications, as well as outside plant environments for cable access or 4G/5G applications. It is not surprising, then, that we are starting to see demand in the access network and for some applications in the metro for the integration of coherent optics within packet platforms. As part of our Adaptive IP solution, our packet networking platforms can leverage Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Nano pluggables to deliver the industry’s leading coherent technology in a footprint and power-optimized form factor. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Hitting the Right Notes in Illustration
By Joe Shepter – At some point in their lives, everyone draws,” says illustrator Gabriel Silveira. “Some people continue to draw, but most stop.”

That’s the humble way the 35-year-old Brazilian describes his path to becoming a highly sought-after professional illustrator. Silveira’s futuristic and intensely graphical creations have graced the pages of magazines like ESPN, Wired, and the Harvard Business Review, and enhanced brands and events like Loot Crate and the MCM London Comic Con.

He admits that as he was growing up, he was much more of a fan than a prodigy. Early on, he discovered the Brazilian cartoonists Laerte and Angeli, as well as Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées, becoming fascinated with artists like Hergé and Moebius. From there, he moved on to American titles and developed a particular affinity for the X-Men. Along the way, he noticed that the comic books didn’t merely have an author; they also credited an illustrator.

This sparked an idea that emerged when he graduated from design school in 2005. After struggling to find a design job in Sao Paulo’s competitive advertising scene, Silveira landed a position as an assistant for noted Brazilian illustrator Carlo Giovanni, with whom he trained diligently for nine months. When Giovanni decided to take his practice in the new direction, he generously shared his editorial contacts with Silveira, who quickly established himself as a talented freelancer. more>

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Why Corporations Can No Longer Avoid Politics

By Alana Semuels – For decades, most companies went to great lengths to avoid opining on social issues. No longer.

What’s changed? Frustrated with political gridlock, consumers have turned to business for leadership. “I think business has to pick up the mantle when governments fail you,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario told TIME earlier this year. Young consumers are also more likely to patronize brands whose business models claim to include social change.

Nine in 10 members of Generation Z, who account for as much as $150 billion in spending power globally, believe that companies have a responsibility to social and environmental issues, according to McKinsey. In an age when companies have detailed information on customers’ ages, incomes and political persuasions, they’re calculating that these socially aware consumers are more lucrative than those who might be put off by social-justice campaigns.

“In a politically polarized world that is saturated in social media, you’re not going to escape politics,” says Jerry Davis, a professor of management and sociology at the University of Michigan. “This is a sea change–in the past, companies kept their heads down and did their best to never be seen.” more>

Updates from Siemens

Artificial intelligence development is changing how industry works
By StevenH – Many industries are going to benefit from artificial intelligence development. It’s hard to say which ones in the long term will find the highest level of success, but we can already see significant benefits in a host of industries.

At its core, artificial intelligence is a tool that can acquire, organize and analyze vast amounts of data to create and parameterize models to recognize patterns and make predictions. AI is delivering many benefits and its continued use is the key to making a business more competitive. By automating some of the repetitive, basic tasks, a company can increase productivity, reduce mistakes and enable quicker, better decisions. In insurance, for example, companies are using AI to automate claims processing. The entertainment industry uses AI to optimize streaming services and suggest content based on an individual’s previous choices and comparing it to the choices of others.

If you’re a business or a company wondering about what to do about AI, whether to use it or even when to use it, then the answer is, Yes. Businesses must think about using AI. Artificial intelligence is a practical tool, and just like banks use it to prevent fraud or healthcare uses its algorithms to scan X rays, companies should look to solve problems and challenges with AI.

In engineering and manufacturing, artificial intelligence is already enhancing the scheduling in a factory by improving downtime and conducting predictive maintenance scheduling. Artificial intelligence saves companies money by reducing costs, for example by collecting data from running machines in the factory and feed it into training for predictive maintenance AI models.

Manufacturers can use these models to detect signs that maintenance is needed, such as changes in vibration signals which might indicate there is a developing problem. They can then schedule a maintenance session at the downtime of their choosing, perhaps overnight on a Saturday where there could be minimal or no loss of production. Naturally, it’s more economical to perform maintenance at the company’s discretion than having an expensive machine offline for several days, while possibly waiting for delivery of replacement parts from somewhere on the other side of the world. more>

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Updates from McKinsey

A transformation in store
Brick-and-mortar retail stores need to up their game. Technology could give them significant boost.
By Praveen Adhi, Tiffany Burns, Andrew Davis, Shruti Lal, and Bill Mutell – Now should be a great time in US retail. Consumer confidence has finally returned to pre-recession levels. Americans have seen their per capita, constant-dollar disposable income rise more than 20 percent between the beginning of 2014 and early 2019.

Yet despite the buoyant economic environment, many brick-and-mortar stores are struggling. In the last three years, more than 45 US retail chains have gone bankrupt.

Yet rumors of the physical store’s death are exaggerated. Even by 2023, e-commerce is forecast to account for only 21 percent of total retail sales and just 5 percent of grocery sales. And with Amazon and other major internet players developing their own brick-and-mortar networks, it is becoming increasingly clear that the future of retail belongs to companies that can offer a true omnichannel experience.

Retailers are already wrestling with omnichannel’s demands on their supply chains and back-office operations. Now they need to think about how they use emerging technologies and rich, granular data on customers to transform the in-store experience. The rewards for those that get this right will be significant: 83 percent of customers say they want their shopping experience to be personalized in some way, and our research suggests that effective personalization can increase store revenues by 20 to 30 percent.

Several new technologies have reached a tipping point and are set to spill over onto the retail floor. Machine learning and big-data analytics techniques are ready to crunch the vast quantities of customer data that retailers already accumulate. Robots and automation systems are moving out of factories and into warehouses and distribution centers. The Internet of Things allows products to be tracked across continents, or on shelves with millimeter precision. Now is a great time for retailers to embrace that challenge of bringing technology and data together in the offline world. more>

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Updates from ITU

WRC‑19: Enabling global radiocommunications for a better tomorrow
By Mario Maniewicz – ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC‑19) is playing a key role in shaping the technical and regulatory framework for the provision of radiocommunication services in all countries, in space, air, at sea and on land. It will help accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is providing a solid foundation to support a variety of emerging technologies that are set to revolutionize the digital economy, including the use of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services.

Every three to four years the conference revises the Radio Regulations (RR), the only international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The treaty’s provisions regulate the use of telecommunication services and, where necessary, also regulate new applications of radiocommunication technologies.

The aim of the regulation is to facilitate equitable access and rational use of the limited natural resources of the radio-frequency spectrum and the satellite orbits, and to enable the efficient and effective operation of all radiocommunication services. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Is automation enough for digital transformation?
Many leading service providers are already concluding that automation is not enough to drive complete digital transformation. Complex decision making at super-human speeds requires intelligent automation, machine learning, and AI, all of which are fundamental for controlling and operating communications networks of the future.
By Shelley Bhalla – On March 26, 2019, many airlines tweeted that their main reservation systems were having “system issues” and were unable to issue boarding passes. This was a U.S.-wide outage that impacted hundreds of thousands of passengers and the scene below from one of the airports illustrates a frustrating customer experience most anyone can relate to.

Every industry inevitably experiences network issues and outages, but in today’s deeply connected social world, a disruption in service severely impacts a company’s brand value and reputation. Service providers understand this and are focusing on using automation to quickly identify root causes and fixes to such issues.

But is automation enough for meaningful digital transformation?

To reduce operating expenses and address the complexity resulting from incorporating newer technologies, service providers must embrace a fundamental shift in ideology to focus on solving problems proactively, before they happen. This won’t happen overnight; it’s more of a journey that starts with a keen focus on solving problems quickly using analytics and automation. As time progresses, the power of artificial intelligence (AI) can then help predict and avoid these issues before they impact services.

Many leading service providers are already concluding that automation is not enough to drive complete digital transformation. Complex decision making at super-human speeds requires intelligent automation, machine learning and AI, all of which are fundamental for controlling and operating communications networks of the future.

Let’s look at why. more>

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Preventing digital feudalism

By Mariana Mazzucato – The use and abuse of data by Facebook and other tech companies are finally garnering the official attention they deserve. With personal data becoming the world’s most valuable commodity, will users be the platform economy’s masters or its slaves?

Prospects for democratizing the platform economy remain dim.

Algorithms are developing in ways that allow companies to profit from our past, present, and future behavior – or what Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School describes as our “behavioral surplus.” In many cases, digital platforms already know our preferences better than we do, and can nudge us to behave in ways that produce still more value. Do we really want to live in a society where our innermost desires and manifestations of personal agency are up for sale?

Capitalism has always excelled at creating new desires and cravings. But with big data and algorithms, tech companies have both accelerated and inverted this process. Rather than just creating new goods and services in anticipation of what people might want, they already know what we will want, and are selling our future selves. Worse, the algorithmic processes being used often perpetuate gender and racial biases, and can be manipulated for profit or political gain. While we all benefit immensely from digital services such as Google search, we didn’t sign up to have our behavior cataloged, shaped, and sold.

To change this will require focusing directly on the prevailing business model, and specifically on the source of economic rents. Just as landowners in the seventeenth century extracted rents from land-price inflation, and just as robber barons profited from the scarcity of oil, today’s platform firms are extracting value through the monopolization of search and e-commerce services. more>