Category Archives: Business

Updates from Ciena

8 top technologies for modern DCI networks
As the number of data centers has grown and the DCI market has evolved, network operators have had to deploy new capacity rapidly to keep up with the growing demand. Learn how the industry has responded to these challenges with new, highly scalable technologies and products.
By Kent Jordan – Connections. Content. Efficiency. Three simple reasons for the wide-scale adoption of social media, streaming video, and enterprise cloud services.  1.59 billion active users on Facebook connect with friends and make new ones daily.  151 million people stream popular content on Netflix and 9.7 million daily users watch livestreams of e-gaming on Twitch – consuming content when they want, on any device they prefer.  As businesses move applications and processes to the cloud, the public cloud services market is forecast to grow to over $330 billion by 2022 according to Gartner.  And it’s not just content and cloud.  Internet of Things and 5G, connected cars, telemedicine and e-learning are all poised to add more demand to interconnect networks.

There are many, varied market drivers for high-capacity interconnect, and they’re all experiencing massive growth.  Whether you post a selfie on the beach or a photo of the best dessert you’ve ever had, the content and information is stored in data centers and transported across the networks that interconnect them.  This is driving interconnect bandwidth to grow at double digit rates across a variety of industry segments to over 8,200 Tbps by 2021 according to the Equinix Global Interconnection Index.

But how can network operators keep up with growing demand? more>

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Updates from ITU

How Mexico seeks to connect its rural citizens better: Arturo Robles
ITU News – In Mexico, 95.23 per cent of the population have a mobile-cellular subscription and 65.77 per cent of the population use the internet, according to ITU statistics.

Connecting the remaining population to the power of the internet, however, has been a challenge as many of the people who remain offline live in very isolated rural areas.

But thanks to successful connections with K-band satellites, commercial satellite operators are now finding profitable and feasible opportunities to provide connectivity in these remote villages, says Arturo Robles, Commissioner of Mexico’s Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT).

During an interview with ITU at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Mr. Robles also shared his hope that innovative services could help provide affordable rural connectivity solutions. more>

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Collaborators in creation

Our world is a system, in which physical and social technologies co-evolve. How can we shape a process we don’t control?
By Doyne Farmer, Fotini Markopoulou, Eric Beinhocker and Steen Rasmussen – This is a disorienting time. Disagreements are deep, factions stubborn, the common reality crumbling. Technology is changing who we are and the society we live in at a blinding pace. How can we make sense out of these changes? How can we forge new tools to guide our future? What is our new identity in this changing world?

Social upheavals caused by new technologies have occurred throughout history.

Cultural institutions are also a kind of technology – a social technology. Just as physical technologies – agriculture, the wheel or computers – are tools for transforming matter, energy or information in pursuit of our goals, social technologies are tools for organizing people in pursuit of our goals. Laws, moral values and money are social technologies, as are ways of organizing an army, a religion, a government or a retail business.

While we are fascinated and sometimes frightened by the pace of evolution of physical technologies, we experience the evolution of social technologies differently. Our values, laws and political organizations define and shape our identities. We often regard those who use different social technologies – people from different cultures, regions, nations, religions or those with different values and beliefs – as ‘others’.

When social technologies change too quickly, we experience a loss of identity, a collective confusion about who we are and how we distinguish ourselves from others. But when social technologies change too slowly, this can create tensions too – for example, when political institutions fail to keep pace with wider changes in society.

Physical and social technologies co-evolve all the time, pushing and pulling on each other. The influence is in both directions. Physical and social technologies are so entangled that it can be hard to separate them.

What drives technological change? In many popular narratives, invention is an act performed by heroes such as Thomas Edison and Tim Berners-Lee. In reality, technological change comes about through an incremental process that involves a great deal of trial and error, and networks of people working in ecosystems of innovation. Technological change is an evolutionary process, very much like biological change is an evolutionary process. more>

Updates from McKinsey

A government blueprint to adapt the ecosystem to the future of work
Digital and artificial intelligence technologies will likely have a substantial economic and social impact. Governments can act now to create shared prosperity and better lives for all citizens.
By Marco Dondi, Solveigh Hieronimus, Julia Klier, Peter Puskas, Dirk Schmautzer, and Jörg Schubert – In the coming years, automation will have a substantial economic and social impact on countries around the world—and governments will by no means be passive observers. This report seeks to provide government leaders and policy makers with the foundation to harness the potential of automation while mitigating its adverse effects.

Automation has the potential to alter nearly every facet of work and daily life. Indeed, automation, digital, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are already essential to our professional and civic lives. The McKinsey Global Institute identified the adoption of digital technologies as the biggest factor in future economic growth : it will likely account for about 60 percent of potential productivity growth by 2030. AI alone is expected to yield an additional 1.2 percent in productivity growth per year from 2017 to 2030.

Promoting the adoption of automation is critical because many countries will need to more than double their productivity growth to simply sustain historic economic growth rates. In this context, the productivity boost from automation is necessary to avoid the negative consequences of stagnating economies, such as lower income growth, increasing inequality, and difficulty for corporations and households to repay loans.

While automation has the potential to boost economic growth, it poses some key challenges to the nature of work. The public senses this shift. In a recent survey of 100,000 citizens in 29 countries, we found that job security was the number-one economic priority for the future. Our analysis has identified three challenges associated with automation.

Shifting skill requirements. The path toward sustained prosperity requires a growing number of talented individuals to enable a broad adoption of digital and AI technologies as well as a broad-based workforce capable of operating in a more automated and digital environment. Without addressing this skill demand, technology adoption could slow, and people with obsolete skills could exit the labor force.

The adoption of digital and AI technologies will also require most workers to upskill or reskill. Up to 14 percent of people globally may need to change occupations by 2030, a figure that could climb to more than 30 percent in more advanced economies with a faster pace of automation. However, reskilling is hard to do well at scale, and efforts to date have produced mixed outcomes. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Uncovering the path to 5G connectivity
The race to deliver new, high-value 5G services is all about how quickly you can evolve your existing 4G infrastructure into a scalable, ultra-reliable, high-performance 5G network. This is the first post in a three-part series from Dave Parsons, Ethernet & IP Solutions and Enablement Director for EMEA at Ciena, where he covers key strategies to accelerate and de-risk the path towards 5G, deliver new services, and stay ahead of your competitors.
By Dave Parsons – We’ve all heard it. In the 5G era, the number of mobile devices are expected to significantly increase and support as high as 100x faster data rates, and 10x lower latency, when compared to today’s 4G LTE. This combination of capacity and latency improvements will unleash a lucrative new range of augmented/virtual reality, IoT, gaming, trading, and industrial applications (such as manufacturing applications and control and monitoring applications for utilities companies).

The race has already begun to migrate existing 4G networks to 5G-capable networks, initially based on the 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) infrastructure, where 5G New Radio (NR) will leverage existing 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) infrastructure until the 5G Core network is fully standardized and rolled out.

To keep pace with your competitors, and embrace emerging 5G services, you need to accelerate and de-risk your planned network evolution and bring profitable new services to market as fast as possible. The question is, how?

There are various strategies you can adopt for a successful 4G to 5G network migration. In this series, we’ll explore the paths you can choose from.

  1. Unlock bandwidth-on-demand with scalable cell-site infrastructure: Networks that backhaul 5G traffic must scale by an order of magnitude – typically from 1G to 10G – and even higher in some cases. Backhaul networks are expected to carry existing 4G traffic as well for improved economies of scale via a simpler, converged transport network where high capacity backhaul links can benefit from the very latest in coherent pluggable optics.
  2. Accelerate your 5G infrastructure rollout with Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP): Slow, manual, and error-prone installation and configuration of network infrastructure can significantly delay an operator’s 4G to 5G evolution, and increase costs. Solutions offering ZTP overcome these challenges by automating network equipment deployments in a rapid, reliable, and error-free manner, providing a faster 5G service rollouts for significant competitive advantage as the race to 5G intensifies.

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Updates from Adobe

Rachel Demetz: Coaxing Light Out of Darkness
By Joe Shepter – For many of us, art is a source of pleasure; for Rachel Demetz, it has been a lifesaver. Plagued by chronic depression at the age of 18, she decided to enroll in Serra i Abella, a small illustration school near Barcelona. There, she began experimenting with techniques that combined different media.

“I had a deep depression and turned to art to survive,” she says. “I painted a lot when I was a kid and started to play with photography as a teen. Mixing them is a very important part of what I do.”

Demetz found commercial success quite early in her career. Right after she graduated from art school, she received a surprise commission from Costalamel, a streetwear brand based in Barcelona—and she has been an independent artist ever since.

“I really didn’t expect that,” she says. “All my life I thought I couldn’t make a living through my art, and I’d never seriously thought of being an artist.”

Nonetheless, four years later, the 25-year-old Demetz regularly receives commissions for album covers, T-shirts, and fashion marketing—often via her popular Instagram account. She also has a broad portfolio of personal work, in which she explores the relationship between darkness and light. more>

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Updates from McKinsey

Ten principles for successful oil and gas operator transitions
Incoming operators face several challenges when taking over an asset, including managing the transition, improving performance, and capturing value. Ten principles can guide the way.
By Pat Graham, Maximilian Mahringer, and Andy Thain – In the past five years, many oil and gas assets experienced an operator change after concessions expired and new operators or national oil companies acquired the rights, or after international oil companies divested or acquired assets. Regardless of the circumstances, a transition between operators represents a critical inflection point for an asset. On one hand, it gains a fresh lease on life through better access to capital, the adoption of new operating methods, or the application of new technologies that enhance its value. On the other hand, an operator change can trigger instability and increase risk before and after the transition. Indeed, many new operators fail to capture the value they expected.

From our analysis of production profiles following upstream operator transitions, we found that only about 20 percent were executed successfully, meaning they maintained or improved production levels throughout the transfer phase. Between 15 and 20 percent stagnated, while 60 to 70 percent declined.

Why were failure rates so high? We identified several reasons why incoming operators struggled to maintain production output:

Lack of collaboration between acquirer and incumbent. Failing to establish an effective working relationship can lead to multiple issues, such as reluctance among incumbents to invest in areas that fail to yield an economic payback before exit, decline in employee engagement, and challenges in the transfer of data and operating procedures.

Excessive level of change from day one. Transferring operatorship always involves changes to governance, operating processes, and IT systems—some of which will need to be implemented from day one. However, tackling too much change too soon can be disruptive, destroying good incumbent practices and cultural features that the acquirer should seek to retain.

Loss of essential capabilities. When exiting an operatorship, incumbents often relocate critical talent to more attractive prospects in their portfolios. This is particularly true of asset-leadership teams, specialists, and those with scarce skills. Replacing such capabilities can be costly and time consuming for the incoming operator.

Lack of attention to cultural differences. Every operator has their own way of aligning the organization’s vision, translating that vision into reality, and finding ways to create business value. No matter how similar ways of working may appear on the surface, different companies often interpret key terms such as “respect” or “risk-taking” in different ways, with different expectations of the behaviors needed to support them. Bringing these differences into the open and deciding which ones need to be addressed, and how, is a vital step in any transition. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Industrial design company uses NX to set new standards of performance and consumer appeal in rideable technology
Siemens – Subtle weight transfer may be the key to gliding casually through the urban environment on an electric unicycle, but thoughtful design is the key to comfort and performance. It was an industrial design ethos that prompted Uniwheel to set about transforming a generic unicycle design into one that is both ergonomic and reliable.

“We were aware that most of the electric unicycles on the market followed a rather simple design: internal electronics inside a clamshell with square pedals sticking out,” explained Steve Milton, company director and chief executive of the London-based company. “User feedback revealed that the rather boxy shape hurt the legs. We, therefore, set out to provide a comfortable, safe and enjoyable user experience.”

Uniwheel’s aim was to be the first to market with a design that was thoroughly thought through. That target was met at the end of 2015 when the company launched its first consumer product, just seven months from the first concept. The use of NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software was fundamental to the success and speed of the entire development project.

From first concept, the design team began using NX to create basic 3D models of elements such as the external styling of the plastic case, which has integrated lighting; the metal for the pedals and motor; and fine details such as the grip on the surface of the pedals. The main challenge was to package the sophisticated electronics and software, the removable battery packs, the motor and the wheel housing. Allocating appropriate spaces for the wiring looms was critical. With an emphasis clearly on the ergonomics of the main casing, 3D curves had a big role to play. “NX styling is great; the surfacing capabilities are really comprehensive,” comments Carson Brown, designer. more>

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Scientists Transform Barbecue Lighter Into a High-Tech Lab Device
By Josh Brown – Researchers have devised a straightforward technique for building a laboratory device known as an electroporator – which applies a jolt of electricity to temporarily open cell walls – from inexpensive components, including a piezoelectric crystal taken from a butane lighter.

Plans for the device, known as the ElectroPen, are being made available, along with the files necessary for creating a 3D-printed casing.

“Our goal with the ElectroPen was to make it possible for high schools, budget-conscious laboratories, and even those working in remote locations without access to electricity to perform experiments or processes involving electroporation,” said M. Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “This is another example of looking for ways to bypass economic limitations to advance scientific research by putting this capability into the hands of many more scientists and aspiring scientists.”

In a study reported January 10 in the journal PLOS Biology and sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the researchers detail the method for constructing the ElectroPen, which is capable of generating short bursts of more than 2,000 volts needed for a wide range of laboratory tasks.

One of the primary jobs of a cell membrane is to serve as a protective border, sheltering the inner workings of a living cell from the outside environment.

But all it takes is a brief jolt of electricity for that membrane to temporarily open and allow foreign molecules to flow in — a process called electroporation, which has been used for decades in molecular biology labs for tasks ranging from bacterial detection to genetic engineering. more>

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The Last Time Democracy Almost Died

By Jill Lepore – American democracy, too, staggered, weakened by corruption, monopoly, apathy, inequality, political violence, hucksterism, racial injustice, unemployment, even starvation. “We do not distrust the future of essential democracy,” F.D.R. said in his first Inaugural Address, telling Americans that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself. But there was more to be afraid of, including Americans’ own declining faith in self-government.

“American democracy,” as a matter of history, is democracy with an asterisk, the symbol A-Rod’s name would need if he were ever inducted into the Hall of Fame. Not until the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act can the United States be said to have met the basic conditions for political equality requisite in a democracy. All the same, measured not against its past but against its contemporaries, American democracy in the twenty-first century is withering. The Democracy Index rates a hundred and sixty-seven countries, every year, on a scale that ranges from “full democracy” to “authoritarian regime.”

In 2006, the U.S. was a “full democracy,” the seventeenth most democratic nation in the world.

In 2016, the index for the first time rated the United States a “flawed democracy,” and since then American democracy has gotten only more flawed. True, the United States still doesn’t have a Rome or a Berlin to march on. That hasn’t saved the nation from misinformation, tribalization, domestic terrorism, human-rights abuses, political intolerance, social-media mob rule, white nationalism, a criminal President, the nobbling of Congress, a corrupt Presidential Administration, assaults on the press, crippling polarization, the undermining of elections, and an epistemological chaos that is the only air that totalitarianism can breathe.

Nothing so sharpens one’s appreciation for democracy as bearing witness to its demolition. Mussolini called Italy and Germany “the greatest and soundest democracies which exist in the world today,” and Hitler liked to say that, with Nazi Germany, he had achieved a “beautiful democracy,” prompting the American political columnist Dorothy Thompson to remark of the Fascist state, “If it is going to call itself democratic we had better find another word for what we have and what we want.” In the nineteen-thirties, Americans didn’t find another word. But they did work to decide what they wanted, and to imagine and to build it.

Thompson, who had been a foreign correspondent in Germany and Austria and had interviewed the Führer, said, in a column that reached eight million readers, “Be sure you know what you prepare to defend.”

It’s a paradox of democracy that the best way to defend it is to attack it, to ask more of it, by way of criticism, protest, and dissent. more>