Displaying items by tag: US

South Korean conglomerate Samsung have announced that its voice-based assistant entitled ‘Bixby’ is now available for Galaxy S8 users in over 200 countries worldwide following its release in the US last month.

The world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer had launched Bixby domestically and in the US, but now voice-assistant technology is available in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Samsung developed the feature in an attempt to catch-up with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

Bixby currently only supports English and Korean, and issued a statement highlighting the fact that not all accents, dialects and expressions will be recognized. It stressed that it will take time for Bixby to adapt and understand regional dialects.

The statement read, “Natural language understanding allows Bixby to continuously improve its ability to interpret regional dialects. But since Bixby learns more frequently used command terms more quickly, it will take more time for Bixby to fully understand regional dialects that are used less frequently.”

The electronics colossus has revealed that Bixby’s features include Quick Commands which allows users to create a custom voice command to use instead of a sequence of one or more demands. In addition to this, Samsung’s voice-assistant can also grasp the understanding of cross-application commands and features deep learning technology which can improve over a period of time which can then recognize personal preferences and ways of talking.

The statement added that when an application becomes Bixby-enabled, the platform will support every task the application is capable of performing using voice, touch or text. EVP and Head of Research and Development at Samsung Electronics mobile, Injong Rhee has predicted that the emergence and evolution of Bixby will lead to a more seamless connection for users across a range of devices.

Rhee said, “The expansion of Bixby’s voice capabilities is an initial step in the continued rollout of Bixby functionality. In the future, Bixby will have the learning power to offer more intelligent and personalised interactions and seamless connections across more devices.”

It has also been disclosed that Samsung is intending on expanding Bixby’s voice capabilities to additional countries, languages, devices, features and third-party applications. Samsung first unveiled its voice-assistant back in March, but it suffered some teething problems when the launch of the English version of the product was delayed. It then targeted a launch date in May, but that was pushed back to the end of June, before Bixby was eventually launched in the US in July.

However, it now places Samsung amongst the ever-competitive AI voice-assistant market and analysts are predicting Bixby to be a biggest success for the South Korean colossus.

Published in Devices

South Korean multinational conglomerate Samsung and Chinese vendor ZTE have both adopted aggressive strategies in relation to investment for 5G infrastructure – and many analysts are predicting that this approach will both disrupt and threaten the traditional trio of networks players which include Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.

ZTE has focused largely on the development of 5G specifications in the last twelve months, which is much more than any of it previous forays in relation to mobile technology. The Chinese telecommunications equipment and systems colossus has doubled its R&D spending on 5G in 2016 to $400m – and has assigned 1,600 employees to work on the technology at four dedicated research facilities located in China, the US and Europe.

Director of Wireless Standardization, Wang Xinhui has claimed that ZTE’s inactivity with 2G, 3G and 4G was down to the fact that it lacked maturity, and declared it was now much better equipped for the forthcoming era of 5G. At a 5G Summit in Tokyo in May, he told Mobile World Live: “In the past we were simply less mature. With 2G and 3G, and even with 4G, we weren’t that big. But in the era of 5G, we were well prepared. We’ve spent a huge amount of money and devoted so much human resources, particularly towards the New Radio specifications.”

Chief analyst at Global Data Technology, Peter Jarich said it made perfect sense for an entity like ZTE to attempt to penetrate the 5G market, as the technology will require new expertise and infrastructure. He feels it’s a natural and logical progression from ZTE to invest heavily in 5G, as they recognize it as a phenomenal opportunity.

South Korean smartphone giants Samsung have also adopted a similar approach, and have been working on 5G since 2012, when it started its first mmWave research and development. It has previously stated that it firmly believes that strong 5G infrastructure will help ensure Samsung executes its mission which is to ‘connect everything’.

Samsung has boldly set its sights on becoming a top-three player in the 5G infrastructure market, and it has estimated that network equipment sales will treble to $8.6 billion in 2022. It has been disclosed that Samsung, which is the world’s largest smartphone maker plans to accumulate market share by moving swiftly and targeting the US market.

The reason behind its strategic targeting of the US market is that its Asian competitors such as Huawei and ZTE may face a ban on selling networking gear due to security concerns which have been raised by the government. In May, Samsung publicly announced that it had conducted the world’s first field trial of a multi-vendor, pre-standard 5G network with US telecommunications firm Verizon. In addition to this, more recently Samsung and UK communications firm Arqiva announced it had conducted the first field trial of 5G Fixed Wireless Access Technology in Europe that went live in Central London.

VP of next-generation business and products at Samsung Networks, Woojune Kim, has expressed his confidence they can become a top tier network player in 5G, citing the fact that its Finnish and Swedish competitors are currently struggling. This stark assessment of its rivals was evidenced by the CEO of Nokia, Rajeev Suri conceded that the fact 5G was accelerating much faster than originally expected, would almost inevitable create some near term risks for his company, with the timing and completion of certain projects now uncertain. 

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecommunications conglomerate ZTE has increased its market share in the US smartphone industry. Analysts have suggested that its success is down to a combination of aggressive marketing and its manufacturing of cheap and affordable devices.

Research from Counterpoint Technology has indicated that the Chinese firm has enjoyed a rise of 36% in the shipment of its smartphones to the US. ZTE sold 4.8 million units in the second quarter of this year. However, the launch of another big-screen, budget-friendly smartphone in the US is estimated to bring more success for the Chinese vendor.

ZTE is already the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the US, and is increasing the pressure on its rivals which include LG, Samsung and Apple. ZTE has formally announced that it will launch the Blade Z Max after it agreed to enter a partnership with Metro-PCS. It has been disclosed that the new device will retail at $129, which is the same price point as the ZTE Max XL.

ZTE strategy is quite clear, and it is also evident that it is proving to be a very successful one. CEO of ZTE’s mobile devices, Lixin Cheng said the firm’s latest device focuses on high-end specifications at an affordable price in order to make it available for the masses.

ZTE’s new device does boast a number of premium features, which include a six-inch full HD IPS LCD display with a scratch resistant screen. When compared with its much more expensive counterparts such as the iPhone 7 and the OnePlus 5, it has many of the same features and capabilities as those devices. The Blaze Z Max has dual rear cameras at 16 megapixels.

It has been announced that Metro-PCS will begin taking pre-orders for the Blade Z Max online, whilst it will also be available in some selected Metro-PCS stores from August 28th. In addition to being the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the US, ZTE has also established itself as the second-largest vendor in the no-contract market sector.

The encouraging latest figures released show that ZTE’s US strategy is having the desired effect, and with this latest device launch, which is expected to be a massive success, the future looks bright for the Chinese conglomerate as its aims to accelerate its growth in the US market in 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Some of the most prominent figures in the US technology sector have publicly expressed their dismay and anger following the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last week. Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have all announced they will implement measures in a bid to fightback against the rise of white supremacists in the US.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook criticized President Trump’s response to the events last week - and in a letter to his employees said counter-protesters were standing up for human rights. Cook said, “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

Cook revealed that Apple would contribute $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, who are both human right groups. In addition to this, he said it was suspending its Apple Pay support on websites that sell white supremacy clothing and accessories. E-commerce platform PayPal has also implemented similar measures.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella also voiced her concern at the violence in Virginia, and said there was absolutely unequivocally no place for such racist rhetoric in the US. In a letter to employees, Nadella said, “There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed this weekend in Virginia provoked by white nationalists.”

Cloud security and performance firm Cloud-flare also publicly announced that it has now terminated its account with neo-Nazi outlet ‘The Daily Stormer. The publication drew widespread criticism following the publication of a hate-filled feature on the victims of the Charlottesville violence.

Social media colossus Facebook has also moved swiftly to take action and suspended the account of infamous white supremacist Christopher Cantwell’s accounts on both Facebook and Instagram. Twitter has also removed the online account of The Daily Stormer from its platform.

President Trump drew criticism from technology leaders following his appointment to The White House in November. His controversial policies on immigration were widely condemned in Silicon Valley, and while President Trump has taken steps to build relationships with technology firms in Silicon Valley since taking office – there scathing criticism of his response to Charlottesville will not be well received by either Trump or his republican administration in Washington DC.

Published in Government

In a US wireless industry first, Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies announced on August 2 they reached 953 Mbps (just under 1 gigabit per second) in a joint commercial network deployment in Boca Raton, Florida. While lab tests have shown comparable speeds in recent months, this is the fastest announced speed achieved in a real-world, dynamic network environment leveraging Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology.

The demonstration used all commercially available Verizon network components including a cell site, hardware, software, and backhaul. Riding on the backbone of Verizon's most reliable network infrastructure, Ericsson provided the most advanced remote radio head in the industry.

The micro Radio 2205 for LAA, designed for unlicensed spectrum use, provides small dimensions, flexible mounting and superior performance, and is a component of the Ericsson Radio System, an end-to-end modular radio network portfolio of hardware and software designed to fit all site types and traffic scenarios as networks grow in scale and complexity on the road to 5G.

Qualcomm Technologies provided a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile platform test device, with Gigabit LTE capability thanks to the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

Verizon was the first national wireless provider to introduce 4G LTE speeds in 2010, spurring an ecosystem of video viewing and data sharing at a pace not realized before. Since that time, Verizon and its partners have continued to evolve the 4G LTE network, enabling it to carry more robust applications and solutions for consumers, enterprise customers and government agencies.

"Today's milestone is a great example of our approach to new technology - we deploy the latest capabilities reliably and in real-world environments, not just in a lab," said Nicola Palmer, Chief Wireless Network Officer for Verizon. "By continuing to deploy the latest technologies on our 4G LTE Advanced network, we pave the way for better and faster performance for the things our customers do now, and provide the groundwork for our future advancements."

A combination of the latest 4G LTE wireless technologies is required to reach these industry-leading speeds. Carrier aggregation, a key technological advancement, bands multiple spectrum channels together to allow data to flow more efficiently resulting in dramatically faster peak speeds.

Verizon led the industry last summer when it launched LTE Advanced with two channel carrier aggregation nationally and has completed deployment of three channel carrier aggregation using its licensed spectrum.

To reach gigabit class speeds, Verizon used a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for the first time. This four carrier aggregation uses LAA (License Assisted Access) to combine Verizon's spectrum holdings with unlicensed spectrum, which takes advantage of spectrum where home and commercial Wi-Fi technologies exist. In addition to four channel carrier aggregation, other technological advancements include:

  • 4x4 MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers' devices to optimize data speeds
  • 256 QAM which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission, significantly enhancing data speeds

"It is exciting to see Gigabit LTE momentum globally and in the US, especially as we move closer to a 5G world. With leading operators and infrastructure vendors like Verizon and Ericsson, we will continue to develop and deploy innovative technologies to power future networks and devices," said Mike Finley, SVP & President, Qualcomm North America.

Published in Telecom Vendors

The Nasdaq Stock Exchange in the US confirmed it has purchased a London-based regulatory technology firm called Sybenetix which uses artificial intelligence to catch rogue traders. Nasdaq said it will pay an undisclosed amount for the firm and said it intends to fund the purchase with cash.

Nasdaq president and CEO, Adena Friedman, said in a release, “Nasdaq is investing in the technologies, talent and capabilities that solve the complex challenges our clients face.”

Friedman added, “We believe behavioral science, cognitive computing and machine intelligence are essential to a successful, holistic surveillance offering and critical to efficient and effective organizational compliance with an increasingly intricate global regulatory environment.”

Specific behavioral patterns by an organization are learned by Sybenetix through algorithms, and the information can then be processed to detect any unusual trading behavior. Nasdaq does have its own risk and surveillance solutions, but the addition of Sybenetix artificial intelligence software will add to it making overall operations more secure.

Regulatory companies are becoming more and more popular as there are increasingly complex regulations being put on financial institutions, CNBC reports. CB Insights says regulatory companies raised $732 million globally in 2016 with 102 companies getting funding, highlighting the largest number of deals.

In a joint statement, Sybenetix CEO Taras Chaban and chief behavioral scientist Wendy Jephson, said, “Being part of Nasdaq will provide enormous growth opportunities for Sybenetix’s surveillance technologies and will also accelerate new product development for the buy-side industry.”

The statement added, “Our clients will benefit from the added confidence of working with a world-leading company that understands the business and requirements of Sybenetix’s buy-side customers.”

New subsea cable system to connect the Caribbean and the US

Written on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 11:31

Deep Blue Cable announced it has contracted TE SubCom to build and deploy the Deep Blue subsea cable system. The pan-Caribbean system design spans nearly 12,000km with initial landing points in 12 markets throughout the region, including the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks & Caicos Islands, with dual diverse landings in the U.S., which will include the first landing of a cable on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Speaking to Telecom Review, Deep Blue CEO Steve Scott said the Deep Blue subsea cable network will offer an initial capacity of 6 Tbps per fiber pair and is projected to be completed in Q4 of 2019. It will ensure availability, competitive pricing and capacity resilience, he said.
The Deep Blue network will benefit the region’s businesses and consumers by offering significantly higher design capacity, lower unit costs, lower latency through direct connectivity, and the ability to leverage advancements in reliability such as improved route planning and installation techniques. 

Based in St. Lucia, Deep Blue cable is the developer, owner and operator of the system that will provide connectivity across the Caribbean islands and to the United States. By ensuring competitive pricing and resilience through alternative supply, Deep Blue cable will provide connectivity to international and regional telecommunications operators, regional network providers, Over-the-Top (OTT) providers, data centers, governments, and large enterprises, including financial services, and oil and gas companies.

“Deep Blue Cable has great confidence in TE SubCom and its ability to build a state-of-the-art subsea cable system that will provide long overdue advanced connectivity across the Caribbean islands and to the Americas,” said Scott. “The Deep Blue cable system will play a critical role in serving developing Caribbean countries that are now experiencing a surge in demand for advanced telecom services and currently rely on fibre-optic connectivity that is technologically and economically disadvantaged.” 

The Deep Blue cable system will be a network providing direct fibre connectivity between major traffic hubs, as well as optical add/drop connectivity to many smaller markets throughout the region. Using TE SubCom’s proven OADM (optical add/drop multiplexer) branching unit technology, Deep Blue Cable can cost-effectively supply international bandwidth across a range of Caribbean markets, large and small, in a scalable manner over time. 

“TE SubCom is pleased to be entrusted by Deep Blue Cable with the construction of their fibre-optic subsea cable system, which will expand and enhance connectivity across the Caribbean region and to the Americas,” said Mike Rieger, vice president of sales at TE SubCom. “In a region that has experienced no significant fibre-optic deployment in recent years, this submarine cable will satisfy not only the current spike in demand for connectivity in developing Caribbean countries, but also future requirements driven by projected growth.”

Published in Infrastructure

Canadian multinational firm BlackBerry has officially announced it has sold its messaging tools which can be used for encrypting phone calls and text messages to the US federal government – following an endorsement from the National Security Agency (NSA). BlackBerry confirmed that it received notification from the NSA’s National Information Assurance Partnership which reviews commercial technology products to see if they meet enhanced security standards for governments use.

There fear that eavesdroppers are listening in to government communications continues to rise, and has done so over the last number of years. In 2014, one of the first high-profile cases of calls being intercepted was an encrypted mobile phone conversation between a senior US State Department officer and the US ambassador to the Ukraine - the call was intercepted and subsequently leaked online.

BlackBerry is providing the NSA with messaging tools based on technology from Secusmart which is the start-up business the Canadian company acquired in 2014. The start-up had garnered international attention after it won the contract to secure German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone in the wake of allegations by a former US intelligence contractor that her phone had been hacked by the NSA.

However, the case into the alleged phone bugging was dropped in 2015, when German prosecutors declared it had not found enough substantial evidence to continue the investigation. BlackBerry has confirmed that its encrypted voice and text messaging products are by other government agencies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, although Germany remains its biggest customer.

US politics is currently rife with allegations of hacking with two separate investigations underway to determine if Russia played a role in the US presidential election, or if any of Trump’s team conspired with Russian authorities in relation to the election. The FBI and CIA both said it believed Russia was responsible for the e-mail hacking of Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

Published in Government

A group which represents a number of major US technology firms has appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retract its proposed plans to reverse a landmark decision taken in 2015 which prohibited internet service providers from blocking or slowing consumer access to online content.

The Internet Association which represents companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and Microsoft has filed a complaint to the FCC in relation to the reversal on the decision made in 2015. It cited that the dismantling of the established net neutrality rules would create significant uncertainty in the market and disrupt a careful balance that has led to the current circle of innovation in the broadband ecosystem.

In May, Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressed his opposition to the order implemented by the Obama administration in 2015. The FCC voted 2-1 to advance the chairman’s plans to reverse the order which would reclassify internet service providers as if they were utilities. Pai has previously enquired if the FCC has authority or should keep its rules barring internet companies from blocking, throttling or giving ‘fast lanes’ to some websites, known as ‘paid prioritization’.

The FCC chairman has claimed that the order by the Obama administration is unnecessary and harms jobs and investment, and whilst he hasn’t committee to retaining any rules, he has stated that he would prefer an ‘open internet’. However, representatives on the Internet Association said that there is no reliable evidence whatsoever to reinforce Pai’s claim that ‘provider investment’ had fallen.

It has been disclosed that over 8.3m public comments have been filed on the proposal, and Pai will face questions at a US Senate hearing later this week. US telecommunications entities such as AT&T, Verizon Communications and Comcast Corp all vehemently opposed the order in 2015, saying that the order discouraged investment and innovation.

Telecommunication providers have insisted that they strongly support open internet rules and will not block or throttle legal website without legal requirements. However, they have conceded that ‘paid prioritization’ makes sense at times, citing self-driving cars and healthcare information. Internet firms say opening the door to prioritization could enable providers to "destroy the open nature of the internet that allows new or smaller streaming video providers to compete with larger or better-funded edge providers."

Internet providers have expressed their desire to see Congress resolve the long-running dispute over net neutrality and open internet protections. The Internet Association said it was open to alternative legal bases for the rules, either via legislative action codifying the existing net neutrality rules or via sound legal theories offered by the commission.

Published in Government

US technology leaders Microsoft has shocked its workforce by announcing that it plans to cuts ‘thousands’ of jobs as part of company reorganization strategy. However, it’s been reported from a source close to Microsoft that most of the reductions will be made outside of the US, and will target staff in its sales and marketing departments.

Some analysts are claiming that the restructuring of the organization is being driven by the fact Microsoft aims to double down on its fast-growing cloud business. Microsoft shares have suffered a decline and are down 0.7% at $68.63. The Washington-based company employs 120,000 people globally, and figures indicate that around the marketing and sales staff account for around 19% of that figure.

In addition to this, the source also claimed that some Microsoft employees have already been informed of their fate, although in some locations, the firm allegedly plans to notify employees that their jobs are under consideration.

Since assuming responsibility as CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella has been praised by many for reenergizing Microsoft, and he has certainly sharpened the organization’s focus on its cloud computing unit in a bid to counter a prolonged slowdown in the PC market.

However, the news still come as a huge surprise to many, with the scale of the job losses really taking some technology analysts by surprise. According to them Microsoft are under the tutelage of a dynamic and driven leader in Nadella, and are performing extremely well overall, despite the decline in its share price.

Published in Finance
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