Displaying items by tag: research
Embattled Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei has endured a miserable number of months – and is under intense scrutiny globally.
Huawei has become embroiled in a series of controversies and has been subjected to lurid allegations which claim the telecommunications behemoth is a security threat to nations that deploy its equipment due to its close ties with the Chinese government in Beijing.
The under-fire company suffered another setback when one of the world’s most famous academic institutions Oxford University, declined the opportunity to receive additional funding from the vendor.
A spokesman for the University said that it would not be pursuing new funding opportunities for both research contracts or philanthropic donations from Huawei and related group companies, although it did confirm that existing projects currently in place will continue.
The spokesman said, “We currently have two such ongoing projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of £692,000. However, after careful consideration we have decided to turn away future funding from Huawei and have informed them of our decision.”
Oxford confirmed that the decision to decline future funding from Huawei was due to the public concerns which have been expressed regarding the company’s operations. A Huawei executive was arrested in Poland last week on suspicion of espionage. In December, its CTO, Meng Hanzhou was arrested in Vancouver for alleged fraud in Iran.
The US have banned them for participating in the rollout of its 5G networks and has its allies New Zealand and Australia have followed suit. Washington is also instructed the UK and Japan to ban Huawei, whilst both the German and Canadian governments are considering banning them from their 5G programs over the security concerns raised by US intelligence.
However, Huawei has contradicted what Oxford University has stated, and is adamant that it has not been informed of any decision by the academic institution in relation to funding.
A Huawei spokesman said, “We have operated in the UK since 2001, employ 1,500 people here and have long standing research collaborations with 20 other UK universities working to develop the technologies of the future. We will await their decision.”
Political tensions between the US and China may have now calmed, but the incident has only served to increase further fears over security. Political tensions were heightened between the two nations when China decided to inexplicably seize an underwater research drone owned by the US.
Senator John McCain described the act as a ‘gross violation of international law.’ President-elect Donald Trump also became embroiled in the political row and denounced China’s actions - before later appearing to reverse his statement via Twitter, by telling China they should keep the drone.
The incident according to political analysts has served only to heighten domestic fears over security following the high-profile hacking scandal - with both the CIA and FBI confirming they suspect Russia was behind the hacks which derailed Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
China have engaged directly with Pentagon officials in Washington and confirmed it will return the research drone, although they’ve been critical of the US for the way they dealt with the incident claiming they hyped up the incident into a diplomatic row which was played out in the public eye.
Senator McCain suggested China could have gained a lot of valuable information by seizing the drone, claiming China can perform an act called reverse-engineering on the drone in order to retrieve information. McCain said: “The Chinese are able to do a thing called reverse-engineering, where they are able to, while they hold this drone, find out all of the technical information. And some of it is pretty valuable. China’s act is a gross violation of international law.”
President Trump initially tweeted: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.” He later suggested China should keep the drone. When Trump’s Public Relations team was queried as to what this last tweet meant, Jason Miller, his communications director claimed that China were likely to return a chunk of metal and a bag of wires after seizing the drone for several days.
China’s ministry of defence pledged an “appropriate” return of the drone on its Weibo social media account, while also criticizing the U.S. for hyping the incident into a diplomatic row. It followed assurances from Beijing that the governments were working to resolve the spat.
The drone incident was disclosed by the Pentagon on Friday. China’s ministry said the U.S. “hyped the case in public,” which it said wasn’t helpful in resolving the problem. The U.S. has “frequently” sent its vessels and aircrafts into the region, and China urges such activities to stop, the ministry said in its Weibo message.
China is very sensitive about unmanned underwater vehicles because they can track our nuclear ballistic missile submarines fleet,” said retired Major General Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher at Beijing-based research group the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. “If one from the Bowditch can be detected and even snatched by a Chinese naval ship, it shows it’s getting too close to the sensitive water areas.”
The tensions unleashed by the episode underscored the delicate state of relations between the two countries, weeks before Trump’s inauguration. Trump has threatened higher tariffs on Chinese products and questioned the U.S. approach to Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory. Meanwhile, China is growing more assertive over its claims to disputed sections of the South China Sea.
Global transportation company Uber, have announced that it will purchase artificial intelligence group Geometric Intelligence in an effort to increase its research into self-driving car technology. It’s expected that the acquisition of the artificial intelligence company will form the core of Uber’s own research centre.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed publicly, but it is believed that Uber will allow the fifteen employees of the New York start-up to form the base of Uber’s artificial intelligence efforts in its research center. Chief product officer at Uber, Jeff Holden spoke about how Uber’s aim was to use technology to move people and things in the real world – describing it as a high-order intelligence problem.
In a blog post Holden said: “Uber is in the business of using technology to move people and things in the real world. With all of its complexity and uncertainty, negotiating the real world is a high-order intelligence problem. It manifests in myriad ways, from determining an optimal route to computing when your car or Uber-Eats order will arrive to matching riders for Uber-Pool. It extends to teaching a self-driven machine to safely and autonomously navigate the world, whether a car on the roads or an aircraft through busy airspace or new types of robotic devices."
Uber which operates in more than sixty countries all over the world is valued at more than $600 billion, and earlier this year launched a test project for self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – its latest move in acquiring an artificial intelligence company signals its intent to step-up efforts in terms of developing autonomous vehicles.
ZTE has signed an agreement with China Unicom for cooperation on 5G and Internet of Things. They two say they will work closely together “to foster a sound ecosystem and promote sustainable development” in the fields of 5G and IoT.
They will jointly develop cooperative projects and conduct research on application scenarios, product demands, service applications, market development and other related fields. They will also look at possible future directions of 5G and IoT, and say they aim to achieve research results that meet the network development and evolution requirements for new business models, laying a solid foundation for long-term technical cooperation and a mutually beneficial results for both parties.
Both China Unicom and ZTE are researching 5G network architecture, mobile-edge computing (MEC), cross-layer optimization, bearer and other key 5G technologies to promote 5G development strategies and standardization.
In IoT, both parties say they conduct research and experimental verification of key IoT technologies and implement research and development of service solutions and products to promote technological development and industrial cooperation.
Mr Shao Guanglu, deputy general manager of China Unicom, said China Unicom would call upon other operators endowed with common resources for strategic cooperation with ZTE, jointly promoting future network development, technological research and business models.
Mr Xu Huijun, ZTE's CTO, said ZTE’ aim was to become a global pioneer in IoT and 5G with China Unicom as a long-term strategic partner.
According to a recent report by Dataxis, a global firm specialized in telecom, TV and media businesses, the number of Pay TV subscribers in Africa will reach the threshold of 30 million by 2021, compared with a total of 16 million subscribers last year. The report says 20 million subscribers for digital satellite Pay TV is expected in 2021, while 8 million is expected for digital terrestrial Pay TV subscribers.
The number of TV households in Africa was at 114 million in 2015. That number is expected to increase to 159 million by 2021. “Despite advances, statistics show that Africa still has a long way to go in terms of household TV penetration,” says Priscilla Tirvengadum, research analyst at Dataxis Africa. “This low rate is explained mainly by lack of basic economic infrastructures like electricity. Moreover, poverty in developing African countries makes it impossible for its citizens to afford television sets.”
The study suggests that English speaking (Anglophone) African countries consume more TV and will continue to add more Pay TV subscribers than Francophone speaking (French) African countries. Total Pay TV subscribers in Anglophone countries, which was estimated at 10 million in 2015, is expected to double by 2021 compared to 3.5 million subscribers in 2015 for Francophone countries, which is expected to reach 6 million by 2021.
In 2015, satellite English Pay TV subscribers accounted for 8 million subscribers, which is expected to reach 12 million by 2021, compared to French Pay TV subscribers which accounted for 2 million in 2015, and expected to reach 6.5 million by 2021. The most popular Pay TV operator is said to be MultiChoice, followed by StarTimes and Zuku.
“The satellite operator MultiChoice, owned by Naspers Limited, has been the key player in the Anglophone Africa Pay TV market since its launch in 1995,” said Priscilla. “Despite facing competition from StarTimes and Zuku, MultiChoice continues to add new content and innovative services to maintain its appeal.”
“The roll-out of digital terrestrial TV (DDT) in Africa will increase competition in the digital Pay TV landscape. In this context, both subscriber numbers and Pay TV revenues will continue to grow at an impressive rate in the next five years,” Priscilla added. “In addition, to cater for low income TV households, MultiChoice offers low-cost digital terrestrial services via its GOtv brand.”