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MWC: VMware and Harman partner for IoT edge

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A collaboration to deliver simplified and specialised IoT solutions for enterprise customers in industrial, retail, building management, automotive and energy efficiency markets was announced at Mobile World Congress.

Harman, a connected technologies company for the automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, has teamed up with cloud infrastructure leader VMware to integrate Harman’s portfolio of over-the-air (OTA) software updates, sensors, gateways and analytics services into VMware’s IoT solution. The partnership will help deploy, secure, manage and monitor IoT infrastructure at enterprise scale to streamline industry-specific IoT use cases.

The Internet of Things is here today and companies globally are already investing in, and seeing ROI from IoT. IDC predicts that the worldwide Internet of Things market spend will grow to $1.29 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6% and the installed base of IoT endpoints will grow from 12.1 billion at the end of 2015 to more than 30 billion in 2020 (Doc # US42082716.) As companies race to implement IoT strategies, they will require complete solutions that focus on specific market segment requirements. IT and operational teams will also have to address massive scaling and management requirements to deliver maximum value and the best possible experience.

This new collaboration between Harman and VMware will help Communications Service Providers (CSPs) add new offerings and expand revenue streams that will further enhance the IoT user experience and the delivery of innovative services. Harman OTA update solutions paired with the VMware vCloud NFV platform and end-to-end IoT operational management solution delivers a fully elastic and optimised network infrastructure that allows operators to expand their services into new markets as they transform network architectures towards 5G. The combined solution provides CSP’s the ability to provision and launch innovative services through a fully virtualised mobile core network such as prioritised connectivity such as emergency calling, communication and video conferencing and infotainment with high definition quality, leveraging simplified operations management, policy control, and self-provisioning.

“As industries ramp up efforts to adopt IoT, this one-of-a-kind offering allows enterprises across all verticals to benefit from simplified solutions that elevate their services to a more sophisticated and innovative degree,” said Sanjay Dhawan, president, Harman Connected Services. “Harman and VMware’s complementary IoT offering will change the landscape for non-traditional technology companies, providing them with new growth opportunities that will set them apart from their competitors.”

In addition to supporting new telecom services and automotive enterprises, Harman and VMware’s combined IoT offering will help the following vertical markets achieve their innovation objectives quicker and more effectively:

  • Retail – Understand in-store shopper behavior, determine the efficacy of store displays, enhance floor navigation paths, monetize hot zones with personalised coupons and optimize inventory
  • Industrial – enable factory automation and management, including predictive maintenance using vibration sensor analytics
  • Smart Buildings – optimize energy usage, space utilization, and meeting room occupancy with higher real estate ROI and enhanced occupant comfort
  • Automotive – simplify the update and monitoring of automotive end points using Harman OTA and VMware’s IoT management platform solution

“While businesses look to adopt IoT into their organisations and offerings, the efficient management and security that IT brings is necessary for IoT to reach enterprise grade and scale,” said Mimi Spier, vice president and head of business development, GTM strategy and marketing for IoT at VMware. “Through our collaboration with Harman, we are bridging the gap between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), helping companies across many industries maximise the full potential of IoT through seamless integration with their IT infrastructure.”

Harman and VMware Demonstrate Connected Car Solutions

At Mobile World Congress at Harman stand K30, Hall 2, Harman, VMware and Athonet will showcase a live connected car IoT scenario. Elements of Athonet’s click-to-deploy “softwarised” mobile core are disaggregated (Control/User Plane) and deployed in real-time with VMware vCloud NFV to allow high performance LTE services to be delivered to the dashboard of a car running a video entertainment application. This allows for the local breakout of video and other communications for local edge computing requirements and can deliver the highly secure, ultra-low latency required by high-bandwidth applications. Harman IoT solutions bring connectivity, digital content, emergency services and policy control to the connected car.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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