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5G gets WIVE boost

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Several groups in Finland have established the WIreless for VErticals which is designed to make new industries to gain competitive advantages from the latest wireless technologies, especially 5G.

An industry group led by Nokia Bell Labs and including several academics in Finland has established a collaboration project called WIVE (WIreless for VErticals) to make it possible for new types of industries to gain competitive advantage from the latest wireless technologies, especially 5G. The project, co-funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), involves several industry, research institute and academic partners such as Nokia, Teleste, Telia, ABB, Cargotec Kalmar, Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), Digita, regulator FICORA, key Finnish universities as well as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Over the next 10 years, tens of billions of connected devices are expected to converge into intelligent and programmable systems that will improve lives in a vast number of areas. Transportation and resource consumption, learning and work, and treatment of health and wellness will all be affected by this change, which will bring massive opportunities for these industries but also new capacity requirements for networks.

The WIVE project, which is planned to run for 2 years, will focus on the needs of the following vertical sectors.

· Media and entertainment (M&E)

· Machine-type connectivity for application areas, including:

·Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), serving sectors like smart grids and remotely controlled machines

· Massive Machine Type Connectivity (mMTC), allowing a high number of devices to be connected with limited cost and energy consumption.

WIVE aims to develop concepts and enable technologies, as well as to test and experiment new vertical services offered by 5G, especially for URLLC, mMTC, and media content delivery. These new communication services have versatile requirements for reliability, latency, data rates, security and availability. The WIVE project aims to demonstrate that these requirements can be fulfilled with future 5G networks with improved flexibility and cost-efficiency.

The WIVE project implements vertical service pilots based on industry driven use cases on the top of 5GTNF testbeds (e.g. TAKE-5 and 5GTN+), and tests new vertical services and applications in a realistic testing environment (out of the laboratory) to discover possible technical and business opportunities and constraints associated with new technologies to speed up the roll out of new 5G vertical services.

Spectrum is one of the key enablers for the exploitation of the full innovation potential of 5G. Therefore, WIVE is taking an active role in investigating and promoting flexible spectrum policies and spectrum management schemes to unlock new spectrum assets for 5G.

A vital part of WIVE is also the focus on users and identifying business opportunities for different verticals. 5G enables innovative service concepts and business cases across industries, as devices and machines are increasingly connected, paving the way for new business models and markets to emerge in the connected world. WIVE takes content consumption patterns and routines among end-users into account when exploring new business opportunities and scenarios for 5G.

“Industry collaboration is essential in fostering innovation around 5G, and for enabling different industries to take full advantage of the faster connections that 5G promises. Nokia Bell Labs has a strong focus on ultra reliable, low latency communications targeting new wireless communication systems for verticals, and the WIVE project provides us with greater insight into the requirements and opportunities for experimentation to test our solutions,” said the industrial coordinator of the project, Mikko Uusitalo, head of wireless advanced technologies research at Nokia.

“Deep understanding of the needs of different verticals and the variety of 5G user contexts is in the core of our business. We are looking at evolving media consumption patterns and developing revolutionary spectator experiences, for example at Telia 5G Arena in Helsinki and as part of our agreement for Finnish Ice Hockey League media rights. Machine-type connectivity and ultra-reliable communications are just as crucial for building smarter traffic, manufacturing solutions and other digitalization initiatives, which are topical for our B2B customers,” said Janne Koistinen, director of Telia 5G program in Finland.

“The number of connected devices in the Internet of Everything era will pose new challenges to future networks from interoperability, scalability and reliability perspectives. WIVE has a lot to contribute here as part of, and in collaboration with, the 5G Test Network Finland – on top of the media business transformation activities bridging the work from preceding research activities in the FUHF (Future of UHF) project,” said program manager Mika Klemettinen from Tekes.

“A substantially higher level of automation, together with reliable, low-latency communication between nodes in a power distribution grid, are prerequisites to improving the reliability of supply and integrating a large amount of distributed, renewable and intermittent generation. The development of energy policies, legislation and regulation all drive smarter and greener grids, and the transition will be facilitated by new technologies, such as 5G,” said Dick Kronman, manager of ABB’s Grid Automation Solutions business. “We will adapt our most advanced smart grid applications to a 5G test network as a benchmark. Collaboration within the consortium and practical tests will give us a comprehensive understanding of the Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC) capabilities of 5G and new business opportunities,” said Petri Hovila, program manager at ABB’s Medium Voltage Products unit in Finland.

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Small South African town goes smartphone-only

Vodacom partners with farming business to upgrade all residents of Wakkerstroom from 2G devices to smartphones

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All residents of the small town of Wakkerstroom, which straddles Mpumalanga and kwaZulu-Natal provinces, have had their 2G feature phones upgraded to 3G devices.

The initiative is a result of Vodacom partnering with BPG Langfontein, a farming business that employs the majority of the people living in Wakkerstroom. It is now the first smartphone-only town in South Africa. This is a model the network provider says it hopes to replicate across the country as part of its mission to connect people who live in deep rural areas and are still dependent on 2G networks.

Wakkerstroom, is the second oldest town in Mpumalanga province, on the KwaZulu-Natal border, 27 km east of Volksrust and 56 km south-east of Amersfoort.  

“There are growing expectations for big corporates the size of Vodacom to serve a social purpose, and for us to use our resources and core capabilities to make a significant contribution in transforming the lives of ordinary people,” says Zakhele Jiyane, Managing Executive for Vodacom Mpumalanga. “We are helping to remove communication barriers, so that citizens in the area can be part of the digital revolution and reap the associated benefits. By moving the more than 1400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free much needed spectrum and this spectrum can be re-farmed to provide for faster networks such as 3G and 4G.

“Crucially, the move opens a new world of connectivity for farm workers in Wakkerstroom. As a result, most people in the area will now be able to use the Vodacom network to connect on the net and access online government services, eHealth services such as Mum&Baby and eCommerce. Learners can now surf the internet for the first time and access Vodacom’s eSchool free of charge and those who are actively looking for jobs can start using their smartphones and tablets to apply for jobs over the internet on Vodacom’s zero-rated career sites. This will be key for driving growth to the benefit of people living in this area.”

Vodacom has already deployed 4G base stations in Wakkestroom as part of this initiative.

For the next phase of this project, says Vodacom, it is going to educate the farm workers about data and the benefits of the Internet. Vodacom will also look at various ways in which it can help empower members of this community in areas of education, gender-based violence and health.

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10 more African countries join Facebook fact-checking

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Facebook today announced the expansion of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme to 10 additional African countries, which now join  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal in the project,

In partnership with Agence France-Presse (AFP), the France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa, this programme forms part of its work in helping assess the accuracy and quality of news people find on Facebook, whilst reducing the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, third-party fact-checking will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.

Feedback from the Facebook community is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows firsthand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme. Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook. While we’ve made great progress, we will keep investing to ensure Facebook remains a place for all ideas, but not for the spread of false news.”

When third-party fact-checkers fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.

Providing fact-checking in English and French across eight countries, Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director said: “AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”

Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English added: “Social networks like Facebook haven’t just changed how Africans consume the news. Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans. They shape our perceptions of the world, our public discourse, and how we interact with public figures. This project helps us dramatically expand our fact-checking to debunk claims that could otherwise cause real-world harm. The project helps us respond more quickly and directly. We’re seeing real positive results in our interactions with both publishers and the public itself. The project also helps our fact-checks reach a far larger audience than we would otherwise. This has helped us better understand the information vacuum and other viral dynamics that drive the spread of false information in Africa. Our growing impact is a small but tangible contribution to better informed societies in Africa.”

Caroline Anipah, Programme Officer, Dubawa (Ghana) said: “Dubawa is excited to be in Ghana where the misinformation and disinformation have become widespread as a result of technological advancement and increasing internet penetration. Dubawa intends to raise the quality of information available to the public with the ultimate aim of curbing the spread of misinformation and disinformation and promoting good governance and accountability.”

Derek Thomson, editor-in-chief of the France 24 Observers, said: “Our African users are constantly sending us questionable images and messages they’ve received via social media, asking us ‘Is this true? Can you check it?’ It’s our responsibility as fact-checking journalists to verify the information that’s circulating, and get the truth back out there. Participating in the Facebook programme helps ensure that our fact-checks are reaching the people who shared the false news in the first place.”

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