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Cisco fast-tracks Intent

Cisco is fast-tracking its vision to make machine learning in the networking realm a reality sooner than we imagined possible.

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Cisco has announced that it has released new developer capabilities across its intent-based networking platform. These advancements underscore Cisco’s continued progress in delivering an open, programmable platform that spans the entire network, from campus to data center, branch to edge. By providing an open network, Cisco is empowering 500,000 developers, 60,000 partners and three million network engineers to innovate upon the platform.

Intent-based networking represents a fundamental shift in the way networks are built and managed. Moving away from the manual, time-intensive methods by which networks are traditionally managed, these modern networks capture business intent and translate it into network policies. These policies are then automatically activated across the entire infrastructure, with the assurance that the business intent was delivered as planned.

“Intent-based networking represents the next generation of open, IP-based systems that we’ve seen can change the actual fabric of society,” said David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business. “Cisco is building an open architecture that will power an ecosystem to accelerate intent-based networking innovation. Already, our customers and partners are creating value from their networks in ways they thought weren’t possible as recently as one year ago.”

Announcing the DNA Center platform

Cisco also released new developer tools and open APIs into Cisco DNA Center — the command and control center for campus, branch and edge intent-based networks. DNA Center turns the network from a combination of hardware devices into a single system. With the availability of network-wide APIs, Cisco now allows developers to easily program this system, tapping into all of the analytics and insight the network can provide.

With a rich API catalog, DNA Center allows customers to protect and inform their business like never before.

  • Elevating network intelligence into business operations: DNA Center helps enable developers to program the network as a single system through intent-based APIs. Now, developers can more easily create a new generation of network-aware applications, and partners can integrate the network into business processes.
  • Streamline IT processes across functions: DNA Center helps enable network IT administrators to exchange information to automate processes across IT systems through software adapters. Now, IT can move resources from operation to innovation.
  • Managing multi-vendor networks: DNA Center gives developers and partners the flexibility to support multi-vendor networks via a software developer kit (SDK). This allows customers to simplify the complexity of heterogeneous networks and manage them consistently, as a single system.

Already, 15 Cisco partners have built innovative solutions on the DNA Center platform and are demonstrating them at Cisco Live.

Announcing the largest developer community for intent-based networking

Cisco is also announcing that its developer community, DevNet, has surpassed 500,000 members. In building this large and active community, Cisco has introduced a new source of innovation as the network becomes increasingly programmable.

Today, Cisco is announcing three new developer initiatives to fuel its innovation ecosystem:

  • DevNet Ecosystem Exchange makes it easy to find and share an application or solution built for Cisco platforms. Business leaders and developers alike can use this online portal to discover partner solutions that span all Cisco platforms and products. It contains over 1,300 solutions.
  • DevNet Code Exchange gives developers a place to access and share software to quickly build next-generation applications and workflow integrations. A curated list of sample code, adaptors, tools, and SDKs is available on GitHub and written by Cisco and the DevNet community. Code Exchange spans Cisco’s entire portfolio and is organized according to Cisco platform and product areas.
  • DevNet DNA Developer Center is a one-stop-shop for developers to build applications and integrations on the DNA Center platform. It provides comprehensive resources, capabilities, use cases and learning materials for developers.

Availability, Services and Support

  • The new DNA Center capabilities are scheduled to be available during the summer of 2018. Customers can purchase these new capabilities from Cisco and its partners via existing subscription offers.
  • DevNet’s Ecosystem Exchange, Code Exchange, and DNA Developer Center are available now.
  • Cisco and its partners offer a full lifecycle of services to help customers streamline the journey to truly intent-based networks.

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AI, IoT, and language of bees can save the world

A groundbreaking project is combining artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to learn the language of bees, and save the planet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It is early afternoon and hundreds of bees are returning to a hive somewhere near Reading in England. They are no different to millions of bees anywhere else in the world, bringing the nectar of flowers back to their queen.

But the hive to which they bring their tribute is no ordinary apiary.

Look closer, and one spots a network of wires leading into the structure. They connect up to a cluster of sensors, and run into a box beneath the hive carrying the logo of a company called Arnia: a name synonymous with hive monitoring systems for the past decade. The Arnia sensors monitor colony acoustics, brood temperature, humidity, hive weight, bee counts and weather conditions around the apiary.

On the back of the hive, a second box is emblazoned with the logo of BuzzBox. It is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi device that transmits audio, temperature, and humidity signals, includes a theft alarm, and acts as a mini weather station.

In combination, the cluster of instruments provides an instant picture of the health of the bee hive. But that is only the beginning.

What we are looking at is a beehive connected to the Internet of Things: connected devices and sensors that collect data from the environment and send it into the cloud, where it can be analysed and used to monitor that environment or help improve biodiversity, which in turn improves crop and food production.

The hives are integrated into the World Bee Project, a global honey bee monitoring initiative. Its mission is to “inform and implement actions to improve pollinator habitats, create more sustainable ecosystems, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods by establishing a globally-coordinated monitoring programme for honeybees and eventually for key pollinator groups”.

The World Bee Project is working with database software leader Oracle to transmit massive volume of data collected from its hives into the Oracle Cloud. Here it is combined with numerous other data sources, from weather patterns to pollen counts across the ecosystem in which the bees collect the nectar they turn into honey. Then, artificial intelligence software – with the assistance of human analysts – is used to interpret the behaviour of the hive, and patterns of flight, and from there assess the ecosystem.

Click here to read more about how the Internet of Things is used to interpret the language of bees.

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Download speeds ramp up in SA

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All four South African mobile network operators have improved their average download speed experience by at least 1 Mbps in the past six months.

This is one of the main findings in the latest South Africa Mobile Network Experience report by Opensignal, the mobile analytics company. It has analysed the mobile experience in the country, updating a study last conducted in February 2019. While a quick look at its South Africa awards table suggests not much has changed since the last report, it’s far from stagnating. 

Opensignal reports the following improvements across its measurements:

  • MTN remains the leader in our 4G Availability measurements, with a score of 83.6%. But the other three operators are all now within 2 percentage points of the 80% milestone — with Telkom’s users seeing the biggest increase of over 8 points.
  • All four operators improved their Download Speed Experience scores by at least 1 Mbps. But growth in our Upload Speed Experience scores has stagnated, with only winner Vodacom seeing an incremental increase.
  • MTN and Vodacom remain tied for our Video Experience award, and both have increased their scores in the past six months, putting them on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings. Cell C also increased its score to tip over into a Good ranking (55-65).
  • MTN scored over 90% in 4G Availability in two of South Africa’s biggest cities and was just shy of this milestone in the others. Meanwhile, MTN and Vodacom have now passed the 20 Mbps mark in Download Speed Experience in three cities each.

A quick look at the awards table would suggest not much has changed in South Africa since the last report in February. MTN won the 4G Availability award again, Vodacom kept hold of the medals for Upload Speed and Latency Experience, while the two operators tied for Download Speed and Video Experience just as they did six months ago.

But far from stagnating, we’re seeing improvements across most of the measurements. All four of South Africa’s national operators — Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom — are now closing in on 80% 4G Availability nationally, while at the urban level, MTN has passed the 90% mark in two cities. And in Download Speed Experience, our users on all four operators’ networks saw their scores increase at least 8%.

In this report, Open Signal has analyzed the scores for all four national operators across all their metrics over the 90 days from the start of May 2019, including South Africa’s five biggest cities — Cape Town, Durban, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane.

MTN has been top of Open Signal’s South African 4G Availability leaderboard for a couple of years now, and the operator remains dominant with a winning score over 4 percentage points ahead of its rivals. But it was users on Telkom’s network who saw the most impressive boost in 4G Availability, as its score jumped by well over 8 percentage points.

This leap has put Telkom into a three-way draw for second place with Cell C and Vodacom, who both saw their scores increase by at least 3 percentage points.

While MTN is the only operator to have passed 80% in national 4G Availability, the other three players are all less than 2 percentage points away from this milestone. Based on the current rate of improvement, Open Signal fully expects to see all four operators pass the 80% mark in its next report — which will provide testament to the rapid maturing of the South African mobile market.

MTN and Vodacom remain neck-and-neck in the Video Experience analysis, with both operators scoring 65 (out of 100). And the two rivals both saw their scores rise by around 3 points since our last report, meaning the two continue to share our Video Experience award. Cell C and Telkom remain in third and fourth place, but both saw larger increases — of 5 and 4 points respectively — to narrow the gap on the leaders.

The increase in MTN and Vodacom’s Video Experience scores means the two operators are on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings in this metric — with the users on their networks enjoying fast loading video times and almost non-existent stalling, even at higher resolutions. By comparison, Cell C’s score earned it a Good rating (55-65), while Telkom remains in Fair (40-55) territory — meaning users watching video on Telkom’s network, in particular, will likely struggle with longer load times and frequent stuttering, even at lower resolutions.

In terms of 4G-only Video Experience, Cell C’s score has increased enough to tip it over into a Very Good rating — now featuring three operators achieving 4G network scores with a Very Good ranking. And as 4G Availability continues to increase, the overall Video Experience scores will continue to climb, making mobile video viewing more of a viable proposition across all networks. And in a country where fixed-line broadband connections are relatively rare and the large majority of South Africans only connect to the internet via cellular, this improvement has the potential to transform people’s lives.

Read more from Open Signal’s report here.

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