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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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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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