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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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ME and Africa Consumer tech spending to hit $149bn

Reaching $130bn this year, consumer spending on technology in the Middle East and Africa is expected to grow just 4% a year.

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Consumer spending on technology in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is forecast to total $130.8 billion this year, a year-on-year increase of 4.1%. According to the latest Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), consumer purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong over the 2019–2023 forecast period, increasing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% to reach $149.4 billion in 2023.

86.3% of all consumer technology spending in 2019 will be on traditional technologies such as mobile phones, personal computing devices, and mobile telecom services. Mobile telecom services (voice and data) will account for 68.7% of this amount, followed by mobile phones which will account for 26.6%. Spending growth for traditional technologies will be relatively slow, with a CAGR of 2.4% for the 2019–2023 forecast period.

“Faster connectivity, combined with declining data service costs from telecom service providers and the need for end users to use telecom services for an increasing number of devices, will ensure that consumer spending on traditional technologies will continue to grow,” says Fouad Charakla, IDC’s senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

Emerging technologies, including AR/VR headsets, drones, on-demand services, robotic systems, smart home devices, and wearables, will deliver strong growth with a five-year CAGR of 10.2%. This growth will see emerging technologies account for 17.1% of overall consumer spending in 2023, up from 13.7% in 2019. Smart home devices and on-demand services will account for around 93% of consumer spending on emerging technologies by the end of the forecast period.

“The low penetration of smart home devices in the region, combined with growing efforts from market players to educate home users on the benefits and usage of these devices, will serve as an engine of growth for consumer spending on emerging technologies,” says Charakla. “A large portion of end users are already looking to invest in devices that will improve their productivity and quality of life, two key demands that smart home devices can be positioned to fulfil.”

On-demand services represent a new addition to IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide. “On-demand services enable access to networks, marketplaces, content, and other resources in the form of subscription-based services and includes platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, among others,” says Charakla. “As connected consumers juggle multiple services across their devices, it is essential for technology providers to understand how the adoption of these various technologies and services will impact their customers’ experiences in the future.”

Communication and entertainment will be the two largest use case categories for consumer technology, representing more than 79% of all spending throughout the forecast. More than 70% of all communication spending will go toward traditional voice and messaging services in 2019. Entertainment spending will be dominated by watching or downloading TV, videos and movies, as well as listening to music and downloading and playing online games. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the forecast period are augmented reality games (49.5% CAGR).

The Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide quantifies consumer spending for 22 technologies in ten categories across nine geographic regions. The guide also provides spending details for 23 consumer use cases. Unlike any other research in the industry, the Connected Consumer Spending Guide was designed to help business and IT decision makers to better understand the scope and direction of consumer investments in technology over the next five years.

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Could robots replace human tennis players?

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While steeped in tradition, tennis has embraced technology on multiple fronts: coaching, umpiring and fan experiences. Since the early 2000s, the Sony-owned Hawk-Eye system has been assisting tennis umpires in making close calls. At Wimbledon, IBM’s Watson AI analyses fan and player reactions in real-time video footage from matches to create highlight reels just minutes after the end of a match.

Meanwhile, at the ATP Finals in London, similar data analysis is being carried out by digital services and consulting firm Infosys.

GlobalData’s Verdict deputy editor Rob Scammell hears the future of tennis discussed at a recent panel discussion about the use of data analytics and technology in the game.

Scammel writes: “Infosys has been partnered with ATP for five years, providing features such as its cloud-based platform, which leverages artificial intelligence to analyse millions of data points to gain insights into the game.

“Players and coaches can also make use of the Infosys’ Players and Coaches Portal, allowing them to “slice and dice” matches on an iPad with 1,000 data analytics combinations. This is data crunching is vital according to Craig O’Shannessy, strategy analyst for the ATP World Tour and a coach for 20 years – including for the likes of Novak Djokovic. 

O’Shannessy says: “Video and data analytics is crucial for giving players an edge. It’s about finding out of 100 points, the 10 or 15 that matter the most, and explaining that these are the patterns of play that you want to repeat in these upcoming games to win those matches.”

However, although Chris Brauer, director of innovation at the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, asked whether the “inevitable conclusion” of technological innovations in tennis was removing humans from the game entirely. ATP chair umpire and manager Ali Nili suggested that while there could one day be robot players adjudicated by robot umpires, it would be an entirely different sport.

Nili told GlobalData: “At ATP, we’re most proud of our athletes. It’s our athletes which make the tennis exciting. It’s how fast they are, how strong they are being. As humanbeings, we compare them to us and we’re fascinated by the things that they’re able to do. They’re the number one attraction for anyone who comes in, watches tennis, and everything else is secondary, you know, all the data and everything else, because we try to make our athletes more appealing.”

Could robots replace human tennis players?

Raghavan Subramanian, associate vice president and head of Infosys Tennis Platform, says it’s a “very philosophical question” and that we can look to the precedent set by other ‘man vs machine’ face-offs.

“In chess, we had [Garry] Kasparov play against the computer. So I think the natural first transition will not be two robots playing against each other, but one robot, possibly playing against the best player today. That’s the first possible bridge before two robots play.”

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