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MWC: VMware moves to edge computing

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VMware has unveiled an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy to deliver new edge computing solutions for specific use cases, such as Asset Management and Smart Surveillance at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, VMware unveiled an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy to deliver new edge computing solutions for specific use cases, such as Asset Management and Smart Surveillance. These edge solutions will feature VMware vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software, VMware vSphere and VMware Pulse IoT Center, and will be developed in collaboration with industry-leading partners.

VMware sees unique requirements and environments at the edge and will address them through use case specific solutions spanning:

  • Industrial remote IoT use cases such as oil well optimisation, utility grids, and smart city use cases where the things reside in ruggedised, disparate, outdoor and often times, remote locations with inconsistent network and power;
  • Factory and plants in support of closed networks, ruggedised indoor environments; and,
  • Branches and in-stores in support of unique space and power requirements and coordinated across many stores.

IoT introduces a new wrinkle in today’s centralised data center/cloud model. A new class of cost-effective edge infrastructure is required to process data inputs from millions or even billions of IoT endpoints that are separated from the core data center or the public cloud by bandwidth. This new infrastructure must be simple to manage as there are no IT specialists at the edge; cost-effective as the volume of edge installations is large; and, scalable to allow edge installations to grow over time.

“By 2022, as a result of digital business projects, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised data center or cloud, which is an increase from less than today’s 10%,” according to Gartner. (1) Local analytics offer faster response times, reduced storage costs, and an optimum use of bandwidth while also supporting data privacy and compliance requirements.

VMware to Deliver HCI Solutions for the Edge

HCI and VMware Pulse IoT Center are ideally suited to process and secure sensor data that bridges the physical and digital worlds. VMware is working on providing more efficient and more secure IoT infrastructure that is easy to manage, scale, and update so customers can accelerate IoT initiatives and realise ROI faster. Based on the leading hyper-converged solution, these edge solutions will feature real-time analytics in support of IoT initiatives where customers will have the choice of licensing third-party business analytics starter kits, in partnership with industry leaders, to help with content analytics and drive business decisions.

VMware offers a full ecosystem of server hardware for Edge infrastructure or gateway solutions depending on use case needs, environment, and desired rugged ability. These new solutions include VMware Pulse IoT Center for management, monitoring, and security of all edge systems/gateways and connected devices such as sensors and the appropriate management and security solution to support compute and storage infrastructure and applications across the edge.

VMware to Collaborate with Axis Communications and Dell EMC for Smart Surveillance Solution

VMware and Axis Communications are collaborating on an IoT solution for the surveillance industry. The solution will feature Axis Communications’ state of the art surveillance capabilities including IP cameras as well as 4G/LTE routers which can be deployed to protect properties, stores, and employees. With VMware Pulse IoT Center, customers will have a way to manage, monitor, and secure their Axis Communications cameras and routers. Initially, the solution will be available on a choice of Dell EMC servers and include the option of Dell Edge Gateways. Additionally, VMware is working with financial services organisations to develop the modern bank of the future using surveillance to optimise security and the customer experience.

VMware, Dell Technologies and Wipro Limited Team Up on IoT Solution for Manufacturers and Asset Management Services 

VMware and Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, are working together to offer manufacturers a complete edge to cloud IoT solution. The benefits of improved efficiency and productivity of machinery and other assets across the shop floor have the potential to contribute significant returns to manufacturers. Featuring Wipro’s IoT offerings, including its Looking Glass asset management platform and services capability, the solution will integrate multiple IoT platforms which are either hosted on-premises or in the cloud. By connecting their IoT environment to their data centers, customers will benefit from deeper analytics and machine learning. Wipro will also be one of the first system integrators to provide installation and management services for VMware’s IoT Edge solutions.

Manufacturers can use Wipro’s IoT Platform and analytics capabilities for real-time data processing and for predictive failure analytics for devices and equipment on the manufacturing floor. VMware Pulse IoT Center helps manage, monitor, and secure assets and data in facilities as well as the edge infrastructure. By combining Wipro’s complete IoT Platform and analytics capabilities with VMware’s Pulse IoT Center, customers have access to a complete and seamless solution.

VMware Supports Edge Computing Research

VMware, in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF), has announced a new solicitation on Edge Computing Data Infrastructure for research that advances the state of the art in end-to-end networked systems architecture that includes edge infrastructures. VMware will fund two awards valued at a total of $6 million for U.S. university faculty members. Additional information is available here.

Supporting Quotes

“Building an edge computing solution today is a time-intensive exercise most enterprises can’t afford. Today, VMware unveils hyper-converged edge computing solutions that are cost-effective and will enable customers to build and scale secure, use case-specific IoT solutions that work for them from the edge all the way to the cloud, relying on proven, tested software they already use and trust. Together with ecosystem partners Axis, Wipro Limited and Dell EMC, we’re excited to deliver the first of many tailored solutions to meet the unique IoT needs of our enterprise customers,” said Ray O’Farrell, executive vice president & chief technology officer, VMware.

“With the convergence of IT and security top of mind for the industry, we’re excited to collaborate with VMware on an IoT solution for the surveillance industry,” said Scott Dunn, senior director, Business Development Solutions & Services, Axis Communications, Inc. “This collaboration will give us an outstanding opportunity to deliver a better experience for our mutual customers by providing a leading edge IoT platform and management solution.”

“Our partnership with VMware and Dell Technologies complements our end-to-end IoT solutions and enables us to realise business outcomes for our customers,” said Jayraj Nair, vice president and global head of IoT, Wipro Limited. “Asset management, smart manufacturing, logistics and supply chain solutions enabled by IoT technologies are ushering in new levels of operational efficiency for our global clients.”

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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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