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Virtualisation will change telecoms, if…

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The hype around software-defined networking and network function virtualisation is growing in the telecoms industry, but they remain immature and there is a long way to go before they will be deployed at scale and transform the industry, says MARK TINKA, Head of Engineering at SEACOM.

The hope is that these technologies will enable service providers and network operators to drive down capital expenditure, simplify configuration and maintenance, and improve the agility of their networks.

However, as promising as these technologies are, they remain immature and there is a long way to go before they will be deployed at scale and transform the industry. A sign of their immaturity, perhaps, is the fact that the two terms mean different things to different people, and are sometimes even used interchangeably. The meanings of the terms have also evolved over the past five years.

When SDN first appeared on the scene, it was positioned as a solution for scaling the network while making it less expensive to operate, by decoupling the control and data planes. The industry has since had a reality check and realises that this kind of separation of roles is not easily implemented in the manner envisaged in the SDN standards of 2012.

Now, however, SDN has spawned a number of other initiatives geared toward automating networks, making them more reliable, more resilient, more self-healing, and above all, cheaper to operate. While several network operators have pursued these ends for years, they have done each in isolation using proprietary technology.

What the industry now aims to accomplish with SDN and the associated technologies, is to standardise and harmonise the protocols, procedures, toolsets and technologies that network operators implement to automate their operations. This way, it does not matter what solution is purchased—its various elements will interoperate smoothly.

NFV is more straightforward, and network operators have been employing NFV technologies successfully for some time now. The premise with NFV is – certain functions that purpose-built hardware used to perform, can now be deployed on general-purpose hardware, like an off-the-shelf server. This lowers barriers to entry and costs which makes those technologies more accessible to more users.

SEACOM is closely following the development of these technologies to ensure the new features are integrated into our network as-and-when appropriate, to the benefit of our customers. As a first step, we have deployed an OpenStack virtualisation environment to create a platform for the deployment of our next-generation products and services, which will be launched over the course of 2018.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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