Weekly Intelligence Digest – March 30, 2015

Significant Developments of the Week


1. China Unicom and Huawei to Innovate Smart Home Gateway

China Unicom, ranked as the worlds third-biggest mobile provider, has announced a new partnership between China Unicoms Research Institute and Huawei to innovate the Fiber to the Home (FFTH) smart home gateway solution, facilitating wide-spread provision of smart home services. Users will gain access to a complete program of smart home services – to include home entertainment, home security, health monitoring and home appliance control. Users who experience “Smart WO Home” will also benefit from the FTTH high speed broadband network, allowing for high efficiency and rapid speed of access.

In additional news this week, China Unicom has signed an agreement with Bridge Alliance, a group of 36 mobile operators from Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, allowing it to extend its global reach.

BID Insight The partnership between Huawei and China Unicom extends the industry value chain for both companies and their end-users. Getting the most out of the home broadband business is crucial in order to retain a solid customer base and to secure new business. The FTTH network improves the service for end users through its innovation of new techniques and standards. For China Unicom, it allows the company to further diversify its access services, in line with its vision of becoming a universal information service provider with an eye on future expansion as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality.

2. Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs Launches Consulting Division

Alcatel-Lucent have launched a consulting division through Bell Labs, their industrial research arm, which will advise the tech industry on the path to the network of 2020. The consulting division will apply penetrating analysis, hands-on experience and techo-economic modelling tools to some of the key challenges facing the IT and communications networking industry. The group will specialize in five key areas: the Emergence of the New Enterprise, the Rise of the Machine, the Confluence of Networks, the Move to the Edge Cloud and the Era of Cognitive Operations. The division will be headed by Alcatel-Lucent’s Cassidy Shield, who will be Managing Director. Shield previously led marketing for Alcatel-Lucent’s software business and has also been a consultant for Cap Gemini and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

BID Insight Alcatel-Lucent is committed to applying deep STMicroelectronics and Qihoo 360 Technology. One of the key focuses of the consulting division will be helping companies consider how to take advantage of technologies that help them move forwards past previous tech limitations, encouraging providers to re-consider how they deploy and operate their networks. Some of the trends the division already predict include international demand for content on mobiles driving traffic growth thirty one-fold and metro video traffic increasing nine-fold by 2020. Bell Labs’ consulting division promises to be an important new force in predicting future tech developments, helping enterprises proactively move forwards in step with current and future changes in SDN, NFV, cloud, wireless, and other key areas.

3.  Incapsula Activates Four New Data Centers

Incapsula, an enterprise-grade, cloud-based application delivery service, announced four new data centers opening this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Warsaw, Poland; and Madrid, Spain. The intention is to improve its worldwide service to clients in strategic regions in South America, North America, Eastern and Western Europe by quickening CDN speeds and increasing Incapsula’s total network throughput. Across 2014 and early 2015, Incapsula has also been concentrating on an extensive network-wide upgrade. Incapsula’s overall network capacity now surpasses 1Tbps.

BID Insight Over 2014 and for the first part of 2015, Incapsula has been making a concerted effort to expand its number of data centers. In 2014, it launched new data centers in numerous cities including Seattle, Washington; Dallas, Texas; Paris, France; and in January 2015, Incapsula launched a data center in Zurich, Switzerland. The total number of Incapsula data centers now stands at twenty-five. The extended global coverage improves Incapsula’s ability to withstand the rapidly growing threat of large-scale DDoS attacks while furthermore improving worldwide performance for Incapsula content delivery network (CDN) clients. Brazil represents Incapsula’s first point of presence (PoP) in South America.

4. Apple Develops a New Streaming Service

Apple is working with Beats Electronics to create a new streaming service that will rival and directly compete with Spotify. Reports suggest that the new app will be similar to the existing Beats Music streaming service, with curated playlists. Big albums could also potentially be premiered exclusively through Apple. Additionally, Apple is looking to relaunch i-Tunes Radio, with British based radio DJ Zane Lowe taking a key role because of his persuasive ability to acquire track premieres, part of Apple’s ambitions that key music figures question. The New York Times reported that Apple has been seeking concessions – without success – from record labels to help cover the $8 subscription price.

BID Insight Apple acquired Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics last May for $3 billion. In addition to the popular line of Beats headphones, Beats hardware has promise for digital expansion in homes and automobiles, however, Beats Music, the online streaming service that Beats launched in January, looks to be the most strategic asset for Apple. Apple has not previously had success in streaming and has maintained a focus on traditional downloads, but this alliance looks set to see Apple grow in interesting ways into the expanding streaming sphere. While Apple remains primarily interested in its hardware products, a streaming service will help the company not lose users to non-Apple products such as Spotify, which currently has 15 million paid subscribers and 45 million users for its free service.

5.  Microsoft Azure Launches New Features for Azure Backup

Azure announced new features for Azure Backup, its solution for protecting on premise data and in the cloud. At the moment, the focus is on machines that are on site; however, Azure is also introducing a preview of new functionality for its Azure Site Recovery service, which will be available for data that resides in a company’s existing data center. Azure intends to introduce these services to enterprises that are making the move to hybrid cloud deployments to give companies confidence in the knowledge that SharePoint, Exchange, Windows, SQL Server and Hyper-V virtual machines applications are comprehensively backed up. Microsoft’s focus has changed from individual machines and small VM deployments to enterprise-scale data centers.

BID Insight As more companies use cloud services and benefit from the hugely lower cost in storage, they are also looking for additional backup of their data beyond the cloud. Azure is strongly positioned in the field as it is able to offer both enterprise class protection and features, in addition to back-up and recovery. It is also offering on-demand availability for both hybrid and heterogeneous environments. This means that organizations can access a nearly unlimited amount of computer and storage in the cloud so that they can develop and experiment with cloud bursting, migration, reporting analytics, recovery, backup and long-term data retention. Availability on Demand, however, means there can be an unbroken connection between an enterprise’s on-site production systems and Azure or a secondary site, which utilizes both the replication possibilities of Azure Site Recovery and the data protection of Azure Backup.

6. Neustar Integrates Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings

Neustar, a provider of real-time information services and analytics, launched a partnership with Nielsen via Neustar’s PlatformOne that gives marketers immediate access to a comprehensive and brand-safe overview of their offline, online and cross-platform audiences across all devices. Data from over 4 billion daily consumer transactions is cross-referenced against 15,000 online and offline attributes with anonymized data from 220M adults across 120M households, ultimately providing the research that allows advertisers to uniquely personalize their interactions with consumers. Through Nielsen reports, Neustar users will be able to ensure that ad impressions are viewable, to detect fraudulent activity and above all, to validate their campaign and audience metrics across all digital screens.

BID Insight PlatformOne will provide brands with an unbiased overview of their marketing activities, a valuable service in a period when advertisers need cutting-edge audience measurement tools to know how to reach particular customers on particular platforms at particular times. The partnership with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings allows Neustar’s customers to gain an additional trusted party option to comprehend the reach of their digital campaign metrics across a range of digital devices, a tool increasingly valuable to allow marketers to reach audiences across devices.  Nielsen provides Neustar with the opportunity to aggregate information in-built into the platform, including DNS data that could assist enterprises with regional expansion plans or promotional campaigns.

7.  Ericsson Launches New 5G Collaborations  in Europe

Ericsson announces new collaborations with respected European universities King’s College London and Technische Universität Dresden. Their collective efforts will be focused towards 5G research and the technological and societal challenges that will stem from realizing the next round of communications technology. They will examine issues around smart sustainable cities, the Internet of Things (IoT) and evolved industries, which will be powered by 5G, in the UK and Germany. Ericsson is also leading the EU project METIS (Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for 2020 Information Society) and has been a key player in the 5G PPP, the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership.

BID Insight Ericsson already has collaborations with other prestigious European universities and research institutes investigating 5G, such as the Lund University in Sweden and the Royal Institute of Technology in the UK. This week’s newly launched partnerships with King’s College London and Technische Universität Dresden underscore Ericsson’s commitment to underpinning technological development and momentum in Europe and worldwide. Ericsson forecasts that by 2020, as a result of the Internet of Things, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world, mainly in thing-to-thing or machine-to-machine communication. 5G networks will serve as the underpinning of the more fully networked society of the future, aka the Internet of Things or IoT.

8.  Imperva Announces a New Threat to SSL Transactions

Imperva, a provider of cyber and data security products, announced a new exploit to RC4 at the Black Hat security conference in Singapore this week as well as via its latest Hacker Intelligence Initiative (HII) report. The attack uses a key pattern in RC4 keys that leaks plaintext data into the ciphertext under specific conditions. The weakness was first noted in 2001, and led to exploits against wired equivalent privacy technology used for encrypting Wi-Fi networks. In its new research report, Imperva shows the destabilising impact of using RC4 and strongly recommends that companies disable RC4 in all their TLS configurations and end-users disable RC4 in their Browser settings.

BID Insight The new attack can leak SSL protected data in 1 out of 16 million RC4 encryptions, which adds up to thousands of secure messages being potentially compromised daily. Every time someone uses SSL with RC4 as protection for data, they have a small but significant chance to have his or her data exposed. The new attack can work in more scenarios than previous versions, for example, the attacker may try to steal short-lived session cookies. Worryingly, the exploit also allows the attacker to extract specific information from protected data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and session cookies. The research team at Imperva is continually investigating new threats and accordingly new ways to combat them, providing security professionals with actionable advice on how to protect their company from the most up-to-date digital problems.

9.  Aframe Announces Collaboration with Littlefox Communications

Aframe announced their collaboration this week with UK based Littlefox Communications. Littlefox is using Aframe’s Cloud Video Platform to manage and edit its video content. Littlefox works with organizations, production teams and editors worldwide, thus will benefit from the versatility and ease of access that Aframe’s cloud-based platform provides. Aframe’s team has been able to provide the functionality necessary for Littlefox to produce quality content that can be shared and worked on with greater ease than previously.

BID Insight As the entertainment and digital industries become increasingly global, cloud-based platforms will allow enterprises and production teams to increasingly move away from the slower and more expensive use of courier services and hard disk drives, which they’ve had to rely upon in the past. The ability to share, edit and finalise footage in real time with international contributors will transform the workflow and working methods of media companies like Littlefox Communications, allowing a UK based company to collaborate more easily with team members both regionally and worldwide, changing the very nature of those collaborations because of the opportunity to work in real time.

10. China Telecom Launches Smartphone for Metro

China Telecom has launched the use of its NFC Smartphones on the Shanghai and Beijing metro so that users can pay for tickets and tap in to ride the metro using only their smartphone devices. China Telecom, China’s third largest mobile telecommunication provider, is using Gemalto’s UpTeq Multi-tenant NFC SIMs to deploy the secure NFC transport services. 45m daily commuters in the two cities will ride the metro and pay for their tickets with a simple tap of their smartphones, speeding up their journeys and improving user flow within the metro systems. Additionally, the NFC SIM is embedded with Gemalto’s 4G LTE management software, which allows users to download documents and applications.

BID Insight China Telecom has been a partner to Gemalto for some time and only last year, the partnership launched NFC SIMs nationwide. China Telecom now has a 4G FDD-LTE commercial licence to leverage the LTE aspect of Gemalto’s SIMS so that its customers can benefit from faster service, in addition to value-added NFC services. China Telecom currently has 183m subscribers and plans to grow its base of mobile contactless services across the country in order to attract new mobile subscribers. Next in line to benefit from the NFC SIM’s multi-tenant possibilities will be China Telecom’s mobile payment application that will include bill payment, ticketing and other financial features. Both companies will continue to plumb the partnership’s shared expertise in order to discover further mobile contactless solutions.

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