US consumers don’t feel there are benefits to data-sharing economy

Only 7.6% of US consumers feel they get the benefits of user tracking behavioural data, as research demonstrates pessimism towards the digital economy.

The reason companies want to track existing or potential customers, while also collecting insight on these individuals, is simple; it is simpler to sell goods and services to someone you know more about. But, in order to do something for free, you have to offer a benefit. This equation does not seem to be balanced currently.

Research from AI firm Cujo suggest 64.2% of the surveyed consumers do not believe tracking is beneficial to the user, while only 28.2% said it could be. A meagre 7.6% believe they get the benefits of tracking.

If users do not see the benefits of tracking and personalisation, there will be resistance and push-back against these practices. Data and insight is being touted as a central cog of new business models, but these strategies will fail if the consumer is not brought forward on the same mission.

Sentiment is clearly moving against data collection, so much so that 61.9% of respondents to the survey would be happy to be tracked less even if personalization was affected.

The question is what service is being provided by tracking users and collecting data?

Google clearly tracks users though the benefits emerge in several different ways. For example, more accurate results are shown when using the search engine, or more favourable restaurants are show on the mapping services. This is a benefit for the user, while also making money.

Netflix is another example where the benefits are clear. The recommendation engine will help customers navigate through the extensive back catalogue, theoretically, while understanding consumer behaviour will also inform decisions on what content is created in the future.

These are logical applications of data insight, something which the user can see benefits from though they might not appreciate them. However, the larger issue is with the majority who collect data but there is no obvious reason as to why or where the benefits are.

For the most part, this might be viewed as a security risk, an unnecessary ‘transaction’ to make, and considering the security credentials of the majority, the consumer is right not to place trust in these organisations.

China deliberates privacy law in the midst of increased state surveillance

China’s parliament has said it will legislate on privacy protection, while the state has vastly increased surveillance since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The National People’s Congress, China’s highest legislature, is back in session after being delayed by two months by COVID-19. In his work report, the Chairman of the People’s Congress’s Standing Committee singled out three pieces of legislation related to state security and society control as priority tasks in the immediate future. Privacy protection is one of them, the other two being laws on data security and biosecurity, according to the reporting by People’s Daily, one of China’s main propaganda outlets.

This does not come as a complete surprise. At the end of last year, the People’s Congress announced at a press conference that a comprehensive privacy law would go through the legislation process in 2020. So far China’s privacy protection legislation is dispersed in different criminal, civil, and commercial laws and it often replies on the interpretation of judges when it comes to specific litigations. This gives those organisations, businesses, and individuals that have almost unbridled access to personal and private data an almost free hand to determine how to use the data. A group of consumers in China actually lost their case against Amazon when their privacy data on the e-commerce giant’s China site was comprised, which led to their losing large amount of money to phishing schemes.

Tencent and Alibaba have deployed facial recognition solutions at retail outlets where users of their online payment systems can pay for their purchases by looking at the camera at the check-out point. It is true that such solutions are both convenient and adding fun to the shopping experience, and it may also be true that the attitudes towards privacy in China are different from that in Europe. “In China, and across Asia, data is not seen as something to be locked down, it’s something that can be used,” according to a Hong Kong-based lawyer.

More recently, while the country was combating COVID-19, various tracing applications have been developed and deployed using personal data including name, date of birth, physical address, ID number, geo location records, and the like. Some of these apps have been jointly developed by commercial entities and public authorities and law enforcement agencies. Some people have raised concern that when the emergency is over, who and for how long such sensitive data should still be kept.

Probably more important is the scope of application of the impending law. The discussion on China’s official media is all about how to protect private data from being misused or abused by businesses, in particular the internet companies that have both access to the data and the technologies to benefit from it. It cannot help but giving the impression that the law is designed to primarily keep big businesses in check, without tying the government’s hands.

While the state legislature announced the new law being codified, China has vastly increased surveillance over its people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reuters reported that the country has seen “hundreds of millions of cameras in public places” being set up in cities and villages, as well as “increasing use of techniques such as smartphone monitoring and facial recognition.” The authorities have successfully located people infected by COVID-19 with surveillance images and facial recognition technologies, state media reported.

However, despite all the talking about AI, big data, and facial recognition, surveillance in China is still largely done by human beings constantly watching surveillance camera footages on screen and smartphone, which doesn’t come cheap. 4,400 cameras were installed in a village in Hubei, the province where COVID-19 first started, costing $5.6 million, according to the Reuters report.


Telecoms.com Daily Poll:

Should privacy rules be re-evaluated in light of a new type of society?

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Huawei intelligent IP networks, accelerating intelligent connectivity

SHENZHEN, China – During Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2020, Huawei’s “Leading Intelligent IP Networks, Accelerating the Transformation Towards Intelligent Connectivity” summit was successfully held. This summit shed light on three typical characteristics of intelligent IP networks: super capacity, intelligent experience, and autonomous driving. Besides this, Huawei shared its numerous success stories of intelligent IP networks across industries, signifying the data communications industry’s arrival in the intelligent IP network era.

As 5G, cloud, and AI pick up pace among enterprises of all sizes, enterprises, amid their pursuit for digital transformation, are confronting once-in-a-generation challenges, such as collaboration between hundreds of billions of production and office terminals, 100% migration of enterprise services to the cloud, and 97% AI adoption rate. As a decisive part of enterprises’ digital transformation, IP networks are also encountering a wide range of issues typified by insufficient bandwidth, poor service experience, and low efficiency of network O&M and troubleshooting. Intelligent IP networks are the key to conquering such issues. To better understand what kind of network can be called an intelligent IP network, Huawei took the lead by defining three typical characteristics of such a network:

  1. Super capacity: IP networks achieve a future-proof shift from 100GE to 400GE and from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6, and transform towards intelligent IP networks, boosting bandwidth resources. In addition, such future-oriented networks adopt slice-based bandwidth isolation, implementing flexible bandwidth adjustment.
  2. Intelligent experience: Intelligent IP networks stand out with intelligent identification of service types, service intent inference, and flexible, real-time network resource adjustment upon cloud changes. These highlights deliver always-on network connectivity experience.
  3. Autonomous driving: Intelligent IP networks can be automatically deployed, achieving rapid adjustment of services. In addition, they can perform automatic, AI-powered fault rectification, implementing proactive O&M and ensuring high network availability.

Kevin Hu, president of Huawei Data Communication Product Line, making a keynote at the summit.

Kevin Hu, President of Huawei’s Data Communication Product Line, said: “2020 is the first year for commercial use of intelligent IP networks. The entire industry has witnessed an historic shift of IP networks from Internet IP in the World Wide Web era to video-driven All IP, and is now on the way to intelligent IP oriented at the 5G and cloud era. Looking ahead, Huawei will keep innovating and continuously, proactively increasing investment in super capacity, intelligent experience, and autonomous driving to build end-to-end (E2E) intelligent IP networks for customers.”

Huawei’s innovative intelligent IP network solution achieves a future-proof integration of the three characteristics, and has embraced wide applications in various scenarios, such as campus network, data center network, and wide area network (WAN) scenarios. Specifically, this feature-rich solution is perfectly suited to building high-quality campus networks. It adopts Huawei’s industry-leading AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 that stands out for exclusive 16T16R smart antennas, delivering up to 1.6 Gbps single-user performance (20% higher than the industry average). Another highlight of Huawei’s AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 lies in AI-powered intelligent radio calibration that improves the average downlink rate of stations (STAs) by more than 50%. The solution also employs an AI-powered intelligent O&M system that slashes the mean time to repair (MTTR) from four hours to as short as just 10 minutes. These differentiators significantly optimize user experience, helping build future-proof, fully-wireless, and intelligent campus networks in an extensive range of scenarios, such as Huawei’s super-large campus serving 194,000 employees, and the digital warehouse of SONGMICS — the largest home necessity seller on Amazon in Germany.

The solution also performs well in the data center network domain. It adopts Huawei’s innovative iLossless algorithm that ensures zero packet loss on the Ethernet, thereby improving data computing efficiency by 27% and data storage efficiency by 30% compared with the industry average. The solution also achieves AI-powered intelligent O&M, which can remediate a typical fault in just 9 minutes — fault detection in 1 minute, fault locating in 3 minutes, and fault rectification in 5 minutes. Such superb performance has attracted more than 40 Internet service providers (ISPs) and financial service customers, such as China Merchants Bank, China CITIC Bank, and People’s Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. (PICC).

Besides the campus network and data center network domains, this solution is also highly suited to the WAN domain for its industry-leading FlexE-based slicing that provides 100% bandwidth assurance, achieving 5 times higher slicing granularity than the industry average. In addition, this feature-rich solution uses IPv6+ to select the optimal path based on the service intent, ensuring committed latency for key services. As such, this solution achieves superb transmission of key services and has been widely applied in multiple scenarios, such as China Mobile (smart grid services), Agricultural Bank of China, and China Unicom Beijing branch (services for the Beijing Daxing International Airport). Capitalizing on more than 20 years of expertise in the IP network domain, Huawei keeps on building highly competitive intelligent IP network products and solutions, as well as providing smooth, continuous services for carriers and customers in the financial services, government, transportation, and energy sectors in more than 100 countries and regions. Looking forward, Huawei’s Data Communication Product Line will collaborate with more customers in innovative design and in-depth service cooperation to help more customers achieve digital transformation so as to better embrace the “5G + cloud + AI” era and build intelligent IP networks with continuous leadership.

Let’s Talk Privacy — CUJO AI Interview

Marcio Avillez, CUJO AI’s SVP of Business Development, chatted to Telecoms.com about a range of topics on privacy, from third-party trackers to consumers’ concerns about social media and many things in between.

  1. What kind of problems do third-party trackers and covert tracking present in general? In your view, what are the most pressing privacy issues online?

Internet users around the world, billions of them, are exposed to a technology that they do not fully understand, have little or no benefit from it, haven’t asked for it whatsoever, and due to which, they have to be concerned about how their data is used. On top of this, there is a cost to users down to the consumption of their device’s resources in relation to tracking workflows.

Third-party trackers represent the problem. When someone visits a website or uses an app, they have no intention to provide anything to any third parties. They have no other business in mind, except their primary purpose, for example, to buy shoes online. Instead, by visiting a single website, they’re invisibly connected to dozens of third-fourth-fifth party entities to a degree where no one can answer who has access to what aspects of your data.

I’d say that the most pressing issue with privacy today is the lack of policy – it’s not clear who holds responsibility for preventing users from unwanted tracking or where should people turn when they think that their privacy has been compromised. Now we all understand that adverts form part of the Internet economy and targeted ads draw higher revenues and pay for better content. But when it comes to 3rd party tracking, we have to ask one key question – Is the end user making an informed consent?

  1. You are developing privacy protection solutions on the service provider level instead of end user solutions like ad blockers. Is there a danger in shifting responsibility to users in terms of their data?

To be responsible for something means first being able to make an impact and affect the outcome. We don’t expect a regular person to perform their own surgeries, install their plumbing or take care of legal processes. Internet users are the recipients of a service, and the attributes of that service – in this case, user privacy – remain in the field of service providers, not the consumers.

We’ve carried out survey on Privacy and Online Tracking Perceptions this spring where we asked US respondents who, in their opinion, should be responsible for protecting them from tracking. The majority – 65.1% – think that it’s the Internet service providers.

We also asked several questions about privacy threats and known countermeasures. The responses clearly show one thing – privacy protection requires a systematic approach. A lot of users are neither motivated nor qualified to ensure it for themselves. There is a lack of knowledge regarding tracking and awareness is still relatively low.

I think it’s a great risk for businesses to provide a service knowing that it has a potential to be maliciously used against their customers, and not take all possible measures in order to help avoid those threats.

  1. How exactly does Incognito ensure privacy protection? Is it able to address end user concerns and expectations towards privacy?

CUJO AI Incognito protects consumers’ privacy by blocking the third-party tracking software that powers advertising sites. Because it operates on the network level, it works across all devices, browsers and apps while they’re used on that network. This way Incognito frees the consumer from installing and maintaining software on their myriad of devices.

Incognito is able to address end user expectations by empowering the Internet service providers to ensure their clients don’t have to undergo the hassle of trying to protect themselves with available means that only work on browsers (so apps keep tracking them), or installing and updating the blocking software on each of their devices.

  1. Do you sense a change coming in terms of how the public views ‘free’ social networking and entertainment sites?

Only a minority (7.6%) of our survey respondents said they think that tracking might be beneficial to them, for example, for allowing a more personalized browsing or app experience, like prefilling repetitive forms, saving choices, etc.

What is flawed in this idea is that these convenient features are available because of functional, or essential, website trackers – it’s a part of the website functionality and user experience, but third-party trackers have nothing to do with that. Their sole purpose is to gather user behaviour data for profiling them and using those profiles to target and monetize advertisements.

But those who tend to see tracking in a not-entirely-negative light are just a small part of Internet users. The majority thinks that tracking is never beneficial, and I would say they’re right.

However, social networking and entertainment sites users have no alternatives to choose from, it’s either use and be tracked, or don’t use at all. That’s why it’s essential to at least minimize the impact of tracking that they’re exposed to when using the ‘free’ services that have already become a daily habit.

Artificial Intelligence for Networks: Understanding It Through ETSI ENI Use Cases and Architecture

On 17 April, ETSI officials from the Experiential Network Intelligence group (ISG ENI) gave a webinar entitled Artificial Intelligence for networks: understanding it through ETSI ENI use cases. This webinar attracted more than 150 online attendees including operators, vendors, research institutions, and international standards development organizations.

The first speaker, Dr. Luca Pesando, TIM, Vice Chair of ETSI ENI ISG introduced the scope of the group, membership and architecture, and Dr. Yue Wang, Samsung, Secretary of the group, gave some insight about selected ENI Use Cases. They highlighted that ENI is meant to be a flexible general-purpose AI Engine able to interface with multiple types of Assisted System, by means of open interfaces and API. Assisted Systems from multiple standards body can be interfaced (e.g. 3GPP, IETF, MEF, ITU, Broadband Forum) being able to control Access, Transport, Core technologies, from infrastructure to service layer of the network operation and management, creating AI based automation loops.

This webinar is available on the Brighttalk website.

This webinar will be followed on 6 May at 5pm CEST by a second webinar entitled ETSI ENI Architecture: AI for robust and manageable systems and applications.

You can register via the Brighttalk website.

The ETSI Industry Specification Group Experiential Network Intelligence created in February 2017 focuses on network intelligence and now comprises 60 organizations. ENI identified viable Use Cases and consequently derived the main Functionalities the ENI Engine has to provide. Five categories of Use Cases have been identified: Infrastructure Management; Network Assurance; Network Operation; Service Orchestration and Management; Network Security.

The ENI Engine aims to provide an easy way of user interaction, using a Human Like language to express the Intent of “What the User wants”, leaving the network with the task to translate it into Policies and How the Network can realize it. Evolution of the Architecture is increasing the possibility for ENI architecture to be applied to multiple Use Cases as well as increasing Security by Design. ISG ENI is working closely with the technologies defined by other ETSI groups including Fifth Generation Fixed Network (F5G), IPv6 integration (IP6), Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Secure AI (SAI) and Zero touch network and Service Management (ZSM). More information on ENI can be found on the ETSI website.

 

Huawei Technologies

IPv6+: Defining the Next Generation of the IP Industry

On April 15th, OMIDA, IPv6 Forum, and Huawei jointly held the webinar “IP Network Transformation Oriented to 5G and Cloud Era”. More than 200 experts from operators, vendors, research institutions, and international standards organization registered and participated in the webinar. Dr. Latif Ladid, Founder&President of the IPv6 Forum and Chairman of the ETSI IP6 Group, shared the latest innovation from IPv6 to IPv6+ and how to better guarantee new services such as autonomous driving, industrial automation, and VR/AR in 5G and cloud era.

Latif said that the number of Internet nodes will exceed 100 billion in 5G and cloud era. IPv6 is a fundamental ingredient to address current foreseen evolution, mainly to solve the problem of insufficient IP addresses, but not the only. Emerging services, such as self-driving, industrial automation, VR teaching, smart healthcare, smart power grid, and enterprise cloudification, require massive, high-quality, and faster connections. These new services pose higher requirements on network automation, intelligence, and user experience. To tackle those requirements, IPv6 needs to be further combined with other technologies to generate groundbreaking “IPv6+” based networks.

IPv6+ is the next-generation intelligent IP network for 5G and cloud era, which uses IPv6+AI+ protocol innovation to support path planning, quick service provisioning, automatic O&M, quality visualization, SLA assurance, and application awareness.

IPv6+ greatly stimulates business model innovation to increases revenue and efficiency. For example, operators use the IPv6+slicing technology to isolate multiple planes on a physical network to carry different types of services and provide dedicated channels for VR, education, healthcare, and power grid, greatly ensuring service experience. Operators transform from selling bandwidth to selling differentiated services, change the business model, and increase the revenue; IPv6+SRv6 only configures the first and the last ends, accelerates service deployment in various industries, shortening the deployment period from months to days.IPv6+AI improves O&M efficiency in various industries and reduces O&M costs. For example, a bank uses IPv6+AI to detect faults, locate faults and recover services within a few minutes, improving O&M efficiency by several times.

Latif also mentioned that IPv6+ has become a hot topic in the research of international standard organizations. ETSI has started white papers about IPv6+ in March 2020. All parties are welcome to participate in the drafting.

IPv6+, combined with business scenario innovation, is deepening and developing IPv6 and becoming the key basic technology of IP networks in 5G and cloud era. The accelerated deployment of IPv6 also provides a broad space for IPv6+ technology, network, and service innovation. It is a common understanding that IPv6+is defining the next generation of the IP industry.

800G Pluggable MSA Work Group Releases the 800G White Paper

[March 12 2020]

After several rounds of technical discussions and workshops, the 800G Pluggable MSA work group releases a white paper– ENABLING THE NEXT GENERATION OF CLOUD & AI USING 800GB/S OPTICAL MODULES. The white paper explains the evolution path for Data Center architectures and optical interconnect requirements of cloud expansion. Different scenarios of 800G applications are discussed from the technical point of view.

The white paper is available to download from the MSA official website with the link below.

https://www.800gmsa.com/documents

 

About 800G Pluggable MSA

The 800G Pluggable MSA work group was formed in September 5, 2019 and promotes a joint industry exchange and collaboration between data center operators and vendors of infrastructure equipment, optical modules, optoelectronic chips, and connectors.

It focuses on the data center network interconnection scenario, targeting to determine the optimal interconnect architecture, define interface specifications of the 800G pluggable optical modules, build the ecosystem, and guide healthy development of the industry.

For more information, please visit www.800Gmsa.com

 

—End—

 

 

 

Consensus on 6G is gradually forming

Participants at the virtual 6G Wireless Summit shared their thinking on what 6G can do and what research is needed to get the underlying technologies in place.

The 6G Wireless Summit 2020 would have kicked off in Finnish Lapland this morning. Instead, the organisers have moved it online. Except for the lack of face-to-face conversations, the virtual event is a competent substitute. This may not be the first time that speakers needed to record their presentations, considering companies had been already pulling out other events over the recent weeks. By the time the Summit was scheduled to start, most of the keynote speeches and presentations at the technical streams had been made available online.

A year ago, when Team Finland introduced its 6G Flagship programme (then called 6Genesis) at Mobile World Congress 2019, what 6G was about was almost a blank slate. Twelve months and 800 peer-reviewed papers later, the direction of 6G is much clearer and the vision is increasingly shared by industry experts and their academic partners.

Having watched six of the seven keynotes (Huawei’s speech has yet to be made available by the time of writing), we can see a clear convergence between the speakers’ views on both what 6G is expected to do and where research investment should be made to make those expectations come true.

Even their 6G vision taglines could look rather similar. For example, Harish Viswanathan, Head of Radio Systems Research Group at Nokia Bell Labs, believed 6G will “unify the experience across physical, digital and biological worlds”, while Dr. Fang Min, Director of 6G Research & Collaboration in the ZTE’s Wireless Division, saw 6G “integrating the physical and digital world”.

The leading use cases expected for 6G are shared by most speakers. For instance, they all foresaw vastly increased interaction between human and intelligent machine. Both ZTE’s Dr. Fang and Ericsson’s Dr. Mikael Prytz, Head of Research Area Networks, called it “Internet of Senses”. This includes both enhanced brain-computer interaction, and, in the words of Nokia Bell Lab’s Viswanathan, in-body monitoring.

Another key use case referred to by the speakers is what Ericsson’s Prytz called Connected Intelligence, or what ZTE’s Fang called Internet of AI, meaning AI interacting with each other, intelligent machines serving other intelligent machines. Such a scenario will have strong implications on network designs which are now limited by human senses.

With 6G poised to operate on much higher frequency than 5G (for example the FCC granted >95GHz for experimental use), the shorter wavelengths will allow for higher localisation accuracy, possibly down to centimetre level positioning. One outcome of such precision will be full digital representations of the physical world, or “digital twins”, by also fusing data from other sources including network data. Network operators will also be able to generate interconnected and collaborative digital twins, and digital representation of larger objects and their environment. Nokia Bell Lab demonstrated a digital twin of a New Jersey street with drone-captured high-resolution data for wireless network optimisation, for example accurate signal propagation prediction.

These use cases need to be supported by new, advanced underlying technologies that will provide guidelines for research in the discipline in the coming years. New spectrum technologies are highlighted by all speakers as such a domain. This includes both radio technology on the so-called D-Band (140-180GHz) and above, and progress in material sciences. Bell Lab’s Viswanathan pointed out that transceiver design for such radio frequencies will be more sophisticated, and may need to use glass interposers instead of silicon. ZTE also sees “Beyond Silicon” as one of the leading 6G challenge.

Network architecture is another key technology requirement that needs to advance in the run-up to 6G. One such advancement is what Nokia Bell Lab’s Viswanathan sees in the trend of RAN-Core convergence. This is primarily driven by the need to move the core closer to RAN for low latency service as well as to make the RAN more centralised towards the cloud. A related trend highlighted by Viswanathan is the demand for hyper specialised slicing. He believes that network slicing should move from resource reservation in 5G to providing separate software stacks and functions by using different micro-services.

Both ZTE’s Fang and InterDigital’s Alain Abdel-Majid Mourad, Director Engineering R&D, stressed the importance and demand for innovation to meet 6G’s new KPIs. Network security in 6G is also highlighted. While Nokia Bell Lab’s Viswanathan saw in 6G a “sixth sense”, for example using real-time analytics of sensor data by AI, Ericsson’s Prytz believed that the holistic solution of hardware-based security, trusted computing, and secured enclave will form the base of the future computing networks.

When it comes to the timing, the speakers had a consensus that it would be around 2030 when 6G will start commercialisation. ZTE believed 3GPP will start more concrete 6G specification work in R22, which the company expects to see in 2029. See the chart below for ZTE’s detailed prediction for the timeline from 5G to Beyond 5G (B5G) and 6G.

In general, the speakers at the Summit look to have much more in common with their views on what they expect 6G to look like than a year ago, as well as sharing an understanding on what key research areas will be in the years to come. While there is no guarantee these predictions will turn out to be correct, Nokia Bell Lab’s Viswanathan put it best when he said, “We have 10 years to be proved wrong, and now can have fun predicting the future.”

Source: 6G Wireless Summit 2020, ZTE Keynote

AI and edge computing replaces the Pilgrims in the new Mayflower

IBM’s AI and edge computing technologies are going to guide a crewless boat to chart the same route the Pilgrims did 400 years ago.

I was at an IBM analyst event when I met Don Scott, CTO of Marine Ai, a venture that is working on an automatic boat, named “Mayflower”, that will sail from Plymouth, England, where the Marine Ai is based, to Plymouth, Massachusetts in September this year, 400 years after the original ship carried the Pilgrims across the Atlantic Ocean.

My first question was on why IBM, considering companies like Google would probably have more expertise in autonomous driving. The problem with Google seems to be two-fold. On one hand, Google demands that all new “knowledge” developed from their AI tools should be owned by Google. On the other hand, Google’s AI tools are not transparent enough to satisfy the maritime regulators.

On the other hand, Scott said IBM has responded to his request with enthusiasm. In addition to reversing Google’s position on those two pain points above, IBM is helping develop the boat’s control system on its Power System servers. Meanwhile, other partners in the projects, including the University of Plymouth, one of the world’s leading research institute of marine science, and the non-profit organisation ProMare, are training IBM’s PowerAI engine with real data from the ocean, for example recognising other ships, whales, floating debris.

The boat will be equipped with an edge computing module using the data from the AI engine to make onboard decisions, similar to the way autonomous cars are doing on the road. What is different is that, while autonomous cars are typically always online (it is one of the leading use cases for 5G, for example), connectivity to the internet when the boat sales out to sea will be sporadic at the best. It will use some satellite communication, but the majority of the computing will be done “on the edge”.

The motor power of the boat, which is made of aluminium and composite materials and measures 15 metres by 6 metres, will come from onboard batteries, charge with solar power and back-up biofuel generator. When I asked him what the boat can do in addition to charting ocean geography, Scott said the first mission would include measure the level of microplastic in the sea, which has increasingly become a big concern for those of us that worry about the environment. In the future, similar sea vessels may even be used to clean the ocean.

I was fully aware that Marine Ai was present at the event because it is a showcase for IBM technologies. However, I could not deny that the project fascinated me in its own right. If edge computing and AI, as well as cloud computing and satellite communication, are pushing the boundary of what they can do, this should count as one case.

Exfo uses AI to reassure 5G operators

Testing and service assurance vendor Exfo has launched some new cleverness designed to take the stress out of managing a 5G network.

In case nobody told you, 5G is a lot more complicated than any of the previous Gs, so much so that it’s just too much for mere people to get their heads around. That’s where artificial intelligence comes to the rescue, with its omniscience and ability to learn on the job. Exfo reckoned it was about time its service assurance platform made the most of AI so it has launched Nova Adaptive Service Assurance.

The cleverest bit of it seems to be Nova SensAI (possibly a play on the word ‘Sensei’), which Exfo describes as its central nervous system. As you may have guessed, it’s all about using AI and machine learning to analyse the many layers of the network and offer a good view of them. Exfo claims it will uncover network issues no other equivalent platform can, possibly even before they’ve happened.

“The combination of more users, more connections, more apps and more convoluted networks has created a perfect storm of complexity for operators,” said Philippe Morin, EXFO CEO. “By delivering only the right data at the right time, Nova A|SA is a unique intelligent automation platform to provide operators with 100% visibility into user experience and network performance. We’re talking about operations teams being able to resolve issues in minutes rather than days—or preventing them entirely.”

We’d be lying if we said we had any way of verifying those claims, but as the nature of the launch implies, this is all very complicated stuff. We do know that Exfo is up against some pretty stiff competition in the 5G service assurance space, with all its competitors also claiming to take the stress out of 5G for operators. Telecoms CTOs would seem to have their work cut out picking the best one.