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UK’s fiber market diversifies again with new Vodafone and Elite moves

The UK has become something of a hotbed of activity by alternative fiber providers, aiming to reduce the power of BT’s Openreach wholesale division. CityFibre is one of these companies, and scored a significant boost to its plans last year when it secured Vodafone as a key partner. Vodafone, which has acquired wireline companies in markets like Germany and Spain, in order to move from mobile-only to quad play services, has more limited reach in its home market. It owns C&W Worldwide, but this is mainly focused on the enterprise, so CityFibre could provide an economical way to add fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) access, and small cell backhaul, to its portfolio. CityFibre said it would start work on its latest fiber network,…

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Kaltura, Massive team for targeted TV, casually drop debut AI features

US cloud video company Kaltura and UK personalized UI provider Massive Interactive are both looking to bag their first customer deployment deals of 2018 on the back of the NAB trade show this week – pooling their resources together to launch a combined targeted TV platform. In a hyper sensitive period for all things data collection, particularly regarding social media, it sparks concerns for recommendation and personalization software vendors – many of which pull user interests from social media platforms in order to get a leg up over rivals while others purely base personalized TV features on past viewing behaviors. Specifically, scores of users have either evacuated social media or tightened up their security preferences so less personal data can…

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Harmonic hopes UHD sports streaming will sustain revival

Harmonic, as one of the longstanding dedicated video infrastructure providers, has been struggling for air for several years now as its rivals have either consolidated or been acquired by larger general networking players such as Ericsson, Cisco or Nokia. Revenues have been bumping around $400 million a year since 2014, sagging if anything, while profits have at times been minimal. Yet the company has continued on a commendable journey of innovation inspired by internal evangelists, and this has sustained hopes of an elusive return to growth. The firm has established a leadership role in Ultra HD standards developments and in streaming technologies without as yet gaining much return for that investment. However, there was a slight uptick in its Q4…

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Bitmovin taunts rivals as start-up wins iflix encoding, $30m funding

US encoding start-up Bitmovin could hardly have wished for a better week. The five-year old firm picked up a $30 million Series B funding round and landed its biggest encoding deployment to date at Malaysian SVoD service iflix – one of the fasting growing OTT video providers across Asia Pacific and MENA. Bitmovin claims its recent recipe for success is offering a container-based architecture, which the company told us back in January is based on Google’s open source Kubernetes container software, whereas rival cloud encoding providers offer “monolithic APIs which cannot run on customer-provided servers.” This encoding method allows customers to deploy virtualized encoding servers covering full cloud, on-premise and hybrid deployments combining the two. Essentially Bitmovin’s encoding software covers…

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OZO emerges from blaze as Imeve; Leap Motion throws headset curve ball

In October 2017, Nokia hung up its OZO virtual reality boots, instead chasing down software defined infrastructure and systems integration markets. Unbeknown to many, Nokia’s failed VR venture was quietly reborn in January this year as a start-up called Imeve – which is showcasing the resurrection of OZO for the first time at NAB. Just to be clear, Imeve is purely in the software business, picking up what OZO left behind and rebranding as a start-up – where the media spotlight is less blinding. What will come of the hardware corpse of OZO is still a mystery, although a line reading “additional cameras coming soon” on the Imeve website gives us a clue – on the assumption Imeve software continues…

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Phase B recruits content-aware encoding to cut UHD bandwidth

As expected, this year’s NAB has been a UHD centric event, preparing broadcasters for delivery of major upcoming events, namely the 2018 World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in what will be a make or break couple of years for many broadcasters and indeed the future of the UHD format, which has promised so much, yet driving bodies have struggled to ignite engagement. In the same week the Ultra HD Forum rolled out its Phase B guidelines for UHD and HDR formats, US security firm Verimatrix scooped up a major contract upgrade at Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom for UHD content, while encoding expert Harmonic nailed a UHD deployment in Japan. To UHD Phase B first of all, laying out guidelines for…

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Encoding inches forwards at R&S, and backwards at Ericsson

There is a tendency to think that the encoding wars are well and truly over, and that AWS Elemental has pretty much won them, but you may get an argument or two from the likes of Harmonic, Cisco and even Ericsson, and this week as NAB was under way at least one unlikely new player emerged at Rohde and Schwarz – better known for broadcasting transmitters. First Ericsson, which tried to convince us that MediaFirst has a UHD end to end system which takes in media processing, encoding, storage claiming to solve the problem from camera to consumer in UHD and HDR. But instead of basing this on its acquired Envivio software only encoders working from the cloud, this is…

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EBU extends BISS protection to IP, adds watermarking

The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) has revamped its longstanding BISS protocol used for protecting satellite contribution to support live content transmission with Conditional Access (CA) across both broadcast and IP networks. It is aimed at sports federations and other rights holders seeking an interoperable way of distributing live content to business partners over either IP or broadcast infrastructures, but with special focus on Software Defined Networks (SDNs). The EBU first developed BISS (Basic Interoperable Scrambling Standard) in 2002 to secure contributions over satellite networks, with help from several security hardware vendors. But as a sign of the times it is two French firms noted for software skills, neither security specialists, to which the EBU turned for help this time. These…

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ASSIA lands Telefónica Latam for CloudCheck WiFi management

US broadband innovator ASSIA has managed a massive Tier 1 telco win at Telefónica across Latin America for its CloudCheck management software – a cloud-based management tool for WiFi which reaches right down into how it is performing on remote customer premises. We mentioned it a few weeks ago when ASSIA re-emerged after a quiet few years, with an upgrade to this software, as well as its DSL Expresse toolset for managing DSL vectoring and automated fault finding. It also mentioned that Canada’s Telus had taken on CloudCheck at that time and that it has once again reached 100 million broadband lines under contract. We noted that this product began life in 2012 as Expresse WiFi – importing policy decisions…

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Liberty butters up Samba TV with $7.5m, prepares for TV data overhaul

How can a major cable company pump up revenues for a steadily weakening pay TV business, with minimal capex and a rapid time to market? Almost every video technology vendor in the market will raise a hand, but Liberty Global provided one of many answers for us this week – dropping a $7.5 million investment in TV data outfit Samba TV. Samba TV could be exactly what Liberty Global needs to boost operations across its 12 European countries, aggregating consumer viewing and purchasing habits then gearing the data towards targeted TV campaigns for programmatic advertising. Liberty could wrap its VoD assets with targeted ads, selling them programmatically to the highest bidders, before taking the bigger step of putting viewer data…

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Telcos “not dead yet” – Comcast not acquiring mobile subs fast enough

Back in May 2017 when Comcast launched Xfinity Wireless, we suggested something outrageous – that Comcast and Charter might, over time, do so well in wireless and Verizon so badly, that the changing share prices may make Verizon open to being acquired or partly acquired by the two collectively. As long as Comcast does not shoot its share price in the foot, as it has threatened to lately, offering to buy Sky from under the nose of 21st Century Fox, which has temporarily taken a full $23 billion off its market capitalization, then it can still end up doing this. We think it is far healthier for Comcast to acquire a cellular business in the US, than a DTH player…

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AOMedia addresses critics, targets 2020 for AV1 domination

One perception of the Alliance for Open Media is that of an aggressive body comprising technology and internet behemoths intent on disruptive monopolization of the entertainment industry; another is that advanced codecs should be a commodity. What we don’t expect to hear is how the royalty free AV1 patent licensing group is on the ultra-defensive, having set up a World Council and Legal Defense Fund – preparing for all manner of sticky situations which may arise from the plethora of patented intellectual property within the alliance. According to AOMedia’s Executive Director Gabe Frost, of Microsoft, the idea is for every member of the alliance to sign a patent agreement before joining, applying the same policy as the W3C (World Wide…

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Rethink IoT News ATW 205: Around The Web Roundup

Editor’s Note: Riot ATW is now only available to Paid and Trial subscriptions. It is no longer available to free subscribers. // M&A, Strategies, Alliances // Intel has offloaded its Wind River embedded OS division to TPG, an investment firm. Intel bought Wind River for $884m in 2009. No price was given. Microsoft has announced that it will invest $5bn into its IoT projects over the next four years, tripling its prior spending to date – which has totaled $1.5bn. // Hardware // AddSecure has picked Telit to supply it with modules to power AddSecure’s line of alarm systems and critical communications hardware – 40k customers in Europe. // Networks, Protocols, & Wireless // SpaceX has received FCC approval to…

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Rakuten signs utilities to reduce cost of entering Japan’s 4G market

The idea of operators turning to industrial partners to co-invest in new networks is still embryonic, but may be essential to 5G economics (see Wireless Watch April 3 2018). China has blazed the trail with its scheme to save China Unicom – which involves a range of web and industrial companies investing in the operator in return for a say in how its 5G networks are rolled out. Now Japan – whose operators have closer ties to players in non-telecoms sectors than many others – is the location for another interesting twist on the idea that telcos cannot bear all the burden of rolling out networks, and that other sectors need to put their money where their mouth is, if…

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Quantenna moves into cloud-based WiFi analytics with ViSiON

Cloud-based analytics software for broadband and WiFi management is all the rage – slashing call center costs for ISPs and introducing features such as remote debugging. WiFi silicon supplier Quantenna Communications has now come out with such a product called ViSiON, which initially looks very similar to ASSIA’s CloudCheck, launched a few weeks ago. The essential difference between the two pieces of network analytics software is that Quantenna claims ViSiON is not positioned as a direct rival to network management software for monitoring long term deployments, such as CloudCheck – but to accelerate deployment times from the lab and soothe the teething process for a WiFi device’s first year in the field. Quantenna’s head of marketing Ambroise Popper told Wireless…

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FCC suggests commercial or robot usage of underutilized 4.9 GHz safety band

The FCC is considering opening up the 4.9 GHz public safety band for 5G, potentially to support specialized allocations for low latency, critical communications applications such as drone and robot operations in future. This would be a good example of a regulator considering options to enable 5G to fulfil its objectives of supporting a diverse range of enterprise use cases rather than just an increasingly fat and generic mobile broadband pipe (see lead item). However, it would be controversial, given that 4.9 GHz is already allocated for a critical application, safety. However, the FCC considers the band has “fallen short of its potential” in that sector because, according to its filing, out of “nearly 90,000 public safety entities eligible ……

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ARM’s machine learning alliance with Nvidia puts pressure on Intel

ARM and Nvidia have announced a partnership that will combine Nvidia’s open source Deep Learning Accelerator software and framework (NVDLA) with ARM’s recently announce Project Trillium – to create a chip design that can be used for machine-learning and AI applications at the network edge. Essentially, this is a way for developers to take advantage of Nvidia’s development ecosystem, to more easily create applications for ARM-based chips. Project Trillium, announced in the run up to MWC, continues ARM’s strategy of designing chips that can then be licensed by other companies and manufactured. ARM had said that third-party designs could be integrated under the Trillium umbrella, and the Nvidia NVDLA seems to be the first instance of this. Strangely, Trillium won’t be the…

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Ambarella takes new approach to autonomous car safety

Machine vision silicon specialist Ambarella has revealed its CV2 processor, using a self-driving Lincoln MKZ to show off the capabilities of the system on a route around Silicon Valley. The car, nicknamed EVA (Embedded Vehicle Autonomy), does not use LiDAR to navigate. It relies on a radar system and an array of Ambarella-powered cameras – six roof-mounted long-range cameras and four short-range units to cover the front, back, and sides. The complete aversion to LiDAR is pretty unique in the industry, with most automakers declaring the technology essential. For Ambarella, EVA’s camera-based process is obviously intended to prove the viability of its systems. EVA was on show at CES, using the CV1, but Ambarella was also showing off a CV1-powered…

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Synchronoss outlines new strategy focused on IoT

Some 17 years ago, white label messaging software supplier Synchronoss was handling all the back end components for AT&T following the arrival of the first iPhone. Today, the operator’s reliance on Synchronoss has slipped to managing “a number of services,” presumably as in-house technologies have grown in prominence, driving the vendor to develop software supporting what many operators are striving for in the future – ownership of the smart city. The US vendor is currently on a marketing spree spearheaded by two new faces, CEO Glen Lurie (formerly AT&T’s head of devices) and CMO Mary Clark. Speaking to Wireless Watch’s sister service, Faultline Online Reporter, this week, Clark explained how Lurie’s 27 years at AT&T, primarily working on digital transformation…

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China and Korea gear up for their first 5G auctions this year

China and South Korea, expected to be among the first countries to have wide-scale 5G deployments, have provided some details of their upcoming auctions. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) says it will award some 5G licences in the second half of this year, or early 2020 at the latest, mainly in 3.5 GHz. Wang Zhiqin of MIIT, who is also a VP of China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, revealed the timescales, saying this would enable China to fulfil its aim of being one of the first 5G nations. China now has just over 1bn 4G customers and is predicted by CCS Insight, in a study for the GSMA, to account for over half of 5G…

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