OPPO ups R&D spend in major 5G, AI and IoT push

Commits RMB10 billion (A$2 billion) in R&D for 2019

OPPO will be investing RMB 10 billion (about A$1.97 billion) in research and development next year – a 150 per cent increase year-on-year – as it focuses on 5G, AI and IoT.

The Shenzhen-based handset maker also announced it will continue to ramp up investment on a yearly basis. The announcement was made at OPPO’s technology-focused ‘2018 OPPO Technology Exhibition’ in Shenzhen, China.

Embraces 5G technology

Since 2015, OPPO has been investing in R&D into the 5G standard. When 5G standards were frozen in December 2017, OPPO quickly invested in the development of 5G products, taking the lead in enabling the interoperability of 5G signalling and data links in August 2018. By October, OPPO had realised the first 5G smartphone connection.

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OPPO Australia MD Michael Tran

“5G is a significant network upgrade, which will bring unprecedented speeds and applications to our mobile networks here in Australia,” said Michael Tran, managing director at OPPO Australia.

“In addition to striving to become the first manufacturer to launch 5G smartphones, OPPO’s exploration of application opportunities in the 5G+ era will ultimately determine the value of 5G.”

OPPO will fully integrate 5G with applications and user insights, and continuously innovate to provide users with revolutionary, necessary, convenient and seamless mobile experiences,” added Tran.

Benefits of AI realised in the 5G era

To date, OPPO said it had applied AI technologies across a wide range of applications, including photography, facial recognition and fingerprint identification. In addition, AI has enabled OPPO to launch innovate features including an AI-powered beauty camera, 3D portrait lighting and intelligent recognition scenarios.

However, Tran said this only promised to be the start of what AI could make a reality.

“The benefits brought about by AI technologies will truly be realised when 5G launches in Australia. For OPPO, AI is both a capability and a mindset, meaning our development prospects for AI are very broad,” he said. “In the future, smartphones will be our intelligent personal assistants – and this is something OPPO will definitely enable.”

The rise of IoT sees OPPO expand to smart devices and homes

With OPPO’s commitment to becoming a leader in an era where 5G, AI and Internet of Things are broadly applied, the company is set to expand its product range to include smartwatches and smart home technologies, with its smartphones at the centre of a connected ecosystem.

“We must continue to explore and innovate within this new connected era. In the future, OPPO will fully integrate technological innovation to develop smart devices and homes, with the smartphone at their core. Our priority is to develop and provide smart technologies to meet the increasing demands for connected devices in the age of the Internet of Things,” said Tran.


Telstra ups IoT play with Arduino telco partnership

Telstra has forged an exclusive telco partnership with open-source hardware and software ecosystem Arduino, under which it will release a new IoT developer board in Australia.

Telstra said the new offering supports Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE Cat M1 networks and is specifically designed to enable rapid innovation, field trials and deployments of cellular connected devices.

Left is Massimo Banzi, CTO & co-founder, Arduino. Right is Hakan Eriksson, CTO, Telstra

As Arduino’s exclusive telco partner in Australia our alliance integrates Telstra’s Cat M1 and NB-IoT network investments with Arduino’s world leading ecosystem to connect developers, startups, students and experimenters in creation and exploration of IoT innovations.

Cat M1 and NB-IoT are cellular technologies designed for IoT sensors operating at very low data rates inside machines, vehicles, and inside buildings. They are designed for a battery life of years rather than hours and days. Telstra, which has over three million square kilometres of Cat M1 coverage across Australia, rolled out NB-IoT coverage in major Australian cities and many regional towns and earlier this year .

The telco said the partnership enabled developers to create innovative IoT services for  on-the-go and stationary use cases, offering access to its extended mobility and network coverage and depth.

The Arduino MKR NB 1500 board will be available to purchase in early 2019 from Telstra and will include a M2M SIM via the Telstra Developer Portal.


Value of exploding data flows lies in distilling relevance of new tech: Motorola Solutions

Motorola Solutions is stepping up its drive to capitalise on the cascading amounts of new information produced by emerging technologies in the public safety industry, saying the key focus should be on transforming this data into a significant asset.

“The overarching goal that we’re looking at, especially in the public safety space is:  How do we take that plethora of data and information and actually turn it into something that’s meaningful and actionable?” Kodiak Networks Engineering CTO and EVP Kris Patel told Telecom Times on the sidelines of the recent Comms Connect event in Melbourne.

Patel said Kodiak Networks –  the Texas mobile enterprise productivity firm purchased by Motorola Solutions in August 2017 –  has been developing a range of broadband push-to-talk services since about 2006.

In terms of the value to Motorola Solutions of technologies such machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Big Data Analytics, Patel said these were already making an impact in-house.

“Where there is some sort of mission-critical use case that needs to be practiced, those are the techniques we will use to do that,” he added, noting that in addition, these new capabilities could provide a kind of different vision for the police or the fire brigade to see multiple potential first response scenarios. 

He also touched on the absorption of Kodiak Networks, which specialises in carrier-integrated broadband push-to-talk offerings and how its assets align with Motorola Solutions’ own proposition.

“We have been working towards kind of merging the products – because Motorola also has initiatives on broadband… the push-to-talk products as well as the land mobile radio. The current thing is we’re focussed on getting to broadband, and kind of interconnecting the broadband technologies with other assets,” Patel explained.

“But we have now combined it into one platform,” he said. “Everything is fully standardised [and] we are well integrated, and Motorola, as you know, is a leader in the LMR space. ” 

“They’re also now leading broadband mission-critical push-to-talk solutions around the world.  And we are providing the FirstNet service through AT&T; and with we are contracted to do all the transition off the emergency services network network,” Patel said. “There are [also] customers like Bell Mobility and Telstra customers who will be using it on-prem inside their network solutions.”

Richard vande Draay was in Melbourne as a guest of Motorola Solutions




Park Place Technologies readies for APAC growth with launch of Singapore HQ

Third-party data center maintenance firm Park Place Technologies has opened a new Singapore office to serve as the firm’s APAC headquarters, in a bid to position itself for future growth plans in the region.  

Founded in 1991, Park Place Technologies aims to provide an alternative to post-warranty storage, server and networking hardware maintenance for IT data centers..

A key driver for the expansion is the company’s commitment to offering new and existing customers more accessible, cost-effective, flexible and impactful solutions that help to drive uptime.

“Our ambitious plans to expand within the APAC region begins at the heart of our headquarters in Singapore,” said the firm’s APAC MD Ian Shearer. “Our position as the market leader in the provision of data center maintenance services is reinforced with our commitment to continuously provide bigger and better solutions across the Asia Pacific region – starting with a revamped space that is conducive and inspires greater creativity amidst creating a positive attitude towards boosting productivity and performance.”

With the launch of the new headquarters, Park Place aims to its headcount by 50% over the next three years to accommodate its growth plans throughout the APAC region.

Its recent acquisition in of Solid Systems CAD Services , Houston, Texas marks its ninth  in the last two years. The purchase of Axentel Technologies’ businesses in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines in 2018 made up one of the nine acquisitions since 2016. 

“Park Place Technologies will continue to expand,” a spokesperson for Nectonn said,


Key global research cements FTTB business case: NetComm Wireless

New data on the global adoption of Fibre-to-the-Home internet access technologies has showcased a significant and sustainable pipeline of Fibre-to-the-Building market opportunities for Netcomm Wireless.

According to the Sydney-based fixed wireless specialist and NBN Co partner, the Connecting Everyone report – released by French research firm Idate at its Paris DigiWorld Summit – unveiled some real-world challenges in providing universal FTTH
coverage while also flagging major opportunities for ultra-fast Gfast and fixed wireless capabilities to deliver high-speed broadband.

The study – originally commissioned by NBN Co, the company deploying the Australian national broadband network – found that across the total serviceable global FTTB and FTTH market comprising some 670 million premises, 60 per cent of those were being served with FTTB technology.

“This is an extremely important factor to bear in mind when we think about the actual state of play in the broadband market in terms of network deployment and for regulators when they think about how much real FTTH has actually been deployed globally,” said the report authors. “It shows us that the number of premises in which operators have actually run new fibre all the way inside the residence is actually still a small proportion of total broadband homes in the global market.”

“Many operators we spoke to for this report concluded they could not see an investment case for upgrading networks from FTTB to FTTH,” said Jean-Luc Lemmens, Head of Telecom Practice at IDATE. “This means that FTTB services will be part of the mix for a very long-time to come.”

Other key findings included:

  • Significant FTTB (fibre-to-the-building) opportunities exist in several European markets for Australia’s Netcomm to help operators devise a solution that is easier, more cost-effective and faster to deploy.
  • Many European countries are learning the same lessons Australia learnt when it embarked on universal FTTH deployment, and turning to Netcomm due to its expertise in this field with NBN Co.
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Els Baert ,Director of Marketing and Communications at NetComm

Speaking at the summit, Sydney-based Netcomm marketing and communications director Els Baert said that while aiming to deliver universal FTTH was admirable, almost all markets faced specific challenges, which made attaining that goal unrealistic.

Connecting Everyone shows that there is a significant market opportunity for us in the FTTB market to help operators devise a solution that is easier, more cost-effective and faster to deploy,” she said, noting Netcomm’s partnership with NBN Co to roll out its Gfast enabled 8-port and 16-port DPUs onto the network’s Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) network in multi-dwelling units – the first of which are slated to be delivered in the first half of 2019.

“We have concluded seven lab trials and one field trial with major operators in Europe who are actively exploring alternatives to building a full FTTH network,” Baert said. “Due to our expertise in this field with NBN Co many operators are turning to us for our insight and innovation.”

In addition, Netcomm said the data highlighted a lack of progress in connecting rural areas to FTTH networks, with regulators increasingly considering to use a broader array of access technologies.

“Fixed wireless opens up the possibilities for alternative network providers to build high speed broadband networks far quicker and more cost effectively than delivering universal FTTH,” Baert added. “When using 3.5GHz and 4-carrier aggregation, speeds of up to 400 Mbps can be provided in a range of up to 14 km around the base station.'”

Taking into account Europe’s unique challenges, Baert said the region could use its heritage to its advantage by harnessing its natural town planning built around churches to utilise those capabilities.

“By installing a base station in the towers, rural areas could be covered in record time, with minimal investment,” she said.

Irdeto on Singapore High Court ordering ISPs to block access to TV box apps

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By Mark Mulready, Vice President – Cybersecurity Services at Irdeto

Mark Mulready, VP of cybersecurity services at Dutch digital platform security specialist Irdeto, comments on the risks around accessing illegal content on TV box applications such as getting infected by malware or having one’s account credentials stolen and sold on the Dark Web for a profit

Singapore’s High Court has ordered Internet service providers to block access to TV box applications which allow users to stream and download content like movies, TV shows and live sports channels.

It follows the hearing of a motion filed in October by Singnet, Fox Networks Group Singapore, NGC Network Asia, Fox International Channels (US) and The Football Association Premier League. The Judicial Commissioner subsequently granted the proposed orders against eight authentication server domains.

“Much of the current industry focus when it comes to piracy is on content redistribution and measures to detect and deal with illegal streams, and rightly so. However, this is not just an issue for operators but for consumers as well,” says Mulready:

They must also understand that today, piracy and cybercrime are not necessarily separate threats as they will often come from the same origin. By watching illegal streams knowingly or unknowingly, consumers are potentially exposing their devices, data and families to risks of cybercrime, inappropriate content and other threats.

The same digital and connected TV platforms that cybercriminals target for illegal redistribution of content also act as attack surfaces for hackers looking to gain access to service providers’ networks and potentially steal customer information and other important data.

“For example, the growth of both pureplay OTT services and OTT offerings from operators has led to a big market in stolen credentials.

Today’s cybercriminal has customers to satisfy and must consider their return on investment (ROI) just like any other business, and this is where the Dark Web comes in.

The Dark Web is widely used for the sale of illegal goods and services including stolen credentials. Such marketplaces are located on a special-use Top-Level-Domain only accessible from browsers like the “Tor Browser” and almost all transactions on the Dark Web are executed via cryptocurrencies, making it harder for law enforcement to track these criminals and follow the money flow.

Content owners, rights holders, technology and security partners and law enforcement agencies are working hard to combat the threat of piracy and wider cybercrime, but consumers must also be vigilant to avoid the risks they may be subject to from illegal content.”

Digital Realty names new APAC lead

Digital Realty has appointed Mark Smith as its Asia-Pacific Managing Director.

Reporting to CEO  Chief Financial Officer Andrew P. Power, Smith will be responsible for overseeing Digital Realty’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region.  He will begin his new role in December 2018.

“I look forward to joining Digital Realty and helping this outstanding global company capitalize on the many opportunities in the rapidly evolving and fast-growing APAC market.,” said Smith, who joins Digital Realty with extensive industry experience and well over two decades of experience in Asia, most recently as Managing Director, Asia at Zettagrid.

In this capacity, Smith  explored new growth opportunities throughout the region.  Prior to that, he served as Managing Director, Cloud Services, APAC and Japan at VMware.

Prior to VMware, Mr. Smith led Asia Pacific for CenturyLink and Savvis Communications.