APPLICATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Alef Introduces Velocity Partners Ecosystem to Drive Enterprises to the Edge

Alef | December 21, 2021

Alef Introduces Velocity Partners Ecosystem to Drive Enterprises to the Edge
Alef, the leading edge connectivity platform, today announced the formation of the Alef Velocity Partners, a new program to help accelerate 5G and proliferate edge deployments. Alef Velocity Partners aligns top channel partners, global systems integrators, and technology companies, arming them with the proper resources, tools, solutions, and services to radically change the way the world leverages edge compute technology.

This announcement comes on the heels of Alef’s recently launched Private Edge Platform, which empowers enterprises to rapidly provision their own network through Alef Edge Points, enabling end-to-end mobile private networks in less than 60 minutes. They can build 5G edge applications and services and take advantage of the upcoming suite of APIs to host at the edge: compute, video, and security coming in early 2022.

With new investments being made in private networks, including the Infrastructure Bill’s $65 billion allocation to improve internet access, Alef is proud to be at the forefront of this initiative as one of the founding companies behind edge computing with the foundational patents to prove it.

“This partner program spearheads a movement that will radically transform the businesses of deploying mobile networks, creating new economies, and solidify Alef as the leader in decentralized mobile internet,” said Mike Mulica, CEO of Alef. “As private networks gain mainstream attention, it’s important to remember that for enterprises and communities to truly reap the potential rewards of 5G technology, an ecosystem of diverse industry leaders must come together to accelerate the adoption of edge computing across the marketplace.”

In partnership with Alef, Tech Mahindra and Tata Elxsi will initially launch in Philadelphia, which extends Alef’s network of Edge Points to the top 20 cities nationwide. In addition, Alef Edge Points are deployed in edge data centers with last mile fiber connectivity to thousands of enterprises throughout the Philadelphia Metropolitan area.

Nitin Pai, CSO and CMO of Tata Elxsi Ltd. said, "With 5G, private networks will be the foundation for new digital services and we foresee high adoption in industries such as healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and media. As the world is moving towards a data driven future, data centers at the edge will be the choice for enterprises to increase control and decrease cost. Through this partnership Tata Elxsi will deliver industry-specific digital solutions covering digital applications, AI/ML & IoT, orchestration, monitoring and security solutions over Alef’s Private Edge Platform.”

To help enterprises begin their journey and experience the power of edge technology, Velocity Partners is offering six months of free connectivity to Alef's Private Edge Platform, along with a free CBRS Access Point.

Manish Mangal, Global Head of 5G & Network Services Business, Tech Mahindra, said “As organizations strive to meet the needs of their customers with latency-intensive network applications, Alef’s Private Edge Platform combined with Tech Mahindra’s solutions and services will help co-create high performance and secure 5G industrial applications. As a Velocity Partner for enterprises, we will help unlock new opportunities and drive innovation by powering up 5G private networks with edge internet that empowers enterprises to further accelerate digital transformation on edge.”

About Alef
Alef is a global edge connectivity platform company that empowers enterprises and developers to rapidly launch their own private networks and develop innovative mobile applications through our flagship Private Edge Platform. At Alef, we simplify the complexity of 5G and edge computing through a suite of APIs and tools that allow for more control and security with less overhead, while operating at a fraction of the cost of legacy mobile network providers. Leading systems integrators, distributors, and technology partners trust us to help power the edge economy and enable companies and communities to connect with a purpose.

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Accenture Announces Intent to Acquire AFD.TECH to Bolster its Cloud First Network Capabilities

Accenture | December 20, 2021

Accenture has announced its intent to acquire AFD.TECH, an independent network services company specializing in network engineering, operations and business services. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. This acquisition would add more than 1,600 highly skilled professionals to Accenture globally, along with multidisciplinary capabilities across engineering, design, deployment, and operation of next generation networks, such as 5G and fiber. “The combination of latest technologies such as 5G, cloud and next generation IoT is transforming the way businesses are operating across all the industries by creating opportunities for innovative services and new sources of growth,” said Olivier Girard, market unit lead for Accenture in France & Benelux. “To succeed in their digital transformation and take advantage of its full potential, companies must act now to adopt the right strategy and build new business solutions enabled by network investments. This acquisition would give us a significant footprint in advanced mobile and enterprise networks.” The newly acquired expertise when combined with Accenture’s Cloud First capabilities would provide a broad spectrum of proven practices, operational excellence and human ingenuity to help clients drive comprehensive transformation across their disparate networks. Karthik Narain, global lead, Accenture Cloud First, said: “Most networks were not built for today’s highly distributed world of cloud, edge devices and remote work. Increasingly, companies will need to invest in modern networks that seamlessly connect across the dynamic capabilities of the cloud continuum from public through edge and everything in between. AFD.TECH’s network operations and IT capabilities, as well as its deep industry knowledge, would complement Accenture’s cloud, edge computing, security, and network capabilities to help clients shape, build and operate cloud-first networks.” Founded in 1998, AFD.TECH serves leading telecom brands and clients across various other industries, including energy, industrial, infrastructure and life sciences sectors. The company is based in France with additional offices in Belgium and Morocco. “Combining our strengths with Accenture would allow us to leverage the potential offered by the latest technologies and to allow an even-broader client base, both existing and future, to grasp the full potential of the range of new services that will be generated by the deep transformation across nearly every industry and market in the next five years. The opportunity to join Accenture would allow us to scale capabilities and enable tremendous opportunity for our clients, our company and our people. Together, we would help clients adapt their operating model, expand the skills of their people and drive innovation to unlock the full potential of 5G.” Jérôme Picard, co-founder and CEO of AFD.TECH The acquisition of AFD.TECH would strengthen Accenture’s network operations capabilities in Europe and follows Accenture’s acquisition of Arca last November and of umlaut in October 2021. The acquisition requires prior consultation with the relevant works councils and would be subject to customary closing conditions. About Accenture Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 624,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.

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Nigeria’s Largest Telco, MTN, Launches RCS Business Messaging with Google and Dotgo

Dotgo | December 23, 2021

Nigeria’s largest mobile network operator (MNO), MTN, is all set to launch RCS Business Messaging (RBM) Services in partnership with Google and Dotgo, a Gupshup company and a leading cloud communications provider of RBM Solutions. RBM uses the rich and interactive features of Rich Communication Services (RCS)—the next generation SMS that allows sharing of audio, video, images, location, and a lot more—to enable branded business messaging. RCS messages are securely delivered to native messaging apps such as Google Messages and Samsung Messages on Android phones. Available on 3G and 4G networks, RCS is the default messaging standard for 5G networks. As of today, RCS is available globally with over 700M monthly active users. Dotgo’s MaaP (Messaging-as-a-Platform) is integrated with the Google Jibe RCS platform for business messaging, the world’s most advanced RCS platform that provides a high degree of scalability. As a partner, MTN would leverage the services provided by Dotgo such as the RCS APIs, chatbot directory, billing, payments, reconciliation, and more, to drive monetization from RCS. “As Nigeria’s largest carrier, MTN is all set to onboard brands that can reach out to a vast majority of Nigerian customers and delight them with a user experience like never before, to boost lead generation and conversion rates. This is a great opportunity for brands to connect with the end consumers of Nigeria for sales and support,” says Lynda Saint-Nwafor, Chief Enterprise Business Officer at MTN Nigeria. Srinivas Rao, Chief Digital Officer of MTN Nigeria added, “We are proud of our technical collaboration with Google and Dotgo. The superior technology design, robust service operations, optimum business processes, and 24x7 support are key to delivering the Next Generation Business Messaging experiences to our Brands & Business Partners at the most affordable rates. With this generational shift we aim to further aid & accelerate Digital Transformation amongst the institutions, commerce & industry in Nigeria.” “We are delighted to work with MTN to help bring RBM to their customers. With the highest number of subscribers in the region, RBM services on MTN will be a game changer. Dotgo has excelled once again as one of our top partners for monetising RBM with mobile operators,” says Juliet Ehimuan, Country Director, Google Nigeria. “The launch of RBM by MTN, the largest operator in Nigeria, will accelerate adoption of RBM by brands in Nigeria. With the launch done, we will be working with MTN and Google to help CPaaS providers and brands in Nigeria to upgrade and incorporate RBM into their business applications,” Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO, Dotgo About MTN Nigeria MTN Nigeria is Africa’s largest provider of communications services, connecting over 68 million people in communities across the country with each other and the world. Guided by a vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, MTN Nigeria’s leadership position in coverage, capacity and innovation has remained constant, since its launch in 2001. MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group – a leading emerging market operator, connecting more than 200 million subscribers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. About Dotgo Dotgo, a Gupshup company, is a global leader in RCS. Dotgo is the provider of the Bot Store®, world’s first and largest directory of RCS bots, Dotgo MaaP, RichOTP®, RichSMS™, and the RBM Hub. Dotgo is a Google partner and a member of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. Visit www.dotgo.com. Gupshup enables better customer engagement through conversational messaging, powering over 6 billion messages per month. With Gupshup, businesses have made conversations an integral part of their customer engagement success.

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IDTechEx Discusses 4 Challenges That 5G Open RAN Advocates Must Solve

IDTechEx | December 17, 2021

As of mid-2021, 5G is a reality in at least 78 nations. 5G is now being used in consumer sectors such as 5G smartphones, 5G broadband (fixed wireless access), and augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) games. In the foreseeable future, IDTechEx anticipates seeing widespread use of 5G in corporate areas such as industry 4.0, autonomous cars, and so on. 5G is a collection of optimized and updated mobile communication technologies, as well as new characteristics resulting from frequency changes (4G: 3 GHz 5G: 3.5-7 GHz (also known as sub-6 GHz) or > 24 GHz (also known as mmWave)) and larger bandwidth, which are the reasons why 5G can tackle so many industries that previous generations could not. The deployment of 5G infrastructure is critical to enabling widespread 5G adoption. South Korea launched the world's first 5G network in 2018, and nations such as China and the United States have since followed suit. According to IDTechEx's newly released market research analysis, "5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2022-2032", legacy telecom system suppliers such as Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia control a sizable portion of the 5G infrastructure industry, with Huawei leading with 36.4 percent in 2020, followed by Ericsson with 26.7 percent. To eliminate the proprietary nature of the radio access network (RAN) system, diversify the vendor supply chain in the telecom industry, foster more innovation, and reduce the upfront and operational cost of RAN deployment telecom operators are pushing Open RAN development. But wait...what is Open RAN? Open RAN is one of the key topics when speaking of 5G network deployment. Open RAN is a network alternative to traditional legacy RAN that allows components (including hardware and software) with interoperable standards from various suppliers to work together smoothly. In Open RAN, there are two network architecture transformations: 1. Hardware decomposition (For example, a baseband unit is separated into three sections: the central unit, the distributed unit, and the radio unit). 2. Hardware and software separation. Overall, Open RAN allows telecom operators to choose from a variety of suppliers to get the equipment that best suits their needs. IDTechEx believes that Open RAN is an unstoppable trend. It is not a question of whether it will really take off, but rather of when there will be a large-scale deployment of Open RAN. As of 2021, there are already several small-scale Open RAN trials underway, showing that the initiative is gaining pace. Vodafone, for example, said in June 2021 that it will start to build 5G Open RAN development in the UK, focusing on rural areas first. This will be Europe's first Open RAN commercial deployment. Vodafone also mentioned that they will further expand the Open RAN networks to other Vodafone-operated countries, such as other European countries and South Africa. Vodafone is not the only telecom provider undertaking 5G Open RAN development in Europe. Its competitors, including Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Orange, have all stated a strategic intention to deploy 5G Open RAN networks before 2025. Japan is another important breeding ground for Open RAN; except for SoftBank, all the other Japanese telecom carriers are proactively embracing it. Rakuten, an early Open RAN pioneer, deployed their Open RAN 4G network in February 2019 and their Open RAN 5G networks in September 2020. NTT DOCOMO stated earlier this year that it will collaborate with Samsung on the development of 5G Open RAN networks. In China, where the RAN infrastructure market is immense, telecom operators such as China Mobile and China Unicom are also trailing Open RAN equipment. In the U.S., Verizon stated that it will work with Samsung to deploy its mmWave and C-band (sub-6 GHz frequency range) holdings based on Open RAN from this year. Nonetheless, there are several challenges with Open RAN networks that must be overcome before the bulk of telecom carriers adopt the technology. IDTechEx identifies 4 key challenges in their newly released "5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2022-2032" report: Real Open RAN: For operators, the key to enabling true Open RAN is the interfaces. This requires mass adoption of, and participation in, open RAN interfaces and elements. Otherwise, the result is poor interoperability with inconsistent integration of equipment and software from multiple vendors. From conversations with some 5G Open RAN players, IDTechEx learned that while many firms claim to provide Open RAN solutions, not every company is giving this enough consideration. Efficient testing scheme: Providing efficient testing schemes for vendors to demonstrate the interoperability of their devices is important. RAN intelligent controller (RIC) development: RIC is Open RAN's brain and the secret to Open RAN outperforming traditional RAN. Nevertheless, the RIC development is still slow. Only very few vendors have RIC now and the functions that their RIC provides are also very basic. The value of Open RAN: Not every operator shows interest in the Open RAN. For example, T-Mobile U.S. shows some serious concerns towards Open RAN and is hesitant to move forward with it. One common concern among operators is the question of trust and liability: "Is the new equipment from this new provider dependable? Now that I have several suppliers supplying me with various pieces of equipment, who should I contact if an issue arises?" Advocates for Open RAN are working to solve these issues. NTT DOCOMO and Rakuten, for example, are building their own 5G Open RAN ecosystem to not only serve as a model for other operators who are still reluctant but also as a new business model which they can offer their "Open RAN package" to other telecom operators. Overall, Open RAN is still in its early stages, and it will take these pioneers years to demonstrate the reliability of their Open RAN networks. From IDTechEx's perspective, it will be at least 5 years before the Open RAN market begins to expand rapidly in the 5G infrastructure industry. In the "5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2022-2032" report, IDTechEx examines more Open RAN disruption in the 5G infrastructure market, including the Open RAN business model, players, commoditization risk, Open RAN for private or commercial 5G networks, and legacy suppliers' (Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia) attitudes and strategies toward Open RAN. About IDTechEx IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies.

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DZS Participates in O-RAN ALLIANCE Plugfest with Mavenir in Turin, Italy to Validate Open, Multi-Vendor 5G Stand Alone and 4G Macro Solutions

DZS | December 22, 2021

DZS a global leader in broadband connectivity platforms and communications software solutions, today announced its participation in the third Global O-RAN ALLIANCE PlugFest at the European Open Test and Integration Center (OTIC) in Turin, Italy hosted and sponsored by TIM. This testing validated multi-vendor 5G interoperability and end-to-end functional tests of O-RAN ALLIANCE specifications for 5G and 4G Radio Access Network (RAN) elements, including fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul interfaces between Radio Access Network equipment provided by DZS, Mavenir, Dell, VMware, Microelectronics Technology (MTI), and Keysight Technologies. “DZS is proud to have collaborated in the Turin OTIC lab with Mavenir and a strong complement of other O-RAN ALLIANCE members in defining the future of 4G and 5G O-RAN architectures in Europe and around the world,This highly successful PlugFest in Italy showcased DZS open fronthaul transport solutions and demonstrated how we, in combination with our industry partners, can enable a path forward for service providers seeking to modernize their networks with the flexibility and efficiencies of O-RAN architectures. The success of the Global O-RAN Plugfest 2021 clearly shows that O-RAN is emerging as a compelling solution for not only greenfield networks, but also for established service providers who are already pioneering large-scale 5G deployments.” Charlie Vogt, President and CEO, DZS Starting in Q3 2021, the third O-RAN ALLIANCE Global Plugfest was held in 7 venues across the world including 94 participating companies – demonstrating the commercial readiness of many O-RAN implementations. Vendors participating in the Turin OTIC lab multi-vendor interoperability test network included: DZS C1216RO open fronthaul gateways featuring built-in GPS and network timing support Mavenir 5G radio units (RUs) and MTI 4G RUs Mavenir MAVair 4G and 5G virtualized RAN (VRAN) and MAVcore converged core network software Dell EMC PowerEdge R-Series and XE carrier-grade servers VMware Telco Cloud Platform software environment AWS Outposts edge cloud infrastructure environment Keysight Technologies test solutions “Mavenir commends DZS for its expertise and leadership in bringing cutting-edge fronthaul transport technology to this highly successful O-RAN ALLIANCE Plugfest validating the open fronthaul use case for 5G and 4G solutions,” said B.G. Kumar, President of the Communications Services Business at Mavenir. “O-RAN and virtualization continues to gain momentum in Europe. As service providers look to cost effectively deliver advanced and differentiated services in their highly competitive markets, Mavenir and DZS will work together to enable carriers across the globe to move forward with this technology.” With a forward-looking business strategy centered on empowering service providers and network operators through open standards, software-driven systems and freedom of choice, DZS solutions are at the core of groundbreaking, wide-scale open ecosystems like Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized, cloud-native O-RAN 5G mobile network and playing key roles in other parallel O-RAN ALLIANCE PlugFest activities in Asia (click here for more information). The DZS commitment to the O-RAN architectural model is but one example of how DZS is enabling service providers worldwide to enjoy the cost, manageability and service benefits of flexible, scalable and interoperable wireless and wireline broadband networks with no vendor lock-in. About DZS DZS Inc.is a global leader in broadband connectivity platforms and communications software solutions with more than 20 million products in service with customers and alliance partners spanning more than 100 countries. DZS, the DZS logo, and all DZS product names are trademarks of DZS Inc. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective holders. Specifications, products, and/or product names are all subject to change.

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