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Orange, VCs Commit $113M to Network Startups as 'Black Box' Frustration Mounts

Orange, VCs Commit $113M to Network Startups as 'Black Box' Frustration Mounts | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Orange and four venture capitalist partners have promised to invest up to €100 million ($113 million) in telecom infrastructure startups over the next three to four years.

 

The funding will support startups challenging equipment incumbents like Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) as telcos embrace disruptive network technologies based on software, virtualization and open source code.

 

The news is the latest sign of Orange's desire to play a more influential role in the development of network technologies and reflects growing frustration with the traditional vendors.

It came as the French service provider said it would begin nurturing network startups for the first time in partnership with social media giant Facebook, which has also become more active in the networks sector over the past year.

 

The two companies already collaborate through the Telecom Infra Project, a Facebook-led initiative that was launched in early 2016 with a goal of more rapidly commercializing low-cost and innovative network technologies. (See Facebook: TIP Will Open Telecom Hardware.)

 

Four startups, chosen from a pool of 22 applicants, will receive support from Orange(NYSE: FTE) and Facebook and be invited to a TIP summit in California in November, where they will be able to meet operator members.

 

TIP now counts about 450 members including "all of the most important mobile operators" in the world, claimed Steve Jarrett, Facebook's head of infrastructure partnerships for Europe and the Middle East.

 

The winning startups are

  • Amarisoft, a developer of virtual radio access network technology,
  • Athonet, which specializes in mobile core "softwarization,"
  • Adipsys, whose systems are already helping Orange to manage WiFi hotspots, and
  • Horizon Computing, which claims to have made breakthroughs on reducing the costs of running data centers.

Orange Fab, the division that looks after all startup activities for the French telco, has launched a new program called Telecom Track to look after the startups from the network and infrastructure sector.

 

Startups will also be eligible to receive financial support from Orange Digital Ventures, the French operator's investment fund, as well as venture capital partners Iris Capital, Innovacom, Cathay Innovation and Breega Capital, although funding for the Telecom Track players is not guaranteed.

 

"Those who grow fast and strike partnerships and scale internationally will get the money," said Julien-David Nitlech, a partner at Iris Capital.

 

While €100 million ($113 million) may seem like a relatively small amount in the context of the broader network equipment market, the sudden willingness of venture capitalists to support new infrastructure players may alarm the established vendors.

 

"The market has historically not had a lot of venture financing," said Jarrett. "We hope to change that."

Facebook colleague Min Jun added: "We thought the investor community would need more convincing and we have seen major traction. Investors are saying we believe in this and will commit funds."

Facebook will not make any direct equity investments but says it is "conceivable" that it could acquire startups in the accelerator program.

By helping to reduce network costs, and making it easier to deploy networks in areas that currently lack connectivity, the social networking giant hopes to get more people online and using its services, it is widely assumed.

 

For Orange, the ultimate goal is a complete overhaul of the way it has traditionally built networks.

 

"We cannot be dependent on long standardization processes anymore," said Etienne Moreau, an investment manager at Orange Digital Ventures. "If we want to have control of our technology and be a software company we need to get into new technologies like white boxes and get rid of the black boxes we have sourced from equipment vendors."

With white boxes, telcos would run network software on commercial, off-the-shelf servers, instead of relying on the "black boxes" that combine proprietary hardware and software.

Orange has previously flagged its interest in white boxes and noted the challenge they pose to equipment suppliers such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which has come under pressure to adapt its own technology and business model accordingly. (See Orange Plots Mass Network-as-a-Service Rollout and Cisco Takes Bold Software Step to Counter White Box Threat – Report.)

 

Bertrand Rojat, the deputy vice president of Orange's Technocentre research-and-development unit, told Light Reading that, as well as forming a "commercial relationship" with startups, Orange was eager to make their technology available to some of its telco partners.

 

Besides other service providers involved with TIP, that could include the members of Go Ignite.

"That is an initiative between Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and SingTel," he said. "If we have a startup that is good for one of us then it might be good for all of us."

Such moves could help the startup technologies to gain the scale they would need to be commercially viable in wide area networks.

Much like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in the US, Orange appears to be stepping into roles that vendors have traditionally performed as it tries to seize control of network development and sever the ties that have previously bound it to a small number of big players.

 

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Extremely interesting post following Orange Fab's latest press release, as it delivers several key hints :

1/ It took Facebook and OCP (and then more recently TIP) for Telcos to finally realize that becoming a giant purchasing department and outsourcing infrastructure (and knowledge) to a handful of equipment vendors was not the only way. We are still very early but still, a few giants wake up.

2/ Open Source will redefine Hardware the same way it flipped Software ; only pending question is "Who will be the Red Hat of Open Hardware ?"

3/ #HardwareIsNotDead and Deep Tech is back with more and more VC's looking (back) into it !

Congratulations to Orange and Iris Capital for paving the way !

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Samsung Possible Defection From ARM to RISC-V is a huge signal in the IoT chip war to come

Samsung Possible Defection From ARM to RISC-V is a huge signal in the IoT chip war to come | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Could Samsung be the first big defection from ARM since the SoftBank takeover?

It was always thought that, when ARM relinquished its independence, its customers would look around for other alternatives.
The nice thing about RISC-V is that it’s independent, open source and royalty-free.
And RISC-V is what Samsung is reported to be using for an IoT CPU in preference to ARM.
Now SoftBank made a point of saying that its take-over of ARM was to get into IoT. If Samsung is now going to RISC-V for its IoT CPU, this affects the scale of Softbank’s aspirations and may persuade others to defect to RISC-V.
The Samsung RISC-V MCU is said to be aimed squarely at the ARM Cortex M0.
Nvidia and Qualcomm are already using RISC-V in the development of GPU memory controllers and IoT processors.
Although, as Intel found, it’s almost impossible to replace an incumbent processor architecture in a major product area, which means that ARM’s place as the incumbent architecture in cellphones is secure, at the moment there is no incumbent processor architecture in IoT or MCU – so these are up for grabs by any aspiring rival processor architecture.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

X86 architecture gave Intel dominance of the large PC market before hitting the smartphone wall.

Cortex architectures gave ARM dominance of the much larger smartphone market before hitting the SoftBank wall.

RISC-V may be the next architecture for the even much larger IoT market (in volume at least).

Intel is a US corporation, ARM was once a british company now under japanese flag : the nice thing with RISC-V is that it is an independent, open source, and royalty free architecture.

This will have consequences over the next decade in the computing race between the US and Asia (think Loogson and now ARM), and may be an opportunity for Europeans to step in and avoid to remain as "The Pacific" of cyber tests.

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Philippe J DEWOST's curator insight, November 30, 2016 1:18 AM

X86 architecture gave Intel dominance of the large PC market before hitting the smartphone wall.

Cortex architectures gave ARM dominance of the much larger smartphone market before hitting the SoftBank wall.

RISC-V may be the next architecture for the even much larger IoT market (in volume at least).

Intel is a US corporation, ARM was once a british company now under japanese flag : the nice thing with RISC-V is that it is an independent, open source, and royalty free architecture.

This will have consequences over the next decade in the computing race between the US and Asia (think Loogson and now ARM), and may be an opportunity for Europeans to step in and avoid to remain as "The Pacific" of cyber tests.

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SanDisk outs the 'world's first' 1TB SD card

SanDisk outs the 'world's first' 1TB SD card | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
If you handle a lot of 4K video, you'll know that most available SD cards will struggle to handle all of your high-quality footage. The two-year old SanDisk 512GB SD card might take the edge off somewhat, but that isn't all that Western Digital, owner of the SanDisk brand, has got to offer. Today, the storage giant unveiled what it calls the "world's first" 1TB SD card. It's only a prototype, but already the company is touting the card's ability to adequately handle 4K, 8K, VR and 360-degree video when it officially becomes available.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
16 years ago SanDisk introduced 64 MB SD Cards. Moving from 128 MB to 128 GB took 9 years. And here we are...
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Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

More than a year on, the county, which attracts much of its investment from Taiwan, is trying to reinvent its growth strategy. It is accelerating growth by replacing humans with robots and encouraging start-ups.

 

Thirty-five Taiwanese companies, including Apple’s supplier Foxconn, spent a total of 4 billion yuan (HK$4.74 billion) on artificial intelligence last year, according to the Kunshan government’s publicity department.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian.

“More companies are likely to follow suit.”

As many as 600 major companies in Kunshan have similar plans, according to a government survey.

The job cuts do not augur well for Kunshan, which had a population of more than 2.5 million at the end of 2014, two-thirds of whom were migrant workers.

 

Factories and other buildings cover about 46 per cent of the land – a figure which is far higher than the cap set by the central ­government.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Rage against the Machine ?

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SoftBank is buying ARM for $32 billion — because everything’s a computer now

SoftBank is buying ARM for $32 billion — because everything’s a computer now | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Japan’s SoftBank is buying U.K.-based chip design firm ARM Holdings for about $32 billion, according to the FT.

Why? Everything is a computer now, and ARM has been one of the winners of the mobile revolution.

ARM designs chips — but doesn’t actually make them — for a huge variety of devices. It dominates the market for smartphones — Apple is a big client, as is Samsung — and its chips shows up in other consumer gadgets, as well as more-industrial-like devices and “internet of things” sensors.

The number of chips containing ARM processors reached almost 15 billion in 2015, up from about 6 billion in 2010.

The move is a big one for SoftBank CEO Masa Son after his would-be successor, former Google executive Nikesh Arora, stepped away from the company last month. (Talks presumably started while Arora was still there.)

One key question is whether other firms will let SoftBank purchase ARM or if there will be a bidding war. Apple, arguably ARM’s most important client, and Intel, which lost the mobile chip war to ARM, are both potential buyers.

The offer is already a generous multiple. As the FT notes, it’s some 70 times ARM’s net income last year. That’s around the same price-to-earnings ratio as Facebook stock.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

ARM takeover by SoftBank is the Tech Brexit of this summer.

This thunderstrike in a blue ocean (pardon me, sky) might trigger a war where we will all of a sudden remember how important it is having a war chest.

There are underlying geopolitics ongoing as evidenced by the progress made by the LongSoon chinese processor now powering world #1 Supercomputer.

It might also signal the beginning of the end of the ARM era, and should have more people focusing on open source silicon architectures such as RISC-V

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Philippe J DEWOST's curator insight, July 18, 2016 3:58 AM

As Brexit has removed ARM from Europe, will it be left as the impotent witness of what we shall call an ARM's race ?

This news echoes the announcement of World's new #1 Supercomputer, that is chinese again, but more interestingly no longer features any Intel processor inside but domestic LongSoon chips.

The Silicon race is on its way to a US - Asia bipolar configuration, with Europe being left alone due to the combined effect of Brexit and ARMXit : time for investi(gati)ng (in) open source hardware architectures such as RISC-V ...

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WeIO Web of Things platform

WeIO Web of Things platform | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

WeIO is a Web of Things - Internet of things platform. It lets you connect and control your objects from any device using only your web browser. Connect easily objects between them or with Internet services like social networks.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Impressive #DIY project turned into a product/platform. #HarwareIsNotDead #OpenCompute

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Impressive Bare Metal Magic demo by Canonical/Ubuntu 's Mark Shuttleworth

Watch Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, demonstrate bare-metal magic at OCP in Paris. He deployed three scale-out workloads: OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, and Hadoop, on different hardware architectures and operating systems, all in just minutes. He also built a complete OpenStack cloud using Canonical's new OpenStack Autopilot tool and the audience choice of hypervisor, storage and networking components.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

OCP EU Summit videos are coming online, and @Mark_SABDFL keynote and demo do scale-out !

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The Revival Of Semiconductor Funding

The Revival Of Semiconductor Funding | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Over the past few years the semiconductor funding ecosystem experienced a downturn. According to the GSA survey, there were only five Series A semiconductor funding rounds and 10 exits in 2010 in North America, Europe and Israel. Most of the VCs who invested in semiconductors shifted their focus to software startups due to higher scalability, faster time-to-exit and low cost of failure.

However, I believe semiconductor funding hit bottom in 2013, and it is slowly coming back. I analyzed publicly available transaction data from CrunchBase and discovered promising insights about recent funding trends.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

I'm not dead... I'm getting better #MontyPython #HolyGrail #HardwareIsNotDead #OCP

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Russia building ARM-based, homemade 'Baikal processor' to replace AMD and Intel chips

Russia building ARM-based, homemade 'Baikal processor' to replace AMD and Intel chips | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

The Russian government has decided to domestically produce a computer chip which for use in government offices and state-run firms. The move is meant to elbow processors from the likes of AMD and Intel out of government use due to concerns about US spying and processor back doors.

Electronics Weekly says Russian President Putin decided to push forward this processor development initiative. It follows a move, four years ago, when the Russian government said that all its computers would be moving to Linux.

The Russian processor is currently referred to as the 'Baikal' microprocessor, named after most voluminous freshwater lakein the world. The chip is being designed by T-Platforms, a Russian supercomputer maker, alongside state defence corporation Rostec with co-financing from Russian state-run technology firm Rosnano.

The Russian News Agency ITAR-TASS reports that there are going to be two initial Baikal chips; the Baikal M and the Baikal M/S. These chips will be designed upon the foundation provided by the ARM Cortex-A57 64-bit processor and be employed in personal computers and microservers.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Thx to Jean-Paul Smets for spotting this. When will we Europeans realize that

1. Hardware is not dead

2. Hardware can actually be a profitable business (look at Hyve 1Bn$ revenue in the OCP space)

3. Hardware can be a lever in the Quest for Sovereignty

4. ARM is a european company

???

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Solowheel unicycles are now cheaper and lighter, but still hard to tame

Solowheel unicycles are now cheaper and lighter, but still hard to tame | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

The new range of Solowheels start from a much lower price point than the original $1,995 version. First, we have the Spirit, which is essentially the original version modernized with a more stylish look, a more powerful 1,500W motor (instead of 1,000W) and better battery cells. It also packs new features like headlights, tail lights plus Bluetooth connectivity for tracking its speed, mileage and battery status in its upcoming mobile app and dedicated wearable device. Surprisingly, the Spirit only costs $1,199.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

One of the gadgets featured at Kinnernet Europe is now available in an updated range. As engadget writes, it's "like a Segway but sans handle and only with one wheel between your legs". Thx to Ch@rles for his patience in helping us test this.

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Speakers - Open Compute Project @ IDC CEMA in Dubai

Speakers - Open Compute Project @ IDC CEMA in Dubai | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Graduated from the University of Orsay, Jean-Marie Verdun created Splitted-Desktop Systems in November 2006 after spending 12 years at Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq France and HP France.


He will speak on "Datacenter as a PCB"

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Datacenter as PCB is an intriguing topic ; knowing who will deliver it is extremely reassuring. The Splitted Desktop Systems team is doing a helluva job in bringing Open Compute Certification in France #FrenchTech

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OpenCompute Project (OCP), le renouveau de l’industrie matérielle du numérique en France et en Europe ? | System X

OpenCompute Project (OCP), le renouveau de l’industrie matérielle du numérique en France et en Europe ? | System X | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Nous vous donnons rendez-vous le 30 avril de 9h30 à 11h30 à l’IRT SystemX pour un séminaire sur le thème « Open Compute Project : une opportunité pour l’industrie du numérique en France et en Europe ? »

SystemX reçoit Jean-Marie VERDUN, Président de Splitted-Desktop Systems (SDS) et membre d’Open Compute, et Fayçal BOUJEMAA, responsable de la recherche & développement chez Cloudwatt, qui présenteront les axes de recherches actuellement pris par la fondation Open Compute Project (OCP), sa stratégie en Europe, et l’opportunité que cette communauté Open Compute peut représenter dans vos activités académiques et industrielles.

Le projet OpenCompute est la déclinaison matérielle du monde de l’Open Source dans le logiciel. Ce projet s’axe autour d’une fondation à but non lucratif financée et créée par les géants de l’industrie (Facebook, Microsoft, Intel …) dans l’objectif de soutenir l’innovation au travers de collaborations ouvertes et internationales sur la base de spécifications ouvertes de matériel.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Tout ce que vous avez toujours voulu savoir sur OCP sans jamais oser le demander... C'est le 30 Avril matin à l'IRT SystemX.

(Pour les autres il y a toujours http://j.mp/opencompute-SDS )

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Meet "Wallaby", the Mac G3 setup used to design the first iPhone OS

Meet "Wallaby", the Mac G3 setup used to design the first iPhone OS | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Greg Christie, a senior engineer at Apple, revealed to the Wall Street Journal that Steve Jobs gave his team an ultimatum back in February 2005: Come up with some big ideas for the iPhone within two weeks or lose the project to another group.

Christie’s team would go on to innovate some of the more iconic features of the iPhone, like its “slide to unlock” feature and its integrated music player. It’s hard to remember this today, when we’re surrounded by touchscreen smartphones and tablets, but before the iPhone, few were thinking about touchscreen user interfaces.

He described the team working on the original iPhone’s software as “shockingly small” and noted that they “banged their head against the wall” to figure out a way to make text messages look more conversational, rather than a mere list of text. But as Christie’s team made headway and Jobs began obsessing about the project, it became clear they were making progress.

Most intriguing to hardware geeks, Christie showed the setup his team used to build the first version of iOS: A plastic touchscreen connected to an aging Mac G3 (which mimicked the first iPhone’s slow processor), which was codenamed “Wallaby.”

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

I do like the setup and the Harman/Kardon soundsticks... (disclosure : we too used Mac G3 at Ukibi)

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Hayo is what you get when you cross an Amazon Echo with a Kinect

Hayo is what you get when you cross an Amazon Echo with a Kinect | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, I sat down with the company’s co-founders Gisèle Belliot and José Alonso Ybanez Zepeda, along with Uber co-founder-turned-investor Oscar Salazar, to discuss the product. The company’s ramping up for a formal announcement at CES, in tandem with the launch of an Indiegogo campaign, and it’s still working out some of the kinks around contextualizing its product.

We met up at a shared workspace in Manhattan, in a meeting room made up to resemble a living room — except for the big construction paper cutouts of buttons like Play and Pause adhered to different surfaces (another shorthand visualization of the product’s functionality).

By way of shortening this elevator ride, I’d describe the startup thusly: It’s Amazon Echo with a Kinect camera built in. In place of voice commands, you’ve got gestures.

In some ways Hayo is designed to fulfill similar functionality as Amazon’s hardware — a sort of connected home hub that ties together various smart devices — lights, music, thermostat, etc. When you get down to it, the possibilities are really endless when it comes to gesture controls in a three-dimensional space.

The company is, understandably, starting off simply with regards to functionality. At launch, the system will allow the user to designate 10 “buttons” per device. A button here is a point in space — a surface on, say, a wall or table. Each button can be assigned two different functions, which can adjust based on variables like time of day and user.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Hayo is one of the most ambitious #IoT man machine(s) interface projects I have ever seen, led by an incredibly talented team in both New York and Paris, and backed by extremely strong IP.

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Omega2: $5 Linux Computer with Wi-Fi, Made for IoT

Omega2: $5 Linux Computer with Wi-Fi, Made for IoT | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Introducing the Omega2, the $5 IoT computer.

What the heck is an IoT computer? It is a Linux computer designed specifically for building connected hardware applications. It combines the tiny form factor and power-efficiency of the Arduino, with the power and flexibilities of the Raspberry Pi.

  • The Omega2 is simple, even for people who are just getting started with building hardware.
  • The Omega2 is affordable, starting at just $5.

With the Omega2, we want to lower the barrier of entry, and allow everyone to take the leap into hardware development.

 

We made the Omega2 tiny so that it can easily fit into your DIY project or commercial product. It is less than 1/4 the size of the Raspberry Pi, and less than 1/3 the size of the Arduino Uno.

 

The Omega2 has integrated Wi-Fi and on-board flash storage. This means that it springs to life the moment you power it on. You don't have to worry about buying Wi-Fi dongles or installing operating system images onto external SD cards.

 

Using the Omega2 is just like using a desktop computer. We've built simple and intuitive apps for you to interact with the Omega2. We also have an App Store where you can discover even more apps!For the more adventurous, you can even build apps with our SDK and publish them on the Onion App Store to share with the world :)

 

Don't be fooled by its size, the Omega2 is a full computer running Linux, the same operating system that powers some of the world's most mission-critical infrastructure. You can think of the Omega2 as a tiny Linux server with Wi-Fi. (Yes, it even runs Apache!)

For the BSD fans out there, the Omega2 also runs FreeBSD!

 

An important benefit of running Linux is that the Omega2 can be programmed with whatever language you want. Save time by using languages and libraries you are already familiar with.

 

The Omega2 is designed for connectivity. It has Wi-Fi built in, and we have built expansions so that you can easily add Bluetooth, Cellular, and GPS to your projects.

 

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

The only limit is talent #HardwareIsNotDead

This being said I hope that security has been properly addressed...

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Jean-Simon Venne's curator insight, September 27, 2016 8:47 AM
The unit price of a small computer at 5$! All kind of new possibilities at that price.
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Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone

Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
At 2AM, in the dark morning hours of June 28th, Mark Zuckerberg woke up and got on a plane. He was traveling to an aviation testing facility in Yuma, AZ, where a small Facebook team had been working on a secret project. Their mission: to design, build, and launch a high-altitude solar-powered plane, in the hopes that one day a fleet of the aircraft would deliver internet access around the world.Zuckerberg arrived at the Yuma Proving Ground before dawn. “A lot of the team was really nervous about me coming,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Verge. A core group of roughly two dozen people work on the drone, named Aquila (uh-KEY-luh), in locations from Southern California to the United Kingdom. For months, they had been working in rotations in Yuma, a small desert city in southwestern Arizona known primarily for its brutal summer temperatures.On this day, Aquila would have its first functional test flight: the goal consisted of taking off safely, stabilizing in the air, and flying for at least 30 minutes before landing. “I just felt this is such an important milestone for the company, and for connecting the world, that I have to be there,” Zuckerberg says.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
141 Feet wingspan, 900kg, 2000 Watts, 2 years only : #hardwareisnotdead ...
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Aquila's First Flight

The internet provides information, opportunity and human connection, yet less than half the world has access. We’re proud to announce the successful first test flight of Aquila, the solar airplane we designed to bring internet access to people living in remote locations. This innovative plane has the wingspan of an airliner but weighs less than a small car and flies on roughly the power of three blow dryers

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Solar Impulse, meet AI. Facebook's Aquila looks extremely promising and progressing quite fast. Besides, it confirms how serious its Building 8 Division is about leveraging and reinventing hardware to close the loop with software and services.

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Google and Facebook Team Up to Open Source the Gear Behind Their Empires

Google and Facebook Team Up to Open Source the Gear Behind Their Empires | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Half a decade ago, Jonathan Heiliger compared the world of Internet data centers to Fight Club.

It was the spring of 2011, and the giants of the Internet—including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft—were erecting a new kind of data center. Their online empires had grown so large that they could no longer rely on typical hardware from the likes of Dell, HP, and IBM. They needed hardware that was cheaper, more streamlined, and more malleable. So, behind the scenes, they designed this hardware from scratch and had it manufactured through little-known companies in Asia.

This shadow hardware market was rarely discussed in public. Companies like Google saw their latest data center hardware as a competitive advantage best kept secret from rivals. But then Facebook tore off the veil. It open sourced its latest server and data center designs, freely sharing them with the world under the aegis of a new organization called the Open Compute Project. “It’s time to stop treating data center design like Fight Club and demystify the way these things are built,” said Heiliger, then the vice president of technical operations at Facebook. 

Google was the first company to rethink data center design for the modern age.

With the Open Compute Project, Facebook aimed to create a whole community of companies that would freely share their data center designs, hoping to accelerate the evolution of Internet hardware and, thanks to the economies of scale, drive down the cost of this hardware. That, among other things, boosts the Facebook bottom line. It worked—in a very big way. Microsoft soon shared its designs too. Companies like HP and Quanta began selling this new breed of streamlined gear. And businesses as diverse as Rackspace and Goldman Sachs used this hardware to expand their own massive online operations. Even Apple—that bastion of secrecy—eventually joined the project.

Two big holdouts remained: Google and Amazon. But today, that number dropped to one. At the annual Open Compute Summit in San Jose, California, Google announced that it too has joined the project. And it’s already working with Facebook on a new piece of open source hardware.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

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Gerald Black's curator insight, March 10, 2016 9:27 AM

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

George Goodman's curator insight, March 10, 2016 10:09 AM

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

Agra hotal's curator insight, March 10, 2016 11:27 AM

Book Now Hotel with cheap rate near Tajmahal on http://www.hotelatagra.com

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After criticizing it, Cisco joins Open Compute

After criticizing it, Cisco joins Open Compute | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Cisco has joined the Open Compute Project, a Facebook-driven effort to develop open source servers and switches, 16 months after criticizing it. At that time, Cisco CEO John Chambers said OCP has “weaknesses” that Cisco can exploit.

Featured ResourceChambers said efforts like Facebook’s to commoditize and wring cost out of hardware purchases will open up opportunities for Cisco to provide solutions that are better tailored to specific customer needs:"I think this will just be one more series of good challenges that Cisco will say ‘what’s the business objective on.’ There are a lot of weaknesses to the area -- we’re going to go back and solve customer problems. If you’re standalone anything, this is going to be a hard market to play in. Anything white label, where the decision is cost or opex, you’re going to lose."
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Open Compute : Sixteen months later Cisco looks to get "ahead of the game" according to Network World

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Présenter vos innovations hardware/software à Pékin au Forum Digital & Culture ? 30 places sont disponibles

Présenter vos innovations hardware/software à Pékin au Forum Digital & Culture ? 30 places sont disponibles | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

La France et la Chine organisent à Pékin le Forum Digital et Culture, les 22 et 23 janvier 2015. Dans ce cadre, une trentaine d’entreprises françaises, petites ou pas, start-up y compris, seront invitées à présenter à Pékin leurs applications et innovations dans le hardware et le software à des entreprises et des investisseurs chinois.

Ce forum est conçu pour permettre aux entreprises françaises désireuses de s’implanter à l’international de tisser des liens durables avec les acteurs chinois ; non seulement pour prendre pied sur le marché chinois mais aussi pour s’appuyer sur un partenariat franco-chinois afin de percer sur le marché mondial.

Le Forum Digital et Culture de Pékin est labellisé par le Commissariat général pour la commémoration du cinquantenaire des relations diplomatiques entre la France et la Chine. Il s’agit ainsi d’une manifestation approuvée et suivie au plus haut niveau dans nos deux pays.

Le Forum Digital et Culture de Pékin sera constitué de 4 moments principaux :

La présentation des entreprises et l’exposition de leurs applications/innovations sur leurs stands. Des interprètes Français < > Chinois seront affectés à chaque entreprise exposant.Des table-rondes portant sur les nouvelles problématiques liées à la création de contenu pour plusieurs supports (mobiles, tablettes, ordinateur), il s’agira surtout de présenter un état de l’art et les perspectives des évolutions techniques.Une session « pitch investisseurs », pour les entreprises françaises exposant qui le souhaitent, devant des investisseurs chinois et français,Un hackathon, mené en parallèle avec le partenariat et sur le campus de Baidu.

Les entreprises françaises exposant au Forum de Pékin seront sélectionnées par un jury composé de personnalités qualifiées à l’issue du processus décrit ici.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Avis à La French Tech : candidatez avant le 17 Novembre pour participer au Forum Digital et Culture à Pékin les 22 et 23 Janvier !

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Philippe J DEWOST's comment, October 24, 2014 6:30 AM
je ferai partie du Jury ...
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Laurent Bloch : « La France est en train de rater la troisième révolution industrielle »

Laurent Bloch : « La France est en train de rater la troisième révolution industrielle » | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

.../... le commerce du contenu et des données n’est que la partie visible de l’iceberg, En dessous, il y a les matériels et les réseaux. On parle souvent d’Internet comme si c’était un espace totalement immatériel. C’est faux. L’entreprise Google est un géant industriel. Elle possède des millions de serveurs dans le monde entier, regroupés dans des data centers, qui sont des usines informatiques. Pour assurer son approvisionnement énergétique, Google rachète des centrales hydro-électriques.

Même chose pour les réseaux : Google et Facebook possèdent leurs propres câbles transatlantiques et leurs nœuds de communication. Leurs activités commerciales dépendent avant tout de leurs infrastructures matérielles.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Un écho intéressant au petit déjeuner thématique co-organisé par la Caisse des Dépôts et la Mission Lemoine le 18 Juin dernier, avec la redécouverte tardive des sujets de "couches basses" (hardware, réseaux, cloud public) et en toile de fond la pub Pirelli : "sans maîtrise la puissance n'est rien"...

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Facebook Just Fired A Huge Shot At Cisco

Facebook Just Fired A Huge Shot At Cisco | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

On June 18th, Facebook introduced Wedge, making good on its promise from last year to push into the $23 billion Ethernet switch market, currently dominated by Cisco.

Wedge is part of the Open Compute Project (OCP), one of the most important tech projects Facebook has ever created. OCP began in 2012 as a radically new way to build and buy computer hardware. It creates free and "open source" designs where anyone can contribute to the designs and use them for free, ordering them from a contract manufacturer.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Attention all European Tech Pundits : OCP is not a hobby, I repeat, OCP is not a hobby.

Sovereignty means control and control now primarily comes from mastering the full stack.

> Bad news : Europe and France are late on this.

> Good news : it took only 20 engineers and 2 years for Facebook to redesign its hardware infrastructure from the ground.

> Better news : the job is done and there are billion $ businesses to be build to cover European region as atoms do not move at zero marginal cost.

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Software is Eating Hardware - Lessons for Building Magical Devices

Software is Eating Hardware - Lessons for Building Magical Devices | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
“Software is eating hardware.”
That might sound counterintuitive given all the innovative hardware plays in the mix today — from Android Wear, SmartThings, Sproutling and Nest to the hotly anticipated iWatch. But Adam MacBeth, an advocate of the software-first approach, would argue that those products are only as compelling as the end-to-end experience that sets them alight.
“People think that they can build a game-changer with some really great industrial design and packaging, but that’s not the case anymore,” says MacBeth, whose work has helped shaped the iPod, Jawbone’s wristbands and FiftyThree’s Pencil. “Incredible industrial design is increasingly non-optional, what really matters is an equally beautiful software system that spans mobile, desktop, and more. It’s something that takes a lot of thought to get right.”
As technology accelerates, with companies like Dragon Innovation making manufacturing, supply chain and distribution cheaper and easier than ever before, tons of hardware startups are coming out of the woodwork. In this exclusive First Round Review interview, MacBeth offers tactics for how these companies can capture people’s imagination and create truly world-class products.

Via Yves Caseau
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Isn't everything "Software Defined" nowadays ?

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Yves Caseau's curator insight, June 1, 2014 12:34 AM

Great set of principles to add magical user experiences to our digital lives

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Amazon joins other web giants trying to design its own chips

Amazon joins other web giants trying to design its own chips | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

As demand for its cloud computing services continues to grow, sources say Amazon is trying to design its own server chips. Based on a job listing and a series of LinkedIn updates, it looks like it could be eyeing the ARM architecture for those chips.

The online retailer and cloud giant has hired several chip engineers who used to work at Calxeda, the former ARM-based server startup out of Austin, Texas that shut down last year, including the former Calxeda CTO. It also has a few job listings for its Silicon Optimization team based in Austin, Texas that call for microprocessor design expertise, including one for a “CPU Architect / Micro-Architect.”

Amazon declined to comment on its plans; actually, a spokeswoman said, “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.” Don’t worry, we’ll make sure to ask Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels (pictured) about these plans at our Structure event in June. However, several sources in the Austin chip community have been discussing the impact of Amazon’s decision to swoop in and recruit engineers after Calxeda shut down in December, curious about whether or not Amazon planned to follow other webscale businesses Google and Facebook in trying to build their own silicon.

 
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Hardware is not dead... Entering the hardware race yet requires muscles and above all talent. And as I pointed as early as 2 years ago, ARM is still an interesting option.

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Nervana takes $600K to build hardware for deep learning

Nervana takes $600K to build hardware for deep learning | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

It sounds like Nervana won’t be aiming for the kind of hardware that every small and medium-sized business would buy. Rather, the company is thinking about handling vast quantities of data.

“Deep learning has emerged as the leading technique for finding structure in very large data sets, and Nervana Systems’ specialized hardware will do this at a new level of scale to meet growing demands, Rao said in a statement.

Other vendors aspire to handle hard computing work at scale, too. Nevertheless, some smart investors seem convinced of Nervana’s opportunity.

The startup’s funding comes from Allen & Co., SV Angel, Adithya Agrawal, Y Combinator president Sam Altman, Eric Baker, Scott Banister, Farzad Khosrowshahi, Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, Ali and Hadi Partovi, Geoff Ralston, Dropbox vice president of operations Ruchi Sanghvi, and Owen Van Natta.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Hardware is neither dead nor a commodity

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