Monday, February 19, 2018

Google agreed to acquire Xively for enterprise IoT

Google agreed to acquire Xively, a division of LogMeIn, for an undisclosed sum.

Xively offers an enterprise-ready IoT platform with advanced device management, messaging, and dashboard capabilities.

Xively, which was formerly known as Cosm and Pachube, is built on LogMeIn's cloud platform Gravity, which handles over 255 million devices, users, and customers across 7 datacenters worldwide.

Google said the acquisition will be paired with the security and scale of Google Cloud. The solution will also be augmented With Google Cloud’s data analytics and machine learning.

Megaport adds direct connectivity to Salesforce

Megaport launched its elastic interconnection service for direct, scalable connectivity to the Salesforce Platform.

The connectivity to Salesforce is available in two markets from North America (San Jos and Ashburn) and one market from EMEA (Frankfurt). Additional data centers are in the planning phases for 2018. Megaport users will be able to provision private, secure, and direct connections to the Salesforce Platform services from 185+ Megaport enabled data centres.

As a Salesforce Express Connect Partner, Megaport can boost performance, increase application reliability, as well as help meet industry regulatory and compliance demands by establishing a direct, private connection to the Salesforce infrastructure through its global SDN.

“Salesforce has revolutionised the way that businesses go to market and has fundamentally transformed how companies build digital relationships with customers,” said Vincent English, Chief Executive Officer, Megaport. “This agreement enables both companies to help drive protected, private, direct connectivity. Megaport has developed a set of tools and features that make it very easy for organizations of all sizes and varying technical capabilities to directly connect to the Salesforce Platform.”

Intelsat and SES agree on joint use of C-band by satellite and mobile operators

Intelsat and SES last week both agreed to back a proposal to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the seeks to protect satellite services in the 3700-4200 MHz C-band downlink spectrum while opening a specified portion of that spectrum for terrestrial mobile use.

The companies said their joint proposal sets a commercial and technical framework that would enable wireless operators to quickly access approximately 100 MHz of nationwide C-band downlink spectrum in the United States, speeding the deployment of next-generation 5G services. The idea builds on an innovative model first put forward to the FCC by Intelsat and Intel in October 2017 for spectrum sharing.

Under the proposal, a consortium of satellite operators would be created to oversee the governance of the initiative, define and implement the methodology for spectrum clearance, and serve as the sole interface for market-based transactions with parties interested in deploying terrestrial mobile services in specific portions of the C-band.

“The C-band is and remains a critical component of the U.S. network architecture. Space and ground segment operators have invested billions of dollars in U.S. C-band networks and connectivity and generate important value out of it. It is, therefore, our duty and mission to protect the C-band in the U.S. from any form of disruption and preserve its use,” stated Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO of SES.

"Our proposed market-based solution provides a speedy resolution to the U.S. objective of accelerating deployment of 5G services. With Intelsat and SES now in agreement on major tenets of the framework and with the support of Intel, we are confident in our ability to implement this proposal quickly and efficiently, ultimately to the benefit of American consumers and the U.S. economy,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler.

Tele2 selects Nokia WING for IoT services

Nokia and Tele2 IoT have signed a five-year agreement to enable the delivery of IoT services to Tele2 enterprise customers.

Specifically, Tele2 has selected Nokia's worldwide IoT network grid (WING) to enable the delivery of IoT services to its enterprise customers.

Nokia WING is a 'one-stop-shop' IoT managed service that includes a pre-integrated global IoT core network, connectivity management as well as dedicated IoT operations, billing, security and data analytics, along with an application ecosystem.

The five-year partnership agreement includes collaboration on various advanced technologies such as 5G, Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), LTE for machine-to-machine (LTE-M), SIM management and analytics to further accelerate the global IoT ecosystem.

Rami Avidan, CEO of Tele2 IoT, said: "Nokia WING is a unique concept for worldwide IoT enablement which will allow us to serve our enterprise customers better and differentiate our offering on a global scale. We are excited about the prospect of helping our customers to easily deploy IoT services, driving new revenue growth opportunities."

Samsung sets new SSD capacity record -- 30.72 TB

Samsung Electronics announced mass production of t the industry’s largest capacity Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) solid state drive (SSD) to date – the 30.72 terabyte (TB).

The new PM1643 drive uses Samsung's latest V-NAND technology with 64-layer, 3-bit 512-gigabit (Gb) chips. It offers twice the capacity and performance of the previous 15.36TB high-capacity lineup introduced in March 2016.

Samsung said the density is made possible by combining 32 of the new 1TB NAND flash packages, each comprised of 16 stacked layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips. These super-dense 1TB packages allow for approximately 5,700 5-gigabyte (GB), full HD movie files to be stored within a mere 2.5-inch storage device.

Based on a 12Gb/s SAS interface, the new drive features random read and write speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS, and sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s, respectively. These represent approximately four times the random read performance and three times the sequential read performance of a typical 2.5-inch SATA SSD.

"With our launch of the 30.72TB SSD, we are once again shattering the enterprise storage capacity barrier, and in the process, opening up new horizons for ultra-high capacity storage systems worldwide," said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president, Memory Sales & Marketing Team at Samsung Electronics. "Samsung will continue to move aggressively in meeting the shifting demand toward SSDs over 10TB and at the same time, accelerating adoption of our trail-blazing storage solutions in a new age of enterprise systems."

Deutsche Telekom contributes to edge computing testbed at Carnegie Mellon University

Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with infrastructure partner Crown Castle, and vRAN solution vendor Altiostar, is building an ultra-low latency mobile testbed at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh as part of the Open Edge Computing Initiative.

“The Living Edge Lab testbed is a major technology milestone towards use-case centric Edge Computing and will provide application developers with an early experience of the benefits of 5G technology,” says Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “It is a unique Edge Computing platform that leverages a fully virtualized end-to-end solution and the  implementation of user-tracing beamforming antennas for the first time in a live environment.”

DT said the Edge Computing setup combines a fully software-enable network with a modular Radio Access Network (RAN) platform. The wireless access in the 3.5GHz band leverages advanced LTE and 5G features such as Massive MIMO, Active Antenna Systems (AAS), and beamforming technology by Airrays, a German radio vendor, and is powered by vRAN (virtual RAN) technology by Altiostar.

The vRAN solution uses an innovative method to connect the AAS panels with the virtualized baseband unit (vBBU), a performance-optimized NFV platform running on Commercial off the Shelf (CoTS) hardware inside the CMU campus alongside the Edge Computing server “Cloudlet”. Connectivity to each site leverages extensive fiber optic networks owned and maintained by Crown Castle.

Elliott insists fair value for NXP is $135 per share

Elliott Advisors (UK), which holds an approximate 7.2% economic interest in NXP Semiconductors, is insisting that the take-out value for Qualcomm to acquire NXP should be higher than $135 per NXP share.

Elliot published a presentation in which it argues:

  • NXP is currently one of the most attractive companies in the semiconductor sector
  • NXP has a track record of consistent outperformance versus market expectations over the past year 
  • NXP top-line growth came in above consensus expectations in each of the past four quarters with growth in 2017 Q4 of 16.0% outpacing consensus by 5.8 percentage points;
  • NXP's performance has been driven by impressive results of “Core NXP” (i.e., the Automotive and Secure Connected Devices segments contributing approximately 69%2 of NXP total revenues)
  • In 2017 H2, NXP’s revenue growth was higher than the median growth for its peers, signaling NXP’s potential and giving credibility to consensus expectation that the company should grow faster than peers at 5.3% CAGR (1.5 percentage points ahead of the median for NXP’s peers);
  • NXP is uniquely placed to radically enhance Qualcomm's long-term strategy

Broadcom sweetens its bid for Qualcomm

Broadcom boosted its unsolicited bid to acquire Qualcomm to $121 billion, or $82 per share, consisting of $60.00 in cash and the remainder in Broadcom shares. Broadcom described the bid as its "best and final offer", saying that it is prepared to pay to Qualcomm "a significant "reverse termination fee" in an amount appropriate for a transaction of this size in the unlikely event we are unable to obtain required regulatory approvals." Several conditions...

Elliott comments on Qualcomm's extended tender for NXP

Elliott Advisors (UK) published an advisory letter to investment funds that now collectively hold an increased economic interest in NXP Semiconductors N.V. of approximately 6.6%. The advisory argues that that NXP is of significant strategic importance to QUALCOMM Incorporated (“Qualcomm”) and that such a transaction will deliver substantial value to Qualcomm shareholders at prices meaningfully higher than Elliott’s own assessment of standalone intrinsic...

Acquisition still not done - Qualcomm extends cash tender offer for NXP shares

Qualcomm extended the offering period of its previously announced cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding common shares of NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI). The tender offer is now scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on February 9, 2018, unless extended or earlier terminated, in either case pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement. American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, the depositary for the tender...

Elliott Advisors says Qualcomm's bid for NXP is too low

Elliott Advisors (UK), which advises funds that collectively hold an economic interest in NXP Semiconductors of approximately 6%, published an open letter stating that Qualcomm's offer to acquire the company is too low. Elliot believes NXP is worth $135 per share on an intrinsic standalone basis – far above the $110 offered by Qualcomm. Elliott states Qualcomm’s offer of $110 per share is acting as "a ceiling on NXP’s valuation", noting that NXP’s...

Profile of the telecommunications market in Kenya

Preamble: On January 30, 2018, Kenyan authorities ordered the nation’s three leading television stations off the air for their attempts to cover the alternate and unsanctioned "inauguration" of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claims to have prevailed in last year’s disputed election against President Uhuru Kenyatta.  The High Court of Kenya has ordered the government to allow the stations to resume operations but as of February 03, 2018 the mass communications market remains disrupted. As of Sunday evening, the censorship remains in place and tensions are high, however, telecom and Internet services appear to be operating normally.  In this series of articles, we profile the vibrant telecommunications market in Kenya.

See part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6\

SECTION 1. General political, social, physical and economic overview of Kenya

The total population of Africa according to the U.N. Worldometer as of Friday, January 31st, 2018, was circa 1,274,779,000 and the annual growth rate of this population over the last five years has been about 2.56% per annum. Population density for the country is 42 persons per sq km and the median age of the population is 19.4 years. The level of urbanisation is 42%. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook estimates of October 2017, the nominal GDP of the 54 countries sovereign nations in Africa in 2016 was $2140.621 billion.

Kenya’s population is almost exactly 4% and its nominal GDP 3.2% of the respective African totals.

Social, economic and political overview

Kenya, located in East Africa with an over 500 km long coast on the Indian Ocean is the world’s 28th largest country in terms of people with an UN-computed population as of the end of January 30th 2018 of 50,420,895. The country’s official languages are Swahili and English but it is extremely diverse ethnically, hosting around 42 different communities including (according to the CIA Factbook) Kikuyu 17% Luhya 14% Luo 11% Kalenjin 13% Kamba 10% Kisii 6% Meru 4% Other African 13% Non-African (Asian European, and Arab) 1%. (NB There are many different versions of this analysis with some claiming Kikuyu represent up to 22% of the population— but this does not change the general ethnographic picture).

The country is of average size for the region, ranking 20th in Africa and 48th in the world. It is not very densely populated (apart from the capital Nairobi and its huge slum of Kibera, located 4 miles from the city centre and described by Wikipedia as “ the largest urban slum in Africa”though estimates of its actual size seem to vary ludicrously from as low as 170,000 to as high as two million people ).

Kenya  is roughly bisected by the Equator, and is geographically very diverse with features that include Mt Kilimanjaro in the extreme south, (the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres from its base to 5,895 metres above sea level), Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake in the far east, Mt Kenya, (only 12% lower than Kilimanjaro) on the Equator and Lake Turkana in the northwest. Due to its position, the majority of Kenya consists of arid or semi-arid plains and hills including a major desert in the north of the country. These areas offer sparse grazing and habitats for a variety of wildlife as well as tough local breeds of domesticated animals.  6% of the country is forested and about 15-20% is said to be suitable for agriculture.

According to the IMF, Kenya in 2016 with a GDP of $68.919 billion and a nominal GDP per capita of only $1,370 was the world’s 71st richest country. In October 2017 in its World Economic Outlook,  the IMF said it expected the Kenyan economy to grow by 5% in 2017, slightly lower than their projected growth of 5.3% in April and well below a 6% forecast in January 2017.

Political mess in Kenya after two disputed elections

Kenya is a federal democracy with separation of powers of the judiciary, the parliament and the executive run by the president and a degree of autonomy for its 47 counties each of which has its own governor.

However this theoretically democratic political system remains in a difficult state following a disputed August 2017 election nominally won by the Jubilee Alliance under incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu, followed by an October 26th 2017 unopposed election rerun (in which Kenyatta received 96% of the vote) which was boycotted by the National Super Alliance( NASA) opposition under ethnic Luo Raila Odinga, (previously PM of Kenya from 2008 to 2013) and over five months of electoral chaos and bad-tempered arguments between the two factions.

On November 29th, 2017, Uhuru Kenyatta was officially sworn in for another term. However, the NASA opposition has consistently refused to recognise the results of either election and in a dramatic show of defiance, Raila Odinga announced that he would carry out a separate duplicate ceremony on January 30th, 2018 in which he would be sworn-in as president. To support that action NASA have fabricated a case that had the election been fair Raila Odinga would have actually beaten President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 election after garnering 8,104,744 (50.54%) votes to Uhuru's 7,908,215 (48%) votes. On January 30th Odinga did, in fact, carry out this ceremony but it seems it was not very well attended and even Odinga himself was muted in his behaviour and altogether the event was something of an anticlimax. At the same time, the government switched off five TV stations and several radio stations to avoid giving Odinga free publicity.

Relative to its rather limited resources and wealth Kenya has quite a sophisticated social environment not least due to probably one of the most competitive and innovative telecommunications markets in Africa

Telecommunications market overview

Kenya has a strong mobile communications market with around 40 million subscriptions but only a tiny fixed-line market of around 70,000 lines. Traditional copper line subscriptions continue to decline steadily but there has been rapid growth from a low base in demand for optical fibre connections.

Based on the fact that the main operator Safaricom has around a 70% share of most markets and the fact that its annual sales are around $2 billion the total Kenyan services market would appear to be worth around $3 billion or almost exactly 4% of the country’s projected 2017 GDP. This is a little on the high side compared to global norms but can be partially explained by the unusual extent to which Kenyan citizens have taken up mobile banking, mobile payment and e-commerce, with Safaricom being a particularly strong supplier of the first two services.

to be continued