Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Comcast offers AI-powered home security from Cujo

Comcast launched a new artificial-intelligence-powered service that monitors, blocks and informs customers of online threats to connected devices, and provides seamless digital protection for those devices when connected to their home network's Xfinity Advanced Gateway.

The new Xfinity xFi Advanced Security service is powered by Cujo AI, a start-up based in Mountain View, California. The platform uses AI and machine learning technology to monitor and analyze WiFi traffic in the home, and will automatically block identified suspicious activity in real time.

“As the digital world gets more complex, we wanted to make it simple and easy for our customers to protect their home networks. That’s why we developed xFi Advanced Security,” said Fraser Stirling, Senior Vice President of Digital Home, Devices and AI, Comcast Cable. “We want to give customers digital peace of mind for the devices they already own and the confidence to expand and evolve their connected homes knowing that every new camera, voice-assisted speaker or smart thermostat they add will be protected.”

The service is available for $5.99 per month, and is also available as part of a package in some markets.

Reuters: Huawei linked to companies in Iran, Syria

A new report from Reuters alleges that corporate filings and documents from Iran and Syria suggest that Huawei is linked to Skycom Tech Co Ltd and shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd.

The report suggests that high-level Huawei executives controlled both companies, undermining the claim that Huawei was not directly involved in business transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Reuters reports that the findings could bear on the pending legal case involving Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.


Australia-Japan Cable upgrades with Infinera for 60% capacity boost

Infinera completed of a major upgrade to Australia-Japan Cable’s (AJC) submarine cable system connecting Australia, Guam and Japan, tripling the lit capacity on the 12,700-kilometer subsea cable system.

AJC upgraded their Infinera DTN-X network with Infinera’s fourth generation optical engine – ICE4 (Infinite Capacity Engine). The network upgrade also delivers a 60 percent end-of-life capacity increase to AJC’s trans-Pacific cable system. AJC first deployed Infinera’s subsea solution in 2014.

Infinera noted the recent capacity upgrade with ICE4 was achieved without service interruption. AJC is now able to rapidly activate new capacity for customers with Infinera Instant Bandwidth.

“Infinera’s newest optical engine – ICE4 – enabled AJC to easily add more capacity per fiber pair,” said David Crofts, CEO, Australia-Japan Cable. “The ICE4 upgrade to our DTN-X network from Infinera is performing better than advertised, allowing AJC to easily deliver multi-terabit capacity with low power consumption and the reliability required for subsea networks.”

“We are delighted to partner with AJC as they expand their network capacity through the deployment of Infinera’s high-performance ICE4 optical engines,” said Andrew Bond-Webster, Vice President, Sales, Infinera. “Infinera’s subsea solution delivers on short lead times, offering customers like AJC the ability to quickly activate new capacity and reliably restore customer services should a subsea cable fault occur.”

  • Investors in AJC include Telstra, AT&T, NTT, Verizon and Softbank.

AWS, Molex, Accenture to co-develop edge computing for vehicles

Molex is working with Accenture and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring edge computing and voice assistant capabilities to the Molex Automotive Ethernet Network Platform for autonomous vehicles.

The Molex platform is an Ethernet-based vehicle connectivity system with a multi-zone architecture across hardware, software and interconnect cabling systems, with the flexibility to incorporate legacy automotive protocols and scalability for future upgrades. It utilizes AWS IoT Greengrass machine learning functionality to enhance capabilities such as diagnostics, security and enhanced end-user experience. The future-ready, automotive-grade gateways act as central hubs, providing secure and reliable interconnects and processing data across the vehicle network to functional domains such as ADAS or Autonomous Driving.

“In combination with the groundbreaking features of our Automotive Ethernet Network Platform, AWS and Accenture’s contribution can profoundly help our customers innovate faster, drive down costs and build some of the most advanced vehicles in the automotive industry,” said Joseph Stenger, global product manager for connected mobility solutions, Molex. “We look forward to working together in the development of industry-leading technology solutions that help automotive OEMs design for the cars of tomorrow.”

“Accenture is excited to work with Molex to change the future of human mobility through new network and infrastructure capabilities for autonomous vehicles,” said Mark Pintar, a managing director in Accenture’s Technology Consulting practice. “Our collaboration has resulted in a solution that delivers an engaging customer experience that can adapt to meet the changing needs of users. We look forward to continuing to work together to enhance and expand these automotive solutions.”

Verizon notes 1.2 million net wireless postpaid additions in 4Q 2018

Verizon Communications reported a strong finish in fourth-quarter 2018, noting 1.2 million retail postpaid net additions in fourth-quarter 2018, of which approximately 650,000 were phone net additions. Retail postpaid phone churn was 0.82 percent in the fourth quarter, indicating continued strong customer loyalty.

The full earnings report is expected on January 29th.

Verizon issues $1 million "Built on 5G Challenge"

Verizon is offering up to $1 million in total grant funding as part of a  “Built on 5G Challenge”.

The funding will be provided to winning innovators to develop their concepts on live 5G networks located at Verizon’s 5G New York Lab, 5G Waltham Lab, 5G Cambridge Lab, and new locations being developed in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Washington, D.C. In addition, Verizon 5G Labs technical advisors will provide training and support to winning innovators.

“When we launched 4G, we couldn’t have imagined that it would enable applications like Uber and Netflix,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon. “5G’s unique speed, bandwidth and latency is about to usher in a new era of connectivity and innovation that many are already saying will herald a fourth industrial revolution. Now, as 5G becomes a reality for more consumers this year, we want to give innovators access to this game-changing technology to allow them to create use cases that no one has been able to dream up until now.”


EXFO posts sales of $69.2 million, up 9.2%

EXFO reported quarterly sales of US$69.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 up 9.2% from US$63.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. First-quarter sales for 2019 included a $7.5 million contribution from Astellia, reduced by US$0.9 million to account for acquisition-related fair value adjustment of deferred revenue.

Bookings, which included a US$7.8 million contribution from Astellia, improved 23.3% year-over-year to US$81.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 from US$65.9 million in the same period of 2018. The company's book-to-bill ratio was 1.17 in the first quarter of 2019.

Gross margin before depreciation and amortization* amounted to 58.2% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared to 63.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

IFRS net loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 totaled US$7.5 million, or US$0.14 per share, compared to net earnings of US$2.7 million, or US$0.05 per share, in the first quarter of 2018. IFRS net loss in the first quarter of 2019 included net expenses totaling US$6.3 million: US$2.5 million in after-tax amortization of intangible assets, US$0.4 million in stock-based compensation costs, US$2.7 million in after-tax restructuring charges, US$0.9 million for acquisition-related fair value adjustment of deferred revenue and a foreign exchange gain of US$0.2 million.

"EXFO delivered solid results in the first quarter of 2019 with revenue above the midpoint of our guidance range, while benefitting from robust calendar year-end spending for our T&M solutions to achieve the second-highest bookings level in company history," said EXFO's CEO Philippe Morin. "Our announced strategic transformation, focused on heightened efficiency and profitability, is progressing according to plan and should be completed by the end of the second quarter. This new structure is starting to pay off internally, but also externally with a better value proposition and more relevant engagement with SASS customers as reflected by a US$4.9 million contract win for real-time active topology software with a tier-1 service provider after the quarter-end."

Corning and WaveOptics demo augmented reality wearables

At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Corning and WaveOptics are privately demonstrating augmented reality (AR) wearables. WaveOptics’ wearable AR displays feature Corning’s high-refractive index glass, which is specially designed for AR waveguides.  The companies recently signed a long-term supply agreement in which Corning provides high-index glass wafers for WaveOptics’ waveguides.

“We have been working hard to lower the bill of materials for high-quality AR devices. Working with WaveOptics to assemble a global supply chain that will dramatically simplify access to high-quality augmented reality is a major part of that effort,” said David Velasquez, division vice president and general manager of Corning Precision Glass Solutions. “Corning is excited to work with WaveOptics and our joint partners to help enable the growth of such a young, dynamic industry.”

Akamai to acquire Janrain for identity access management at the edge

Akamai Technologies agreed to acquire Janrain, a privately-held company based in Portland, Oregon. Akamai did not disclose the amount of the all-cash transaction but said the Janrain acquisition would be slightly dilutive to its non-GAAP net income per share for 2019, in the range of $0.05 to $0.06, and to become accretive in 2020.

Janrain specializes in customer identity access management (CIAM), which helps enterprises to enhance digital trust by offloading login and registration workloads.

Akamai said the integration of Janrain's Identity Cloud with the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform is expected to provide enhanced security, regulatory compliance and massive scale to online engagements. The company cited security benefits to CIAM customers in two critical areas: bot management and threat intelligence. Akamai Bot Manager mitigates the risks associated with credential abuse by detecting and managing bot activity at login and registration time and reducing fraud without negatively impacting the user experience. By leveraging Akamai threat intelligence, customers can make smart decisions about which users should be allowed to access registration and login pages based on reputation built on past online behavior.

"It is challenging to conduct business online without an inherent and expected level of digital trust," said Rick McConnell, president of Akamai Technologies and general manager of Akamai’s web division. "Janrain’s Identity Cloud, working together with Akamai’s Intelligent Edge Platform, will provide an added layer of security to allow our customers to know more about their end users and potentially drive additional revenues from that deepened relationship."