Thursday, July 16, 2020

Ericsson: Limited impact from Covid-19 on Q2 sales

Ericsson reported Q2 2020 sales of SEK 55.6 (54.8) billion (approximately US$6.12 billion) - flat YoY for comparable units and currency. The company said the Covid-19 pandemic had a limited impact on operating income and cash flow in the quarter. There was continued momentum for 5G, especially in North America and Northeast Asia.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, states:

"The human toll caused by Covid-19, directly and indirectly through a weak economy, is increasingly clear. We continue to put safety of our people as first priority, and more than 80% of our employees are currently working from home. Despite the difficult environment we delivered a solid result. Q2 organic[1] sales were flat and gross margin[2] improved to 38.2% (36.7%) YoY, including negative effects from strategic contracts. Free cash flow before M&A improved to SEK 3.2 (1.6) b. While the effects of Covid-19 create uncertainties, with current visibility we maintain the full-year targets for the Group."

"Networks grew by 4% organically[1] and the gross margin[2] was 40.5% (41.4%), absorbing a larger share of strategic contracts including 5G volumes in Mainland China where we also took an inventory write-down. The strengthened market position in Mainland China is strategically important as this market is expected to be a driver of critical future requirements and provide us with important scale. The Chinese 5G contracts are expected to be profitable over the life cycle, but had a negative contribution to gross margin in Q2."  

"Investments in R&D have established us as a leader in 5G, with proven performance and cost of ownership benefits for our customers. We have continued to increase our market share in several markets by leveraging our competitive product portfolio. Profitability in earlier awarded strategic contracts has improved according to plan. We consider strategic contracts to be a natural part of the business and we will stop our forward looking commentary unless there is an extraordinary impact. "

MEF Infinite Edge Series planned for November

MEF is pleased to announce its new MEF Infinite Edge Series, which will showcase industry luminaries, executives, and subject matter experts from across the world who will share their vision, experience, and expertise on digital services, networking, automation, and the edge. This multi-month, 10-part series of immersive, half-day digital events, beginning in November 2020, will be hosted on a new, intelligent web platform, delivering a unique and interactive attendee experience.

The MEF Infinite Edge Series will enable cloud and networking executives and professionals to efficiently engage on the latest innovations in the hottest topic areas, including:

  • SD-WAN services & technologies
  • SD-WAN security & SASE
  • Dynamic services & federated networks
  • Inter-provider & intra-provider service automation
  • Edge computing and virtualization
  • 5G & end-to-end network slicing
  • Distributed ledger technology / blockchain
  • Automated Carrier Ethernet
  • Programmable optical networks
  • and more.

“We are thrilled to announce the MEF Infinite Edge Series. Feedback on our innovative program approach, digital platform, and marketing initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Kevin Vachon, COO, MEF. “The series will provide an excellent opportunity to network with peers, keep up-to-date on the latest trends, and ultimately accelerate development and adoption of services and technologies supporting digital transformation.”

Facebook builds a robot for aerial fiber deployment

Facebook, in collaboration with industry partners, is developing an aerial fiber deployment robot for installing a specialized fiber-optic cable on medium-voltage (MV) power lines.

Conventional aerial fiber deployment methods require existing infrastructure must be modified to support the new fiber cable attachment. The helical wrap method, which uses a machine to wind a fiber-optic cable around an existing power-line conductor, often requires cranes to lift the machine past obstacles on the line. Another constraining factor is the size/weight of the fiber cable.

Facebook said it is working on several innovations to address these issues, including a spool-free cable coil geometry that meets clearance requirements around the conductor to allow passing obstacles, all while maintaining a center of mass aligned within 2 mm of the center of the power line. The robot, which is designed to allow installation of fiber while the conductors are energized, comprises a pair of drive subsystems, a lift subsystem, and a rotation subsystem. This enables the robot to pass obstacles.

Windstream adds fiber locations in 1H2020

Windstream's Kinetic business enabled approximately 100,000 new fiber-connected locations with gigabit-capable services during the first six months of 2020 as part of its multi-year program to invest billions of dollars to bring gigabit services to millions of households across its footprint. As a result of these investments and recent additional network enhancements, Kinetic added over 40,000 net new broadband subscribers in the first six months of the year and completed its ninth consecutive quarter of broadband subscriber growth.

“Kinetic by Windstream is stronger than ever,” said Jeff Small, president of the company’s consumer and small and midsize business segment. “Our fiber investments are accelerating Kinetic’s broadband subscriber growth and equipping our rural communities to take advantage of greater opportunities to work from home, experience virtual learning and enjoy premium entertainment.”

HPE GreenLake Cloud is now hosted by Interxion in Europe

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) confirmed that its GreenLake cloud services will be hosted by Interxion in 13 European countries.

HPE Greenlake Cloud provides companies with the benefits of a managed cloud experience without the complexity of managing data centers, while maintaining ownership and control of their data and workloads.

The new offer is being piloted with Interxion in Ireland, with the intention to quickly expand to the UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands.

“At Interxion, we’ve been listening to our customers who have told us that they want to tap into the flexibility and convenience of the cloud, while alleviating the operational burden on IT systems,” said Séamus Dunne, Managing Director, Interxion Ireland. “Our agreement to launch HPE GreenLake cloud services hosted in our data centers improves speed and agility by increasing customers’ connectivity to public clouds while staying in control of cost, security and compliance without the need to invest in an on-premise data center, as they can deploy HPE GreenLake solutions in Interxion’s colocation data centers. ”

FCC to build a list of equipment seen to pose national security risk

The FCC began integrating portions of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which was enacted in March 2020, into its existing supply chain rulemaking proceeding. 

The FCC has already acted to ban USF support for equipment and services produced or provided by companies that pose a national security threat, namely Huawei and ZTE. 

The accompanying Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks public comment on implementing various aspects of the Secure Networks Act, including proposals to: (1) create and maintain the list of covered communications equipment and services required by the statute; (2) ban the use of federal subsidies, including USF funding, for any communications equipment or services placed on this list; (3) require all providers of advanced communications services to report on whether they use any covered communications equipment or services; and (4) prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the reimbursement program that is required by the statute to remove and replace insecure equipment. 

Last month, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation and their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries as covered companies for purposes of the agency’s November 2019 ban.  As a result of those designations, money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year USF may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these two suppliers.

FCC expands rules for Z-axis location data in emergency calls

The FCC is expanding its efforts to help first responders quickly locate people who call 911 from wireless phones in multi-story buildings.

The Commission’s Enhanced 911 rules require wireless providers to transmit to 911 call centers information on the location of wireless 911 calls.  And they obligate wireless providers to meet an increasingly stringent series of location accuracy benchmarks in accordance with a timetable, including providing the caller’s dispatchable location (such as the street address and apartment number) or coordinate-based vertical (“z-axis”) location. 

In November 2019, the Commission established the z-axis location accuracy metric as plus or minus three meters relative to the handset for 80 percent of indoor wireless 911 calls.  Nationwide wireless providers must meet April 2021 and April 2023 deadlines for deploying z-axis technology, which must comply with the metric for accuracy, in the top 25 and 50 markets, respectively. 

In this action, the FCC affirmed the 2021 and 2023 z-axis requirements, rejecting a proposal to weaken them.  The Commission added a new requirement that nationwide wireless providers deploy z-axis technology nationwide by April 2025, while affording non-nationwide wireless providers an additional year (i.e., until April 2026) to do so within their service areas.  To give wireless providers additional flexibility in meeting these requirements while still advancing critical public safety objectives, the Commission allowed providers to deploy technologies that focus on multi-story buildings, where vertical location information is most vital to first responders.  The Commission also required wireless providers, beginning in January 2022, to provide dispatchable location with wireless 911 calls when it is technically feasible and cost-effective to do so, which will promote consistency in the Commission’s 911 rules across technology platforms. 

ADVA's Q2 preliminary results exceed expectations, up 8.9% YoY

ADVA Optical Networking announced the following preliminary financial key figures of the second quarter:

  • Preliminary revenues were EUR 145.0 million and increased by 8.9% compared to the year-ago quarter (Q2 2019: EUR 133.2 million)
  • The preliminary pro forma operating income was EUR 10.1 million and increased significantly by 133.0% compared to Q2 2019 (Q2 2019: EUR 4.3 million)
  • The preliminary pro forma operating income margin was 7.0% and thus 3.7 percentage points up from the year-ago quarter (Q2 2019: 3.3%)
  • Preliminary net debt was EUR 44.9 million and improved substantially by 34.0% (Q2 2019: 68.1 million)
  • Revenues and profitability increased substantially, both sequentially and year over year. In addition, cash and cash equivalents significantly increased and net debt improved, compared to the previous quarter of 2020 and the year-ago quarter. This is mainly due to the cost improvement measures introduced in 2019.

The figures significantly overperform both the previous year’s figures and the available financial analyst estimates.

ADVA said that despite the very positive second quarter, there is still high uncertainty about the further course of the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on ADVA’s business. For this reason, the management board will not issue new guidance for the entire year 2020.

Blackmagic intros digital cinema camera with 12K sensor

Blackmagic Design introduced a digital film camera with an advanced 12,288 x 6,480 12K Super 35 image sensor, 14 stops of dynamic range and high frame rate shooting at up to 60 frames per second in 12K at 80 megapixels per frame.

The Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K camera will go on the market this month at a retail price of US$9,995.

"With Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K we have advanced imaging technology into a new generation where new styles of shooting will be possible", said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It's not just the 12K sensor, but there are so many other innovations in this camera. From the Generation 5 Color Science, the in sensor scaling, new symmetrical color pattern, full RGB quality and of course the 12K resolution, it's going to be exciting to see what DOPs do creatively with this technology!"

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K Features

12,288 x 6480 12K Super 35 sensor.
Use for feature films, VFX and high end TVC's.
14 stops of dynamic range and native 800 ISO.
New Blackmagic RAW for real time 12K editing.
Blackmagic RAW optimized for Metal, CUDA and OpenCL.
Generation 5 Color Science with new film curve.
Shoot up to 60 fps in 12K, 110 fps at 8K and 220 fps at 4K.
Dual card CFast recording at up to 900MB/s.
PL mount included, EF and F mounts available.
SuperSpeed USB-C for recording to external disks.
Includes DaVinci Resolve Studio for post production.
Compatible with new Blackmagic URSA Mini Recorder.