SSE Enterprise Telecoms – one of the UK’s leading connectivity suppliers, this week announced details of a fibre agreement with Three UK and O2 that will form the basis of enhanced fibre access in the country’s capital.

The partnership centres around the use of SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ fibre ring – where a proportion of the network is located in the Thames Water waste water network – to significantly enhance Three UK and O2’s connectivity backhaul capabilities and pave the way for further 4G and 5G deployment by connecting cell sites and masts.

The speed, consistency and ubiquity of 5G is expected to revolutionise consumer services, allowing for near-instant downloads of HD films, while underpinning next-generation technology enhancements such as connected cars, smart medical devices and smart cities. To make 5G a reality, deep, robust aggregation of fronthaul and backhaul access is necessary in order to provide greater resiliency, increase capacity and reduce latency.

The key requirement ahead of the launch of commercial 5G services is high capacity fibre connectivity, which must provide fast, reliable and secure backhaul to core networks, in order to be able to cope with the expected massive increase in data usage: according to Ofcom, UK data usage is set to grow thirteen-fold between 2017 and 2025.

Next generation mobile services are expected to begin in the UK in the second half of 2019 when the first 5G capable devices are released by manufacturers.

Why sewers could be the key to 5G

Following a deal struck in 2017, SSE Enterprise Telecoms is licensed to lay fibre optic cables throughout Thames Water’s waste water network. Following the need for more pervasive networks, SSE Enterprise Telecoms has sought new, innovative routes to create new fibre networks in key locations at a lower cost and with faster deployment times than traditional digs.

The agreement with Three UK and O2 will see approximately 100 points of connectivity exit from this central London sewer network via two BT Exchanges. By partnering with SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Three UK and O2 can operate their own Central London Area (CLA) network, while also accessing spare fibre ducts for future initiatives in London.

Colin Sempill, MD of SSE Enterprise Telecoms
With this high capacity core in the London sewers, Three UK and O2 are tapping into our unique, diverse connectivity and putting their networks in a strong position to trial 5G offerings, while enhancing existing services for their customers.

Brendan O'Reilly, CTO, O2
This partnership is a great example of SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Three UK and O2 coming together in a collaborative and innovative way to address the growing challenge and pressure of obtaining access to fibre for mobile backhaul in the UK.

Published in Technology & Solutions

AT&T and Ericsson are joining forces to offer comprehensive testing to help safeguard IoT devices from growing cybersecurity threats.

The program covers a wide range of devices - from body cameras to connected streetlights, to utility meters, industrial routers and medical devices. Ericsson’s labs provide the CTIA’s certification. AT&T makes the certification available to businesses through its Professional Services IoT program.

The goal is to identify device vulnerabilities that could threaten the data collected and sent across communication networks. This helps businesses put appropriate cybersecurity defenses in place.

Cameron Coursey, VP, IoT Solutions, AT&T
CTIA Cybersecurity certification will help our customers better protect themselves. It’s no secret security is a growing threat for IoT. Our work with Ericsson will help establish a common and readily achievable security program that protects devices, consumers and our networks.

Tomas Ageskog, VP and Head of Digital Services, Ericsson North America
Ericsson is the only network equipment provider accredited as a CTIA Authorized Test Lab for Cybersecurity Certification and we are pleased to be working with AT&T on this industry-leading initiative.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Deutsche Telekom this week launched a virtual marketplace for trading in data – the Telekom Data Intelligence Hub.

The Data Intelligence Hub (or DIH) acts as a centralized platform to offer a holistic overview of the data available for free or for sale on the market. At the same time, it also offers a variety of analytical tools to enable users to process data using such methods as “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence”, for example.

In this way, enterprises can optimize their own internal processes with the help of data freely available on the market. This can help them avoid production hold-ups and unnecessary costs due to wait times and wasteful warehousing of stock, for example.

An example from the logistics sector Worldwide, about one third of all deliveries arrive later than originally planned. Foodstuffs, for example, often reach their destination spoiled. When tracking a delivery, it is known where the shipment was loaded and more or less where it should be at the moment. What is unknown is whether, when, why and precisely where a delivery becomes delayed. Such data are missing from the process chain. But it is precisely this sort of information that would allow one to take countermeasures in real time. Only in this way can businesses reduce wait times and storage costs, and make reliable plans. 

And these data are in fact available, but spread over a number of locations. And the DIH can be used to obtain data, to analyze them and to merge them into one’s own data in a consistent manner.

The Data Intelligence Hub was developed using technology of partners as Cloudera and was implemented by Ultra Tendency. As a data marketplace, it makes its living from the wide variety of companies that participate in it. Aside from publicly available data (open data), IBM, for example, also provides weather data from and Motionlogic provides in-depth analysis of traffic and movement flows. KPMG, Detecon and T-Systems Multimedia Solutions advise customers from a wide variety of sectors, including the public, healthcare and finance sectors as well as the transport, logistics and automotive industries on the implementation of their projects using the DIH. 

Oculeus is headed by Arnd Baranowski, Chief Executive Officer and the man behind the company. Arnd has over thirty years of technical and software development experience, initially in the military and then a successful track record of developing OSS and BSS systems for the telecommunications industry.

With mounting concerns on the susceptibility of today's telecommunications networks to cyber-related telecoms fraud attacks, telcos and network operators as well as enterprises are looking for solutions that can help them to be better protected against telecoms fraud and the financial damage it causes. Tara Neal, the Executive Editor of The Fast Mode spoke to Arnd Baranowski, CEO at Oculeus, ahead of the launch of the company’s new telecoms fraud protection service on how it can equip telcos, network operators and enterprises with the tools necessary to take on the growing complexities of protecting against telecoms fraud.

Tara Neal: Why do stories of telecoms fraud continue to capture headlines?

Arnd Baranowski: The unfortunate truth is that telecoms fraud is an attractive business for cybercriminals.

Take for instance the example of PBX hacking, which is one of the most common forms of telecoms fraud and easiest to execute. PBX devices are known to be susceptible to hacking and PBX lines are relatively straightforward to hijack.

Hundreds of hours of fraudulent traffic can be injected to a business’ PBX lines without the business or its telecommunications service provider being aware. Generally speaking, the business only finds out about the fraudulent traffic attack well after it has been completed and often only when it sees the charges on its monthly invoice from its service provider. In the meantime, the fraudsters have made off with tens of thousands of dollars and moved on to the next victim.

Statistics are readily available across the internet from numerous industry sources showing that telecoms fraud is causing financial damage of over $20 billion a year!

Tara Neal: Even though the problem has been constant over the years, has telecoms fraud changed or at least evolved recently?

Arnd Baranowski: Yes, telecoms fraud has certainly evolved over time and in recent years the developments have mostly been in parallel to the new networking infrastructure technologies used by telecommunications service providers.

Many years ago, when telecommunications networks were based on mostly physical infrastructure, being part of the infrastructure was required to redirect and manipulate traffic for fraudulent purposes.

As IP-based telephony gained traction, telecoms fraud has transitioned over the past ten years or so into more of a cybersecurity issue.

Recently, SIP has become a standard protocol for IP-based voice communications. While this SIP protocol offers improved networking and integration capabilities, fraudsters have learned how to leverage security vulnerabilities to inject fraudulent traffic.

Tara Neal: Have telcos been doing enough to keep pace with these changes?

Arnd Baranowski: Here too there is an unfortunate reality.

Perpetrators of telecoms fraud are highly skilled cybercriminals using the most advanced and up-to-date technologies to quickly identify vulnerabilities and execute lucrative telecoms fraud.

On the other hand, telcos and network operators are well behind. From what we see, the fraud management practices of telcos and network operators generally follow slow moving processes that often involve manual input and cross-department interactions.

Tara Neal: At what level would you say businesses are exposed to telecoms fraud?

Arnd Baranowski: Clearly, businesses are highly exposed and are also in a vulnerable position.

This should be worrisome for enterprises because it is not clear who is responsible for telecoms fraud protection. In some countries, like here in Germany where Oculeus is based, the telecommunications service provider is responsible for providing fraud protection. However, the situation in Germany is more of an exception as in most places there is no clear understanding of who is responsible. Often, the business is required to prove that the charges from fraudulent traffic are indeed false. This is a time consuming and an expensive process that certainly can be avoided.

Tara Neal: What does Oculeus have to offer to improve telecoms fraud prevention?

Arnd Baranowski: We offer telecoms fraud protection solutions in two directions.

First, we provide a solution directly to telecommunications service providers and network operators that is based on anomaly detection. What we provide with this solution is an automated framework that requires just a few seconds to identify, confirm and block fraudulent telecommunications traffic. The system works very much like any other cybersecurity system based on anomaly detection.

We are also currently finalizing the roll out of a new telecoms fraud protection service that we will be offering directly to enterprises. This service will be based on our telecoms fraud protection solution running in the Cloud and will be very similar to an antivirus system. The service will allow an enterprise to protect its telecommunications network independent of its telecommunications service provider.

Tara Neal: This is an interesting approach. What are your expectations for this new service?

Arnd Baranowski: We are very excited about the upcoming launch of our telecoms fraud protection service.

Basically, any enterprise - large and small and everything in between - that has PBX systems running is a potential customer and can benefit from our new service. The service should be ready to be rolled out by the end of next month.

Pricing will be in the form of a monthly fee derived from the number of PBX devices being connected to the service. The registration process will be done online and will only take a minute or two to complete. After this short registration, our service will begin protecting the enterprise’s voice communications with no impact on the speed or quality of the existing voice communications.

For more information, visit the Oculeus website.

Published in Expert Opinion

eBay, world's leading e-commerce marketplace announced a new partnership with Red Pocket Mobile to offer a low-cost wireless plan for $5 per month for anyone who buys a cell phone on its platform.

Red Pocket Mobile is an MVNO that has access to all the four major operators in the US - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon - to provide service to its customers.

For the occasional user, Red Pocket’s Basic Plan on eBay provides 100 minutes, 100 texts and 500MB of LTE data on any of the major network. Red Pocket Mobile’s most popular plan comes out to $30 per month for 5GB of LTE data and unlimited at a throttled speed, said the Company.

David Grim, Category Manager, eBay
Red Pocket Mobile is the natural partner for us to launch our add-on wireless plan. Because Red Pocket works on all of America’s major networks, their service can apply to virtually all of the millions of phones sold on eBay.

Joshua Gordon, President & CEO, Red Pocket Mobile
eBay’s introduction of a wireless plan add-on can change how Americans get their cell phone service. More and more people are realizing that the best way to save money on wireless is to buy not just your phone on eBay, but your service plan too.

Epsilon, a privately-owned global communications Service Provider, has joined the Alibaba Cloud Partner Network to deliver on-demand private connectivity to one of the world’s fastest growing Cloud platforms.

Alibaba Cloud, the Cloud computing arm of the Alibaba Group, is connected to the Infiny by Epsilon on-demand connectivity platform across multiple data centre locations in Asia, Europe and North America.

Epsilon’s partners gain a direct link into the world’s largest Cloud ecosystems. With the click-of-a-button, they can directly interconnect with leading Cloud Service Providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and now Alibaba Cloud. 

Leased line connections established via Express Connect allows Epsilon customers to activate high-speed, dedicated connectivity to guarantee the stability and reliability of communications and services activatedwithin the platform. It also offers a strong level of security as all data is transmitted via private infrastructure, with no risk of being exposed tothe Internet.

Infiny is a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) platform that gives users on-demand connectivity across Epsilon’s Global Interconnect Fabric which includes more than 600 Service Providers, Cloud Service Providers and Internet Exchanges (IXs). It offers partners a web portal and API-enabled approach to global connectivity that delivers flexible, scalable and high-performance networking from a single unified platform. 

Jerzy Szlosarek, CEO, Epsilon
Alibaba Cloud is a massive player in Asia and has one of the fastest growing public Cloud platforms in the world. Our partnership means that we are able to continuously expand our ecosystem of Cloud providers in Infiny, while supporting the rapid adoption of Cloud locally, regionally and across the globe.

Yeming Wang, GM of Alibab Cloud EMEA
The global Cloud market is evolving rapidly and on-demand connectivity will drive increased Cloud adoption around the world. Agile networking enables Cloud services to be successful and helps enterprises to scale as and when they need, according to business demand.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Orange Money, Orange’s mobile money solution is celebrating its 10th anniversary, marking a decade of operations from its initial launch in 2008 in Côte d'Ivoire.

The money transfer and mobile payment solution for unbanked or relatively unbanked populations has since reached 40 million customers in 17 countries across Africa. 

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) says that, “Orange Money makes real contributions to economic and social development in Africa and is a part of our strategy as a multiservice operator and digital transformation partner in Africa and the Middle East.”

Orange Money’s accelerating growth and sales which rose 60% from 2016 to 2017 have made it one of the Group’s top growth drivers in Africa. Following its success in Africa, Orange is now looking to expand the offering to all its countries, especially Europe.

“Orange Money’s success is based on its usefulness, its ease of use, and its full integration with Orange’s services. Orange Money represents the future of Orange’s mobile financial services in all our countries, especially in Europe,” said Paul de Leusse, Orange Group deputy CEO for Mobile Financial Services.

NEC announced the opening of the NEC Open Innovation Centre (OIC) in Singapore, which is part of NEC's $100 million investment over the five years from 2017 in research and innovation in the Asia Pacific region. 

The Centre which is NEC's first of its kind facility outside Japan provides a platform where solutions can be translated into realistic and relatable use cases. It houses various revolutionary thematic zones which allow an immersive experience in AI and biometric solutions within the context of daily life. For example, in the "home" zone, visitors will be shown how our face can be utilized as a powerful and trusted key to securely access government and commercial services with NEC's Trusted Digital Identity solution.

NEC said it is also at the forefront of advanced ICT solutions for safety, security and efficiency in air travel. With more people flying today, as well as heightened security threats, passengers are asked to go through more checks and screenings. All this leads to an earnest need for providing a frictionless travel experience. NEC's One ID-Single token technology takes travel experiences to new heights by providing integrated identity management across the travel process, allowing passengers to authenticate their identity online or in person and ensuring efficient flow within the airport.

Tan Boon Chin, MD, Global Safety Division, NEC
With a digitally disruptive team at the heart of OIC's operations, new ideas of approaching public safety can be prototyped and launched within the centre and further deployed in global markets.

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