Tech & Telecom news — Oct 26, 2017

E-COMMERCE

Amazon entering the IoT / home security business with “Amazon Key”, a new connected door-lock and security-camera system that will also help with package delivery for the core e-commerce operation, by letting delivery-service people to open the door by scanning package labels. Lots of privacy / security issues, here (Story)

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Video

AT&T’s DirecTV is developing a new 4K streaming Set Top Box with no satellite connectivity, based on Android, including access to Netflix, HBO and Hulu through Google Play’s app store. This is consistent with recent decline in AT&T’s traditional PayTV, partially offset by growth in the DirecTV Now streaming app (Story)

Cloud

Cisco will partner with Google to develop hybrid cloud solutions combining clients’ own data centres with Google’s public cloud. Cisco is looking to move away from the legacy hardware business, and Google Cloud’s weaker position vs. AWS or Microsoft Azure is probably helping them get better terms in the deal (Story)

Devices

Apple suffering a production nightmare with the iPhone X. They seem to have relaxed accuracy specifications for the new face-recognition tech, to make it easier to manufacture and meet holidays’ commercial targets. A dot projector in the 3-D face-recognition sensor that unlocks the phone is at the heart of the problem (Story)

HARDWARE ENABLERS

Network

There’s life to provide high speed fixed wireless beyond the licensed mm wave spectrum (in 28GHz & 39GHz) owned by carriers like Verizon / AT&T. Analysts at Maravedis now argue that higher unlicensed bands, at 60GHz and higher, are an alternative and do already work for Webpass, a startup acquired by Google Fiber (Story)

Components

China is committed to become a leading global force in semiconductors, to reduce current reliance on $200bn annual imports, also perceived as a national security issue. They plan to spend $150bn in 10 years to catch up, with a mid-long term ambition to leverage the Internet of Things as an opportunity to gain positions (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Artificial Intelligence

Primer, a startup, has raised $14.7m in VC, including a contribution from the CIA’s investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to use AI models to help companies extract insights from the world’s information. They claim to differ from Palantir by focusing in automating “low-level analyst work”, vs. solving “valuable problems infrequently” (Story)

OPERATIONS

Customer care

T-Mobile claims that a more customer friendly product portfolio also can help reduce operational costs, as happier customers tend to have much lower customer care needs. They claim to have reduced the number of calls to customer service by -31% since they launched their “Uncarrier” initiatives 4 years ago (Story)

Automation

A new report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for workers like electronic assemblers and word processors, highly susceptible to automation, will drop in the next 10 years, but it also expects a rise in demand for jobs that enable automation, including statisticians, mathematicians and software developers (Story)

M&A

Cancellation by Sprint and T-Mobile of the results conference calls this week, to avoid discussing their potential merger, has been seen as a sing that a deal may be close, but conversations are complex and the agreement could still fall apart. The deal is expected to be all-stock, with DT getting control of the combined entity (Story)

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