A major acquisition of digital services and a change in strategic direction for Huawei kicks off the news cycle for the week.
Microsoft acquires an expert in speech recognition technology Nuance Communications in a deal valued at $ 19.7 billion. The move is part of Microsoft’s efforts to become the leading provider of cloud services and applications for the healthcare industry, where Nuance has directed much of its efforts to develop AI-based speech recognition technologies. during the last years. “Over the past three years, Nuance has streamlined its portfolio to focus on the healthcare and enterprise AI segments, where demand has accelerated for advanced conversational AI and ambient solutions,” said Mark Benjamin, CEO of Nuance. “To seize this opportunity, we need the right platform to bring focus and global scale to our customers and partners to enable more personal, affordable and effective connections with people and care. The way forward is clearly with Microsoft – delivering smart cloud services at scale and sharing our passion for the ways technology can make a difference. At the same time, this combination offers a crucial opportunity to deliver significant and sure value to our shareholders who have motivated and supported us on this journey. For more details, see this press release.
Huawei is to focus on software developments and technologies for “smart vehicles” and to focus its investments on “businesses that are less dependent on advanced process techniques,” said Eric Xu, Huawei’s current “rotary” president at the Chinese supplier’s annual analyst summit. Essentially, that’s another way of saying that U.S. trade sanctions have destabilized its current smartphone and network infrastructure business lines and that it now needs to focus on areas that don’t rely on chipsets and the like. components developed by US companies: note, however, that 5G and “5.5G” (whatever the case) still feature prominently in his plans, so he is by no means abandoning the network industry. telecommunications. If this change of direction is bad news for Huawei – insofar as its business strategy as well as its revenue potential have been negatively impacted by developments beyond its control, namely the sanctions imposed and reinforced by the administrations successive American companies – this is also bad news for the many American companies that for years have been generating significant sales from Huawei (and others, including ZTE). Huawei will of course still need technology components for its lines of business in the years to come, but it will source them from non-U.S. Developers, increasing the competition that U.S. companies face in other parts of the world. world, especially in Asia. It is difficult to identify the winners from this scenario, but there is a good chance that the international role played by companies from Taiwan, Japan and India will only grow stronger for the remainder of this decade. , while the European bloc will also try to strengthen its role. as a more impactful global force. The shape of the tech industry is changing and this will disrupt the market for years to come.
Speaking of the European bloc… Five large French companies are collaborating to form the Software Republic, a “new ecosystem of innovation in intelligent mobility”. Atos, Dassault Systèmes, Renault group, STMicroelectronics and Thales will jointly develop and market systems and software based on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, connectivity, on-board electronics and virtual twin technology. Companies see this decision as “a matter of sovereignty” in a mobility market redefined by the disruption of “electric vehicles, new components, new after-sales services and other value-added services”. They note that “major industrial players on other continents, with the support of the State, are already positioning themselves to develop many of these new technologies thanks to reinforced integration strategies. Today, the founding members of Software République express the urgency for France and Europe to collectively build a sustainable ecosystem which aims to ensure their sovereignty in this area. Read more.
Giant African operator MTN values its mobile money business at $ 5 billion and could go public via an IPO if that’s the best way to “unlock value,” Bloomberg reports, citing MTN CEO Ralph Mupita. Airtel Africa recently attributed a valuation of $ 2.65 billion to its mobile money business, Airtel Mobile Commerce, by selling stakes to The Rise Fund and Mastercard.
Vodafone Deutschland claims it is the first operator in Germany to activate a 5G standalone network with a standalone 5G core platform from Ericsson. The operator claims that all base stations in its 5G 3.5 GHz network have been switched to stand-alone mode, supported by the “first 5G data center” based in Frankfurt am Main. Read more.
BT source, the name given to the new purchasing branch of BT, has signed a “ partnership ” agreement with Globality to leverage its intelligent AI-based sourcing platform and thus transform its procurement processes for services such as consulting, marketing, IT, human resources, legal, etc. According to Cyril Pourrat, Chief Procurement Officer of BT, “Having immediate access to our current suppliers and Globality’s diverse global network will bring agility and new value to our teams.” Find out more.
TIM (Telecom Italia) claims to have “bridged the digital divide” in the northeastern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which borders Austria and Slovenia, by providing broadband fiber optic coverage to 99% of homes connected to its fixed network. It is the second region to achieve such coverage, with Puglia (aka Puglia) having achieved status for the first time in February. For more details, see this TIM announcement.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of software users facial recognition to secure payments will exceed 1.4 billion worldwide by 2025, up from just 671 million in 2020. This rapid growth of 120% shows just how widespread facial recognition has become, fueled by its low barriers to entry, a front-facing camera and appropriate software, according to the study firm, which cited Apple’s implementation of FaceID as a market accelerator. Read more.
Polish mobile network software developer IS-Wireless is working with Affirmed Networks, Microsoft, IBM and Red Hat on plans to develop an Open RAN-based 5G network architecture for deployment in Poland in the second half of 2021, according to a report (in Polish) from Telko.in .
Canadian operator Telus turned to the French specialist in data network technologies Ekinops, which will supply its one-box-fits-all ONE2501 router for enterprises wishing to deploy a variety of virtualized applications, including SD-WAN. Read more.