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While some service providers are taking an Apple-like approach to virtualized networks and services, Verizon is firmly ensconced in the Android camp. Because of variations in their networks, service providers can take different pathways on the road to virtualization and hybrid networks as well as for how they offer their customers new services and applications, but Verizon's Shawn Hakl said two primary models have emerged. - The European Telecommunications Standards Group (ETSI) released the latest version of its Open Source MANO (OSM) code this week, which featured several enhancements and improvements. ETSI said the fourth release of OSM was the most ambitious to date and represented the biggest jump forward in terms of functionality, user experience and maturity. - While SDN is no spring chicken, enterprises are starting to see its value, according to a survey commissioned by Verizon. In the study conducted by Longitude, 15% of the companies were piloting or using software-defined technologies. - In an effort that puts all of its AI assets into one basket, Qualcomm Technologies Thursday announced the formation of a new research organization. The Qualcomm AI Research division is a cross-functional, cooperative effort that encompasses all of the artificial intelligence (AI) research that is taking place across the company. - Led by infusions from heavyweight customers AT&T and Verizon, Lumina Networks announced today it has raised $10 million in series A financing. The first round of funding, which also included Rahi Systems, will allow Lumina Networks to further productize its OpenDaylight-based offerings as well as expand into new regions, such as Japan and Europe, according to Andrew Coward, founder and CEO of Lumina Networks. - Despite their dominance, Amazon and Google aren't sitting on their hands this year when it comes to capex spending, according to recent research. Amazon is planning on spending $28 billion on capex this year, according to research by Jefferies, plus another $26 billion for research and development. - Red Hat launched a new hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform for telcos and enterprises that combines OpenStack compute with its Ceph storage. Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Cloud is an open, integrated platform for customers seeking to co-locate compute and storage functions in OpenStack environments. - CableLabs is moving forward with several projects that were designed to create frameworks or use cases for virtualization. While telcos, such as AT&T and Orange Group, have moved publicly and openly down the virtualization racetrack, the cable industry has been a little slower out of the starting blocks due to variations across MSOs' networks. - Mirantis is changing how it deals with virtual network functions (VNF), creating a more individualized validation program that consists of a three-way effort between Mirantis, telco customers and vendors. - Verizon has orchestration in place across its network to support various delivery models and services as it continues to build out closed-loop automation. In an interview with FierceTelecom, Verizon's Shawn Hakl, senior vice president, business products, and Vicki Lonker, vice president, network and security product management, spoke about the importance of automation across the telco's network and service chains. - Working in tandem with SK Telecom, Intel and the OpenStack Foundation, AT&T said it was launching a new open infrastructure project called Airship. AT&T's Amy Wheelus, vice president of cloud and domain 2.0 platform integration, wrote in a company blog that Airship lets "cloud operators manage sites at every stage from creation through minor and major updates, including configuration changes and OpenStack upgrades." - With dwindling subscribers, increasing competition and, maybe, shorter attention spans, operators' top concern is providing a better customer experience. IHS Markit found that 75% of service providers surveyed for a new report made enhancing the customer experience their top digital transformation project, with automation and cloudification landing well behind. - For the past eight years, telcos have tapped into Flytxt's automation and machine-learning software to increase customer satisfaction and profits. Flytxt leverages machine-learning software to create improved marketing opportunities for telcos. - Japan-based mobile operator SoftBank improved its radio access design in the Tokai region by using a network automation service from Ericsson. Ericsson's elastic radio access (RAN) design uses machine learning and big data analytics to enable automation. - In order to beef up its machine-learning roster, Oracle announced that it has inked an agreement to buy DataScience.com, which centralizes data science tools, projects and infrastructure on its platform. - While communications service providers (CSPs) realize the importance of implementing digital transformation strategies via partner ecosystems, the follow-through has largely been lacking. A study by BearingPoint says that while 69% of respondents rated digital transformation as their top priority, just 26% were actually engaged in implementing the new business models and digital offerings. - HPE announced Tuesday that it's acquiring Plexxi in a bid to boost its software-defined portfolio for hybrid cloud infrastructure. HPE's plan is to integrate Plexxi's technology, which is based on applications instead of infrastructure, with its software-defined compute and storage capabilities. - Carriers can tap into significant cost savings by creating local breakouts that offload traffic through multiaccess edge computing (MEC). A study released today found that U.S. mobile carriers could reap savings of more than $546 million over a five-year period by employing white box routing to offload 32% of their video traffic. - Verizon announced today that it was going with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred public cloud provider. The telco said it planned on moving 1,000 business applications and database systems over to AWS, several of which include the migration of production databases to Amazon Aurora. - Adtran has taken a leadership role in the development of the Broadband Forum's new application-level testing initiative. Application-level testing allows service providers, vendors and testing labs to create a reference implementation that allows them to conduct lab-based testing for the verification of the performances for various applications. - If you're looking at reasons for BT's news this week that it was slashing its workforce by 13,000 jobs, start with company culture and vision. During a full-year earnings report on Thursday, BT Group announced it was cutting 13,000 back-office and middle-management jobs over the next three years as it attempts to transform itself into a leaner, more-efficient telco. - There's a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence being a game-changer for the telecom industry, but machine learning is paving the way in the short term. BT's Neil McRae, chief architect, said there are elements of artificial intelligence in today's machine learning, and that machine learning could enable more, and deeper, automation in networks. - While CenturyLink's SD-WAN revenue increased by 45% in the first quarter, MPLS remained a much bigger cash cow. During yesterday's first-quarter earnings report, CFO Sunit Patel outlined the growth rates for both software defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). - Commercial servers based on Intel processors continue to dominate the more than $7 billion market opportunity, but communications service providers now can choose from many different platforms designed for the central office, the edge and for virtualized radio access as they upgrade to 5G. As with any technology, where these servers are placed in the network is key. - The Sphere is using blockchain to tackle commercial inefficiencies, operational challenges and financial threats across the telecom industry. The Dublin-based company has spent the past two years honing the creation of a global ecosystem that helps carriers, enterprises and large retailers keep track of their transactions by offering secure interconnections. -

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