Alibaba Group Holding Limited laid out its development roadmap for frontier technologies, including quantum computing and AI chips, on the opening day of The Cloud Computing Conference 2018. The conference, which is being attended by technology leaders, experts and industry luminaries, is scheduled for four days through September 22 at Alibaba’s home base of Hangzhou.
Alibaba DAMO Academy (“Academy”), a global initiative by Alibaba to lead technology and science research, unveiled plans to develop disruptive technologies over the next five years. The technologies are developed to support the firm’s rapidly growing cloud and IoT businesses, as well as to explore new commercial applications in various industries – from logistics, materials to pharmaceuticals – that require greater computing power to achieve technology breakthrough:
- Quantum Computing:The Academy has embarked on developing its own quantum processors. The Hangzhou-based quantum hardware team is developing high-precision, multiple-qubit superconducting quantum processors. In the meantime, the Academy will continue its efforts in driving quantum development. This includes building cloud-accessed,quantum-classical heterogenous systems for delivering quantum computing power as a utility, and searching for super-fast quantum-classical hybrid algorithms to solve fundamental problems in machine learning, optimization, and physics simulations. The expansion to hardware reflects the Academy’s conviction that the co-development of hardware and application will expedite the realization of quantum computing’s revolutionary potentials.
In addition, the Academy will endeavor to nurture and expand its network of partnerships to explore quantum-enhanced solutions for a diverse range of industries including e-commerce, logistics, finance, materials and pharmaceuticals. Based on the technologies developed, commercial products will be gradually introduced to bring value to Alibaba’s customers.
- Chip Technology:The Academy plans to launch its first self-developed AI inference chip —“AliNPU” — in the second half year of 2019, which has potential for use in autonomous driving, smart cities and smart logistics. In addition to this, the Academy will boost its R&D in AI chips for training on the cloud and for IOT applications. The goal is to build a robust, cloud-based IoT infrastructure, providing computational power for the company’s data centers, as well as advancing IoT businesses ranging from smart homes to smart logistics.
During the conference, Alibaba also announced the establishment of a chip company, a subsidiary under Alibaba Group that will focus on customized AI chips and embedded processors to further support Alibaba’s growing cloud and IoT businesses as well as to provide intelligent solutions for different industries.
“Alibaba has been a leading technology innovator in cloud computing and artificial intelligence since we announced our determination to transform into a technology powerhouse two years ago,” said Jeff Zhang, Chief Technology Officer of Alibaba Group. “The establishment of Alibaba DAMO Academy and its achievements over the past year underlies our strong commitment to technology leadership. Moving ahead, we are confident that our advantages in algorithm, data intelligence, computing power and domain knowledge on the back of Alibaba’s diverse ecosystem will put us at a unique position to lead real technology breakthroughs in disruptive areas, such as quantum and chip technology.”
Alibaba DAMO Academy has over 300 researchers worldwide since its launch, focusing on five major areas including machine intelligence, robotics, fintech, data computing and quantum computing. Global partners of the Academy include renowned academic institutes such as University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University and The Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In the past year, the Academy released Taizhang, a quantum-circuit simulator leveraging Alibaba’s powerful classical computing infrastructure, which has successfully simulated a significantly more complicated family of quantum circuits than previously achieved. The milestone was an important step in the field and has raised new discussions around the boundaries of “quantum supremacy”, where a quantum-computing device may be considered exceeding the capability of all classical computers. An extended version of Taizhang will soon be released as a tool for both hardware and application development.
The Academy also programmed an ultra-low latency and high performance DLP (deep learning processor) on FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array), as an effort to balance the low latency and high performance requirements for tasks such as image recognition and analysis.
Alibaba also announced “Alibaba Global Mathematics Competition”, a global math competition to discover and nurture next-generation math geniuses and raise awareness about the importance of this critical subject. Leading mathematicians, including Yurii Nesterov, Professor at Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; Frank Kelly, Professor at University of Cambridge; Gang Tian, Distinguished Professor at Peking University; Jianshu Li, Chair Professor at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and Yitang Zhang, Professor at University of California, Santa Barbara will mentor select students from the competition. In addition, the Academy offered nine excellent young science researchers with “2018 DAMO Academy Young Fellow” award during the conference.
Tata Tele business service hosts a Successful discussion with CXOs for resilience & business growth in Post COVID world
Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), hosted CXO Round Table Discussion with industry leaders on building a new mindset for business resilience and growth. The discussion centered around Respond, Reboot and Reinvent as key imperatives; with large Enterprises reinventing their business models as they continue to respond effectively to the aftershocks of the crisis.
While the potential requirement for many organizations is to build digital competency, the larger goal is to be data-driven and leveraging the cloud capabilities. Moreover, witnessing variable cost structures, agile operations, and automation which could create stronger capabilities with digital presence and security.
According to an IDC report, ‘By 2022, 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.’
Industry representatives such asUpkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd., Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan, Yogesh Kothari – Sr. Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions shared their expertise upon business agility, examples from their professional career and how they are successfully driving the digital transformation journey for their organization.
Addressing the session, Mr. Shibhu Davies, Sales Head – North and East, Tata Communications Ltd. said, “There is a plethora of technology available in the market, understanding the most suitable one for a particular business is the key factor. To thrive in the next normal, companies must be data driven to make critical and timely decisions. While there is an uptick in the businesses investing in data and nimble technologies like cloud and AI, many are still struggling to maintain momentum. Businesses need to get out of cultural obstacles, address data privacy and governance challenges to enhance their degree of business transformation.”
Elaborating further on increasing adoption of Cloud communication, Mr. Shibhu Davies explained, “Cloud Communication suite like Smartflo being offered by Tata Teleservices are inherently designed for a digital or hybrid environment and is well-equipped to deal with the growing overlap between digital technology and enterprise operations. Besides enhanced efficiency and operational flexibility, it offers more robust security to your business with a pre-configured unified threat management system.”
Mr. Upkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd said “Covid has created an unprecedented impact across all regions – organizations that are flexible both from technology and operational perspective have been able to RESPOND in time, REBOOT their functions and are now REINVENTING result oriented approach”
Mr. Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan said, “During times of catastrophes, leadership plays a very important role in adoption to change. Composure, calmness, honoring and supporting every internal and external stakeholder through thick and thin helps revive business and defines leadership by example.”
Mr. Yogesh Kothari – Sr Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions said, “Challenges that enterprises are facing in the current times is resistance to change. There is a lack of vision for creating a digital journey for the customer and technology know how for their business”
Highlights of discussion:
Challenges in Technology Adoption
The key challenges faced by enterprises for adopting new technologies extend both towards the changing customer experience along with employee pushback. Merely purchasing and implementing a solution in response to a localized issue does not equate to technology adoption and agility. Organizations are considering two key points, recognizing and responding to the shifting trends in consumer behavior and avoiding the initiatives that target specific issues.
The post-covid world has led to unexpectedly increased customer readiness towards trying new channels for interacting with businesses.
Organizations adopting to technology, lead to driving changes strategically through an ongoing process where being receptive to changing consumer trends helps in the formulation of effective roadmaps. These roadmaps can then be used to build better value propositions by leveraging the right technological advancements, leading to business growth and benefits.
Role of Leadership In Bringing Organizational Change
Leadership plays a very critical role while dealing with catastrophes. From healthcare solutions to virtual classrooms, from facilitating remote work and learning, from re-imagining online business models and digital revenue lines, to stepping up the cyber security, organizations are working on new challenges.
The pandemic has accelerated transformation multifariously for businesses in India. Organizations are re-imagining their business models, relooking at talent management strategies, and fast-tracking digitalization efforts to be more resilient to disruption.
Organizations are simplifying and enhancing their IT landscape, architecting systems for integration, balancing operational and capital expenses using the cloud. Investments are being made towards intelligent systems that provide incremental learning abilities.
Technology Investments for a Digital Future
Over the last couple of months, it has become increasingly evident that digital adoption is not negotiable. Having the right technology to power up digital strategies is fundamental in today’s business world. It is a business requirement without which organizations are not able to grow in a rapidly evolving market landscape.
A good business continuity solution that delivers digital workspaces to access critical applications, have accelerated the performance of organizational applications on remote connections. With right platform and solutions clubbed with excessive trainings, organizations have managed to continue with their operations without major loss in productivity or efficiency.
Digital technologies have caused a shift in customer expectations, resulting in a new kind of modern buyer. Today’s consumers are constantly connected and aware of what they can do with technology. Bringing the employees up to speed to cater to the new age customers has been one of the key form of investments for various organizations.
Respond, Reboot and Reinvent – The New Mindset for Growth
Organizations have taken immediate actions focused on keeping people safe and essential business functions operating. This has been relatively marked with high effort and possibly chaotic activity.
Organizations are adopting to the wholistic approach, recognizing evolving customer demand, channels of information consumption, building continued incremental intelligence including technology that provides agility. Agile decision making and strategy setting by enterprises have outsized performance and established a lead over the competition that sustains long after the initial disruption. By reinventing themselves, organizations have learnt to conduct operational processes and workflows in new, repeatable, and scalable ways.
- Gaining New perspectives, relooking at business models and embracing new models of harnessing technology have become business priorities.
- Reinvent on an ongoing basis to build an agile, adaptive & resilient enterprise for a sustainable future.
- Uninterrupted connectivity between all stakeholders, internally within employees and externally with customers and vendors across platforms and touch points is of critical importance.
Bharti Airtel Announces 5G Ready Network
In a major landmark, Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) announced that it has become the country’s first telco to successfully demonstrate & orchestrate LIVE 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city.
Airtel did this over its existing liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology. Using a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing, Airtel seamlessly operated 5G and 4G concurrently within the same spectrum block. This demonstration has emphatically validated the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains – Radio, Core and Transport.
Airtel 5G is capable of delivering 10x speeds, 10x latency and 100x concurrency when compared to existing technologies. Specifically, in Hyderabad, users were able to download a full length movie in a matter of seconds on a 5G phone. This demonstration has underlined the company’s technology capabilities. The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to our customers, when adequate spectrum is available and government approvals received.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel said: “I am very proud of our engineers who have worked tirelessly to showcase this incredible capability in Tech City, Hyderabad today. Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere.”
“We believe India has the potential to become a global hub for 5G innovation. To make that happen we need the eco system to come together – applications, devices and network innovation. We are more than ready to do our bit.” added Gopal Vittal.
Airtel Xstream Fiber Rolls Out Gigabit Wi-Fi Experience
Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has kicked off the New Year with some exciting news for customers with the launch of hyper-fast Wi-Fi experience.
Airtel Xstream Fiber customers can now enjoy 1 Gbps data speeds over Wi-Fi and no longer have to be constrained by a dedicated LAN cable. The Airtel Xstream Fiber Rs 3999 plan now comes with a complimentary 1 Gbps Wi-Fi router to go with unlimited data quota and massive bundled content.
The highly advanced 4×4 Wi-Fi router, will enable seamless 1 Gbps Wi-Fi coverage across Homes and Small Offices. This will unlock a great experience for online gaming and animation and for work or study from home with large number of concurrently connected devices. Small Offices will be able to deploy multiple high speed connections for applications such as stock trading and online collaboration that requires reliable high speed connectivity with zero downtime.
Says Vir Inder Nath, CEO – Homes, Bharti Airtel: “Reliable high speed connectivity is a lifeline in today’s digital first world and Airtel is proud to be at the forefront of India’s broadband revolution. A key ask from our customers was liberation from the LAN cable to enjoy the 1Gbps experience and we are delighted to make that happen.”
Airtel Xstream Fiber’s 1 Gbps broadband plan at Rs 3999 also comes with a complimentary Airtel Xstream Box that offers 550 TV channels and OTT content from the Airtel Xstream app library that includes over 10,000 movies & shows aggregated across 7 OTT apps and 5 studios. It offers subscription to premier video streaming apps such as Amazon Prime Video and ZEE5, all accessible through the Airtel Xstream Box.
Airtel is India’s largest private sector broadband service provider with presence in over 150 cities.
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