There is a tendency among industry commentators to treat new technologies as a done deal. You hear this when you listen to talk about the advantages of edge computing, the metaverse, advanced AI and machine learning. Despite that, it's clear that many organizations are still struggling to deploy these newer technologies.

The common problem is data, and how to get data from the repositories where it is stored to the apps and platforms where it can be applied for business use. For example, building virtual environments around VR requires enormous amounts of data and a network that can carry it, notably 5G, which is only really being developed now. This is having a major impact on the digital workplace and the development of hybrid workplace strategies.

As expected, there were a number of announcements this week from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that address the data problem.

The effect of bandwidth, 5G and data transfers on new technologies and the workplace is something San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has been researching for the past few months. At Mobile World, the company published the results of the Broadband Index survey, which is based on a survey 60,000 workers across 30 markets. Among other things, the survey showed that:

  • 75% of workers think broadband services need to dramatically improve to enable them to work from anywhere, particularly from home.
  • More than half (58%) say they were unable to access critical services online, such as medical appointments and education during lockdown, due to unreliable internet.
  • Nearly half (48%) of the workforce now relies on their home internet to work from home or run their own business.  

To counter this, Cisco outlined more details about its private 5G platform, which the company claims will simplify rollout and management for end users and allow them to maximize existing investments in Wi-Fi. Cisco sees private 5G as a complement, not a replacement, for the investments businesses have made in Wi-Fi, Ethernet transport, and corresponding management systems.

The new offering will be built on Cisco’s mobile core technology and IoT portfolio – spanning IoT sensors and gateways, device management software, as well as monitoring tools and dashboards. There are some notable advantages to what Cisco is offering. It is delivered as-a-Service in partnership with global service providers and system integration partners. It complements existing Wi-Fi and integrates with enterprise systems, including existing and future Wi-Fi versions, and offers visibility across the network and devices via a management portal.

Cisco has also updated its IoT Control Center, which manages nearly 200 million devices globally, in a bid to simplify how operators manage and control IoT devices spanning multiple connectivity architectures and network requirements based on functions.

The bottom line: Many organizations are planning to deploy new technologies to speed up and enable their workplaces, but without the infrastructure none of it will be possible, let alone effective. Cisco is leaning into this problem at a formidable pace, and while companies like Meta, Microsoft and Google talk about developing the technology without companies like Cisco, none of it is going to happen.

It Takes 2 to Make 5G Right: Microsoft and Qualcomm Partner Up

Cisco is not the only big tech company exploring the possibilities of 5G. At Mobile World Congress, San Diego-based Qualcomm Technologies also announced new 5G developments in partnership with Microsoft to provide organizations with a chip-to-cloud solution for private enterprise networking. These new networks are designed to solve the technology adoption problem for enterprises looking to implement private 5G networks on a global scale.

Chip-to-cloud solutions describes technology that is built on chips that remain connected to the enterprise cloud, and are designed to protect IoT and other networks that enable distributed computing. According to the company, the new collaboration combines Qualcomm 5G technology and hardware with Azure private multi-access edge computing, including Azure Private 5G Core.

These 5G solutions are intended to reduce adoption costs, offer industrial device and RAN hardware choices, and speed up deployment for operators and their enterprise customers. RAN (Radio Access Network) hardware includes antennas, radio units and baseband units, and RAN software includes network functions that handle data transmission, quality of service, signal handover, and management and orchestration.

The driving force behind these offerings is the need for critical connectivity infrastructure that enables digital transformation and adoption of the cutting-edge technologies many organizations are looking to deploy. Business applications include robotics and manufacturing, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

As it stands now, private mobile network solutions can take several months to deploy. With this end-to-end offering, the idea is the timeline will become substantially shorter and it will be easier for businesses and entities to adopt private 5G enterprise networking. It will also bypass the challenges and costs incurred for vendor selection, integration, management, performance monitoring and scaling.

It is clear from this partnership and from the announcements by Cisco and other vendors at Mobile World Congress that the race is on to dominate the private 5G market as organizations look to build private networks to enable new kinds of computing and technologies. It is also an emerging market that continues to develop as organizations navigate the digital transformation barrier, and push forward with data-driven technologies that require these kinds of networks to make them work.

Dubber Offers Microsoft Teams Video Recording

Here's one final word from Mobile World Congress this week from Dubber, which develops unified communications and conversational intelligence. The Australia-based company announced it is now offering the ability to capture video recordings and use advanced recording controls in Microsoft Teams.

Dubber video recording for Teams delivers recording capabilities on a single platform, real-time search, keyword analytics and AI-enriched insights. It is also offering the ability to pause and resume recordings, record on demand, and selectively manage which types of calls or meetings are recorded. The release is driven by the fact that, according to Dubber, default and basic recording solutions fail to meet enterprise-grade requirements for security, compliance and data sovereignty.

Learning Opportunities

Dubber's new features include:

  • Video call recording: The ability to capture all video calls, meetings and voice recording on Microsoft Teams in Dubber's Voice Intelligence Cloud.
  • AI-powered video: Enriched video recordings that offer intelligent keyword search, transcriptions, analytics, sentiment and tone analysis and real-time notification and alerts.
  • On-demand recording: When a call/meeting begins, it gets recorded only when the user presses the "record" button in Dubber's app.

According to the company, Dubber is experiencing significant demand from service and solution providers looking to differentiate their Microsoft Teams operator offerings. A report by the Cavell Group highlighted that as the traditional service provider model transforms, it is vital for providers to find new revenue streams, services and solutions to offer to end customers.

OpenText and Google Partnership to Explore Workspace Integration

In other news, Canada-based OpenText announced that it is deepening its partnership with Google Cloud by launching its OpenText Core Content as a service on Google Cloud. This will enable customers to deploy OpenText's enterprise productivity suite on a global infrastructure.

According to the companies, OpenText and Google Cloud will partner to deliver new capabilities to users using Google Cloud capabilities in secure software supply chains. It will also offer site reliability engineering (SRE) toolsets and DevOps best practices for delivering a cloud-native productivity platform with low latency and secure access for distributed teams. Site reliability engineering (SRE) is a set of principles and practices that incorporates aspects of software engineering and applies them to infrastructure and operations problems to create scalable and reliable software systems.

On the back of this multi-year partnership, OpenText and Google Cloud will also explore new functionalities and integrations to improve productivity for distributed and hybrid teams, including integrations between OpenText and Google Workspace. The goal is to enable streamlined and secure access to data across organizations, and deliver improved, cloud-based content services for enterprise customers. 

TikTok Extends Video Time Limits

Finally this week, there's more news on the video front. If you think about enterprise video, more likely than not you are going to think of Kaltura, Microsoft or one of the other platforms serving the market at the moment. You might think of YouTube or even Meta (when Facebook is used as a business tool) but you probably don’t think about TikTok for business, at least not yet.

While much of what appears on TikTok is consumer-oriented, that may be about to change as the Chinese company with its US headquarters in Culver City, Calif. has announced it is extending the length of videos users post on the network from three minutes to 10 minutes.

Some companies are already using it as part of their digital marketing strategy, but the 3-minute limit has been a barrier. That limit has been a major issue for TikTok since the beginning. In fact, the 3-minute limit was only introduced last year as a boost to the original 60 seconds. It now looks like TikTok is trying to expand its market reach by moving away from three minutes and moving to the more enterprise-friendly 10 minutes.

There are lots of reasons why TikTok would do this. It needs to build new audiences to grow. It will appeal to a wider and older demographic. It will attract business users. It also has the potential to attract more creators, including ones that have been primarily been using YouTube.

If you think TiKTok is not for business, you only need to go back to 2020 when it introduced a new brand and platform called TikTok For Business that serves as the home for all its marketing solutions. How the new video format will be used and in what context remains to be seen, but it will give YouTube something to think about.

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