This Week In Tech And Telco: Facebook Announces Libra

Welcome back to our weekly round-up of tech and telco news. What have you found most interesting this week? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line on social media.

This Week In Tech And Telco will be taking next week off, but don’t worry, it’ll be back on the 5th for the first round-up of July. Don’t forget to sign up to the blog so you’ll know when our next piece of quality content is out.

Libra: Facebook launches cryptocurrency

While there’s no chance you could have missed this one, it’s such a big story that we couldn’t not mention it! (Double negative, forgive me!)

Facebook has announced it will launch a cryptocurrency, named Libra, which allows its users to make cross-border transactions in a quick and cheap way.

Libra is being marketed as a way to connect those who don’t have access to a traditional bank–you won’t need a fixed address to send money and use the crypto wallet, for example.

However, cryptocurrency was developed to re-democratize finance–it removes the need for a central authority through its distributed network of computer 'hosts', while providing an immutable and transparent record of all transactions.

Facebook’s decision to explore this market thus feels counterintuitive, but Libra already has buy-in from companies including Mastercard, PayPal, the crypto exchange Coinbase, and eBay.

It could, therefore, be a financial game changer. But the currency will face close scrutiny as Facebook continues to deal with a series of privacy scandals. In the past, the social network has dabbled in finance but projects saw low adoption rates.

Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, explained by The Wall Street Journal

Waymo forges self-driving alliance with Renault and Nissan

Waymo, the self-driving vehicle arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced it is forming a self-driving alliance with Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.

Together, the companies will "explore driverless mobility services for passengers and deliveries in France and Japan".

There are no clear plans outlined in the press release, meaning we’ll unlikely see a replica of deals with other manufacturers such as delivery services or autonomous taxis. Instead, the group will “explore driverless mobility services for passengers and deliveries”.

It will also research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in France and Japan.

Driverless cars are the next step for telco
Photographer: Samuele Errico Piccarini | Source: Unsplash

Huawei delays folding phone launch

Following last week’s news that AT&T is canceling preorders of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei has also announced a delay to its own folding device.

The Mate X will instead launch in September, with the Chinese company hoping to prepare for and avoid the kind of hardware failures that hindered Samsung’s review samples.

Although Huawei is confident it can deliver the tech, others speculate the delay is actually linked to a US ban which prevents American suppliers from selling to the company.

As a result, they are preparing for a significant drop–of around 40 to 60%–in international smartphone shipments, but are combatting the loss by ramping up efforts for a majority market share in China.

Openreach warns of the implications of Brexit on FTTP deployment

Openreach–the infrastructure provider that connects the UK–has warned against the implications of Brexit.

CEO Clive Selley highlighted expected restricted access to a wider labor pool, which will likely slow down Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) deployment.

On the second day of Connected Britain 2019, Selley also revealed that Openreach has a strategy in place to avoid a potential skills shortage.

Amid such fears, he said: “This is one of the reasons why we are doing more hiring into Openreach rather than building a strategy that is completely reliant on third parties that often use European labor.

“So, I’m a little bit concerned at the industry level about access to large enough labor pool for very high scale FTTP deployment and we just need to all acknowledge that FTTP deployment is quite a labor-intensive business.”

Fiber-to-the-Premise rollout could be impacted by Brexit

Need more brain juice?

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) pushing toward AI-powered edge solutions to help companies adapt to changes in real time by leveraging network telemetry. Aruba Central is being positioned as a cloud-based platform for integrating network management, AI-powered analytics, user-centric service assurance, and security for wired, wireless and WAN at the edge. (Converge!)
  • Are you a Firefox user? If so, you need to update it right now. Otherwise, you’re at risk of a critical security vulnerability that allows malicious sites to remotely execute code. (The Verge)
  • DediPath, a provider of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), will anchor the expansion by selecting INAP as their primary provider of data center solutions in the L.A. market. INAP’s expansion more than doubles the L.A. facility’s previous power capacity and adds 12,000 square feet of sellable space. (Telecom Ramblings)
  • Shares of the workplace messaging company Slack shot up to $38.50 on the first day of trading, up from its reference price of $26. That brought Slack’s valuation to $23 billion. (New York Times)
  • Could Apple move its production out of China? Though the move has been expected for a while, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, Apple is considering moving 15-30% of its production capacity out of China. (Telecoms)
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