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Remote working pushes digitization solutions forward in Japan

Inside Telecom Staff

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Remote working pushes digitization solutions forward in Japan

The shift to telework, video conferences, social distancing and reduction of high-density work settings, are all measures taken by companies to help mitigate the transmission of Coronavirus. This change in work life has also encouraged the digitization of businesses.

For many companies in Japan, work from home measures will stay in place for better operational efficiency. For example, Fujitsu Ltd. said it would split its office space over the next three years, encouraging the electronics maker’s 80,000 employees to work from home.

The companies that are also embracing change are the small- and mid-sized companies, which make up more than 90% of the nation’s enterprises.

“Many companies small and large have talked about digitization as being important, but put it off,” said Miku Hirano, Chief Executive Officer of Cinnamon Inc., a provider of AI-based business-solution services. “The pandemic is making them take up the mission.”

In addition, Japan’s government is also stepping up efforts to upgrade the digital infrastructure of ministries and public services next year. The unprecedented decline in economic activity has forced the country to prioritize the digital movement to enable more entrepreneurs and businesses to transition online. A McKinsey report states that the current challenges could “prove to be a catalyst for Japanese employers to automate their operations and retrain employees to deliver more value.” The reduction in the labor workforce has contributed to lower productivity levels thus automated procedures would enable companies to lower costs in the long-term and improve efficiency.

As for digital companies, the infrastructure is already in place to make quicker decisions to work remotely. Other industries such as real estate and retail have started to look for their own engineers to develop in-house software and systems to cope with the shift in consumer behavior and the new way of life.

We’re a diverse group of industry professionals from all corners of the world. Our desire is to provide a high-quality telecoms publication that caters to an international market, offering the latest and most relevant telecoms information to businesses, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

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ENISA: Human error is one of the major causes of security incidents

Ranine Awwad

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ENISA Human error is one of the major causes of security incidents

Human error means unintentional actions by users that cause, spread, or allow security issues to take place. Security incidents caused by human error have increased by 50% in the past year, according to a new report published by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) entitled “Telecom Services Security incidents-2019”. The report shows that system failures caused 479 million user hours lost. In addition, the third-party failures- system failures, human errors, natural phenomena, and malicious actions have tripled compared to 2018. Incidents that originated in the third-party were estimated by 31%.

As part of the EU’s telecom regulatory framework, (Article 13a of the Framework directive (2009/140/EC) each year, European countries report significant security incidents to the National Regulatory Authority (NRA). A summary of these incidents will be sent to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA). The report refers to a number of 153 incidents that were submitted by 26 EU Member States. These security breaches resulted in 988 million user hours lost in 2019.

Human errors, hardware failures, power cuts, software updates, cable cut, heavy winds, and policy flaws are the reasons behind major security incidents. The incidents caused by human errors increased from 18% in 2018 to 26% in 2019. Fixed telephony and the internet are the most affected by human errors with 50% and 45% respectively. It has been reported that security incidents caused by human errors have been increasing since 2012.

Moreover, the report states that three high-capacity optical fibers were cut due to road modernization, which caused “mobile internet and telephony and also fixed internet and telephony outages at a national level for three hours. The deployment of the 5G network is expected to bring more security layers. A study by Ericsson revealed that the automation of things and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence would reduce cybersecurity issues.

On the other hand, an analysis of data from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out by CybSafe states that human error is the main cause of 90% of cybersecurity breaches. The analysis reported that 9 out of 10 of the 2376 cyber-breaches were caused by end-users, according to the Cybersecurity Intelligence website.

The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) will come into effect across the EU Member States by the end of 2020. Article 40 of the EECC will give the security incidents reporting requirements a broader scope.

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Pushing application of AI technologies with open-source platforms

Karim Hussami

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Pushing application of AI technologies with open-source platforms

In the race for 5G, the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is widely recognized as an essential component in supporting development across industries.

AI is the capability of a computer or robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans. The reason why people are encouraged to adopt AI is the low error rate compared to humans, which has incredible precision, accuracy, and speed.

China has decided to launch an artificial intelligence open-source platform (dubbed ‘Dubhe’) for the development and study of AI algorithms, and to create an independent artificial research and industrial ecosystem. This computer software is released under a license in which the copyright holder gives users the rights to use, change, and distribute the software.

An example of this software or platform is Google Chrome which is a browser that serves as the platform for web applications. Most of Chrome’s source code comes from Google’s free and open-source software project Chromium, but Chrome is licensed as proprietary freeware.

Zhu Shiqiang, director of Zhejiang Lab in east China’s Zhejiang Province said: “We hope that we can gather together leading innovative forces in the industry to build a high-performance platform and framework for the development of artificial intelligence algorithms, and establish independent artificial research and industrial ecosystem.”

The lab covers major areas such as intelligent transport, intelligent finance, smart city, intelligent healthcare and robotics.

The size of China’s service robot market will reach 15.84 billion yuan in 2019, according to Analysys Mason research, while spending on robotics for healthcare providers in China was forecasted to reach around 4.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, according to Statista.

In addition, the ‘Dubhe’ platform that was jointly developed by Zhejiang Lab, Beijing Oneflow Technology, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, Zhejiang University and others, aims to become an industry leader by forging an artificial intelligence cooperation ecosystem.

“I hope that the Dubhe Artificial Intelligence Open Source Platform can push forward the application of AI technologies in different industries,” Pan Yunhe, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Chief Scientist in Artificial Intelligence at Zhejiang Lab.

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Ethio Telecom reports exceptional performance and $1.3 billion in revenue

Ranine Awwad

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Ethio Telecom reports exceptional performance and $1.3 billion in revenue

Ethiopianauthorities have been looking to liberalize the telecom market managed by Ethio Telecom for two decades. However, as of late, the company has registered significant achievements. Ethio Telecom announced earnings of $1.3 billion in the 2019/20 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2019, to June 30 2020.

During a press conference, Ethio Telecom’s Chief Executive Officer Frehiwot Tamiru said: “This is an outstanding performance”, according to the Reporter. She also added that due to the efforts that took place aiming to reduce tariffs and to control illegal telecom operators, the company generated $147.7 million from international services, states the same source. However, due to the pandemic, there was no demand for roaming.

The report states that Ethio Telecom has donated a significant amount to the nationwide effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The Ministry of Innovation has requested us $600,000 for the research and I am proud to announce that we have provided them with the first round of payment. I had a discussion with the minister recently and he told me that the research is bearing fruitful results and it is on the final stage, said Frehiwot Tamiru, according to The Reporter.

The Ethiopian government’s strict control over the Internet and mobile services has contributed to the Internet and phone shutdown over the past few years. However, during the pandemic, the company has provided free internet access aiming to secure the online learning experience. Previously, the Internet shutdown had cost the country an arm and a leg.

Ethiopia is the second most-populous African country after Nigeria. Ethio Telecom states that its number of subscribers has reached 46.2 million.

Inside Telecom has already reported on Ethiopia’s plans to liberalize the telecom sector. Two telecom licenses were set to be granted to foreign telecom investors aiming to increase competition. In May 2020, the Ethiopian government invited international telecom operators to buy a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom. On June 26, 2020, The Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority (ETA) announced it has received nine submissions from telecom operators and two from non-telecom operators. Both Safaricom and Vodacom have expressed interest in Africa’s largest telecom market. Reform in the telecom industry is crucial as competition allows Ethiopians to gain access to the best services.

China’s telecom giants Huawei and ZTE have been deploying telecom infrastructure in Ethiopia. China’s involvement in the Ethiopian telecom sector could have a serious impact on the country following US sanctions.

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