Microsoft’s 5G power move, the first Trump Twitter fact check and how stay-at-home orders lay bare the digital divide

05/28/2020 - Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.

Here’s the news that caught our attention this week:

Forbes: Microsoft’s One-Two 5G Telco Punch

There has been quite a lot of activity lately tied to the public cloud provider push into the telco space. Amazon Web Services launched its Wavelength initiative at the last re:Invent event in December to help operators “supercharge” 5G networks by placing compute and storage resources closer to the network edge. Google Cloud recently announced its telco strategy in March, which includes similar edge investments. Over the last several weeks, Microsoft snapped up two companies in its attempt to add telco-grade depth to its Azure cloud platform.

Why It Matters: The scale and speed that 5G offers is a transformational technology for many industries. Tech companies are stockpiling technology and expertise in anticipation. 5G will also accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence as it improves the ability to collect data from edge locations.

Tags: 5G, Telco, cloud, Amazon, AWS, Google, Microsoft, Azure, Affirmed Networks, Metaswitch Networks

NPR: Twitter Places Fact-Checking Warning On Trump Tweet For 1st Time

Twitter has placed a fact-checking warning on a tweet issued by President Trump in which he claims without evidence that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. Twitter’s move on Tuesday marks the first time the technology company has sanctioned Trump as criticism mounts about how the president has amplified misinformation to more than 80 million followers on the social media platform.

Why It Matters: The role social media and private sector technology companies play in upcoming elections could have widespread implications. How the president responds — e.g. by crafting an executive order aimed at tech companies — could have an eventual impact on the ability of social sites like Twitter to moderate their platforms.

Tags: Donald Trump, POTUS, Twitter, election

Smart Cities Dive: Stay-at-home orders shine light on ‘amplified’ digital divide

Just as the Great Depression highlighted a need for ubiquitous electricity, advocates are urging leaders to sieze COVID-19 as a turning point for ubiquitous internet. “These are not new problems, they are just amplified problems,” Katie Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor for North America at The Internet Society. “This has been an issue that we have talked about for a decade now, that there are communities that are being left behind. The disparity between those that are connected and under-connected is just so stark that we can’t ignore it anymore.”

Why It Matters: Due to COVID-19 there is more awareness on the digital divide. Students in urban areas are lacking internet and computers as educational institutions turn to virtual classrooms to complete the school year. However in rural areas, especially tribal communities, the need for internet is even greater not only for distance learning but for many other needs including tele-health.

Tags: digital divide, internet, virtual classrooms, rural America

Wall Street Journal: Amazon in Advanced Talks to Buy Self-Driving-Car Tech Company Zoox

Amazon.com Inc. is in advanced talks to buy Zoox Inc. in a move that would expand the e-commerce giant’s reach in autonomous-vehicle technology. The companies are discussing a deal that would value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion it achieved in a funding round in 2018, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why It Matters: While widespread consumer adoption of self-driving cars are, by most estimates, at least several years away, one of the early use cases that’s gaining momentum are self-driving freight trucks. Startup TuSimple has already partnered with the United States Postal Service and also began partnering with UPS last year in Arizona. Retailers and logistics companies will continue to reinvent themselves to ensure profitability and long-term growth.

Tags: Amazon, Zoox, autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars

Network World: Enterprises look to SASE to bolster security for remote workers

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated some companies’ plans to adopt secure access service edge (SASE). Last summer, Gartner estimated SASE adoption at less than 1% of enterprises and said it would take five to 10 years before the technology reaches mainstream. But today, SASE is one of the main topics of client interest, according to Gartner analyst John Wheeler.

Why It Matters: The surge in teleworkers due to COVID-19 has led more organizations to embrace telework as a long-term strategy. With more data being generated at the edge and employees working remotely, many organizations are rethinking its cybersecurity strategies.

Tags: SASE, Gartner, John Wheeler, cybersecurity, COVID-19, Coronavirus