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Facebook, Slack and Google Add to Their Collaboration Platforms

Carl Weinschenk

In general, collaborative tools are growing more sophisticated. This was a big week for this evolution.

Facebook, Slack and Google all enhanced their platforms. Facebook launched a standalone desktop app for Workplace Chat, its enterprise messaging app, according to Computerworld. Facebook said that more than 30,000 organizations are using Workplace, which is more than double the 14,000 the company said were using it in April.

The second announcement was from Slack. Computerworld says that the company has introduced interactive screen sharing. Screen sharing has been available in Slack since May. The new interactive functionality allows users to share control. The feature is available to paid subscribers using Windows or MacOS.

Finally, Google will make it possible to integrate third-party apps into Gmail. The company sees Gmail as being a central hub directly supporting Asana, Trello, Smartsheet, DialPad, DocuSign, Hire, Intuit QuickBooks Invoicing, ProsperWorks, RingCentral, Streak and Wrike.


Throughput Not the Best Metric

The ultimate metric for Wi-Fi is throughput. After all, the speed with which data is traveling seems to be the best way of measuring how good the service is performing.

GT Hill, a Wi-Fi researcher, doesn't think this is so. This test “generates a single data point under a specific scenario in a highly dynamic environment,” he writes at Network World. That, he suggests, falls short of what is needed. Instead, there must be stress and a real-world dynamic:

This means multiple clients connected and sending data through multiple APs. This is rarely (read: never) done as a post installation check because it’s too difficult, time consuming and cumbersome.

The best way to evaluate equipment and network design and find problems is to test on a working networks with a full load. Siphoning off data to the cloud for these measurements is an emerging approach to conducting these tests.

Verizon, Vodafone: Reduce NG-PON2 Costs

It’s interesting to talk about telecom platforms from a purely technical point of view. The reality is, however, that cost is as much a driver as bits per second and latency in buying decisions. It’s certainly a concern of Verizon and Vodafone, two carriers that used Broadband World Forum 2017 to ask vendors to cut costs on Next Generation-Passive Optical Network 2 (NG-PON2) equipment.

The report at Light Reading says that the telcos are not backing away from the standard, though they are not happy. However, “they continue to complain about the cost of the optical equipment being designed for NG-PON2 networks.”

The crux of the cost challenge is that NG-PON2 uses tunable optical transceivers. The major alternative, XGS-PON, uses less expensive fixed optics. The problem is that at low volume, NG-PON2 transceivers are too expensive.

AI Continues Fast Evolution

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) so far is just the beginning, according to a report at eWeek on the Constellation Research Connected Enterprise conference held this week in Half Moon Bay, California.

The story offers many examples of uses of AI. They are increasing efficiency, making businesses run smoother and even – in the case of disaster recovery – protecting lives and property. A subtext of the piece, though, is that the sophistication and capabilities of these platforms is growing at an exponential rate.

The underlying question really is what happens when these platforms gain the ability to operate without human input. That important issue is broached near the end of the piece in a comment by Frederic Laluyaux, president and CEO of Aera Technology, which is developing a “self-driving enterprise” that would automate many decisions:

But Laluyaux said the near term goal is to have the system be able to learn how decisions are made within the organization and take certain actions on its own or simply offer managers suggested actions. As for full autonomy where an AI system literally makes all if not most of the decisions?

At least for now, Laluyaux said, the technology is not capable of such autonomy.

U.S. Cellular/Ericsson Field Tests: 5G Is Fast

U.S. Cellular, the fifth largest cellular company in the United States, along with Ericsson, have reported results of their recently concluded tests in Madison, Wisconsin, of 5G technology operating at 28 GHz. The peak throughput of the tests was 8.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps). Virtual reality (VR) tests achieved 4 Gbps.

The tests, which were conducted in a variety of real-world conditions, also focused on augmented reality (AR), advanced beamforming and multiple input multiple output (MIMO) technology. No specific results for those tests are in the press release.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 


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