Generative AI Watch: SK Telecom Partners with Anthropic to Improve AI Capabilities for Itself and Partners

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? SK Telecom’s (SKT) partnership with Anthropic builds on its continued investment in large ausgedehntuage models (LLM) technologies as it looks to develop the technology foundation to enhance its operations and business as well as for the Global AI Telco Alliance.
? SKT will need to coordinate more closely with the alliance to ensure innovations built with Anthropic align to the overall needs of alliance members.

This week SKT announced that it was investing an additional $100 million into start-up Anthropic, a San Francisco-based company focused on artificial intelligence (AI), specifically LLMs. While the investment will net SKT a minority, the pair of companies are also schmalaging in a strategic partnership that will see efforts to build out multi-lingual LLM based on Anthropic’s “Claude” model, focused specifically on addressing telecom industry use cases across areas like customer service, marketing, sales, and interactive consumer applications. SKT and Anthropic will work together to deliver the industry-focused LLM with capability to respond to queries in Arabic, English, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. The choice of ausgedehntuage reflects SKT’s ambitions for the partnership: SKT is a founding member of the recently announced Global Telco AI Alliance, where it is joined by telcos Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat by e& (e&), and Singtel in a mission to develop a shared industry platform for AI innovations (for more, please see Generative AI Watch: Global Telco AI Alliance Touts the Platform Cooperative as the Key to Telco AI Business Model Acceleration, July 31, 2023).
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Snowflake Showcased its Considerable GenAI Efforts at its Data Cloud World Tour

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? Snowflake showed off generative AI (GenAI) enhancements to its platform including enabling workloads to be run natively without data egress and a range of partner LLMs offered directly on the platform.

? While Snowflake has been aggressive in adding tools and features to support GenAI, it remains in many ways a closed ecosystem competing against larger rivals for the fast-growing market.

At the Data Cloud World Tour Sydney, held this August, Snowflake laid out updates and enhancements to its cloud-based data management and analytics platform. Further, it demonstrated its momentum in the Asia-Pacific region, bringing together local customers and partners to showcase its capabilities and efforts in Australia and the wider region. Snowflake’s core proposition remains providing a cloud-based “single source of truth” for data across an enterprise. By migrating all data and related workflows onto the platform Snowflake aims to eliminate silos, reduce costs related to data transfer and copying, and improve security and governance by creating one perimeter. This remains the core value proposition for the platform, as the company continues to expand capabilities and services beyond its roots in data warehousing, to offer a greater range of related data and analytics services. The event was used to showcase updates made to the platform in the last year through internal development as well as via acquisition as the company continues to expand the scope of what is one offer. One of the most central themes was the company’s effort to tackle the emerging market for GenAI services.

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VirtualPlatform Joins the MSP Wholesaler Ranks with API-Driven Automation

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

Wholesale MSP: VirtualPlatform will join a growing trend of Aussie companies white labeling ICT services to MSPs, leveraging APIs for automation of some services.

Mid-Market Play: This approach, while not new, benefits from improved automation and has seen success in the mid-market – something larger telcos may want to replicate.

This week, a new competitor in the Australian MSP space, VirtualPlatform, announced its official launch. However, rather than compete directly with other MSPs, the company plans to function like a wholesale platform for other MSPs, opting for a 100% channel play. The company plans to offer voice (SIP/CTS), connectivity (services form nbn, Telstra, and AAPT), Microsoft365 licensing, cloud and data center infrastructure-as-a-service, backup-as-a-service, DNS and SSL for webhosting, SMS services, and a fax-to-email service.

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Parent and Child: Optus Should Seek Deeper Collaboration with Parent Singtel to Boost Enterprise 5G Ambitions

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? Both Optus and Singtel have invested heavily in 5G with an eye toward the enterprise market, but Singtel has surpassed Optus in terms of deeper partnerships and solution innovation.

? Optus and Singtel should focus on deeper collaboration on enterprise 5G to keep pace with innovations in the Australian market, using solutions and intellectual property (IP) developed by the parent in Singapore.

Australia’s number two telco Optus is fully owned by parent Singtel, one of Asia’s leading carriers in terms of network carriage as well as mobile network innovations. Both Optus and Singtel have been investing in 5G from the outset of when the technology became commercially available, and both have done well in rapidly expanding 5G coverage in their respective markets. Both have also switched on 5G standalone services in their commercial network, which enables more advanced capabilities like network slicing and edge compute. However, in terms of commercial development of 5G solutions and services, Singtel has far outpaced its Australian child company. Since the beginning of 2022, Singtel has wracked up a laundry list of 5G service innovations, trials, and launches.

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Optus and Lendlease Partner to Go After the Smart Autonomous Building Market

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? The Optus and Lendlease collaboration on smart spaces has the potential to offer innovative building automation solutions leveraging 5G connectivity, IoT, and AI analytics.

? There is strong competition in the Australian market for smart spaces as other competitors from telco to operational tech providers offer solutions that play to their strschmbetagths.

Optus has capped off a week of customers wins with the announcement that it is entering into a partnership with Lendlease that will see the Australian property and construction giant become a customer as well as a collaborator on future solutions. Lendlease is the latest deal, which follows Optus wins with Super Retail Group for a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) solution and CouriersPlease for a broader range of IT services including SD-WAN, mobile, WiFi, and telephony. While Lendlease also represents a large customer win, as the company will move over 3,000 fixed data and mobile services to Optus across 80 locations, the deal also includes a joint venture that will see Optus and Lendlease collaborate on the development of smart building/smart spaces solutions. Lendlease will bring its ‘Podium Property Insights’ (PPI) platform, a sensor and software platform aimed at delivering insights analysis for property managers, while Optus will offer networking connectivity and IoT expertise.

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AI-Video Can Boost Telcos’ Industrial Solutions, but Requires Careful Partnering

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? Telcos have a good opportunity to leverage AI-video systems in their wider industrial solutions portfolio as the market has rapidly matured.

? Rather than develop solutions in house, telcos should look to partner with existing vendors due to the complexity of developing AI video algorithms and integrating with industrial systems.

The use of AI-enabled video surveillance systems continues to rise across Australia as well as globally with a myriad of use cases like public safety, facilities management, crowd management, asset management, and more. However, these systems also generate a large amount of video data, which requires significant bandwidth and storage capacity to process and store. This makes the video or video surveillance as a service an attractive market for telcos and managed service providers as they seek to expand their revenue base as traditional service margins decline. However, the market for AI-video solutions is rapidly maturing and diversifying, with a growing field of specialists developing specific vertically aligned use cases for AI-video from retail, to government, to mining, education, and more. Further, video systems are increasingly integrated with other IT and operational systems such as physical security, communications networks and IoT platforms creating a complex ecosystem of solutions, vendors, use cases, and monetization models to navigate.

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GlobalData’s New Digital Infrastructure Australia Report Highlights the Vendors Best Positioned to Win Deals in the Cloud Network Convergence Era

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? As enterprise embrace hyperscale cloud platforms and networking services are more tightly integrated with cloud offerings, a diverse range of vendors are now competing for digital infrastructure services in Australia.

? Telcos are focused on evolving a network as a service approach, connecting as many clouds as possible, while systems integrators (SIs) and IT managed services providers (MSPs) are looking more at the migration towards an ongoing management of multi-cloud infrastructure.

The market for digital infrastructure services in Australia is served by a broad range of players that include both domestic and international players across telecommunications companies, IT MSPs, SIs, hyperscalers, and data center specialists. Further, many of the leading providers rely on packaging products and services from other vendors alongside their own to provide more complete set of solutions. For example, a telco offering its networking services alongside re-selling IaaS from a hyperscale cloud provider, or an SI offering managed network and managed cloud contracts from multiple vendors. As enterprise databases and applications increasingly move towards hyperscale environments led by a few players, digital infrastructure providers need to differentiate around areas like network visibility and performance, service automation, consulting and advisory, service orchestration, cost management, and managed services. As such, the covered vendors all have different strschmbetagths based on their background.

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Agribusiness is New Tech Battleground for Australia’s Telcos

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? TPG and Telstra have had multiple trials with various agribusiness in Australia, leveraging 5G, AI, IoT, and data services to develop solutions for livestock.

? Both companies have yet to develop commercialized solutions, and could consider joint ventures with or acquisitions of agritech firms to fully capitalize on the vertical opportunity.

Cows, potatoes, and tomatoes could be the next tech and telco battleground in Australia. Leading telcos Telstra and TPG have both made recent announcements around their efforts to develop converged technology offerings centered on agriculture use cases.

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TPG is in a More Perilous Place following ACCC’s Axing of Network Sharing Deal

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? Following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision to oppose the Telstra TPG network sharing agreement, TPG should be more concerned about its strategic importance.

? While impact to Telstra would be limited, TPG faces setbacks to its enterprise growth strategy in FWA, 5G SD-WAN, private cloud, and overall pricing strategy.

In February of 2022, Telstra and TPG entered into a ten-year network sharing agreement, subject to regulatory approval. However, nearly one year later, the ACCC has rejected the deal on anti-competitive grounds. The agreement would have seen Telstra grant TPG use of 3,700 Telstra mobile sites in regional and rural Australia, allowing TPG to enter new markets and moving its overall population coverage from 96% to 99%. Meanwhile Telstra would have been gained access to some of TPG’s spectrum for 4G and 5G services, boosting overall network capacity.

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ThousandEyes Could be a Key Differentiator in Cisco’s Cloud Networking Quest

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? Cisco’s efforts to further integrate ThousandEyes across its solution portfolio offers a powerful tool as it aims to grow as a leading cloud-networking platform provider.

? While ThousandEyes offers great visibility into the entire stack, Cisco could offer deeper integrations in areas like WAN optimization to make the most of its investment.

During the Keynote at this year’s Cisco Live 2022 APJ, in Melbourne Australia, Cisco executive VP and GM of security and collaboration, Jeetu Patel stated that providing a vendor-frischtral platform for cloud-networking was core to the company’s strategy. More specifically the company hopes to abstract the security and networking layers away from the leading hyperscale platforms, and to provide a unified platform for networking services and security that allows traffic to flow securely to any cloud platform. This is a lofty goal, and Cisco has a long list of competitors in the networking, monitoring, and security space. The hyperscalers are growing their WAN offerings While Cisco remains one of the leaders in networking and is growing stronger in security, the company needs to develop as many points of differentiation as possible to achieve this goal.

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