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Eurobites: Ultraleap jumps into bed with Qualcomm for 5G-supported 'XR'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Virgin Media offers cheaper broadband to welfare recipients; Deutsche Telekom trumpets new cloud tool; management pay freeze at Telenor.

  • Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality – collectively known these days, apparently, as extended reality (XR) – have long been touted as great potential applications for 5G. Now, Ultraleap, a company based in Bristol, UK, has forged a multi-year partnership with US chipmaker Qualcomm which will see the Ultraleap's hand-tracking technology, Gemini, pre-integrated and optimized on Qualcomm's 5G-supported XR2 5G reference design platform. Ultraleap's hand-tracking technology has been developed over ten years using artificial intelligence, and has applications in a range of industries, including extended reality, automotive, digital signage, industrial automation and consumer electronics.

  • With the economic ravages caused by coronavirus pandemic very much in mind, UK cable operator Virgin Media is to launch a new broadband service in the fall aimed specifically at those receiving Universal Credit, a form of welfare payment for those out of work on a low income. The plan, called Virgin Media Essential Broadband, offers a respectable 15 Mbit/s for a fixed price of £15 a month, with no fixed-term contract length and a guarantee that no price hikes will be imposed while welfare payments are being received. Initially the service will be only be available to existing Virgin Media customers, who will have to provide proof of their Universal Credit status before gaining access to it.

  • Deutsche Telekom has launched a new tool, the Cloud Topology Designer (CTD), which the operator says allows developers and cloud architects to build software applications using "drag and drop" techniques. In the past, says the operator, it would take "weeks if not months" to customize applications to new cloud infrastructures, but the CTD accelerates this to a matter of minutes. The CTD is free for Open Telekom Cloud customers; they pay only for the resources they put together and use.

  • A whole raft of senior management execs at Norway's Telenor may have to put that planned fortnight in Mauritius on hold next year as it has been decided that they will be subject to a pay freeze, or to put it in the almost cruelly well-chosen words of the company statement, a "salary adjustment" of "0 percent." The policy affects 125 bigwigs across various Telenor business units.

  • Ericsson is getting involved with UNICEF's Giga project to improve schools' connectivity worldwide, bringing an unspecified amount of cash as well as resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping. Specifically, Ericsson will assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data, in the hope that this will help governments and the private sector to design digital offerings that promote learning.

  • Facebook is to launch its "news service," which combines proper original reporting with aggregated content from trustworthy sources (rather than promoting the fake-news views of mad-as-a-snake, tin-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists and/or malevolent "state actors") in Germany and the UK. As Reuters reports, the social media giant currently pays US publishers for content and carries original reporting from more than 200 outlets.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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