Also included in our late afternoon summary of news and comment: Calix improves its cloud, Oracle recharges charging, Viasat offers in-flight Wi-Fi over Russia and Charter uses apps to make entertainment more accessible.
VC funding creates new monsters
Unicorns aren't unique these days. We covered DriveNets earlier this year as it made the leap from disruptive startup to billion-dollar baby (and all the expectations that go along with that new label). DriveNets is far from alone. Crunchbase reckons that the US produced 23 new unicorns last month, with the largest valuation at $4 billion for Zapier, a company that does not make vaccines or iPhones, as far as I could tell.
Girding your support cockpit
Calix said it has made massive improvements to its Calix Cloud product, making operations simpler for service provider marketing and support teams. "With the delivery of a support cockpit that infuses insight directly into support workflows, support teams can resolve issues more efficiently than ever to grow customer satisfaction and loyalty," the press release said. They're not just moving data. They're infusing insights. That's important to point out.
Charter Communications is trying to spread the word about Spectrum Access, a free iOS app for the vision and hearing impaired introduced last year that enables customers to play back audio descriptions or deliver closed captioning data directly to the smartphone or tablet. Spectrum Access is the centerpiece of a new spot, with Brooklyn-based agency Something Different, focused on a visually-impaired woman using the app's audio description feature to enjoy a movie with a friend. Charter says it currently provides multiplatform access to audio descriptions for more than 400 VoD titles.
From Russia, with in-flight broadband
Viasat has struck a strategic memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Russian satellite operator Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) and Russian telecom operator TMC aimed at advancing in-flight connectivity for airlines flying into and over Mother Russia. Viasat says the agreement is expected to offer Viasat's global airline customers roaming connectivity when flying over Russia, provide Internet services on domestic flights within Russia, and enable Russian and international airlines access to roam onto the Viasat global satellite network when outside of Russian airspace. The MOU got off the ground with Viasat procuring access to Ku-band capacity on the GSS satellite.
Please pay your robot doctor
Congrats to the Oracle PR team for name-checking robotic surgery in the company's announcement of its improved charging system. As carriers upgrade to 5G, Oracle's charging system helps them "accurately authorize and respond to charging requests in milliseconds," the company said. "As 5G advancements continue to foster diverse use cases with massive amounts of data, such as industrial automation, robotic surgery, and connected vehicles, service providers will need to be prepared for rapidly evolving charging models," the press release said.
In other news…
- Hold it: Most of the Wall Street analysts that cover Cisco don't think it's a "buy."
- KitchenAid's 2021 color of the year is honey, not "weird 70s orange."
- Students are getting help for their pandemic-themed book from Stephen King.
Have a good evening, horror fans.
Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this report.