Eurobites: Vodafone launches drone management platform in Germany

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson renews core contract with O2 in Germany; Nokia hears sound spatially, in real time, man; VEON increases commitment to Ukrainian networks rebuild.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 10, 2024

3 Min Read
Drones being flown by two technicians
(Source: Vodafone)
  • Vodafone has teamed up with FlyNex, a data collection company, to launch an online platform intended to help German businesses plan and manage commercial drone flights. Businesses can access DroNet Hub, as the platform is called, via a tariff offering 500GB of data volume per month, which can be expanded to a terabyte. The integration of artificial intelligence in the system, says Vodafone, means that any aerial photographs captured by the drone can by analyzed more quickly to generate automated reports, which can be used to create 3D models or "digital twins" of the area being monitored.

  • Still in Germany, Ericsson has renewed its core network contract with O2 Telefónica, covering the operator's 5G standalone (SA), 5G non-standalone (NSA), 4G and 2G networks. The new deal, says Ericsson, will allow O2 to take advantage of its recent cloud-native overhaul, which saw the Swedish vendor modernize O2's packet core network. Last month an in-service software upgrade of network functions in the core network's user plane was completed in O2's production network, and the next phase of the project will see O2 launching 5G SA network slicing services.

  • Nokia has made what it describes as "the world's first live immersive voice and audio call over a cellular network," a breakthrough enabled by the new Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) codec technology, which is part of the forthcoming 5G-Advanced standard. In a phrase that suggests magic mushrooms were being deployed at the Espoo campus – though of course they were not!!! – Nokia says the IVAS codec allows consumers to "hear sound spatially in real-time," contrasting this sensory sensation with the traditional "monophonic smartphone voice call experience." The 3GPP IVAS codec standard has been developed by a consortium of 13 companies, with Nokia one of the group's leading lights.

  • VEON is to increase its investment in subsidiary Kyivstar from $600 million to $1 billion over five years to help rebuild war-ravaged Ukrainian networks. The commitment will fund investment into network and digital services, including potential acquisitions. Since February 2022, Kyivstar has built 1,895 new LTE basestations and upgraded about 13,200 existing basestations to 4G. The operator aims for near universal (98%) 4G population coverage over the next two years. (See How Kyivstar is keeping wartime Ukraine connected and What's the Story? Kyivstar won't quit on connecting Ukraine.)

  • The South African government wants data centers to rely less on the national grid and has warned against multinationals' monopoly of the sector.

    In its National Policy on Data and Cloud Policy framework paper, the government says data center providers should make "self-provisioning" a keystone of their operating strategy going forward: "Given that data centers operate 24 hours a day and consume vast amounts of electricity, reliance solely on the national grid may be insufficient. Therefore, it is crucial for data centre owners and operators to implement additional alternative energy resources to prevent operational disruptions." South Africa's energy supply is notoriously flaky, with "load shedding," the term for planned outages, a regular occurrence.

    On the competition front, the government fears that competition issues could arise because of the way the cloud market is currently structured, with multinationals largely ruling the roost. "Therefore," says the paper, "further research is necessary to understand potential anti-competitive practices in the data and cloud market. Adequate capacity must be created to investigate these practices and implement appropriate measures to combat anti-competitive behaviour."

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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