Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this month.
Alphabet unleashes laser-fi!
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has unveiled a new way of transmitting the internet using high-speed laser beams to create a wireless optical communications (WOC) system. Project Taara, which took place along the Congo river in Africa, used the technology to provide broadband connectivity between two cities on the opposite sides of the river. Until now, these cities had been in a connectivity gap because the cost of using cables that needed to go around the river was too expensive.
The initial launch, which has been in development for the last three years, saw the WOC system transmit 700 Tbs of data over a period of three weeks and achieve uptime availability of 99.9%. Although the system can be affected by weather conditions, like rain and fog, that interfere with the narrow beams of light, Alphabet predicts it will continue to provide similar levels of performance, helping bring affordable and reliable broadband connectivity for the cities’ inhabitants.
UK’s sluggish broadband
While hi-tech innovation is bringing connectivity to the Congo, the slow speed of UK broadband is becoming a major problem as we increase our reliance on the internet and data. According to cable.co.uk, the UK’s average download speed of 51.48Mbps is one of the slowest in Western Europe and puts us in 43rd place, globally.
Despite an increase of 13Mbps on last years’ figure, the advances made in the UK are less than those of other regions. Western Europe, by comparison, is home to eight of the world’s ten fastest broadband speeds and has average downloads of 90.56Mbps, around 80% faster than the UK.
Oddly enough, the global leader is the UK dependency, Jersey, with average speeds in excess of 270Mbps, more than five times faster than the mainland. One of the chief reasons for the Channel Isle’s success is that it is the first place, globally, to offer everyone pure fibre broadband. The UK, by comparison, has only managed to provide this to a fifth of the country.
London catching Silicon Valley
According to the 2021 Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, London, along with New York, are ranked joint second in the world, after Silicon Valley, as the best places for tech startups to succeed. Beijing and Boston follow, while the highest ranking city in the EU is Paris, ranked 12th.
This news comes after investment in the UK tech sector has reached £13.5 billion so far this year and its value rose to £104 billion. London also boasts the UK’s highest number of tech-based jobs and currently has over 50% of the vacancies in the industry.
The capital’s prominent position as a global financial centre means Fintech has become one of the major focuses of the London tech industry. The pandemic, too, has caused a growth in innovative new companies that have thrived on finding solutions in areas like virtual reality and remote connectivity.
Inchcape migrates to the cloud
UK automotive distributor, Inchcape PLC, is migrating its business-critical sales, marketing and operations systems, as well as its SAP data, to the cloud in a move that will help it streamline global operations and improve the customer experience for both car makers and consumers.
The company expect the move will enable them to automate their operations and make them more efficient. At the same time, they hope to transform the way that millions of people buy and own cars.
The benefit of the cloud move is that it will enable Inchcape’s wide range of datasets to be unified on a centralised, secure, and scalable platform, from where it can utilise artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and analytics tools to manage and analyse its SAP data. At the same time, Inchcape will benefit from the cloud’s scalability, high availability and performance and be assured of its business operations continuing without disruption.
BT’s quantum communications success
It sounds like the stuff of sci-fi, but remarkably, BT’s new Quantum Key Distribution trials are science at the cutting edge of 21st Century communications. Using a special, 6 metre hollow cable, developed by Southampton University start-up, Lumenisity, BT were able to transmit quantum light signals along a single photon channel, rather than using the solid glass found in standard optical fibres. This is the world’s first successful trial of such technology.
This process enables ultra-secure, high bandwidth communications to take place, with reduced latency and without appreciable crosstalk. As a result, it can be used in a range of hi-tech environments, including for data centre interconnectivity, edge computing and 5G communications.
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