- Calls for greater open source collaboration, BT breaking technology silos with ‘speed-dating’, persistent Emotet threat flagged.
- BT was among operators that called for technology partners to become more involved in cross-industry open source projects. Paul Gunning, Principal Researcher at BT Applied Research, told a panel at October 2020’s virtual Broadband World Forum (via Light Reading) that operators were benefiting from groupings such as the Open Networking Foundation’s virtualised access-focused SDN‑Enabled Broadband Access project. “We compete as operators but at a technical level we see the benefits of collaborating”, he was quoted as saying. “Vendors too can evolve to reflect these changes that are good for everybody”, he added.
- BT revealed it was using a “robotic speed dating” service to encourage closer collaboration between its technology leadership. Angela Jenner, Director of Transformation for Service Platforms at BT, flagged that the system had been put into use following the pandemic, and “matches up” different members of the department’s senior management team for a virtual discussion of their roles and challenges. “We have continued to focus on activating our leaders throughout this virtual world, and one of the ways that we have been looking at doings things a bit differently is doing robotic speed dating”, she said. Jenner claimed BT had seen a “huge impact” from the move as it connects executives that are home-working and encourages them to “reach out and help each other”. Her comments came within a TM Forum Digital Transformation World Series session, during which she presented a wide-ranging review of the Service Platforms change programme she is leading. It focuses on a 2,600-strong broadband, mobile, TV, and voice platform team that was merged in 2018. The Group’s wider Simplify initiative, also centred on updating processes and practices, is being run by Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer Michael Sherman (BTwatch, passim).
- BT Labs, mobile systems integrator Vilicom, and Bristol and Loughborough Universities said they were working together on a research project that will explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for optimising 5G access networks. The goal is to create “cognitive” 5G networks based on Massive MIMO technology that can adapt automatically to changing conditions, which will improve network performance and potentially achieve “ubiquitous access”. Vilicom will develop AI algorithms that analyse operations and performance data and the output will feed automated decisions for network planning and optimisation. The project, called Artificial Intelligence-enabled Massive Multiple-input multiple-output, is supported by a grant from Innovate UK and is part of the European Celtic Next research programme.
- BT highlighted Emotet malware as a “particular” concern for both businesses and consumers. A webinar hosted by BT Global flagged that risks continue to be posed by Emotet, despite gains made in understanding the strain through global mapping, which was conducted with “national security partners”. Protection measures implemented by BT over the past year include a “human firewall” and improved email gateway. Going forward, BT is working to gather more data on the malware to further protect systems, but given Emotet’s polymorphic nature the threat remains.
[Further reference: The evolution of threat detection — BT, 29 September 2020; Operators call for more vendor support in open source projects — Light Reading, 14 October 2020; Historic signing is major boost to region’s digital future — University of Bristol, 15 October 2020.]