ANZ to ‘heavily’ embrace SRE for new banking platform – Finance – Cloud- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

(L-R) Kelsey Hightower (Google) and Chris Venter (ANZ).

ANZ Banking Group is set to “heavily” embrace site reliability engineering in the way it operates its forthcoming connected banking platform, now being built under the ANZx transformation.
The transformation’s general manager of technology Chris Venter revealed that he – and other ANZx staff – visited Google’s Sunnyvale headquarters, where site reliability engineering (SRE) was “a big part of [the] discussion.”
As a discipline, SRE’s owes its roots to Google in the early 2000s. It uses software to resolve operational challenges such as “availability, latency, performance, efficiency, change management, monitoring, emergency response, and capacity planning”, according to Google documentation.
“My team and myself recently went to Sunnyvale and we spent some time with Google, and a big part of our discussion was on Site Reliability Engineering,” Venter said.
“We got to learn a little bit about how Google does Site Reliability Engineering, and it’s a concept we’re going to be embracing heavily as we build out our capabilities.”
The bank also met with Google developer advocate Kelsey Hightower on his return to Australia last month, having first hosted Hightower in Australia nine months earlier where he spent time with ANZ’s engineering squads “learning about our technology landscape and some of our engineering practices”.
Hightower said he had seen improvements in ANZ’s engineering and cloud maturity in the nine months between visits.
“Nine months ago, there were a lot of ideas, diagrams, graphs and ‘what we want to do’ or ‘what are the best practices’,” Hightower said in comments recorded at ANZ that were revealed this week. 
“This time around, there’s a lot more live demos. That’s a big leap between ‘we have this idea’ to ‘here’s what we’ve done’.
“I think you’ve [ANZ] gone from asking for the best practices to actually practicing [them].”
Hightower said ANZ’s challenge would be to “take the cultural aspects” of how Google approached SRE and to apply them in a banking context.
However, he noted that ANZ appeared to “have the foundation pieces in play” to do so.
ANZ said in recruitment advertisements this week that engineers “within the ANZx Platforms SRE squad … will be responsible for building and running the cloud platforms of Australia’s largest financial institution.”
“You will also be responsible for designing and writing software to improve the reliability of ANZ services,” the advertisement reads.
“Don’t let that scare you though, we’re doing things differently for the cloud. 
“You will apply SRE principles to ensure we monitor and measure what is important, you will automate our platforms and services for reliable operations at scale, including automation of our security and governance controls.
“You will also assist development teams to apply the same principles to achieve quality in their releases and will be a subject matter expert on running services well on the cloud, sharing this experience with engineers across the organisation.”
‘Stop the train’
Hightower said one mark of a good SRE team was in them having “a little bit of authority to stop the train” – essentially to call a temporary halt to activities while a performance issue is fixed.
“As a bank, the highest level SLA that you have is the customer experience: can the customer buy things? Can they see their transactions? Can they transfer money?” Hightower advised.
“When that experience is disrupted by the technology behind it, it’s your SRE team that understands that part of the business and has the monitoring and metrics in place to say, ‘Hey, we have to stop the train’. 
“Maybe you have to pause releases for a little while until you focus on reliability. Maybe you have latency targets that affect the experience.
“Then maybe there’s going to be software engineering that goes specifically to keep the experience bar where you’ve promised your customer.”
Hightower also said one of the individual traits he looked for in an SRE engineer was an appreciation for “the boring aspects of this job”. 
“Reliability can sometimes be a very boring thing,” he said.
“It’s not always about building new features or changing a technology because it’s new. 
“It’s really understanding what reliability means, and doing your very best to defend it.
“So the qualities I look for are: if you observe that the system is getting slow, do you have the ability to go as deep as possible … [and] do whatever it takes to get to that true root cause analysis, step back and present that data to the business and to the team, and then follow that up with either custom tooling, improving the libraries that are being used, or maybe writing a little bit of code. 
“That’s the philosophy that I’m looking for is someone that can identify a problem, own it to completion and back it up with data so that it becomes the culture.”

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SoftBank CEO might reconsider heavily criticised coronavirus test plan – Strategy- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son took to Twitter on Wednesday to offer a million free coronavirus tests, only to get hit by a barrage of criticism that he risked overwhelming medical facilities, prompting him to say he might reconsider the plan.
The SoftBank Group chief executive, who last posted on Twitter three years ago, expressed concern about the coronavirus outbreak, telling Twitter followers on Tuesday he was planning to take action.
“I would like to provide the opportunity for free PCR testing for those who are worried about the novel coronavirus,” Son tweeted on Wednesday. “First, for one million people. We are preparing how they can apply,” he said, referring to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which can detect very early infections.
His proposal was met with criticism that it would overburden medical facilities and workers.
Son said he had visited Japan’s health ministry on Wednesday as he wanted to cooperate so that the testing would not cause any burden.
He also tweeted an illustration of the PCR scheme under consideration, in which a person could take a nasal swab at home and mail it to a lab which would test the specimen send back the results.
But about two hours after his first tweet announcing the PCR test plan, he took to Twitter again to say he might reconsider given the negative feedback.
“Since it’s been badly received, maybe I won’t do it…” he said.
The coronavirus has spread around the world, with more than 116,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 deaths.
Japan has reported close to 1,300 infections, with more than half coming from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, and 19 deaths.

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Cisco invests heavily in mass scale networking, distributed data centre, immersive experiences and security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Sanjay Kaul, President, Asia Pacific & Japan, Service Provider Business, Cisco Systems Inc
The story of the Indian telecom industry is under consolidation. How do you view this consolidation from the lens of a major telecom network provider?Right now we have a problem in the service provider industry because it is under stress. But I think we are at the end of this misery. Consolidation has happened, now it is four players. That is the right structure for the industry. Four partners and over 1.3 billion people, they all can be healthy and can make good business. The last decade was the lost decade. When we enter 2020, we are entering a digital era where there will be new normal, there will be new entrants and participants. But there will be new revenue opportunities and new business models.
The new opportunities are that when you move into 4.5G or Wi-Fi 6 and5G, features like low latency and slicing, give you ability as an operator to use your network that I was talking about as a platform, so you can extend it to an enterprise vertical. Let us say that the enterprise vertical is a factory making cars. So if a car manufacturer’s cost of production today is 100 rupees, I believe by bringing this platform to them and automating the entire factory, we can reduce that cost by at least 40 per cent.
With the high rate of digitisation in enterprises, how does Cisco look at the digital wave unfolding and the challenges ahead?I think we thrive with big customers. However, the thing that still needs to be developed is fiberisation, because as consumers our consumption has increased multi-fold in recent years. Today, I think the consumption is at least 20 GB. The average consumption in India is approximately 14 GB, and right now, we are still using standard video and HD video. I was in Japan recently on a tech forum there. They were displaying an 18K video. So, a one-minute clip that you watch on standard video, if the same was 18K, the data consumption would be 120 times more, which means that if you consume1 GB to watch a movie, then you need 128 GB to watch the same movie.
Hence, making sure that we have networks that are end-to-end secure, that security is on the terminal, how do we turn the business into cloud services. India has 60 million micro-businesses, micro SMEs. These are companies ranging from two-three employees to 100 employees. There are 60 million of them, and they all want to get digitised. And if you offer them monolithic services, they will never take them. So, you have got to give them a plug and play kind of offering. I need offering, which is coming to me in a box, I plug it in, itself-configures, and I’m in business. For that, these three broader things need to be sorted for India to thrive in this digital era. SPs are the foundation for digitisation, and we need a healthy service provider industry because they become the bedrock of the whole digital vision.
Having said that, we need fiberisation; we need congestion-free transport networks. That is a challenge for India because we are still only 35-40 per cent fiberised. A lot has happened in the last couple of years. Jio is playing fibre now, Bharti and Vodafone to an extent. There are some new players emerging in the market, but there is still a long way to go. Hence, I believe more than 5G, I think getting the transport networks right is a priority for India.
How is Cisco helping service providers to reduce the business complexities and challenges that you have mentioned above?Cisco’s enterprise portfolio includes intuitive networking, collaboration, mobility, cloud and end-to-end security. We are basically doing security pre-attack, during attack and after attack. There is an organisation called TALOS, the world’s biggest threat agency, owned by Cisco, which monitors every bit that flows on the internet. We have a 60 per cent market share in routers, so it hits our routers somewhere. We are capturing more than a million threats a day. Fundamentally, Cisco takes care of this end-to-end.
With data becoming the main business and video becoming the main business, and all of it is happening at the edge of the network, we need to solve for this end-to-end. From an Indian perspective, operators have started that journey, but they are not there yet. The issue is we talk about 5G, it is a buzz word now, but 5G takes care of the low latency, but if the data has to travel through this long journey, then zero or low latency has no meaning. You have to first fix the back-end before you fix the front-end. The second thing is, it is very expensive, the spectrum is costly, so there is no point bringing this data back to the central repository. Use it, extract value out of it and get rid of it where it gets created. If you look at the bigger web players, they have really used AI, ML and deep analytics to build their businesses.
How do you really look at 5G? Earlier, there was thrust on 5G and now it is a trillion dollar opportunity. How do you really see the trend going?5G is a piece of technology. It has become a very good reason to fix what we needed to fix for years. It is not only for India but for the rest of the countries as well. Our network got built-in multiple years. You need to make it simple and flat. The network needs to have automation embedded in it so that it becomes self-healing. We have been working with Jio for almost three years. They have elements of their network which are automated. We are also working with Bharti. They have started the journey, but it takes a while. Our belief is, in the 5G world, 70-75 per cent of the revenue will come from enterprises
By bringing in this capability to enterprises, you will save costs for them, and part of that value creation will be shared by the operator. Hence, the monetisation, because we as consumers who would love speeds, feeds, will be able to do 4Ks and 8Ks. The more data we are consuming on a daily basis, we love it, but we still will not have to pay too much more. But enterprise is a different story because the enterprise is a huge cost connected to ICT. If you help them reduce that to the tune of 30-40 per cent, you are talking about a substantial proportion of their opex. If they are willing to share 20-30 per cent with you (operators), and that is a big sum. We have two calculators – one is called VNI, Visual Networking Index, a report we publish every year. Another one is called Monetisation Index. Our analysis tells us that by 2030, digitisation could mean about 20 per cent of India’s GDP. That is a trillion-dollar opportunity, should we execute on it.
How are you leveraging the digital transformation at enterprises?Globally, we have almost 60 per cent of the market share. We are dominant and we are anyway helping enterprises. Now bringing solution providers in the mix is making them further efficient. Enterprises that can afford it, can do it. But what if there is a service provider platform that can solve for all these needs? See how efficient we can make that.
SPs will be one of the important channels for Cisco in this decade because service providers have reach and coverage. If we give them cloud services, we can digitise India. But a foundational platform, which includes a robust network, with fiberisation and free congestion, is needed to do that will be able to help telcos monetise their services as the company manages almost 70 per cent of the internal network of most enterprises.
What are the key areas where Cisco is investing ?Today, if you look at Cisco, we are a great technology company, but we are more than a technology company. We work on making the society a better place, we put a lot of investment in CDA – Country Digitization Acceleration program. It’s about who bells the cat – who will put up the first proof of concept. From a technology perspective, there are a few areas where we are investing – the first is making this mass scale networking happen, where you can easily get to the scale of terabytes, and you can handle this high bandwidth networks. Mass scale networking is first. The second is, we are creating a distributed data centre, which allows you to capture data when it gets produced at the edge. We are building immersive experiences through our collaboration tools, and video endpoints. The fourth area is security. When I say security, it is end-to-end security. It is the network, the data centre, the terminal and so on. The fifth area is mobility, which includes 5G, Wi-Fi 6, packet core networks. And the last one is automation and SDN, converged SDN. Automate whatever you can automate in the hierarchy of the networks.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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Another high-flying, heavily funded AR headset startup is shutting down – gpgmail


While Apple and Microsoft strain to sell augmented reality as the next major computing platform, many of the startups aiming to beat them to the punch are crashing and burning.

Daqri, which built enterprise-grade AR headsets, has shuttered its HQ, laid off many of its employees and is selling off assets ahead of a shutdown, former employees and sources close to the company tell gpgmail.

In an email obtained by gpgmail, the nearly 10-year-old company told its customers that it was pursuing an asset sale and was shutting down its cloud and smart-glasses hardware platforms by the end of September.

“I think the large majority of people who worked [at Daqri] are sad to see it closing down,” a former employee told gpgmail. “[I] wish the end result was different.”

The company’s 18,000+ square foot Los Angeles headquarters (above) is currently listed as “available” by real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank. The company’s Sunnyvale offices appear to have been shuttered sometime prior to 2019.

Daqri’s shutdown is only the latest among heavily funded augmented reality startups seeking to court enterprise customers.

Earlier this year, Osterhout Design Group unloaded its AR glasses patents after acquisition talks with Magic Leap, Facebook and others stalled. Meta, an AR headset startup that raised $73 million from VCs including Tencent, also sold its assets earlier this year after the company ran out of cash.

Daqri faced substantial challenges from competing headset makers, including Magic Leap and Microsoft, who were backed by more expansive war chests and institutional partnerships. While the headset company struggled to compete for enterprise customers, Daqri benefitted from investor excitement surrounding the broader space. That is, until the investment climate for AR startups cooled.

Daqri was, at one point, speaking with a large private-equity firm about financing ahead of a potential IPO, but as the technical realities facing other AR companies came to light, the firm backed out and the deal crumbled, we are told.

As of mid-2017, a Wall Street Journal report detailed that Daqri had raised $275 million in funding. You won’t find many details on the sources of that funding, other than references to Tarsadia Investments, a private-equity firm in Los Angeles that took part in the company’s sole disclosed funding round. We’re told Tarsadia had taken controlling ownership of the firm after subsequent investments.

In early 2016, Daqri acquired Two Trees Photonics, a small UK startup that was building holographic display technologies for automotive customers. The UK division soon comprised a substantial portion of the entire company’s revenues, sources tell us. By early 2018, the division was spun out from Daqri as a separate company called Envisics, leaving the Daqri team to focus wholly on bringing augmented reality to enterprise customers.

The remaining head-worn AR division failed to gain momentum after prolonged setbacks in adoption of its AR smart glasses, including difficulties in training workers to use the futuristic hardware, a source told gpgmail.

All the while, the company’s leadership put on a brave face as the startup sputtered. In an interview this year with Cornell Enterprise Magazine, Daqri CEO Roy Ashok told the publication that the startup was forecasting shipments of “tens of thousands” of pairs of its AR glasses in 2020.

Daqri, its founder and several executives did not respond to requests for comment.


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Why Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi – gpgmail


To win India’s next 200 million internet users, e-commerce giant Flipkart wants to speak their language

Flipkart, the largest e-commerce platform in India, said Tuesday it has concluded the roll-out of a range of features to its shopping app in what is its biggest update in recent years.

Chief among these new features is access to Flipkart in Hindi language. Prior to the revamp of the app, Flipkart was available only in English, a language spoken by 10% of India’s 1.3 billion population.

Flipkart says it is hoping that the new features, which includes a video streaming service, would help it reach the next 200 million users in India.

The major bet on Hindi, a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India, illustrates a growing push from local and international companies operating in the country as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond the urban cities.

And that’s where much of the opportunity, which countless startups and companies have trumpeted to investors to successfully raise hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and venture capital in recent years, lies in the nation.


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