Verizon Makes Big, Consecutive Connected Transport Moves

Connected Transportation, and the infrastructure necessary to make it happen, is probably the most critical bit of the IoT that isn’t nearly developed enough right now to meet the needs and wants of its industry. Verizon has apparently seen this and made two big consecutive moves to get its hands in there now, while the getting is still good. 

The company has announced that it will buy Fleetmatics Group, a major global provider of fleet and mobile workforce management solutions, for about $2.4 billion. In addition, it will add Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology and services to its Verizon Telematics subsidiary by acquiring Telogis, Inc., a private company based in Aliso Viejo, California.

“Fleetmatics is a market leader in North America— and increasingly internationally— and they've developed a wide-range of compelling SaaS-based products and solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses,” said Andrés Irlando, CEO, Verizon Telematics. “The powerful combination of products and services, software platforms, robust customer bases, domain expertise and experience, and talented and passionate teams among Fleetmatics, the recently-acquired Telogis, and Verizon Telematics will position the combined companies to become a leading provider of fleet and mobile workforce management solutions globally.”

With approximately 1,200 employees, Fleetmatics is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with North American headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company’s Web-based solutions provide fleet operators with visibility into vehicle location, fuel usage, speed and mileage. Telogis brings a software platform and new distribution relationships to Verizon Telematics suite of connected vehicle solutions for consumers and enterprise customers.

“Verizon provides the brand equity, strength in the market, broad infrastructure and expansive global reach to take Telogis to the next level,” said David Cozzens, CEO, Telogis. “This strategic acquisition positions our collective technologies and services uniquely in the market while also enabling Verizon Telematics’ industry-leading business to benefit from Telogis’ unmatched strength in the enterprise market, innovative Mobile Enterprise Management software platform and our strong OEM and ecosystem partnerships.” 

Edited by Alicia Young

The Cloud Security Alliance Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) Initiative

August 01, 2016

Any company that has created and run its own mobile application knows of the benefits associated with that application’s existence. Mobile apps can give businesses far reach into their clients’ lives, whether or not those clients are other businesses or consumers. The use of mobile devices among businessmen and laypersons is so pervasive that businesses cannot afford to be without their own branded app.

The benefits of having a mobile app, however, do not come without their counterparts. Challenges such as device compatibility and security arise; security, especially, becomes an important issue when businesses choose to use the cloud to store their information or provide services like many of them do.

This is why cloud computing awareness groups such as the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) have gained support from the broader computing industry. CSA works to educate businesses across the globe about how they can protect themselves and their apps’ end users from vulnerabilities associated with the cloud and mobile use. It recently created the Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) Initiative and released an associated white paper that recommends best practices that developers in any industry can follow when creating and maintaining mobile apps.

MAST initially lays out a number of static and dynamic tests that developers can perform to make sure that their apps function in an adequate manner on Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. Some of these tests address the seemingly harmful effects of mobile app use such as power consumption, which may become dangerous or a sign of misuse when power drain becomes excessive. Tests also look at how apps ask for permissions to use, among other assets, the camera, speaker, and file storage of a user’s device. They also address how apps collaborate with other apps on a hard disk and in the cloud.

MAST then goes further by addressing how an app communicates with the outside world through assets such as global positioning satellites and near-field communications devices. Most mobile phones have the ability to seek contact with satellites and NFC units, so it is important that apps are only allowed to communicate with other hardware in a friendly manner and when the user knows such communication is taking place.

Douglass Lee, the co-chair of the CSA Mobile Application Testing Initiative, said that his group’s initiative is important because it brings the whole cloud computing community together around a common core. He indicated that CSA is now ready to make recommendations about mobile app testing and that it will continue its mission by developing processes for security incidence response. In that way, his group will have covered the steps businesses can take to protect themselves and their clients before the fact while also addressing the reality that incidents can take place and that businesses may have the power to contain any damage.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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Wise Guy Reports Study Illustrates Workforce Management Software Market to 2021

For those wondering what the market will look like in workforce management for the next few years, a new report from Wise Guy Reports is set to provide that insight over a wide scale of the market. There's a lot going on in this field, and the new report, “Global and Chinese Workforce Management Software Industry, 2011 – 2021 Market Research Report,” should spell out the terms of this fundamentally changing field well.

Providing not only an overview of the international market for workforce management software, but also a look at the Chinese market for such tools in particular, the report will examine market players, product specifications, overall capacity and market share for the companies involved up until 2016. With a clear historical basis laid, Wise Guy Reports can then make some projections against future demand and development, carrying on through 2021 and focusing on points like upstream raw materials, downstream demand figures and several others. Those interested in reading the report can do so for $2,800, with the report available for purchase at Wise Guy Reports' website.

Making predictions about the Chinese market for anything right now—especially going five years out—seems like a bad idea to say the least. There's a lot of flux going on in the Chinese market right now on just about every point; a growing number of economists and the like are worried about the debt load China is taking on, and its rampant public works projections have given rise to things like “ghost cities,” entire towns built without one single occupant. Fundamental shifts in the Chinese labor market are also a major facet of the Chinese economy right now, so trying to consider the impact of workforce management software on a workforce that may not look, in 2021, anything like what it did in 2011 or even 2016 could be a tall order.

What's especially odd here is why Wise Guy Reports has separated the field so clearly between “China” and “everybody else.” Why leave China as its own separate entity? Granted, the Chinese workforce is sufficiently massive to merit its own entry, but why lump massive workforces like India and the United States into the “everyone else” pot? There are some issues specific to the Chinese workforce, also granted, but does that make it worth the separation?

Regardless of issues of classification, and the difficulty inherent in projecting five years forward in a highly dynamic market racked with change, Wise Guy Reports is putting out what should prove to be a valuable look forward at the future of the Chinese workforce management market, and that of the world beyond as well.

Edited by Alicia Young

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oneM2M to Release Next Standards in Autumn to Expand IoT Interconnectivity

By Ken Briodagh August 01, 2016

The standards arms race is heating up as organizations all over the world try to define connectivity and be the first to gain global dominance. No one will, of course, but the industry is gaining ever more bandwidth options thanks to this competition and that’s good.

oneM2M, one of the standards initiatives M2M communications, and the IoT has announced it will release its next set of official specifications, known formally as Release 2, this autumn. oneM2M finalized Release 2 at its latest Technical Plenary, held in Montreal.

Emphasizing the major role of industrial applications within the IoT, Release 2 introduces 14 additional specifications for the expansion of IoT interconnectivity across multiple sectors, including automotive, healthcare, smart homes and smart cities. oneM2M says it will also feature substantial security enhancements.

“Interoperability in the IoT is not just a matter of connecting devices but also understanding the data being collected and distributed and reusing it in a secure manner,” said Dr. Omar Elloumi, Chairman, oneM2M Technical Plenary. “This is exactly what the addition of semantic interoperability in oneM2M’s second set of specifications addresses.  With so many oneM2M member companies from across the world contributing to Release 2’s development, we are creating the potential for widespread adoption of these specifications.”

As IoT devices continue to saturate the digital landscape, a universally accepted set of specifications and protocol will prove indispensable for true interoperability between devices. oneM2M is one of several that have formed multi-national coalitions of IoT experts and enterprises, and the only potential outcome of this race that is bad is the chance that someone wins it.

So, let’s hear it for another broadening of scope for the IoT, more security and better connectivity. And let’s look forward to the next, better handoff of dominance in the IoT arms race.

Edited by Alicia Young

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Cisco Releases 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report

August 01, 2016

Cisco just released its 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report (MCR) that, above all else, shows that businesses are not prepared for the current state and possible future of ransomware attacks.

Cisco claims that ransomware has become the most profitable malware type the computing industry has ever known. It has grown to prominence through attacks that use Adobe Flash, JBoss servers, and Windows binaries as primary vectors, all of which rely on two primary topics of concern: developers’ detection rates of new threats and end user product updates.

First, developers of computing products, which may include mobile and desktop devices as well as corporate server hardware and software, must remain vigilant with their product updates. In large part, companies try to update their software at regular intervals, but they are at the mercy of what Cisco defines as “future strains of more sophisticated ransomware.” If developers do not know new ransomware exists and how it functions then they will be powerless to stop it.

Many developers partner with other organizations such as Cisco to help get a view of what new ransomware has been created and how it functions. Cisco says it has lowered its detection time to a minimum of 13 hours, but that does not necessarily help the industry average that reportedly takes 200 days to find new threats.

Perhaps the most pervasive manner in which attackers have evaded detection is through their innovation. Attackers know that, once one style of malware has been found, software developers everywhere will seek to address that concern. Therefore, they innovate to keep their new threats alive as long as possible.

The 2016 MCR shows that attackers have begun to move from exploits of client-side applications to server-side applications. Instead of going after individual end users, they can allow multiple end users to come to them. By using Flash, for instance, the Nuclear Exploit Kit uses a central point of access such as a video or animation on a webpage, to check a user’s operating system and browser for unpatched vulnerabilities. It then downloads malicious content onto vulnerable users’ devices. This switch to server-side attacks, Cisco says, has also shown a prominent use of JBoss servers of which 10 percent worldwide were recently shown to be infected.

The report also notes that attackers have begun using Windows binaries over the last six months in greater numbers. Binaries that look benign can infect entire networks of computers. They may also make it difficult for users to find the source of infection and difficult to find a remedy. Beyond that, criminals are also covering their tracks with encryption from Transport Layer Security and anomyzing networks such as Tor. This allows attackers to cover their tracks while planting malware in various locations.

Developers must update their software when they know these vulnerabilities exist. However, developers do not carry the entire burden of responsibility. End users must also be vigilant about updating their software, especially their web browsers, to the latest versions.

Cisco reports in the MCR that the auto-updating Google Chrome browser has nearly 80 percent of users in the current or next-to-latest version. On the other hand, Microsoft Office 2013 shows only 10 percent of its user base at the latest service pack. Software of all other types likely runs the gamut of update levels, so at some level, users are putting themselves at risk. Cisco said it recommends that businesses keep pace with updates of all their systems, especially network defenses and end user devices desktop and mobile.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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It’s Kandy for CANTO Going Into CODE 2.0 Hackathon

It's Kandy for CANTO Going Into CODE 2.0 Hackathon

August 01, 2016

Most people might not think of advancements in telecommunications when thinking of the Caribbean. The natural beauty of the region is generally what comes to mind first. The Caribbean Association of National Telecom Organizations (CANTO), however, is out to put more development into the region, and for its CODE 2.0 Hackathon—running through August 2 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico—CANTO will be turning to a familiar platform to drive the development that will happen therein:

Kandy is GENBAND's cloud-based development platform for real time communications tools, a platform already used to great effect in several other operations. For CANTO, users at the 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition—which is slated to bring together more than 30 of the region's telecom operators, and that's just for a start—will be able to put Kandy to work in a two-day hacking event set to bring about some significant new advancements.

Already in use by firms like Tech Mahindra and IBM, Kandy provides a simple means for developers to incorporate a variety of real time communications tools, adding not only voice and video but even collaboration tools to many different apps. One popular use of the system is in GENBAND's own Kandymobile, a complete RV system set up to show off just what Kandy can do in a variety of different use cases all from one single vehicle.

CANTO's secretary general, Teresa Wankin, commented “As we have seen over the last few years, single function communication devices, have been replaced by multi-function real-time communications software applications. Most of the innovation in communications is now taking place at the software level, and we have to position our region to be drivers of that innovation. And from what we have seen, the Kandy Platform allows developers to create sophisticated real-world communications applications with very little effort, and we are happy that GENBAND has made it available to us for this competition.”

It's widely known that Kandy can deliver a lot of value to users, in large part from the sheer numbers of users that have already put Kandy to work. The old saying goes that nothing succeeds like success, and when a large number of users have successfully used a service, that makes it a safe bet that other users will do just as well. It's not guaranteed, but a big body of successful users definitely increases the chances. For CANTO to put Kandy to work, meanwhile, suggests we'll likely see a slate of new tools come out of the event, augmenting the Caribbean's image as a telecom development hub and more than just a pretty face, in terms of scenic beauty, that is.

CANTO's move should prove positive in the end, and the hackathon running through the event should make for a lot of new developments in fairly short order as a room full of interested users gets some hands-on time with a powerful development tool. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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Call Recording Week in Review: Cistera, SIP Print, Toshiba, Noble Systems

Call Recording Week in Review: Cistera, SIP Print, Toshiba, Noble Systems

July 30, 2016

This week in call recording news we continue to hear about the importance call recording plays in so many verticals -from financial firms to IT support teams.

Cistera Networks announced it had improved its Cirrus tool to offer better quality assurance and management solutions for firms in the banking and financial sector.

With the offerings, businesses can better comply with regulations at a cost-effective price point.

New Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, pause / resume functions, options for call tagging, screen dynamics and dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) toolbox operations have been added.

Also this week, AGJ Systems & Networks announced it has improved its offerings for IT support teams by adding SIP Print call recording functionality.

Read all about it in an interview with Jimmy Thomas, systems technician at AGJ Systems & Networks.

Speaking of improved call recording functionality, Toshiba announced its UC platforms have gotten a boost thanks to the addition of Clarify.

The Clarify Call Recording system has been added to both IPedge and the Strata CIX with IPedge App Server system and makes it possible to record, or not record, parts of a call based on select criteria.

There is also a mobile option that works with UCedge version 2.6 for both iOS and Android mobile devices, along with Windows and Mac computers.

Finally this week, Noble Systems announced it has gained a number of new contact center patents.

The patents include data security, interaction management, speech analytics, strategy planning, and TCPA-compliant wireless number dialing.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back for all the latest in Call Recording news as it happens. Until next week…

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Cloud Security Resource Week in Review: Cisco, Gemalto, IronScales

July 30, 2016

Cloud data security remains a big issue for enterprises. That’s the key finding of a new publication entitled The 2016 Global Cloud Data Security Study.

The study, commissioned by Gemalto and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, is the result of feedback from more than 3,400 IT and IT security practitioners from around the world. In addition to the overarching theme noted above, the study delves into more specific topics and survey results, including those related to who is using cloud services within organizations, the amount and type of information being stored in the cloud, the presence (or lack of) security department involvement in cloud services buying decisions and more.

One commonly cited challenge to securing our data, devices and networks is the shortage of trained security professionals. Cisco Systems is among the companies working to address that.

As we reported this week, the company has established a scholarship fund to help support students who are interested in pursuing an education related to cyber security.

The above two items were among the stories posted this week on Cloud Security Resource. A third piece, provided by IronScales CEO Eyal Benishti, talks about the need for a big picture approach to threat awareness.

Here’s a look at some other recent security news.

  • IHS Markit has come out with a new report that indicates distributed denial of service mitigation product revenue crossed the half-billion mark – reaching $517 million – in 2015. The DDoS Prevention Appliances Biannual Market Tracker ranked Arbor as the No. 1 player and Radware as the No. 2 player in the DDoS prevention appliance arena.
  • Earlier this month, Veriflow announced it has raised $.8.2 million. Menlo Ventures led the Series A round, and current investor New Enterprise Associates also participated.
  • In other funding news related to security, LightCyber has raised $20 million. That financing round was led by Access Industries through its Israeli technology investments entity, Claltech, and LightCyber board member Shlomo Kramer. “LightCyber has clearly proven that the Magna Behavioral Attack Detection platform can provide organizations with an unprecedented level of security visibility that can pinpoint active network attackers quickly and accurately and curtail a potential data breach,” said Kramer.
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Communications Developer Zone Week in Review: Dialogic, Genband, WebRTC & More

Communications Developer Zone Week in Review: Dialogic, Genband, WebRTC & More

July 30, 2016

We live in a real-time world, which requires real-time responses to real-time problems. We demand real-time collaboration technology, and communications developers are leveraging WebRTC, APIs, the cloud and more to meet this growing demand. And, with the weekend upon us, there’s no better time than the present to take a look at the week that was in communications development: Time for the Week in Review!

As we’ve seen in the Communications Developer Zone, WebRTC is wooing the contact center. This week, OpenXcell provided the Zone with a contributed piece outlining the rich potential for WebRTC to flourish in the contact center environment. WebRTC aids agents as well as customers with improved engagement at the push of a button. Meenakshi Krishnan makes the case for WebRTC in the call center HERE.

Next week, the Real-Time Web Solutions show is taking place in New York City, and leading up to the event Dialogic’s Alan Percy sat down with TMC to talk in real-time terms. Dialogic is a firm at the forefront of real-time applications development, find the complete interview with the industry pioneer HERE.

The great Willy Wonka once said, “Candy is dandy.” While Mr. Wonka is referring to a traditional sweet treat, Genband’s Kandy is more than dandy and promises to sweeten your application development and deployment process. In the most recent CommsDevZone Podcast, the Zone had the opportunity to speak with Genband’s VP Head of Cloud Strategy Dr. Natasha Tamaskar. The conversation covers Kandy, APIs, PowerMedia XMS and more. Find the complete report HERE.

The Communications Developer Zone wants to hear from you! If you are working on an interesting project, dabbling in bleeding edge tech or just have something to say on the state of communications development, we welcome and value your input!

Remember to stop by early and often for your fill of all things communications development! See you next week!

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Telecom Signaling Week in Review: ETSI approved PoC, Robocalls, New Security Warning

July 30, 2016

The Telecom Signaling Community certainly had a diverse set of postings this week that were more than merely noteworthy. Topics ranged from a PoC approved by ETSI to yet another security warning for mobile operators to be on guard for.

The first item of interest is Quortus and Argela Mobile Edge Healthcare PoC Accepted by ETSI.  The reason is that as community members know there is a rush to put as much of the network smarts to the network edges as possible in both fixed and mobile instances. The ETSI Industry Specification Group for Mobile Edge Computing (ISG MEC), comprised of industry vendor and service provider heavyweights has already given a green light to several proof of concepts (PoCs), the latest being the one by Quortus and Argela aimed at healthcare.  This is a space that community members are not only aware of but hopefully are a part of as well.

The second posting, AT&T Gets Involved in the Fight Against Unwanted Robocalls, might seem to be a stretch but it is not. For those of us who live in the U.S., robocalling by entities we do not wish to have bothering us and with who we do not have a pre-existing relationship with are a major nuisance and generate more consumer complaints to the FCC than almost anything else.  AT&T has stepped forward to take a leadership position in helping the FCC address unwanted, illegal, and fraudulent robocalls and is committed to using every tool it has, including signaling, to help prevent us being overwhelmed by such calls.

The next item unfortunately continues the now long series of concerns about threats of various types posed to mobile networks because of various vulnerabilities including signaling.  The latest bad news came from none other than the US-CERT when it issued a vulnerability notice regarding remote code execution issues that could compromise GSM and LTE networks

The last item, GL Communications Releases APIs for MAPS Protocol Testing, is self-explanatory. As frequent visitors know, I try to make sure that coverage of testing gets visibility on the community, as getting it right the first time is so important, and signaling is foundational to doing so.

Weekend Reading

Need a Telecom Signaling fix this weekend?  Hopefully, if you have time, the answer is an emphatic yes.  It is why the community home page has been designed as your guide to a wealth of useful resources that can be viewed online or downloaded for future reference. Recommended items include:  Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router Main Differentiators, and  Multi-Layer Security Protection for Signaling Networks. Plus, as a reminder, the great webinar on the subject of Wi-Fi calling and its importance to community members is there for the downloading. 

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