HGC brings hyperscale fiber optic network to data center in Hong Kong

Internet service provider HGC Global Communications (HGC) has announced that its hyperscale-focused fiber optic network is now available at AirTrunk’s latest hyperscale data center in Hong Kong.

Also based in Hong Kong, HGC will see its fiber optic network link said data center to not only other data centers in the island, but also to others in the Asia Pacific region.

The data center in question is owned and operated by Sydney data center company AirTrunk. Named HKG1, the facility opened its doors in December 2020 near Tsuen Wan, an important hub for international connectivity in Hong Kong.

“With state-of-the-art network infrastructure, far-reaching connectivity and software-based capability, HGC is well positioned to capture widespread market opportunities arising in the digital economy,” said Thomas Lee, Assistant Vice President of Global Carrier Data, International Business at HGC.

Hong Kong’s data center market to grow bigger

The availability of HGC’s high-speed network to AirTrunk’s data center illustrates Hong Kong’s status as a global financial and technology hub. Cloud and data center consulting firm Structure Research estimates that the Hong Kong data center market will reach a value of $1.7 billion by 2023.

Microsoft to test cloud-based self-driving cars with Honda, GM, Cruise

US vehicle manufacturing giants General Motors (GM) and Cruise are teaming up with Japan’s Honda Motors and Microsoft to bring self-driving vehicles to the cloud.

The partnership will see the three automaking behemoths leverage Microsoft’s flagship cloud and edge computing service, Azure, to scale the commercialisation of its self-driving vehicles.

GM Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, described Microsoft’s involvement as “a great addition to the team”.

“Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth,” she said.

Four parties have also come together in a new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the company’s valuation to a whopping $30 billion.

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann expressed delight at this collaboration. He says that the company’s mission to develop safer and better self-driving cars is not just a tech race, but also a “trust race”.

Cruise, as well as GM, have thenceforth also selected Microsoft as their preferred cloud provider to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.

Singapore government sets up 30 million dollar fund to drive commercial 5G

To further spur Singapore’s 5G drive, the government has launched a new $30 million fund to accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of 5G solutions.

Introduced by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the fund is part of the Authority’s 5G Innovation Program that aims to create a thriving 5G ecosystem that benefits individuals and businesses.

This means that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are now able to apply for a grant from the fund to support their digital transformation projects.

Mr. Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA, hopes that this fund will see more SMEs in Singapore participate and seize the opportunities offered by 5G technology.

“5G is a key enabler for Singapore’s digital future, and I am encouraged to see our 5G partnerships with industry demonstrating good results, such as through more efficient and reliable port operations, and good progress on the ongoing trials,” he added.

SMEs that are interested in applying for the fund can submit a proposal to IMDA highlighting the commercialisation plan of their 5G-enabled solutions. Once approved, the IMDA will cover up to 70% of the project cost.

A new data center is coming to Noida, India

India’s city of Noida will see the development of a greenfield data center campus in the near future.

Singaporean data center group, ST Telemedia Global Data Centers (STT GDC), is backing the project. The proposed data center campus will cost an estimated Rs 600 crore, and will have a critical IT capacity of 18 Megawatts (MW) in its first phase.

As for the second phase of the investment, Alok Kumar, Chief Secretary of IT and Industrial Development at STT GDC in India added that a land parcel of around three acres has been identified by the investor, which means that IT capacity would be increased to 36 MW in phase two. This will be an additional estimated investment of Rs 500 crore.

“In view of the web-based and digitally driven economy gaining prominence, the state government is preparing a new data center policy with the objective of creating state-of-the-art data and IT ecosystem to meet the requirements of industry, enterprises and citizens,” Mr. Kumar added.

STT GDC’s presence is good news for both Singapore and India

A subsidiary of Singapore’s state-owned investment management firm Temasek Holdings, STT GDC has been expanding its footprint in India for several years. In 2016, the company acquired a 74% stake in Indian telco Tata Communications to grow its data center business in both India and Singapore.

This new data center campus is in line with the Uttar Pradesh government’s program to promote digital economy growth, said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma.

Upon completion, the data center will cost a total of Rs 1,100 crore and is expected to provide nearly 80 direct job opportunities and around 1,000 indirect employment opportunities.

These initiatives are part of STT GDC’s expansion plans. Recently, it entered into  a strategic partnership with Hyosung Heavy Industries as it forayed into the South Korean market. This partnership is through a joint venture, where 60 percent of the data center partnership will be held by STT GDC and the remaining 40 percent will be held by Hyosung Heavy Industries.

Netskope expands security cloud services in Singapore data centers

US-based Netskope has announced the expansion of its security cloud services to data centers in Singapore. 

As part of the company’s efforts to grow its investments in the region, Netskope’s flagship private security cloud network, Netskope NewEdge, will be available to its customers in Singapore.

This means that some of Netskope’s most well-known clients in Singapore will be able to enjoy a range of cloud-based cybersecurity services. They include Trustwave, the cybersecurity arm of Singapore’s national telecom Singtel.

Tony Burnside, Vice President for Netskope Asia Pacific, comments that the company’s move shows that Netskope is a “champion for the modern workforce”. 

“With this NewEdge expansion to Singapore, Netskope is enabling organisations to securely scale their businesses without sacrificing speed or performance,” he added.

Improved performance cloud security services by Netskope NewEdge also means smoother operations for data centers not only in Singapore but also surrounding Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

According to a survey by cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks Indonesia, Southeast Asian countries are becoming more aware of the importance of cybersecurity and protection from cyber threats.

Surung Sinamo, Country Manager of Palo Alto Networks Indonesia who conducted the report, said that 400 leaders of tech companies from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore are becoming more aware of the importance of preventing and thwarting cyber attacks that can potentially disrupt businesses, as we have seen in the last few years.

Cyberattacks cost Vietnam $1 billion in 2020

How costly could cybersecurity threats get?

A recent study by Vietnam’s Bach Khoa Antivirus Center (Bkav) found out that the country suffered a staggering loss of $1 billion (24 trillion Vietnamese Dong) due to cyberattacks.

Carried out in December 2020, the study revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has much to do with the financial loss. As organisations and employees in Vietnam continue to work remotely, due to restrictions placed on travel, as well as social distancing norms, cyber criminals have lapped up this opportunity. They have got into home as well as enterprise devices and have infiltrated, altered, and stole data.

Major e-commerce platforms and banking institutions in Southeast Asia are continuing to be hit hard by cyber threats, with personal information of thousands of users being stolen.

Supply chain attacks on Vietnamese businesses are also common. Such attacks target a product’s manufacturing line by installing hardware-based spying components, resulting in significant financial losses.

On top of that, Bkav’s threat detection system picks up over 15,000 spywares installed in smartphones monthly. These are also to steal sensitive information and private messages from smartphone users in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh wants to stop cybercrime

This is perhaps why Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh has set up a cybercrime division to combat such threats. A real-time malware detector website is also launched to remove any threats immediately.

However, Bkav’s Vice President of Anti-Malware, Vu Ngoc Son, pointed out the existence of fileless malware threats that hide in a system’s configuration parameters. As they leave no sign of presence, they are likely to still threaten many businesses in Vietnam, he said.

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Philippine Air Force to build cybersecurity center in new deal with local tycoon

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be building a new cybersecurity center with funding from local tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.

Pangilinan, President and CEO of Philippine conglomerate PLDT Group, will be building the MVP Cybersecurity Center for Excellence to enhance the PAF’s ability to counter cyberattacks.

This new facility can also be seen as part of the Philippine government’s digitalisation effort. PAF spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Aristides Galang, said that the center will house PAF’s other security departments, including the security operations center, the network operations center, and PAF’s cyber range.

Pangilinan’s PLDT Group is the parent company of Smart Telecommunications, one of the two largest telecommunications service providers in the country.

“We are one with the government in ensuring that our country is safe from cyber threats. We look forward to more engagements with the Philippine Air Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on this front,” said Pangilinan.

This is not the first collaboration between PAF and PLDT. In August 2020, both parties signed an agreement that saw PLDT’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) provide cybersecurity training to military officers in the PAF.

Thailand’s WHA Infonite and MFEC ink data center deal

Thailand-based logistics, industrial estates, and utilities company WHA Infonite and IT services company MFEC Public Company Limited (MFEC) have signed a data center agreement, in a move that would benefit the data center ecosystem in the country.

As part of the deal, MFEC will be renting rack spaces in WHA’s Premium Data Center’s Security Operating Center (SOC). WHA, in turn, will be providing data center solutions to MFEC.

MFEC is specialising in network computing and e-business, serving mainly large enterprise customers and industry leaders.

This agreement will allow MFEC to expand its business further and offer maximum security to its customers.

“We are very pleased to start this partnership with MFEC,” said Mr. Kraitos Ongchaisak, Chief Executive Officer of WHA Infonite.

Ongchaisak pointed out that the company’s Tier III premium data center is the perfect match for MFEC’s specific requirements. The data centers are equipped with their own generators, UPS, cooling and fire suppression systems, and renewable energy sources.

“In today’s digital era, data is one of the most valuable resources for any business. Continuous and safe access to digital infrastructure is almost as important as access to electricity and other utilities,” said Ms. Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, WHA Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer.

“With this agreement, we are glad to contribute to MFEC’s business expansion through the use of WHA’s world-class data centers,” she added.

The data center ecosystem is seeing a surge post the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses around the world are accelerating their digitalisation efforts. This can be attributed to social distancing norms and restrictions on travel.

China unveils underwater data center in Zhuhai

China has unveiled the country’s first underwater data center project in the Guangdong Province of Zhuhai.

According to Chinese state media China News Service (CNS), the underwater data center project is led by maritime technology company Beijing Highlander. The data center, containing racks of servers, will be sealed in an airtight vessel and will be submerged near a port in Zhuhai.

Xu Tan, Vice President of Beijing Highlander, told CNS that a large data center with an annual economic volume that exceeds $46 billion (300 billion yuan) is vital to building new infrastructure in the country. As such, it is scientifically the most effective to power data centers via underwater resources in offshore waters, Xu said.

Beijing Highlander also revealed that it plans to carry out and build more underwater data center projects over the next five years across the Greater China region, including the Yangtze River Delta, the Hainan Free Trade Port, and Guangong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Underwater DC wave

This development comes on the heels of a September announcement by Microsoft, which were along these lines. Microsoft’s Project Natick team deployed the Northern Isles datacenter 117 feet deep to the seafloor in spring 2018. Since then, team members tested and monitored the performance and reliability of the datacenter’s servers.

The team hypothesized that a sealed container on the ocean floor could provide ways to improve the overall reliability of data centers. On land, corrosion from oxygen and humidity, temperature fluctuations and bumps and jostles from people who replace broken components are all variables that can contribute to equipment failure.

The Northern Isles deployment confirmed their hypothesis, which could have implications for data centers on land, in the future.

Lessons learned from Project Natick also are informing Microsoft’s data center sustainability strategy around energy, waste and water, said Ben Cutler, a project manager in Microsoft’s Special Projects research group who leads Project Natick.

What’s more, he added, the proven reliability of underwater data centers has prompted discussions with a Microsoft team in Azure that’s looking to serve customers who need to deploy and operate tactical and critical data centers anywhere in the world.

“We are populating the globe with edge devices, large and small,” said William Chappell, vice president of mission systems for Azure in a blog piece. “To learn how to make data centers reliable enough not to need human touch is a dream of ours.”

India’s largest iron-ore miner goes digital with SAP

India’s state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the country’s largest iron-ore producer, has implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution from software company SAP.

This means that NMDC’s end-to-end business processes will be consolidated under the ERP, leading to an improvement in operational efficiency.

As such, various business areas and departments in the NMDC, including Production, Procurement, Finance, and Human Resources Management will be scaled with increased administrative ease. This will lead to an overall improvement in customer satisfaction, according to company executives.

“NMDC has always been at the forefront in enhancing economic & social values and simultaneously focusing on optimum utilisation of resources by adopting latest technological initiatives. The ERP will place NMDC in a different league in the mining sector,” said Sumit Deb, Chief Managing Director of NMDC.

Amitava Mukherjee, Director of Finance at NMDC, pointed out that the organisation’s decision to integrate illustrates NMDC’s commitment to upholding company transparency and preparing for future digital initiatives.

The Indian mining industry has been a laggard when it comes to using tech and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for Digital India, effort are on to embrace digital holistically.

The country’s mining sector is expected to see a flurry of action this new year with the central government’s approvals for pending mining reforms, expected in January itself and efforts continuing to bolster overall mineral output.

The reforms will pave the way for auctioning of at least 500 mineral blocks, Mines Secretary Anil Kumar Jain told PTI and emphasised that calendar year 2021 will be a “bridge year between the past and the future”.Among mining companies, NMDC is expected to stand out with 91 per cent year-on-year growth in EBITDA or Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation, according to Edelweiss Research.

Thailand’s Economic Corridor will be the first to launch 5G in Southeast Asia

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), will become the first special economic region in Southeast Asia to offer 5G telecommunications connectivity.

EEC Secretary General, Dr. Kanit Sangsubhan, revealed in a recent interview that 5G signals are already in place in the region, and the government is working with companies and local residents to develop the best 5G solutions.

“Half the area of the EEC will be covered by 5G by February 2021,” explained Dr. Kanit. The fifth generation wireless technology of 5G comes with higher speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect an unimaginable number of devices.

The EEC, stretching through South and East Bangkok, is a 13,000 square kilometer hub that is home to some of the largest global suppliers of tech products and services.

Developed in 2018, the EEC is responsible for accelerating Thailand’s digital economy strategy, known as Thailand 4.0, and aims to propel the country into developed nation status by 2035.

After 5G, the Thai government and private investors will then be spending $3.3 billion (100 billion baht) to construct a 220-kilometer high-speed train connecting the EEC with Bangkok’s two airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport.

In February 2020, both Advanced Wireless Network and True Move H Universal Communication won 2600-megahertz in a 5G spectrum license auction. By February 2021, the companies are required to provide 5G network coverage for at least 50% of the Eastern Economic Corridor which includes the provinces Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

Deputy secretary general Sutisak Tantayotin told The Bangkok Post that the launch of 5G enabled headsets and compatible smartphones like the iPhone 12 also pushed the commission to speed things up.

“We found the combined 5G network roll-out by AWN and TUC covers more than 70 per cent of the EEC area,” he added.

In December, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC, said that they are ahead of schedule for the 5G rollout. This move also needs to be seen in the backdrop of Thailand ranking fourth globally, when it comes to losing out on tourism revenue, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ho Chi Minh City sets up cybercrime division

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, has just announced the establishment of a new police division to combat cybercrime in the country.

The new division for cybersecurity and high-tech crime will be run by the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the Municipal People’s Committee, the creation of this department is to ensure cyber safety in Ho Chi Minh as part of the government’s efforts to build a smart city.

Assigned to lead the department is Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen The Lam, who is also Deputy Chief of Staff for the Ho Chi Minh Police.

Cybersecurity in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of several countries in Southeast Asia that is actively working to tackle rising cases of cybercrime. In 2020, the country recorded 5,168 cases of cyberattacks.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications’ National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has been at the forefront of patrolling the cyberspace and removing malware. In December, Vietnam reported 315 cases of cyberattacks, but this figure was a 54.48 percent decrease from the previous month of November.

In October 2020, the NCSC also launched a real-time malware review site to monitor cyberthreat activity across Vietnam.

Vietnam’s top telco gives itself a makeover to attract young consumers

Vietnam’s leading telecommunications provider, Viettel, plans to rid itself of its ‘trustworthy but old-fashioned’ image in a bid to attract the attention of the young Vietnamese consumers.

As part of a major rebranding effort, the mobile carrier will be expanding its range of products and services, and start selling next-generation digital services, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity packages.

Viettel’s years-old orange and green logo has been replaced with a brand new, striking red icon that also symbolises the colour of Vietnam’s national flag.

According to Mr. Le Dang Dung, Acting President and General Director of Viettel Group, the launch of a new identity shows Viettel’s commitment to maintaining itself as the country’s pioneering and leading digital services provider.

The company’s slogan, originally “Say it your way”, is now “Your way”. The first two words have been truncated for a shorter slogan that conveys flexibility.

On top of that, Viettel will also be expanding its businesses into six tech-related sectors: digital infrastructure, solutions, content, financial services, cybersecurity, and research and development.

Founded in 1989 and owned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence, Viettel currently serves four out of ten Vietnamese consumers. Besides Vietnam, Viettel also provides mobile services in 11 countries including neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar, and Haiti, Peru and Tanzania.

Vietnam’s telco boom

The Vietnamese telecommunications market is a booming market with huge opportunities for local and foreign investors, amid a competitive environment and a positive economic outlook with an average growth of 6-8% GDP expected between 2020 and 2025. With already strong mobile phone penetration and emerging fixed broadband take-up in households, future growth is likely to remain solid despite an aging population over the long term.

Idem Est Research forecasts that mobile subscriptions will continue to grow in the 2019-25 period and fixed broadband subscribers will also continue to grow and increase its household penetration over the same period.

Mobile revenue is growing faster than mobile subscription numbers leading to ARPU growth as the market transitions from 2G & 3G to 4G mobile data services.

Idem Est Research expects the overall telecoms market to grow through to 2025 after a marked slow down in 2018 and 2019 due to legacy 2G voice & SMS revenue pressure partially offset by mobile data growth.

Mobile Subscribers and Revenue


In early 2020, the mobile subscriptions market just passed a tipping point with 3G and 4G subscribers exceeding 2G mobile subscriptions for the first time. Mobile network operators are facing competitive pressure with the market shifting from legacy prepaid voice and SMS to data-centric usage increasingly becoming the sole offering differentiator.

Further, the Capex to GDP ratio remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2018 but has been sliding in 2019 and is expected to remain at the same level through to 2025. Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone invested in line with revenue growth maintaining a stable Capex to Sales Ratio.

Malaysia’s Time dotCom cashes in on cloud computing, buys 60% stake in local firm

TIME dotCom Berhad, one of Malaysia’s leading internet service providers, have revealed that it is investing in the tech potential of a homegrown cloud computing provider.

The company has acquired a 60% stake, or $14.5 million (RM58.7 million), in AVM Cloud Sdn Bhd, a private cloud computing company to drive its business.

As Malaysia continues to battle COVID-19, remote work has gradually become the new norm in the country. Therefore, surging demand for data storage, greater connectivity, and other internet services can only be handled by cloud technology.

With the acquisition, TIME said that cloud computing is now the latest pillar of its business.

“We believe we’ve found the right partners in AVM, considering their comprehensive product suite and customer base,” said TIME commander-in-chief Afzal Abdul Rahim.

Meanwhile, AVM CEO David Chan said that TIME’s decision has given AVM the opportunity to scale and grow its existing products and services, and expand the company’s footprint for its regional cloud business.

As for the remaining 40% stake, TIME said that AVM has acquired the rest via local cloud computing company Integrated Global Solutions Sdn Bhd (IGS), making IGS its wholly-owned subsidiary.

There has been significant growth in the adoption of cloud for high-performance computing. At present, nearly 25% of enterprises are using cloud high-performance computing, and the number tends to increase rapidly over the forecast period.

Globally, half of the enterprises ae evaluating the usage statistics of cloud technology for positive values and higher efficiency.

Tencent invests $279 million in AI chip startup

Tech giant Tencent has invested a staggering $279 million (1.8 billion yuan) into an artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor chips manufacturing company in China.

Enflame Technology, headquartered in Shanghai, has received funding from Tencent and several other investors including China’s state-owned conglomerate group CITIC, and investment firms China International Capital Corporation (CICC) and Primavera.

Tencent’s investment will allow it to segue into the booming semiconductor chip industry, which is currently dominated by NVIDIA, AMD, and most recently, Intel after its acquisition of US chipmaker Xilinx.

This move by the Chinese tech company is also expected to contribute to China’s plan to become more self-reliant in the technology sector after numerous tech-related bans by the US, such as TikTok and Huawei’s 5G development.

Founded in 1998, Tencent is best known for messaging app WeChat and multiplayer video game League of Legends. The company reported $5.88 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2020, a 29% year-on-year increase.

This is Tencent’s fourth time injecting funds into Enflame Technology, which was founded in 2018.

Semiconductor chips produced by companies such as Enflame Technology are becoming more important to the global tech market, because these chips are capable of processing large amounts of data which are used to train AI models and power data centers.

AI technology is taking over

Technological developments, increase in demand for Big Data and analytics, and increased digitisation across all sectors are factors fuelling the growth of the global AI hardware market.

The onset of COVID-19 has fuelled utility & adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) hardware, due to its ability to screen, track and predict the present and future patients affected by coronavirus infection.  According to the NewVantage Partners, the number of companies that invest over $500 million annually in big data increased to 21.1% in 2019 from 12.7% in 2018, indicating the importance of AI and Big Data across organizations, hence propelling industry growth.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific market is anticipated to experience robust growth over 2020-2027, owing to increasing investment in AI technology by different end-use industries, and rising demand for big data and analytics in the region.

Awantec partners with Huawei for public sector digitalisation

Malaysia-based IT firm Awantec (formerly known as Prestariang Bhd) has collaborated with Huawei Technologies to drive digital transformation in the country’s public sector.

In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both companies, Awantec will be leveraging Huawei’s cloud and AI services to digitalise its operations, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and anything as a service (XaaS).

On the other hand, Huawei will benefit from Awantec’s extensive network of clientele in Malaysia: Awantec will be Huawei’s latest Managed Services Partner (MSP) and promote the adoption of Huawei’s products and services.

Awantec President and Group CEO, Dr Abu Hasan Ismail, said that as the Malaysian government’s trusted IT services partner, this partnership will strengthen the country’s preparedness when Malaysia embarks on its first cloud policy.

“Together with Huawei, we look forward to opening opportunities, training and building technical and competent talent teams here in Malaysia,” he said.

Huawei Malaysia CEO, Michael Yuan, added that this collaboration will serve to give Malaysia’s digital economy a significant boost.

“Cloud computing, as we know, is the backbone of digital transformation. Paired with AI, these technologies will introduce greater flexibility, agility and resilience to processes within Malaysia’s public sector,” he said.

Star Alliance moves to AWS cloud

Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, will now move to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud .

Star Alliance, which boasts some of the world’s most well-known member airlines including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS Airlines and Air Canada, will be moving all of its IT infrastructure to AWS.

The world’s first aviation alliance will also be using AWS’ portfolio of cloud services, including analytics, security, managed databases, storage, and machine learning to provide its member airlines with real-time insights that will enhance the travel experience of their passengers.

“We decided to go all-in on AWS to gain the reliability and scalability we needed to support the increasing number of global travelers joining the alliance each year, but the pandemic also proved how valuable it is to have a flexible and agile infrastructure in the cloud,” said Jeremy Drury, Head of Digital & Technology at Star Alliance.

“No one could have predicted what has happened so far in 2020, but because of our collaboration with AWS, we were able to quickly adjust our goals and scale back our expenses,” he continued.

This decision has saved the Alliance 30% of its expenses, a much needed move at a time where the global aviation industry is in shambles.

David Peller, Managing Director of Travel and Hospitality at AWS, said that Star Alliance’s decision to embrace the cloud is a prime example of a global organisation that has successfully embraced the cloud to steer through times of uncertainty.

“As the world anticipates opening up again, we are excited to work with Star Alliance as they leverage AWS’s comprehensive suite of services to innovate new offerings at scale while raising the bar for what is possible for the next era of global air travel,” he added.

IBM appoints Gary D. Cohn, former Trump advisor, as Vice Chairman

Tech giant IBM has announced the appointment of Gary D. Cohn as its new company Vice Chairman.

Mr. Cohn joins from the White House, where he was chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as President and COO of Goldman Sachs.

With his expertise and wide range of contacts in the business world, Mr. Cohn will be working alongside CEO Arvind Krishna and the IBM Executive Leadership Team to work on matters such as business development, client services, public advocacy and client relationship management.

Mr. Cohn expressed delight in the company’s decision.

“With the company’s long history of innovation and transformation for every technology era, and a focused growth strategy that will capitalize on the enormous opportunity in hybrid cloud and AI, this is an exciting time to begin working alongside Arvind, the IBM team and IBM’s incredible roster of clients,” he said.

“Gary is a globally respected leader with deep experience operating at the center of business and government,” said CEO Mr. Krishna.

“As a senior representative of IBM, his knowledge of technology and business transformation, combined with policymaking expertise, will bring unique value to our clients and stakeholders as we accelerate our hybrid cloud and AI strategy,” he continued.

Mr. Cohn is currently Co-Chairman of Cohn Robbins Holding Corp. (CRHC), a company that specialises in mergers and acquisitions. He also has investments in various sectors in tech, including cybersecurity, blockchain infrastructure, regulatory technology and medical technology.

How a HSBC data center in Hong Kong has figured out a smart way to cut carbon emissions

HSBC has installed solar panels to its data center facility in Hong Kong as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

The Multinational financial giant has installed 750 solar panels in HSBC’s data center in Tseung Kwan O, southeast from Hong Kong’s Central District. They are designed to generate about 221,000 Kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 54 homes, HSBC said.

The panels, spanning 2,300 square meters on the data center’s rooftop, will also be able to generate revenue for HSBC via a feed-in tariff.

“Businesses can play a key role in tackling climate change, including the decisions we make about our premises. We look forward to replicating this success in Tseung Kwan O across our facilities in Hong Kong,” said Luanne Lim, Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Hong Kong.

This installation is expected to cut 108,000 kg worth of carbon for HSBC, which will help with the company’s plan to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

These developments come in the backdrop of increasing pressure to adopt renewable energy, to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change issues. Almost a year back, Goldman Sachs has ruled out direct finance for new or expanding thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide, as well as direct finance for new Arctic oil exploration and production. While other major U.S. banks have committed to reducing credit exposure to coal mining, their approach restricts only lending, ignoring the large amounts of capital the banks facilitate for the coal industry from the underwriting of issuances of stocks and bonds.

Activists have been vehement in their criticism of global financial institutions, which they say are turning a blind eye and undermining the Paris Agreement when it comes to phasing out coal-based energy production.

According to a research by non profit organisations like Urgewald, BankTrack and 30 others, banks and other financial institutions from January 2017 to September 2019, they have provided lending finance and underwriting services to 258 coal plant developers in the world. According to Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald, this has amounted to channeling $745 billion.

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said that Goldman Sachs’s updated policy shows that U.S. banks can draw red lines on oil and gas, and now other major U.S. banks, especially JPMorgan Chase –– the world’s worst banker of fossil fuels by a wide margin –– must improve on what Goldman has done.

“The writing was already on the wall for coal financing. Goldman Sachs’s new policy puts that writing in flashing neon,” he pointed out.

DCI Indonesia goes public, data center shares soar 25% on first day

DCI Indonesia (DCII), one of the country’s leading data center operators, went public on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Wednesday, 6th January 2021.

DCII released 357 million new shares in its IPO with an offering price of $0.030 (Rp 420) per share. This is equivalent to 15% of the company’s issued capital and paid-up capital. 

Upon its debut on the IDX, DCII’s shares rose 25% to $0.038 (Rp 525) per share.

CEO Toto Sugiri said that the decision to go public is part of the company’s growth strategy. As the global demand for cloud technology continues to rise, the hyperscale data center industry in Indonesia is expected to benefit greatly from this boom.

Toto Sugiri also announced that in the first quarter of 2021, the company will operate four more data centers with a total capacity of 37 Megawatt (MW) in Indonesia to meet the market demand.

“The data center market is estimated to have a total capacity of 72.5 MW by the end of 2020 and according to the projections of Structure Research it will continue to grow with a CAGR of 22.3% over the next five years,” he pointed out.

Established in 2011 and operating since 2013, DCII is the first Tier IV certified data center provider in Southeast Asia.

Chinese-owned Global Switch to sell data center business for $11 billion

In what could be the largest deal in the data center segment, Chinese-owned Global Switch to sell business for $11 billion.

According to a Bloomberg exclusive, Global Switch is in preliminary talks to take the sale forward. The company is working with advisors and professionals to procure a sale from interested suitors, according to sources who requested anonymity, as the talks are private and in early stages.

Founded in 1998 and owned by Chinese steel maker Jiangsu Shagang Group Co., Global Switch is based in London and is also backed by Avic Trust Co., a trust firm with an investment portfolio that covers property, capital, and securities.

The sale needs to be seen in the backdrop of an attempt to list Global Switch in the Hong Kong markets in 2019, which was shelved. In August 2019, Shagang bought an additional 24 per cent stake for 1.8 billion pounds from British billionaires David and Simon Reuben. With the deal, Shagang became the largest shareholder. Global Switch and Shagang Group declined to comment on the matter.

Data Center sales on the rise

With this, Global Switch becomes one of many industry operators that are banking on the sharp rise in demand for data centers due to the pandemic.

In April 2020, global investment banking firm Macquarie acquired an 88% stake in Sydney-based AirTrunk for $3 billion, and the company simultaneously opened data centers in Hong Kong and Singapore, with a new hyperscale data center in Tokyo coming in late 2021. Additionally, Digital Realty Trust Inc bought InterXion Holding NV for $8.8 billion and this deal, if it goes through, could be one of the largest in the data center segment.

Global Switch was founded in 1998 and led by CEO John Corcoran, who owns and operates data centres in Europe and Asia Pacific. The company currently has around 390,000 square meters of space and hosts tech infrastructure of government organisations, financial institutions and mobile carriers, with annual revenues of $597 million (£439 million) in 2019.

SK Telecom launches the first 5G Edge Cloud service in South Korea

South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, SK Telecom has launched the country’s first 5G cloud service that supports edge computing.

Named ‘SKT 5GX Edge’, SK Telecom joined hands with cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the launch.

SKT 5GX Edge uses AWS’ Wavelength technology, and the service will allow users to build and perform a variety of services and functions, including ultra-low latency mobile apps, video games, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning tools.

Alongside this, the collaboration between SK Telecom and AWS has also seen the establishment of ‘AWS Wavelength Zones’, which are infrastructure deployments that facilitate, in this case, SKT 5GX Edge.

As of now, South Korea’s first AWS Wavelength Zone is located in Daejeon, the country’s administrative and transportation hub. Both companies plan to expand the Wavelength Zone to Seoul this year.

IBM and Samsung join forces to spur cloud and 5G development

IBM and Samsung have signed an agreement that will see both tech giants collaborate on hybrid cloud, 5G, and edge computing to steer towards the Industry 4.0 Revolution and encourage digital transformation.

Samsung will be combining its signature Galaxy 5G mobile devices, and end-to-end enterprise network solutions with IBM’s network management hybrid cloud and edge computing offerings.

“The move to standalone 5G has accelerated the adoption of Industrial IoT solutions and will require businesses to adopt an edge computing strategy that allows them to manage their IT environments from anywhere,” said KC Choi, EVP and Head of Global Mobile B2B Team for the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.

IBM and Samsung’s collaboration will be built on Red Hat’s open architecture. IBM acquired the open source software company in 2018 for $34 billion.

“We are excited to work with IBM to discover how our unique devices, mobile IoT and network solutions can provide frontline workers with access to better data and more actionable insights to take their business to the next level.” Mr. Choi added.

Both companies plan to set out to lend their expertise to develop private 5G networks, which will also be built on Red Hat via the company’s flagship open source container application platform, OpenShift.

“The transition of communication networks from proprietary architecture to intelligent, software-defined hybrid cloud platforms enables the creation of enormous new value in the 5G and edge era,” said Steve Canepa, Global GM and Managing Director of IBM’s Communications Sector.

The goal of the partnership is to leverage hybrid cloud solutions, which will enable enterprises to draw greater insights from data at the edge, improving operational performance, increasing worker safety, and minimising downtime.

“5G devices and network solutions from Samsung, along with IBM and Red Hat’s open, hybrid cloud capabilities, can help organisations across all industries accelerate their transformation and solve real business problems, while unlocking the true power of 5G and edge,” added Mr. Canepa.

Samsung, IBM, and Red Hat also plan to deliver AI-powered solutions for Industry 4.0 and beyond by leveraging the power of 5G devices, cloud-native 5G networks, and advanced edge computing platforms.

Amazon to train 29 million cloud-ready professionals by 2025

E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon announced a grand plan to roll out a worldwide training program that would produce 29 million cloud-ready professionals by 2025.

In a blog post written by AWS Worldwide Public Sector Vice President, Teresa Carlson, AWS will be investing ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ to provide free cloud computing training to individuals from over 200 countries and regions all around the world.

This latest initiative builds upon its job upskilling project last year, where the company invested US$700 million to train 100,000 Amazon employees in cloud computing fundamentals.

“Amazon focuses on building innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact for the communities in which we operate, and designing STEM and skills training programs are central to this approach,” wrote Ms. Carlson.

“We intend to continue increasing access to skills training to give anyone who wants to further their cloud skills the tools to achieve this,” she added.

Amazon has also pledged to expand its 12-week AWS re/Start program to provide tech training for individuals from underrepresented communities. The program currently operates in 25 cities across 12 countries, and Amazon is planning to double the number of cities 2021.

As of now, AWS already has two free cloud upskilling courses online for interested individuals, the AWS Training and Certification program and AWS Educate.

Infinera helps BroadBand Tower expand data center connectivity across Tokyo

US IP technology company Infinera has helped Japanese data center and cloud services provider BroadBand Tower deploy a modular platform to expand connectivity between its data centers across Tokyo.

Infinera’s GX Series Compact Modular Platform was used to enable BroadBand Tower to meet increasing customer demand for cloud-based services connectivity in Japan and enhance service performance in the era of 5G.

“Infinera’s GX solution has become a leading solution for data center interconnect around the world, and it continues to gain momentum as operators like BroadBand Tower look for ways to meet the increasing demands of their customers,” said Nick Walden, the Senior Vice President for Sales at Infinera.

With the growth of cloud computing in the country and digital transformation being a strategic government priority, Infinera believed delivering secure and scalable data center and cloud services in Tokyo was critical to BroadBand Tower’s customer success.

“Infinera’s GX solution is a leading optical transport solution, outperforming other solutions on the market for data center interconnect to deliver the high capacity, security, and reliability needed for data centers, making it the ideal solution for our expansion,” noted Hiroki Kabasawa, Member of the Board and Operating Officer for Cloud & Storage Engineering at BroadBand Tower.

Infinera worked closely with its local partner UNIADEX to help BroadBand Tower strive to provide the highest capacity, reliability, and network security available, as well as uninterrupted service during their transition to 5G.

Twitter moves to public cloud for the first time with AWS

Twitter is set to fly up to the clouds after selecting AWS to provide their infrastructure to deliver Twitter timelines in a multi-year deal.

 

The social media giant will work with AWS to create architecture that extends Twitter’s on-premises infrastructure to enable them to seamlessly run and scale the real-time service globally, increase its reliability, and rapidly move new features into production.

 

Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AWS, said that Twitter’s decision to rely on AWS infrastructure and services for its real-time workloads will help the company instantly scale their global footprint without compromising the user experience of those on the social media platform.

 

“By using AWS container services to create a seamless hybrid on-premises and cloud environment, Twitter can innovate and deliver new experiences quickly and cost-effectively,” noted Mr. Garman.

 

Twitter will take advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud’s (Amazon EC2) processors, AWS Graviton-2, to power its cloud-based workloads.

 

Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, also agrees that deploying AWS’ infrastructure will improve the performance of Twitter, and those who use it.

 

“In addition to helping us scale our infrastructure, this work with AWS enables us to ship features faster as we apply AWS’s diverse and growing portfolio of services,” added Mr. Agrawal.

 

Twitter will continue to use AWS’ other services, including Amazon CloudFront, its low-latency delivery network service, and Amazon Dynamo AB, a key value database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance.

Keppel’s second data center fund closes more than $500 million

Singapore-based Keppel Capital Holdings has launched its second data center fund for investments in Asia and Europe.

With a target investment size of $1 billion, the Keppel Data Center (KDC) Fund II has already raised initial capital investments of more than $500 million.

KDC Fund II will be managed by its subsidiary Alpha Investment Partners who will leverage the expertise of Keppel Data Centres to capture investment opportunities in greenfield and brownfield data centre assets.

Sustainability at the core of everything

Alvin Mah, CEO of Alpha Investment Partners, says that the fund will leverage Keppel’s expertise on sustainable technology, and energy efficiency to develop greener data centers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalisation for many businesses and governments alike and further spurred the growth of the data center sector,” said Mr. Mah. 

This will be in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, a corporate goal that puts sustainability at the core of the company’s strategy.

Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centers, said that the company is collaborating with industry leaders to explore ways to build and maintain more eco-friendly data centers.

This includes the development of floating data centre parks, tapping cold energy released from LNG re-gasification for cooling, hydrogen infrastructure for power generation, and accelerating the adoption of renewable energy as well as the development of carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) systems.

Keppel’s first data center fund, the Alpha Data Center Fund, was launched in 2016, and has since has a portfolio of investments in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Australia, and Germany, which spans 1.38 million square feet of floor area.

Indosat Ooredoo partners with Ericsson to continue its digital transformation

Indosat Ooredoo, Indonesia’s largest telecommunications provider, has selected Ericsson to digitally transform its business support systems for a fully digitised customer experience.

Indosat Ooredoo will leverage Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform (DMP) to boost its 5G, IoT, and digital services offerings to individual customers and enterprises.

Medhat Elhusseiny, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Indosat Ooredoo, said that with Ericsson’s DMP, Indosat Ooredoo will enable the simplification of business processes, and flexible integration of third-party services for a more enjoyable user experience.

The platform includes open APIs and micro services architecture that supports speedy integration of new channels and services. Through DevOps, business activities such as new services design, orchestration and monetisation are expected to be carried out more efficiently.

“This partnership will drive agility and innovation to continue enhancing our customer experience for both consumers and enterprises,” said Mr. Elhusseiny.

With the platform, Indosat Ooredoo will be able to reduce cost for streamlined operations, thereby increasing their competitiveness in Indonesia’s telecommunications market.

“Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform will empower Indosat Ooredoo to monetise assets while meeting customer demands with new offers and enable flexibility to meet market demands,” said Jerry Soper, Country Head of Ericsson Indonesia.

Indosat Ooredoo and Ericsson have a longstanding partnership that dates back to collaborations in 2G, 3G, and 4G technology.

NTT appoints Abhijit Dubey as new Global CEO

NTT Ltd. has announced the appointment of a new Global CEO after Jason Goodall announced his retirement from the position.

Abhijit Dubey will take on the role from April 1 2021. Mr. Dubey will join NTT after serving 20 years as a Senior Partner at international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Mr. Goodall expressed his confidence over the decision and will work with Mr. Dubey in the first half of 2021 to ensure a smooth handover.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Abhijit to the NTT family in 2021 to lead the next generation of our business. He shares our passion for the technology industry and the role that technology can play in helping make the world a better place,” he said.

With many organisations all around the world gearing up for a post-pandemic digital transformation, Mr. Dubey vows to assist employees and clients to leverage technology for good.

“NTT is privileged to be a critical technology services partner for many of the world’s leading companies and public sector organisations, with employees in over 73 countries around the world. I’m excited about the opportunity to lead this next chapter for NTT,” said Mr. Dubey.

Mr. Dubey will join NTT in February, and will be based in NTT’s headquarters in London.

“With many NTT clients accelerating their digital transformation because of the global pandemic, there has never been a more important time for the technology industry to deliver for the world. I am passionate about NTT’s purpose, strategy, and part it will play to help clients, employees and communities leverage technology for good,” he added.

After a three-month handover period, Mr. Goodall will formally retire from his role on June 30, 2021. He will remain as Board Director for NTT, as well as strategic advisor for NTT’s Venture Capital business. 

Tsunehisa Okuno, the Chairman of NTT. Ltd. thanked Mr. Goodall for his 23 years of service and looked forward to welcoming Mr. Dubey.

Delta POD solution enables Vietnam’s first Uptime Tier III data center for Hanoi Telecom’s HTC-ITC

Delta Electronics has successfully implemented their energy saving Point of Delivery solution to enable Vietnam’s first Uptime TCCF Tier III-certified data center.

The data center is owned and operated by HTC-ITC, a subsidiary of Hanoi Telecom. It is located at the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, in Hanoi’s capital region, occupying 750 square meters of space.

The data center has an annual uptime of 99.98% and is expected to achieve a power use effectiveness value of 1.4.

“Being able to construct the country’s first Uptime TIER III-certified data center for HTC-ITC is truly an honor for Delta. Together with our partners and customers in the region, we are building the foundations of the 5G networks that will support substantial economic growth for years to come,” said Victor Cheng, Delta’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Business Group.

The new data center is located in the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, occupying 750 square meters with a total power capacity of 750kW plus 750kW redundant power protection, which is in line with Uptime’s TIER III 2N architecture specifications. In total, the facility can expand to 900 racks.

HTC-ITC passed 52 tests to obtain the TCCF certification, the first time ever for a data center in Vietnam.

Trinh Minh Chau, the Chairwoman of HTC-ITC, expressed delight at the collaboration with Delta.