CenturyLink rebrands as Lumen to light the way for enterprises in 4th Industrial Revolution

Leading global IT solutions provider CenturyLink has announced it is rebranding and repositioning the company to Lumen Technologies, or Lumen for short. 

According to FAQs on their website, the name Lumen pays homage to their global fiber network foundation and serves as a reflection of the company today. 

“Lumen is all about enabling the amazing potential of our customers, by utilizing our technology platform, our people, and our relationships with customers and partners,” said Lumen president and CEO Jeff Storey.

Lighting the way for enterprises

The company will look to help light the way for enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where smart, connective devices will be ubiquitous.

“This new age requires companies to effectively acquire, analyze and act upon their data to stay ahead of the curve and to be competitive,” said Lumen in a statement

There will be three distinct brands under the Lumen Technologies corporation: Lumen, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber. 

Lumen will serve as the company’s new brand for its largest business segment: enterprise and wholesale, which will be the company’s focus moving forward.

“The Lumen brand is focused on supporting our enterprise business customers. It alludes to our network strength and to the incredible capabilities powered by our platform to help transform how businesses operate,” according to Lumen CTO, Andrew Dugan. 

Under Lumen, the company launched the Lumen Platform, which combines their global fiber network infrastructure, edge cloud capabilities, security, communication and collaboration solutions to empower customers looking to capitalise on emerging Industry 4.0 technologies. 

“All of our futures will be driven by smart things, applications and digital services that use data for transformational purposes,” said Shaun Andrews, Lumen’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. 

The Lumen Platform will serve a range of applications across smart cities, retail and industrial robotics, real-time virtual collaboration, automated factories, as well as applications requiring high-performance networking and security.

As part of Lumen, the existing CenturyLink brand will continue to represent the company’s residential and small business segments, for legacy services delivered over traditional networks. 

Lumen also announced another new entity, Quantum Fiber, which will be considered a CenturyLink service. It is a digital platform that will aim to deliver premier fiber-based connectivity to residents and small businesses under Lumen’s fiber network and infrastructure. 

Quantum Fiber will target the same customer segment as CenturyLink, but it will be delivering services via an automated platform the company is developing, but specific roll out plans are yet to be confirmed.

The Quantum Fiber brand will eventually be available in all markets where Lumen offers fiber-based internet services.

With this announcement, the company will formally change its legal name to Lumen Technologies, Inc. upon the satisfaction of legal and regulatory requirements. 

There will be no structural change in leadership, responsibility or financial strategy. However, it will be changing its stock ticker from CTL to LUMN, effective with the opening of the trading day on September 18 2020. 

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Lenovo Data Center Group Expands HCI Solutions Offering in partnership with Nutanix, Microsoft and VMware

Lenovo Data Center Group has announced the launch of a new range of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions and cloud services to help organisations transition to the new, smarter norm.

With remote work environments becoming common, businesses have seen demand for cloud services soar. It is more crucial than ever for organisations to adapt their hybrid cloud strategy and modernise existing data center infrastructures to keep pace with evolving business needs. 

“The strategy toward the new, smarter normal is around modernising the data center and breaking down the longstanding digital barriers that many organisations face today,” said Kamran Amini, the Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure at Lenovo Data Center Group.

In partnership with industry-leading hybrid cloud software providers Nutanix, Microsoft and VMWare, Lenovo Data Center Group introduced HCI solutions to enable customers to deploy and manage the full edge-to-cloud environment. Among updated features that customers can expect include simpler updates, easy scalability and a consumption-based delivery model.

These hyperconverged infrastructure solutions support industries like education and healthcare where remote working has been forced upon organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing virtual desktop infrastructures that can be accessed from almost anywhere.

What are Lenovo’s new solutions?

Together with Nutanix and AMD, Lenovo introduced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile HX HCI solutions. With this, customers are said to be able to run virtual desktop workloads at a consistent performance with 50% fewer servers.

“We’ve simplified and enhanced IT operations while cutting energy costs, so we can invest more of time and resources in our primary purpose to provide best in-class healthcare services,” said Bernie Larralde, the Vice President of Information Technology at Miami Jewish Health.

As hybrid cloud solutions start to dominate the market, Lenovo has launched the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center Solutions in partnership with Microsoft.

This one-stop shop provides deployment and management of Microsoft Azure services, empowering customers to modernise and rapidly scale from on-premise infrastructures to the cloud using edge solutions.

“The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX platform has all the features we need as an MSP—high performance, high availability and easy scalability,” said Brian Townley, the General Manager for C3 Group.

In another collaboration with VMWare, Lenovo announced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions, aimed at improving agility and reliability of mission critical applications on SAP HANA databases.

Additionally, Lenovo and VMWare are also expanding software-defined systems management capabilities with Lenovo XClarity, the management console for Lenovo ThinkAgile HCI solutions.

“Efficiency has increased so we can process and ship out more parts faster than we could before, bringing more products, and therefore socio-economic empowerment, to more people around the world,” said Sujoy Brahmachari, the Head of IT Infrastructure and Information Security at Hero MotoCorp.

According to Amini, help is provided to guide business leaders through their cloud strategy and execution. Lenovo offers customers the option to work with Lenovo Principal Consultants, to simplify and streamline options across multiple cloud platforms for ultimate business agility. 

“Efficiency has increased dramatically and we’re now able to cope with customer requirements at a speed that was previously impossible,” said Thomas Rumpf, the CTO for Private Cloud at T-Systems.

All solutions by Lenovo are set to be available by November.

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Malaysia to shut down 3G by 2021, but national 5G plan may be delayed until 2022

The Malaysian Government has announced a National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA) that will put an end to 3G networks in Malaysia and prepare the country for its transition to 5G.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated the decision to eliminate 3G networks is to “strengthen the coverage of 4G networks [in Malaysia], as well as establishing a solid foundation for 5G”. This will be completed stage-by-stage until the end of 2021.

The Malaysian Government has currently rolled out phase one of JENDELA. Goals to be achieved under phase one include expanding 4G broadband coverage from 91.8% to 96.9% in populated areas, and increasing broadband speed from 25Mbps to 35Mbps.

Phase two of JENDELA will focus on the East Malaysia states of Sabah and Sarawak, where internet coverage is significantly lower than states in West Malaysia. Under the plan, Sabah and Sarawak will be the biggest beneficiaries: existing communication towers will be upgraded and hundreds of new communication transmitters will be installed.

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, unveiled an Industrial Revolution 4.0 digital road map outlining the details of phase two. Said road map is scheduled to be released in mid-September.

However, a report by research firm CGS-CIMB revealed that 5G in Malaysia is expected to be deferred to 2022 due to ‘existing uncertainties in terms of how and over what timeframe [phase two] is to be achieved’ as well as the need to prioritise optimising speed and coverage of 4G networks.

Despite the delay, this marks the beginning of an exciting turn for Malaysia’s digital economy. Malaysia’s promise to switch off 3G and welcome 5G indicates a strong commitment to assist Malaysians in overcoming the demands of working from home in the midst of a pandemic. 

The rise of 5G in Malaysia could also mean a boom in cloud services, as applications may be more accessible by users across the country, which is only more good news to the country’s fast-growing digital economy.

5G may also enable more edge data center technologies by bringing lower latency, higher reliability and faster data processing that is closer to the user. This is particularly important, as Malaysia looks to be moving closer to the edge, with new projects announced by Bitglass, GDC and Vertiv this year.

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Dramatic surge set for edge computing market, driven by industrial enterprise adoption

The multi-access edge computing market is set to grow at an incredible annual rate of 157.4%, generating US$7.23 billion by 2024, which dwarfs the 2019 revenue of US$64.1 million.

The edge computing solution from operators in wireless networks is expected to be utilised by 90% of industrial enterprises in the next three years, predicts Frost & Sullivan.

“The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them,” said Renato Pasquini, the Research Director for Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

While only being in its nascent stage, edge computing offers shorter latencies by being close to where the data originates, which also provides robust security, responsive data collection and lower operating costs.

This is particularly important in a world where industrial industries are becoming increasingly hyper-connected with growing adoption of the Internet of Things, smart factories, remote monitoring solutions, autonomous robotics and vehicles.

The demand for edge computing is also growing, as data-driven organisations and governments increasingly require significant streams of data for real-time analytics.

“Going forward, 5G and multi-access edge computing are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business segment of telecom service providers using the platform,” added Mr. Pasquini.

Within the multi-access edge computing ecosystem, software edge applications promises the highest annual growth, followed by telecom operators, infrastructure-as-a-service providers, and edge data center colocation services.

However, Frost & Sullivan identified a number of challenges restricting the growth of the market, including an underdeveloped ecosystem in different verticals, limiting the number of solutions and applications available.

The implementation of multi-access edge computing also requires heavy initial capital investment and lacks standardisation, which currently limits the number of cities that can adopt this technology.

How can you tap into the edge computing market?

The multi-access edge computing market is expected to drive new revenue-generating use cases, particularly for telcos in the application of 5G wireless technology, despite delays in the rollout of networks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To tap into this lucrative market, Frost & Sullivan made a number of suggestions. Telecom operators, for example, should work on solutions and services to meet requirements for connected and autonomous cars, which could include advancements in 5G technology.

In order to make this a reality, telecom operators are advised to partner with cloud providers and organisations like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud that work with artificial intelligence and machine learning to design autonomous cars and drone delivery. 

System integrators could also tap into 5G by providing end-to-end solutions, which the research firm noted would be a significant value addition for enterprises, as 5G requires specialised skill sets.

By combining 5G with new specialised hardware-based mobile edge computing technologies like edge routers and data centers, these solutions can meet the market’s streaming media needs, as telecom operators must address the rising consumption of high-definition video streaming on mobiles.

Frost & Sullivan urged companies in the space to capitalise on the innovation opportunities utilising 5G and multi-access edge computing, including augmented reality, virtual reality, ultra-high-definition streaming and cloud gaming.

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