Here's Why Baidu Is Strengthening Its Cloud Computing Offering

| July 18, 2016

Here's Why Baidu Is Strengthening Its Cloud Computing Offering
Baidu is increasing its focus on its cloud computing services, as its core search advertising business adjusts to the new Chinese regulations. The company is introducing new artificial intelligence and big data offerings for business customers who use Baidu Open Cloud in China.

Spotlight

In today’s Networked Society, software is emerging as the primary way for global enterprises to engage with their customers. Software, cloud, mobile and connected devices are converging to disrupt industries and enable innovation. The ability to capitalize on these new opportunities as they arise is rapidly becoming a competitive differentiator for new business growth. Speed in software innovation is critical in order for enterprises to remain competitive. This need for speed is accelerating the adoption of cloud amongst enterprises, providing the ability to deliver the greater immediacy that customers now demand, while also realizing the new economies of cloud.

Spotlight

In today’s Networked Society, software is emerging as the primary way for global enterprises to engage with their customers. Software, cloud, mobile and connected devices are converging to disrupt industries and enable innovation. The ability to capitalize on these new opportunities as they arise is rapidly becoming a competitive differentiator for new business growth. Speed in software innovation is critical in order for enterprises to remain competitive. This need for speed is accelerating the adoption of cloud amongst enterprises, providing the ability to deliver the greater immediacy that customers now demand, while also realizing the new economies of cloud.

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Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Modernises Operations with 8x8 XCaaS™

8x8 Inc. | December 06, 2021

8x8, Inc. a leading integrated cloud communications platform provider, announced that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has deployed 8x8 XCaaS™ to enhance its communications with approximately 260,000 residents in Rotherham. Rotherham Council was on a mission to modernise its employee and customer engagement operations in an effort to transform the way it interacted with citizens. To increase business resilience, Rotherham Council wanted to maximise hybrid and remote work capabilities across its business operations. Limitations associated with legacy on-premises solutions from multiple providers proved to be a challenge, causing increasing communications costs, long wait times, and system failures. Rotherham Council needed a cloud-based solution providing reliable service, cohesive integrations with their existing solutions, and the ability to scale and provide real-time analytics to drive efficiencies in time and resources. Further, Rotherham Council needed a solution that was easy to use with remote coaching available to train and onboard new and existing staff. Rotherham Council selected 8x8 XCaaS, which includes fully integrated, cloud native contact centre, voice, team chat, video meetings, and CPaaS embeddable communications and APIs capabilities in a single-vendor solution, to empower a distributed workforce, while providing adaptable solutions that meet evolving organisational needs. Additionally, 8x8’s advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, coupled with 8x8 Secure Pay, have given agents and supervisors a real-time view into responses from Rotherham citizens, including perception of the customer experience, enabling Rotherham Council to improve and better serve their citizens securely from a single platform. "We chose 8x8 XCaaS because of its single vendor, integrated cloud communications and contact centre platform, allowing us to standardise and consolidate our telephony services and provide flexibility to our staff. The ease of implementation and availability of training for our staff meant zero disruption to provision during transition and empowered our employees to deliver the best possible services. We are excited to be working with 8x8 as we continue to enhance citizen and employee experiences.” Steve Langrick, Head of Digital Services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council oversaw the project The Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council deployment reflects the wider success 8x8 has experienced within the public sector in the UK and Ireland this year: 8x8 XCaaS is now deployed across more than one third of London’s boroughs. Additional public sector organisations who recently chose 8x8 include: The London Borough of Hounslow, which provides services for more than 270,000 residents. They selected XCaaS and 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams to consolidate disparate systems on a single cloud platform to support more than 2,800 employees. NHS National Services Scotland handles over 1 million calls per month at peak, supporting Scotland's vaccination helplines, booking services, Blood Transfusion Service and the COVID 19 Test and Protect Service. They expanded their 8x8 XCaaS investment to a current total of more than 2500 UCaaS and over 1300 CCaaS seats. Buckinghamshire Council, which provides services for around 800,000 citizens in the region, realized the value of XCaaS. Having previously deployed 8x8 UCaaS across the organization for 4500 employees, they have now added 250 CCaaS seats to further improve customer experience. Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT), an NHS provider of secondary mental health care, selected 8x8 XCaaS for 3,200 seats to improve patient safety and experience. XCaaS will integrate with key ICT platforms, provide cost-efficiency improvements year on year, enhance security compliance, and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ experience for staff. Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex provides policing, fire and rescue services for the county of Essex in the East of England, supporting 1.8 million citizens. The Essex County Fire and Rescue Service selected 8x8 UCaaS and 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams to improve their communication capabilities across 50 fire stations and more than 1,400 members of staff. Jamie Snaddon, Managing Director, EMEA at 8x8, Inc. said, “Maintaining, even enhancing, employee communications and citizen engagement is fundamental for public sector organisations to ensure citizens feel supported, especially as local demands evolve. 8x8 XCaaS provides Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council with the capabilities needed for their employees to communicate and collaborate from anywhere while delivering a differentiated level of citizen experience.” 8x8 XCaaS is built on the resilient, secure, and compliant 8x8 eXperience Communications Platform™, which offers the highest levels of reliability and the industry’s only financially backed, platform-wide 99.999 percent SLA across an integrated cloud UCaaS and CCaaS solution. About 8x8 Inc. 8x8, Inc. is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of 8x8 XCaaS™ (eXperience Communications as a Service™), an integrated contact center, voice communications, video, chat and API solution built on one global cloud communications platform. 8x8 uniquely eliminates the silos between Unified Communications as a Service and Contact Center as a Service to power the communications requirements of all employees globally as they work together to deliver differentiated customer experiences.

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AWS Announces AWS Cloud WAN

Amazon Web Services | December 03, 2021

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company announced AWS Cloud WAN, a managed wide area network service that makes it faster and easier for enterprises to build, manage, and monitor a unified global network that seamlessly connects cloud and on-premises environments. AWS Cloud WAN provides a central dashboard that enterprises can use to connect their on-premises branch offices, data centers, and Amazon Virtual Private Clouds across the AWS global network in just a few clicks. With AWS Cloud WAN, enterprises can get a complete view of their global network and use simple network policies to centrally configure and automate network management and security tasks. AWS Cloud WAN enables enterprises to use the AWS global network to provide a single unified network, which allows them to improve network health, performance, and security. Many enterprises today run their operations across multiple environments, including on-premises data centers, branch offices, and AWS. To connect these environments together, customers build and manage their own global networks, while also leveraging networking, security, and internet services from multiple third-party providers. For connectivity between cloud environments, customers use AWS networking services like Amazon VPC to easily build a logically isolated virtual network on AWS, and AWS Transit Gateway to easily interconnect multiple VPCs. For connectivity between cloud and on-premises environments, customers use AWS Direct Connect to easily create a private connection between AWS and their data centers, or create a secure AWS virtual private network (VPN) connection. However, for connectivity between on-premises data centers and branch offices, customers must invest considerable time and money to build their own physical network or build a software-defined overlay network from third-party providers. All of these networks take a different approach to connectivity, security, monitoring, and managing performance, which results in an intricate patchwork of individual networks that is complicated to configure, secure, and manage. As a result of these burdens, networking teams struggle with managing an expanding mix of network technologies that are required to securely build, scale, and operate a global network. AWS Cloud WAN is a managed WAN service that connects on-premises data centers, branch offices, and cloud resources to simplify operating a global network. With AWS Cloud WAN, enterprises can use a central dashboard and network policies to build, manage, and monitor a global network that spans multiple locations and networks—eliminating the need to configure and manage different networks individually using different technologies. Network teams can use simple network policies to specify the Amazon VPCs and on-premises locations they want to connect through AWS VPN, AWS Direct Connect, AWS Transit Gateway, and third-party software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) products, and AWS Cloud WAN generates a complete view of the network to monitor network health, security, and performance. Teams can also use network policies to automate routine network-management tasks like adding new sites or branch locations, isolating traffic between sensitive applications or locations, segmenting groups of networks to make it easier to manage network isolation between AWS and on-premises environments, or enabling specialized network or security services. For example, customers can increase their security posture by creating a policy that ensures that any network traffic from their branch locations must be routed through a network firewall before reaching their cloud resources. AWS Cloud WAN integrates with major SD-WAN and network appliance providers—including Aruba Cisco Systems, Palo Alto Networks, and VMware—allowing customers to use and manage products and services from these providers. Enterprises can now use AWS Cloud WAN to simplify the way they build, manage, and monitor their networks with a central control plane. “We hear from customers that they are tired of the complexity of managing multiple networks with different connectivity, security, and monitoring requirements using multiple third-party products and services. With AWS Cloud WAN, customers can simplify how they manage a WAN by using a central dashboard to unify the multiple networks they manage today, implement network policies for performance and security, easily add locations, and automate advanced network settings. AWS Cloud WAN removes the difficulty of stitching together and managing multiple third-party tools so customers can now more easily keep their networks securely connected and high performing.” David Brown, Vice President of Amazon EC2 at AWS To get started, customers connect their on-premises environments to AWS with the help of a telecommunications service provider. These connections bridge the gap between the customer’s data centers or colocation facilities and the AWS network, extending their existing WAN network to the cloud. Customers can then deploy a highly available global network by selecting the AWS Regions closest to their on-premises locations and then easily add or remove remote locations, data centers, or Amazon VPCs to and from their global network with just a few clicks in the AWS Cloud WAN console or using the AWS Cloud WAN application programming interface. AWS Cloud WAN is available in preview today in US East, Africa , Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific, Europe, Europe, and South America with availability in additional AWS Regions coming soon. Cisco is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. “Today’s workforce demands more flexibility, meaning organizations must ultimately rethink how they provide simple, secure connectivity to cloud applications, no matter where the user is located,” said JL Valente, Vice President of Product Management, Enterprise Routing, and SD-WAN at Cisco. “To help our customers not only meet the demands of a hybrid workforce, but also provide true end-to-end connectivity and security, Cisco has integrated Cisco SD-WAN with the AWS Cloud WAN service so customers can use automation to interconnect their users, sites and cloud workloads, reduce deployment time, and increase application performance with AWS’s global cloud network.” Deloitte is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and a leader in digital transformation strategy. Through a network of more than 345,000 professionals, industry specialists, and an ecosystem of alliances, Deloitte assists clients in turning complex business issues into opportunities for growth. “In our work with clients’ networking challenges, Deloitte strives to streamline network configuration and operation/support of large-scale cloud network environments,” said Richard Johnson, DC Managing Director at Deloitte. “AWS Cloud WAN addresses network complexity, provides visibility, and offers opportunity to become more operationally effective.” Swisscom is Switzerland’s leading telecom provider and one of its foremost IT companies, serving customers that range from small-to-medium enterprises to large international corporations that have operations in Switzerland. “We are always looking for innovations that help us deliver the network of the future to our customers, innovating ahead of their needs,” said Christoph Aeschlimann, CTIO at Swisscom. “We look to services like AWS Cloud WAN as a powerful way to help our customers take their business to the next level in agility, scalability, and competitiveness.” Verizon is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. “As a company that's been a global innovator in SD-WAN since the inception of the technology with the first global SD-WAN offering, we look forward to collaborating with AWS on this service that will give enterprises a new tool set to manage their unified global networks,” said Srini Kalapala, Vice President of Technology Development and Planning at Verizon. VMware is a leading innovator in enterprise software and cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. “AWS and VMware continue to help mutual customers shift to distributed work, extend environments to the edge, and optimize security and performance of their business-critical apps,” said Sanjay Uppal, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider and Edge Business Unit at VMware. “Enterprises don’t want to just connect to AWS; they want more controlled secure access and reliable connectivity to access apps and data inside AWS. Combining VMware Secure Access Service Edge with AWS Cloud WAN enables enterprises to deliver a more optimized and secure on-net experience for distributed environments. VMware SASE will better assure last mile reliability, maintain network segmentation end-to-end, and enable enterprise control and compliance.” Flutter is a global leader in online sports betting and gaming, with over 14 million customers globally. “To keep up with rapid growth and demand for real-time data, we built a global network with services from AWS that seamlessly connects our group divisions around the world. We recently went live and we have already seen significant improvements,” said Rupesh Kapadia, Head of Cloud, Operations & Workplace Technology at Sportsbet, the Australian division of Flutter. “Onboarding a new business to our legacy network would take months, however it now takes about five days to connect a new division to the group. AWS Cloud WAN will help us add new sites to our network even faster, whilst improving the visibility, security posture, and speed to change ahead of business expectations.” About Amazon Web Services For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 81 Availability Zones within 25 geographic regions, with announced plans for 27 more Availability Zones and nine more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. About Amazon Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon.

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Aurora Accelerates Development of the Aurora Driver with AWS

Aurora, AWS | December 02, 2021

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company announced that Aurora a leader in self-driving vehicle technology, has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider for machine learning training and cloud-based simulation workloads. Aurora uses AWS’s proven infrastructure and unparalleled portfolio of capabilities to safely accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver, its scalable self-driving vehicle technology. The Aurora Driver consists of sensors that perceive the world, software that plans a safe path through it, and a computer that powers and integrates Aurora’s hardware and software with any vehicle platform. For its machine learning training and cloud-based simulation workloads, Aurora is all-in on AWS, and it uses the cloud to process trillions of data points each day. Now, the company is scaling its training workloads in the cloud to complete up to 12 million physics-based driving simulations per day by the end of the year, building on the petabytes of data it collects during real-world road tests. Autonomous driving is an immensely complex technological challenge that relies heavily on cloud computing to enable breakthroughs in perception, embedded computing, machine learning, motion planning, decision making, and advanced sensor technologies. With AWS’s capabilities in high-performance computing, machine learning, storage, and security, Aurora optimizes and scales its virtual testing efforts to expand the capabilities of the Aurora Driver safely and quickly. “Aurora’s advanced machine learning and simulation at scale are foundational to developing our technology safely and quickly, and AWS delivers the high performance we need to maintain our progress. With its virtually unlimited scale, AWS supports millions of virtual tests to validate the capabilities of the Aurora Driver so that it can safely navigate the countless edge cases of real-world driving.” Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora Aurora’s AWS-powered Virtual Testing Suite is a unique accelerator for the development of the Aurora Driver. Aurora can use data from just one testing situation it observes in the real world to inspire hundreds of permutations in the Virtual Testing Suite. That virtual testing helps train the Aurora Driver to more quickly and safely navigate complex situations, such as road construction, jaywalkers, and unprotected left-hand turns. For example, before the Aurora Driver ever attempted an unprotected left-hand turn on a physical road, it completed nearly 2.3 million turns in simulation—estimated to be roughly equal to 20,000 hours of real-world driving practice. Aurora has been running simulations at scale on AWS since 2019, and plans to triple the volume of simulations it runs on AWS to more than 12 million per day by the end of 2021. The offline components of the Aurora Driver software stack all run on AWS, including the Virtual Testing Suite, high-definition road maps (the Aurora “Atlas”), machine learning models, and software development tools. For example, Aurora uses Amazon SageMaker (an AWS service that helps developers and data scientists build, train, and deploy machine learning models quickly) to create, run, and continuously refine the machine learning models that enable its driving simulations. With that service, Aurora accesses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types like P4d, which deliver the highest performance for machine learning training in the cloud. Before developing simulations, Aurora uses AWS to securely store and process the petabytes of data it logs during real-world testing, and then train its machine learning models on that data. The pre-processing workloads run on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) and Amazon EMR, AWS’s service for processing vast amounts of data in the cloud using open-source tools. Aurora’s machine learning training workloads then rely on AWS-optimized deep learning frameworks, such as TensorFlow and PyTorch. Finally, Aurora orchestrates and auto-scales its simulation workflows over hundreds of thousands of concurrent vCPUs and thousands of concurrent GPUs with Amazon EKS and Amazon EC2, which provides accelerated computing instance types like G4dn. “AWS’s highly scalable compute, machine learning, and analytics services are helping Aurora move self-driving vehicle technology forward, toward broad real-world use,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of Machine Learning at Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Our reliable infrastructure and comprehensive set of cloud services, including industry-leading machine learning services like Amazon SageMaker, provide the ideal foundation for Aurora to gain insights from the trillions of data points it generates every day to continuously enhance its technology. We are proud to support the acceleration of autonomous vehicle innovation, and look forward to the improved safety and efficiency the transformation of trucking, delivery, and mobility will allow.” About Amazon Web Services For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 81 Availability Zones within 25 geographic regions, with announced plans for 27 more Availability Zones and nine more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. About Amazon Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. About Aurora Founded in 2017 by experts in the self-driving industry, Aurora is on a mission to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly. To move both people and goods, the company is building the Aurora Driver, a platform that brings together software, hardware and data services to autonomously operate passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks. Aurora is backed by Sequoia Capital, Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, among others, and is partnered with industry leaders including Toyota, Uber, Volvo, and PACCAR. Aurora tests its vehicles in the Bay Area, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. The company has offices in those areas as well as in Bozeman, MT; Seattle, WA; Louisville, CO; and Wixom, MI.

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