What’s up with… Lockheed Martin, Huawei, Graphiant

  • ‘Talking on the moon’ is Lockheed Martin’s latest hit
  • Controversial Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is about to take the helm 
  • Edge enterprise networking startup Graphiant raises $62m

In today’s industry news roundup: Lockheed Martin is to build a satellite-enabled lunar network; Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is about to run the giant vendor (for six months); Graphiant banks more funds as it targets the simplified enterprise connectivity services sector; and more! 

It’s possible that astronauts orbiting the moon might soon have a better mobile data connection than commuters stuck on a delayed train outside London’s Clapham Junction station if giant US aerospace and defence technology company Lockheed Martin is successful with its latest space-age plans. The company has launched Crescent Space Services which, the company says, will offer “infrastructure-as-a-service for lunar missions” (no, it’s not yet April fool’s day…). “As humankind expands its presence beyond low-earth orbit, one of the first key challenges is uninterrupted communications between Earth, the moon, and the growing number of lunar missions. To do this seamlessly – especially on the far side of the moon – customers need a network that helps them talk over vast distances,” noted Lockheed Martin. The company plans to offer a service called Parsec by deploying a  “constellation of small lunar satellites that will collectively work to provide continuous connection between Earth and the people and assets in lunar orbit, as well as on the surface of the moon.” All we ask is that they don’t get Pink Floyd to provide the launch entertainment… Read more

Huawei’s controversial CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the giant vendor’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is about to take the helm of the company (as ‘rotating chairwoman’) for six months starting on 1 April, according to multiple Chinese media reports. Huawei gives its senior executive team members short stints as the lead executive of the company, hence the ‘rotating’ term, but Meng has not held this post before, although she was identified as one of the rotating executives (insert your own joke here…) in April 2022. Meng is infamous for her stint under house arrest in Canada when the US tried to extradite her for breaking economic sanctions. She was eventually released and flew back to China in September 2021 after striking a deal with US prosecutors.  

Edge-enabled enterprise connectivity platform specialist Graphiant has raised $62m in its Series B funding round, taking its total raised to $96m. The company says it “provides a next-gen network edge that combines the performance and security of MPLS with the agility that is only attainable with ‘as-a-service’ delivery,” and claims to be much more cost effective than SD-WAN for connectivity to multiple locations, multiple clouds and other businesses. It already boasts Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud as partners. “The value proposition Graphiant provides to large enterprises is clearer and more dramatic than any other solution out there, so the early and strong adoption of Graphiant by that market has not been a surprise,” noted Mike Goguen, founder and managing partner at Two Bear Capital, one of the investors, alongside Sequoia Capital. “But seeing large service providers also enthusiastically partner with Graphiant has been unexpected and significantly boosts the company’s potential for massive and positive impact on the global WAN market as a whole,” added Goguen. Graphiant was identified earlier this year by research house Futuriom as one of the “strongest private companies in key markets for cloud and communications infrastructure, including cloud cybersecurity” in its Futuriom 50 report

Chinese e-commerce and digital technology giant Alibaba has unveiled what it describes as “a new organisational and governance structure to empower all its businesses to become more agile, enhance decision-making, enable faster responses to market changes, and promote innovation to capture opportunities in their respective markets and industries, thereby unlocking the value of Alibaba Group’s various businesses.” This essentially involves making each of the company’s six units (including the cloud intelligence, global digital business, and digital media and entertainment units) independent, with their own CEOs and ability to raise their own capital or conduct an initial public offering (IPO). The news came just as Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, resurfaced in China after “a long absence,” the BBC reported

Vodafone UK is shutting off its own rich communications services (RCS) platform as it shifts over to Google’s Jibe Cloud messaging platform – a move announced earlier this year. The operator has sent a message to some customers to say that Vodafone’s own RCS implementation would be shut down after 31 March, according to 9to5Google.

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