What’s up with… Nvidia and Amazon, Orange, Bell Canada

  • Nvidia and Amazon back multimillion AI project in the US and Japan
  • Orange unveils plans to scale AI across its 26 operating markets
  • Bell Canada taps Google Cloud for customer service boost

In today’s industry news roundup: Nvidia and Amazon plough millions of dollars into an university-corporate AI partnership between the US and Japan; Orange plans to deploy AI closer to its operations and customers; Bell Canada partners with Google Cloud to offer AI-powered contact centre solutions to businesses; and more!

Nvidia and Amazon have both committed to investing $25m in an AI-focused research partnership between the University of Washington in the US and the University of Tsukuba in Japan. The funding is part of a wider $110m collaboration between the two nations, which will also see private sector investment from Arm and Softbank Group, Microsoft, and nine Japanese companies. The US Embassy and Consulates in Japan announced in a statement that the collaboration will focus on “the nexus between AI-related research and workforce development”. In a separate statement, Nvidia explained that the initiative will back research in “critical areas where AI can drive impactful change, such as robotics, healthcare, climate change and atmospheric science, among others.” Amazon explained that its collaboration with the academic institutions will span 10 years and cover four key programmes, including AI research, post-doctoral and PhD fellowships, an undergraduate summer AI research programme, and an entrepreneurship bootcamp programme.

Still with AI… Orange has expanded its partnership with Google Cloud to deploy AI and generative AI (GenAI) closer to operations and customers. By using Google Distributed Cloud, the telco group noted that AI will be used across workstreams in its 26 operating countries. “This collaboration will bring the cloud to Orange’s own datacentres, protecting sensitive workloads that must stay on-premises and also enabling Orange to filter extremely high-volume data, such as over one petabyte a day of network telemetry,” the company explained in a statement unveiling the move. It explained that this will help its local teams to deploy AI applications more quickly, and will open doors to new business opportunities, as “it makes it possible for use cases to be delivered across many Orange countries.” In implementing AI, there will be a specific focus on making the company’s networks smarter, increasing its operational efficiency and improving the customer experience. “This partnership with Google Cloud and the cutting-edge solutions announced today are foundational to Orange achieving AI at scale and is a major step towards unlocking significant value from all of our data,” argued Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange.

The news on Google Cloud and its AI solutions doesn’t stop there… Bell Canada has joined forces with the hyperscaler to enable it to offer the Google Cloud Contact Center AI (CCAI) to Canadian businesses. Described by the telco as “the first fully AI solution for Bell enterprise and mid-market customers”, the offering promises to deliver “intelligent customer and agent experience” by leveraging GenAI technology. According to Bell Canada, this will add scalability and flexibility to contact centre environments through technical solutions, such as “natural-sounding” virtual agents, a virtual supervisor that uses real-time natural language processing to determine customer needs, and actionable insights into customer experience. Find out more.

And unsurprisingly, yet more news on AIMicrosoft has unveiled plans to invest $2.9bn in its AI and cloud infrastructure in Japan over the next two years. The tech giant also plans to provide AI skills to more than 3 million people in the next three years, to open its first Microsoft Research Asia lab in Japan, and to deepen its cybersecurity partnership with the Japanese government. “These investments aim to support Japan’s key pillar to tackle deflation and stimulate the economy by expanding the infrastructure, skilled talent, and security required to accelerate Japan’s digital transformation and adoption of AI,” Microsoft noted in a statement, adding that this step represents its single largest investment in its 46-year history in Japan. The move comes days after the company announced plans to open an AI hub in London, UK.

The UK government has allocated an additional £165m in funding to build full-fibre networks in rural areas across England, including South Yorkshire, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Herefordshire, the Forest of Dean, the Peak District, Dorset and Somerset. Nearly 90,000 premises are set to benefit from broadband speeds of up to 1,000 Mbit/s, which the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology claimed is up to 30 times faster than connections relying on traditional copper cables. Contracts have been awarded to Quickline, FullFibre, Wessex Internet, Wildanet and Voneus. The new batch of funding is part of a wider initiative to boost rural broadband coverage, with total investment committed now amounting to £1.3bn. Read more.

– The staff, TelecomTV

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