IBM has laid off approximately 50 and 70 per cent of staff this week in its Watson Health division, according to inside sources. The axe, we're told, is largely falling on IBMers within companies the IT goliath has taken over in the past few years to augment Watson's credentials in the health industry. These include medical data biz Truven, which was acquired in 2016 for $2.6bn, medical imaging firm Merge, bought in 2015 for $1bn, and healthcare management business Phytel, also snapped up in 2015. Yesterday and today, staff were let go at IBM's offices in Dallas, Texas, as well as in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado, in the US, and elsewhere, it is claimed. A spokesperson for Big Blue was not available for comment.
AT&T is standing by its 5GE branding, saying that it is right to communicate to customers when they are in a faster zone. Speaking during Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo told ZDNet that 5GE is distinct from the carrier's 5G service. "I think if you look at 5GE, and this is the evolution platform that we've created and then that will become the foundation upon which we build 5G, these are two separate platforms," Arroyo said. "So what's important for us is when a customer is in a 5GE environment, which ultimately provides them access to faster speeds when they have the right device. When they have the right network, we want them to know they're in an environment that's going to perform better. AT&T's 5GE messaging lets customers know when their compatible device is in a 5G Evolution area, providing speeds and coverage that all other carriers are calling LTE Advanced. The 5GE branding caused an uproar among its rival carriers, with Sprint even filing a lawsuit earlier this month claiming that it is false and misleading, and is causing Sprint to lose revenue. Read also: Did AT&T trick your business into paying for fake 5G? Sprint lawsuit says yes (TechRepublic) T-Mobile -- which plans to merge with Sprint this year -- likewise mocked AT&T's 5GE branding last month, while Verizon CTO Kyle Malady criticised the move. AT&T announced its 5G network going live in mid-December in parts of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco, Atlanta, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Raleigh. In the first half of 2019, it will also be switched on across Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Nashville, as well as in Chicago and Minneapolis. Arroyo said AT&T is working with Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson on providing the tech behind its 5G deployments. CTO Andre Fuetsch this week told ZDNet that AT&T will be bringing Samsung's 5G smartphones onto the network later this year, as well as its existing home broadband Nighthawk router. The chief technology officer also spoke on how the 5G Massive MIMO antennas could actually open up new enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities thanks to more precise location data. "What's really unique about that technology that we'll be deploying is it has characteristics such as beamforming, which allows us ... [to] send a stream directly to your device," Fuetsch said. "It actually allows you to know exactly where that device is, and so now you've just kind of opened up this whole new world of very precise location, and that's something we've never been able to do before.
Google, Facebook and other internet giants would disclose the algorithms they use to return search results under new legislation proposed by US law makers. The bipartisan Filter Bubble Transparency Act also would require the online companies to offer users an unfiltered search option that delivers results without any algorithmic tinkering. Senator John Thune, a Republican from North Dakota, filed the bill on Friday. The legislation was co-sponsored by Republican senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Marsha blackburn of Tennessee, as well as Democrats Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Warner of Virginia. Senator John Thune, a Republican from North Dakota, filed the bipartisan'Filter Bubble Transparency Act,' which would require internet companies to reveal algorithms used to determine online searches The online firm, owned by Alphabet, like other internet companies relies on algorithms - a highly-specific set of instructions to computers - that track users' behavior and location Thune says the legislation is needed because'people are increasingly impatient with the lack of transparency,' on the internet, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US -- with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx and Intel. The agency announced 10 states that will participate in the the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an effort that aims to study the potential uses of drones in agriculture, commerce, emergency management, and human transportation. The 10 pilot winners include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in Durant, Oklahoma; the City of San Diego, California; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, in Herndon, Virginia; the Kansas Department of Transportation; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; the North Carolina Department of Transportation; the North Dakota Department of Transportation; the City of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. First announced last October, the UAS program aims to partner the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, along with private sector technology companies, to explore the integration of drone operations across industries. The program will also address public safety and security risks that go along with bringing drones into the national airspace.
The US government is making good on its promise to expand the use of drones. The Department of Transportation has named the 10 projects that will participate in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, and they represent a wide swath of the country. Most of them are municipal or state government bodies, including the cities of Reno and San Diego, Memphis' County Airport Authority and the Transportation Departments for Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota. However, the rest are notable: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will be part of the program, as will the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Virginia Tech. Notably, Virginia Tech is working with Google's Project Wing drone delivery initiative as well as transportation and tech giants like Airbus, AT&T and Intel.