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In 2019, the Trump administration brokered a deal allowing T-Mobile to buy Sprint as long as it helped Dish Network stand up a new 5G network to keep the number of national wireless carriers at four and preserve competition in the mobile market. You can say a lot about that deal, but it happened. And now, in 2022, Dish’s network — which is called Project Genesis, that’s a real name — is slowly getting off the ground. And it’s built on a new kind of wireless technology called Open Radio Access Network, or ORAN. Dish’s network is only the third ORAN network in the entire world, and if ORAN works, it will radically change how the entire wireless industry operates.

I have wanted to know more about ORAN for a long time. So today, I’m talking to Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile. Rakuten Mobile is a new wireless carrier in Japan. It just launched in 2020. It’s also the world’s first ORAN network, and Tareq basically pushed this whole concept into existence.

Tareq’s big idea, an Open Radio Access Network, is to break apart the hardware and software and make it so that many more vendors can build radio access hardware that Rakuten Mobile can run its own software on. Think about it like a Mac versus a PC: a Mac is Apple hardware running Apple’s software, while a PC can come from anyone and run Windows just fine or run another operating system if you want.

That’s the promise of ORAN: that it will increase competition and lower costs for cellular base station hardware, allow for more software innovation, and generally make networks faster and more reliable because operators like Rakuten Mobile will be in tighter control of the software that runs the networks and move all that software from the hardware itself to cloud services like Amazon AWS.

Since Rakuten Mobile is making all this software that can run on open hardware, they can sell it to other people. So Tareq is also the CEO of Rakuten Symphony, which — you guessed it — is helping Dish run its network here along with another network called 1&1 in Germany.

I really wanted to know if ORAN is going to work, and how Tareq managed to make it happen in such a traditional industry. So we got into it — like, really into it.

Okay, Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile. Here we go.

Tareq Amin is the CEO of Rakuten Mobile and the CEO of Rakuten Symphony. Welcome to Decoder.

Thank you, Nilay. Pleasure being with you.

I am excited to talk to you. Rakuten Mobile is one of the leaders in this next generation of wireless networks being built and I am very curious about it. It is in Japan, but we have a largely US-based audience, so can you explain what Rakuten is? What kind of company is it, and what is its presence like in Japan?

The Rakuten Group as a whole is not a telecom company, but mostly an internet services company. It started as one of the earliest e-commerce technology companies in Japan. Today, it is one of the largest in e-commerce, fintech, banking, travel, et cetera. These significant internet services were primarily built around a massive ecosystem in Japan, and the only missing piece for Rakuten as a group was the mobile connectivity business. That is why I came to Japan, to help build and launch a disruptive architecture for its mobile 4G/5G network.

Let me make a really bad comparison here. This company has been a huge internet services provider for a while. This is kind of like if Yahoo was massively successful and started a wireless network.

Correct. I mean, think of Amazon. What would happen if Amazon launched a mobile network in the US? This is the best analogy I could give, because Rakuten operates at that scale in Japan. This company with a disruptive mindset, disruptive skill set, disruptive culture, and disruptive organization endorsed my super crazy idea of how we should build this next-generation mobile infrastructure. I think that is where I attribute most of the success. The company’s DNA and culture is just remarkably different.

So it’s huge. How is it structured overall? How is Rakuten Mobile a part of that structure?

Of all the entities today, I think the founder and chairman of the company, Mickey [Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani], is probably one of the most innovative leaders I have ever had the opportunity to work with. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the interactions we have with him. He is down to earth and his leadership style is definitely hands-on; he doesn’t really operate at a high level.

The fundamental belief of Rakuten is around synergistic impact for its ecosystem. The company has 71 internet-facing services in Japan — we also operate globally, by the way — and you as a consumer have one membership ID that you benefit from. The points/membership/loyalty is the foundation of what this company works on. Regardless of which services you consume, they are all tied through this unique ID across all 71.

The companies and the organizations internally have subsidiaries and legal structures that would separate all of them, but synergistically, they are all connected through this membership/points/loyalty system. We think it is really critical to grow the synergistic impact of not just one service, but the collective services, to the end consumer.

Today, Rakuten Mobile is a subsidiary of the group, and Rakuten Symphony is more focused on our platform business. It focuses on the globalization of the technology and architecture we have done in Japan, by selling and promoting to global customers.

When you say Symphony, do you mean the wireless network technology or the technology of the whole company?

Symphony itself is much more than just wireless. Of course, it has Edge Cloud connectivity architecture, the wireless technology stack for 4G/5G, and life cycle management for automation operations. In August of last year we launched Rakuten Symphony as a formal entity to take all the technology we have now and promote it to a global customer base.

I think one of the reasons you and I are having this conversation is because Dish Network in the United States is a Symphony customer. They are launching a next-generation 5G network and I have been very curious about how that is going. It sounds like Symphony is a big piece of the puzzle there.

To provide you a bit of background, maybe we should start with the mobile business in Japan, because it is the foundation this idea initially started from. So, I would tell you, I have had a super crazy life. I am really blessed that I had the opportunity to work with amazing leaders and across three continents so far. My previous experiences before coming to Japan, which involved building another large greenfield network in India called Reliance Jio, have taught me quite a bit.

To be very frank with you, it taught me the value of the US dollar. When you go into a country where the economy of units — how much you could charge a consumer — is one to two US dollars, the idea of supply chain procurement and cost has to change. You have to find a way to build cost-efficient networks.

The launch of Reliance Jio was very successful and became a really good Cinderella story for the industry. I am extremely thankful for what Jio has taught me personally, and I have always wondered what I would do differently if I had a second opportunity to build a greenfield.

To provide everybody listening to this podcast some perspective, the mobile technology industry has been about nothing but hardware changes since the inception of the first 1G in 1981. You just take the old hardware and replace it with new hardware. Nothing has changed in the way we deploy networks when the Gs change, even now in 2022. It is still complex and expensive, and I don’t think the essence of AI and autonomy exist in the DNA of these networks. That is why when you look at the cost expenditures to build new technology like 5G, it is so cost-prohibitive.

It was by coincidence that I met the chairman and CEO of Rakuten group, Mickey Mikitani, and I loved everything that Rakuten is all about. Like most people, I didn’t necessarily know who Rakuten was at the time. I only knew of them because I love football (soccer) and they were a big sponsor of FC Barcelona.

When Mickey started explaining the company fabric to me, about its DNA and internet services, I thought about what a significant opportunity he would have if he adopted a different architecture in how these networks are deployed — one that moves away from proprietary hardware. What would happen if we remove the hardware completely and build the world’s first, and only, cloud-native software telco?

Let me be really honest with you, this was just in PPT at the time. I conceived the idea thinking about what I would do differently if I were granted another opportunity like Reliance Jio. One of the first key elements I wanted to change is adopting this unique cloud architecture, because nobody had really deployed an end-to-end horizontal cloud across any telco yet.

The second element — which you have probably heard of because the industry has been talking about it excitedly — is this thing called Open RAN, which is the idea of disaggregating hardware and software. The third element, my ultimate dream, is the enablement of a full autonomous network that is able to run itself, fix itself, and heal itself without human beings.

This is the journey of mobile, and I think this is what differentiates us so much. I can’t say I had a recipe that defined what success would look like, but I was obsessed. Obsessed with creating a world-class organization with a larger ecosystem, and getting everybody motivated about this concept that did not exist four years ago.

Now here we are, post commercial launch. The world is celebrating what we have done. They like and enjoy the ideas around this disaggregated network, and they love the concept of cloud-native architecture. What I love the most is that we opened up a healthy debate across the globe. We really encourage and support what Dish is doing in the United States by deploying Open RAN as an architecture. I think this is absolutely the right platform to build resilient, scalable, cost-effective mobile networks for the future.

That is the high-level story of how this journey started with a super crazy, ambitious idea that nobody thought would succeed. If you go back four years to some of the press releases that were published, I cannot tell you how many times I was told I’m crazy or that I’m going to fail. As I said, we became fanatic about this idea, and that is what drove us all to emotionally connect to the mission, the objective. I am very, very happy to see the results that the team has achieved.

I want to take that in stages. I definitely want to talk about Jio, because it is a really interesting foundational element of this whole story. I want to talk about what you have built with O-RAN, and how that works in the industry. I also want to talk about where it could go as a platform for the network providers. But I have to ask you the Decoder question first. You have described your ideas as super crazy like five times now. You are the CEO of a big wireless provider in Japan, and you are selling that stuff to other CEOs. I have to ask you the Decoder question. How do you make decisions?

I know this might sound a little controversial, but I have to tell you. In any project I have taken, even from my early days, we have always been taught that you have to have a Plan A and a Plan B. This has never worked for me. I have a concept I call, “No Plan B for me.”

I don’t go in thinking, “This project will fail, therefore I need to look at alternatives and options,” so I am absolutely not thinking about making big, bold decisions. I live by a basic philosophy that it is okay to fail sometimes, but let’s fail fast so we can pick ourselves up and progress. I am not saying people shouldn’t have Option A and Option B. I just feel that, for me personally, Option B might provide my mind the opportunity to entertain that there is an escape clause. That may not necessarily be a good thing when working on ambitious projects. I think you need to be committed to your beliefs and ideas.

I have made some tough calls during my career, but for whatever reason, I have never really been thinking about the consequences of failure. Sometimes we learn more from the mistakes we make and from having difficult experiences, whether they are personal or professional. I think my decision-making capability is one that is very bold, trying to make the team believe in the objectives that we are trying to accomplish and not worrying about failure. Sometimes you just need to be focused on the idea and the mission. Yes, the results are important, but that is not the only thing I am married to.

This is how I have operated all my life, and so far, I am really happy with some of the thinking I have adopted. I am not saying people should not have options in their lives, but this idea of “no Plan B” has its merits in certain projects. How can you adapt your leadership style when approaching projects, rather than thinking, “What is the other option?”

I think with deploying millions upon millions of dollars of mobile broadband equipment, it often feels like you have got to be committed. Let’s talk about that, starting with Jio. If the listeners don’t know, Reliance Jio is now the biggest carrier in India. It is extremely popular, but it launched as a pretty disruptive challenger against other carriers of 4G like Airtel. You just gave it away for free for like the first six months, and it has been lower-cost ever since. This is not the new idea though, right? It is not the open hardware-software disaggregated network that you are talking about now. How did you make Jio so cheap at the beginning?

I will tell you a one-minute prelude. I was sitting very comfortably in Newport Beach when I got a call from my friend. He asked me if I would be interested in going to India and being part of a leadership team to build this ambitious, audacious idea for a massive network at scale, in a country that has north of 1.3 billion people. My first reaction was, “What do I know about India? I have colleagues, but I have never really been there.”

It seemed like an interesting opportunity, and he encouraged me to go meet the executive leadership team of Reliance Jio. I remember flying to Dallas to have a conversation with three leaders that I didn’t really know at the time. One of them in particular, I have to tell you, the more he talked, the more I just wanted to listen. I was amazed by his ambition for what he wanted to achieve in the country.

What was his name?

Mukesh Ambani. I have learned quite a bit from him. India was ranked 154th in the world in mobile broadband penetration before Reliance Jio. The idea was, “Can we assemble an organization that brings ubiquitous connectivity anywhere and everywhere you go across the country? Can 1.3 billion people benefit from this massive transformation that offers cutting-edge services?”

At the time, LTE was the service that Jio launched with. I was really amazed by this ambition and how big it was. I said, “This is an opportunity I just cannot pass up.” It was much bigger than the financial reward; it was an opportunity of learning and understanding. I truly enjoy meeting different cultures. The more I interact with people from different parts of the world, the more it fuels the energy inside me.

So I picked myself up and I moved to India. I landed in the old Mumbai airport, and when I powered on my device, I saw a symbol I hadn’t seen in the US for a decade — 2G. I knew the opportunity Jio had if we did this right. I mean, think about it. 2G. What is really the definition of broadband? 256 kilobits per second? That’s not internet services. The foundation of Jio started with this.

I will tell you the big things that I have learned. Most people think the way you achieve the best pricing is through a process called request for proposals and reverse auctions, to bring vendors and partners to compete against each other. Sometimes there is a better way to do this. You find larger companies where the CEOs have emotion and connection to the idea that you are building, and are willing to work with you as a true partner.

One of the key, fundamental pillars I learned from Jio is that not everything is about status quo. How you run provider selection, vendor selection, or requests for proposal, everything starts from the top leadership of partners you select. They need the ability to connect with the emotional journey — because it is an emotional journey after all — to do something at the scale of what Jio wanted to do. One of the biggest lessons I learned is the process of selecting suppliers who are uniquely different.

In terms of building a network at a relatively low cost, I will explain how this Open RAN idea came in. During my tenure at Jio, I really started thinking that in order to build a network at scale, regardless of how cheap your labor is, you need to fundamentally change your operating platforms for digitization. Jio would have north of 100,000 people a day working in the field, deploying sites. How do you manage them — provide them tasks, check on the quality of installation they do, and audit the work before you turn up any of the bay stations, sites, or radio units?

I have driven this entire digitization and the digital workflows associated with it to connect everybody in India, whether it is Jio employees, contractors, or distributed organizations. Up to 400,000 people at any instant of time would come to the systems that my team has built. That changed everything. It changed the mentality of how we drive cost efficiency and how we run the operations.

This is where I would tell you that big building blocks started formulating in my mind around automation and its impact to operational efficiency if you approach it with a completely fundamental point of view from the current legacy systems you find in other telcos. Because of the constraint of financial pressure on what we call the average revenue per user, the RPU, which is the measurement of how much you charge a mobile customer, I wanted to find a different way to deploy the network.

When you build a network like Jio that has to support 1.3 billion, it’s not just about these big, massive radio sites you deploy. We need things called small cells, which are products that look like Wi-Fi access points, but you deploy lots of them to achieve what we call a heterogeneous design, a design that has big and small sites to meet capacity and coverage requirements.

I prepared an amazing presentation about small cells to the leadership team of Jio and I thought I kicked it out of the park. But then I was asked a question I have never heard in my life. Imagine! I am a veteran in this industry and have been doing this for a very long time. Someone said, “Tareq, I love your strategy. Can you tell me who the chipset provider is for the small cell product?” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” I have never been asked such a question by any operator that I have ever worked for outside of India.

I was told, “Look, Tareq, money doesn’t grow on trees in India. You need to know the cost. To know the cost, you must understand the component cost.” That was the first building block. I said, “Okay, next time I come to this meeting, I am not going to be uneducated anymore.”

I took on a small project which, at the time, did not seem audacious to me. I said, “Look, if I go to an electronics shop in the US, like a Best Buy, I could buy a Wi-Fi access point for $100. If I buy an enterprise access point from a large supplier, it costs $1,000.” I wanted to know what the difference is, so I hired five of the best university graduates one could ask for, and I asked them a trivial question. “Open both boxes, write the part numbers.” I had a really great friend at Qualcomm, and I remember this gentleman saying, “Tareq, you are becoming too dangerous.”

Right. You are the network operator. You’re their margin.

That is where everything started clicking for me. The chairman of Jio was not afraid to think the way I wanted to think, so I told him, “Look, I want to build our own Wi-Fi access point. If we buy an access point at $1,000, I am now convinced I could get you an access point at sub-$100.” A year later, the total cost of the Wi-Fi access point we built in Jio was $35.

This delta between $1,000 and $35 translates to a substantial amount of money saved, and it started by disaggregating everything. Jio enabled its cost structure, and it was able to offer it for free because it had an amazing partnership with suppliers that secured great business terms. Simplification of technology, LTE only, and an amazing process for network rollout all played huge factors in lowering the cost and economics for Jio.

Let me ask you more about that. Jio is a transformative network, and is now obviously the most popular in India. You were able to offer a much lower-cost product than the traditional cell providers with what sounds like very clever business moves. You went and negotiated new kinds of provider agreements and you said, “We have to actually integrate our products, find lower chips at cost, and make our own products. We have to build a new, efficient way to deploy the network with our technicians.”

To your credit, those are excellent management moves. At their core though, they are not technology moves. Now that you are onto Rakuten and saying you are going to build O-RAN, that is a technology play. Broadly, it sounds like you are going to take the management playbook that made Jio work, and now you are lowering costs even further with the technology of O-RAN — or you are proving out a technology that will one day enable further lower costs.

There were two things I could not do in Jio, and it’s not really anybody’s fault, the timing just wasn’t right. If you look at building a mobile network, I think everybody now more or less understands that you need antennas, bay stations, radio access, and core network infrastructure. But unless you are in this industry, you don’t realize the complexity of the operation tools that one needs in order to run and manage this distributed massive infrastructure.

The first thing I wanted to change in Jio is the traditional architecture. This management layer is called OSS [operation subsystems], and it is archaic, to put it politely. If you work in an adjacent vertical industry such as hyperscalers, an internet-facing company, you will be scratching your head saying, “I cannot believe this is how networks are managed today.”

Despite the elegance of the Gs and changing from one to five, the process of managing a network is as archaic as you could ever imagine. The idea of a true customer experience management is aloof; it is still a dream that nobody has enabled. The first thing I wanted to do is to change the paradigm of having thousands of disaggregated toolsets to manage a network into a consolidated platform. It was an idea that I couldn’t drive in Jio. I will tell you why that is even more important than Open RAN. These building blocks are for new architecture, the next generation of OSS.

If we build these operation platforms on a new modern architecture that supports real-time telemetry, the idea is to get real-time information about every element and node that you have into your network. Being able to correlate them and apply AI machine learning on top of them requires modern-age platforms. It is so critical to my dream.

Our success will not be celebrated because of Open RAN, but the grander vision of having Rakuten talked about as a company that does what Tesla has done for the electric industry in terms of autonomy. Autonomy in mobile networks is an absolutely amazing opportunity to build a resilient and reliable network that has better security architecture and does not need the complexity of the way we run and manage networks today. That was the first building block.

The impact of these big building blocks is massive. Here is the second thing I couldn’t do in Reliance Jio at the time. If you look at a pie chart on the cost structure for mobile networks, you may say, “Where do we spend money?” Regardless of geography, regardless of country, 70 to 80 percent of your spending always goes into this thing called radio access. Radio access today has been a private club that is really meant for about four or five companies, and that’s it. There is no diversification of the supply chain. You have no option but to buy from Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, or ZTE. Nobody else could sell you the products of radio access.

The radio access products are the base stations?

Correct. Those are the base stations.

That is the components of the cell tower.

Yes, and they contribute to about 70 percent of the capex [capital expenditure]. They are the one area that no startup has ever embraced and said, “You know what? Why don’t we try to disaggregate this? Why don’t we start to move away from the traditional architecture for how these base stations are deployed? Instead of running on custom hardware, custom ASICs, let’s use true software that runs on commodity appliances equivalent to what you would find inside data centers.”

This concept has been talked about, but nobody was willing to take the risk in any startup. Maybe I was wrong that your job is secure if you pick a traditional vendor. That is what I was thinking through, four years ago.

This is like “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

Something like that.

Let me ask you this. Is it because the initial investment is so high? There are not many startup wireless networks in the world. When they do start, they need an enormous amount of capital just to buy the spectrum. Are the stakes too high to take that kind of risk?

I think as an industry, we make the mistake of not rewarding and supporting startups the way we should. Our ability to incubate and build a thriving ecosystem that is built on new innovations, ideas, and startups is still a dream. I do not think anyone in telecom would argue with that. The reality is that everybody wants to see it happening, but we are just not there yet.

It was complex to do what we did in Japan. It was not simple, nor was it easy. When you have a running network carrying massive amounts of traffic, of course there are risks that you are going to have to take. The risk in that case is ensuring that you don’t disrupt your running base with poor quality services. Maybe the fear in people’s minds is that this technology is not ready, or integrating it into their networks is too complex, or they don’t have the right skillset to go into a software-defined world where they will need to upscale or hire new organization.

You said that right now the four vendors are Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE. You have moved to Open RAN, open radio access, in Japan. Do you have more vendors than those four? Are you actually using the commodity hardware with the software defined network? Or is it still those four vendors but now you can run your code on them?

The foundation of success for Rakuten Mobile today started by Rakuten itself enabling and acquiring one of the most disruptive companies in this Open RAN space. We bought a company in Boston called Altiostar, and I thought they had everything one could dream about, except nobody was willing to provide them a chance. I diversified my hardware supply chain and purchased hardware through 11 suppliers. I mandated where manufacturing can happen, in terms of product, security, and chipsets. Also, the era that we entered focused on heightened security, especially around 5G. I felt really good about our ability to control manufacturing and supply chain.

The software Altiostar provided was the radio software for this entire open access network in Japan. Altiostar software is now running over 290,000 radiating elements. I mean, this is massive; 98 percent of the population coverage of Japan is served there.

I provide huge credit to the large vendors. Nokia had a very big internal debate when I told them, “I want to buy your hardware, but not your software.” I know their board had to approve it, but this is the beauty of software disaggregation. Now, I buy one hardware aspect of the Nokia and Altiostar is running the radio software for that platform. We now have a diversified supply chain and we are no longer just counting on four hardware suppliers. We have a common software stack. The big building block, which is this OSS, has enabled our own platforms and tools.

Rakuten has purchased Altiostar from Boston. We have purchased an innovative cloud company in Silicon Valley called Robin.io for our Edge Cloud. We have purchased the OSS company called InnoEye and formulated this integrated technology stack that is now part of Rakuten Symphony.

You have described Rakuten’s network as being in the cloud several times. Very simply, what does it mean for a wireless network to be cloud-based?

To provide you an image, four years ago I was asked to do a keynote in Japan on my first day there. Thanks to my translator, I think people understood the concepts I was explaining to them. I said, “Here is an image of what we don’t want to build.”

If I show you how to deliver voice and video messaging, most of the telecom networks across the world, even today, are still running into boxes of hardware. Having a cloud network means that your workloads are now moved away from proprietary implementation, to a complete network function software components. These software components run with the beauty of what is called microservices for software, and run with the elegance of things that cloud inherently supports, like capacity management, auto-elasticity, scale in, and scale out.

This is basic terminology. I’m not telling you about things that have been invented by Rakuten Mobile. It is thanks to Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, who have innovated like crazy on the cloud. I have just benefited from the innovation that they have done to deliver on scalability, resiliency, reliability, and a cost efficiency that one could never have imagined.

When it comes to the cost, this is a hyper-operation structure. There are 279,000 radiating elements, and the operational headcount in Rakuten Mobile is still sitting below 250 people.

That’s crazy.

As the number increases, there is no direct proportionality between the number of units in the network versus the number of employees in the network. There is absolutely no direct correlation whatsoever anymore. To me, that is what cloud is all about. All the things on top of it are modules that you need to derive to the operational efficiency that we did in Japan.

From an end user perspective, you have now architected this network differently. You have created a small revolution in the wireless industry from the provider level, where you can buy any hardware from 11 suppliers and run your software on it. Does the end user see an appreciable difference in quality? Or does it just lower the cost?

There is a huge difference from the end user point of view. One of the key reasons that Rakuten was encouraged and supported was because we were determined to enter the mobile segment in Japan. We felt that competition was stagnant, and the cost per user is one of the most expensive in the world.

To benefit the end consumer, we took a chapter from Jio’s strategy on lowering the cost burden economically. We did something that was so simple. At the time, the average plan rate in Japan was sitting about $100 US per user. We dropped that cost to $27 US, unlimited, no caps. When you go inside our stores, we change everything. We said, “Look, you don’t need to think about the plans. There is only one plan. That’s it.”

From a choices point of view, we made life super simple. We bundled local, we bundled international, we bundled everything under one local plan, and we tied it synergistically to the larger ecosystem of Rakuten. You acquire points as you buy things on e-commerce, as you buy things on our travel website, as you buy things from Rakuten Energy, or as you subscribe to Rakuten Bank. You could then use these points to pay off your cellular bill. The $27 could effectively be zero, because of the synergistic impact of other services you consume in Rakuten and the points you acquire from all of them.

Would Rakuten Mobile be profitable at $27 a customer? Is it being subsidized by the larger Rakuten?

We have to be profitable. Spectrum here is not auctioned in Japan; we are allocated spectrum, but there are conditions to it. You cannot just run a business that is not profitable standalone. So we will break even in Rakuten Mobile and make it standalone.

The way I think about it, it is not subsidized by the ecosystem. If I acquire you as a mobile customer, because of the impact I could bring to that larger sales contribution of you potentially buying from e-commerce or travel, I am using connectivity to empower the purchases of these 70-plus internet services, so we are actually contributing to the larger group. As long as the total top line revenue is increased because of mobile contribution, the group as a whole is going to be in good shape.

Even with standalone mobile, we are committed to our break-even point. We need to make it a profitable standalone business. The group as a whole has remarkable synergistic impact in our business. That is the benefit in value.

Now there is another benefit on the network architecture. Today we talk about the essence of marketing with Edge. The definition is so simple. It is all about bringing content as close to your device as humanly possible, to bring content close to you. I would always argue, if you have nothing but virtual machines or network functions that are software, the ability for you to move these software components from large data centers and all the way to the Edge is trivial. Hardware reallocation becomes more complex.

When the Edge use cases in Rakuten Mobile get delivered, you are hopefully going to hear some very amazing news about the lowest latency in the world delivered over the 5G network. This is the beginning of what is possible for new use cases for the consumer.

Think of cloud gaming. It has never been successful, at least in wireless, because networks could not sustain the latency that it would require. Speed, in my opinion, is a stupid metric to talk about. We should talk about latency, latency, latency! How do you deliver sub-4-millisecond latency on a wireless network?

It hasn’t happened yet on licensed spectrum, but I think you are going to see it very soon. There is an advantage to this software architecture and the creation of new age applications for cloud gaming. Even as we talk, people are getting excited about the metaverse, which will need these use cases to come alive in the mobile fabric.

So you have talked about Open RAN, how you have built it, how you have architected the network for Rakuten Mobile, how you have new software layers, and how you have new hardware relationships. You are also the CEO of Rakuten Symphony, which is the company inside Rakuten that would then license all these components to other vendors. Dish Network in this country is one of those providers, and they are at the beginning stages of trying to build a brand new greenfield Open RAN 5G network. If you were going to build an Open RAN network in the United States, how would you do it?

My focus would probably be a lot different than many people would think. It is not about technology. I have never in my life approached a problem where I think technology is the issue. We do not provide ourselves enough credit for how creative we are as human beings and our ability to solve complex problems.

The first thing I would start with is structure, organization, and culture. What is the culture you need to have to do amazing, disruptive things? When I moved to Japan, I didn’t know anything about it. I always knew that I wanted to visit, but I didn’t know about the complexities and challenges I would have to face. I mean, imagine being in the heart of Tokyo, being largely driven and supported by an amazing leadership team that says, “The world is your canvas, hire from anywhere.”

I have brought in 17 nationalities — relocated, not as expats, as full-time employees in our office in Japan. Being this diversified, multicultural organization was the key. I did my own recruiting and handpicked my team. My focus was initially to find people with the spirits of warriors, that were willing to take on tough challenges and the bruises that came along with them, that would not get discouraged by people telling them something would not work.

Long story short, I would not build a network that has looked the same for 30 years. I would not build a network just because Rakuten has done it this way. I think networks of the future must have this essence of software and must have autonomy built into its DNA. This is not just about Open RAN, this is a holistic approach for fundamental transformation in the network architecture.

I ask this question a lot and the answers always surprise me. Most companies that I think of as hardware companies, once they make the investment in software, they end up with more software engineers than hardware engineers. Is that the case for you?

I have no hardware engineers at all. None. I think from the beginning, this was done by design. I knew that I could create an ecosystem in hardware, and I don’t want to be in the hardware business. From a fundamental business model, I had enough credible relationships in this industry to cultivate and create an ecosystem for people that just enjoy being in hardware design. But that is not us; it is not our fabric, not our DNA.

The more I look at the world, the more I see the success of companies that have invested heavily into the right skill sets, whether it is from data science, AI, ML, or the various software organizations that they have built. This is what I thought we needed.

If you go to Rakuten Symphony’s largest R&D center in India, we now have over 3,500 people that only do software. To me, that is an asset that is unprecedented in terms of the extent of capability, what we could build, what we could deliver, and the scale that we could deliver at. I don’t want to invest in hardware. I just think that it is not my business.

Our investment is all about platform. I really enjoy seeing the advancements that we have enabled, though we are still early in this journey. I have a lot of other things I want to accomplish before I say that Symphony has succeeded.

Symphony is a first-of-its-kind company, since it is going to sell a new kind of operating platform to other carriers. Do you have competitors? Do you see this being the next turn of the wireless industry? Are we going to see other platform integrators like Symphony show up and say to carriers, “Hey, we can do this part for you. You can focus on customer service or fighting with the FCC or whatever it is that carriers do”?

To be very honest with you, I love the idea of having more competitors in this space. It challenges my own team to stay on top of their toes, which is really good. At the same time, having more entrants come into the space would help me cultivate the hardware ecosystem today.

Symphony is uniquely positioned; there are not a whole lot of people that could provide the integrated stack that Symphony has. Symphony’s biggest advantage is that it has a running, live lab carrying a large commercial customer base called Rakuten Mobile. Nobody tells me, “Don’t do this or that on Rakuten Mobile.” I could do disruptive ideas or disruptive innovation, and test and validate new products and technologies before giving them to anybody else.

It’s good to be the CEO of both.

I know. This is one of the reasons I accepted and volunteered. I thought for the short term, it would be important to be able to control these two ecosystems, because Japan is a quality-sensitive market. If I build a high-quality network, nobody will doubt whether Symphony’s technology stack is credible, scalable, reliable, or secure. We are uniquely positioned because of our ability to deliver on a robust automation platform, Open RAN software technology architecture, and innovative Edge Cloud software.

I don’t see many in the industry that have the technology capabilities today that Symphony offers. People have bits and pieces of what we have, but when I look at the integrated stack, I’m really happy to see that we have some unique intellectual properties and IPs that are remarkably differentiated from the market today.

So Dish is obviously a client. We will see how their network goes. Are you talking to Telefónica, Verizon, and British Telecom? Are they thinking about O-RAN in this way?

Since it’s public in the US, I can talk about it. As I mentioned before, it is not just about the O-RAN discussion for me, it is about the whole story. We announced in the last Mobile World Congress that AT&T is working with Rakuten Symphony on a few disruptive applications around the digital workflow on the operation for wireless and wireline, the same as Telefónica in the UK and Telefónica in Germany. Our first big breakthrough was an integrated stack.

In the heart of Europe, in Germany, we are the provider for a new greenfield operator called 1&1. I told the CEO of 1&1 that my dream is to build Rakuten 2.0 in Germany, so we are building the entire fabric of this network. It has been an amazing journey to take all the lessons learned from Japan and be able now to bring them to Germany. We are in the early stages, but I am really optimistic to see what the future will hold for Open RAN as a whole for Symphony.

Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony have opened a well-needed, healthy debate in the industry about radio access provider alternatives and diversification that we need in order to move away into a software-driven network. We feel that is a big accomplishment for us.

As you build out the O-RAN networks, one thing that we know very well in the United States is that our handset vendors — Apple, Samsung, Google, Motorola — are very picky about qualifying their devices for networks.

Oh yes.

Is there a difference in the conversation between a traditional network and an O-RAN network, when you go and talk to the Apples and Samsungs of the world?

Yes. Before we were approved as a mobile company to be able to sell their devices, I have to tell you about the pleasure of working with the likes of Apple. I’m being really honest about this; I really liked it. Their burden to quality was really high, as was their ability to accept and certify a quality of network. I thought if we got the certification that we needed from them, that’s another third-party audit; I would have cleared a big quality hurdle.

The Apple engineering team is really strong. They really understood the technology, which was great. There are a lot of facets to do with it that are fascinating. No matter how great it is, I had to pass a set of KPIs and metrics for device certification. This was not trivial. I went through the same journey with Jio, so I kind of have some ideas about the burdens to acceptance from large device manufacturing companies. I also knew that this is a process of identifying issues, solving them, coming back to the device vendors, and continuing to reiterate in improving the quality.

I went through the same journey in mobile, but just slightly after our commercial launch, when we got our commercial certification on being able to sell Apple devices, that was a big relief for all of us. A big relief, because it means that we have reached a quality level that they deem is minimally acceptable to carry the device.

Of course we monitor the quality every day, so I’m really happy that we have done this. We have proven that the Open RAN network, especially the software that we have built in Japan, is running with amazing reliability. Rather than celebrating our courageous attempt to do something good for everybody, the early days of our journey were all about skepticism. Like, “This will not work. This will not work.”

Was Apple more skeptical of your network going into tests than others since the technology is different?

The device vendors were very supportive. The skepticism came from the fear, uncertainty, and doubt from traditional OEMs and vendors who wanted to tell everybody that this technology is horrible. It was to such an extent I ignored everything. I still do today. I say you cannot argue the benefit of cloud brought to IT and enterprise. There is an indisputable benefit to this. When it comes to telco, why would you argue the advantage and benefit of moving all your workloads to the cloud?

I think this debate is ending, and it is ending much quicker and in a better place for everybody. I have huge admiration for what Apple has done. It’s a really impressive company. The more that we continue to engage with them, the more we can tell that this company is obsessed with quality. I thought if we cleared the hurdle of getting their acceptance, then it shows another validation for us that we are running a high-quality network. They are a strategic, critical part of our provider ecosystem today in Japan.

Let me flip this question around real quick. One of my favorite things about the Indian smartphone market is how wide open it is on the device side. This is something that happened after Jio rolled out, but I was friends with a former editor of Gadgets 360 in India, Kunal Dua, and he told me, “My team covers 12 to 15 Android phone launches a week.”

The device market is wide open, you can connect anything, there are dual SIMs, and the real consumer experience of picking a phone is of unlimited choice. That is not the case in the United States or in other countries. What do you think the benefits of that are? I am quite honestly jealous that there is that much choice in that market.

I think a couple of things in India really benefit the country quite a bit. When you have massive volume, people are intrigued to enter these economies that exist. Certain things have changed in Japan as well. The government policies are mandating the support for open device ecosystems.

In our case, we even told them that 100 percent of our device portfolio will support eSIM, which gives you the ability and flexibility to switch carriers within one second. You can just say, “Oh, I don’t like this. I like this.” The freedom of choices is just unparalleled. We, as Rakuten Mobile, changed the business model. We said, “Look, we will enable eSIM. There are no fees for termination of contracts. There are no fees for anything. If you don’t like us, you can leave. If you do like us, you are part of our family.”

We made it really simple, because it is a dream for us to build an open ecosystem. We are trying to see if it is relatively successful to open up a storefront for open device markets, since we own a very large e-commerce website. Come in, purchase, and acquire.

The difference between India and the US is that India does not subsidize the device. As a consumer in the US, you have been trained that you can buy an iPhone by signing a contract, and the iPhone will be subsidized by the carrier. A consumer could benefit from this open device ecosystem, but there would have to be a mentality change. Will a consumer accept the idea that they have to buy a device? From a carrier point of view, I still argue that if they don’t subsidize, maybe they could lower the cost of their tariffs.

It is still an evolution. For us in mobile, we have pretty much adopted what India has done. We said, “bring your own device,” and we promoted all these devices that you are talking about in India. We brought them into our e-commerce site. In Japanese, it is called Ichiba. So we brought them to the Ichiba website, gave them a storefront, let them advertise, and let them market. Our website has a massive amount of daily active users that come to it, and we do not necessarily benefit from selling their devices, but we don’t want to subsidize any device. That is subjective.

What is the biggest challenge of O-RAN? You have a long history in this industry. I’m sure many challenges are familiar to you in building a traditional network. What is the biggest, most surprising challenge of building it in this way?

Let me tell you the part that I was surprised about. Some parts were easier, some more difficult. If I take you to a traditional base station and we examine what is really there at this radio site, we will find that almost 95 percent of every deployment is the same. Basically, there is a big refrigerator cabinet, and inside this cabinet there is something called the base band. This is the brain of the base station. This base band was built on custom ASICs that large companies needed to constantly invest into this hardware development for.

The first thing that we did was remove the software and make it more like an off-the-shelf appliance, like a traditional data center server. I recognize that the software only gets better; there are no issues with software. The difficult part was that the hardware components you need for the base station are really complex.

At every site, there is an antenna that has a transmitting unit, called either a remote radiohead, or massive MIMO in 5G. These products need to support a huge diversity of spectrum bands, because in every country there are different spectrum bands and different bandwidth. If you are a traditional provider — say Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE — these companies have invested in a large organization, with tens of thousands of people, whose entire job is to create this massive hardware that could support all these diversified spectrum bands.

My number-one challenge with Rakuten Mobile is to find these hardware suppliers, because there are not a whole lot of them for Open RAN. The hardware suppliers that could support diversified spectrum requirements — because country to country it will be different — turned out to be a really big challenge. The approach that we have taken in Japan is to go to middle-size companies and startups. I funded them and encourage them to build the hardware that we need.

My biggest challenge and my biggest headache is spending time trying to find a company that has capability and scale to become the hardware provider for Open RAN at the right cost structure. The hardware you need for both 4G and 5G is not to be underestimated. I think it is easier to solve the issues around some of the RF units that one would need for these base stations. This is my personal challenge, and I know the industry as a whole needs to solve for this.

I know these are complicated products, but are these companies thinking that it is a race to the bottom? Most PC vendors ship the same Intel processor, the same basic parts, and they have to differentiate around the edges or do services for recurring revenue. We talk about this on Decoder all the time. The big four that you mentioned sell you the whole stack and then charge for service and support. That is a very high-margin business. If you commoditize the hardware and say, “I am going to run my own software,” do those companies worry it is just a race to the bottom?

Let’s differentiate between large companies and new entrants. I think new entrants in hardware are comfortable and content, understanding the value they provide by being commodity suppliers. Let me provide you an analogy. Let’s say Apple uses Foxconn to manufacture its devices. I am sure Foxconn will not tell you they are unhappy about this business model. It has built their entire strategy around high-value engineering, high-yield, and high-capacity manufacturing, because that is how they make revenue. They do not bundle support services.

I found that the new age manufacturing companies I was looking for were companies like Foxconn. Companies that understand the new business model that I want to create.

The most amazing thing that the US, and some companies are probably not aware of, is the elegance that we have in the United States around silicon companies. It is amazing how they genuinely are one of the most innovative in the world in terms of capability. It still exists in the US; we still control this. Today, Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia, Broadcom, and many other companies, provide a lot of technology in a way that is needed for these products. We go and build reference designs directly with the silicon companies, and then I take that reference design, go to a contract manufacturer, and say, “Build this reference design.”

This new way of working seems like the future. Hopefully one day, for the hardware supply chain ecosystem, many companies like Foxconn will start to exist and will appreciate the value they need to build hardware for all suppliers. Maybe Ericsson or Nokia will one day have to look and evaluate a pivoting opportunity to go into a software world that may have a much better valuation.

Look at the stock price of traditional telecom companies today. Look at the stock price of ServiceNow, a digital workflow tool. Look at the difference between them. One is a complete SaaS model; one lives on a traditional business model. I don’t think the market appreciates and recognizes that this may be the right thing to do.

It seems like it is inevitable. It is just a matter of time for traditional vendors to start pivoting. I want this hardware to be commoditized. It is very important. The value you compete on has to be software, it cannot be hardware.

Rakuten Mobile is only a couple years old. It is the fourth carrier in Japan, and you have 5 million subscribers. Japan is a big country. KDDI has 10X the subscribers. Is the ambition to be the number one carrier, like Jio became the number one carrier in India? How would you get there?

I am really proud about what we have done in Japan. I think for many people that have been through this journey of building networks, they will know it is not a trivial process. We had two pragmatic challenges.

First, we had to prove to the world that a new technology actually works and delivers on cost, resiliency, and reliability. That’s a check mark; done. That is not just me telling you today, but audited by a third party. Look at the performance, quality and reliability we do. Second, if you are in the mobile business, I think you have one area that new technology cannot easily solve for you. You need to have ubiquitous coverage everywhere and anywhere you go.

I am not sure if you have ever visited Tokyo, Japan, but you should know this is a concrete jungle. It’s amazing. The density that exists in an area like Tokyo, the subways and the coverage you have to provide for them, and the amount of capacity you have to cater for, is not trivial. In two years, we have been able to build a network to cater for 96 percent of Japan coverage. I have never seen the speed that a network could be built at, at this scale.

So our ambition is not to be a fourth mobile operator in Japan. It is by far to be a highly disruptive ecosystem provider in which we want to take the number-one position in this country. The approach we take here is very simple. We need to ensure that ubiquitous, high-quality coverage is delivered anywhere you go in Japan. We are almost there.

I’m not just talking about the outdoors. High-rises, indoor, deep indoor, basements, subways. Anything and everywhere you go, an amazing network must be delivered. And second is the point/membership/loyalty that I talked to you about earlier. We think that’s a huge differentiator from the competitors, just to bring a much bigger value, and being obsessed about the customer experience and the services that we have offered.

From being an infant, to where we are today, I am really happy about what the team has accomplished, but we have a lot of work that we need to focus on to finish the last remaining 3 percent of our build. That percent is extremely important to achieve the quality of coverage that we need to really be at par and better.

I know my cost today is 40 percent cheaper in running my network than any competitor in Japan. I have an advantage that is virtually impossible for anybody in Japan to compete against today around network cost structure. So that gives me a leg up on what we could do, what business models we could experiment with, and the actions that we will take. You will see us very decisive in our approach, because we don’t want just to be another carrier in Japan. We want to be leading mobile operators in this country.

All right, Tareq. That was amazing. I feel like I could talk to you for another full hour about this. Thank you so much for being on Decoder.

Thank you.

Tue, 09 Aug 2022 03:35:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.theverge.com/23297756/5g-rakuten-mobile-ceo-oran-cloud-network-decoder
Killexams : The how and why of network attached storage

For many small businesses, the biggest drawback to having a network server is that you have to manage it. Even if you don't need an real IT person, you still need to have an employee or a consultant who can make sure it's set up, that the server software is updated, that users are added and removed, that backups happen, and that other periodic tasks are taken care of. The advantages of file sharing and data storage have to be balanced against the care and feeding of a server.

But suppose you didn't need to do those chores? Suppose all you needed to do is take the server out of the box, plug in the power and data cables, turn it on, and voila, you have a central storage server? 

A small business network attached storage (NAS) server is almost that easy.

What's NAS?

Network attached storage is a dedicated server that's intended to do one thing – store files. Depending on the type of NAS device you buy, the process of adding it to your company network can be nearly as simple as described above. But there are a lot of different types of NAS devices and various levels of sophistication. 

A NAS server is basically a box that contains disk drives, a computer with software dedicated to storage management, and a network interface. There is no keyboard or monitor, and any management takes place remotely. These devices usually have their own web page for management, so once it's connected and turned on, just go to a workstation on the network and browse for the management page. (The instructions that came with the NAS device will tell you how to reach it.)

Using your NAS

Your first task when setting up the NAS device will be to provide it a name so your employees can find it, and then to add an admin username and password. At this point, some NAS devices may ask you how you want to configure your storage, and you'll be given a choice of RAID 0, 1, or 5. For business use, you'll want to choose RAID 5 (or in some models, 6), which can recover from a hard disk failure. 

While you're waiting for the NAS device to finish setup, you'll need to compile a list of employees who will be using the server. Depending on the type of NAS, you may simply send each one an email with login instructions, or you may create a list of users on the NAS and let each one know their login credentials. 

Most NAS devices will create a common storage area, and many will also create storage areas for each user. Once that's done, your NAS is ready to use. But there are some additional tasks you will want to consider. 

First, there's off-site cloud backup. Your employees may save important files to the NAS server, but that only moves them to a different computer in the same office. Cloud backup will add an important layer of safety, and nearly all NAS devices support it.

Second, you have to consider placing space limits for users on your NAS. You can do this with the NAS management software that's on the server. The reason is pretty obvious; if you have a company of 50 employees and a server with 32 terabytes of storage, you can see that each employee will get about a half a terabyte for their personal storage. That's probably less space than what's on their laptop.

Third, provide serious consideration to how you plan to let your employees use your NAS as a backup location. Some NAS devices include client backup software, which is good, but you need to make sure it's configured to only backup essential data files, such as their daily work products. Don't allow personal photos or media files to clutter your NAS. 

Finally, make sure that there's more than one administrator. The last thing you want is to be on vacation, fielding calls about adding users to the NAS.

Choosing a NAS

Network attached storage comes in sizes to support everything from home users to large enterprises. While a device intended for home use might be attractive because of its low price and easy setup, it may not provide the level of data protection you need for your business. Instead, take a look at the offerings in the Dell store, which include NAS devices from Western Digital, Buffalo, and Dell itself. 

The WD My Cloud NAS server has 32 terabytes of storage, and it's about as close to plug-and-play as you can get in a small business server. It'll encrypt your data, perform off-site backup, and it has software to automate your client backups, as well. 

The Buffalo TeraStation 5810DN NAS server also has 32 terabytes of storage, but it can be configured as storage for your employee's computers and also for your existing servers. Buffalo has included a number of useful security features, and it supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet for better performance. 

The Dell PowerVault NX440 NAS appliance is the heavy hitter in this list. It's a highly configurable, rack-mount NAS device with a wide range of storage and network options. You'll need an IT expert to set up and manage this NAS device, but it's very robust, and Dell Technologies can help with configuration and installation. Note that, just because it's designed for rack mounting doesn't mean you have to use it that way. In fact, the mounting rails are optional – so you can just set it on a table.

What makes these NAS devices attractive is that they are essentially appliances that you can mostly set up and let run. They don't require day-to-day management, and as long as you set up the server with an email address for alerting you to problems, you can mostly forget they're there. 

For your users, the NAS devices will look like another disk drive or a server they can find with Windows Explorer. There's no real learning curve for users or admins, so if your business is expanding, consider a NAS device for centralized storage. 

Wed, 30 Jun 2021 02:17:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.zdnet.com/paid-content/article/the-how-and-why-of-network-attached-storage/
Killexams : AR-15s in Madison County Schools: Parents, residents weigh in

Officials with Madison County Schools are planning to release district policies July 23 outlining in-person and remote learning options.

MARSHALL – Madison County Schools and the Madison County Sheriff's Office made national headlines Aug. 5 after its decision to allow SROs access to AR-15 rifles in each of its six schools in the county.

There are six schools in the Madison County system: Brush Creek Elementary, Hot Springs Elementary, Mars Hill Elementary, Madison Middle, Madison High and Madison Early College High.

The guns are secured in safes, along with other items, including tools to help break through barricaded doors.

"The reason we put the breaching tools in the safes is that in the event we have someone barricaded in a door, we won't have to wait on the fire department to get there," Sheriff Buddy Harwood said. "We'll have those tools to be able to breach that door if needed. I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that's time lost. Hopefully we'll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be."

Superintendent Will Hoffman said the decision and the funding for school resource officers in each school came together through a collaboration between the local school board, the county commission and the county Sheriff's Office.

"This has always been our highest safety priority. We have also worked to fund digital camera systems at each school, additional counseling, and social worker support at each school and site-based therapy through a partnership with MAHEC to create safe school environments at each of our schools," Hoffman said. "We have now seen senseless school shootings over and over again across our nation. As superintendent of schools, my highest priority is the safety and welfare of our students and staff. I believe in our school resource officers. They build strong relationships with students, and they are highly trained in the use of firearms and de-escalation strategies. They have my trust; the trust of our Board of Education and they have earned the public’s trust. They need to be able to take decisive action that includes all appropriate steps to neutralize an assailant, should a critical incident occur."

Madison County residents weighed in on the school system's decision Aug. 6.

Some residents, like Betsy Richards Smith, 68, of Mars Hill, said while she agreed with some components of the decision, she felt the use of AR-15s was unnecessary.

"If there are to be any official guns in a school, the SROs are the ones to have them - not the teachers, not the principal and not the aides," Richards Smith said. "The critical aspects are training and access. A gun is no good if you can’t get to it in time. That said, I don’t see the need for AR-15s. In these scenarios, you only have to take out one person: the shooter. Why risk accidentally killing more students with an AR-15 when a well-aimed service revolver will do the same job?"

Mars Hill resident Jacob Mercer, 29, said he supports the school system's decision. Mercer and his wife, Courtney, have a 5-month-old daughter in daycare in the county.

"I feel like this is a wonderful step into limiting school shootings," Mercer said. "I'm very happy with our school board and sheriff's decision. The children's safety is the number one thing that we should be concerned about. Having AR-15s in our schools definitely is a cost-efficient way of protecting our kids."

Harwood cited the continued occurrence of school shootings throughout the nation in his decision to stow the AR-15s in safes.

"I hate that we've come to a place in our nation where I've got to put a safe in our schools, and lock that safe up for my deputies to be able to acquire an AR-15," Harwood said. "But, we can shut it off and say it won't happen in Madison County, but we never know. I want the parents of Madison County to know we're going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer's neck, then I'm going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe."

An AR-15 rifle. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Michael Bitzer is the department of politics chair at Catawba College, and the author of "Redistricting and Gerrymandering in North Carolina: Battlelines in the Tar Heel State."

"I think the aftermath of Uvalde has laid open some real divides that may transcend partisan dynamics: the overwhelming number of law enforcement officers at the school during the event, and yet the significant delays that law enforcement officers failed to act that could have resolved the issue has both sides bringing new policy initiatives regarding the worth of increasing security in public schools," Bitzer said. "In this environment of highly polarized partisanship, and with the growing policy divisions regarding the role of guns in our society, I suspect we will continue to hear new policy initiatives surrounding one of the most divisive public policy issues of our day."

Bitzer said the Democratic sheriff's decision could have political motivations.

"While Republicans won 55-60 percent of the top three elections (U.S. President, U.S. Senate, N.C. governor) in the 2016 and 2020 elections in Madison County, Harwood has run in midterm elections (and thus avoided the Republican ‘top of the ticket’ ballot influence in very partisan presidential election years) and been either unchallenged, as in 2018, or able to make it against a Republican challenger, as in 2014," Bitzer said. "This year, he does have a Republican challenger, along with confronting a Republican-advantage electoral dynamic with this midterm year.

"So the policy decision may be an honest look at this year’s election dynamics — a Republican challenger in a pro-Republican election year — and Harwood seeking to solidify his more ‘conservative’ credentials to blunt campaign attacks. Certainly, Harwood’s power of incumbency is a major advantage to any candidate (long name-recognition, able to withstand the growing Republican influence in the county), but this year may be a real test to see if a Democrat can continue to win a local office in a county that has shifted more and more Republican in voting dynamics."

Online security measures

Caroline Fletcher, 39, lives near the Petersburg neighborhood of Mars Hill.

Fletcher's 17-year-old son had previously attended Madison County Schools but moved out of state to be with his father in April 2021.

"We should be doing more to help these kids handle strong emotions and prevent them from feeling the need to commit these acts," Fletcher said. "We should be training them on what it looks like to be manipulated by online predators. We should be putting many more psychologists into schools."

The school system will work with the FBI in Asheville this fall to present to middle school, high school and early college students and their parents/guardians about how to be safer online, especially in regards to of online enticement and "sextortion" awareness.

The school system's online security and student surveillance measures will include:

  • Web filtering and monitoring tools for all web traffic.

  • School security door systems and safety glass at each school.

  • Anonymous tipline for students and families.

  • Student social media filtering.

  • SwiftK12 alert call system w/emergency call feature dials multiple contacts per student.

  • Network firewall appliance prevents network intrusion that can compromise sensitive student and personnel records.

  • Anti-bullying web form allows anonymous reporting of suspected bullying.

  • Digital surveillance cameras in schools.

  • Stop-arm camera systems on all yellow buses.

  • Cameras installed on all 45 buses.

  • Two-way radios on all buses.

In 2020-21, the school system was slotted to receive $5.6 million in Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) draft plotting allotments.

The funding will be in place through 2024, according to Hoffman.

In the superintendent's view, the pandemic highlighted the critical need for an increased presence of mental health professionals in the school system.

As a result, using the ESSER funds, MCS administration brought in a number of personnel to assist students with mental health concerns, including a nurse and counselor at Hot Springs Elementary School. Additionally, the school system added curriculum interventionists, a speech language pathologist, an additional Exceptional Children teacher and social workers.

"We understand the importance of social emotional learning, and we have added additional student services positions with ESSER funding," Hoffman said. "Our counselors, social workers, school nurses, and Exceptional Children’s staff have been on the front lines for students who have been in crisis during the pandemic. One neighboring school district recently reported that they cannot account for hundreds of students as a result of the pandemic. We are not in that predicament thanks largely to the work of school administrators and this group of individuals."

Other security measures

The rifles in safes and the increased online security presence are not the only security measures the school system is rolling out for the upcoming school year.

The school system will have an SRO and a school safety liaison at each school. Additionally, each school will also have a school counselor, as well as a nurse and social worker. There will also be certified first responders throughout the school district, according to Hoffman.

Crisis teams and plans will be in place for each of the six MCS schools, and the school system will work closely with the county DSS and Sheriff's Office, the superintendent said.

In 2022-23, the school system will conduct lockdown and safety drills, as well as threat assessment training for administrators and SRO staff.

A host of other measures will be implemented as well, the superintendent said, including:

  • Entrance gate at Madison High School and Madison Early College High School.

  • Panic button system in each building that reports to monitoring center and Sheriff’s Office.

  • Updated intercom systems at each school.

  • IP phone system with one-button emergency feature enabled on key administrative stations, sends alert announcements to all handsets, including those in use.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Madison County parents and residents weigh in on AR-15s in schools

Sun, 07 Aug 2022 21:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/video/ar-15s-madison-county-schools-090031435.html
Killexams : The 10 best jobs you can get with an associate degree
Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

If you're looking for a lucrative career that only requires a degree from a two-year school, you may be surprised at the number of options. 

Many careers that can net you over $60,000 annually only require an associate degree. The best associate degree jobs are highly specialized and require strong skills in critical thinking and technical know-how.

Read on for the 10 best associate degree jobs that offer plentiful job opportunities, high salaries, and strong professional satisfaction.

In curating this associate degree job list, we looked for three desirable qualities:

  • Higher-than-average salary
  • Optimistic projected employment growth
  • Appealing to those with strong technical/computer and critical thinking skills

We also selected jobs based on whether or not you can land them with the most popular two-year degrees, such as an associate degree in business administration

Read on for our list of the top 10 careers you can get with an associate degree. Keep in mind, several of the careers included here generally require a bachelor's but may allow for an associate plus professional certifications.

1. Computer support specialist

Salary: $57,910 

Computer support certified help maintain computer networks and offer technical support to different organizations and computer users. They may specialize in computer network or user support and need strong technical and communication skills to succeed. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 9% growth in computer network specialist roles from 2020-30.

You can typically find entry-level to advanced work as a computer support specialist with an associate degree in computer science or other computer/IT-related major. 

Earning professional certifications may help you get a job. Consider the Electronics Technicians Association's Certified Network Technician credential or one of Microsoft's various certifications for computer support.

2. Dental hygienist

Salary: $77,810

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care to patients, such as brushing patients' teeth, and monitor the progression of oral diseases. They are also responsible for assessing patients' oral health and sharing their notes with dentists. 

The BLS predicts that dental hygienists will see an employment growth rate of 11% from 2020-30.

Working as a dental hygienist requires earning an associate in dental hygiene, which typically takes three years and combines classroom learning with clinical and lab elements. Many colleges and trade schools offer online programs. 

Dental hygiene programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

3. Information security analyst

Salary: $102,600 

Information security analysts protect organizations' computer networks and systems using software tools such as firewalls and data encryption programs. 

The BLS projects a 33% employment growth rate for this role from 2020-30. The high demand for professionals to counter cybercrime has created high cybersecurity salary and job security expectations.

You can get an entry-level job as an information security analyst with an associate in cybersecurity and professional certifications. The International Information System Security Certification Consortium's Entry Level Cybersecurity Certification is popular. 

Sometimes it helps to earn your degree or certification in a specialization such as penetration testing.

4. Occupational therapy assistant

Salary: $61,520

Occupational therapy assistants help patients recover from or live with serious illnesses and health issues, such as chronic pain. Success in this profession requires strong empathy, written and verbal communication, and critical thinking skills. 

The BLS projects a 34% growth in occupational therapy assistant positions from 2020-2030. This overwhelming demand can be attributed to the population growth of middle-aged and elderly patients.

You can become an occupational therapy assistant by earning an associate degree in occupational therapy from a community college or trade school. Programs in occupational therapy are typically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

5. Administrative services or facilities manager

Salary: $99,290

Administrative services and facilities managers plan, coordinate, and oversee the daily functioning of different organizations. They may supervise entire offices or individual departments of facilities. 

Typically, these managers need strong leadership, critical thinking, and written and verbal communication skills. 

The BLS predicts that from 2020-30, administrative services and facilities managers will see a 9% employment growth rate.

Though many employers expect these managers to hold at least a bachelor's, some entry-level jobs may accept candidates with only an associate degree in management. Typically, you need fewer than five years' experience to qualify for a job as an administrative services or facilities manager.

6. Paralegal or legal assistant

Salary: $56,230

Paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers with tasks such as case research, file organization, and documentation. These skilled workers need strong writing, critical thinking, and organizational skills.

The BLS projects a 12% employment growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants 2020-30.

Most paralegals and legal assistants hold at least an associate degree in criminal justice, legal studies, or other related major. 

Paralegal and legal assistant programs typically need accreditation from the American Bar Association, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or National Association of Legal Assistants.

7. Radiologic or MRI technologist

Salary: $61,980

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging tests on patients, while MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging machinery to produce medical imaging of patients. Physicians use the medical imaging these professionals help produce to help diagnose and monitor different health conditions. 

The BLS anticipates that employment for radiologic and MRI technologists will grow by 9% from 2020-30.

Radiologic and MRI technologists need an associate degree to practice. Many states have licensure requirements for radiologic technologists. Radiologic technologists typically need to complete a program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

MRI technologists generally do not need licensure. 

8. Real estate broker or sales agent

Salary: $48,770

Real estate brokers and sales agents represent clients looking to buy, sell, and rent properties. These professionals need strong soft skills, including written and verbal communication, leadership, and self-advocacy. Generally, they are self-employed, though some work in real estate agencies. 

The BLS projects 4% growth in positions for real estate brokers and agents from 2020-30.

To become a real estate broker or sales agent, you usually need an associate degree in finance or a business administration associate degree featuring real estate and finance coursework. 

In every state, these professionals need to pass a licensing exam in order to practice.

9. Respiratory therapist

Salary: $61,830

Respiratory therapists provide care for patients with breathing issues such as asthma or chronic pulmonary disease. These therapists need strong written and verbal communication, empathy, and critical thinking skills. 

The BLS projects that from 2020-2030, the number of respiratory therapists will grow by 23%. This overwhelming demand has to do with an increase in the population of middle-aged and elderly patients.

To work as a licensed respiratory therapist, you typically need at least an associate degree in respiratory therapy. Many community colleges, universities, and trade schools offer online associate degrees in respiratory therapy.

10. Web developer

Salary: $77,200

Web developers create and maintain websites and web-based applications. These tech professionals usually work from home and know multiple programming languages.

The need for web developers has exploded as more services and products reach consumers online. It will likely continue to grow. 

The BLS reports that web developers can anticipate a 13% employment growth rate from 2020-2030.

Educational expectations for web developers can vary, but you can typically secure entry-level web development work with a computer programming associate degree and a strong portfolio. 

Attending a full-stack web development bootcamp or earning a web development certificate can also help.

Unless otherwise noted, salary and job growth data is drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of Aug. 1, 2022.

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 02:10:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.zdnet.com/education/best-associate-degree-jobs/
Killexams : Community child care center continues to progress

There is a nationwide need for child care, and Marion County proves to be the same. According to data gathered by ChildCare Aware, out of 11,865 residents in Marion County, there are 658 under the age of 6, and 507 of those children have both parents in the work force.

The Marion County Child Care Needs Assessment was conducted by the Hillsboro Community Child Care Center Board and K-State Research and Extension. There were 105 individuals who responded to the survey during the month of July in 2021. The majority of respondents reported they lived in the following zip codes: 67063 or 66861.

Finding infant care and having reliable child care were the most challenging needs identified. Child care centers were slightly preferred over providing care within the home, utilizing a combination of care as needed, or attending a school based program.

So H4C, Hillsboro Community Child Care Center, Inc., is doing all they can to change that.

The non-profit group was developed out of the need for better child care options for families in Marion County. Their vision is to establish an early learning center that provides children and families developmentally appropriate learning experiences needed for their future. And their mission is to provide a safe, affordable and welcoming early learning environment that fosters children to develop socially, physically, emotionally and cognitively to build the best foundation for future leaders.

The group has been working hard and has already gotten quite a bit accomplished, from establishing a board of directors to attending trainings, getting established as a 501 (c) (3) and more. They have even secured a building for the center, as they will be using Trinity Mennonite Church in Hillsboro.

“The facility is large and well set up, so we are already well ahead of where we could be,” said Carla Harmon, treasurer.

While there will be some costs needed for architectural and engineering fees as well as building appliances, inventory, classroom supplies and equipment, playground equipment and miscellaneous building expenses, having a building is key. And the church will still continue to house other community programs such as CORE, Everence, care portals, Salvation Army and other possibilities, including becoming a resource place for young families.

“We really do envision the space to not only be utilized as a child care center, but a community center with opportunities for office space with the basement of the building,” said Erin Hein, secretary.

In fact, the group cannot emphasize the community aspect enough.

“This child care center is for Marion County and not just for Hillsboro or USD 410. It’s for our whole community, and we need the whole community’s support. It’s truly a community thing. It has to be community supported and backed, and in turn, it goes back to benefit our businesses. It gives our parents the opportunity to have stable child care and get back into the work force and provide an income for their families. We need each other,” said Hein.

In addition to providing jobs, the center also is looking to network with local colleges to provide hands-on learning for those going into education so they can get observation and practicum hours. High schoolers will also possibly be able to do some school credit if they want to go into child care. The center could benefit many different aspect of the community.

With some of the costs cut by having a building, the group can focus on raising funds for the other needs like curriculum, staffing and more. They plan on fundraising and also applying for a grant that will help them really stretch their funds.

The grant is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Kansas Department of Commerce. Grants are due in early 2023. They are reviewed and awarded in March. CDBG have to be awarded to units of government, so the City of Hillsboro would be a passthrough for the grant to the child care center.

“Since Hillsboro is under 5,000 population, the center would be eligible for up to $600,000 in funding. The minimum match is 25 percent, or $150,000, but grant applications score higher with more match. The board’s target is a 50/50 match of $600,000. That would provide the center $1.2 million to complete a significant portion of remodeling and start serving kids,” said Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles, who sits on the board. “This round of CDBG has a strong focus on child care centers, which is a little bit unusual. The state recognizes that child care is a significant problem across the state and is intentionally making investments in this area. Based on the amount of work already completed by our child care board, we would have a very competitive application for this round.”

Because H4C is now a 501 (c) (3) ,they can accept donations, and those donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be made through the Hillsboro Community Foundation. The board will be doing some fundraisers and other events and will be getting social media up and running very soon so that the public can stay informed on events.

One common misconception that has come up is that the center is trying to replace other existing centers and in-home providers, but Harmon and Hein said nothing could be further from the truth.

“Even if we were to fill the center to capacity, we would still need them,” said Harmon. “And every child is different, so some may be better in a center, and some may be better at a home daycare. We need all of them.”

Hein added that they want daycare providers to know that they are not in competition but need all of them to continue the hard work that they are doing.

“And we need one daycare provider still to sit on our board so we have their input,” said Hein.

The group is open to ideas and is looking for more business and community involvement. If you have questions or ideas, you can email the group at hillsboro4c@gmail.com or contact a board member. H4C Board of Directors: Chair: Tristen Cope – Civic Sector; Treasurer: Carla Harmon – Education Sector; Secretary: Erin Hein – Public Health Sector; Max Heinrichs – Hillsboro Community Foundation; Anthony Roy – Parent Sector; Matt Stiles – Civic Sector; Jeremy Matlock – Religious Sector; Mark Rooker – Business Sector. Seat open for local child care provider.

Thu, 04 Aug 2022 06:22:00 -0500 Laura Fowler Paulus en-US text/html https://www.hillsborofreepress.com/news/community-child-care-center-continues-to-progress
Killexams : Butterfly Network rises on Q2 results, will reduce workforce to extend cash runway
Butterfly Network IQ+ handlheld ultrasound
The Butterfly Network IQ+ system [Image courtesy of Butterfly Network]
Butterfly Network (NYSE:BFLY) shares are up on second-quarter results that beat the consensus forecast, with the company announcing plans to reduce a tenth of its workforce.

Shares of BFLY were up more than 16% at $5.66 apiece by the close of trading today. MassDevice‘s MedTech 100 Index — which includes stocks of the world’s largest medical device companies — was up slightly.

The Guilford, Connecticut-based handheld ultrasound technology developer posted losses of $35.8 million, or 18¢ per share, on sales of $19.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2022, for a large bottom-line slide deeper into the red on sales growth of 16.4%.

Butterfly Network’s losses per share of 18¢ came in 9¢ ahead of expectations on Wall Street, where analysts were looking for sales of $19.1 million.

“This past quarter has been an important one for our progress and trajectory as an organization,” Butterfly CEO Dr. Todd Fruchterman said in a news release. “Not only are we piloting the growth of a truly disruptive technology, we’re also at the heart of our evolution as a young public company – continuing to build upon the changes we made last year in how we operate, innovate and bring value to the healthcare ecosystem.”

Fruchterman added that the company adopted a plan to extend its cash runway that includes “improved efficiencies and targeted reductions in our workforce.” The Form 10-Q that Butterfly Network later filed with the SEC said it plans to reduce its workforce by 10%, incurring $2 million in cash charges in the process. The company had 463 employees at the end of 2021, according to its most latest annual report.

“The talent and mission-driven dedication of our team has made these decisions challenging on a personal level, but I am confident these changes strengthen our position to capture the value of our market-leading innovation and set us up for a future where Butterfly is the standard of care, everywhere,” Fruchterman said.

CFO Heather Getz added during the earnings call that the additional cost savings will provide the company with an extra $3 million per month when fully implemented. “This plan provides greater flexibility for the company to support the realization of the vision and mission of Butterfly through targeted investments, allowing us to continue to build on the commercial organization that will support our revenue growth, as well as invest in R&D to create future revenue streams.”

Butterfly also maintained its projection of full-year revenues between $83 million and $88 million.

It’s been more than a year since the Butterfly Network went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It was one of the first SPAC deals to garner a lot of attention in the medtech space. Another New England medtech company to go public through a SPAC — Boston-based prescription digital therapeutics company Pear Therapeutics — recently announced its own layoffs.

Updated after 5 p.m. Eastern time with layoff numbers. Executive editor Chris Newmarker contributed to this report. 

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 10:24:00 -0500 Sean Whooley en-US text/html https://www.massdevice.com/butterfly-network-q2-2022-reduce-workforce/ Killexams : AWS Announces General Availability of AWS Cloud WAN

New managed service makes it faster and easier for enterprises to build, manage, and monitor a global network that seamlessly connects cloud and on-premises environments

Avalara, Foundation Medicine, and Slalom among customers and partners using AWS Cloud WAN

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company AMZN, today announced the general availability of AWS Cloud WAN, a new managed wide area network (WAN) service that connects on-premises data centers, colocation facilities, branch offices, and cloud resources to simplify operating a global network. Using a central management dashboard built into AWS Cloud WAN, customers can define their network configuration, view the health of their global network, and automate routine configuration and security tasks. With AWS Cloud WAN, enterprises can access the AWS global network to build a single, unified network for their organization to Excellerate network health, performance, and security. To get started with AWS Cloud WAN, visit aws.amazon.com/cloud-wan.

Many enterprises today run their networks across multiple environments, including on-premises data centers, colocation facilities, branch offices, and the cloud. To connect these disparate environments together, customers build and manage their own global networks, while also leveraging networking, security, and internet services from multiple third-party providers. AWS makes it easy for customers to connect cloud and on-premises environments using AWS networking services (e.g., Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, AWS Transit Gateway, and AWS Direct Connect). 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. This leads to a complex web of networks, each having different connectivity, security, monitoring, and performance management tools and requirements. As a result, networking teams face challenges configuring, securing, and managing an expanding mix of technologies required to build, scale, and operate a secure global network for their organizations.

AWS Cloud WAN makes it faster and easier for customers to build, manage, and monitor a unified global network that seamlessly connects their cloud and on-premises environments. AWS Cloud WAN allows customers to connect on-premises data centers, colocation facilities, branch offices, and AWS Regions into a single, unified global network with just a few clicks in a central management dashboard—removing the need to configure and manage individual networks that use different technologies. Using the central management dashboard, networking teams can have a single view of their global network, apply policies, and automate configuration and security tasks across their entire network. For example, with just a few clicks, teams can quickly and easily apply a policy that requires network traffic from branch offices to be routed through a specific network firewall before reaching cloud resources running in an AWS Region. AWS Cloud WAN integrates with leading SD-WAN, network appliance, and independent software vendors—including Aruba, Aviatrix, Checkpoint, Cisco Meraki, Cisco Systems, Prosimo, and VMware—making it easier for customers to connect their on-premises SD-WAN devices to AWS. Enterprises can now use AWS Cloud WAN to simplify the way they build, manage, and monitor their networks using a single dashboard with minimal complexity.

"Many wide area networks used by enterprises today consist of a patchwork of connections between branch offices and data centers that were optimized for applications that run on premises," said David Brown, vice president of Amazon EC2 at AWS. "As the edge of the cloud continues to be pushed outward, and more customers move their applications to AWS to become more agile, reduce complexity, and save money, they need an easier way to evolve their networks to support a modern, distributed model that allows them to reach their customers and end users globally with high performance. With AWS Cloud WAN, enterprises can simplify their operations and leave the time-consuming task of managing complex webs of networks behind."

To get started, customers can build their global networks in the AWS Cloud WAN central management dashboard by first selecting the AWS Regions closest to their on-premises locations and adding their Amazon Virtual Private Clouds. After extending their existing WAN to AWS, customers can add and remove remote locations and data centers with just a few clicks in the dashboard or by using the AWS Cloud WAN application programming interface (API). AWS Cloud WAN is available in US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), Africa (Cape Town), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Canada (Central), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Milan), Europe (Paris), Europe (Stockholm), and Middle East (Bahrain). For more details on AWS Cloud WAN, visit aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-cloud-wan-a-managed-wan-service.

Avalara builds cloud-based tax compliance solutions for businesses of all sizes, across industries globally, addressing needs from indirect tax calculation, returns, remittance, and document management, to business licensing, tax answers, insurance premium tax, property tax compliance, and more. "We expect AWS Cloud WAN to provide us the opportunity to transform our network by interconnecting our global AWS presence, while ensuring segmentation of business functions," said Brian Capps, senior director of network engineering at Avalara. "We expect it to simplify management, routing, and security—consolidating complex configurations to be deployed as infrastructure as code."

Cisco is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. "In today's world, organizations need fast, secure, and scalable connectivity across global cloud and on-premises environments. To meet these demands, it's imperative to provide innovative networking and security solutions that are flexible and easy to use," said Chris Stori, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco Networking Experiences. "Cisco continues to invest in cloud networking by integrating the Cisco SD-WAN product portfolios with AWS Cloud WAN to securely connect multi-AWS Region workloads, increase application performance, and reduce deployment times."

Foundation Medicine is a pioneer in molecular profiling for cancer, working to shape the future of clinical care and research by helping physicians make informed treatment decisions for their patients and empowering researchers to develop new medicines. "AWS Cloud WAN simplifies how Foundation Medicine connects our globally distributed labs and cloud resources," said Karl Langdon, head of cloud infrastructure at Foundation Medicine. "This streamlined system supports efficient collaboration between departments and sites, which enables us to provide doctors and researchers with the insights they need to Excellerate patient access to precision cancer care."

Slalom is a global consulting firm focused on technology and business transformation that helps organizations innovate and scale for business agility. "With AWS Cloud WAN, we immediately recognized its network segmentation capability as an accelerator that could greatly reduce the effort and complexity of network provisioning and routing automation. It did not disappoint," said Charlie Christina, platform engineering principal at Slalom. "The ease of defining the core network, segmentation, and attachment policies via a single policy document greatly simplified global network creation. With AWS Cloud WAN our estimate for a latest network transformation project for a leading genomics company that wanted a fully automated, self-servicing high performance computing (HPC) solution was accurately reduced from months to weeks, and it allowed us to focus time and energy on the network-attached HPC design."

VMware is a leading innovator in enterprise software and cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. "Delivering critical networking, security, and edge compute services to employee devices located anywhere is a top priority for enterprise IT teams," said Craig Connors, vice president and general manager of VMware's SASE business. "The integration of VMware SD-WAN, a VMware SASE service, and AWS Cloud WAN, provides a networking architecture to deliver compute across the distributed edge, while providing more secure and high-quality application performance of workloads in AWS environments, regardless of user location. Through this partnership, customers can achieve seamless connectivity from users to clouds."

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 84 Availability Zones within 26 geographic regions, with announced plans for 24 more Availability Zones and eight more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, 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. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

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. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 02:55:00 -0500 text/html https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/22/07/b28035557/aws-announces-general-availability-of-aws-cloud-wan
Killexams : What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important?

A student exploring what cyber security is, holding a tablet and standing in front of large machines at his internship.

In latest years, headlines about cyber security have become increasingly common. Thieves steal customer social security numbers from corporations’ computer systems. Unscrupulous hackers grab passwords and personal information from social media sites or pluck company secrets from the cloud. For companies of all sizes, keeping information safe is a growing concern.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber security consists of all the technologies and practices that keep computer systems and electronic data safe. And, in a world where more and more of our business and social lives are online, it’s an enormous and growing field with many types of job roles.

According to the Cyber Security & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), "Cyber security is the art of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of information."

What Is Information Security?

Information security is the processes and tools designed and used to protect sensitive business information from modification, disruption, destruction and inspection, according to CISCO.

Information security and cyber security are often confused. According to CISCO, information security is a crucial part of cyber security but is used exclusively to ensure data security.

Everything is connected by computers and the internet now, including communication, entertainment, transportation, shopping, medicine and more. A copious amount of personal information is stored among these various services and apps, which is why information security is critical.

Why Is Cyber Security Increasingly Important?

Getting hacked isn’t just a direct threat to the confidential data companies need. It can also ruin their relationships with customers and even place them in significant legal jeopardy. With new technology, from self-driving cars to internet-enabled home security systems, the dangers of cybercrime become even more serious.

So, it’s no wonder that international research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. predicts worldwide security spending will hit $170 billion in 2022, an 8% increase in just a year.

Jonathan Kamyck with text Jonathan Kamyck“We’re seeing a tremendous demand for cyber security practitioners,” said Jonathan Kamyck, associate dean of cyber security at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). “Most businesses, whether they’re large or small, will have an online presence, for example. Some of the things you would do in the old days with a phone call or face-to-face now happen through email or teleconference, and that introduces lots of complicated questions with regard to information.”

These days, the need to protect confidential information is a pressing concern at the highest levels of government and industry. State secrets can be stolen from the other side of the world. Companies whose whole business models depend on control of customer data can find their databases compromised. In just one high-profile 2017 case, personal information for 147.9 million people – about half the United States – was compromised in a breach of credit reporting company Equifax.

What Are Cyber Attacks?

Infographic with the text Common Cyber Attack Threats: Malware, Phising, Ransomware, VirusesA cyber attack is an unwelcomed attempt to steal, expose, alter, disable or destroy information through unauthorized access to computer systems, according to the International Business Machines (IBM).

There are many reasons behind a cyber attack, such as cyber warfare, cyber terrorism and even hacktivists, but these actions fall into three main categories: criminal, political and personal.

Attackers motivated by crime typically seek financial gain through money theft, data theft or business disruption. Similarly, personal attackers include disgruntled current or former employees who will take money or data in an attempt to attack a company's systems.  Socio-political motivated attackers desire attention for their cause, resulting in their attacks being known to the public, and this is a form of hacktivism. Other forms of cyber attacks include espionage, or spying to gain an unfair advantage over the competition, and intellectual challenging.

According to CISA, as of 2021, there is a ransomware attack every 11 seconds – a dramatic rise from every 39 seconds in 2019 (CISA PDF Source). In addition, small businesses are the target of nearly 43% of all cyber attacks, which is up 400%.

The Small Business Association (SBA) reports that small businesses make attractive targets and are typically attacked due to their lack of security infrastructure. The SBA also reports that a majority of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to an attack. This is because many of these businesses:

  • Can't afford professional IT solutions
  • Have limited time to devote to cyber security
  • Don't know where to begin

What Are Types of Cyber Attacks and Threats?

Here are some of the most common threats among cyber attacks:

  • Malware: Malware, also known as malicious software, is intrusive software developed by cyber criminals to steal data or to damage and destroy computers and computer systems, according to CISCO. Malware has the capability of exfiltrating massive amounts of data. Examples of common malware are viruses, worms, trojan viruses, spyware, adware and ransomware.
  • Phishing: Phishing attacks are the practice of sending fraudulent communications while appearing to be a reputable source, according to CISCO. This is typically performed via email or on the phone. The goal is to steal sensitive information such as financial or login information – or to install malware onto a target's device.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware is a form of malware designed to encrypt files on a target device, rendering those files and the systems they rely on unusable, according to the CISA. Once the system has been encrypted, actors demand ransom in exchange for decryption.
  • Viruses: A virus is a harmful program intended to spread from computer to computer, as well as other connected devices, according to the SBA. The object of a virus is to provide the attacker access to the infected systems. Many viruses pretend to be legitimate applications but then cause damage to the systems, steal data, interrupt services or download additional malware, according to Proofpoint.

Who Is Behind Cyber Attacks?

Attacks against enterprises can come from a variety of sources such as criminal organizations, state actors and private persons, according to IBM. An easy way to classify these attacks is by outsider versus insider threats.

Outsider or external threats include organized criminals, professional hackers and amateur hackers (like hacktivists).

Insider threats are typically those who have authorized access to a company's assets and abuse them deliberately or accidentally. These threats include employees who are careless of security procedures, disgruntled current or former employees and business partners or clients with system access.

Developing Cyber Awareness

Infographic with the text Good Security Measures: Downloading the latest patches and software updates, Ensuring data is secure, Make sure employees use strong passwordsCyber security awareness month takes place every October and encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their cyberspace, according to Forbes, although anyone can practice being mindful of cyber security at any time. Awareness of the dangers of browsing the web, checking emails and interacting online in general are all part of developing cyber security awareness.

Cyber security awareness can mean different things to different people depending on their technical knowledge. Ensuring appropriate training is available to individuals is a great way to motivate lasting behavioral changes.

While cyber security awareness is the first step, employees and individuals must embrace and proactively use effective practices both professionally and personally for it to truly be effective, according to Forbes.

Getting started with cyber security awareness is easy, and many resources are readily available on the CISA government website based on your needs. Whether you need formal training or a monthly email with cyber security tips and tricks, any awareness and training can impact behavior and create a positive change in how you view cyber security.

What Are the Types of Cyber Security?

Here are the most common types of cyber security available:

  • Application Security: Application security describes security used by applications to prevent data or code within the app from being stolen or hijacked. These security systems are implemented during application development but are designed to protect the application after deployment, according to VMWare.
  • Cloud Security: Cloud security involves the technology and procedures that secure cloud computing environments against internal and external threats. These security systems are designed to prevent unauthorized access and keep data and applications in the cloud secure from cyber security threats, according to McAfee.
  • Infrastructure Security: Critical infrastructure security describes the physical and cyber systems that are so vital to society that their incapacity would have a debilitating impact on our physical, economic or public health and safety, according to CISA.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Security: IoT is the concept of connecting any device to the Internet and other connected devices. The IoT is a network of connected things and people, all of which share data about the way they are used and their environments, according to IBM. These devices include appliances, sensors, televisions, routers, printers and countless other home network devices. Securing these devices is important, and according to a study by Bloomberg, security is one of the biggest barriers to widespread IoT adaption.
  • Network Security: Network security is the protection of network infrastructure from unauthorized access, abuse or theft. These security systems involve creating a secure infrastructure for devices, applications and users to work together, according to CISCO.

Do You Need a Degree To Be a Cyber Security Professional?

A cyber security degree provides an opportunity for students to develop skills and a mindset that empowers them to begin a career in securing systems, protecting information assets and managing organizational risks.

Alex Pettito with the text Alex PettitoAlex Petitto ’21 earned his bachelor’s in cyber security. Petitto always wanted to work within the IT sector, and he chose cyber security because it’s an exponentially growing field. He transferred credits from a community college through a U.S. Air Force program and finished his bachelor's in under two years. "It was much quicker than I thought it would be,” he said.

It didn't take long for Petitto to begin exploring his career options. "Even before finishing (my) degree, I … received multiple invites to interview for entry-level positions within the industry and received three job offers," said Petitto. He decided to remain within the Air Force and transfer to a cyber security unit as opposed to joining the private sector.

Petitto said his cyber security degree opened doors for him in the field – “a monumental goal for me," he said. "This degree was a critical first step for breaking into the industry."

Your cyber security degree program can also connect you with experiential learning opportunities to further your growth as a cyber security professional. For example, the annual National Cyber League (NCL) has a competition wherein students from across the U.S. practice real-world cyber security tasks and skills. SNHU recently placed 9th out of over 500 colleges participating in the NCL competition.

Career Opportunity and Salary Potential in Cyber Security

As companies large and small scramble to respond to the growing threats, jobs in the cyber security field are growing fast. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for information security analysts will grow by 33% through 2030. That’s more than twice as fast as the average computer-related occupation and four times as fast as American jobs in general.

To help fill the need for more professionals in the cyber security world, CyberSeek, a project funded by the federal government and supported by industry partners, provides detailed information on the demand for these workers by state. The tool shows that, across the country, there were 180,000 job openings for information security analysts between May 2021 and April 2022, with only 141,000 professionals holding jobs in the role, reflecting an unfilled demand of 39,000 workers.

“There’s a huge shortfall right now in entry-level and midlevel cyber security roles,” Kamyck said. “You’re looking at demand across all business sectors, with companies of all sizes.

CyberSeek lists the following entry-mid-and advanced-level roles available in the field. Average salaries are based on job openings posted between May 2021 and April 2022.

Entry-level Cyber Security Roles

  • Cyber Crime Analyst: Cyber crime analysts make an average salary of $100,000, and common skills necessary for the role include computer forensics, information security and malware engineering.
  • Cyber Security Specialist: Cyber security certified make an average salary of $104,482, and important skills for the role include information security, network security and information assurance.
  • Incident and Intrusion Analyst: Incident analysts make an average salary of $88,226, and common skills needed include project management, network security and intrusion detection.
  • IT Auditor: Information technology auditors make an average salary of $110,000, and common skills for the role include internal auditing and audit planning, accounting and risk assessment.

Mid-level Cyber Security Roles

  • Cyber Security Analyst: Cybersecurity analysts make an average of $107,500, and the top skills required include information security and systems, network security and threat analysis.
  • Cyber Security Consultant: Consultants in cyber security make an average salary of $92,504 and need skills in information security and surveillance, asset protection and security operations.
  • Penetration and Vulnerability Tester: Penetration testers make an average salary of $101,091 and need skills in penetration testing, Java, vulnerability assessment and software development.

Advanced-level Cyber Security Roles

  • Cyber Security Architect: Cyber security architects make an average salary of $159,752, and top skills for the role include software development, network and information security and authentication.
  • Cyber Security Engineer: Cyber security engineers make an average of $117,510 a year and need cryptography, authentication and network security skills.
  • Cyber Security Manager:  Managers in this field earn an average salary of $130,000, and top skills include project management, network security and risk management.

What Does a Cyber Security Professional Do?

Infographic with the text Types of Cyber Security: Application security, cloud security, infastructure security, internet of things (IOT) security, network securityKamyck said cyber security professionals could play a wide range of roles in a modern company. For example, some small businesses may hire a single person to handle all kinds of work protecting data. Others contract with consultants who can offer a variety of targeted services. Meanwhile, larger firms may have whole departments dedicated to protecting information and chasing down threats.

While companies define roles related to information security in a variety of ways, Kamyck said there are some specific tasks that these employees are commonly called on to do. In many cases, they must analyze threats and gather information from a company’s servers, cloud services and employee computers and mobile devices.

“An analyst’s job is to find meaning in all of that data, see what’s concerning,” he said. “Is there a breach? Is someone violating a policy?”

In many cases, Kamyck said, security certified work with other information technology professionals to ensure a company’s systems are secure. That involves not just technical know-how but also people-oriented skills.

But breaches don’t just take the form of someone hacking into a server. They can also involve customer lists sent through unencrypted email, a password written on a sticky note in a cubicle or a company laptop stolen from an employee’s car.

Depending on their specific role, cyber security professionals must also think strategically. In many industries, companies rely on employees having quick access to highly sensitive data, such as medical records or bank account information.

“The goal is to balance the needs of the company or the organization you’re working for with the need to protect the confidentiality of customer data and trade secrets,” Kamyck said.

Kamyck said people who do well in these jobs tend to be curious, competitive and willing to keep learning to stay up to date with rapidly changing technology. The work draws on multidisciplinary knowledge, and people who continue with the work find there are a variety of directions they can take in their careers.

For example, Kamyck said, if you're interested in the business side, you might become a manager or run audits that let companies know where they need to Excellerate to meet compliance. If you love the adversarial part of the job, you might become a penetration tester, essentially an “ethical hacker” who tests for system vulnerabilities by trying to get through them.

How To Get Into Cyber Security

If you’re wondering how to get into cyber security, it’s clear there are many positions out there. The question is how to make sure you’re a good fit for them. According to BLS, most information security analyst jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming or another related field.

In some cases, the work calls for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems. That degree typically takes an additional two years of study and involves both technical and business management courses.

Cyber security job requirements also sometimes include related work experience. Rather than jumping right into the security side of information technology, you can start as a network or computer systems administrator. Depending on the specific cyber security position, employers may have other job requirements. For instance, keeping databases secure might be an ideal job for someone who’s spent time as a database administrator and is also well-versed in security issues.

Aside from work experience and college degrees, some employers also prefer job candidates who have received certifications demonstrating their understanding of best practices in the field. For example, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential validates a professional’s general knowledge and abilities in information security. There are also more specific certificates, which can highlight specialized knowledge of computer architecture, engineering or management.

Whatever path new employees in cyber security want to follow, Kamyck said, those who are willing to make an effort to learn the field will find abundant opportunities.

“There’s needs in government. There’s needs in finance. There’s needs in education,” Kamyck said. “There’s a tremendous unfilled need.”

Discover more about SNHU's online cyber security degree: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you'll learn and how to request information about the program.

Nicholas Patterson is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/stem/what-is-cyber-security
Killexams : August children’s programs at the Nevins Library

METHUEN — The Nevins Library has plenty of fun in store this month, including new programs such as Going on a Bear Hunt for youngsters; Galaxy Jars and Capture the Flag for older kids; Drop-In Art Studio for ages 5-11 and Candy Bar Bingo for all ages.

Sign up for Infant Massage classes, where parents can learn how to massage, relax, and soothe their infants. If you have a child entering kindergarten in September, you won’t want to miss the Kick-Off to Kindergarten open house, which helps prepare children and their families for starting off in the Methuen Public Schools. Meet the superintendent, listen to a story, climb on a school bus and more.

Ongoing programs include Family Storytime, LEGO Block Party, Books & Bubbles, and On the Move! to entertain kids of all ages. The final Little Bookworms at the Nevins Farm MSPCA is Aug. 5 – when kids up to age 5 listen to stories and meet friendly farm animals.

Snazzy beads and badges are offered to school-age and preschool kids when they participate in Children’s Department summer programs and contests.

Visit the Children’s Department calendar and Facebook page to learn the latest about upcoming programs and special events.

Chamber to hold networking breakfast featuring celebrity chef

NORTH ANDOVER — The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a networking breakfast featuring celebrity chef Kevin Des Chenes Thursday, Aug. 11, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Doyon’s Appliance, 10 Bayfield Drive.

Breakfast will be prepared by Des Chenes, a Food Network multiple episode winner, including beating Bobby flay. Cost is $10 for members and $20 for future members.

To register, visit merrimackvalleychamber.com or call 978-686-0900.

Plaistow Public Library offers drive-in movie night

PLAISTOW — The Plaistow Public Library at 85 Main St, will present a drive-in movie Friday, Aug. 19, starting at 8:15 p.m. Space is limited to 50 vehicles. Larger/taller vehicles must park in the back.

This family-friendly event will be the library’s last outdoor movie of the summer. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks.

Those looking to attend are required to reserve a spot either at plaistowlibrary.evanced.info/signup or by calling 603-382-6011.

Dinner with Gov. Charlie Baker

HAVERHILL — The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual dinner with Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Michael’s Function Hall, 12 Alpha St. Tickets are $125 per person or $1,200 per table.

The event will include presentations of the Ralph B. Wilkinson Good Citizenship Award, Emerging Leader Award, Community Spirit Award and Nonprofit Award.

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, visit www.merrimackvalleychamber.com or call 978-686-0900.

Sheriff’s Department receives highest marks ever

MIDDLETON — The Essex County Sheriff’s Department received its highest score ever from the American Correctional Association during a latest re-accreditation audit, Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger announced.

The Middleton correctional facility received a score of 100% for its mandatory standards, and 98.9% for its non-mandatory standards. These ratings are the highest scores ever achieved by the Department since becoming accredited in January, 2000, Coppinger said.

According to the ACA, “accreditation is intended to Excellerate facility operations through adherence to clear standards relevant to all areas/operations of the facility, including safety, security, order, inmate care, programs, justice and administration.”

The ACA is a private, nonprofit, non-governmental trade association and accreditation body for the corrections industry and is the oldest and largest such organization in the world. Their Accreditation Team examined each Middleton housing unit, as well its medical facilities, intake unit, warehouse, and its security protocols and policies. The team also reviewed the Department’s medical and mental health services, as well as its educational, religious, and recreational programming.

Central Catholic awarded grants

LAWRENCE — Central Catholic High School announced it was awarded several grants to support its summer 2022 programming.

The Catholic Schools Foundation of Boston awarded the school a $10,000 grant to support student scholarships, faculty professional development and instructional materials for the Innovative Learning Academy for Middle School Students.

The Greater Lawrence Summer Fund of the Essex County Community Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to provide instructional materials and equipment to enhance STEM classes offered to middle school students as part of Summer Innovative Learning Academy.

Now in its fourth year, the Innovative Learning Academy, led by CCHS faculty, is a blend of in-person and online instruction in a wide variety of academic enrichment programs in the arts and sciences open to the region’s middle school students in grades 5-8. Options for study include Aeronautics, Build & Code Robots, Archeology, Digital Photography, Creative Writing, Problem Solving through Coding and Urban Ecology.

The assistance from these grants provides scholarships and study materials for deserving middle school students, school officials said. The Innovative Learning Academy at Central Catholic ran from July 11 to Aug. 2. Visit online at www.centralcatholic.net/innovative-learning-academy.

Newburyport Bank Donates $1,500 to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill

HAVERHILL — Newburyport Bank recently donated $1,500 to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill as a Lunch Sponsor of their Golf Tournament fundraiser. This golfing event was held on Aug. 1 at the Haverhill Country Club.

For over 120 years, the Club has been an integral part of the Haverhill community delivering on its mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those in most need, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

“It’s always a pleasure to support our local Boys and Girls Club,” said Lloyd L. Hamm, president and CEO of the Newburyport Bank. “The famous proverb ‘that it takes a village to raise a child’ is absolutely true. And our Boys & Girls Clubs play such an integral part in that. The Golf Tournament is a great way to bring people together in a beautiful setting to raise funds for a worthy organization.”

Visit the club online at www.haverhillbgc.org.

AgeSpan to launch Mobile Market food distribution

LAWRENCE — This summer, people of all ages across the Merrimack Valley are invited to choose from a variety of produce and other foods at the new AgeSpan Mobile Market. AgeSpan, formerly known as Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, partnered with the Greater Boston Food Bank to launch its first mobile market to be held every month starting Aug. 16 at the Boys & Girls Club, 136 Water St.

“We are so grateful to the Boys & Girls Club for partnering with us to bring this new initiative to Lawrence,” said AgeSpan CEO Joan Hatem-Roy. “This is a great way for individuals and families to have regular access to high quality, nutritious food from the Greater Boston Food Bank.”

People can choose from a diverse selection of fresh produce, non-perishable items, and other foods at no cost. The market will be outside during the summer and indoors during the winter. The AgeSpan Mobile Market is open to Merrimack Valley residents of all ages. Participants should bring their own bag, and items are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Volunteers are needed for about three hours each month to set up, help with distribution, and clean up.

If you are at least 18 and want to volunteer, please contact Ruth Ortiz at rortiz@agespan.org or call 978-946-1279.

End of Summer Bash is Aug. 20

HAVERHILL — Leaving the Streets Ministry will host a free “End of Summer Bash” Aug. 20 from noon to 4 p.m. at Cashman Field on Hilldale Avenue.

A grant awarded to the ministry by the city is intended to help city youth suffering from mental health issues. The event, titled “Love Those Struggling Mentally” includes a basketball tournament.

Twelve youths selected by the ministry attended a four week basketball skills and drills training camp and will compete against each other in a tournament. The event includes prizes, trophies, food, games, skateboarding competitions and live performances. This event is intended to send positive messages to the community. All are invited.

rtet – MARK209 – listened and has scheduled an afternoon performance for those who prefer not to drive after dark. Among their numerous venues throughout New England this month, this unique concert is being hosted by Good Shepherd U.M.C. in Haverhill, MA Wednesday, August 24 at 5 p.m. The church is located at 471 Main Street and tickets are $ 5. Concert goers will hear gospel selections from the quartet’s Grassroots CD collection and in addition, they will take hymn requests for sing-along enjoyment. Good Shepherd is air conditioned to assure audience comfort. For information and tickets call (603) 329-6047.

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 16:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.eagletribune.com/news/august-children-s-programs-at-the-nevins-library/article_89256666-1350-11ed-a007-c345d6c85784.html
Killexams : Unplug These Appliances That Hike Up Your Electricity Bill

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Hold on to your wallet. Due to inflation and prices surging for natural gas, heating oil and other fuels, you will see a significant rise in your utility bills. So if you've opened your electric bill only to be shocked by the amount owed, you've already seen the change. According to The U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity prices will increase by 3.9% from June to August of 2022, compared to the electricity prices during these months last year.

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Figuring out how to reduce your electric bill can be as simple as figuring out what's costing you the most. To do this, you can follow a simple formula to determine how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) a device is using in a month or year, and then find ways to cut back where possible.

Kilowatt-hours are essentially a way of measuring how much power a device uses in an hour of being turned on. If you look at most appliances, they will supply a wattage or a range of wattages the device operates at -- how many watts it burns in an hour. Once you have the wattage, simply divide that by 1,000 (to convert the watts to kilowatts) and then multiply by how many hours a day you use the item. That will provide you a basic figure for how many kilowatt-hours a day you're using with that item.

From there, you can use the U.S. Department of Energy's number for the average U.S. utility rate of $0.14 per kWh, or you could get more specific and get your rate straight from your energy provider. Based on what your costs are, you can then determine which appliance or device is the actual energy vampire and what's not really using much electricity.

Here are some changes you can make that will save you a significant amount of money on your electric bills. 

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Random Energy Suckers

There are certain devices that still suck power even after they're turned "off" -- and that's a major issue. You need to be aware of how many are actually continuing to draw power even when they're not on, including devices like your computer, instant-on TVs, surround sound systems or even cable and satellite TV boxes. For that matter, anything with a built-in digital clock is pulling a little juice.

The National Resources Defense Council estimates that almost a quarter of the energy used by your home is consumed by idle devices that aren't even on. It is estimated that the average household in Northern California spends between $210 and $440 a year on energy vampires and the country as a whole spends $19 billion a year for electricity it's not really using.

How do you deliver the proverbial wooden stake to the heart of your energy vampires? Unplug things you aren't using, use power strips for devices you know use power while idle, adjust power settings on things like your computer or TV and consider getting timers for outlets to help control usage.

Not sure which devices are adding the biggest idle load to your energy bill? These are the top 10 culprits, according to the NRDC.

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1. Fishpond Equipment

Although you likely can't pull the plug on your fishpond (unless it's not currently housing fish), consider investing in an energy-saving pump to cut down on energy costs.

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2. Hot Water Recirculation Pump

Plug your hot water recirculation pump into a timer and program it to switch the pump off at times when no one is typically using hot water, such as in the middle of the night.

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3. Set-Top Box

Many homes have multiple set-top boxes, which leads to a bigger energy suck. Consider unplugging boxes that aren't used regularly, such as a box in a guest bedroom. For the boxes you use regularly, consider plugging the entire entertainment system (set-top box, TV, speakers, etc.) into a power strip so that the whole thing can be turned off at once.

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4. Audio/Visual Gear

Audio devices like amplifiers, stereos, boom boxes and internet radio receivers are easy enough to unplug when not in use. This simple act can save you up to $40 a year.

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5. Fans

Unplug fans when not in use, and switch to a fan with a timer so that it doesn't stay on all night while you sleep.

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6. 24/7 Lights

There really is no need to keep a light on when you are not using it. Switch off lights when not in use or put them on a timer so that they shut off automatically.

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7. Television

Unplug any TVs that you don't regularly use, such as one in a guest bedroom. You should also adjust the power setting on your TV. Consider disabling your TV's "quick start" setting to save on energy.

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8. Aquarium

The main culprit of energy usage in your aquarium is the heater. Although you might not be able to unplug it depending on the optimum temperature for your fish, consider insulating the tank and placing it in a well-heated room to cut down on heating costs. If you have an aquarium light, unplug it when not in use.

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9. Desktop Computer

Your computer doesn't draw a ton of power, even when it's on, with a typical desktop costing you about a penny an hour. However, even pennies can add up over the course of a year. Plug your computer, monitor, printer, computer speakers and other computer accessories into a single power strip that can be turned off when not in use. Let your computer go to sleep after a maximum of 30 minutes of inactivity, and turn your computer off whenever you've finished using it.

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10. Modem

Unplug your modem before going to bed. You don't need internet access when you're asleep.

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Honorable Mention: Cellphone Chargers

The 2-6 watts drawn while charging your phone seem hardly worth mentioning, but it's the power your chargers draw while it isn't juicing up your phone that makes this device stand out. Leaving that charger plugged into an outlet all day still uses 0.1 to 0.5 watts per hour. That is also not a lot, but in this case, it's pure waste. If you have a charger at home that's plugged in 24/7, you're costing yourself up to 44 cents in electricity.

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Honorable Mention: Video Game System

Video game consoles are another common energy vampire. These devices often remain connected to the network even when they are not in use and are set to be in a default "instant on" mode -- a mode that was disabled in Europe due to the E.U.'s standby energy standards, the National Resources Defense Council reported. Unplug your game consoles when not in use and disable the "instant on" mode if you don't need it.

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Honorable Mention: Laptop Computer

Most laptop cords have a "brick," a large box that uses energy continuously whenever it's plugged in. This means that simply shutting your laptop or turning it off will not stop it from using energy. Unplug the cord from the wall every time you are not using your laptop to ensure it's not draining energy you aren't even using.

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Major Energy Suckers

The following appliances and electronics use even more substantial amounts of energy and should always be unplugged when not in use, or you should try to use these items in smarter ways to lower the energy you're using.

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1. Central Air Conditioning

This is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to inflating your utility bill. Keeping your home cool in the summer is appealing, but it comes with a luxury price tag.

A 24,000 BTU central air conditioning system uses about 3,800 watts of power per hour. At $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, you're paying $0.46 an hour to run this system, which can run 24/7 in warm climates. If that's the case, your air conditioner could be costing you almost $11 a day, or nearly $340 a month during the summer.

Make sure you are using your system effectively by adjusting the temperature appropriately, closing off areas of the house that aren't being used and shutting the system off completely when no one is home. Unplug the system during the cooler months to prevent it from using idle energy.

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2. Heat Pump

Heat pumps can be more cost-effective than baseboard heating, but it's important to make sure you're using the right pump for your home and your climate. Being able to shut off heat or cooling to rooms that aren't being used will also help keep your energy costs down.

That said, a heat pump often surpasses central air in terms of the impact on your utility bill. A heat pump uses about 4,700 watts of power, translating to a cost of about $13.54 to run it all day or nearly $420 if you have it on nonstop for a full month in the winter. Consider turning off your heat pump when you're not home and keeping it unplugged during warmer months.

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3. Water Heater

Your water heater uses 4,500 watts of electricity per hour, so it's costing you 54 cents an hour. Fortunately, your water heater doesn't run all day long -- it only runs when it's actually heating water. The less hot water you use and the lower the temperature that water is, the less energy your water heater will use. So while the energy draw is higher than your air conditioner on an hourly basis, you will most likely run it a lot less over time -- SFGate puts the typical usage at about three hours a day -- a cost of about $50 a month.

It would be a lot of effort to plug and unplug a water heater device constantly, but there are other ways to save on energy costs without having to do this. Adjusting your water heater to the lower temperature setting will save energy. Make sure you are using hot water efficiently by only running the dishwasher when it's completely full, and only using hot water to wash clothes when it's absolutely necessary.

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4. Clothes Dryer

At 2,790 watts per hour, your clothes dryer is costing 33 cents an hour to run. So, if your typical load takes about an hour, you should be getting about three loads to the dollar from an electricity standpoint. To reduce your costs, make sure you're only drying a full load of clothes and use the drying sensor if you have one, rather than the timed drying option.

If the weather cooperates, hang sheets outside to dry. You'll save money and, as a little treat, you'll also get that fresh, outdoor smell. You can unplug this appliance when not in use.

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5. Water Pump

A well pump uses about 725 watts of power per hour, costing you $0.09 cents an hour to run. Although you might not be able to unplug it, to save money when running your water pump, make sure you have the right type of pump for your home and that it's only running when it needs to be.

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6. Space Heater

Besides being a safety hazard, a space heater is an energy hog. The average one uses 1,320 watts of energy -- a cost of 16 cents per hour.

Rather than using a space heater to keep a space warm, address the underlying issue. You might need additional insulation in the room you're trying to heat, or you might be able to block drafts by sealing around doors and windows. And, as always, a sweater or a blanket should be your go-to zero-cost way to warm up.

If you do opt to use a space heater, be sure to unplug it when not in use and set it on a timer to turn off when you are sleeping.

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7. Hair Dryer

By consuming 710 watts of electricity, your hair dryer is costing you about 15 cents per hour. You can reduce your costs by reducing usage or letting your hair air dry first -- and then use the dryer just for styling. Using the low setting instead of high will reduce your energy usage as well. However, unless you're running a salon out of your house, it's probably a safe bet you're using it for no more than an hour a day -- meaning drying your hair probably costs around $4 a month. It's also an easy enough tool to keep unplugged when you're not using it.

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8. Electric Range

Your electric range uses about 1.9 kW per hour, but that will vary widely depending on how many burners you're using and at what intensity. Either way, even if you're cooking for three hours a day every day, you're still spending just a little over $20 a month on energy for your stove.

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9. Refrigerator

Your refrigerator uses about 225 watts of power per hour, costing a mere 3 cents per hour. However, while that's not a huge energy drain, it's also an appliance you can't turn off. Those 225 watts an hour translate to $262.80 annually with relatively few avenues for reducing the bill, meaning your fridge will probably cost you more in total than your space heater despite drawing a fraction of the energy on an hourly basis.

There are some tips that can help lower your electricity bill without turning off the fridge. Keep foods covered as the moisture released by foods makes the compressor have to work harder. If you're in the market for a new refrigerator, make sure you get one that's the right size for your family -- a full refrigerator uses less energy than one that's half-empty. And of course, decide what you want before you open the fridge to minimize the time the door's open.

If you have more than one refrigerator, consider consolidating your refrigerated items so that you can keep the second one unplugged at most times. You might also consider getting rid of a second fridge altogether, especially if it's older. These "energy hogs" can add $100 to your annual electricity bill, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

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10. Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan can be a good alternative to air conditioning. At 35 watts of consumption, leaving your ceiling fan on all day will cost you about 10 cents, which is an outrageous bargain when compared to the $11 a day your air conditioner would cost.

One great tip in climates with cooler nights is to turn on your ceiling fans in the evening while keeping your windows open. The fans can draw in cool air all evening that will help keep the home cool into the next day. You can keep ceiling fans unplugged during cooler months, or if it's hardwired, be sure to keep it turned off.

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11. Incandescent Light Bulb

Get this, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb uses...60 watts of power an hour. This is one case where you probably don't have to go searching for the informational panel to get a wattage -- most bulbs put it right on the package. A 60-watt bulb costs you about a penny an hour ($0.0072 to be specific) while a 150-watt bulb will run you about two cents an hour.

However, the better question might be "why are you still using incandescent bulbs?" Using newer, CFL bulbs will save you a lot in the long run -- both on your energy bill and on your trips to the hardware store. Compared to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, a 15-watt CFL bulb uses a quarter of the energy and lasts 10 times as long while a 12W LED light uses as little as one-fifth as much energy and lasts 25 times as long.

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12. Dishwasher

The average dishwasher costs 4 cents per hour to run, meaning it likely costs you about $0.19 per load, depending on your washer. Even if you don't keep your dishwasher unplugged when not in use, there are ways to reduce its energy costs. Running your dishwasher only when it is full will help you save energy, as will finding opportunities to hand-wash dishes when there aren't enough to warrant running the dishwasher.

Household appliances are becoming more efficient all the time, so look for the most efficient model when it's time to replace your refrigerator, dishwasher, laundry pair or other appliance. Replacing an old appliance, even if it's still working, may make economic sense if the energy savings are there.

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13. Furnace Fan

If you keep your furnace fan running throughout the year, it could add $520 to your electricity bill. Unplug your furnace during the summer if you can. If it's hardwired, be sure to switch it off.

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14. Heated Towel Rack

There's nothing quite like wrapping yourself in a warm towel after a shower, but this little daily luxury could be costing you more than you realize. Some heated towel racks are built with no off switch or timer, which means that they are automatically on when they are plugged in. A rack that uses 140 watts could cost $140 to $375 in annual bills when plugged in 24/7, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Only keep a heated towel rack plugged in during the time around your shower, and unplug it after use.

Sasha_Suzi / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Coffee Maker

Your coffee maker requires a lot of energy while in use, so it's best to keep it unplugged when it isn't. If you have an instant coffee maker, keep it plugged into a timer to save on its standby energy load costs.

Rostislav_Sedlacek / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16. Microwave

It's no surprise that a microwave oven uses a lot of energy when you're heating up an entire meal in a matter of minutes, but it also uses energy when it's not working. All appliances with a clock use idle energy, and a microwave is no exception. The average microwave uses 26 kWh per year in standby mode, according to the water and power company SRP, which costs the average annual household roughly $3. Chances are you can easily see the time on your watch or mobile phone when you're in the kitchen, so there's no need to have your microwave plugged in 24/7.

lenta / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17. Laser Printer

Your laser printer is probably in standby mode more than it's actually in use, so it can be easy to overlook this energy vampire. The average laser printer uses 70 kWh annually while in standby mode, according to SRP, which would amount to about $8 annually. That's $8 that you could save by simply unplugging your printer when you're not using it.

More From GOBankingRates

Gabrielle Olya and Amen Oyiboke-Osifo contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Unplug These Appliances That Hike Up Your Electricity Bill

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 08:49:00 -0500 en-CA text/html https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/unplug-appliances-hike-electricity-bill-190052023.html
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