Media delegates from the IT sector congregated in the stunning surroundings of San Jose, California, for the annual Global Press & Analysts summit hosted by NetEvents. This year's summit once again did not disappoint - as a prominent array of distinguished panelists engaged in a series of compelling discussions which examined the imminent issues, challenges and opportunities presented by IoT, AI, Cloud and Security. NetEvents is a unique ICT conference as it gives press the opportunity to network and form relationships with some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies from the technology mecca of the world which is Silicon Valley. In addition to this, this year's IoT and Cloud Innovation Awards honored Professor David Cheriton, as the Innovation Idol for 2017.

Zebra Technologies:
On day one of NetEvents, media personnel were invited to tour the offices of Zebra Technologies in Silicon Valley. Under the microscope during the tour was Zebra's innovative partnership with the NFL. Zebra is the "Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider for the NFL both parties agreed to collaborate and trial RFID tracking technology starting back in 2013.

John Pollard, Head of Zebra Sports Business Development highlighted his company's role in completely 'revolutionizing' player tracking for the NFL. Zebra's cutting-edge technology enables coaches in the NFL the opportunity to dissect every single facet of information available on individual players by converting its high-speed player data into real-time usable statistics.

Pollard explained that the Zebra Sports Solution real-time player-tracking system includes RFID tags that are discreetly placed in the shoulder pads of players. The tags on players allow coaches to track vital statistics and then can use 'motion data' to change their game. Algorithms within the tracking systems deployed by Zebra aggregate players stats and display them in real-time.

Zebra's mantra is 'Visibility that's Visibility' and the trialling of the tracking systems have been heralded as a huge success in the NFL. The data provided by Zebra has been entitled 'Next Gen Stats' - and the information conveyed by the Zebra Sports Solution is used by broadcasters in an attempt to enhance the fan experience in the NFL.

In addition to this, Zebra formally announced a new partnership agreement with Wilson Sporting Goods that will see them engineer and deploy RFID tagged footballs for every game during the NFL season. This will ultimately enable the collection of real-time location, speed, and rotation data on all footballs. This technology was trialled during last year's preseason and in some Thursday night football games. This latest innovation will serve to once again enhance the fan experience by delivering game analytics never available before.

Vice President and General Manager of Location Solutions at Zebra Technologies, Jill Stelfox said, "We're thrilled to further support the NFL's mission to enhance football through cutting-edge technology by continuing to grow the Zebra Sports solution portfolio. Tracking the football is the logical next phase of our collaboration with the NFL, and we're eager to continue evolving the game of football for fans, broadcasters and coaches alike."

'Guardians of the Connected World':
Next up on the whistle stop tour of Silicon Valley was a visit to the recently refurbished offices of NETSCOUT, which is a market leader in real-time service assurance and cybersecurity solutions for enterprise, service provider and government networks. Brian P. McCann, President of NETSCOUT's Security Business Unit, which includes Arbor Networks, delivered a compelling and fascinating case study presentation which examined the global threat landscape.

According to McCann, in relation to cybersecurity 'the stakes have changed' and that the size, frequency and complexity of cyberattacks are ever evolving and represent a 'new world of advanced threats'. He highlighted the recent cyberattack on US firm Equifax as an example of the destruction a security breach can have on your organization. 143 million identities were stolen in the Equifax hack, high-profile executives have been dismissed - the CEO has stepped down and over $5 billion dollars in market value has been lost.

The presentation disclosed some startling statistics - one of which was in just five years there has been an increase of 1,223% in the size of DDoS attacks. However, McCann insisted that the combined expertise provided by NETSCOUT and its security assurance arm Arbor Networks, and its service assurance partner nGenius, can identify performance issues and provide real-time insights into network-based security threats, enabling teams to quickly resolve issues that can cause severe disruptions or impact user experience.

This has led NETSCOUT to proclaim themselves to be the enablers of the 'Guardians of the Connected World' - leveraging the power of 'smart data' to reshape their businesses. Arbor Networks ATLAS infrastructure is NETSCOUT's 'smart data' analytics platform which enables their security researchers to create the intelligence feed for its Security Assurance Solutions. McCann declared that 'intelligence is the foundation'.

Arbor Networks provides Security Assurance Solutions for Enterprise and Service Provider Networks and McCann insisted that NETSCOUT will strengthen its position as an industry leader in service assurance solutions in the cybersecurity sector, combining its expertise in Visibility, Automation and Integration solutions to achieve its aims and objectives.

IoT & Cloud Innovation Awards 2017:
The winner of the much coveted 2017 'Innovation Idol Award' was Silicon Valley stalwart Professor David Cheriton. The distributing systems and network expert has established and carved out a stellar reputation over a fabled 36-year career. He's perhaps best known for nurturing the talents of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both his students at Stanford University. In fact, it was Cheriton who provide the duo with initial funding when forming the global search engine.

Cheriton has funded more than 20 companies during his career - and his latest venture is Apstra where he is developing an intent-based self-operating network for the Datacenter - his vision is gaining considerable attention from the international media community. In fact, Apstra also scooped an award at the IoT & Cloud Innovation Awards. It was recognized as the leading Hot Start-Up in the Cloud/Datacenter field.

However, as the winner of this year's Innovation Idol, David joins an exclusive club of past winners which includes distinguished industry veterans such as Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, OpenFlow inventor Martin Casado and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andy Bechtolsheim, plus last year's winner Stuart McClure for his work in successfully leading the industry in applying Artificial Intelligence in security applications.

Other notable winners at awards ceremony were OnDot Systems. Shark Tank Panelist Janice Roberts,  Partner, Benhamou Global Venture Partners commented, "OnDot was chosen as the winner of the Hot Start-Up IoT award as a company with a global market opportunity with clear value propositions in a 'mobile first' world for both financial institutions and individual customers. In addition to enabling increased customer engagement, the advantages of personalized management and control of payments is both compelling and essential."

In the cybersecurity sector, Javelin Networks were chosen by the 'Sharks' as the Hot Start-Up. Hiro Rio Maeda, Managing Director, Draper Nexus explained the venture capitalist decision to select Javelin. He said, "We selected Javelin because of the root problem that they are solving. Most enterprises are still heavily dependent on Active Directory and once it's compromised none of the other solutions could prevent further attacks. We are hopeful that Javelin could solve this root problem by their next-gen deception technology around Active Directory. It's not complete but we believe their "innovative" approach has a great potential to evolve further."

Telecom Review also met with Zimperium, whose on-device solution autonomously identifies threats to mobile devices, via networks or apps. The platform uses machine learning and AI to detect threats by modelling different types of malware, attacks and exploits on a device to assess in minutes what would take a person weeks to evaluate.

This means that all threats are detected and blocked in real time. Zimperium have just announced the availability of their mobile threat detection on Oracle Cloud and a partnership with Mobile Iron.

Ondot were another interesting vendor who offer CardControl service, allowing cardholders to control on an app when, where and how their cards are used. Cardholders are also able to control settings on their dependents' cards. The app is deployed by the bank and then offered to customers as a white label solution. The push notifications enhance customer engagement and banks have seen notable increase in revenue with card usage increasing by 26%.