Facebook looks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace
According to reports, Facebook is interested in acquiring Titan Aerospace, a manufacturing company that makes drones capable of flying at high altitudes for more that five years at a time. Titan Aerospace drones have the potential to replace satellites and cost in the region of $60 million each.
The company, which was launched in 2012, specializes in solar-powered, high-flying drones known as atmospheric satellites, which are believed to be a cost effective alternative to orbital satellites. TechCruch has reported that Facebook is likely interested in the drones, which can fly as high as 20km, as part of its internet.org initiative.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress last month to elaborate on internet.org and its plans to connect five billion people to the Internet in developing nations. The drones could be used to blanket large areas of Africa and other countries with Internet access.
According to TechCrunch, Titan Aerospace would be fully committed to the internet.org project, post acquisition and that it would start building 11,000 drones for the effort. Facebook has also confirmed its long-term involvement with the project, with Zuckerberg pledging to spend significant amounts of money without a likely return on investment in the near future.
“It's easy to take for granted that most people have access to the internet, but only one third of the world, 2.7 billion people, currently have access to the internet,” said Zuckerberg in his Mobile World Congress keynote speech. “We're not on a path to connect everyone right now, unless something dramatic changes.”
The Titan Aerospace drones could provide an ideal platform for expanding the footprint of mobile broadband, and help Facebook both connect more people and expand its user base in developing markets like Africa.
Read related articles in Business Review USA
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”