BT and Facebook back hotly TIPped AI, SDN start-ups

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BT, Facebook and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) are awarding £125 million to start-ups specialising in AI, security and software-defined networking (SDN).

The three winners, who successfully pitched their ideas to a panel of experts from TIP members, will be hosted at the TIP’s Ecosystem Acceleration Centres (TEACs), based at BT Labs facilities in London and Suffolk in the United Kingdom.

The successful start-ups are UnManned Life, an autonomous AI drone-based platform, KETS Quantum Security, which has developed a quantum chip to boost security, and Zeetta Networks, which offers SDN-based management technology for operators.

The TEAC initiative will provide funding, support and expertise in order to help the companies bring their ideas to market more rapidly.

It will also help them to adapt their solutions to emerging areas of telecoms such as quantum networking, mission-critical communications, AI and programmable networks.

Howard Watson (pictured), CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations, said: “It’s more important than ever before that we seek expertise not only from our home-grown talent and established partners, but also from newly created small businesses.

“By helping innovative SMEs like Zeetta Networks, KETS and Unmanned Life to grow, to scale up, and access the funding they need to develop even more successful businesses, we’re supporting the development of technologies that have the potential to tackle some of our society’s biggest challenges around connectivity, around security, and accessibility of digital services.”

Yael Maguire, VP, Connectivity at Facebook, said: “Facebook is looking forward to working with BT and TIP to support this start-up accelerator. Working together, we hope to help identify and support innovation from startups in telecom network infrastructure while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.”

The TIP was founded last year, with other participants including Deutsche Telekom, Intel and SK Telecom. The Facebook-led project aims to reinvent the traditional approach to deploying network infrastructure.

Last month Deutsche Telekom announced it would launch a TEAC in Berlin.