Nokia will collaborate with SDN, big data challenge winners

MidoNet and ParStream, which created solutions for software-defined networking (SDN) and big data analytics, respectively, were named the winners of an innovation challenge held by Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) networks unit, which will continue working with both companies on future offerings.

Hossein Moiin

Hossein Moiin

The Silicon Valley Open Innovation Challenge gave Nokia Networks, which was still known as Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) at the time the contest started, access to numerous potential partners. The vendor said 90 submissions were made after the competition launched on April 10, 2014.

"Great innovation takes openness, collaboration and multi-disciplinary experts working together on big ideas to solve big challenges," said Hossein Moiin, executive vice president and CTO for Nokia Networks. "Our approach is to create a platform, orchestrate the ecosystem and build partnerships to co-create, accelerate and perhaps even disrupt the wireless industry," he added.

Grand prize winner Midokura's MidoNet overlay networking virtualization solution redefines SDN for telco clouds. "MidoNet provides a software-based virtual networking layer within an existing physical network infrastructure, making the once costly and burdensome physical network into a flexible platform with massive scalability," Nokia said.

ParStream, the other grand prize winner, created a disruptive database technology "that processes extreme volume and velocity of big data faster than the speed of light," Nokia said. The Finnish vendor expects ParStream's big data technology to enable new types of applications in ecommerce, telco, finance, retail and many other industries. 

ParStream CEO Peter Jensen said his company looks forward to working with Nokia on solutions for analyzing "the massive and rapidly growing amounts of data being generated from wireless networks."

The challenge was also supported by Nokia Growth Partners, Nokia Technologies and the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley. Entries were reviewed and voted on by a jury of 70 judges.

At the time the challenge was announced, Nokia said submissions could become candidates for grooming and venture funding via Nokia Growth Partners. Its recent announcement regarding the winning entries did not specify whether Nokia's venture capital arm would specifically fund any of the competitors. However, each finalist was assigned a Nokia "Innovation Champion" to assist them over the next few months.

In addition to the two grand prize winners, an award for the "most promising startup" went to StreetLight Data, which uses anonymized telco archival data to figure out how people move and then pinpoint where businesses should follow them.

Four other finalists in the challenge were Jolata, for its virtually zero footprint software probe, which measures and reports end-to-end network latency; NetRounds, whose software-as-a-service (SaaS) transforms bare metal x86 hardware or virtual machines into professional test and measurement devices; Danateq, for its Link cognitive analytics platform; and NetNumber, whose Titan provides common infrastructure for the virtual delivery of real-time signaling control, policy enforcement and subscriber database services.

Nokia's networks unit has been on an acquisition tear of late, most recently buying infrastructure deployment firm SAC Wireless and Mesaplexx, which will give Nokia innovative filter technology. Nokia's HERE navigation, location and mapping division recently acquired Medio Systems and Desti.

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