Microsoft strengthens its RPA portfolio with Softomotive acquisition

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the planned acquisition of Softomotive, a UK-headquartered robotic process automation (RPA) software company with roots in Greece. With the intended purchase, Microsoft has muscled into the RPA game in a big way and, in doing so, removed any doubts that RPA has really arrived. Expect others to follow suit with a buying spree and resulting shakeout of the weaker players. Given the current recession and focus on projects that reduce cost, the timing could not be better.

Most of Softomotive’s 8,000-plus customers are single users or small work groups. Softomotive’s WinAutomation product has both attended and unattended deployment options and a solid offering that is flexible and easy to use but not exercised generally for complex use cases. Functionally, the acquisition helps in three primary areas.

Microsoft took a cloud-first approach to UI Flows. (Be patient with me here.) Power Automate, formerly

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Pandemic spurs QR code app upgrade at PayPal

PayPal has introduced a feature on its mobile app that enables people selling goods to accept payments via QR codes.

The feature means those selling goods outside the traditional retail sector can avoid the need to use cash and cards, without buying contactless payment equipment.

Because the PayPal app is free, small sellers, including people selling secondhand goods or those with stalls on a farmers’ market, can accept payment through QR codes, just as larger retailers do.

The feature was added in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to further reduce the use of cash or the need for buyers and sellers to make physical contact with payment equipment, both of which could spread the virus.

“We know that in the current environment, buying and selling goods in a health-conscious, safe and secure way is front of mind for many people around the world,” said John Kunze, senior vice-president of

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It wasn’t just you, the NBN was slower at the back end of March

Image: ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its first monthly edition of its Measuring Broadband Australia report on Thursday, which covered the performance of the National Broadband Network (NBN) between February and April.

The report showed that from the start of coronavirus lockdowns in mid-March, during busy hours, users on 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans experienced drops of up to 14% and 23%, respectively. Users on 25Mbps plan were only hit with a 5% degradation in busy hours. No 12Mbps services were included due to a lack of sufficient sample size.

Measuring across all hours, the drops in speeds translated into 12% for 100Mbps, 8% for 50Mbps, and only a few percent for 25Mbps.

Across April, 100Mbps users saw degradation of up to 5% in busy hours, with the other two plans only impacted by a couple of percent.

The ACCC pinned the April improvement on the 40%

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Nokia, KDDI trial fully virtualised 5G cloud RAN

Aiming to add further support for its operator clients migrating to the next-generation infrastructure, communications technology supplier Nokia has revealed that it is working with leading Japanese mobile operator KDDI on a proof of concept (PoC) of a fully virtualised cloud 5G radio access network (RAN).

The planned lab-based PoC will use Nokia’s AirScale All-in-Cloud BTS solution to enable KDDI to research how flexible, virtualised radio network technology can support the diversifying network performance requirements in the 5G era.

AirScale All-in-Cloud BTS is a fully cloudified 5G BTS, placing both the real-time and non-real-time baseband in the cloud. Virtualised real-time baseband processing takes place at the far edge of the network to meet extreme latency requirements and provide the ability to scale to meet demand. It is part of Nokia’s broader Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN solution, which offers a mix of local and cloud-based processing.

AirScale All-in-Cloud BTS will

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