Portsmouth firm sees growth in managing smart cities’ networks

Acquisition by Kontron complements Inocybe’s business model

As digital applications increase the demand for high-speed internet, Portsmouth-based software networking company Inocybe Technologies foresees the expansion of its team on the Seacoast. 

Inocybe was recently acquired by Kontron, a global provider of cloud and telecom integrated infrastructure platforms. 

“Our company is focused on helping companies with complex network problems use open source software to automate and simplify the management of the network,” explained Inocybe’s General Manager John Zannos. 

Inocybe’s customers are telecom, cable service providers and enterprises. Until recent years, major players like Nokia, Ericsson and Cisco had been selling integrated network appliances that wove together hardware and software solutions. Then AT&T, Verizon and other players advocated that software be separated from the hardware and that both be open sourced.

The shift has brought to light the complication of putting the pieces together – that’s where Inocybe comes in.

Taking Inocybe’s software expertise and Kontron’s hardware expertise, the two companies will make it easier for service providers to consume and use technology.

“One of our key targets moving forward is to help smart cities with open software and open hardware for networking, and we’re going to start by focusing on Canada and the northeast part of the U.S.,” said Zannos. “Over the next year or so, you’ll see us pursuing helping communities build networks that make sense to [achieve] smart cities. Our view is we’re not the providers of the software that sits on top, we’re the providers of an automated network that allows cities to do interesting things.”

As users consume internet data more aggressively, the stress on the network will drive more network operators toward artificial intelligence and automation to better direct internet traffic and ensure everyone watching videos online, for instance, has access to high-speed internet, said Zannos.

“No matter how much we automate, there’s going to be a need for more automation because there’s going to be more data running across the network and more devices using the network,” he said. “Our biggest focus will be on the service providers in the telecom/cable space and even large enterprises. With the acquisition, what we’re trying to do is amplify for those consumers the consumption of open source software and open source hardware that is better managed to operate the network.” 

Zannos is a member of the Linux Foundation Networking board, where he is purview to industry-wide discussions about open source software for networking. 

“Open source networking projects are becoming fundamental building blocks for automated and disaggregated networks,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at The Linux Foundation, in a press release. “We are excited to see innovators in the areas of open software and hardware join forces to create end-to-end solutions.”

“We’re active in that community, and our focus is how do we make it easier and simpler for our customers — be it telecom or cable or large enterprise — to consume and use those open source projects,” said Zannos. “Some of the key engineering talent we’ve developed in the Portsmouth area and we continue to develop in Portsmouth does exactly that, focused on open source networking software.”

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