Despite the depressing nature of my last few posts, there is always some good news to be found, so here we are again with my latest Good News Friday installment.
We start with some hi-tech news, where we learn that the communications giant Nokia-Siemens is going to be putting all its hi-tech eggs into one Israeli basket:
If you’ve ever thrown your smartphone down in frustration at how slow it is, hang in there. Nokia Siemens Networks understands where you’re coming from, and is working on ways to fix slow networks once and for all. The solutions it is implementing for its new effort — its Liquid Network architecture — are all going to be Israeli-developed.
With broadband use growing every day thanks to gigabyte-hungry cellphone apps and video streams, cell networks are getting squeezed more than ever. That squeeze is showing up more and more on the end-user side, as apps take longer to connect to databases and web servers and video streams freeze up. In extreme cases, the squeeze even squeezes out voice transmissions, making for a frustrating call experience.
There is only so much network traffic a base station can handle, and when users of bandwidth heavy apps in a particular area all try to connect to services at the same time, the result can be a slow-as-molasses experience for everyone.
Enter Liquid Network, the architecture to turn base stations into a part of an intelligent network, instead of just acting as an indiscriminate distributor of bandwidth, and the Liquid Applications that will bring that architecture to life. That “intelligence” includes being able to assign content to base stations based on the number of users of a particular app or service, using apps to regulate video quality to ensure smooth delivery (without slowdowns and hiccups) to everyone connecting to a specific cell tower, or placing a gaming app in a particular tower when a number of people are using it in order to speed things up.
NSN is only looking in one place for those solution: Israel. To find the best ones, the company is sponsoring the Israel Innovation Competition. “Liquid Applications is a new platform, allowing the deployment of a variety of applications by software vendors and by players with new innovative business models,” says NSN, and “in order to exploit the full potential of Liquid Applications, we are looking for innovative ideas from the wider ecosystem in Israel.”
Just Israel, says Hossein Moiin, NSN senior vice president for Technology and Innovation and a member of the company’s Executive Board. “Israel is one of the world’s hottest and liveliest centers for technology and innovation,” he said, describing the competition. The proposed solutions will be examined by NSN executives, as well as representatives from Intel Capital, Cellcom Israel, the Israel Export Institute, and VC investor Amos Talmor, who is well-acquainted with the mobile landscape. Any company with a good idea can apply, and six will be chosen for the finals, which will take place in Tel Aviv on June 27.
This news is excellent for Israel’s hi-tech economy and also great public relations for our hi-tech industry. Kol hakavod to Israel’s technological developers, and especially to Nokia-Siemens for recognizing the power and ability of Israel’s hi-tech industry.
The next piece of good news is from the sports arena, where Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov won the gold medal for the men’s floor exercise in the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship held in Moscow on Saturday.
Shatilov’s routine scored 6.4 on the difficulty scale, giving him a total score of 15.333 points. British gymnast Max Whitlock scored a similar result, also wining the gold. Italian gymnast Andrea Cingolani won the bronze medal.
Shatilov, who was born in Uzbekistan and immigrated to Israel in 2002, is considered a potential medal winner for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The floor is considered Shatilov’s strongest area: He won the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship’s silver medal in 2010, as well as two bronze medals, in 2009 and 2011. He finished sixth in the same exercise at the London Olympics.
“I’ve waited for this moment for a long time,” he told reporters after his win. “Nothing compares to this feeling.”
We wish a hearty mazal tov to Alex Shatilov on his marvellous win, and hope he goes on to win many gold medals at the next Olympics.
Our last item for this week is a perfect way to end the week and prepare for Shabbat, for what could be better than a good bottle of wine? The number of Israel’s boutique wineries has jumped from 7 to nearly 300, as Israel 21C reports:
Israel’s wine industry has become a favorite topic of conversation among the world’s top connoisseurs. A country with scarce farm land, Israel nonetheless continues to produce top-quality merlots and sauvignons.
“Wine has been made in the Holy Land for millennia, but Israel’s wineries have come into the modern age since the 1980s, when producers began borrowing vinification techniques from France and the US. The region’s wines are getting better all the time, and some are superb,” writes leading US wine critic Robert Parker.
Similarly, in his 2012 Pocket Wine Book, British wine expert Hugh Johnson highlighted 32 Israeli wineries.
“Israeli wine has been transformed in the last 20 years by producers who have imported wine expertise to go with their existing technological and agricultural prowess,” writes Johnson.
There are more than 300 wineries in Israel, ranging from small boutique enterprises to large commercial production plants. The biggest jump in business has been in the boutique marketplace.
“Until 1995, there were just seven boutique wineries in Israel. By 2000, we had 100. Today, there are between 280 and 300,” Oded Shoham of Israel Wine Experience tells ISRAEL21c.
Shoham recommends visiting the vineyards, not just purchasing their products.
“You see people who have fulfilled their dream and you taste it in their wine,” says Shoham, who has been on the forefront of the Israeli wine industry for more than 25 years. “It’s not like buying a bottle off a shelf and not realizing there’s a person and a temperament that stands behind the bottle. It makes it a more interesting story.”
Sales of Israeli wines stand at $315 million per year, according to Wines Israel, and the country exports some $30 million worth of wine annually. The main importers of Israeli wines are the US, France, the UK, Canada, Poland, Germany and Holland.
“Once, recommendation of Israel wines was mostly of a sentimental nature. That is no longer necessary,” writes Frank Prial in the New York Times.
If that’s the case, it’s time to raise a l’chaim to Israeli wine. ISRAEL21c checked in with the experts for the 10 best boutique wineries in Israel today. Drink up and enjoy.
Read the rest of the article for the list of great Israeli wineries, and with that I shall wish you all Lechaim!
And of course Shabbat Shalom. 🙂