Google Assistant will soon help you find local home services

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Google

Like rival assistants Alexa and Siri, Google Assistant keeps adding new features, including identifying songs and controlling Chromecast. But now it can help users find local businesses, too. Instead of just providing a top list, however, Google Assistant will ask several questions to get the right nearby shop that fits the user’s needs.

To be clear, this isn’t just to advise users of the best nearby restaurants, which Amazon’s Alexa has been doing for years. The new Google Assistant questionnaire helps find specialists, like plumbers and electricians. In some cities, it will suggest businesses that have been prescreened by Google and companies such as HomeAdvisor and Porch. Otherwise, it will still offer suitable options in the area. The feature will start rolling out to US users in the coming weeks.

 

 

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $70 on a Dell 27-inch monitor

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This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

Skybell HD

Street price: $185; deal price: $130 w/ code SKYBELLCM17

Use code SKYBELLCM17 in the shopping cart to drop the price of our top smart doorbell cam to $130 — $55 off the usual price of around $185. This is the first notable discount we’ve seen for the SkyBell and the code works for both colors. Pick one up while this lasts as they’re likely to go fast.

The Skybell HD is our top pick in our guide to the best smart doorbell camera. Stacey Higginbotham wrote, “The SkyBell HD’s built-in motion-detection sensor proved more reliable than others we tested, and SkyBell has tweaked the model’s capabilities since our previous update to this guide—when motion is detected, the camera now saves a few seconds of video from before the motion occurred. This means that you can see more of the event that triggered the motion sensor, making it more useful than other doorbell cameras. (With some other cameras, it’s fairly common to catch the backside of a person who has triggered the doorbell as he or she walks away.) The week’s worth of free video storage means you can go on vacation and still have a record of what happened on your front porch—without having to pay for that record. Customizable LEDs, plus integration with popular connected-home products and ecosystems, such as Amazon Echo, SmartThings, Works with Nest, and IFTTT, means that SkyBell HD is more likely to work with other smart devices you may already have.”

Bodum Chambord French Press

Street price: $35; deal price: $26

While it’s a dollar more than we saw during Black Friday week, the Bodum Chambord is a nice value at $26 and is at one of the lower prices we’ve seen for it in the last few months. This french press, the 34-ounce size, rarely ever drops below $25, so if you’re willing to pay the extra buck, it’s still a good deal and a nice present for the coffee lover in your life.

The Bodum Chambord French Press is our runner-up pick in our guide to the best french press. Sabrina Imbler wrote, “Designed in the 1950s, the Bodum Chambord looks like the quintessential French press. It also brews good coffee, and its steel frame is more durable than the Bodum Brazil’s plastic body. Otherwise, it has the exact same beaker, internal plunger, and filtering screens as our top pick, the Brazil. In our testing, this press produced the same brew as the Brazil, retaining most of the tasting notes of the coffee and little of the grit of the grounds. We also found this model easy and smooth to plunge.

Imbler continued, “The Chambord is not our top pick because it does the same job as the Brazil for a higher price (sometimes twice as much). And though the metal exterior feels sturdier than the Brazil’s plastic, the Chambord’s glass beaker is just as fragile as that of any other glass press. But if you prefer the aesthetics of the Chambord, it might be worth paying the extra cash.”

Coway AirMega 300

Street price: $450; deal price: $367

At $367, this is the lowest price we’ve seen on our upgrade air purifier pick, perfect for bigger spaces or worse allergies. The street price of this purifier has dropped from a sky-high $550 down closer to $450 in the last year, but $367 is still a really nice price. Pick one up and be ready for spring allergies.

The Coway Airmega 300 is the upgrade pick in our guide to the best air purifier. Tim Heffernan and John Holecek wrote, “If you have severe allergies or other serious health issues related to airborne particles, or if you need to clean the air in a large space, we recommend the Coway Airmega 300. It’s HEPA-rated and designed to clear spaces of about 500 square feet at five complete air changes per hour (about 1.5 times the coverage of the Coway and the Winix at that level of air movement), or 1,250 square feet at two complete air changes. In our tests, the Airmega 300 and a slightly more powerful version, the 400, have consistently been at or near the top in terms of particulate reduction. Their unique twin filters permit very high airflow, allowing them to run on lower settings when the air is relatively clean or to rapidly filter very large volumes of air on the highest setting, as you might when allergens or pollution are elevated. But they are expensive; the 300 series costs about $1,200 (including the purchase price, electricity, and replacement filters) over five years—about double the cost of our pick.”

Dell U2715H 27-inch Monitor

Street price: $470; deal price: $400

Since the street price has been steadily climbing over the past few months since this monitor has been discontinued, we’ve seen few worthwhile deals. This deal drops the U2715H $300 below the street price it’s been at for November, and a solid $70 drop from the normal average street price. It’s hard to say how long this deal will last, but it probably won’t stick around.

The Dell U2715H is our previous pick in our guide to the best 27-inch monitor. David Murphy and John Higgins wrote, “Our previous pick, the Dell UltraSharp U2715H, is very close in quality and features to our pick and runner-up. It has two HDMI inputs as opposed to one and the USB ports are all on the back like on our pick, but its contrast ratio is a little worse than the U2717D. If you can find it for less than either of our picks, it’s still a good monitor, but it’s been discontinued, so it’s unclear how long you’ll be able to find one.”

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursday, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to thewirecutter.com.

 

 

Google caters to the DIY crowd with an AI camera kit for Raspberry Pi

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Google

Google created its AIY Projects initiative — “artificial intelligence yourself” — to encourage developers and DIY enthusiasts to learn about artificial intelligence. The first project in the series, the ready-to-assemble Raspberry Pi-based AIY Voice Kit, was based on a project from MagPi magazine. Now Google has a second project ready for release this year: the AIY Vision Kit.

The camera kit comes with a cardboard shell, an AI-capable circuit board, a light-up arcade button, a tiny speaker, a lens kit with both macro and wide settings and various connection components, including a tripod mounting nut. You’ll need to supply your own Raspberry Pi Zero W, Raspberry Pi Camera, an SD card and a power supply. The VisionBonnet circuit board has an Intel Movidius MA2450 low-power vision processing unit, which can run neural network models right on the device. You’ll get software, too, which has three TensorFlow-based neural network models: one to recognize a thousand common objects, another that can recognize faces and expressions and a third that can detect people, cats and dogs. There’s also a Python API that can adjust the arcade button colors and speaker sounds.

With this Raspberry Pi-based camera, Google says you can create a device that can identify different plant and animal species, be notified when your dog shows up at the back door, see if you left your car in the driveway, watch your holiday guests react to your decorations or even trip an alarm when your little brother enters your room. Of course, these are just examples. Developers and hackers will surely find even more exciting things to do with this device.

Google isn’t the only company offering AI tools for developers to create solutions with. Amazon also just announced its own image recognition camera, too. Google’s more DIY-centric AIY Vision Kit is available for pre-order now via Micro Center for $45, and will be available for delivery and store pickup December 31st.

 

 

Priyanka Chopra to be a bridesmaid at Prince Harry and Meghan Markles royal wedding?

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Priyanka Chopra to be a bridesmaid at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding?

The official announcement of royal engagement of Prince Harry, the grandson of England’s Queen Elizabeth and Suits actress Meghan Markle has broken the internet. Speculations are rife that our very own Priyanka Chopra will end up being one of the bridesmaids for Meghan at the wedding. 

According many reports in the West, Priyanka is most likely to be one of the bridesmaids supporting Meghan at the aisle on her special day, all thanks to the close bond they share. Peecee took to her Instagram to congratulate the couple, as she wrote, “Congratulations to my girl @meghanmarkle and Prince Harry!! I’m so happy for you Meg! You deserve the best always..keep smiling that infectious smile. Xoxo.”

Priyanka first met Meghan at a party in Toronto, Canada, when Meghan was shooting for her popular legal drama series, Suits. The two grew close after Markle interviewed the Quantico actor for the lifestyle blog she used to run, and they’ve been spotted on each other’s social media enjoying some girl time with pool days and cocktail dates ever since.

Toyota's FT-AC concept is an Instagram-ready offroader

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If you’ve ever thought, “I’d really like to be able to record all my drives both on-road and off,” the Toyota FT-AC (Future Toyota Adventure Concept)crossover is the vehicle for you. With detachable infrared cameras on the side mirrors that record your jaunts, it’s the Instagram-ready car of your active-lifestyle dreams.

Gallery: Toyota FT-AC | 9 Photos

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While the current Toyota C-HR crossover is clearly more of an urban vehicle, the concept FT-AC is directed towards folks that spend their weekends in the great outdoors. For those adventures, the footage shot via those detachable cameras is uploaded to Toyota’s cloud via the car’s Wi-Fi hotspot. There it can be edited and shared with a companion app. The footage can also be live streamed directly from the road for those moments when you really need the world to know exactly what you’re doing at that moment.

If you’re a cyclist, the FT-AC features a retractable bike rack and detachable fog lights you can attach to your bike. Considering how much brighter vehicles lamps are than bike lamps, this will alleviate any issues you’ve had on night rides of not being able to see the terrain. The lights can also be used as a camping lamp.

This joins the company’s FT-AX concept crossover as the automaker’s way of making sure it keeps up with the growing SUV market. Toyota might have the best selling car in the United States (Camry), but it knows that larger cars are what most customers want. “We have to admit that the exterior is aggressive. But you like it right?” Said Toyota Jack Hollis group vice president.

In addition to an all-wheel-drive pure gas engine, Toyota expects the FT-AC to also have a hybrid version. So you can be greener while you head outside.

Like all concept cars, if this does come to market some of the more outlandish features will probably never make it to the showroom. But considering how much our lives revolve around documenting our events, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that at least some elements of the video capturing system will end up in our garages.

 

 

Aamir Khanâs Secret Superstar manages to wow the audience in Taiwan

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Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar manages to wow the audience in Taiwan

Aamir Khan who worked with Zaira Wasim in the blockbuster film Dangal, collaborated again with the pretty, young actress for Secret Superstar. The starlet who is just 17 years of age has impressed everyone with her talent. After having a good theatrical run in India, Secret Superstar has earned Rs 56 lakhs in 3 days in Taiwan.

The story of the film is about a school-going girl Insiya Malik, played by Zaira, who aspires to become a singer but is unable to free herself from the clutches of her overbearing father. So she starts putting videos online keeping her identity a secret with the help of a music director Shakti Kumar played by Aamir Khan. The film,  produced by Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Zee Studios and Akash Chawla is written and directed by Advait Chandan. 

This post of Shah Rukh Khan from the sets of his Dwarf film will make you curious

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This post of Shah Rukh Khan from the sets of his Dwarf film will make you curious

We all know that King Khan aka Shah Rukh Khan is all set to essay an extraordinary role in Aanand L Rai’s film. The movie, which will see SRK play the role of a dwarf, went on floors earlier this month. Although the title and SRK’s looks has been kept under the wraps, he took to his Instagram to share some exciting details from the film.

Sharing a behind-the-sets picture from the shoot, SRK wrote, “From the sets of Aanand L Rai film. Techno Dolly, chroma screens & gizmos galore…” From the looks of it, the VFX team behind this untitled film is leaving no stones unturned to do justice to their subject.

Priyanka Chopraâs next Hollywood venture selected for Sundance Film Festival

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Priyanka Chopra’s next Hollywood venture selected for Sundance Film Festival

A Kid Like Jake, starring Jim Parsons, Claire Danes,  Octavia Spencer and our own Priyanka Chopra will be screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

The movie revolves around a couple whose kid is going through a gender crisis. Though Priyanka only plays a supporting role, she was extremely excited to be a part of this project and believes that this story needs to be told. The actress was elated when she got to know about the movie being selected for the Sundance Film Festival.

Announcing the same, she put up a picture on Instagram and captioned it , “When I read the script of #AKidLikeJake, I knew immediately that this was a story I had to be a part of.. A story that needed to be told and seen..And now it’s been selected for @sundanceorg !!! I can’t wait for you all to see this amazing lil film we’ve made. @therealjimparsons @clairedanes @therealoctaviaspencer @amylandecker #AnnDowd @silash @danielpearle #ToddSpiewak #EricNorsoph #PaulBernon #RachelSong thank you for being such an incredible team to work with.”

Apart from A Kid Like Jake, Priyanka Chopra will also be seen in Hollywood movie Isn’t It Romantic? Starring Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine and Liam Hemsworth. The actress who is currently shooting for the third season of her American television show, Quantico, has an envious line up of work that’s keeping us all waiting for more.

Shocking Aamir Khan opts out of the much-awaited Rakesh Sharma biopic film?

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Shocking! Aamir Khan opts out of the much-awaited Rakesh Sharma biopic film?

Mister Perfectionist Aamir Khan is known for his great filmography and the amount of praise his films receive from the critics and fans is truly unmatched. After appearing in his last year’s blockbuster Dangal, which was a biopic on former wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, fans were quite excited to see their favourite star in yet another biopic. It was said that Aamir will be next seen in another biopic made under Siddharth Roy Kapur’s banner. The project announced then was astronaut Rakesh Sharma’s biopic titled Salute as Aamir Khan in the lead.

Though now the latest update on the film may come as a big shock to many as the sources tell that Aamir has reportedly opted out of Salute and will no longer be doing it. It’s also said that the makers of the film have now approached another big star to play Aamir’s role in the film. The news has come as a big disappointment to all Khan fans and everyone eagerly awaits an official announcement from the makers of the film. The biopic on cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma was one of the most anticipated films of 2019 especially after Dangal breaking all the box – office records globally.

With Aamir Khan no longer a part of the film, it would be interesting to see who will be replacing him in the film. Watch this space for more updates.

Indie hit 'What Remains of Edith Finch' gets limited physical release

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iam8bit/Giant Sparrow/Annapurna Interactive

Limited-run physical indie game releases may be an endangered species thanks to the ESRB and console makers, but that’s not stopping at least one hit title from getting the hard copy treatment. The team at iam8bit has started pre-orders for both a limited disc version of Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch for PS4 and a vinyl edition of Fargo composer Jeff Russo’s accompanying soundtrack. The game ships in late December for $30, and it includes reversible cover art in addition to a region-free copy of the title itself.

The vinyl won’t ship until the second quarter (i.e. spring) of 2018 for $28, but it too gets the artistic treatment. The sleeve art comes from Giant Sparrow’s own Holly Rothrock, while the disc comes in an eye-catching “brown smoke.”

As with other tangible indie game releases, this is as much about having a souvenir and showing your support as it is receiving something you can actually play. With that said, it’s easy to see why you might want to hand over some cash with Edith Finch: it’s a memorable, mysterious title that tackles death in a positive way.

 

 

Misha Kapoor is turning out to be a paparazzi princess

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Shahid Kapoor who is currently waiting for the release of his upcoming film Padmavati co-starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, married Mira Rajput in 2015. The couple was blessed with a baby girl just a year into their marriage and they named their little one Misha, that comes from combining Mira and Shahid. The munchkin has the paparazzi goes berserk every time they spot the little one with her mother or father.

We spotted Mira Kapoor with her one-year-old daughter Misha at the airport and couldn’t help but go awww! It was delightful to see little Misha in a light blue top and white tights with silver shoes and a perfectly placed pink bow on her hair. Misha happily waved at the shutterbugs as mommy Mira carried her in her arms. Mira, on the other hand, looked at her elegant best wearing black fitted jeggings, a white top and a grey blazer. 

Mira Rajput Kapoor, Misha Kapoor

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Mira Rajput Kapoor, Misha Kapoor

Mira Rajput Kapoor, Misha Kapoor

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Mira Rajput Kapoor, Misha Kapoor

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Pictures Salman Khan and Lulia Vantur leave for Delhi

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It’s no secret that Salman Khan has been busy as a bee of late. The actor returned from the closing ceremony of IFFI in Goa just yesterday and we spotted him heading to Delhi this morning with rumored girlfriend Lulia Vantur.

Well, Salman Khan and Lulia Vantur’s romance has been the talk of the town for a while now. Our shutterbugs spotted the couple and Beena Kak at the domestic airport leaving for Delhi. While there have been several rumours of Salman and Lulia tying the knot, there has been no official statement regarding this from either of them. 

Salman Khan and Lulia Vantur

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Guatemala's Comnet Leverages SES Networks' New Platform to Deliver High-Performance Connectivity

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Comnet, one of Guatemala’s leading service providers, is the first to tap into the newly launched SES Networks Enterprise Broadband for Latin America to enable the delivery of Quantum, a high performance next generation broadband service, to its end customers spanning the agricultural, tourism and mining industries.

SES announced today that in the multi-year contract Comnet will utilise the carrier-class managed services platform on the SES-10 satellite to extend reliable connectivity to underserved communities.

The turnkey broadband multi-tenant platform is underpinned by SES’s comprehensive and high-performance fleet coverage over Latin America, an extensive global teleport infrastructure, and iDirect’s ground system capabilities. By using Enterprise+ Broadband, Comnet can customise and flexibly manage connectivity for each customer.

“SES Networks Enterprise+ Broadband platform is a step up when it comes to performance and pricing. The competitive offering is enabling us to focus on providing better value for money services to our customers, enabling them to grow their business faster and across a wider region using our new Quantum service,” said Jorge Eskenasy, CEO at Comnet.

Omar Trujillo, Vice President, Fixed Data, Latin America of SES Networks, said, “The benefits of Enterprise+ Broadband are that it’s entirely flexible and customisable to fit individual customer needs. Innovative ground technology is also helping us to better allocate bandwidth efficiently and to provide premium connectivity at competitive rates. We are extremely excited to have Comnet as our first customer and look forward to helping them grow their business.”

SES-10 was launched in March 2017. Providing enhanced coverage and significant capacity expansion over Latin America, SES-10 was the first geostationary commercial satellite to launch on a SpaceX flight-proven first-stage rocket booster.

More information on SES Networks Enterprise+ Broadband available at broadband here

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About SES

SES is the world-leading satellite operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering worldwide, with more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 12 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). SES focuses on value-added, end-to-end solutions in two key business units: SES Video and SES Networks. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, governments and institutions. SES’s portfolio includes ASTRA, O3b and MX1, a leading media service provider that offers a full suite of innovative digital video and media services. SES is listed on the Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange (ticker: SESG). Further information available at: www.ses.com

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ADTRAN and TIM Leverage SDN/NFV to Advance the Open Network Evolution

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BERLIN &ADTRAN� , Inc., (NASDAQ ADTN), a leading provider of next generation open networking solutions, and TIM, Italy’s leading telco and ICT group, announce the signature today of a Memorandum of Understanding relating to ADTRAN’s SDN NFV technologies and platforms for network automation in the access network segment. As per the agreement, TIM will evaluate ADTRAN’s SD Access solution within its analysis of the advantages and the flexibility offered by SDN architectures applied to its ultra broadband fiber access network.

ADTRAN Mosaic™ is the industry’s most open and complete SD-Access solution. It enables service providers to accelerate their path to SD-Access architecture, allowing them to better compete with emerging OTT providers operating at web-scale. ADTRAN will demonstrate the potential of an open, SDN-controlled network providing a reliable, scalable network that allows quick and efficient deployment of current and next-generation services.

“Operators in highly competitive environments are challenged to extend Gigabit services due to the time and cost that can be associated with traditional optical access technologies,” says Ronan Kelly, CTO EMEA and APAC, ADTRAN. “With SDN and NFV innovation, operators like TIM can significantly accelerate Gigabit Society goals by launching flexible Gigabit services that dramatically reduce subscriber disruption and time-to-market.”

“TIM is actively working on the evolution of the access network towards an open, easily upgradeable and programmable asset with greater operational efficiency, lower TCO and improved service automation,” comments Andrea Calvi, head of network innovation in TIM. “These are the features we plan to assess on ADTRAN’s solution as part of the ongoing collaboration on our way to achieving the European Commission’s Gigabit Society goals.”

The ADTRAN Mosaic Cloud Platform enables service providers to easily install, commission and select the desired services and confirm the provisioned ones. The lab activities will show the benefits of an open platform access model that enables operators to respond more rapidly to ever-scaling customer demands with compelling applications and rapid deployment of services by enabling a more flexible, agile services delivery framework. This integrated platform can quickly adapt to changing infrastructure needs across all possible access mediums, offering the possibility for new business models via network automation and reduced IT complexity. Service providers will benefit from new customer service flexibility assisting them to face the growth in bandwidth need and customer-driven services.

About TIM

TIM is Italy’s leading telco operator and ICT group. Its offer includes landline and mobile voice services, data, premium digital contents – films, music, games, e-books – and services for private customers and businesses.

Keywords at TIM are: top customer experience; smart, flexible and scalable bundles; convergence; a UBB-centric customer base supported by extensive new generation networks (at November 2017 73% of Italian household reached with fibre; 98% of population covered with 4G).

TIM controls TIM Brasil, a major player in the local market.

www.telecomitalia.com

About ADTRAN

ADTRAN, Inc. is a leading global provider of networking and communications equipment. ADTRAN’s products enable voice, data, video and Internet communications across a variety of network infrastructures. ADTRAN solutions are currently in use by service providers, private enterprises, government organizations, and millions of individual users worldwide. For more information, please visit www.adtran.com.

Vertical Limit Partners with Avetta to Prequalify Its Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers

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Avetta is pleased to announce that Vertical Limit has joined the global network of companies who entrust Avetta to vet and prequalify their potential partners and employees.

The move represents an extension of Vertical Limit’s commitment to making safety a way of life through its zero-incidents philosophy, from the office to the field.

“At Vertical Limit, Safety is at our core; we live and breathe it every day,” said Eric Bicknese, CEO of Vertical Limit. “We are pleased that Avetta shares that dedication, and together we will make sure qualified people are on our projects, ensuring everyone comes home safely. In addition, we have always used cutting-edge technology to help us remain nimble and efficient in all areas of our business. In that respect, Avetta’s vendor prequalification solution more than fits the bill.”

Vertical Limit provides infrastructure services to telecommunication carriers, “build to suit” companies, equipment vendors, and other consultants with a core focus in wireless, energy, infrastructure, and government sectors.

“It is an honor to welcome Vertical Limit, an organization with an outstanding reputation for employee safety and premier service, to the Avetta family,” said John Herr, CEO of Avetta. “We look forward to merging our high standards of safety, quality, experience, and knowledge through this partnership.”

About Avetta

Avetta provides a cloud-based supply chain prequalification platform. Our global solution connects the world’s leading organizations with qualified suppliers, driving safe and sustainable supply chains. Our next-generation SaaS subscription software is used by more than 50,000 active customers in 163 countries to reduce risk and optimize efficiency. Over 300 of the world’s biggest organizations depend on Avetta every day.

About Vertical Limit

Vertical Limit is a leading provider of infrastructure services in the wireless telecommunications industry. Our team of wireless experts Plan, Build, Modify, Optimize, and Maintain wireless networks across North America. Driven by our Midwest work ethic and fueled by our proprietary software systems, Vertical Limit can be trusted to deliver on your biggest challenges. Vertical Limit is based in the Heartland, but our reach is coast to coast.