Tag Archives: global

Windows 7 sunset gives PC market a boost in 2019

Analysts reported this month that the global PC market did something in 2019 it had not accomplished in seven years: It grew.

The figures differ as to how much — IDC reported a 2.7% year-over-year growth in global shipments, while Gartner cited a 0.6% increase — but experts agree that the Windows 7 sunset helped to prompt a hardware refresh for the enterprise. Per Gartner, Lenovo, HP and Dell shipped the most PCs in 2019, seeing growth of 8%, 3% and 5%, respectively.

Whether the boost in growth will be a one-year blip is debatable, but there is consensus that, for the enterprise at least, the PC is here to stay.

Windows 7 sunset gives PCs a boost

Linn Huang, research vice president at IDC, attributed the increase to a confluence of factors. Companies found themselves in a unique position of having to migrate to a new OS amid the growing tensions of a trade war with China, where PC components are commonly manufactured.

“For starters, the January 2020 [end of support] of Windows 7 means businesses — large and small alike — [were] either completing or accelerating their Windows 10 migrations,” he said.

Huang also mentioned shortages and tariff issues may have affected the market as well. Intel faced CPU supply issues that eased during the course of 2019 and, in December, President Trump tweeted that “penalty tariffs” would “not be charged,” thanks to a new agreement with China.

Linn Huang, research vice president at IDCLinn Huang

Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said the shipment boost was not because of any renewed interest in using the PC, but almost solely because of the Windows 7 sunset, which occurred Jan. 14.

Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at GartnerMikako Kitagawa

Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt acknowledged the effect of the Windows 7 sunset, but said it was only part of the story.

“I also believe that the PC is becoming more important as organizations try to improve employee experience,” he said. “We know from research that if people can’t make progress every day at work, they’re vulnerable to burnout and can contribute to higher attrition. The PC sits at the heart of productivity, so organizations see it as an important driver of [employee experience].”

Yev Pusin, director of strategy at data storage firm Backblaze, said the business’ clients — especially on the enterprise side — indeed had a need for something that could contribute more to productivity than a smartphone or tablet.

“I think a lot more folks … realized that, for the multi-tasking and flexibility they want, they need an actual computer — a Mac or PC,” he said.

Will PC market growth continue?

Kitagawa expects to see shipments dip in 2020 and 2021 due to a weak consumer market, as the smartphone has largely subsumed the PC’s role in daily life. Smartphones have made inroads in the enterprise as well, especially among younger workers.

Andrew Hewitt, analyst, Forrester ResearchAndrew Hewitt

“People used to carry a laptop or tablet to do work. Now, smartphone screens are bigger, so they are able to handle some tasks as well,” she said. “On the mentality side, many young people feel their smartphone is their primary work device.”

This is not to say that the PC will be disappearing from the workspace anytime soon.

Yev Pusin, director of strategy at Backblaze Yev Pusin

“It’s not the case that the PC is going away,” Kitagawa said. “The PC is a very important business tool.”

Huang likewise expected a decline of PC sales in the next couple of years but said a shift in the market might accompany that trend.

“Consumers and commercial users alike are demanding better and better with each generation,” he said. “Consequently, we expect to ship fewer PCs [in] 2020 and beyond, but the market will continue to churn toward more premium ends.”

Pusin said he did see a continued appetite for PCs in the future but agreed that customers interested in buying computers might focus on the higher end of performance.

According to Hewitt, the PC will retain its central place in the business world, although the form factor may differ.

“Our research actually shows that 30% of the most important factors for improving employee experience are technology-related, and the PC is a big part of that,” he said.

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How Genesys is personalizing the customer experience with Engage, Azure and AI | Transform

Microsoft and Genesys, a global provider of contact center software, recently announced a partnership to enable enterprises to run Genesys’ omnichannel customer experience solution, Genesys Engage, on Microsoft Azure. According to the two companies, this combination will provide a secure cloud environment to help companies more easily leverage AI to address customer needs on any channel.

Headquartered in Daly City, California, Genesys has more than 5,000 employees in nearly 60 offices worldwide. Every year, the company supports more than 70 billion customer experiences for organizations like Coca-Cola Business Services North America, eBay, Heineken, Lenovo, PayPal, BOSCH, Quicken and more.

Transform spoke with Barry O’Sullivan, executive vice president and general manager of Multicloud Solutions for Genesys, to explore how technology is reinventing the customer service experience.

TRANSFORM: How are technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cloud transforming the customer service sector?

O’SULLIVAN: It’s broader than customer service. It’s the entire customer experience, which encompasses any point at which businesses engage with consumers, whether it’s in a marketing, sales or service context. What cloud, AI and machine learning enable is the ability to make every experience unique to each individual. Every consumer wants to feel like they’re the only customer that matters during each interaction with a brand. These technologies allow organizations to understand what customers are doing, predict what they will need next and then deliver it in real time.

Traditionally, companies haven’t been able to do that well, because it’s hard to get a fix on a consumer as they move between channels. Maybe they come to a physical store one day, then call the next day or engage via web chat. These technologies allow brands to stitch together every customer interaction, and then use the resulting data to personalize the experience.

TRANSFORM: Can you talk a little bit more about that customer journey and what customers will experience going forward?

O’SULLIVAN: Let’s use contacting the cable company to get internet service as an example. You check out their website, but maybe you get stuck and use web chat to interact with a customer service representative. Today’s technologies allow businesses to connect the dots to better understand the customer.

Before these technologies were available, interactions were disconnected, and important customer details and context didn’t move from one department or agent to the next. We all know what that’s like – just think about a customer service experience when you had to repeat your name and birthdate every time you were passed to a new agent.

Today’s technology can tie together a customer’s details, like their favored communication channel, past purchases, prior service requests and more, so the business really knows them. Then, using AI, it can match that customer with the contact center agent who has the best chance of successfully resolving the issue and achieving a specific business outcome, such as making a related sale.

TRANSFORM: All of those kinds of experiences seem to be present in some form today. Is there a change coming that’s going to take the consumer experience to the next level?

O’SULLIVAN: Personalized service is not a new concept, but very few businesses get it right. Today, it’s about so much more than targeting personas or market segments.

It’s really about enabling organizations to link together their customers’ and employees’ experiences to deliver truly memorable, one-of-a-kind interactions. When it’s done right, organizations already know who the customer is, what he or she wants and the best way to deliver it.

That means understanding customers so well that businesses know the best times to contact them, on which channel and even the best days for an appointment. It’s no longer one-size-fits-all service – it’s tailor-made customer care for each consumer.

TRANSFORM: Are your own customers ready to adopt the technologies to enable this kind of new experience?

O’SULLIVAN: When it comes to cloud, it’s not a question of if, but when and how. And that’s one of the reasons the announcement between Genesys and Microsoft is so exciting. We have a lot of customers, especially large enterprises, who love Genesys and love Azure and really want to see that combination come together. So, giving them that option and that choice is really going to accelerate the migration to cloud.

In terms of adopting AI and machine learning, many companies are in the early phases, but recognize the enormous potential of the technology. What makes AI truly compelling in the customer experience market is its ability to unlock data. Increasingly, businesses use digital channels, like web chat and text, to communicate with consumers, which combined with traditional voice interactions has resulted in copious amounts of data being produced daily. The key for organizations is figuring out how to harness and leverage it to more fully understand customers, their experiences and behaviors, as well as the needs of human agents. That’s where Genesys comes in.

TRANSFORM: How would you describe your experience working with Microsoft?

O’SULLIVAN: It’s a great partnership because we’ve got a common view of the customer and a very aligned vision on cloud. It’s all about delivering agility and innovation quickly and reliably to our joint customers. So, it really helps when we’re both all in on the cloud, all in on customer experience.

Our customers are really excited about this combination of Genesys and Azure. They can simplify their maintenance, reduce costs and streamline the buying process. We believe in the advantages of moving to cloud, and obviously Azure is a leader there.

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Impinj partners get new program to drive IoT business

Impinj Inc., a RAIN RFID solution provider based in Seattle, has unveiled a global program for its partner ecosystem, replacing an earlier channel partner program.

The Impinj Partner Network aims to ensure the partner community “contains the depth and breadth” of the vendor’s RAIN RFID capabilities to meet the needs of a global market, said Sandy Murti, vice president of global partner development at Impinj. Impinj partners covered under the new program include IoT resellers, ISVs, distributors, service providers and OEMs.

RAIN RFID is an industry alliance that promotes the adoption of ultrahigh frequency RFID technology.

Murti said the expansion of Impinj’s partner program recognizes the diverse set of partner types that play a role in designing, deploying and servicing offerings that incorporate the company’s products. The varied partner ecosystem shares a common “desire to build transformative IoT solutions,” he added.

Impinj partners include industry-specific systems integrators, such as Lowry Solutions and Smart Label Solutions, which specialize in supply chain and logistics. Another partner, Idox Health, focuses on the healthcare industry in the United Kingdom.

Sandy MurtiSandy Murti

Some Impinj partners are also active in development. Converging Data, for example, has built an Impinj IoT Connector for Splunk. The connector “enables RAIN RFID data gathered by the Impinj platform to be visualized and analyzed within the Splunk interface,” Murti said.

Webroot aims to boost MSPs’ cyberskills

George Anderson, product marketing director at Webroot, said the cybersecuritty vendor is looking at advancing from “v1” of its products to “v2” in 2020.

We are trying to make inroads in [the cybersecurity skills gap] and finding ways of helping MSPs … and skilling them up.
George AndersonProduct marketing director, Webroot

Anderson noted that the security environment has become increasingly more complex for managed service providers (MSPs) and software vendors alike. He said he sees MSPs realizing they are under pressure to step up their security capabilities and do more to protect themselves. Many MSPs view two paths forward: either outsource cybersecurity services from other providers or skill up their in-house staffs.

“We are trying to make inroads in [the cybersecurity skills gap] and finding ways of helping MSPs … and skilling them up,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that some of Webroot’s MSP users suffered security breaches in 2019.”We have seen some of our MSPs this year compromised. We have tried to help them. We have even seen our own console used against us this year,” he said.

Webroot was acquired by Carbonite in March. Carbonite announced in November it signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by OpenText, a content management vendor.

Other news

  • Security vendor Armor, so far this year, has identified 269 publicly disclosed cases of ransomware infections, 18 of which involve service providers. The service provider cases include MSPs, hosting companies, cloud software companies and a real estate listing service. Municipalities are the most frequently targeted group, followed by school districts and educational institutions, healthcare organizations and service providers, according to Armor, which has U.S. headquarters in Richardson, Texas.
  • Logically, an MSP based in Portland, Maine, has acquired IQ Technology Solutions, an outsourced IT services provider in Reno, Nev. The transaction closely follows Logically’s acquisition of Carolinas IT, announced Dec. 4. The MSP’s Nevada presence adds to other local service delivery teams in San Diego; Portland; Boston; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; and Raleigh, N.C.
  • Microsoft and Oracle have made their cloud interoperability alliance available in Canada. The partnership, which was announced in June, enables enterprise organizations to migrate and run workloads across the Oracle and Azure cloud platforms.
  • Agosto, a cloud services and development company based in Minneapolis, has achieved a Google Cloud Partner Program specialization in Work Transformation — Enterprise. The specialization recognizes a Google partner’s ability to deploy G Suite in enterprise organizations.
  • SolarWinds, an IT management software provider that sells to MSPs, has launched SolarWinds Backup for Office 365.
  • In the managed detection and response market, Arctic Wolf Networks, a security operations center-as-a-service company, has added Managed Containment to its MDR service. Meanwhile, eSentire Inc., which provides cloud-based MDR, said it is partnering with endpoint protection vendor CrowdStrike. MDR services have emerged as an adjunct to traditional managed security services.
  • Avaya signed an agreement with distributor Synnex Corp. to provide Avaya Cloud Office, a unified communications-as-a-service offering, to its channel partners. Synnex will distribute Avaya Cloud Office as part of its Avaya Master Agent program, according to Avaya.
  • 8×8, a cloud-based provider of contact center technology, opened its Elev8 Partner Program to VARs. The company said it made its platform available to global VARs after growing its referral partner program to more than 1,000 active agent partners.
  • Otava, a cloud services company based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has become a Premier Cloud Provider in the VMware Partner Network. The company, which provides cloud backup and disaster recovery as a service, among other offerings, sells to enterprises and channel partners.
  • InterVision, an IT service provider based in Santa Clara, Calif., and St. Louis, has appointed Mike Shea as associate vice president of cloud services. Shea, who will oversee the company’s cloud services and public sector delivery teams, was previously managing director and CTO for Accenture Products and Platforms’ Health and Human Services business unit.
  • ConnectWise has updated its executive management roster. Geoffrey Willison has been appointed COO. He was formerly CFO at Continuum, which ConnectWise purchased in October 2019. Brad Surminsky has been named CFO. He previously was CFO at D+H, ADP, ACNielsen Canada and CentralSquare Technologies. Clint Maddox, a strategic advisor to ConnectWise since July 2019, has been appointed chief revenue officer. And Steve Cochran has been appointed CTO. He was most recently CTO at GHX, a former Thoma Bravo portfolio company. The four executives report to ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee.
  • CenturyLink has expanded its channel management team with five new appointments. New appointments include Matt Thompson as CenturyLink’s sales director.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Intel partner marketplace to drive ecosystem collaboration

Intel has rolled out the Solutions Marketplace in a bid to facilitate collaboration among its global partner ecosystem.

The Intel Solutions Marketplace, launched Wednesday, provides a platform for Intel partners to create virtual storefronts where they can market their businesses and products. According to Intel, partners can use the Solutions Marketplace to browse other partners’ offerings and engage one another for collaborative purposes. The Solutions Marketplace is the latest move by the company in laying the groundwork for the Intel Partner Alliance program, a revamped partner program slated to launch in the second half of 2020.

“We have this ecosystem across our partner program that spans almost the entirety of our industry, and, oftentimes, the level of collaboration needed between two points in that ecosystem — or three points or even four points in that ecosystem — is growing as the complexity of end customer demands … grows, as well. The Intel Solutions Marketplace would be the way that that industry comes together to facilitate that,” said Eric Thompson, Intel general manager of global partner enablement.

Intel built the Solutions Marketplace on its Solutions Directory, a previously established feature of the company’s IoT Solutions Alliance program. The Solutions Directory lets partners post and promote their IoT-related products and solutions, Thompson said.

Given its origins, the Solutions Marketplace is heavily focused on IoT, but Thompson said offerings will expand into other technology areas. He noted that the marketplace also carries Intel Select Solutions — data center-oriented products for running enterprise software applications such as SAP HANA.

At launch, the Solutions Marketplace has approximately 4,600 unique offerings from about 1,000 Intel partners, Thompson said.

Making partner-to-partner collaborations easier

Other vendors, such as IBM, have recently made efforts to facilitate the partner matchmaking process within their complex channel ecosystems. There are a number of factors driving the need for partner-to-partner collaborations.

Thompson said the Intel partner ecosystem ranges from ODMs, OEMs and ISVs to systems and solutions integrators, services providers and cloud service providers. Customer demand for advanced IT solutions increasingly requires channel firms to combine their skill sets and expertise in joint engagements.

When Intel designed the Solutions Marketplace, the company sought partner feedback on the challenges typically involved in collaborations, Thompson said. Intel partners cited issues such as finding the right companies to connect with and identifying the right people in those companies to contact. “Our intent was to build features into the marketplace to help solve some of those challenges with collaboration,” he noted.

Each virtual storefront lets an Intel partner display a listing of its offerings as well as a detailed profile of its business and targeted industries, focus areas and geographic markets. Partners can be contacted by potential collaborators directly through the storefronts. Additionally, a dashboard gives partners insight into user visits to their storefronts, lead management functions and reporting on lead statistics, Thompson said.

With the Solutions Marketplace launched, Thompson noted that Intel will also continue to host face-to-face partner matchmaking events where partners can learn about one another’s companies and forge alliances.

Intel’s vision for the Solutions Marketplace is to also extend beyond partner-to-partner collaboration. The company aims to drive end customers to the Solutions Marketplace — for example, by shepherding customers to the platform from the Intel.com website, Thompson said. “We see this as a good opportunity for us to help connect end customers … to partners across that variety of solution spaces,” he said.

Other news

  • Rackspace, a cloud and managed service provider, augmented its Service Blocks portfolio of packaged services for cloud environments. The portfolio now includes Container Services Journey, a Service Block to help customers develop container strategies and containerized apps; Hybrid Transformation with VMware Cloud on AWS, which offers tools and expertise for transitioning to hybrid cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS; and Data Modernization, aimed at strengthening customers’ analytics processes, Rackspace said. Rackspace this week also closed its acquisition of Onica, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner and AWS Managed Service Provider.
  • IT management software vendor SolarWinds released the latest version of its N-central remote management and monitoring tool. N-central 12.2 adds network topology mapping capabilities, as well as features for disk encryption, automation and patching, SolarWinds said.
  • NTT Data, an IT services provider based in Tokyo, will resell GoodData’s analytics platform under a new agreement between the companies. NTT Data will also use GoodData’s technology in its iQuattro industrial IoT platform.
  • NTT Data Services, a Plano, Texas, division of NTT Data Corp., signed a definitive agreement to acquire Flux7, an IT services provider and AWS Premier Consulting Partner. Flux7’s expertise includes cloud implementation and migration, automation, and DevOps consulting services, according to NTT Data.
  • Cost and security are key barriers impeding SMBs’ cloud migration, an Insight Enterprises survey found. Fifty-six of the 408 SMB IT decision-maker respondents cited cloud costs as an obstacle, while 50% of those polled identified security requirements. In other findings, the Insight report said 95% of respondents have either implemented or plan to implement within the next year digital transformation initiatives, but 49% rate integrating new technology with legacy systems as very or extremely challenging.
  • Cloud managed service provider Faction introduced a free educational series for companies adopting VMware Cloud on AWS. Dubbed “6-Step Blueprint for the Success,” the program offers business and technical best practices.
  • MSP360, formerly CloudBerry Lab, rolled out macOS and iOS releases of MSP360 Remote Assistant, a freeware remote access and control offering. The Lewes, Del., company said the Apple-oriented releases will make it easier for MSPs to support customers from MacOS computers as well as iOS and iPadOS devices.
  • InterVision, an IT services provider with headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., and St. Louis, said it has obtained Premier Consulting Partner status within the AWS Partner Network.
  • Wipro, an IT consulting and business process services company, has unveiled cloud Security Operations Center (SOC) services using Microsoft Azure Sentinel. Azure Sentinel is a security information event management offering. Wipro will provide managed cloud SOC services with integrated AI and orchestration capabilities in light of the Microsoft relationship. Wipro will also use its HOLMES AI platform to measure risk factors against compliance standards, according to the company.
  • CloudCheckr, a cloud management platform provider, rolled out a global partner enablement program. The Business Partner Program offers business expertise, sales enablement tools and cloud technology to support MSPs and resellers building cloud service practices, CloudCheckr said.
  • Coronet, a small business data breach platform provider, is partnering with Coalition, a cyber insurance provider for SMBs. The arrangement lets Coronet’s customers obtain Coalition’s cyber insurance products.
  • Identity services provider GlobalSign has signed up Impression, a Johannesburg, South Africa-based solutions provider, to its Certified Regional Partner program.
  • The Internet of Things Security Services Association (IoTSSA) named Robin Miller as its director of channel. Miller will oversee IoTSSA’s industry engagement as the organization develops cybersecurity education resources for MSPs and managed security service providers, IoTSS said.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Business and innovation tips for your Imagine Cup project

Editor’s note: This blog was contributed by the U.S. Department of Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST)GIST is led by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by VentureWell 

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup empowers student developers and aspiring entrepreneurs from all academic backgrounds to bring an idea to life with technology. Through competition and collaboration, it provides an opportunity to develop an application, create a business plan, and gain a keen understanding of whats needed to bring a concept to market to make an impact.We’ve partnered with GIST to provide some top tips for turning your idea into a marketable business solution and prepare you to present it effectively on a global stage. 

Key things to consider when developing a business idea

1. Assess whether your product is truly novel 

In the early development stages of a new idea, it’s important to assess whether your idea already exists in the current market and if so, what unique solution your application can provide. 

In the world of intellectual property law, “prior art” is the term used for relevant information that was publicly available before a patent claim. For example, if your company is working on a new type of football helmet, but another company has already given an interview about their own plans to invent such a helmet, that constitutes prior art – and it means your patent claim is likely to face a steep uphill battle. Start by asking yourself if your project is truly novelWhat problem does your application solve?  Are there similar solutions already on the market? If necessary, work with your university to establish if a patent already exists. 

2. Learn to take feedback  

It’s easy to get attached to an invention. However, being too lovestruck with your technology can prevent you from absorbing vital feedback from customers, professors, mentors, even teammates. “Feedback is learning,” says Dr. Lawrence Neeley, Associate Professor of Design and Entrepreneurship at Olin College of Engineering“Sure, feedback can hurt, but understand that you can’t improve your invention without learning what’s wrong with it. Feedback is a mechanism for growth.” In addition, don’t lose sight of the passion that originally drove you to developing a solution, as it can put you in the right mindset to listen to feedback. By keeping the core problem at the forefront, you can more effectively pivot your technology and business model to better address market demands. Read more about how to balance your passion with real-life data to make your project shine.

3. Incorporate diversity & inclusion 

Empower everyone to benefit from your solution by considering diversity and inclusion in your project early on. “When accessibility is at the heart of inclusive design, we not only make technology that is accessible for people with disabilities, we invest in the future of natural user interface design and improved usability for everyone,” says Megan Lawrence, an Accessibility Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. Check out some resources to help you build inclusion into your innovation: 

  • Use Accessibility Insights to run accessibility testing on web pages and applications. 
  • Learn how to create inclusive design through video tutorials and downloadable toolkits. 
  • Read the story of two Microsoft teams at Ability Hacks who embraced the transformative power of technology to create inclusive solutions now used by millions of people. 

Read more tips on using inclusion as a lens to drive innovation. 

4. Consider environmental responsibility 

To maximize impact from the start, it’s critical that student innovators develop an environmentally responsible mindset at the earliest stages of their innovation, business, or manufacturing process. Here are some examples from student innovators of how they integrated environmental responsibility into their business models: 

  • Use renewable energy sources where possible, such as solar power or implementing recycling processes. 
  • Incorporate sustainable processes through things like reducing packaging, limiting plastic waste, and sourcing materials that are reusable or biodegradable.  
  • Create an innovation that solves a key environmental issue or repurposes harmful by-products, such as recovering metal water contaminants or converting ocean waste.  

Read more about how they leveraged sustainability in their projects. 

Maximizing resources for your innovation 

It can be a challenge to seek support resources as a student entrepreneur.  Here are some top tips for maximizing on and off-campus benefits while you’re still in school  – check out additional advice if you’re interested in learning more.  

1. Take stock of university resources 

Assess what skills you may need beyond just technical and talk to faculty or administrators to develop a roadmap for your time in school. For instance, seek out seminars or courses in different departments to help sharpen writing or public speaking skills, or visit your university library to find out what resources they have to offer student entrepreneurs such as makerspaces, workshops, or guest lectures. 

2. Maximize networking opportunities 

Connect with others through LinkedIn, your university’s alumni network, classes, hackathons, and more to network with industry-specific experts. Pro-tip: Imagine Cup connects you to a global community of like-minded tech enthusiasts to collaborate and innovate together, in addition to giving you access to industry professionals. 

3. Take advantage of competitions  

Approach competitions as not just an opportunity to win, but also to further refine your project and go-to-market planLeverage feedback and insights from judges, mentors, and peers to continue ideating and developing a marketable solution.   

Build business skills through hands-on innovation 

What better way to put these tips into practice than through bringing your own solution to life? The Imagine Cup is your opportunity to build a technology innovation from what you’re most passionate about. Regardless of where you place in the competition, youll have the chance to connect with likeminded tech enthusiasts across the globe, including joining a network of over two million past competitors. In addition, teams who advance to the Regional Finals will receive mentorship from industry professionals and in-person entrepreneurship workshops from GISTled by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by VentureWellthelp elevate their solutions.   

Learn by doing, code for impact, and build purpose from your passion. Register now for the 2020 competition. 

 

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Pure Storage cloud sales surge, but earnings miss the target

Add Pure Storage to the list of infrastructure vendors that sense a softening global demand. The all-flash pioneer put the best face on last quarter’s financial numbers, focusing on solid margins and revenue, while downplaying its second earnings miss in the last three quarters.

Demand for Pure Storage cloud services boosted revenue to $428.4 million for the quarter that ended Oct. 31. That’s up 15% year over year, but lower than the $440 million expectation on Wall Street.

Pure Storage launched as a startup in 2009 and has grown steadily to a publicly traded company with $1.5 billion in revenue. On Pure’s earnings call last week, CEO Charles Giancarlo blamed the revenue miss on declining flash prices. Giancarlo said U.S. trade tensions with China and uncertainty surrounding Brexit create economic headwinds for infrastructure vendors — concerns also voiced recently by rivals Dell EMC and NetApp.

Pure: Looking for bright spot in cloud

Like most major storage vendors, Pure is rebranding to tap into the burgeoning demand for hybrid cloud. Recent additions to the Pure Storage cloud portfolio include Cloud Block Store, which allows users to run Pure’s FlashArray systems in Amazon Web Services, and consumption-based Pure as a Service (ES2), formerly Pure Evergreen.

Pure said deferred licensing revenue of $643 million rose 39%, fueled by record growth of ES2 sales. The Pure Storage cloud strategy resonates with customers that want storage with cloudlike agility, company executives said.

“Data storage still remains the least cloudlike layer of technology in the data center. Delivering data storage in an enterprise is still an extraordinarily manual process with storage arrays highly customized and dedicated to particular workloads,” Giancarlo said.

Pure claims it added nearly 400 customers last quarter, bringing its total to more than 7,000. That includes cloud IT services provider ServiceNow, which implements Pure Storage all-flash storage to underpin its production cloud.

“Companies are realizing IT services are not their main line of business — that a cloud-hosted services model is generally better. We’re right in the middle of that. We build enterprise data services and do all the work to manage the cloud” for corporate customers, Keith Martin, ServiceNow’s director of cloud capacity engineering, told SearchStorage in an interview this year.

Pure will use its increased product margin — which jumped 4.5 points last quarter to 73% — to ensure it “won’t lose on price” in competitive deals, outgoing president David Hatfield said.

A strong pipeline of Pure Storage cloud and on-premises deals gives it the ability to bundle multiple products and sell more terabytes. “It’s just taking a little bit longer from a deal-push perspective, but our win rates are holding nicely,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield said he is stepping away from president duties to deal with a family health issue, but he will remain Pure’s vice chairman and special advisor to Giancarlo. Former Riverbed Technology CEO Paul Mountford was introduced as Pure’s new COO. Kevan Krysler, most recently VMware’s senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer, will take over in December as Pure’s CFO. He will replace Tim Ritters, who announced his departure in August.

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Forus Health uses AI to help eradicate preventable blindness – AI for Business

Big problems, shared solutions

Tackling global challenges has been the focus of many health data consortiums that Microsoft is enabling. The Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE) – the initiative that Chandrasekhar read about – is now part of the Microsoft AI Network for Healthcare, which also includes consortiums focused on cardiology and pathology.

For all three, Microsoft’s aim is to play a supporting role to help doctors and researchers find ways to improve health care using AI and machine learning.

“The health care providers are the experts,” said Prashant Gupta, Program Director in Azure Global Engineering. “We are the enabler. We are empowering these health care consortiums to build new things that will help with the last mile.”

In the Forus Health project, that “last mile” started by ensuring image quality. When members of the consortium began doing research on what was needed in the eyecare space, Forus Health was already taking the 3nethra classic to villages to scan hundreds of villagers in a day. But because the images were being captured by minimally trained technicians in areas open to sunlight, close to 20% of the images were not high quality enough to be used for diagnostic purposes.

“If you have bad images, the whole process is crude and wasteful,” Gupta said. “So we realized that before we start to understand disease markers, we have to solve the image quality problem.”

Now, an image quality algorithm immediately alerts the technician when an image needs to be retaken.

The same thought process applies to the cardiology and pathology consortiums. The goal is to see what problems exist, then find ways to use technology to help solve them.

“Once you have that larger shared goal, when you have partners coming together, it’s not just about your own efficiency and goals; it’s more about social impact,” Gupta said.

And the highest level of social impact comes through collaboration, both within the consortiums themselves and when working with organizations such as Forus Health who take that technology out into the world.

Chandrasekhar said he is eager to see what comes next.

“Even though it’s early, the impact in the next five to 10 years can be phenomenal,” he said. “I appreciated that we were seen as an equal partner by Microsoft, not just a small company. It gave us a lot of satisfaction that we are respected for what we are doing.”

Top image: Forus Health’s 3nethra classic is an eye-scanning device that can be attached to the back of a moped and transported to remote locations. Photo by Microsoft. 

Leah Culler edits Microsoft’s AI for Business and Technology blog.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Countdown to Microsoft Global Learning Connection 2019: Two weeks to go—join us on Nov 5-6 to celebrate global learning and open students’ hearts and minds | | Microsoft EDU

The Microsoft Global Learning Connection (formerly Skype-a-Thon) event is almost here. Thousands of educators from more than 110 countries are preparing to connect their students with experts and classrooms around the world to share stories and cultural traditions, play games, and collaborate on projects. The goal is to empower young people to become more engaged global citizens and expand their horizons.

Our global community will count the virtual miles traveled after each connection. Ultimately, these will all contribute to our global goal of traveling 17 million virtual miles and connecting nearly a half-million students via Skype, Teams and Flipgrid.

This 48-hour annual event is a true celebration of the power of global learning and an opportunity to shift perspectives and foster greater empathy and compassion for our planet and each other. If you have arranged a connection, make sure to share your plans with us on social @SkypeClassroom with #MSFTGlobalConnect and #MicrosoftEDU.

And if you haven’t arranged a connection for the two days of the event, there is still time to join us.

Head to msftglobalclassroom.com to learn more about the event. We hope you will join us to connect and inspire your students on November 5 and 6.

To help you get started and plan your participation, we have gathered below all the necessary resources:

  • Download a step-by-step activity plan to help you organize your connections for the two-day
  • Access the teacher toolkit, which is full of resources for you and your students. This includes maps, stickers, digital passports, activity sheets, a letter to parents and more.
  • Are you interested in making the Global Learning Connection the starting point for an event at your school or getting ideas on how to tie the event with a global cause? Check out educators’ tips here.
  • Find out how to schedule connections via Skype, Teams and Flipgrid here.
  • Explore the event’s social toolkit and download ready-made templates to share your participation on social channels with our global community @SkypeClassroom with #MSFTGlobalConnect #MicrosoftEDU.

Happy Traveling!

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Schlumberger, Chevron and Microsoft announce collaboration to accelerate digital transformation – Stories

Global organizations will work together to accelerate development of cloud-native solutions and deliver actionable data insights for the industry

MONACO September 17, 2019 — Tuesday at the SIS Global Forum 2019, Schlumberger, Chevron and Microsoft. announced the industry’s first three-party collaboration to accelerate creation of innovative petrotechnical and digital technologies.

Data is quickly emerging as one of the most valuable assets to any company yet extracting insights from it is often difficult as information gets trapped in internal silos. As part of the collaboration, the three companies will work together to build Azure-native applications in the DELFI* cognitive E&P environment initially for Chevron, which will enable companies to process, visualize, interpret and ultimately obtain meaningful insights from multiple data sources.

DELFI* is a secure, scalable and open cloud-based environment providing seamless E&P software technology across exploration, development, production and midstream. Chevron and Schlumberger will combine their expertise and resources to accelerate the deployment of DELFI solutions in Azure, with support and guidance from Microsoft. The parties will ensure the software developments meet the latest standards in terms of security, performance, release management, and are compatible with the Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Data Platform. Building on this open foundation will amplify the capabilities of Chevron’s petrotechnical experts.

The collaboration will be completed in three phases starting with the deployment of the Petrotechnical Suite in the DELFI environment, followed by the development of cloud-native applications on Azure, and the co-innovation of a suite of cognitive computing native capabilities across the E&P value chain tailored to Chevron’s objectives.

Olivier Le Peuch, chief executive officer, Schlumberger, said, “Combining the expertise of these three global enterprises creates vastly improved and digitally enabled petrotechnical workflows. Never before has our industry seen a collaboration of this kind, and of this scale. Working together will accelerate faster innovation with better results, marking the beginning of a new era in our industry that will enable us to elevate performance across our industry’s value chain.”

“There is an enormous opportunity to bring the latest cloud and AI technology to the energy sector and accelerate the industry’s digital transformation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our partnership with Schlumberger and Chevron delivers on this promise, applying the power of Azure to unlock new AI-driven insights that will help address some of the industry’s—the world’s—most important energy challenges, including sustainability.”

Joseph C. Geagea, executive vice president, technology, projects and services, Chevron, said, “We believe this industry-first advancement will dramatically accelerate the speed with which we can analyze data to generate new exploration opportunities and bring prospects to development more quickly and with more certainty. It will pull vast quantities of information into a single source amplifying our use of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing built on an open data ecosystem.”

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger is the world’s leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry. With product sales and services in more than 120 countries and employing approximately 100,000 people who represent over 140 nationalities, Schlumberger supplies the industry’s most comprehensive range of products and services, from exploration through production, and integrated pore-to-pipeline solutions that optimize hydrocarbon recovery to deliver reservoir performance.

Schlumberger Limited has executive offices in Paris, Houston, London, and The Hague, and reported revenues of $32.82 billion in 2018. For more information, visit.

About Chevron

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Through its subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives; generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that enhance business value in every aspect of the company’s operations. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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*Mark of Schlumberger

For further information, contact:

Moira Duff
Corporate Communication Manager−Western Hemisphere
Schlumberger
Tel: +1 281 285 4376
[email protected]

Sean Comey
Sr. Advisor, External Affairs
Chevron
Tel: +1 925 842 5509
[email protected]

Microsoft Media Relations
WE Communications for Microsoft
(425) 638-7777
[email protected]

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Author: Microsoft News Center