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Citrix’s performance analytics service gets granular

Citrix introduced an analytics service to help IT professionals better identify the cause of slow application performance within its Virtual Apps and Desktops platform.

The company announced the general availability of the service, called Citrix Analytics for Performance, at its Citrix Summit, an event for the company’s business partners, in Orlando on Monday. The service carries an additional cost.

Steve Wilson, the company’s vice president of product for workspace ecosystem and analytics, said many IT admins must deal with performance problems as part of the nature of distributed applications. When they receive a call from workers complaining about performance, he said, it’s hard to determine the root cause — be it a capacity issue, a network problem or an issue with the employee’s device.

Performance, he said, is a frequent pain point for employees, especially remote and international workers.

“There are huge challenges that, from a performance perspective, are really hard to understand,” he said, adding that the tools available to IT professionals have not been ideal in identifying issues. “It’s all been very technical, very down in the weeds … it’s been hard to understand what [users] are seeing and how to make that actionable.”

Part of the problem, according to Wilson, is that traditional performance-measuring tools focus on server infrastructure. Keeping track of such metrics is important, he said, but they do not tell the whole story.

“Often, what [IT professionals] got was the aggregate view; it wasn’t personalized,” he said.

When the aggregate performance of the IT infrastructure is “good,” Wilson said, that could mean that half an organization’s users are seeing good performance, a quarter are seeing great performance, but a quarter are experiencing poor performance.

Steve Wilson, vice president of product for workspace ecosystem and analytics, CitrixSteve Wilson

With its performance analytics service, Citrix is offering a more granular picture of performance by providing metrics on individual employees, beyond those of the company as a whole. That measurement, which Citrix calls a user experience or UX score, evaluates such factors as an employee’s machine performance, user logon time, network latency and network stability.

“With this tool, as a system administrator, you can come in and see the entire population,” Wilson said. “It starts with the top-level experience score, but you can very quickly break that down [to personal performance].”

Wilson said IT admins who had tested the product said this information helped them address performance issues more expeditiously.

“The feedback we’ve gotten is that they’ve been able to very quickly get to root causes,” he said. “They’ve been able to drill down in a way that’s easy to understand.”

A proactive approach

Eric Klein, analyst, VDC Research GroupEric Klein

Eric Klein, analyst at VDC Research Group Inc., said the service represents a more proactive approach to performance problems, as opposed to identifying issues through remote access of an employee’s computer.

“If something starts to degrade from a performance perspective — like an app not behaving or slowing down — you can identify problems before users become frustrated,” he said.

Mark Bowker, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy GroupMark Bowker

Klein said IT admins would likely welcome any tool that, like this one, could “give time back” to them.

“IT is always being asked to do more with less, though budgets have slowly been growing over the past few years,” he said. “[Administrators] are always looking for tools that will not only automate processes but save time.”

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Bowker said in a press release from Citrix announcing the news that companies must examine user experience to ensure they provide employees with secure and consistent access to needed applications.

IT is always being asked to do more with less.
Eric KleinAnalyst, VDC Research Group

“Key to providing this seamless experience is having continuous visibility into network systems and applications to quickly spot and mitigate issues before they affect productivity,” he said in the release.

Wilson said the performance analytics service was the product of Citrix’s push to the cloud during the past few years. One of the early benefits of that process, he said, has been in the analytics field; the company has been able to apply machine learning to the data it has garnered and derive insights from it.

“We do see a broad opportunity around analytics,” he said. “That’s something you’ll see more and more of from us.”

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Green warriors from India receive Microsoft AI for Earth grants to enable a sustainable future – Microsoft News Center India

With a trained AI algorithm, the team hopes to classify the urban and rural areas, identify forest cover, river beds and other water bodies from satellite images, and create a precise grid map for the region. The team hopes to apply computer vision to create a comprehensive database of biodiversity in the region to help policymakers and local communities make better-informed economic, ecological, and infrastructure-related decisions.

“You can’t save an ecosystem if you don’t fully understand it,” exclaims Dr. Mariappan. “That’s where our data along with Microsoft’s AI resources can help.”

Tracking the monkey population in urban areas using AI-powered image recognition

A woman sitting on a table with a coffee cupThe monkey population in urban India has spiraled out of control in recent years. India’s capital city, New Delhi, alone reports at least five cases of monkey bites daily that can cause rabies and be fatal. It is estimated that 7,000 monkeys prowl the streets of the capital, damaging public property and attacking people. With their natural habitat shrinking owing to urbanization, authorities are struggling to avoid monkey attacks.

Managing the growth of the population is critical. Currently, there is no way to identify which monkeys have already been given birth control or sterilized without further handling such as tattooing a code or embedding a microchip in the monkeys. Ankita Shukla, a PhD student at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT Delhi), aims to use computer vision as a non-invasive alternative for identifying and tracking monkeys as it is safer and less stressful for the animals, as well as humans.

Shukla, a native of a small town near Lucknow, had earlier worked with the Wildlife Institute of India on a project to classify endangered tigers in a nature reserve with machine learning and distance-object recognition algorithms. She wants to combine this experience in wildlife monitoring with machine learning to create a tangible solution for the simian problem in cities.

She is creating an AI-enabled app that can help the community tag monkeys in photographs and upload it to a cloud where authorities can track the simian population’s growth, vaccination history, and movements. “With a bird’s eye view of the monkey population, we can deploy contraceptives more efficiently,” she says. “Training a deep neural network with image recognition to identify a monkey and its species, and whether it’s already been sterilized could go a long way towards solving this crisis,” Shukla adds.

Having teamed up with Saket Anand, a professor at IIIT Delhi, she pitched the idea to the AI for Earth panel earlier this year. The team plans to leverage the Microsoft Azure platform for the processing power required to train the AI model.

“The Microsoft resources and technical assistance helped us develop a genuinely useful app,” says Shukla. “We’re now trying to take things to the next level so that we can find a solution to the monkey menace in a scientific and humane manner.”