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New, updated Lenovo laptops for business coming this fall

Lenovo has launched its newest ThinkPad laptops, with the goal of providing smarter productivity, connectivity and security for the workforce.

Many of the new features provide updates to already well-known Lenovo laptops for business. The new X1 Carbon runs Intel’s 10th-generation CPU, has an all-day battery life and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. It is Lenovo’s first commercial platform that is part of Intel’s Project Athena program. Project Athena aims to update PC standards and improve mobile computing by improving battery life, responsiveness, connectivity, charging and security.

Lenovo also updated its commercial lineup, giving the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ThinkPad X390 and ThinkPad T490 a processor refresh with the 10th-generation Intel Core.

Additionally, Lenovo added ThinkPad L13 and L13 Yoga laptops to its offerings in an effort to provide users with ThinkPad features in a more affordable package.

In order to improve security, all machines now have ThinkShield security features. The HD and IR camera has ThinkShutter to protect users from unwanted eyes. Users also have the option of multifactor authentication using facial recognition through Windows Hello, and there is fingerprint reader. 

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The X1 Carbon is open, turned on and facing left. The thin body and red accents on the keyboard are visible.
The new X1 Carbon has improved battery life, responsiveness and connectivity.

The goal behind the X1 Carbon, according to Lenovo, was to provide a laptop for workers on the go who need a long-lasting battery, responsiveness and the latest connectivity. Full features for the X1 Carbon include the following:

  • up to a six-core 10th-generation Intel Core processor that supports 4K content, Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3;
  • 9 mm thick, starting at 2.4 pounds;
  • a variety of 14-inch display options are available, including 500 nit, 10 bit, 4K Dolby Vision-enabled panel or 400 nit FHD display;
  • Dolby Atmos speaker system, with two top-firing tweeters and two down-firing woofers;
  • four microphones;
  • up to 18.5 hours of battery power, with the ability to use Rapid Charge for 80% battery in one hour; and
  • Global LTE-A wireless WAN and new Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ option.

The X1 Carbon is expected to be available beginning in September and will start at $1,479.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga

The X1 Yoga is shown in four images, the first open normally, the second in a tent position, and the third and fourth showing the tablet mode.
The new X1 Yoga weighs less than two pounds and can function as a tablet as well.

Lenovo aimed to make the fourth generation of the X1 Yoga smaller, thinner and lighter. Full features include the following:

  • up to six-core 10th-generation Intel Core processors;
  • 5 mm thick and weighs less than 2.0 pounds;
  • reinforced Iron Grey aluminum chassis;
  • supports all docking products, including the ThinkPad Mechanical Dock;
  • up to 18.3 hours of battery, with the ability to use Rapid Charge for 80% battery in an hour;
  • Dolby Vision-enabled display and Dolby Atmos speaker system;
  • Global LTE-A wireless WAN; and
  • integrated with ThinkPad Pen Pro for multimode pen input.

The X1 Yoga will start at $1,609 and is expected to be available beginning in September.

ThinkPad T490

The full list of features includes the following:

  • up to i7 10th-generation Intel Core processors;
  • 9 mm thick and starts at 3.2 pounds;
  • variety of display options, including 500 nit, WQHD Dolby Vision panel and 400 nit FHD display;
  • Dolby Audio Premium, with two up-firing speakers;
  • dual microphones;
  • up to 15 hours of battery on a charge and includes the Rapid Charge feature; and
  • Global LTE-A wireless WAN and Wi-Fi 6 Gig+.

The T490 will start at $1,129 and is expected to be available beginning in October.

ThinkPad X390

A full list of features includes the following:

  • up to i7 10th-generation Intel Core processors;
  • 5 mm thick and starts at 2.8 pounds;
  • display options include the 400 nit FHD display;
  • Dolby Audio Premium, with two down-firing speakers;
  • dual microphone;
  • up to 16.8 hours of battery life on a charge, with Rapid Charge feature; and
  • Global LTE-A wireless WAN.

The ThinkPad X390 will be available beginning in October, starting at $1,019.

ThinkPad L Series

According to Lenovo, the L13 and L13 Yoga combine enterprise-level performance with a lower price tag. The bezels were designed to be thinner to give the same 13-inch screen size, but in a smaller footprint.

Both laptops feature up to i7 10th-generation Intel Core processors. Its display options include a 300 nit full HD IPS touch display and Dolby Audio Premium with two down-firing speakers. They’re both 17.6 mm thick, with the L13 coming in a hair lighter, starting at 3.1 pounds. The L13 Yoga starts at 3.3 pounds. The L13 also has a better battery life, with 14 hours of productivity compared with the L13 Yoga’s 12 hours. Both feature the Rapid Charge capability.

The L13 and L13 Yoga are expected to be available beginning in October. The L13 will start at $749, while the L13 Yoga will start at $919.

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HubSpot enterprise edition unveiled

BOSTON — Since its inception, HubSpot has been known as a software company for SMBs, providing low-cost or free versions of marketing automation and CRM software, eventually adding sales and service tools.

Now the inbound marketing automation software vendor is targeting the enterprise market, with new products that the company said are commercially available now.

At its annual user conference, Inbound 2018, HubSpot unveiled a lineup of HubSpot enterprise tools aimed at helping companies that have outgrown the vendor’s initial products stay with HubSpot.

HubSpot had to expand reach

HubSpot “was losing customers, so it needed to expand,” said Predrag Jakovljevic, principal analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers.

Jakovljevic said with the HubSpot enterprise products, the company can target larger companies that need more scalability. He said HubSpot enterprise products can scale up to companies with up to about 2,000 employees.

The launch was not without its glitches. Early Sept. 6, the morning after HubSpot introduced the enterprise platform, an outage occurred. Tweeters quickly exposed it via the #HubSpotDown hashtag. HubSpot got it back online, blaming “configuration code” issues in a company blog.

HubSpot also released a video creation tool and a CMS product.

HubSpot CEO and co-founder Brian Halligan
HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan keynotes at Inbound, HubSpot’s annual user conference

The branding could be seen as slightly confusing, as the term “enterprise” is commonly used to refer to the largest of organizations — ones with multiple departments scattered across locations, said Laurie McCabe, an analyst and partner at SMB Group. HubSpot, however, is using enterprise in terms of scaling up an organization’s processes.

“In the tech industry, we’ve taken the word ‘enterprise’ to mean large businesses,” McCabe said. “HubSpot is just continuing to grow with its customers.”

Moving to enterprise

Among the new HubSpot enterprise offerings are Sales Hub Enterprise and Service Hub Enterprise.

Sales Hub Enterprise offers the capability to build out best practices and resources for a sales team — useful for enterprises trying to get large sales teams working in the same direction. Service Hub Enterprise includes features to help teams track against service-level agreements and other service metrics.

The existing Marketing Hub Enterprise received upgrades around analytics and custom bot capabilities. HubSpot now offers three levels of sales, marketing and service products: starter, professional and enterprise.

[HubSpot] was losing customers, so it needed to expand.
Predrag Jakovljevicprincipal analyst, Technology Evaluation Centers

Users at Inbound 2018 expressed enthusiasm about some of the new features, but also wondered whether HubSpot enterprise products were right for their organization.

“We’re trying to embrace tech and bring an old-fashioned niche market into the modern world,” said Chad Wiertzema, creative marketing manager at ITM TwentyFirst, an independent life insurance firm. “We’ve used [HubSpot Marketing Hub] for about a year now at the professional level, and we’re wondering if it makes sense for us to use the enterprise product.”

Wiertzema said he spoke to a HubSpot rep about the enterprise product and whether ITM TwentyFirst would benefit from it, as the company has grown over the past five years.

“We’re getting close to it,” he said, referring to his company’s growth and whether it is ready for larger scale platform from HubSpot.

HubSpot adds video creation

HubSpot said it hopes that its new suite of products will enable its customers to better sell customer experiences, rather than products or services.

“The product used to win,” said Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, in a keynote. “Now the customer experience is what wins.”

HubSpot’s CTO and other co-founder, Dharmesh Shah, echoed that sentiment from the conference stage.

“Improving your experience by 10 times is much easier than improving your product by 10 times,” Shah said.

HubSpot also released a video feature available across its suite of products. HubSpot Video — powered by partner Vidyard — will include video hosting, in-video forms and a video creation tool.

HubSpot Video enables marketers to host and manage video files for campaigns, according to the company. Sales reps can create and share personalized videos from the CRM and service teams can help customers more completely with personalized service videos.

“Videos are what customers want,” McCabe said. “And they are sometimes easier to produce than blog posts.”

Video for creating content

Other users spoke positively about the potential for HubSpot Video, with creating content becoming a bigger priority for many companies.

Meanwhile, other features across all three HubSpot enterprise products include Slack integrations, machine learning for predictive lead scoring and Conversations — HubSpot’s communication unifier, previewed a year ago and commercially released in August 2018.

HubSpot also released a stand-alone CMS tool to help with website creation, as well as a Service Hub Starter product, which helps organizations do entry-level service requests like ticketing, help desk services and connecting with customers through live chat.

Pricing for HubSpot products varies depending on whether an organization licenses the starter, professional or enterprise level.

InsightSquared unveils marketing analytics tools

BOSTON — InsightSquared unveiled new marketing analytics tools aimed at providing better insights to how marketing is getting leads into play and how they translate to sales.

“There’s natural tension between sales and marketing,” said Matisha Ladiwala, general manager of marketing analytics at InsightSquared, based in Boston. Ladiwala spoke to an audience of about 500 — mostly customers — at the data visualization and reporting vendor’s second annual Ramp 2018 conference at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel.

InsightSquared executives at the conference on Aug. 7 said bringing together marketing, sales and service departments — collectively known as revenue ops — is its main business goal, and the new marketing analytics tools would help unlock those hidden insights.

Measuring marketing revenue

The marketing analytics tools are intended to relieve some of the tension often found between those departments by providing interactive, current dashboards that display how marketing campaigns are doing and when and how many leads entered the sales funnel. The new tools also include more planning and reporting capabilities.

InsightSquared executive Matisha Ladiwals speaking at Ramp, the vendor's annual user conference
Matisha Ladiwala, GM for marketing analytics at InsightSquared, demos new marketing analytics tools.

“It’s a great way to build trust and credibility with other departments and optimize which marketing campaigns are giving you results,” Ladiwala said. “The dashboards are there to give you the confidence that you’re investing in the right things.”

Most InsightSquared customers at the conference hadn’t yet seen the marketing analytics software in action to gauge how it could affect revenue operations or how well it brings different departments together. But a few customers used the marketing analytics tools in beta, and while speaking onstage at the conference, they said the software helped find key insights that were often somewhat hard to unearth.

The marketing analytics tools are commercially available now, according to InsightSquared.

Automation key to efficiency

There’s natural tension between sales and marketing.
Matisha Ladiwalageneral manager of marketing analytics at InsightSquared

“Aggregating that information from those areas was very manual and time-consuming,” said Guido Bartolacci, manager of acquisition and strategy for New Breed, a marketing and sales agency based in Winooski, Vt. “We were taking all this time pulling together information, rather than analyzing it.”

Bartolacci said New Breed was having difficulty bringing together its own information from its disparate sources, including Google Analytics and Salesforce.

By using the marketing analytics tools, New Breed was able to measure the value of marketing processes and help its sales department focus on the right leads, he said.

“What we’ve been able to do with a marketing-generated revenue [report], we can tell how much revenue marketing is creating for the bottom line,” Bartolacci said. “It’s been great for sales and marketing and helps unify our teams to work more efficiently. Marketing exists to drive revenue, but these reports help us understand how and why that happens.”

Dashboards help sales enablement

Another customer, ThriveHive, a digital marketing company based in Quincy, Mass., is using InsightSquared’s marketing analytics software to help connect its disparate marketing and sales tools.

“We have a complicated marketing and sales stack,” said Adam Blake, ThriveHive’s chief marketing officer. “Every week, I’d make my team go through a day of hell by compiling data from all these different platforms and put them in Excel.”

By doing those reports manually, Blake said ThriveHive employees often wouldn’t know if something went wrong with a prospect until it was too late. By switching to live reporting and dashboards with the InsightSquared marketing analytics tools, ThriveHive was able to find more insights in its prospect funnel.

 “We now have dashboards showing how quickly sales reps follow up with leads,” Blake said.

Microsoft awards grant to Skylark Wireless to expand internet access in rural West Virginia – Stories

The grant will help expand Skylark Wireless’ network, providing broadband in Mingo County

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2018 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced it selected Skylark Wireless as a winner of its third annual Airband Grant Fund, to help bring broadband internet access to rural communities. As one of the eight winners, Skylark Wireless is using innovative broadband solutions to extend broadband access to 10,000 households and businesses in Mingo County, West Virginia. The Airband Grant Fund is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which aims to help close the broadband access gap in rural America by 2022.

“Skylark Wireless is working to ensure the citizens of Mingo County have broadband access they need to connect and compete with their more urban neighbors,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Their use of innovative technologies like TV white spaces will help close the broadband gap in West Virginia.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt said, “We know there is a huge potential for economic growth through our agriculture industries. Unfortunately, many of these small businesses struggle to reach their potential because of a lack of access to broadband. I commend Microsoft’s approach, which combines public-private partnerships with emerging technologies to connect West Virginia to the rest of the world and bring 21st century opportunities to our state.”

The Microsoft Airband Grant Fund seeks to spark innovation to overcome barriers to affordable internet access, through support of high-potential, early-stage startups creating innovative new technologies, services and business models. This year’s grantees receive cash investments, access to technology, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“Skylark Wireless is excited to be deploying its cutting-edge Massive MIMO platform in West Virginia,” said Clayton W. Shepard, founder and CTO, Skylark Wireless. “This next- generation wireless network will bring true high-speed affordable broadband internet to thousands of people who need it most, which wouldn’t have been possible without the Microsoft Airband Grant Fund.”

Broadband is the electricity of the 21st century. It is a necessity to start and grow a small business and take advantage of advances in agriculture, telemedicine and education. In the United States, more than 24 million Americans lack broadband access, including 19.4 million people living in rural areas.

Below is a list of this year’s Microsoft Airband Grant Fund recipients. More about the Microsoft Airband Grant Fund can be found here.

About Skylark Wireless

In rural West Virginia, Skylark Wireless is developing next-gen wireless solutions to connect underserved populations, focusing on long-range, high-speed connectivity including massive-MIMO and TV White Spaces.

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.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, +1 (425) 638-7777,

[email protected]

Skylark Wireless, Ryan Guerra, founder and CEO, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com.Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft awards grant to CvWireless to expand internet access in rural New York – Stories

The grant will help expand CvWireless’ network, providing broadband in Essex County

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2018 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced it selected CvWireless as a winner of its third annual Airband Grant Fund to help bring broadband internet access to rural communities. As one of eight winners, CV Wireless is using innovative broadband solutions to connect 300 households in Essex County, New York, including the towns of Whallonsburg, Willsboro and Reber. The Airband Grant Fund is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which aims to help close the broadband access gap in rural America by 2022.

“CV Wireless is working to ensure the citizens of Essex County have the broadband access they need to connect and compete with their more urban neighbors,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Their use of innovative technologies like TV white spaces will help close the broadband gap in the New York state.”

The Microsoft Airband Grant Fund seeks to spark innovation to overcome barriers to affordable internet access, through support of high-potential, early-stage startups creating innovative new technologies, services and business models. This year’s grantees receive cash investments, access to technology, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“CvWireless is honored to be recognized for innovation and its continued response to its rural communities’ need to access high-speed internet service. The Microsoft grant provides needed funds to continue to enhance our communities’ internet access by reaching those locations that are truly the last mile of our mountainous and wooded paradise,” said Beth Schiller, owner of CvWireless.

Broadband is the electricity of the 21st century. It is a necessity to start and grow a small business and take advantage of advances in agriculture, telemedicine and education. In the United States, more than 24 million Americans lack broadband access, including 19.4 million people living in rural areas.

Below is a list of this year’s Microsoft Airband Grant Fund recipients. More about the Microsoft Airband Grant Fund can be found here.

About CvWireless

CvWireless is an internet service provider (ISP) that supports rural customers in Essex County, New York. Using a combination of fixed wireless solutions, including TV white spaces, they deliver affordable broadband to households, farms, government offices, and small businesses.

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.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, +1 (425) 638-7777,

[email protected]

CvWireless, Beth Schiller, Owner, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com.Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Saxo Bank and Microsoft partner to shape the future of cloud services in the financial industry

Saxo Bank aims to run its entire banking platform on Microsoft Cloud, thus providing an agile and highly secure environment for the bank to accelerate its digital journey and democratize financial services

REDMOND, Wash., and COPENHAGEN, Denmark — April 24, 2018 — On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. and Saxo Bank announced a strategic partnership with the aim of running Saxo Bank’s entire technology stack on the Microsoft Cloud.

Financial services are at a transformational tipping point. It is key for financial organizations to harness data and cloud services as a strategic asset, shifting from hindsight to foresight closely hinged on security, privacy and regulatory compliance. With the partnership, Saxo Bank aims to lead at the forefront of technology developments in the financial industry.

Saxo Bank is a leading fintech specialist focused on multiasset trading and investment, servicing clients in more than 170 countries with access to investments in global capital markets and headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Saxo Bank delivers “banking-as-a-service,” allowing other banks and brokers to leverage Saxo Bank’s technology and global capital markets access. Expecting the number and scale of partnerships to grow significantly, Saxo Bank has decided to leverage the Microsoft Cloud to ensure scalability, flexibility and security in the digital infrastructure.

“The future of financial services is cloud based, and by partnering with Microsoft we take part in shaping this future. Saxo Bank was a fintech long before the term was created, and it is a natural step for us to also pioneer cloud-based solutions in financial services,” said Kim Fournais, founder and CEO, Saxo Bank. “By leveraging the Microsoft Cloud, we can spend more time on developing technology and less time on running it, allowing us to continue to stay at the forefront of client-focused digitization and support our ambitious growth plans.”

A trusted platform is the foundation for running financial services in the cloud, and organizations — like Saxo Bank — that continuously develop to stay at the forefront of technology will become the digital leaders of the future and maintain their competitive edge.

“We are excited to help Saxo Bank shape the future of trading and investment on our cloud platform,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president, Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft. “Saxo Bank is at the forefront of fintech, and our partnership will enable financial service organizations to securely harness data to better serve their clients.”

“We are proud to break new ground together with Microsoft and look forward to be working with key stakeholders such as regulators to ensure that cloud solutions continue to evolve and support the high regulatory standards that define the financial industry,” Fournais said. “At an early stage, we saw opportunities in using [the internet and] digital solutions to differentiate ourselves. Since we launched one of the first online investment platforms in 1998, we have been a Microsoft house, as such the Microsoft cloud is a natural fit for Saxo Bank.”

Today, Saxo Bank supports more than 120 White Label partnerships globally. Through its unique trading and investment technology, Saxo Bank facilitates access to more than 35,000 financial instruments across multiple asset classes.

About Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank Group (Saxo) is a leading fintech specialist focused on multi-asset trading and investment and delivering ‘Banking-as-a-Service’ to wholesale clients. For 25 years, Saxo’s mission has been to democratize investment and trading, enabling clients by facilitating their seamless access to global capital markets through technology and expertise.

As a fully licensed and regulated bank, Saxo enables its direct clients to trade multiple asset classes across global financial markets from one single margin account and across multiple devices. Additionally, Saxo provides wholesale institutional clients such as banks and brokers with multi-asset execution, prime brokerage services and trading technology, supporting the full value chain delivering Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS). Saxo’s award winning trading platforms are available in more than 20 languages and form the technology backbone of more than 100 financial institutions worldwide.

Founded in 1992 and launching its first online trading platform in 1998, Saxo Bank was a fintech even before the term was created. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Saxo Bank today employs more than 1500 people in financial centers around the world including London, Paris, Zurich, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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.

For more information, press only:

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

Microsoft Denmark, Helle Rosendahl, Senior Communications Advisor, +45 22409540,

[email protected]

Saxo Bank, Steffen Wegner Mortensen, Head of PR and Public Affairs, +45 3977 6343, [email protected]

 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

The post Saxo Bank and Microsoft partner to shape the future of cloud services in the financial industry appeared first on Stories.

Declaration Networks Group and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in Virginia and Maryland

The project will expand Declaration Networks’ broadband network, providing access to currently unconnected people, using TV White Spaces and other technologies

REDMOND, Wash. — April 24, 2018 — On Tuesday, Declaration Networks Group Inc. (DNG) and Microsoft Corp. announced a new agreement to deliver broadband internet access to approximately 65,000 people on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, including Accomack and Northampton Counties, and Garrett County, Maryland, over the next three years. This partnership is part of Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative.

There are 19.4 million people living in rural America without broadband access, including nearly 30 percent of the people in rural Virginia and 6 percent of the people in rural Maryland. Under its NeuBeam™ brand, DNG delivers high-speed internet and voice services using a combination of advanced wireless technologies, including TV White Spaces. Microsoft and DNG aim to address the rural broadband gap for residents and businesses, allowing unserved regions to fully participate in the digital economy through access to technology and services that will enable farmers, healthcare professionals, educators, business leaders and others in the community.

“This partnership with Declaration Networks will help close the rural broadband gap for 65,000 people living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and in Garrett County, Maryland,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Broadband is essential for agriculture, education, business and healthcare. Microsoft’s Airband initiative is focused on bringing this necessity to 2 million people in rural America by 2022 and accelerating the national priority of closing the broadband gap.”

“DNG and Microsoft share a commitment to establishing quality broadband solutions for rural America,” said Bob Nichols, CEO of DNG. “Our partnership reflects a shared vision that focuses on an effective plan to align stakeholders, technology and resources for a sustainable path to address the digital divide.”

Closing the rural broadband gap is strongly supported by Virginia and Maryland leaders:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said, “As a native of the Eastern Shore, I am thrilled that Microsoft is taking action to bring new broadband connectivity to communities that need it. This new effort, in addition to ongoing efforts in state government, will help bridge the digital divide. Connecting rural communities will help create jobs, grow our economy and improve our quality of life. I am happy to celebrate this positive step forward as we work to make our commonwealth work better for all Virginians, no matter who you are or where you live.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said, “Reliable access to high-speed internet is critical for Maryland’s small businesses, families and students to thrive in our 21st century economy. We are working diligently to eliminate the rural broadband gap and ensure that all Marylanders have the opportunity to access trusted, cost-effective broadband solutions.”

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner said, “Millions of Americans, particularly in rural America, lack broadband access — a precondition to meaningful participation in the digital economy. That’s millions of people unable to participate in e-commerce, enroll in online courses, receive tele-health services, and get on-demand services. It also means millions of people unable to hone programming skills, engage in telework, or modernize rural industries with broadband. Broadband access doesn’t guarantee a community success, but not having it guarantees that companies aren’t going to even consider you. I applaud efforts like these that seek to close the digital divide, including through innovative last-mile services.”

U.S. Rep. John K. Delaney said, “As the only former CEO of a publicly traded company currently serving in Congress, I know how critical it is to position our businesses, workers and families to best compete in a global digital market. Closing the broadband gap is a critical piece of successful education, entrepreneurship and innovation, and I applaud DNG and Microsoft’s investment in the communities of Garrett County.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor said, “We live in a digital age, where the internet is no longer considered a luxury but a necessary part of everyday life. The widespread lack of internet on the Eastern Shore and across rural Virginia makes these populations especially vulnerable by limiting their access to education, medicine and information services. Thanks to DNG and Microsoft, we can finally begin the process of expanding broadband networks throughout rural Virginia to equip residents, businesses and professionals with the tools needed to succeed in a 21st century economy.”

In addition to commercial partnerships with local companies like Declaration, Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative includes digital skills training for people in newly connected communities and access to royalty-free patents. Proceeds from Airband connectivity projects will be reinvested into the program to expand broadband to more rural areas.

About Declaration Networks Group

DNG successfully deploys and operates broadband local access solutions in underserved markets with a combination of advanced fiber and wireless to deliver high speed Internet and voice services to residential and business customers. DNG is a recognized leader in developing sustainable broadband eco-systems through cooperative local partnerships that leverage combined resources towards shared goals, to increase access to affordable, quality broadband service and allowing customers to “connect to what matters.” For more information, please visit www.declarationnetworks.com and www.neubeam.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.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, +1 (425) 638-7777,

[email protected]

DNG Media Inquiries, Barry S. Toser, EVP of Sales & Marketing, +1 (703) 850-7172,
[email protected]

 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com.Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

The post Declaration Networks Group and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in Virginia and Maryland appeared first on Stories.

Microsoft to acquire Avere Systems, accelerating high-performance computing innovation for media and entertainment industry and beyond – The Official Microsoft Blog

The cloud is providing the foundation for the digital economy, changing how organizations produce, market and monetize their products and services. Whether it’s building animations and special effects for the next blockbuster movie or discovering new treatments for life-threatening diseases, the need for high-performance storage and the flexibility to store and process data where it makes the most sense for the business is critically important.

Over the years, Microsoft has made a number of investments to provide our customers with the most flexible, secure and scalable storage solutions in the marketplace. Today, I am pleased to share that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Avere Systems, a leading provider of high-performance NFS and SMB file-based storage for Linux and Windows clients running in cloud, hybrid and on-premises environments.

Avere logoAvere uses an innovative combination of file system and caching technologies to support the performance requirements for customers who run large-scale compute workloads. In the media and entertainment industry, Avere has worked with global brands including Sony Pictures Imageworks, animation studio Illumination Mac Guff and Moving Picture Company (MPC) to decrease production time and lower costs in a world where innovation and time to market is more critical than ever.

High performance computing needs however do not stop there. Customers in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services, manufacturing and more are increasingly looking for these types of solutions to help transform their businesses. The Library of Congress, John Hopkins University and Teradyne, a developer and supplier of automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry, are great examples where Avere has helped scale datacenter performance and capacity, and optimize infrastructure placement.

By bringing together Avere’s storage expertise with the power of Microsoft’s cloud, customers will benefit from industry-leading innovations that enable the largest, most complex high-performance workloads to run in Microsoft Azure. We are excited to welcome Avere to Microsoft, and look forward to the impact their technology and the team will have on Azure and the customer experience.

You can also read a blog post from Ronald Bianchini Jr., president and CEO of Avere Systems, here.

Tags: Avere Systems, Azure, Big Computing, Cloud, High-Performance Computing, high-performance storage

Announcing the Lv2-Series VMs powered by the AMD EPYC™ processor

Providing a diverse set of Virtual Machine sizes and the latest hardware is crucial to making sure that our customers get industry-leading performance for every one of their workloads. Today, I am excited to announced we are introducing the next generation of storage-optimized L-series VMs powered by AMD EPYCTM processors.

We’re thrilled to have AMD available as part of the Azure Compute family. We’ve worked closely with AMD to develop the next generation of storage optimized VMs called Lv2-Series, powered by AMD’s EPYC™ processors. The Lv2-Series is designed to support customers with demanding workloads like MongoDB, Cassandra, and Cloudera that are storage intensive and demand high levels of I/O.

Lv2-Series VM’s use the AMD EPYC™7551 processor, featuring a core frequency of 2.2Ghz and a maximum single-core turbo frequency of 3.0GHz. Lv2-Series VMs will come in sizes ranging up to 64 vCPU’s and 15TB of local resource disk. 

If you’re interested in being one of the first to try out these new sizes as part of the preview for Lv2 VMs.

Size vCPU’s Memory (GiB) Local SSD (GiB)
L8s 8 64 1 x 1.9TB
L16s 16 128 2 x 1.9TB
L32s 32 256 4 x 1.9TB
L64s 64 512 8 x 1.9TB

See ya around,

Corey

SAVE Act attempts to bolster election security

Two senators introduced a new election security bill with the aim of providing assistance to states in order to protect against cyberattacks on voting infrastructure.

The bipartisan bill — the Securing America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act — was put forward by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). The aim of the bill, according to Collins, is to “assist states in protecting the integrity of their voting systems. 

“Our bill seeks to facilitate the information sharing of the threats posed to state election systems by foreign adversaries, to provide guidance to states on how to protect their systems against nefarious activity and, for states who choose to do so, to allow them to access some federal grant money to implement best practices to protect their systems,” Collins said on the Senate floor.

Collins said that she knew of “no evidence to date that actual vote tabulations were manipulated in any state” during the 2016 U.S. election, but noted that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found 21 states had election systems probed by Russian hackers.

“Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans’ ability to fairly choose our own leaders. We must do everything we can to protect the security and integrity of our elections,” Sen. Heinrich said in a public statement. “The SAVE Act would ensure states are better equipped to develop solutions and respond to threats posed to election systems. Until we set up stronger protections of our election systems and take the necessary steps to prevent future foreign influence campaigns, our nation’s democratic institutions will remain vulnerable.”

Requirements of the SAVE Act

According to the announcement, the SAVE Act would require the Director of National Intelligence to designate security clearance to the chief state election official — usually the secretary of state — and share all “appropriate classified information with those state officials to protect election systems from security threats.”

The SAVE Act would also classify state-run election systems as critical infrastructure and require the DHS to work with states to ensure election security.

Prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the DHS offered to aid states with election security and Jeh Johnson, former secretary of Homeland Security, claimed 18 states had accepted that offer.

The SAVE Act would also call for the creation of the “Cooperative Hack the Election” program which would essentially be a bug bounty program for electronic voting systems.

The DEFCON team, which has offered to help election officials test voting equipment, did not respond to requests for comment at the time of this post.

Mike Pittenger, vice president of security strategy at Black Duck, said he thought a bug bounty program would help “build more secure voting machines, assuming the bounties are attractive,” but wanted more information on the SAVE Act.

If we are talking about vote integrity, the major shortcoming of any electronic voting system is an independent, auditable record.
Mike Pittengervice president of security strategy at Black Duck

“The other point to remember is that security is ephemeral. A secure application can become a ripe target overnight if a new vulnerability is disclosed and not remediated. We saw this with Equifax. How can we ensure that every device is updated?” Pittenger told SearchSecurity. “I do worry about designating this as critical infrastructure, however, if it requires that all states and local governments use electronic voting, even if a variety of choices are available.”

At the DEFCON conference in July, Barbara Simons, former president of the Association for Computing Machinery and president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan and non-profit organization promoting laws and regulations that support accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections, said risk limiting audits are an essential part of ensuring election results but are very difficult with electronic voting systems and are much more effective with paper ballots.

While the SAVE Act calls for audits of election systems for states that receive federal grant money, there are no stipulations for auditing actual election results.

“If we are talking about vote integrity, the major shortcoming of any electronic voting system is an independent, auditable record. With paper voting, someone could miscount ballots or ‘stuff the ballot box.’ It’s not perfect, but when an election is over we can match the records of individuals who registered, and rescan and recount the paper ballots,” Pittenger said. “With electronic voting, we have an electronic audit trail, but any competent criminal would cover their tracks.”