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Addressing the coming IoT talent shortage – Microsoft Industry Blogs

This blog is the third in a series highlighting our newest research, IoT Signals. Each week will feature a new top-of-mind topic to provide insights into the current state of IoT adoption across industries, how business leaders can develop their own IoT strategies, and why companies should use IoT to improve service to partners and customers.

As companies survey the possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the challenges they face is a significant growing talent shortage. Recent research from Microsoft, IoT Signals, drills down into senior leaders’ concerns and plans. Microsoft surveyed 3,000 decision-makers at companies across China, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom who are involved in IoT.

Exploring IoT skills needs at enterprises today

Most IoT challenges today relate to staffing and skills. Our research finds that only 33 percent of companies adopting IoT say they have enough workers and resources, 32 percent lack enough workers and resources, and 35 percent reported mixed results or didn’t know their resourcing issues. Worldwide, talent shortages are most acute in the United States (37 percent) and China (35 percent).

Of the top challenges that impede the 32 percent of companies struggling with IoT skills shortages, respondents cited a lack of knowledge (40 percent), technical challenges (39 percent), lack of budget (38 percent), an inability to find the right solutions (28 percent), and security (19 percent).

a close up of a logo graph of tech assessment

a close up of a logo graph of tech assessment

Companies will need to decide which capabilities they should buy, in the form of hiring new talent; build, in the form of developing staff competencies; or outsource, in the form of developing strategic partnerships. For example, most companies evaluating the IoT space aren’t software development or con­nectivity experts and will likely turn to partners for these services.

Adequate resourcing is a game-changer for IoT companies

Our research found that having the right team and talent was critical to IoT success on a number of measures. First, those with sufficient resources were more likely to say that IoT was very critical to their company’s future success: 51 percent versus 39 percent. Hardship created more ambivalence, with only 41 percent of IoT high performers saying IoT was somewhat critical to future success, whereas 48 percent of lower-performing companies agreed.

Similarly, companies with strong IoT teams viewed IoT as a more successful investment, attributing 28 percent of current ROI to IoT (inclusive of cost savings and efficiencies) versus 20 percent at less enabled companies. That’s likely why 89 percent of those who have the right team is planning to use IoT more in the future versus 75 percent of those who lack adequate resources.

IoT talent shortage may cause higher failure rate

Getting IoT off the ground can be a challenge for any company, given its high learning curve, long-term commitment, and significant investment. It’s doubly so for companies that lack talent and resources. IoT Signals found that companies who lack adequate talent and resources have a higher failure rate in the proof of concept phase: 30 percent versus 25 percent for those with the right team. At companies with high IoT success, the initiative is led by a staffer in an IT role, such as a director of IT, a chief technology officer, or a chief information officer. With leadership support, a defined structure, and budget, these all-in IoT organizations are able to reach the production stage on an average of nine months, while those who lack skilled workers and resources take 12 months on average.

Despite initial challenges, company leaders are unlikely to call it quits. Business and technology executives realize that IoT is a strategic business imperative and will be increasingly required to compete in the marketplace. Setting up the right team, tools, and resources now can help prevent team frustration, business burnout, and leadership commitment issues.

Overcoming the skills issues with simpler platforms

Fortunately, industry trends like fully hosted SaaS platforms are reducing the complexity of building IoT programs: from connecting and managing devices to providing integrated tooling and security, to enabling analytics.

Azure IoT Central, a fully managed IoT platform, is designed to let anyone build an IoT initiative within hours, empowering business teams and other non-technical individuals to easily gain mastery and contribute. Azure includes IoT Plug and Play, which provides an open modeling language to connect IoT devices to the cloud seamlessly.

Additionally, Microsoft is working with its partner ecosystem to create industry-specific solutions to help companies overcome core IoT adoption blockers and investing in training tools like IoT School and AI Business School. Microsoft has one of the largest and fastest-growing partner ecosystems. Our more than 10,000 IoT partners provide domain expertise across industries and help address connectivity, security infrastructure, and application infrastructure requirements, allowing companies to drive to value faster. 

Learn more about how global companies are using IoT to drive value by downloading the IoT Signals report and reading our Transform Blog on IoT projects companies such as ThyssenKrupp, Bühler, Chevron, and Toyota Material Handling Group are driving.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Equip Yourself for Battle with the Xbox Wireless Controller – Midnight Forces II Special Edition – Xbox Wire

In 2014, we introduced the fan-favorite military-inspired Forces series for the Xbox Wireless Controller. Today, we’re introducing a new take on one of the most popular designs from the series – the new Xbox Wireless Controller – Midnight Forces II Special Edition. The Xbox Wireless Controller – Midnight Forces II Special Edition features the modern blue camouflage-pattern you love plus textured grip to help you stay on target in the heat of the battle and a 3.5mm stereo headset jack to plug in for a fully immersive gaming experience. Like all Xbox Wireless Controllers, the Xbox Wireless Controller – Midnight Forces II Special Edition comes with Bluetooth technology for gaming on Windows 10 devices or Samsung Gear VR and custom button mapping through the Xbox Accessories app to customize your controller just the way you like it.

Make your camo-inspired gaming set complete with the officially licensed Midnight Forces II Special Edition Xbox Pro Charging Stand by Controller Gear. This charging stand is built with the same high-quality materials as Xbox Wireless Controllers so it’s always an exact match, while the magnetic contact system ensures a perfect fit and secure charge every time. Each Xbox Pro Charging Stand comes with a premium charging stand, battery cover, rechargeable battery and 6-foot power cord.

The Midnight Forces II Special Edition Xbox Pro Charging Stand and the Xbox Wireless Controller – Midnight Forces II Special Edition are available today at Microsoft Store in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The controller is also available online through Wal-Mart in U.S. and Canada starting today and coming to their physical stores beginning mid-October.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Tune-In Tomorrow to the ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series: The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood Finale – Xbox Wire

Tomorrow night, ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series: The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood concludes on TBS with the sixth and final episode of the docu series focused on the stories and players behind the world of Gears Esports. If you’d like to catch up with the entire series of The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood ahead of the finale, you can watch all five aired episodes through VOD on the Gears Esports website.

Stemming from Xbox’s partnership with ELEAGUE, the six-part docu series focused on the stories and players behind the world of Gears Esports on TBS, the ELEAGUE Gears Summer Invitational was held three weeks ago, crowning Tox Gaming as the inaugural champions of the first Gears 5 esports event. In addition to a thrilling weekend of competition, we announced the first details of the Gears Esports 2019-2020 season, including a partnership with PGL to create a new Pro League.

To continue the Gears Esports journey, be sure to tune-in to the sixth and final episode of The Bonds & Betrayals of Brotherhood airing on TBS tomorrow, Friday, August 2, at 11 pm ET/8 pm PT. The docu series will continue to explore each player’s intense connection to the game and each other as they navigate to become the best players in the world on Gears 5 Esports.

Episode 6 of The Bonds & Betrayals of Brotherhood highlights pro player Justin “Kenny” Kenny’s career in Gears Esports – spanning across numerous titles, teams, and organizations over the years. Kenny reflects upon how the Gears Esports scene has both itself grown and allowed him to grow along with it.

The final episode also provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the recent ELEAGUE Gears 5 Invitational event and allows each of the six featured series pro players to reflect upon on their performance competing in the unreleased title. Through the eyes of these players, viewers will get the chance to experience the Gears 5 esports mode, Escalation, and prepare for the upcoming Gears 5 Esports season.

To stay updated, follow @EsportsGears on Twitter and visit Gears.gg. Be sure to also check out ELEAGUE’s channels; @ELEAGUETV and www.ELEAGUE.com.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Mini XL+, Mini E added to iXsystems FreeNAS Mini series

Open source hardware provider iXsystems introduced two new models to its FreeNAS Mini series storage system lineup: FreeNAS Mini XL+ and FreeNAS Mini E. The vendor also introduced tighter integration with TrueNAS and cloud services.

Designed for small offices, iXsystems’ FreeNAS Mini series models are compact, low-power and quiet. Joining the FreeNAS Mini and Mini XL, the FreeNAS Mini XL+ is intended for professional workgroups, while the FreeNAS Mini E is a low-cost option for small home offices.

The FreeNAS Mini XL+ is a 10-bay platform — eight 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch hot-swappable bays and one 2.5-inch internal bay — and iXsystem’s highest-end Mini model. The Mini XL+ provides dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, eight CPU cores and 32 GB RAM for high-performance workloads. For demanding applications, such as hosting virtual machines or multimedia editing, the Mini XL+ scales beyond 100 TB.

For lower-intensity workloads, the FreeNAS Mini E is ideal for file sharing, streaming and transcoding video up to 1080p. The FreeNAS Mini E features four bays with quad GbE ports and 8 GB RAM, configured with 8 TB capacity.

The full iXsystems FreeNAS Mini series supports error correction RAM and Z File System with data checksumming, unlimited snapshots and replication. IT operations can remotely manage systems via Intelligent Platform Management Interface and, dependent on needs, can be built has hybrid or all-flash storage.

FreeNAS provides traditional NAS and delivers network application services via plugin applications, featuring both open source and commercial applications to extend usability to entertainment, collaboration, security and backup. IXsystems’ FreeNAS 11.2 provides a web interface and encrypted cloud sync to major cloud services, such as Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Drive and Backblaze B2.

At Gartner’s 2018 IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference, ubiquity of IT infrastructure was a main theme, and FreeNAS was named an option for file, block, object and hyper-converged software-defined storage. According to iXsystems, FreeNAS and TrueNAS are leading platforms for video, telemetry and other data processing in the cloud or a colocation facility.

New FreeNAS Mini models were introduced to iXsystems' lineup for open source storage.
IXsystems’ FreeNAS Mini lineup now includes the high-end FreeNAS Mini XL+ and entry-level FreeNAS Mini E.

With the upgrade, the FreeNAS Mini series can be managed by iXsystems’ unified management system, TrueCommand, which enables admins to monitor all TrueNAS and FreeNAS systems from a single UI and share access to alerts, reports and control of storage systems. A TrueCommand license is free for FreeNAS deployments of fewer than 50 drives.

According to iXsystems, FreeNAS Mini products reduce TCO by combining enterprise-class data management and open source economics. The FreeNAS Mini XL+ ranges from $1,499 to $4,299 and the FreeNAS Mini E from $749 to $999.

FreeNAS version 11.3 is available in beta, and the vendor anticipates a 12.0 release that will bring more efficiency to its line of FreeNAS Minis.

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How government is transforming with AI – part 3

In our last two blogs in this series, we discussed how governments are using digital assistants—often with cognitive services such as language translation built in—to engage their community in more accessible ways and support their teams.

Another way that governments are using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) is to help them predict needs and anticipate issues so they can prepare accordingly.

For example, to keep Alaska’s highways open and safe during severe winter weather, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities uses the Fathym WeatherCloud solution and Microsoft Azure IoT technologies to make better, hyper-local decisions about deploying road crews. Being able to make more informed decisions with better data is helping Alaska save lives and significantly reduce road maintenance costs.

“The information we get from WeatherCloud puts us miles ahead in creating accurate forecasts,” says Daniel Schacher, Maintenance Superintendent at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, in this article. “We’ve become much more proactive in our responses.”

Read How Alaska outsmarts Mother Nature in the cloud” to learn about what led Alaska to deploy the system, how it works, and the way it’s helping the state keep residents safer and save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in resource usage.

Another example of keeping vital infrastructures up and running with insight from AI and IoT solutions comes from our partner eSmart Systems. With its Connected Drone portfolio, utilities can send smart drones out on beyond-line-of-sight missions to inspect power lines and pinpoint faults and weaknesses.

Utilities are using Connected Drones to stay ahead of power grid maintenance issues and help them prevent or reduce blackouts in the communities they serve. And by using drones to inspect lines, which can be dangerous for personnel, they can keep their teams safer.

Utilities are also using Connected Drones to get power back up and running after a disaster, as was the case in Florida after Hurricane Irma. Watch this video to see how the drones helped to assess the damage quickly—inspecting hazardous areas so human inspectors wouldn’t have to be put in harm’s way. With insight from the Connected Drones, the utility company was able to know not only precisely where repairs were required, but also which crew and equipment were needed to get power restored as quickly as possible in the affected communities.

Those are just a few examples of how governments can gain insight with AI and IoT that can help them keep the infrastructures their citizens rely on up and running. To learn about more vertical and horizontal areas where your government agency can benefit from AI, read the Gartner report: “Where you should use artificial intelligence—and why.” It provides research on the potential of various use cases and offers recommendations on the most effective strategies for applying AI.

For Sale – i3 4160 3.6ghz ; 8gb HyperX fury DDR3

Memory details: Kingston Fury Hyper X Black Series 8 GB PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) HX316C10FB/8
cpu details: Intel Core i3-4160 4160 Haswell Processor 3.6GHz 5.0GT/s 3MB LGA 1150 CPU

Both working perfectly.

£38 each including postage

Price and currency: 38 each
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
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Location: stevenage
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – i3 4160 3.6ghz ; 8gb HyperX fury DDR3

Memory details: Kingston Fury Hyper X Black Series 8 GB PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) HX316C10FB/8
cpu details: Intel Core i3-4160 4160 Haswell Processor 3.6GHz 5.0GT/s 3MB LGA 1150 CPU

Both working perfectly.

£38 each including postage

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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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  • Name and address including postcode
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i3 4160 3.6ghz ; 8gb HyperX fury DDR3

Memory details: Kingston Fury Hyper X Black Series 8 GB PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) HX316C10FB/8
cpu details: Intel Core i3-4160 4160 Haswell Processor 3.6GHz 5.0GT/s 3MB LGA 1150 CPU

Both working perfectly.

£38 each including postage

Price and currency: 38 each
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppal preferred
Location: stevenage
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i3 4160 3.6ghz ; 8gb HyperX fury DDR3

Memory details: Kingston Fury Hyper X Black Series 8 GB PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) HX316C10FB/8
cpu details: Intel Core i3-4160 4160 Haswell Processor 3.6GHz 5.0GT/s 3MB LGA 1150 CPU

Both working perfectly.

£38 each including postage

Price and currency: 38 each
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppal preferred
Location: stevenage
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Gen 8 Unitrends appliances span SMB to enterprise

Unitrends upgraded and expanded its flagship Recovery Series data protection appliances, increasing disk density and adding options to help support customers ranging from SMBs to enterprises.

The new Gen 8 Unitrends appliances run Unitrends Backup version 10.2, the company’s latest backup software. The appliances also have a “self-healing storage” feature, which uses cloud-based analytics to monitor and automatically fix hardware anomalies before they turn into full-blown failures. If necessary, the appliance will notify the customer and automatically open a support ticket.

Unitrends’ new line of backup appliances features a wider range of models than the previous Recovery Series generation launched in October 2016. The Gen 8 platform includes 15 models, ranging from 2 TB to 120 TB usable capacity, although Unitrends dropped its 180 TB model in Gen 8. Gen 8 Unitrends appliances have added 12 TB capacity drives.

The new models include six 1U appliances for SMB and remote offices, two 1U and three 2U midsize appliances, and four 2U enterprise systems.

Joe Noonan, vice president of product management and marketing at Unitrends, explained that the previous appliance storage sizes weren’t fitting all the needs of the broad market Unitrends plays in.

By having such a broad market to go after, we needed to make it as easy as possible to buy and fit the budget needs of our end users.
Joe Noonanvice president of product management and marketing, Unitrends

“Unitrends does play in the enterprise, we play in the midmarket, and we even have some play in the SMB space,” Noonan said. “By having such a broad market to go after, we needed to make it as easy as possible to buy and fit the budget needs of our end users.”

Pricing for the new Unitrends appliances ranges from $2,749 for the 2 TB 8002 model to $97,999 for the 120 TB 8120S with Enterprise Plus software. Noonan said the price per useable TB had gone up 10% over the previous models. However, he said greater choice can reduce the cost for some midrange customers “because we filled in those gaps so that there was a better model to meet their needs and they didn’t have to buy something too big.”

Unitrends appliance
Latest Unitrends Recovery Series appliances include 12 TB drives for greater density.

Unitrends recently merged with Kaseya, but Noonan pointed out that Unitrends remains independent. “We maintained our management structure, we maintained our CEO; our channel remains the same,” he said.

Unitrends sells backup software separately or integrated on appliances. Its product portfolio also includes VMware Backup Essentials virtual backup appliances and Boomerang for VMware software that replicates to public clouds for disaster recovery.

With pieces on so many playing fields, Unitrends runs into a lot of competition. Noonan sees Barracuda as the biggest backup competitor for Unitrends appliances, but also lists Data Domain, Rubrik and Veeam as hardware or software competitors. He said Unitrends tries to stand out by offering a complete on-premises-to-cloud package. “That combination, being able to fit a very well-priced solution that is very low-maintenance because it’s a full box, you’re not stitching that together yourself, and then offering a wide array of disaster recovery options; we’re able to constantly fill gaps as you go along on that disaster recovery story all the way through to the cloud.”