Tag Archives: solution

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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Benefits of virtualization highlighted in top 10 stories of 2019

When an organization decides to pursue a virtual desktop solution, a host of questions awaits it.

Our most popular virtual desktop articles this year highlight that fact and show how companies are still trying to get a handle on the virtual desktop infrastructure terrain. The stories explain the benefits of virtualization and provide comparisons between different enterprise options.

A countdown of our most-read articles, determined by page views, follows.

  1. Five burning questions about remote desktop USB redirection

Virtual desktops strive to mimic the traditional PC experience, but using local USB devices can create a sticking point. Remote desktop USB redirection enables users to attach their devices to their local desktop and have it function normally. In 2016, we explored options for redirection, explained how the technology worked and touched upon problem areas such as how scanners are infamously problematic with redirection.

  1. Tips for VDI user profile management

Another key factor for virtualizing the local desktop experience includes managing things like a user’s browser bookmarks, desktop background and settings. That was the subject of this FAQ from 2013 and our ninth most popular story for 2019. The article outlines options for managing virtual desktop user profiles, from implementing identical profiles for everyone to ensuring that settings once saved locally carry over to the virtual workspace.

  1. VDI hardware comparison: Thin vs. thick vs. zero clients

The push toward centralizing computing services has created a market for thin and zero clients, simple and low-cost computing devices reliant on servers. In implementing VDI, IT professionals should consider the right option for their organization. Thick clients, the traditional PC, provide proven functionality, but they also sidestep some of the biggest benefits of virtualization such as lower cost, energy efficiency and increased security. Thin clients provide a mix of features, and their simplicity brings VDI’s assets, such as centralized management and ease of local deployment, to bear. Zero clients require even less configuration, as they have nothing stored locally, but they tend to be proprietary.

  1. How to troubleshoot remote and virtual desktop connection issues

Connection issues can disrupt employee workflow, so avoiding and resolving them is paramount for desktop administrators. Once the local hardware has been ruled out, there are a set of common issues — exceeded capacity, firewalls, SSL certificates and network-level authentication — that IT professionals can consider when solving the puzzle.

  1. Comparing converged vs. hyper-converged infrastructure

What’s the difference between converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)? This 2015 missive took on that question in our sixth most popular story for 2019. In short, while CI houses four data center functions — computing, storage, networking and server virtualization — into a single chassis, HCI looks to add even more features through software. HCI’s flexibility and scalability were touted as advantages over the more hardware-focused CI.

  1. Differences between desktop and server virtualization

To help those seeking VDI deployment, this informational piece from 2014 focused on how desktop virtualization differs from server virtualization. Server virtualization partitions one server into many, enabling organizations to accomplish tasks like maintaining databases, sharing files and delivering media. Desktop virtualization, on the other hand, delivers a virtual computer environment to a user. While server virtualization is easier to predict, given its uniform daily functions, a virtual desktop user might call for any number of potential applications or tasks, making the distinction between the two key.

  1. Application virtualization comparison: XenApp vs. ThinApp vs. App-V

This 2013 comparison pitted Citrix, VMware and Microsoft’s virtualization services against each other to determine the best solution for streaming applications. Citrix’s XenApp drew plaudits for the breadth of the applications it supported, but its update schedule provided only a short window to migrate to newer versions. VMware ThinApp’s portability was an asset, as it did not need installed software or device drivers, but some administrators said the service was difficult to deploy and the lack of a centralized management platform made handling applications trickier. Microsoft’s App-V provided access to popular apps like Office, but its agent-based approach limited portability when compared to ThinApp.

  1. VDI shops mull XenDesktop vs. Horizon as competition continues

In summer 2018, we took a snapshot of the desktop virtualization market as power players Citrix and VMware vied for a greater share of users. At the time, Citrix’s product, XenDesktop, was used in 57.7% of on-premises VDI deployments, while VMware’s Horizon accounted for 26.9% of the market. Customers praised VMware’s forward-facing emphasis on cloud, while a focus on security drew others to Citrix. Industry watchers wondered if Citrix would maintain its dominance through XenDesktop 7.0’s end of life that year and if challenger VMware’s vision for the future would pay off.

  1. Compare the top vendors of thin client systems

Vendors vary in the types of thin client devices they offer and the scale they can accommodate. We compared offerings from Advantech, Asus, Centerm Information, Google, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Igel Technology, LG Electronics, Lenovo, NComputing, Raspberry Pi, Samsung, Siemens and 10ZiG Technology to elucidate the differences between them, and the uses for which they might be best suited.

  1. Understanding nonpersistent vs. persistent VDI

This article from 2013 proved some questions have staying power. Our most popular story this year explained the difference between two types of desktops that can be deployed on VDI. Persistent VDI provides each user his or her own desktop, allowing more flexibility for users to control their workspaces but requiring more storage and heightening complexity. Nonpersistent VDI did not save settings once a user logged out, a boon for security and consistent updates, but less than ideal in providing easy access to needed apps.

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How to Configure Failover Clusters to Work with DR & Backup

As your organization grows it is important to not only plan your high-availability solution to maintain service continuity, but also a disaster recovery solution in the event that the operations of your entire datacenter are compromised. High-availability (HA) allows your applications or virtual machines (VMs) to stay online by moving them to other server nodes in your cluster. But what happens if your region experiences a power outage, hurricane or fire?  What if your staff cannot safely access your datacenter? During times of crisis, your team will likely be focused on the well-being of their family or home, and not particularly interested in the availability of their company’s services. This is why it is important to not only protect against local crashes but to be able to move your workloads between datacenters or clouds, using disaster recovery (DR). Because you will need to have access to your data in both locations, you will need to make sure that the data is replicated and consistent in both locations.  The architecture of your DR solution will influence the replication solution you select.

Basic Architecture of a Multi-Site Failover Cluster

Basic Architecture of a Multi-Site Failover Cluster

This three-part blog post will first look at the design decisions to create a resilient multi-site infrastructure, then in future posts the different types of replicated storage you can use from third parties, along with Microsoft’s DFS-Replication, Hyper-V Replica, and Azure Site Recovery (ASR), and backup best practices for each.

Probably the first design decision will be the physical location of your second site.  In some cases, this may be your organization’s second office location, and you will not have any input.  Sometimes you will be able to select the datacenter of a service provider who allows cohosting.  When you do have a choice, first consider the disaster between these locations. Make sure that the two sites are on separate power grids.  Then consider what type of disasters your region is susceptible to, whether that is hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes or even terrorist attacks.  If your primary site is along a coastline, then consider finding an inland location. Ideally, you should select a location that is far enough away from your primary site to avoid multi-site failure. Some organizations even select a site that is hundreds or thousands of miles away!

At first, selecting a cross-country location may sound like the best solution, but with added distance comes added latency.  If you wish to run different services from both sites (an active/active configuration), then be aware that the distance can cause performance issues as information needs to travel further across networks. If you decide to use synchronous replication, you may be limited to a few hundred miles or less to ensure that the data stays consistent.  For this reason, many organizations choose an active/passive configuration where the datacenter which is closer to the business or its customers will function as the primary site, and the secondary datacenter remains dormant until it is needed. This solution is easier to manage, yet more expensive as you have duplicate hardware which is mostly unused. Some organizations will use a third (or more) site to provide greater resiliency, but this adds more complexity when it comes to backup, replication and cluster membership (quorum).

Now that you have picked your sites, you should determine the optimal number of cluster nodes in each location.  You should always have at least two nodes at each site so that if a host crashes it can failover within the primary site before going to the DR site to minimize downtime.  You can configure local failover first through the cluster’s Preferred Owner setting.  The more nodes you have at each site, the more local failures you can sustain before moving to the secondary site.

Use Local Failover First before Cross-Site Failover

Use Local Failover First before Cross-Site Failover

It is also recommended that you have the same number of nodes at each site, ideally with identical hardware configurations.  This means that the performance of applications should be fairly consistent in both locations and it should reduce your maintenance costs.  Some organizations will allocate older hardware to their secondary site, which is still supported, but the workloads will be slower until they return to the primary site.  With this type of configuration, you should also configure automatic failback so that the workloads are restored to the faster primary site once it is healthy.

If you have enough hardware, then a best practice is to deploy at least three nodes at each site so that if you lose a single node and have local failover there will be less of a performance impact.  In the event that you lose one of your sites in a genuine disaster for an extended period of time, you can then evict all the nodes from that site, and still have a 3-node cluster running in a single site.  In this scenario, having a minimum of three nodes is important so that you can sustain the loss of one node while keeping the rest of the cluster online by maintaining its quorum.

If you are an experienced cluster administrator, you probably identified the problem with having two sites with an identical number nodes – maintaining cluster quorum.  Quorum is the cluster’s membership algorithm to ensure that there is exactly one owner of each clustered workload.  This is used to avoid a “split-brain” scenario when there is a partition between two sets of cluster nodes (such as between two sites), and two hosts independently run the same application, causing data inconsistency during replication.  Quorum works by giving each cluster node a vote, and a majority (51% or more) of voters must be in communication with each other to run all of the workloads.  So how is this possible with the recommendation of two balanced sites with three nodes each (6 total votes)?

The most common solution is to have an extra vote in a third site (7 total votes).  So long as either the primary or secondary site can communicate with that voter in the third site, that group of nodes will have a majority of votes and operate all the workloads.  For those who do not have the luxury of the third site, Microsoft allows you to place this vote inside the Microsoft Azure cloud, using a Cloud Witness Disk.  For a detailed understanding of this scenario, check out this Altaro blog about Understanding File Share Cloud Witness and Failover Clustering Quorum in the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Use a File Share Cloud Witness to Maintain Quorum

Use a File Share Cloud Witness to Maintain Quorum

If you are familiar with designing a traditional Windows Server Failover Cluster, you know that redundancy of every hardware and software component is critical to eliminate any single point of failure.  With a disaster recovery solution, this concept is extended by also providing redundancy to your datacenters, including the servers, storage, and networks.  Between each site, you should have multiple redundant networks for cross-site communications.

You will next configure your shared storage at each site cross-site replication between the disks using either a third-party replication solution such as Altaro VM Backup or Microsoft’s Hyper-V Replica or Azure Site Recovery.  These configurations will be covered in the subsequent blog posts in this series.  Finally make sure that the entire multi-site cluster, including the replicated storage, does not fail any of the Cluster Validation Wizard tests.

Again, we’ll be covering more regarding this topic in future blog posts, so keep an eye out for them! Additionally, have you worked through multi-site failover planning for a failover cluster before? What things went well? What were the troubles you ran into? We’d love to know in the comments section below!


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Author: Symon Perriman

How HR can help with a digital divide in the U.S.

Technology is often a solution to modern HR challenges, but HR executive Robin Schooling was quick to point out that tech can also be a problem for employees without equal access or related skills.

For example, according to a Purdue University report released earlier this year, “Job and establishment growth between 2010 and 2015 was substantially lower in [U.S.] counties with the highest digital divide.”

Schooling, who is vice president of HR at Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La., will speak about the digital divide in the U.S. at the forthcoming HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. SearchHRSoftware is the media partner for the conference.

In a preview of her remarks, Schooling outlined the challenges and explained why her three-person HR team sometimes takes an old-school, hands-on approach to everything from training to benefits enrollment.

This interview was edited lightly for brevity and clarity.

When you talk about the digital divide in the U.S., what do you mean?

Robin Schooling: The tendency is to think, as we automate more and more things, that people and job seekers are just going to go right along with all of it. We think that all job seekers or employees have the same level of technology at their disposal. We think the knowledge base is there and that they have the sophistication to go along with the online journey, from job searching to applying for jobs to the onboarding programs. And then, once they’re in-house, they’re ready for any online training.

Robin Schooling, vice president of HR, Hollywood CasinoRobin Schooling

We’re sort of assuming everybody in the workforce is at a desk in a high-rise and that technical knowledge is at [their] disposal. There is an entire group of workers and industries that I fear are getting left further and further behind. It’s the technology haves and have-nots.

How does email play into the digital divide in the U.S.?

Schooling: In my particular world, I have less than 20% of my employees who have work email or access to network drives. They are not at a desk; they are on the floor in front of customers, and they don’t use technology day to day in their jobs. So, they don’t have company email addresses.

If you go back further, a lot of my job applicants don’t have personal email addresses. I probably have, on average, two people a week we talk to who apply for a job using somebody else’s email address. We discover when get hold of them they never got our email and that the person whose email address they used ‘didn’t let me know it came.’ Or, people make up email addresses.

As we talk to people, we find out there truly are people who just don’t have email. It’s not an age thing. I see people who are 22, and I see people who are 70. We get a lot of calls.

[When we get a resume emailed to us,] we have auto reply, but sometimes it goes to a spam folder, and they don’t know how to check a spam folder. We have applicants who don’t have desktops or tablets. Their phone is it. And they don’t know how to navigate email addresses even if they have email. Instead, we get a lot of calls. It’s like 1989.

So, we’ve tried things with texting. We’ve tried a cellphone call. But it gets back to the low-wage, entry-level worker with a pay-as-you-go phone. They tried to apply, but we can’t reach them on it. It’s a challenge. I don’t know the answer to the problem. But we have to look at finding multiple ways to connect with people on the applicant side.

There’s a digital divide in the U.S., but change has to start somewhere. What are you doing in the office to help the tech have-nots?

Schooling: As we have automated, we enhanced some of the offerings through the system we have for our employees, because we don’t have folks who sit at a desk. We can put things out in the cloud to our employee self-service portal, but we’re still struggling with employees getting access if they’re doing it through their phone.

We have banks of computers in the break room, but many employees have challenges accessing them. They don’t know how to use a keyboard or a mouse. That still exists. Everybody doesn’t work on the East or West Coasts, and we’re not all on Slack.

And it’s not just the tech providers [that contribute to the digital divide in the U.S.]; it’s the HR service providers. Every year since I’ve been here, as part of our wellness initiatives, we have a third party come in and do biometric screenings. You get a checkup and sit with a nurse practitioner who logs you in to your account. We do this so that we get you into this wellness tracker for follow-up steps. In order to do that, you have to set up your own account, and that requires an email address and two-factor authentication.

Here’s the challenge: I’ve got a good 30 employees that do not have a personal email address. They may have access to their mothers’ or their wives’ or their sisters’ [email addresses]. I told the vendor that people coming in can’t set up an account because they do not have a personal email, or they are using a family member’s [email] who is not there to do two-factor authentication. How do we do that? How do we serve those people? The provider didn’t quite believe me.

We know the people that don’t have email. How do we solve this? As an HR team, what we do for our population is we try to help people as much as we can to set up accounts. We spend quite a bit of time amongst the team going to Gmail to set up an account and set it up on their phone for them. We try to help them create passwords and show them how to remember where it’s stored. It’s a challenge to do this one-on-one to help our folks as much as we can, but I think it’s important.

In my particular world, I have less than 20% of my employees who have work email or access to network drives.
Robin Schoolingvice president of HR, Hollywood Casino

It’s like old-school HR. It’s very hands-on and in your face. If you have a small or midsize business and your workforce is all in one place, what you can do there is kind of what we do. It’s handholding and bringing along one person at a time. Sometimes, it’s even just stopping and asking: If we are going to communicate something or expect an employee to go to a website to accomplish something for a job, are they equipped to do that?

When we think about the digital divide in the U.S., what can be done to help narrow it?

Schooling: This is an issue that worries me. We are just getting further and further away from thinking about those people who need to find jobs or are working hard, but are sitting in companies that don’t realize that perhaps there are folks being left behind. These are people who can’t do a really cool learning module on their phone.

I have people that are not hipsters — they have a flip phone, but don’t have a data plan. And if there is Wi-Fi, they need to have someone show them how to hook up. They can’t sit at home and do onboarding videos or learning snippets.

At the end of the day, I’m thinking about it from [different] sides. Are the vendors remembering when creating products to include the whole audience? Are HR practitioners aware that you need to do more than meet them where they are, but actually bring them with you?

And it’s important to remember it’s not a generational thing. Some folks coming out of school, college grads even, find themselves in this boat. They come from low-income families, and they’ve gotten higher ed, but they struggle with the access to the tools and the tech and the knowledge of how to use them.

Microsoft awards grant to Numbers4Health to expand its telehealth solution to rural Maine – Stories

The grant will help expand Numbers4Health’s telehealth solution across the U.S. including rural Maine

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2018 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced it selected Numbers4Health as a winner of its third annual Airband Grant Fund to help bring telehealth solutions to rural communities. As one of the eight winners, Numbers4Health is deploying a solution in partnership with internet service providers to help support telemedicine and improve healthcare outcomes in rural Maine. 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.

“Numbers4Health is working to ensure the citizens of rural Maine will have broadband access to critical telehealth solutions,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Their use of innovative technologies like TV white spaces will help improve healthcare access in Maine.”

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 will receive cash investments, access to technology, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“The best way to manage healthcare costs and improve health outcomes is to treat injury and illness as fast as possible,” said Peg Molloy, managing director, Numbers4Health.  “Numbers4Health puts health information software and technology at schools where injured student athletes can be quickly assessed. Microsoft’s Airband Grant Fund is helping us make that happen.”

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 Numbers4Health

Numbers4Health is a Colorado-based startup that provides a collection of tools to encourage increased use of telehealth solutions to drive positive change and better healthcare outcomes. The system operates across Windows, Android, and iOS environments.

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]

Numbers4Health, Peg Molloy, managing director, [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 Numbers4Health to expand its telehealth solution to rural Texas – Stories

The grant will help expand Numbers4Health’s telehealth solution across the U.S. including rural Texas

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2018 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced it selected Numbers4Health as a winner of its third annual Airband Grant Fund to help bring telehealth solutions to rural communities. As one of the eight winners, Numbers4Health is deploying a solution in partnership with internet service providers using TV white spaces technologies to help support telemedicine and improve healthcare outcomes in rural Texas. 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.

“Numbers4Health is working to ensure the citizens of rural Texas will have broadband access to critical telehealth solutions,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Their use of innovative technologies like TV white spaces will help improve healthcare access in Texas.”

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

“The best way to manage healthcare costs and improve health outcomes is to treat injury and illness as fast as possible,” said Peg Molloy, managing director, Numbers4Health. “Numbers4Health puts health information software and technology at schools where injured student athletes can be quickly assessed. Microsoft’s Airband Grant Fund is helping us make that happen.”

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 Numbers4Health

Numbers4Health is a Colorado-based startup that provides a collection of tools to encourage increased use of telehealth solutions to drive positive change and better healthcare outcomes. The system operates across Windows, Android, and iOS environments.

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]

Numbers4Health, Peg Molloy, managing director, [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.

4 new ways Microsoft 365 takes the work out of teamwork—including free version of Microsoft Teams – Microsoft 365 Blog

It’s been one year since we introduced Microsoft 365, a holistic workplace solution that empowers everyone to work together in a secure way. In that time, Microsoft 365 seats have grown by more than 100 percent, building on the more than 135 million commercial monthly Office 365 users, 200 million Windows 10 commercial devices in use, and over 65 million seats of Enterprise Mobility + Security.

This momentum is driven by customers—in every industry—who are transforming their organizations to enable high performance from a workforce that is more diverse, distributed, and mobile than ever before. Microsoft 365 is designed to empower every type of worker—whether on the first lines of a business, managing a small team, or leading an entire organization.

Today, we are introducing four new ways Microsoft 365 connects people across their organization and improves collaboration habits, including extending the power of Microsoft Teams and new AI-infused capabilities in Microsoft 365.

1—Try Microsoft Teams, now available in a free version

To address the growing collaboration needs of our customers, last year we introduced Microsoft Teams, a powerful hub for teamwork that brings together chat, meetings, calling, files, and apps into a shared workspace in Microsoft 365. Now, more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets use Teams to collaborate and get work done.

Beginning today, Teams is available in a free version worldwide in 40 languages. Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today.

The free version includes the following for up to 300 people:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search.
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups.
  • 10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.
  • Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.

This new offering provides a powerful introduction to Microsoft 365. Teams in Microsoft 365 includes everything in the free version plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance, and it can be used for your whole organization, regardless of size.

As we advance our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, what’s most exciting are the stories of customers taking on big projects with a small workforce, such as The Hustle Media Company—who helps movers, shakers, and doers make their dent in the world. Their popular daily email provides their audience with the tech and business news they need to know.

“As a media company that nearly quadrupled in size over the last year, it became apparent we needed a solution to connect all of The Hustle’s offices. As previous Slack users, we found that Microsoft Teams has all the features that other chat-based apps bring, but the teamwork hub allows everything to live in one place.”
—Adam Ryan, vice president of Media at The Hustle

Or, take it from Urban Agriculture Company, a small business specializing in organic, easy-to-use grow kits of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. After landing on Oprah’s favorite things, founder Chad Corzine turned to Microsoft 365 Business and Teams to manage communication among his rapidly growing departments, onboard employees, and protect customer data.

2—Use new intelligent event capabilities in Microsoft 365

Today, we’re also introducing new capabilities that allow anyone in your organization to create live and on-demand events in Microsoft 365. Events can be viewed in real-time or on-demand, with high-definition video and interactive discussion.

AI-powered services enhance the on-demand experience with:

  • A speaker timeline, which uses facial detection to identify who is talking, so you can easily jump to a particular speaker in the event.
  • Speech-to-text transcription, timecoding, and transcript search, so you can quickly find moments that matter in a recording.
  • Closed captions to make the event more accessible to all.

Events can be as simple or as sophisticated as you prefer. You can use webcams, content, and screen sharing for informal presentations, or stream a studio-quality production for more formal events.

3—Leverage analytics to build better collaboration habits

We’re rolling out the preview of a new Workplace Analytics solution, which uses collaboration insights from the Microsoft Graph, to help teams run efficient meetings, create time for focused work, and respect work/life boundaries. Organizations can use aggregate data in Workplace Analytics to identify opportunities for improving collaboration, then share insights and suggest habits to specific teams using MyAnalytics.

We’re also rolling out nudges, powered by MyAnalytics in Microsoft 365, which deliver habit-changing tips in Outlook, such as flagging that you’re emailing coworkers after hours or suggesting you book focused work time for yourself.

4—Work with others on a shared digital canvas with Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard is now generally available for Windows 10, coming soon to iOS, and preview on the web. Whether meeting in person or virtually, people need the ability to collaborate in real-time. The new Whiteboard application enables people to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, across multiple devices. Using pen, touch, and keyboard, you can jot down notes, create tables and shapes, freeform drawings, and search and insert images from the web.

Get started

Whether you’re managing a new project or creating your own business, it helps to have your team behind you to brainstorm ideas, tackle the work together, and have some fun along the way. Take your teamwork to the next level and start using Teams today.

Learn more about how Microsoft 365 enables teamwork below:

Microsoft announces new intelligent security innovations to help businesses manage threats from cloud to edge

Amid evolving digital threats, an innovative IoT security solution, integrated threat intelligence and advanced protection in Microsoft 365 help simplify cybersecurity for businesses

SAN FRANCISCO — April 16, 2018 At a news conference on Monday, Microsoft Corp. announced several new intelligent security tools and technologies to help enterprises more easily secure their data and networks against today’s biggest threats as well as address emerging threats aimed at IoT and edge devices. These new solutions build on Microsoft’s longstanding approach to delivering innovation that customers and partners can build upon to strengthen the broader ecosystem against cyberattacks from the cloud to the edge.

“As last year’s devastating cyberattacks demonstrated, security threats are evolving and becoming even more serious,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “The tech sector’s innovations need to accelerate to outpace security threats. Today’s steps bring important security advances not just to the cloud, but to the billions of new devices that are working on the edge of the world’s computer networks.”

Securing a new generation of connected devices: announcing Azure Sphere

Microsoft is harnessing the power of the intelligent cloud to address emerging threats against a new class of connected devices, those relying on a chip the size of a thumbnail called a microcontroller unit (MCU). MCU-powered devices are already the most populous area of computing with roughly 9 billion new devices every year. They are found in everything from toys and household appliances to industrial equipment — and attackers are starting to target them. To bring security to this next generation of connected devices, Microsoft is introducing Azure Sphere, the industry’s first holistic platform for creating highly secured, connected MCU devices on the intelligent edge. Featuring an entirely new class of MCUs with more than five times the power of legacy MCUs, an OS custom built for IoT security, and a turnkey cloud security service that guards every Azure Sphere device. With Azure Sphere, Microsoft extends the boundaries of the intelligent edge, to power and secure an entirely new category of devices.

“As our homes become more connected, we place significant value on the security of connected devices, so we can focus on continuing to deliver an exceptional customer experience,” said Brian Jones, director of Product Strategy and Marketing at Sub-Zero Group Inc. “Microsoft’s approach with Azure Sphere is unique in that it addresses security holistically at every layer.”

Microsoft 365 Intelligent Security Solutions: Simplifying Security

As security threats become more complex, companies are increasingly finding that the intelligence and threat protection tools they need to remain a step ahead of attackers are in the cloud. Today, Microsoft introduced several new intelligent security features for its Microsoft 365 commercial cloud offering designed to help IT and security professionals simplify how they manage security across their enterprises:

Advanced tools that make it easier to prevent threats before they happen

  • To help teams stay prepared and ahead of threats, Microsoft today released Microsoft Secure Score and Attack Simulator. Secure Score makes it easier for organizations to determine which controls to enable to help protect users, data and devices by quickly assessing readiness and providing an overall security benchmark score. It will also let organizations compare their results to those with similar profiles using built-in machine learning. Attack Simulator, a part of Office 365 Threat Intelligence, lets security teams run simulated attacks — including mock ransomware and phishing campaigns — to event-test their employees’ responses and tune configurations accordingly.

Automated threat detection and remediation to free up security operations teams

  • With the latest Windows 10 update, now in preview, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) works across other parts of Microsoft 365 to include threat protection and remediation spanning Office 365, Windows and Azure. Also available today in preview, and with the upcoming Windows 10 update, are new automated investigation and remediation capabilities in Windows Defender ATP, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to quickly detect and respond to threats on endpoints, within seconds, at scale.
  • Conditional Access provides real-time risk assessments to help ensure that access to sensitive data is appropriately controlled, without getting in the way of users’ productivity. Microsoft 365 is now adding the device risk level set by Windows Defender ATP to Conditional Access in preview to help ensure that compromised devices can’t access sensitive business data.

Stronger partnerships to give customers more integrated solutions

  • The intelligence data used to quickly detect and respond to threats improves as more relevant signals are added. Machine learning tools are only as good as the data they receive. Microsoft’s security products are informed by the trillions of diverse signals feeding into the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Today, Microsoft announced a preview of a new security API for connecting Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph-enabled products as well as intelligence from solutions built by customers and technology partners to greatly enhance the fidelity of intelligence.

Most security tools report an attack from a single limited perspective, offering insight into one piece of a potentially larger threat. By connecting individual tools to the Intelligent Security Graph, security teams get new perspectives and more meaningful patterns of data to speed up threat investigation and remediation. The new API is in early testing with a select group of cybersecurity industry leaders that are collaborating with Microsoft to shape its development. The group, which includes Anomali, Palo Alto Networks and PwC, joined Microsoft today to share their own early exploration of the API and how it may improve each company’s ability to protect their mutual customers.

  • Microsoft also is announcing a new Microsoft Intelligent Security Association for security technology partners so they can benefit from, and contribute to, the Intelligent Security Graph and Microsoft security products. Members of the association will be able to create more integrated solutions for customers that provide greater protection and detect attacks more quickly. Palo Alto Networks and Anomali join PwC and other existing partners as founding members of the new association.

Microsoft is partnering with customers through their digital transformation by making it easier for them to help keep assets secure from the cloud to the edge.

More information on Microsoft’s security announcements can be found at the Microsoft Security News site.

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, (425) 638-7777,

[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.

 

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Announcing the Reddit Solution Template | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Today, we are excited to announce a new suite of Power BI solution templates for brand management and targeting on Reddit through a thrid-party API relationship with SocialGist. These templates complement existing brand-oriented solution templates available for Twitter, Facebook, and Bing News.

The Reddit solution template suite combines AI with interactive visual analytics to reveal how different brands are performing across the Reddit platform, from companies and CEOs down to individual products. Behind the scenes, it uses Azure services and technologies from Microsoft AI and Research to support rich exploration by sentiment levels, key words, and author communities. All you need to get started are the list of brands you want to track and an Azure subscription – the solution template will automate and take care of everything else.

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Actionable Insights

With Reddit solution templates, you can easily track mentions of your brand, identify communities that talk about your products, and discover key influencers within those communities. You can also do the same for your competitors and their products!

The templates provide direct answers to the questions about who is talking about which brands, what are they saying in terms of text, sentiment, and keywords, and where on Reddit are they saying it. The templates also reveal new opportunities to drive customer engagement, whether through the identification of new community segments, top posts worthy of promotion, or trends in post volume or sentiment that require a timely response.

“With more than 330 million monthly users posting, commenting and voting across 138,000 active communities each day, Reddit is home to the most diverse and authentic conversations on the internet; and as such, an increasingly valuable source of brand and consumer insights,” says Alex Riccomini, director of business development and media partnerships at Reddit. “We’re excited to partner with Microsoft to bring Reddit’s vast data to Power BI, making it easier and more flexible than ever to customize, collect, and consume business-impacting insights from the Reddit community.

Together, the Power BI solution templates for Reddit offer unique brand insight and customer targeting opportunities powered by the highly-engaged and rapidly-growing Reddit community.

Multiple Workbook Experiences

1. Overview – This workbook shows the big picture for selected brands and the key influencers and communities talking about them.

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Analyzing sentiment over time

2. Targeting and Activation – This workbook reveals how communities relate to brands across the Reddit platform and highlights key influencers.

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Lookalike community analysis

3. Advanced Analytics – This workbook enables deep analytic exploration of Reddit posts, comments, and user activity relating to selected brands.

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Deep dive analysis with free-text search

Try it out & let us know

Go ahead and check out the Reddit solution template. You can try out an interactive sample report, watch a demo video or just go ahead and set things up! The team is always interested in any thoughts or feedback – you can reach us through our alias ([email protected]) or by leaving a comment on the Power BI Solution Template Community page.