AI based talent-matching platform shapes the future of video production

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A revolutionary new platform using the latest machine learning technology hopes to transform the video production industry. It works by matching a brand’s production brief with over one million filmmakers across the world, then scaling that down to the most relevant few, in seconds.

It’s the latest service to engage sophisticated AI methods to help businesses find ideally matched talent, instead of relying on basic aggregation, agencies or other limited scope sources.

Curation Zone scours every corner of the web for the profiles of videographers and other skilled professionals in the filmmaking industry. Using big data analytics, it categorises their expertise, identifies any awards to their name, specifies how much engagement they’ve had with previous videos and even which brands they’ve worked with, and in what capacity.

The technology, which took four years to develop, analyses the work of more than one million filmmakers on a rolling basis. It then curates and filters them into a cloud based dashboard where they can be matched with specific client video requirements.

CEO of Curation Zone, Russell Glenister has overseen the technology development: “The algorithms decide, based on a number of complex principles, who is worthy of the name, ‘filmmaker’ and which jobs they should be matched to. The advantages are that our system can find talent that no one knows much about outside of their limited circle and evaluate the movers and shakers of the video making industry on the fly.” He says.

Curation Zone’s software removes the need to store information on a database. The technology constantly tracks and analyses websites and social media channels to identify the very best talent. It accurately categorises them into genres and gives them ratings that clients can evaluate.

It works in a similar way to Trip Advisor, but curating the skills of people, not hotels. While the concept has been applied to recruitment and other sectors it is the first time machine learning has been applied to creative talent in such a complex and effective way.

Curation Zone, which launched its platform this spring, says it will transform the video production space and the way brands make video. It enables its clients, which include creative agencies, in-house content creation teams, consultancies and publishers, to be more effective by broadening their reach and helping them find the right creative talent, which has, until now, been impossible to do at scale.

“One of the greatest fears of the advertising industry is that AI technology is destroying creativity instead of enabling it; Amazon using it to create adverts, for instance. But with our AI based curation techniques, we act as an enabler to great creativity, not a destroyer of it.” adds Glenister.

Home automation: will the home of the future be controlled by voice or by smartphone?

By Justin Ellis, Senior Data Centre Specialist at complete network supplier at Comms Express

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Walking over to a thermostat or light switch, or even using a standard remote control, is beginning to look decidedly outdated with the advent of devices that respond to a smartphone app or even just the sound of your voice. Smart home technology is a fast-growing market and is predicted to spark substantial consumer engagement with Internet of Things (IOT) technology in the coming years.

Over 20% of people in Britain now own at least one device and are likely to purchase more as device automation becomes increasingly widespread. It’s even predicted that consumer spending in the IOT sphere will outpace business spending within the next five years. But with both the smart home app and voice control devices battling for market share, which is going to be prevalent for consumers and the home automation technology industry?

What types of home automation are available?

Right now, home automation technology spans a wide range, from smart thermostats that let you control your central heating remotely, to smart lights that connect to your router and offer myriad combinations of colours and schedules. A smart plug allows you to switch appliances on and off from anywhere and video doorbells show you who’s at your door even if you’re not there to answer it.

Then, of course, there’s the smart speakers and home hubs, which not only stream music but also contain inbuilt virtual assistants that can integrate with the other smart devices in your home. The three major players in the home hub market are Apple HomeKit with inbuilt Siri, Google Home with Google Assistant and Amazon Echo with Alexa and all are continuously updating their products and getting smarter. Whether you just want a weather forecast or you wish to run your entire home through a virtual assistant, voice control is definitely here to stay.

What does the future of home automation look like?

Very bright, if you’re a device manufacturer – and the upsurge in this technology is also leading businesses such as IT wholesalers to become more consumer-friendly in anticipation of future sales. The future of this technology will be driven by customer demand, particularly with people leading increasingly busy lives and eternally seeking shortcuts.

There are already devices available that can save you money (in energy bills, with the smart thermostat, smart plugs and smart lights) and enhance your home’s security (smart doorbells and cameras), and as companies work out how to include IOT technology in more and more places, automating our daily chores is sure to be a huge motivation in consumer uptake. After all, there’s already a device that can switch on your garden sprinkler and monitor how much water is used. How long before you can say “Hey, Siri, clean the oven” or “Alexa, start the dishwasher”?

While automation of chores is likely to lead the way in future device requirements, another big factor for consumers is the security of their data. At the moment, concerns about security breaches and hacking of devices – such as identity theft and man-in-the-middle attacks – are possibly the biggest obstacle for device manufacturers. Advances in authentication and encryption methods are essential to reassure potential customers that their devices are not vulnerable to attack.

Many in the technology industry are excited about how the advent of 5G could affect home automation. With a faster, more responsive network, smart devices in the home could become easier to set up and more reliable in their performance. 5G also has the ability to bring together multiple wireless standards used in smart devices with one simple wireless protocol to connect everything. The opportunities this gives the industry, while not yet fully known, are potentially revolutionary for home automation.

Smartphone or voice control?

Let’s take a look now at the two primary ways to control your smart home devices. Pretty much every device comes with an associated smart home app, which enables you to control it both in the home and remotely as well. This gives you full control over all aspects of the device wherever you are, for example switching off a smart plug if you arrive at work and realise you’ve left the iron switched on, or scheduling your smart heating to switch on the day you return from holiday.

One potential drawback is that the more devices you have, the more apps there are taking up space on your phone: if you want to change the smart lights and the smart thermostat, you need to open two apps. Some companies such as Nest have solved this by having a single app for all of their products, but if you want to adopt a wide range of home automation options, it’s likely you’ll be dealing with multiple apps.

Voice control, however, gives you the ability to manage all of your devices through a single home hub. This is great when you’ve literally got your hands full and need to turn the smart lights on, or you want to switch on the smart heating without getting out of bed, but while it sounds easy, it’s not perfect.

As mentioned above, Google, Apple and Amazon are the current front-runners, but as yet nobody is an obvious market leader in terms of either the home hubs or the operating system that integrates all of the devices – so when you’re choosing a device, make sure it’s compatible with your hub. And although virtual assistants are becoming increasingly versatile, you may need to use certain phrases or commands to control each device, so the more devices you have, the more commands you’ll need to remember.

So in summary, it depends! Both methods have their place; the one that works better for you is contingent on the devices you have in your home. If managing security and devices while away from home is your priority, then smartphone apps are a great option. If, however, you’re all about multitasking in the home or managing devices from the comfort of your sofa, then a home hub with compatible devices gives you all the voice control options you need.

Whichever you prefer, it’s safe to say that both options will play a huge role in the next few years and beyond as home automation technology goes from strength to strength.

Tech-led M&A: How to attract a buyer

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The tech sector is one of the most targeted for M&A activity, attracting a wide variety of cross-industry buyers. For entrepreneurial tech businesses operating in fast-developing areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and cloud computing, this presents an opportunity. But what can they do to attract a trade buyer and optimise their market valuation?

Research has revealed that around 48 per cent of M&A activity in the UK is driven by non-tech companies seeking to acquire next generation technology. A further 39 per cent are seeking to acquire new digital capabilities.

With so much attention on the sector, tech business owners are aware of the importance of making the right impression from the start. Gone are the days, when they might launch a new product onto the market before it has been properly tested in an attempt to gain traction and attract investor interest. Today, tech businesses must be able to demonstrate that their product is fully tested and scalable at the point of market entry.

One of the key factors behind the tech sector’s M&A boom is the drive towards digital innovation, across a range of industries. The demonetisation of tech has led to a rise in businesses looking to expand their product or service offerings and add value for customers by forging links with technology-rich companies. Tech innovation is also in high demand, with many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) looking to acquire tech companies to bring new generation solutions to market more quickly.

For tech companies interested in realising value through a potential sale, it’s important to start preparing at least seven to nine months beforehand. This will allow time for the business to ensure its financial management data, reports and accounts, and sales figures, are in order and ready to be presented in the best possible light.

Understanding the target market of a potential buyer is crucial and a tailored sales pitch will be most effective. There are many platforms, on and offline, which provide information about latest technology news, so it is wise to make use of them. It is also worth bearing in mind that in order to proceed, a potential buyer will need a strong business case, so anything that can be done to support this will be helpful. For example, the target business may be aware of an existing problem, such as low sales or revenue, or an existing product that is need of refinement. It is important that enough groundwork is put into researching this idea and presenting the case as clearly as possible.

While having confidence in the brand is key for potential buyers, a business that has confidence in its management team will be more attractive still. Investing in and proving that a company has a strong growth story is key to attracting buyers and securing their investment. By demonstrating the significant improvements that have been – and continue to be – made, including new product lines and flourishing partnerships, potential buyers are more likely to buy into the business; increasing the chance of securing a deal.

In order to stand out from other players in the market, it’s also important that a business is familiar with its unique selling points. This should include an assessment of how much traction it has secured in the market, whether there is room for a competitor, and how it aims to differentiate itself. As innovation and technology are growing at an unprecedented rate, ensuring that ideas are protected with the right intellectual property (IP) rights, such as trade mark registrations and patents is essential. IP can be shown on a balance sheet as an intangible asset (as long as it meets certain conditions), which could help to attract investor interest.

There are currently numerous cash-ready investors in the market, who are keen to take advantage of tax relief options such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), in exchange for an equity stake in a growing tech business. As such, consulting a third-party adviser is important to fully understand the value of the company and its potential development options. Getting the right expert advice is also vital with regards to best practice around compliance and governance, ensuring that all the appropriate corporate documentation is in order well ahead of going to market and helping business owners to avoid any potential pitfalls.

Along with advice from experts, business owners should be aware of potential risk areas and put mitigation strategies in place. For example, risks could include overvaluing or undervaluing the company, underestimating the other competition in the market or giving away too much equity. Another common pitfall is failing to understand the type of investor that the business is seeking and targeting them specifically.

Before sealing the deal, careful consideration must be given to the post-deal integration process. This should involve an assessment of the buyer’s business in advance, based on their culture and values.  Consideration should also be given to how well they will complement the business. Similarly, the collaboration of management teams is vital to guaranteeing the success of a merged company. A settling-in period, consisting of open and honest discussions, is a wise first step, ensuring that all parties are satisfied with the deal on the table and any issues can be dealt with sooner rather than later.

In one of the most targeted industries for mergers and acquisitions, it is important that companies put themselves in the best possible position to maximise their chances of attracting a buyer and, ultimately, take advantage of an opportunity for the business to continue its growth journey. Putting a detailed plan in place well ahead of going to market and seeking the right expert advice will allow them to drive business value, find the right buyer and capitalise on the tech sector’s M&A boom.

Alex Duffy is a corporate finance director at top 20 accountancy firm, Menzies LLP.

10

Cybersecurity: Businesses Need To Keep Their Infrastructure Safe

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Whilst we all know that cyber attacks can be devastating, businesses need to place a particular focus on their infrastructure to ensure safety for clients and service users.

Throughout the corporate landscape there is an increasing focus on using technology and the Internet of Things to create new innovations. However, ensuring these are safe and secure needs to be a key priority for firms.

This is clearly not the case, as even major firms such as Amazon are still leaving serious flaws in their solutions. Recently, Cybersecurity expert, Yossi Atias, General Manager, IoT Security at Dojo by BullGuard, the market leading IoT security platform for Communication Service Providers (CSPs), took the stage today at Mobile World Congress to demonstrate a live hack of the Amazon Ring video doorbell, exposing a previously unknown vulnerability in the popular IoT device. The hack revealed unencrypted transmission of audio and/or video footage to the Ring application allows for arbitrary surveillance and injection of counterfeit video traffic, effectively compromising home security and putting family members’ safety at risk.

The main feature of the Ring video doorbell is two-way communication between the smart video doorbell and the user’s mobile app, which acts as a security camera and allows the user to confirm who is ringing their doorbell from anywhere in the world via the internet. Presuming the Ring owner is away from home, they can see who is at their door and then remotely open the door if a supported smart lock is installed to let the housecleaner or babysitter in, for example.

The Ring video doorbell vulnerability lies between the cloud service and the Ring mobile application. In the Ring video doorbell hack, Atias was able to change the video feed so the end user ‘believed’ they were seeing someone they know and had let in previously.

This vulnerability and more shows how open users can be to cybercrime, and also how important it is for businesses to ensure their safety, as many often have more than their own safety at sake. Data is incredibly valuable in today’s market, and many store a lot of clients’ data which could cause problems if it is stolen.

The industry clearly believes that infrastructure needs better protection, with more than half (59 per cent) of respondents to the latest social media poll conducted by Infosecurity Europe 2019 – Europe’s number one information security event – believe that an attack on the UK’s critical national infrastructure is likely this year.

As more devices, systems and infrastructure are connected to the internet, the cyber and physical worlds are becoming increasingly linked, opening up new attack vectors. According to Ciaran Martin, head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a major category one (C1) attack on our critical infrastructure – one that disrupts essential services, or affects national security – is a matter of “when, not if”.

The responses to Infosecurity Europe’s poll also indicate that organisations in all sectors are not properly prepared to manage security effectively across both cyber and physical environments. Lack of collaboration and low levels of awareness of key legislation are the biggest problems. The challenges and complexities posed by the convergence of cyber and physical security will form a key part of the conference programme at this year’s Infosecurity Europe 2019 event.

Over two thirds (68%) of respondents say the security teams in charge of their physical and cyber infrastructures never collaborate. This disconnect leads to misaligned plans and conflicting priorities, while creating ‘silos’ that make it difficult for CISOs to gain full visibility of controls and risks across both IT and OT (Operational Technology) environments.

“Defending critical assets is a team sport,” says Nigel Stanley, Chief Technology Officer and global head of OT cybersecurity at TÜV Rheinland. “IT, physical and OT teams need to get their act together and start to share and learn from each other.”

Kevin Fielder, Just Eat’s Chief Information Security Officer, agrees. “The increasing convergence of cyber and physical environments is inevitable, but managing them in a cohesive way will strengthen enterprise security.” According to Kevin, it’s the insider threat that needs most urgent attention. “Those intent on accessing money, information or IP will often find it easier to do so from the inside – and we’re moving to a world where this can mean immediate impact to life. Hacking a building’s management systems, for example, could suppress a fire alarm or sprinkler system, or prevent people leaving.”

Only 16 per cent of respondents to the Infosecurity Europe poll were aware of the EU’s NIS Directive – which is designed to improve the security and resilience of network and information systems – and its implications. The legislation, which was put in place in 2016, sets out security requirements that apply to all operators of essential services and digital service providers (DSPs). Failure to adhere to these could leave security gaps that present attackers with ‘open doors’ through which they can access infrastructure and physical assets. UK organisations found to be non-compliant can be fined up to £17 million.

“I can’t believe that any cyber security leader in a sector impacted by the NIS Directive would be unaware of its implications for their business,” says Nigel Stanley. “Lack of commitment to secure critical infrastructure is the worst sort of negligence. Forget what the regulators demand – organisations should take the initiative and secure assets based on a proportionate cyber security and business-led risk assessment.”

Kevin Fielder believes that if the industry doesn’t take the lead, further regulation will follow. “It really is in our best interest to self-regulate and protect the public. If the industry doesn’t produce connected devices that are, by default, secure and manageable over the long term, it won’t take many real incidents for government regulations to quickly materialise.”

Victoria Windsor, Group Content Manager at Infosecurity Group, also comment on the news.

 “The security challenges resulting from the convergence of physical and cyber environments will take centre stage at Infosecurity Europe 2019 – and for good reason. Operational systems in every industry are being connected to corporate and cloud environments, and the safe ‘air gap’ between IT and OT no longer exists. Cyber risk is now impacting the physical realm, and organisations must have effective management strategies in place. Technology such as unified threat management tools has a role to play, but it’s also vital that teams collaborate and communicate to understand blended cyber-physical attacks, and develop joint approaches, plans and policies.”

The industry is already feeling the affects of outages and issues with technology, for example a recent Google outage has left businesses around the world with challenges. Google users around the world complained of outages and problems with their Gmail, Hangouts and Maps accounts on 12th March. This affected their billions of users and Google is yet to identify the cause of the issue. Businesses globally will wake up struggling to get access to drives and emails. This causes a huge impact to business productivity as most rely on technology to go about their day-to-day work. This could also impact the wider economy, as a dip in workflow in the financial markets, even for only a few minutes, could cause vast financial issues if trades are not able to take place in real time.

Paolo Sartori, CEO of TransWorldCom, commented on the issue and how technological infrastructure affects so many.  

“Professional services cannot underestimate how much they rely on stable technological infrastructure, including connections to their emails and data servers. Some businesses, especially smaller companies who may be trying to allocate limited funds to various aspects of their business, may try to cut corners by not investing appropriately in technological infrastructure and this will often cost a company more in the long run. Businesses need to invest in infrastructure to ensure that they have sufficient capacities and that any third party issues do not result in a dip in productivity and potentially a larger cost. This is especially important in businesses that rely on real time information such as the financial services.”

In all, companies need to be aware of the importance of their infrastructure and the affect outages or cybercrime can have on their business and clients. They also need to take steps to ensure that their solutions are entirely safe and secure. To find out more about the latest developments in this market SUBSCRIBE to Corporate Vision Magazine so that you can stay ahead of the game. 

 

What technology is involved in the production of Jewellery making?

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It’s evident that technology has played its part in improving the efficiency of the jewellery design and manufacturing process. But which types of specific technology have transformed the sector?


Laser engraving
Laser engraving is a modern alternative for making one-off, custom or unique designs. Laser technology can be used when engraving metal pieces or adding inscriptions and detail to jewellery. The smallest of details can be created with a laser, due to the precision of the machinery, meaning that wording is clearly legible once engraved.


Computer-aided design
Computer-aided design (CAD) has become a key feature of bespoke jewellery design and manufacturing. This type of design uses computers to create and modify a design before it goes into production. It can generate precise 2D and 3D models, as well as technical illustrations.

With demand for bespoke products on the rise, CAD is an important piece of technology for many businesses. When it comes to jewellery which are to be a gift or hold special meaning, many customers have different tastes. From bold designs to delicate vintage styles, there are a lot of variants that people prefer. Often, people want a one-off piece made too, and CAD can help with this.

Not only does it reduce the amount of time needed to create bespoke designs, but it also allows for the generation of designs before the finished product is manufactured. The technical illustrations which can be produced allow the customer to see their desired product from different angles and in a realistic format. This means that any modifications to the piece can be made before the jewellery is created, saving wasted gems, metals and resources if the client changes their mind.

Neil Dutta from Angelic Diamonds, retailer of engagement rings, says: “CAD allows for the creation of more intricate designs, as the piece can be seen and edited close-up in a way that didn’t used to be possible.

This is very popular as it enables customers to add their own input to the designs after seeing the realistic images too. Jewellery is often a significant investment for the buyer and it’s important for both the client and the seller that the buyer is satisfied with the end-product.”


Advancements in print
In the jewellery industry, 3D printing works by using CAD to create 3D printed wax or resin models of jewellery. These are then used to cast delicate pieces with the fine metals — 3D printing with precious metals to begin with would be overly costly. These moulds mean that separate sections of metal don’t need to be soldered together, creating a more solid and complex piece of jewellery. 3D printing has opened a range of opportunities for a lot of sectors, improving the efficiency of the manufacturing and production process.

Talking about her business, Shoes by Shaherazad, which specialises in jewellery for shoes, Shaherazad Umbreen says: “I’ve experimented with 3D printing a lot, as it allows low-cost testing of product designs. In the past, going directly to metal-bashing techniques meant that if a design didn’t look right, then precious time (and costly metals) were lost.

“Now, I design in CAD, print in 3D, and only then when the design is just right do I then use the 3D mould to create a piece of jewellery. Many of my designs are in 22 carat gold, so this new process has saved me thousands of pounds and hours of time.”

Despite the factor of technology, people still appreciate hand-crafted pieces and jewellery that has taken care to create. Who knows what the next revolution in the industry will be…


Sources
https://www.digitalschool.ca/how-cad-technology-is-changing-jewellery-design/

https://www.professionaljeweller.com/feature-how-tech-is-redefining-jewellery-manufacturing/

BullGuard Expands Award-Winning Consumer Cybersecurity Product Line With Launch of BullGuard VPN

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Multi-award winning consumer cybersecurity company, BullGuard, today announced the expansion of its cybersecurity product line with the launch of BullGuard VPN. Designed to be easily used across multiple devices, BullGuard VPN features a simplified user interface and quick connect functionality, enabling consumers to fly under the radar and surf the internet in stealth mode while retaining complete anonymity via military-grade encryption. Available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems, BullGuard VPN is available for download and purchase on the Apple App Store, Google Play and the BullGuard website.

“Cybersecurity to date has been primarily focused on keeping consumers and their devices safe from online threats, but cybercriminals also pose a threat to consumer privacy,” said BullGuard CEO, Paul Lipman. “In today’s cyberthreat landscape, security and privacy must be equally addressed in order to adequately protect consumers. BullGuard VPN enables consumers to safeguard their online privacy in a fast, easy and seamless way – from their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone – wherever they go.”

BullGuard VPN secures and protects up to six devices simultaneously – desktop computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet – and consumers can easily switch between 16 different country locations, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Singapore and Australia. BullGuard VPN hides a consumer’s origin IP address, preventing others – including ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and government organizations – from monitoring their online browsing activity, including what websites they visit, what they download or what services and applications they use. BullGuard VPN customers have access to 24/7 customer support.

Online consumer privacy is under siege on a near daily basis – from huge breaches where personal data is stolen and cybercriminals absconding with personal information and identities to Facebook and Internet Service Providers caught selling consumer data without consent. BullGuard VPN puts privacy control in consumers’ hands and is the perfect choice for consumers when using an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot when away from home in airports, hotels or cafes. BullGuard VPN users receive secure connections in to hotspots, which protect them against data theft, privacy breaches, malware and cyber attacks via Wi-Fi.

BullGuard VPN’s features include:

• Military-grade encryption: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard ) with 256-bit keys; complete user anonymity
• Support for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS with protection for up to six devices simultaneously and unlimited data volume
• Coverage in 16 different country locations, with the ability to manually select the one to which you want to connect
• Quick connect: sophisticated formula, which includes various server parameters, chooses the best server at that precise moment
• 24/7 customer support, free software updates, no logs policy
• Automatic launch at startup: (on/off button) and auto-connect VPN for open Wi-FI networks
• Kill switch: If a VPN connection drops, BullGuard VPN will automatically block your device or terminate certain programs from accessing the internet outside the secure VPN tunnel
• Notifications: choose the desired notification preferences

Prices of BullGuard VPN start from £64.99 / $84.99 / €74.99 for a one year subscription and current BullGuard customers are eligible for a 25% discount. For further information, please visit the BullGuard website.

 

Issue 4 2019

Corporate Vision Issue 4 2019 cover

Welcome to Issue 4 of Corporate Vision Magazine for 2019. Each month, Corporate Vision aims to provide you with all the latest news and innovative features from across the global business landscape. In this month’s issue, we have packed it to the brim with insightful pieces such as the powerful influence that technology has on the beauty industry, to a firm that creates and deploys any insurance product to market for sales and services at a fraction of today’s technology investment cost.


Tenthpin is a global management consulting firm, with deep expertise in the Life Sciences Industry sectors. Since their establishment in 2017, the firm have been on mission into becoming one of the leading business and technology consultancies that deeply understands the unique challenges within the different industry segments in Life Science. In such a short space of time the team at Tenthpin have achieved some remarkable accomplishments. As such, we profile Tenthpin and caught up with Michael Schmidt, Partner and Co-Founder, who provided us with a glimpse into the innerworkings of the successful firm and the outstanding services they provide.

Founded in 2015, Excelsior is a full service Market Research agency providing research and support services to companies ranging from boutique research agencies, market research giants and consulting firms globally. Over the years, the firm have reached numerous goals as well as establish themselves within the industry. We caught up with the firm’s CEO, Abhishek Shinde who gave us a behind the scenes look at the services the innovative agency offers to their clients.

The team here at Corporate Vision sincerely hope that you thoroughly enjoy reading this month’s issue and look forward to hearing from you.

A guide to running the perfect conference

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A guide to running the perfect conference

One of the surefire ways to put your company on the corporate map is to have a conference event that makes a statement. When it comes to planning a notable event it’s important to remember what kind of experience you want your guests to have, whether you’re a startup or a highly developed company.

To ensure you impress your attendees, we’ve teamed up with Wyboston Lakes, a conference centre in Milton Keynes, to create this guide:

 

Collaboration is key
Taking the initiative of going alone is great if you’re a sizeable company with the means to do so, but don’t forget about the power of collaboration. One of the main focuses of conference events is bringing people together from the same or similar industries under roof to discuss trends, exchange business cards, and set up working relationships. Two hosts mean twice the brainpower, which could result in reaching out to a wider range of key influencers within a sector.

 

Setting a theme
Setting a theme is paramount to achieving a more focused approach. If the theme is ‘grow’, for example, this may encourage many more smaller businesses to join. This could mean lots of new faces, which is an excellent way to encourage conversations.

Have a bit of fun with the wording of the theme too — you want to aim for something that’s relatable and resonates emotionally with the reader. In short, something catchy! Themes that are too ‘corporate’ may not go down as strongly.

Keep in mind that social media also plays an important part in the run up, during, and after the conference, as hosts and guests will be sharing news and information there. It is essential therefore to take advantage of any hashtags and utilize them as part of your theme throughout.

 

Consider the location
The location of the venue is as important as anything else within it. Consider the potential size of your event and compare this with the size of the venue. Booking a stadium for a handful of guests probably isn’t going to go down well with your finance team, for example.

Accessibility is important too — is it near train stations, airports, or any main motorways? If many are arriving by car then plenty parking is a small factor that goes a long way, keep it professionally thought out and not sloppy. 

Picking a secluded area of the building is important also for the guests to feel they have privacy away from the main areas to allow them to focus more on the on the conference itself.

Does the conference venue have all the facilities you need? Plenty seating, smaller rooms for breakout sessions, and modern technical aspects such as video equipment, projectors and suitable audio are all essentials if you’re planning on delivering a seminar or require a PowerPoint to go alongside a speaking slot.

 

Stay green
Businesses have a duty to the environment, and with more attention than ever on ‘going green’, it’s vital for your event and your brand to maintain an eco-friendly image. Being ecological should be one of the underlying factors of your event, making sure wherever possible the green alternative is being deployed rather than using too much plastic.

 

Catering
No matter the size of the event, it’s important to have a selection of refreshments on offer. A few pastries and hot drinks are suitable for smaller events, whereas larger events would require pre-paid catering companies to provide a larger range of options. Make sure that your catering options include some alternative offerings too, such as gluten or dairy-free.

 

Speakers
People like to come away from a conference event feeling like they have learned something new, something they can take home with them that they did not arrive. So, take advantage of your connections and include some influential speakers that you know will create an atmosphere and deliver some useful tips for all businesses.

 

Agenda
Arranging and setting up an itinerary prior is a no-brainer if you want to guarantee the event runs smoothly. Planning activities that have the guests engage with each other is always a positive way to break ice, as well as allowing plenty of time for refreshments if it runs throughout the day.

You can overdo it though, planning everything to the smallest detail can make it seem not natural, keep it organized but let the networking parts guide themselves, allowing some flexibility over the course of the day of hours that it runs for.

There are many aspects to consider when planning the perfect conference. By following the tips above, you’ll be sure to have all areas covered!

 

Sources:

https://www.senatehouseevents.co.uk/features/how-plan-conference-your-guide-planning-perfect-conference

https://www.creativebloq.com/business/how-organize-conference-21619080

https://billetto.co.uk/l/how-to-organise-a-conference

Cloud Foundry Global Survey Finds Companies Commit to Digital Transformation

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For the first time, a majority of companies are putting mission critical apps in the cloud, according to the latest report released today by Cloud Foundry Foundation, home to a family of interoperable open source projects for the enterprise, at its North American Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadelphia. The study revealed that companies treat digital transformation as a constant cycle of adaptation rather than a one-time fix. As part of that process, cloud technologies such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), containers and serverless continue to grow at scale, while microservices and AI/ML are next to be integrated into their workflows.

As more companies embrace the reality of digital transformation, they are adapting to the iterative journey that unfolds. Case in point: 74 percent of respondents equate digital transformation to “perpetual shifts and constant adaption of new technology,” compared to 26 percent who view digital transformation as a “one-time change and adoption of new technology.” More than three quarters of IT decision makers believe digital transformation is a reality, and 86 percent of CIOs, CTOs and Line of Business leaders agree.

“The vast majority of companies agree digital transformation is a constant process of incremental change, rather than a one-time initiative, and are realizing their long-term strategy must involve adaptation to a wide range of unforeseen challenges and technological changes,” said Abby Kearns, Executive Director, Cloud Foundry Foundation. “Although companies are starting to see the benefits of advanced cloud technologies, what’s coming next—artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain, for example—will continue to prove that the only constant in technology is change.”

Key findings from the report include:
Multi-platform strategy is flourishing: Almost half of respondents (48 percent) report using a combination of PaaS, containers and serverless technologies together—an increase of nine percent from last year’s multi-platform report. There are increases across the board in companies using a combination of all three technologies in various iterations, with 72 percent using PaaS and containers together (+8%), 50 percent using PaaS and serverless together (+7%), and 49 percent using containers and serverless together (+7%).
Container usage widens: Among companies using or evaluating containers, there has been substantial growth in the number of containers used. Organizations using 100 or more containers has grown from 34 percent in April 2018 to 48 percent in February 2019. Among the IT decision makers surveyed, 62 percent report they expect containers to be mainstreamed at their organization within a year.

Serverless evaluation slows, but there is broader deployment among users: While there was a slight pull back in overall usage and evaluation since September, for those using and evaluating serverless, broad deployment doubled since last year—increasing from 9% to 18%.

Timeline to see digital transformation vary by region: North American companies are largely feeling the benefit of digital transformation or expect to in this quarter (49%), though slightly more than a third (34%) don’t expect to see benefits for a year or more. Conversely, a third of organizations in Asia expect to see benefits later this year while only 24% expect it to take over a year. More than half of European companies (56%) already feel the benefit or expect to this quarter, while a small percentage (19%) expect to feel the benefits within the year.


To receive a copy of the report, go here.

Since 2015, ClearPath Strategies, a strategic consulting and public opinion research firm, has
conducted Cloud Foundry Foundation’s Global Perception Study (GPS), a series of deep-dive
research on topics critical to cloud and developers. The results in this report come from the ninth round of this global quantitative and qualitative research in that series. The survey consisted of 501 interviews of IT professionals and execs, covering eight geographies (Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US) and was offered in five languages corresponding to those geographies. The data was weighted evenly across three regions, Asia, Europe, and North America, to correspond with past waves of research. While margin of sampling error cannot technically be calculated for online panel populations where the relationship between sample and universe is unknown, the margin of sampling error for equivalent representative samples would be +/- 4.8 percent.

The sample was distributed across four major ITDM roles and the proportions were weighted to reflect consistency with past GPS waves. The breakdown of roles is as follows: Dev/DevOps (30 percent), Ops/Architect (30 percent), CIO/CIOs/Line of Business (25 percent), and IT Managers (15 percent). This mix of company size is as follows: 32% SME (less than 1K employees), 68% Enterprise (1K+), 25% Large Enterprise (10K+). To ensure the highest quality respondents, surveys include enhanced screening beyond title and activities of company size (no companies under 100 employees), cloud IT knowledge, and years of IT experience.

Cloud Foundry is an open source technology backed by the largest technology companies in the world, including Dell EMC, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal, SAP and SUSE, and is being used by leaders in manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services. Only Cloud Foundry delivers the velocity needed to continuously deliver apps at the speed of business. Cloud Foundry’s container-based architecture runs apps in any language on your choice of cloud — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, VMware vSphere, and more. With a robust services ecosystem and simple integration with existing technologies, Cloud Foundry is the modern standard for mission critical apps for global organizations. 

11

KnowBe4 Takes a Bite Out of Phishing With New Phishing Reply Test

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KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today announced a new, complimentary tool aimed to gauge how many employees will reply to a phishing email called the Phishing Reply Test (PRT).

Highly targeted phishing attacks, known as Business Email Compromise or CEO fraud are used by the bad guys to impersonate a C-level executive and trick high-risk users, often Accounting, HR, or Executive teams and even IT because they own the keys to the kingdom. PRT is a web-based tool that cybersecurity professionals can use to test employees on these common scenarios for targeted attacks used by the bad guys.

The IT Pro can select and send an email template to users under the guise of a trusted sender within the organisation and phishes for a response. This tool provides insight into how many of an organisation’s users will fall for this type of phishing scenario so that proper training can be administered to help prevent an actual phishing attack.

“At KnowBe4, it’s our goal to make the jobs of cybersecurity professionals easier by providing them with tools to help better train their users,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “Our new Phishing Reply Test tool will help educate users on the importance of always verifying requests for sensitive and/or confidential information before hitting the reply button.”

The majority of impersonated email attacks do not involve any link: it’s simply a plain text email. The problem with this type of attack is that people can unknowingly provide sensitive and/or confidential information to the bad guys.

These highly targeted attacks are clever because they bypass traditional approaches to email security which focus on scanning and filtering the content of the email. These spoofed emails contain no links, no attachments. They are pure social engineering attacks that target users and their vulnerability to deception.

In July 2018, the FBI reported that organisations have lost over $12.5 billion since 2013 through the use of technically simple, but very effective emails that impersonate C-level executives or other high-profile employees.

For more information on KnowBe4’s Phishing Reply Test, visit https://info.knowbe4.com/phishing-reply-test.

5

Node4 Named Veeam’s UK Cloud & Service Provider Partner of the Year

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Node4, the cloud, data centre and communications solutions provider, has today announced it has been selected as the “Best Cloud & Service Provider Partner of the Year” in the UK by Veeam® Software, the leader in Backup solutions that enable Intelligent Data Management™, at the annual UK Veeam Partner Summit.

The awards recognise Veeam’s local ProPartners and Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partners who have not only demonstrated success in providing Veeam Availability solutions to their customers, but who have also provided first-class support, expert knowledge, continued product education, and have a true Veeam strategy incorporated into their business. Named as the ‘Veeam Cloud & Service Provider Partner of the Year’ in the UK, Node4 was recognised as being the partner who made a great contribution to delivering cloud solutions in 2018.

“We are extremely proud to have received this accolade from Veeam,” commented Paul Bryce, CCO at Node4. “The award showcases the strong relationship we have enjoyed with Veeam for many years. We highly value our partnership, as we are able to utilise the countless benefits of Veeam’s innovative and reliable data backup and protection services within in our own fully managed offerings. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with Veeam.”

“We are excited to recognise and honour Node4 as the ‘Veeam Cloud & Service Provider of the Year’,” said Greg Bailey, Director of Channel and Cloud UK and Ireland, Veeam. “Its investment in building and delivering Veeam-powered solutions and services at a first-class level is empowering the way our joint customers manage and protect their applications and data while solving key business challenges. Our partners share Veeam’s commitment in bringing innovative data management solutions to help solve difficult technical and business challenges in a new multi-cloud world. We congratulate Node4 and look forward to continued mutual success in 2019.”

9

Boston and Asperitas introduce performance boosting cloud & compute solutions powered by Immersed Computing®

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Boston and Asperitas have taken their partnership, announced at CloudFest 2018, to another level with the introduction of four plug and play solutions for cloud and compute for CPU and GPU workloads. The solutions are optimized for different purposes, ranging from generic platforms with full stack support and extensive integrated storage, to high density compute and GPU compute applications. All solutions are designed and optimized for synergy between server systems and the unique Immersed Computing® technology concept for optimal performance.

Solutions powered by Asperitas Immersed Computing® (AIC24)

Two of the four solutions are developed around high performance AMD® EPYC™ 7000 series CPU’s. The Fenway AIC24-DSI is offering an ideal platform for generic purposes and cloud with 1536 compute cores, 48TB of memory and up to 960TB integrated storage units. The second AMD® EPYC™based solution, the Fenway AIC24-DST, offers a high density compute platform, with 3072 compute cores, 96TB memory and 768TB integrated storage units – ideal for HPC users requiring high density and performance.

The ANNA AIC24 solution is an Intel® and NVIDIA® based solution developed for high density compute applications with GPU workloads, offering 1056 CPU cores and up to 331.776 CUDA cores on the 72 integrated GPUs originally developed for HPC users, as the demand grows for GPU both in the cloud and on premise, it is an attractive choice for service providers and enterprise.

The last solution presented at CloudFest is the Fenway AIC24-DDW; a multi-purpose solution for cloud platforms including a high amount of integrated storage up to 960 TB and 1056 compute cores.

All solutions have been developed based on actual customer needs from different industries, ranging from
cloud service providers, enterprise and high performance computing, optimized for Immersed Computing® so they can be warm water cooled. Each solution offers a wide range of flexibility in terms of deployment. Solutions are available as fully contained stand-alone systems for enterprise, through to large scale and mixed purpose data center deployments in any climate. These solutions benefit from the full potential of Asperitas liquid cooled Immersed Computing® technology, offering solutions without noise, without overhead energy and allowing for a potential continuous performance boost of up to 40% more CPU performance compared to air chilled solutions. Last but not least, each system can be utilized for heat reuse using water from warm water cooling technology.

Going for business impact and sustainability

Maikel Bouricius, Marketing Manager at Asperitas during the keynote session at CloudFest said: “Immersion cooling is not a goal for our customers, our customers have goals for their compute and cloud platforms and their business. Immersed Computing® is a means to enable achieving these goals by cutting datacenter service costs, accelerate operations, allowing for high performance applications and offering flexibility to reach for all business opportunities. What we bring to the market today are solutions supporting those goals powered by the highest quality server solution expertise of Boston and award winning clean technology developed by Asperitas”.

Manoj Nayee, Managing Director of Boston Limited adds; “Together Asperitas and Boston are disrupting both the perception and the actual technology of Immersed Computing®; for the benefit of both the environment and the bottom line. According to the Supermicro® “Data Centers and the Environment” white paper; datacentres account for 3% of the global electricity supply and contribute 2% of the total global greenhouse emissions. We believe that not only do we have an environmental responsibility to the world, we have a corporate one to ensure that our solutions also effectively address the needs of our customers technology requirements. The Boston/Asperitas collaboration has already resulted in a number of industry-ready solutions with more to be announced soon.”

High GPU Density for AI solution announced

During the joint keynote Boston and Asperitas laid down their vision for expanding this portfolio of application centered solutions with a specific focus on emerging digital technologies like AI. The partners
expect to present a high density GPU compute solution for AI applications later this year which should allow AI developers and driven companies to deploy a super high density GPU compute solution without having the need to upgrade or even have a datacenter to facilitate it.