NEC Australia has announced availability of the SL2100 Smart Communications System for Australia. This is a SMB communications platform that offers VoIP, mobility and Unified Communications and Collaboration features.
A few weeks ago, the Commonwealth Bank updated the onscreen menu on its Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Presumably, the redesigned interface was implemented in an attempt to make customers' lives easier (and perhaps to garner some good will after that recent ATM money-laundering scandal.)
Unfortunately, the results are a bit of a dog's breakfast. Here's why.
According to Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey we spend three hours a day on our phones, on average, with almost one in five of us admitting we check our phone at least once every 15 minutes. If you're anything like me, leaving home without your phone, or going somewhere with little or no mobile coverage, is enough to make you feel pretty unsettled. So, are you a slave to your smartphone?
Speech recognition systems are assessed using a standard test called Switchboard - a collection of recorded telephone conversations. Microsoft has achieved a 5.1 human parity word error rate rate on this test using new machine learning techniques, putting their software on par with human transcribers who are concentrating hard on recognising and translating audio.
Facebook is on a quest to completely dominate the Internet. With around two billion active users, the social media juggernaut has a strong place when it comes to communications, through Messenger and WhatsApp, as well pretty much everything else in our lives as we share images, through status updates and Instagram, as well other posts we make.
Marketplace is another service they deliver, giving us a place to buy, swap and sell items. And, as Marketplace grows in popularity, Facebook is planning to open the service to retailers.
I have to admit to a little bit of self-interest in this story, as someone I love has Type 1 diabetes (it used to be called Juvenile Diabetes). The Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation (JDRF) and IBM have commenced a new collaboration to apply machine learning in order to identify the factors leading to the onset to this autoimmune disease.
Over the years I've spent a lot of money on various bits of tech. But as the reliability of hardware has improved and performance of hardware has moved along, I find that I no longer need to buy the latest and greatest gear in order to get hardware that does what I need. That's led me to looking more closely at used and refurbished equipment.
"No one ever got fired for buying..." - has been a common refrain of IT managers and procurement teams for decades. It used to be said about IBM. It's been said about Telstra. And its been said about one particular network hardware company for some time. But there are challengers. I spoke with Juniper Network's Chief Marketing Officer Michael Marcellin and Kevin Lane, the Senior Infrastructure Engineer at James Cook University about why there's more than one player in town when it comes to network hardware.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides have been given a significant update with collaboration features the centrepiece of the update. The updates include improved versioning tools, the ability to quickly preview a clean version of a document, accepting or rejecting all edits in one go, and an option where Google can suggest document changes.
A few weeks I ago, I presented a technology session to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. In that, I decided to focus on five megatrends I though they should keep an eye on rather than being subject to the short-term bumps we see when a new device or service is released. After all, as exciting as the release of a smartphone might be, it's unlikely to change your IT strategy.
As Gartner moves towards their annual Symposium/Expo events, they have identified three key megatrends through analysis of the Hype Cycle. Let's see if they agree with me.
Modern data centres need a bunch of things to operate. They need a robust perimeter so they can be secured, plentiful low-cost power, easy access to communications infrastructure and an environment that makes cooling as easy as possible. That's why US-Norwegian company Kolos is putting thir 600,000 square metre facility in the Arctic Circle.
During a performance review, I once had a supervisor ask why I didn't collaborate more on projects with a coworker that lives in New York (I'm in San Francisco). We had Slack, email and Hangouts at our disposal, but at the end of the day the real answer was simply "because he lives across the country". No matter how good your virtual tools are, connecting with people who work outside your office on projects can get complicated fast. Now there's science out there to actually back that theory up.
Innovation is not easy. It involves experimentation, taking risks and investing resources in projects that may not deliver the outcomes you want. Optimizely takes a data driven approach to testing multiple scenarios so you can make better decisions about what's best for your business. I spoke with their new managing director for ANZ, Dan Ross, about their Australian launch and the opening of Australian offices in Melbourne and Sydney and how decision making is not about hippos.