BizTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en Managed IT Services Can Deliver Clear Business Value <span>Managed IT Services Can Deliver Clear Business Value </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/16/2018 - 12:57</span> <div><p>Keeping the lights on: What IT team hasn’t been in that position at some point — sometimes, even day in, day out?</p> <p>The demands of managing and supporting standing technology workloads <strong>can make it hard to use IT to gain strategic advantage, particularly in today’s 24/7 world</strong>, says Norm Mackensen, IT director for <a href="" target="_blank">Briggs &amp; Stratton</a>, the world’s largest maker of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.</p> <p>Until the Milwaukee company moved to managed services, its IT team easily spent <strong>only 20 percent </strong>of its time, “if we were lucky, on what the business needed to move ahead and building out capabilities to do it,” Mackensen says.</p> <p>Before working with CDW a half-dozen years ago to offload its more routine needs, the IT staff<strong> scrambled to keep systems up and running across the sprawling company</strong>, which is a leading designer and manufacturer of lawn, garden and job site equipment in addition to its engine work.</p> <p>The IT team’s days were largely devoted to maintaining applications, leaving little time for optimizing the infrastructure or devising ways that technology could further Briggs &amp; Stratton’s business goals, Mackensen says.</p> <p>The company reached a critical juncture seven years ago, when upper management made the decision that it wanted to <strong>derive more business value from IT</strong>. At the same time, 30 percent of the technology team’s employees were approaching retirement. An outside evaluation recommended that Briggs &amp; Stratton outsource any IT functions — infrastructure management, application enhancement, daily troubleshooting and maintenance — that were not core competencies, Mackensen recalls.</p> <p>Briggs &amp; Stratton responded by turning to <a href="" target="_blank">CDW Managed Services</a> <strong>for management and support of an array of infrastructure resources:</strong> its wired and wireless networks, the <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;b=IBM" target="_blank">AIX</a> platform that hosts essential <a href="" target="_blank">SAP</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Oracle</a> business applications, hundreds of physical <a href="" target="_blank">Windows servers</a>, <a href=";cm_ven=acquirgy&amp;cm_cat=google&amp;cm_pla=Microsoft&amp;cm_ite=Microsoft+Azure+B&amp;s_kwcid=AL!4223!3!145716974760!b!!g!!+azure&amp;ef_id=WzVqmQAAAIfjIgNC:20180716172100:s" target="_blank">Microsoft Azure</a>, storage platforms and more.</p> <p>The result? Mission-critical systems run more smoothly, and the <strong>internal IT staff plays a more strategic role</strong>, Mackensen says.</p> <p>“Before we made the big move into managed services, our internal IT people were about 80 percent focused on just keeping the lights on,” he says. “Now, the split is more like 50-50, and we provide much more value to the company.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Managed Services Help an IT Team that Was Stretched Thin </h2> <p>Briggs &amp; Stratton chose CDW as a managed services provider because of <strong>a long history of successful engagements between the two companies</strong>, Mackensen says.</p> <p>For two decades, CDW has been a hardware and software provider for Briggs &amp; Stratton’s IBM and <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco Systems </a>infrastructure. It also helped build and then manage a voice and contact system for Briggs &amp; Stratton in 2003, and took over management of the company’s web environment and customer-facing portals in 2008, <strong>focusing specifically on security and Payment Card Industry compliance</strong>.</p> <p>“We were really new to outsourcing on a large scale when we decided to make this massive change, so we needed trusted partners,” he says. “CDW had been heavily involved in building our internal data center with Cisco, IBM and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, and they also have expertise in the cloud.”</p> <p>Before the move to managed infrastructure services, the internal Briggs &amp; Stratton IT staff was <strong>stretched thin, relying on single specialists for many of its functions</strong>, Mackensen says. “We had people who were good at what they did, but we were single-threaded in a lot of areas of infrastructure technology,” he says.</p> <p>“I remember a time when the one person who was responsible for our storage environment had gone deer hunting for a week. I had storage problems, and he was out in the woods somewhere. There I was, no backup, no cross-training and no third party like CDW to go to for the services I needed. It was miserable.”</p> <p><strong>Since the shift to managed services, such resourcing concerns have disappeared</strong>, he says. “We don’t have to think about the breadth or depth of the skills that CDW brings or the level of competence. They’re always there to maintain services and solve problems.”</p> <h2>Briggs &amp; Stratton Shifts to SDN, Virtualization  </h2> <p>The magnitude of the Briggs &amp; Stratton transition from reliance on in-house IT to outside managed services made it especially imperative that the move go smoothly, says Joan Hughes, an engineering manager for CDW Managed Services.</p> <p>“When you’re going into what has been an in-house environment, there’s always hesitation on both sides,” she says. “This was a huge implementation across their entire computing environment. We had to <strong>live up to the consistency and reliability that we had shown in the past and do even more to justify their confidence in us</strong>. The stakes were high because we became responsible for their whole infrastructure.”</p> <p>Before the shift, the Briggs &amp; Stratton infrastructure reflected the challenges internal IT had faced in maintaining the company’s <strong>47 sites</strong> across the United States and around the globe, says CDW Advanced Technology Executive Bruce Kurkiewicz.</p> <p>Among CDW’s first tasks was updating systems by <strong>making sure all software patches were current, security was tightened and existing maintenance issues were resolved</strong>, he says.</p> <p>That first step is necessary when moving to managed services so that the customer has a baseline, Kurkiewicz says. All work hinges on service-level agreements, certifications and clear processes, he says.</p> <p>“When we took over management of the infrastructure, <strong>we took over their challenges</strong>,” he explains. “As the service provider, you’re responsible to make the environment better, not just maintain services at the previous level. In the years CDW has provided infrastructure services to Briggs &amp; Stratton, their IT has moved up on the Microsoft IT Maturity Scale, toward stability and predictability.”</p> <p>Another benefit of the relationship comes from CDW’s extensive knowledge of emerging technologies and how it helps make Briggs &amp; Stratton better, Mackensen says. “New technologies arrive every day, and we don’t know about all of them or their capabilities because we’re focused on our business,” he says. “<strong>CDW helps us be more forward-thinking and energizes our resources.</strong>”</p> <p>In 2017, CDW completed <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">a Cisco Intelligent WAN </a>installation across the company, a project that began when Kurkiewicz and CDW engineers suggested that Briggs &amp; Stratton should consider <strong>software-defined networking</strong>.</p> <p>The IT team recognized SDN’s potential value to the company and planned out the investment in its budget. CDW then developed the scope of work, which was executed by the CDW Field Services team. That team then <strong>turned the IWAN over to the Managed Services team as part of the infrastructure portfolio</strong>.</p> <p>The IWAN deployment supports end-to-end encryption, as well as increased visibility and <strong>real-time control over network traffic</strong>, which has improved reliability, streamlined network auditing processes, reduced provisioning time and lowered integration costs for new applications.</p> <p>“The IWAN has redesigned the way the company communicates across its networks,” Hughes says. “It’s the kind of project CDW can do because of the variety of services we can offer.”</p> <p>CDW has also invested resources up front to explore possible improvements to the Briggs &amp; Stratton infrastructure, Kurkiewicz says. For example, CDW initiated <strong>a virtualization evaluation and created a roadmap for adopting the technology</strong> to decide whether there would be value to Briggs &amp; Stratton. Ultimately, the virtualization project <strong>reduced the company’s server footprint by 80 percent</strong>.</p> <p>Technical knowledge and innovation are key benefits offered by CDW Managed Services, but they shouldn’t overshadow the value of relieving the daily build-fix grind for Briggs &amp; Stratton’s internal IT staff, Hughes adds.</p> <p>“We try to stay close to the cutting edge of technology in ways that are relevant to their business,” she says. “Managed Services is obviously a 24/7 shop, with all our resources available to solve problems. For some internal IT operations, there might be one person watching the infrastructure.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Learn how</a> CDW Managed Services can become an extension of your in-house IT staff.</em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:57:10 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41681 at Mobility Solutions Reshape the Modern Workforce <span>Mobility Solutions Reshape the Modern Workforce </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:31</span> <div><p>Only a few years ago, Craig J. Mathias, principal at <a href="" target="_blank">Farpoint Group</a>, would have laughed at the idea of carrying <a href=";enkwrd=smartphone&amp;ln=0&amp;p=100010.100012.100013.100014" target="_blank">a $1,000 device</a> around in his pocket. Today, he says, it would be almost absurd not to carry one.</p> <p>“I’ve changed my wardrobe to accommodate my device,” says Mathias, noting that he used to prefer jeans. “I wear cargo pants now, and I keep my handset in one particular pocket of those.”</p> <p>While the past few years haven’t seen a radical change in mobility on par with the introduction of <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">the iPhone</a> in 2007 or <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">the iPad</a> in 2010,<strong> organizations are still adapting to the rapid rise of mobile devices and applications</strong>. This means making diligent efforts to <strong>outfit users with the mobility tools they need to be as productive and collaborative as possible</strong> — and recognizing that an effective mobility strategy is no longer optional; it’s mandatory.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Ensure Employees Have the Right Devices to Be Productive </h2> <p>Even today, organizations still deploy mobile devices via a mix of different models, with some opting for <strong>BYOD</strong> programs and others choosing <strong>corporate owned, privately enabled (COPE), Device as a Service (DaaS) </strong>or other rollout strategies. No matter what delivery model organizations choose, they need to facilitate access to devices that meet both users’ needs and wants.</p> <p>“Millennials just expect [access to state-of-the-art devices],” says Andy Rhodes, vice president of commercial mobility computing solutions at <a href="" target="_blank">Dell</a>. “They don’t want to take a job with a company that’s not going to give them the right technology. It’s not an arrogance thing.<strong> It’s people coming to the workforce knowing they can’t get their work done if they don’t have the right technology.</strong>”</p> <p>Performance continues to be an important factor in device selection. But for many knowledge professionals, <strong>portability and battery life are often just as important since these are the features</strong> that allow users to be productive all day, from anywhere. Finally, flexible design features — such as touch-screens, connectivity ports and convertibility into other form factors — can be especially important for certain job roles, such as users who work in unconventional or extreme environments, or users who need to add peripherals to their devices (such as credit card readers for retail stores).</p> <p>“We see a lot of people using Surface as their primary device,” says Ryan Day, senior communications manager for <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> Surface. “But it really <strong>depends on the business, the individual </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> </strong><strong>the space</strong>. Some professionals may be using one device for work at the office, another to brainstorm with their colleagues and something different during their commute.”</p> <p>Rhodes stresses the importance of <strong>identifying different user personas throughout the </strong><strong>organization,</strong><strong> and rolling out solutions based on their varied needs</strong>. “If you’re a remote worker and spending your whole day at your desk, having two monitors might allow you to be more productive,” he notes. “Or, if you’re what I call an ‘on-the-go pro,’ what you need is battery life. Our customers are starting to see that it’s not one size fits all. They’re really starting to tell their users, ‘Tell me what you need, and I’ll give you the right tool,’ rather than basing it on what level someone is in the company.”</p> <h2>Make Collaboration Tools and Capabilities Mobile-Friendly </h2> <p>One thing IT leaders should keep in mind is that establishing a productive, collaborative work style requires more than just a useful mobile device.</p> <p>“There’s a tendency, because we’re all consumers, and many of us are serious gadget freaks, to get wound up over the device itself,” says Mathias. “But it’s not about the device. <strong>It’s about the information we get via the device. It’s how you work. </strong>And it’s really about maximizing your productivity, both individually and as part of a team. Those are the issues you want to address.”</p> <p>The way users employ mobile devices has changed significantly in recent years, and organizations should <strong>adopt collaboration and productivity tools that reflect the current reality.</strong> Many organizations are deploying application suites and mobility platforms such as <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Microsoft 365,</a> <a href="" target="_blank">VMware</a> <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Workspace One</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Citrix</a> <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Workspace</a> to keep users connected and productive from anywhere.</p> <p>Alan Ni, director of solutions marketing for <a href="" target="_blank">Aruba Networks</a>, notes that <strong>the use of mobile group collaboration tools is growing in many organizations</strong>. “Several years back, I observed younger folks who came into the office that wouldn’t even want to talk on the phone,” Ni says. “You would have thought everything would go toward instant messaging or group chat. Nowadays, more and more collaboration events include <strong>remote participants utilizing voice, video </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> screen-sharing</strong>. The ability for a participant to take that virtual meeting on their laptop or smartphone to any number of comfortable spots in the office really promotes this idea of an open office or activity-based working.”</p> <p>“The workforce has become increasingly more diverse and mobile,” Day says. “There’s been a shift away from routine tasks to those with an emphasis on the ability to communicate, collaborate and think critically and creatively. Teamwork is essential to the way work gets done.”</p> <h2>Networks Must Support Bandwidth-Heavy Apps </h2> <p>Mobility isn’t just for remote workers and road warriors. Employees should also be given the flexibility to work from anywhere when they’re at the office, and organizations must ensure that their wireless networks can<strong> support the increasing use of bandwidth-intensive mobile applications</strong>, such as video collaboration.</p> <p>“Five or 10 years ago, when Wi-Fi was first installed for many organizations, it was installed viewed and designed as an amenity,” says Ni. “The enterprise put in Wi-Fi maybe for guest access and for some casual employee mobility, and to potentially enable you to work. It was a ‘nice-to-have.’”</p> <p>But Ni says such an attitude is no longer acceptable. Because of how central mobility is to workflows, organizations must <strong>invest in backbone infrastructure that not only meets existing needs but also accommodates future growth</strong>. Often, this will mean replacing existing access points with ones that meet 802.11ac Wave 2 connectivity standards and investing in new elements such as software-defined policy controls.</p> <p>Mathias notes that users today don’t merely expect to be connected wherever they go; they need to be connected to do their jobs. “The whole idea of working offline is ridiculous now,” he says. “If you don’t have connectivity, you’re not going to get anything done. It’s as simple as that.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Learn more </a>about how CDW can help you transform your workplace with mobility and collaboration solutions.</em></p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>The State of Enterprise Mobility</h3> <p>In June 2018, <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung</a> issued <a href="" target="_blank">the results of an in-depth study</a> on the state of enterprise mobility. Among the findings:</p> <ul><li><strong>Nearly 80 percent</strong> of respondents said that employees can’t do their jobs effectively without a mobile phone. And roughly two-thirds of executives say that management expects workers to be available after working hours.</li> <li>Fifty-two percent of organizations have <strong>a hybrid device deployment plan</strong>, in which some employees receive corporate-issued phones. Thirty-one percent don’t provide phones to employees at all, and <strong>just 17 percent provide them to all employees</strong>.</li> <li>Eighty-two percent of executives say that mobility boosts employee productivity.</li> <li><strong>Sevent</strong><strong>y percent</strong> say that mobility is important for growing revenue.</li> </ul></div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 14:31:29 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41671 at How One Nonprofit Uses Tech to Help the Victims of Human Trafficking <span>How One Nonprofit Uses Tech to Help the Victims of Human Trafficking</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:44</span> <div><p>Human trafficking reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from the forced labor of exploited people, <a href="" target="_blank">80 percent of whom are women and girls</a>. Without other means to support themselves and their families, millions of women become more vulnerable to trafficking every year. After realizing that many women would be less susceptible if they had valuable skills that could lead to well-paying employment, two women started a nonprofit that seeks to <strong>break the cycle of trafficking through the power of technology training</strong>.</p> <p>The nonprofit organization, <a href="" target="_blank">AnnieCannons</a>, seeks to offer survivors of trafficking technology training that can provide them much-needed economic stability and, in turn, help to <strong>diversify the tech industry at large</strong>.</p> <p>“We thought if survivors had the benefit of a coding boot camp, like we have in San Francisco — a <strong>short, focused vocational training</strong>, they could obtain the economic power necessary to avoid exploitation,” AnnieCannons CEO Jessica Hubley tells the <a href="" target="_blank">HuffPost</a>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Tech Training Jump-Starts Economic Opportunity</h2> <p>According to its website, the AnnieCannons program “starts with data literacy and advances through <strong>HTML, CSS, and JavaScript</strong> as students demonstrate mastery. Later phases include full stack development, cybersecurity, visual design, and more.” The last phase of the program is “product driven” and seeks to offer students the opportunity to work on software products and development.</p> <p>The Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit serves as an incubator for many of the projects that the students begin in the program.</p> <p>“This is one of our core goals at AnnieCannons, to have students who want to address things like gender-based violence or trafficking in their projects, and <strong>build them out into their own companies or nonprofits</strong>,” Executive Director Laura Hackney tells <a href="" target="_blank">The Chronicle of Social Change</a>.</p> <p>But even for those that don’t jump-start their own companies via the program, their window of economic opportunity widens immensely. Those that complete the first phase of the program, which centers on digital basics, have an earning potential of up to <strong>$45,000 per year</strong>, while those that complete the web development phase of the program can achieve an annual earning potential of <strong>$80,000</strong>.</p> <h2>IT Training Offers Both Students and the Nonprofit Self-Sufficiency</h2> <p>Most graduates of the program, however, choose to remain within the AnnieCannons ecosystem as contractors, working for and with the nonprofit on projects even before they graduate. This helps to fuel the group’s <strong>long-term plan to be funded completely by business revenue</strong>. The nonprofit serves a number of clients, from small businesses in need of web development to large organizations seeking complex software platforms, which allows students to build skills faster while providing clients with high-quality work, Hubley tells HuffPost.</p> <p>Hubley credits the enthusiasm of students to stay within AnnieCannons with the supportive environment the nonprofit builds for its students, offering everything from mentoring to child care in an attempt to help them overcome many of the hurdles that women face in the tech industry.</p> <p>“People said, ‘Just focus on training people and then find them jobs,’ but we couldn’t just do that,” Hackney tells The Chronicle of Social Change. “For one thing, <strong>people need access to income throughout the training</strong> but also there are so many <strong>barriers</strong> for women, women of color, survivors of trafficking to make it in the tech industry.”</p> <p>Looking ahead, the program aims to expand beyond its initial focus on the Bay Area into cities like Washington, D.C., Atlanta and New York. The nonprofit may be extending its reach into new areas of technology training as well. In March, it announced a partnership with the Indiana University in which the university extends scholarships for several women to participate in its new <strong>10-week online cybersecurity program</strong>.</p> <p>"Having a framework in mind of how to identify and mitigate risks in the cyberspace are pretty critical skills of the modern workforce overall, and that includes anyone at the entry level or at the management level,” Hubley says in a<a href="" target="_blank"> statement</a>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:44:02 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41666 at The Tech Behind the 2018 FIFA World Cup <span>The Tech Behind the 2018 FIFA World Cup</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:17</span> <div><p>There have been several surprising turns at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, including defending champion Germany’s failure to make it out of the group stage, England’s run to the semifinals, and relatively early exits from soccer powerhouses like Brazil, Portugal and Spain. What’s not surprising is that <strong>technology has been a key component of the world’s most-watched sporting event</strong>.</p> <p>For the first time ever at a World Cup, FIFA has instituted <a href="" target="_blank">a video assistant referee (VAR) system</a> to help <strong>support the match referee on key decisions and ensure that calls are made correctly</strong>. The introduction of <strong>VAR</strong> attracted a great deal of controversy before the tournament started in June but <a href="" target="_blank">has been generally seen</a> as <a href="" target="_blank">a positive move</a> for the World Cup (though there <a href="" target="_blank">has been some dissent</a>).</p> <p>Meanwhile, Fox Sports, the U.S. broadcaster for the World Cup, partnered with <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> to use the tech giant’s <strong>Watson artificial intelligence platform to quickly classify, edit and access match highlights in near real time</strong>.</p> <p>The developments suggest that, for a tournament that began in 1930, the fast-paced technology world is weaving its way into the beautiful game in ways unlike ever before.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>VAR Helps Refs Make the Right Calls</h2> <p>Although the VAR system is brand new at the World Cup, other sports have used video review for years. How does it work for FIFA?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As the <em>Independent </em>reports</a>, there are 13 officials who can be chosen as the VAR and all of them <strong>sit in a video control room in Moscow</strong>, with one chosen for each game (along with three assistants).</p> <p>A lot of tech goes into the VAR system. <a href="" target="_blank">As Digital Trends reports</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>The VAR reviews footage from the numerous cameras stationed around the field; according to FIFA, the video assistant referee team has access to 33 broadcast cameras, eight of which are super slow-motion and four of which are ultra slow-motion cameras. There are ultra high-definition (UHD) cameras as well.</p> </blockquote> <p>The VAR team watches the entire match, and if they see something amiss they can <strong>alert the referee</strong>. Likewise, if the on-field ref thinks something is wrong he can <strong>contact the VAR operation room</strong>. Ultimately though, the VAR team only serves an advisory role and the final decision rests with the match referee.</p> <p>What does VAR help review? There are four main categories, according to FIFA:</p> <ul><li><strong>Goals: </strong>The system can be used to check if the ball crossed the goal line, but also if an infringement before the ball went in would have stopped a goal from being awarded.</li> <li><strong>Penalties:</strong> VAR can determine if a penalty should have been awarded when it wasn’t, and also the reverse: if the referee mistakenly awarded a penalty for a foul inside the penalty box.</li> <li><strong>Red cards: </strong>VAR can help determine if a red card should be awarded to a player after a foul (players who receive red cards are forced to leave the field and the team must continue one player short).</li> <li><strong>Mistaken identity: </strong>This part of the VAR system helps refs determine if the wrong player has been disciplined for a foul.</li> </ul><p><a href="" target="_blank">As the <em>Telegraph</em> notes</a>, VAR has had an impact on this year’s tournament: “The system has already been used in the World Cup group stages and Round of 16 to <strong>correct and clarify decisions</strong>, including Diego Costa’s first goal against Portugal, France’s penalty against Australia as well as Sweden’s penalty against South Korea.”</p> <h2>Fox Teams with IBM’s AI for World Cup Highlights</h2> <p>In June, IBM announced <a href="" target="_blank">a partnership</a> with Fox Sports for the broadcaster to use <a href="" target="_blank">IBM Watson Media</a>’s AI video technology and <a href="" target="_blank">IBM iX</a>’s user experience technology. The goal is to allow Fox to streamline production workflows so that it can quickly identify, edit and deliver match highlights essentially as they are happening. That enables Fox to <strong>create more engaging highlight reels for World Cup fans</strong>.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">2014 World Cup</a> attracted 3.2 billion viewers on TV and an estimated 280 million online viewers. Overall, 98,087 hours of video footage was broadcasted. To sift through a similar amount of footage for the 2018 World Cup <strong>requires a significant amount of processing power</strong>.</p> <p>“We are delighted to be working with IBM, a leader in the technology space, to help enhance fan experiences and engagement,” Sarah Tourville, senior vice president of sports brand activations at Fox Sports, says in the statement. “Our collaboration affords us an opportunity to utilize their technology across multiple properties, helping to drive engagement for our tentpole events in non-traditional ways.”</p> <p>Fox and IBM are partnering to create what they call <a href="" target="_blank">The Highlight Machine</a>, an interactive experience that allows fans to browse FIFA’s archive and create custom highlights from both the historic and 2018 tournament footage.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Engadget</a>, Fox says there are <strong>300 archived matches that Watson is capable of analyzing</strong>, which viewers filter by <strong>World Cup year, team, player, game, play type or any combination</strong> of these.</p> <p>Fans are also able to view and filter highlights by team, player, time frame and type of gameplay, such as penalty kicks and goals. “To extend the post-match conversation on social media, viewers can save, favorite and share highlight reels as well as catch up on games by speedwatching critical, automatically generated clips,” Fox and IBM say in the statement.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:17:23 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41661 at The 5 Features to Consider in a 2-in-1 Device <span>The 5 Features to Consider in a 2-in-1 Device</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:49</span> <div><p>Global shipments of <a href=";cx=0" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|Search Results: Convertible Tablet PCs 1|');" target="_blank" title="Shop Convertible Tablet PCs">2-in-1 laptops (also known as convertible notebooks</a>) are expected to grow<strong> 11.6 percent </strong>through 2021, <a href="" target="_blank">according to IDC</a>, the only device category looking so healthy.</p> <p>For small and medium-sized businesses thinking of refreshing their device portfolio with 2-in-1s, their are numerous factors to consider. A major one is the design of the device. </p> <p>One clear option is the <strong>convertible-hybrid laptop</strong>. This is a folding or clamshell design that involves swiveling the keyboard out of the way to use the device in tablet mode. The other main style is <strong><a href=";cx=0&amp;ln=2&amp;key=detachable&amp;gsw=1" target="_blank">the detachable-hybrid tablet</a>: </strong>This is a slate tablet that you can connect to a <a href="" target="_blank">keyboard dock</a>. When attached to the dock, it is <strong>indistinguishable from the convertible-hybrid laptop</strong>. </p> <p>However, beyond the overall design of the 2-in-1 laptop, there are several features IT decision makers should scrutinize when determining the best fit. </p> <p><a href=""><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Find an Operating System that Fits Your Computing Needs</h2> <p>The choice of <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">operating systems</span></a> is a big consideration. “If all your <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">apps</span></a> are in the cloud, why do you need anything else beyond Chrome? But it can only do so much,” <strong> </strong>says Justin Kring, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|HP INC PSG SHOWCASE|');" title="Shop HP Brand Products">HP</a> Sr. Brand Manager at CDW. “If you need to run <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Office</span></a> or <b>some high-end, memory-intensive software, you need something else.</b>”</p> <h2>2. Make Sure Your 2-in-1 Won't Weigh You Down</h2> <p>Weight is another important consideration — <b>especially for the business traveler</b>. “Detachables allow you to ditch some of the weight, which is valuable in certain situations,” explains Damien D’Amore, a <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|DELL Showcase|');" target="_blank" title="Shop Dell Brand Products">Dell</a> CSG Solution Specialist at CDW. “But with the clamshell, you’re stuck at two or three pounds for the device. They’re a little bit heavier. And screen size is still an important factor — again, touching on the question of weight.”</p> <h2>3. Get Enough Battery Life to Stay Productive</h2> <p>This is high on the list of features important to users. Improvements to <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Intel</span></a>’s Core i-series CPUs along with industry-wide improvements to power and heat management design on devices have extended the battery life of 2-in-1 notebooks ever further.<b> Top devices are now averaging nine to 13 hours of battery life</b>. Once viewed as a hinderance to wider adoption of 2-in-1’s, these devices are now very competitive with standard laptops when it comes to battery life.</p> <h2>4. Touchscreens Help Bring Content to Life</h2> <p>This capability is growing in importance as a standout feature on these devices. If there is one feature that sets the 2-in-1 notebook apart from other devices, <b>the ability to shift between manual keyboard and mouse interaction and touchscreen is it</b>. As consumers have grown more comfortable with touchscreens, manufacturers have been working to design it into more and more devices, especially <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Microsoft</span></a>. “Touchscreen is a big consideration, especially with Windows 10,” says Kelly Etter, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|INTEL CLIENT SHOWCASE|');" title="Shop Intel Brand Products">Intel</a> Brand Manager at CDW. “And several of the <a href=";pCurrent=1&amp;key=chromebooks&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;enkwrd=chromebook" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Chromebooks</span></a> are utilizing touch as well.”</p> <p>“Everything is going touchscreen,” agrees Andre Sinclair, partner specialist at CDW. “This feature is very popular and is now the norm in this space. Some of this popularity is tied to the release of <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Windows 10</span></a>. Touch works very well with this OS, especially when compared to the <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Windows 8</span></a> experience, which was not as good.”</p> <h2>5. Look for Layers of Defense in Security Features</h2> <p>This is another big consideration with 2-in-1s. There are many security features being implemented by different manufacturers that focus on securing access to the device: <b>biometrics, smartcard readers and fingerprint scanners</b>. Others are baking in security at the firmware and hardware level, securing the BIOS from tampering. <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Security features</span></a> are often tiered by manufacturers, including more add-ons the higher up the product line you go.</p> <p>With 2-in-1 notebooks being the target area for growth among laptop devices in the coming years, you can expect manufacturers to be focusing their development efforts in this market. And with refresh cycles coming around shortly, this is a market primed for innovation — and good deals for consumers. Knowing a little bit about how to assess these devices, you can now find the right fit for you.</p> <p><em>CDW offers 2-in-1 devices from several partners. <a href=";cx=0&amp;wcmmode=edit&amp;cq_ck=1529438206882" target="_blank">See which one has the best fit for your needs</a>.</em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 14:49:28 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41656 at As Networks Evolve, the Role of the CIO Must Change <span>As Networks Evolve, the Role of the CIO Must Change </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/06/2018 - 11:27</span> <div><p>Today’s CIO is not just expected to understand and integrate technology, but to anticipate how tech can be harnessed to drive business growth and transformation, product evolution, customer satisfaction and employee productivity. CIOs are in a position to<strong> drive change across their organizations to help them compete and grow.</strong></p> <p>Gartner’s annual <a href="" target="_blank">CIO Agenda Report</a> — the world’s largest CIO survey — emphasizes this point, showing that growth and the supporting digital transformation it requires are at the forefront of the modern CIO’s mind.</p> <p>The report represents the views of more than 3,000 CIOs across almost 100 countries, covering nearly $13 trillion in revenue and $277 billion in IT spending. It is clear from the report that the evolving technology landscape is <strong>changing the very nature of the CIO’s job: from delivery executive to business executive</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Why Network Evolution Is Critical to Business Transformation</h2> <p>Harnessing new technology for transformation and growth today requires an <strong>in-depth understanding of the network that ties the organization togethe</strong>r, connects the organization to its customers and underpins the extended ecosystem and supply chain.</p> <p>With an increasingly mobile workforce, expanded use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise traffic shifting from the private intranet to the public cloud, the network now extends far beyond the four walls of the office, <strong>reaching all parts of the distributed organization</strong>.</p> <p>This means the network is where CIOs can find opportunities to drive change and transform how products are delivered. Here, they can expand data collection to create the analytics that are crucial to digital transformation and change the nature of work for their employees.</p> <p>On the one hand, modern CIOs are acting as <strong>guides to CEOs on the business implications of digital transformatio</strong>n and how it can improve operational efficiencies, help capitalize on new opportunities and enable faster responses to changing market conditions and competitive pressures.</p> <p>They are keenly aware of the level of IT transformation needed — thinking about how they can use Gigabit LTE, 5G wireless networks, IoT, mobile and cloud — to drive differentiation and value in the products they deliver.</p> <p>On the other hand, they also have to <strong>deliver these technologies cost-effectively and securely</strong>. They’re responsible for hiring employees with the right skill sets and choosing the right vendors to partner with.</p> <h2>CIOs Must Redefine Their Corporate Networks</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">IDC claims</a> that nearly <strong>75 percent </strong>of the workforce will be afforded a mobile work style by 2020, while <a href="" target="_blank">Gartner points out</a> that IoT will make up the largest constituency of endpoints in the coming years, predicting that <strong>7.5 billion connected devices</strong> will be deployed within enterprises over the same time frame.</p> <p>The first question for all CIOs is <strong>whether their WAN is capable of supporting this transformation</strong>. But the question they should be asking is: Am I taking advantage of the rapid change occurring in networking technology to drive growth?</p> <p>Cradlepoint’s recent “<a href="" target="_blank">State of the Network</a>” report highlights a lack of WAN readiness. According to the report, <strong>77 percent </strong>of IT decision-makers surveyed, from businesses of all sizes, cited their top concerns as <strong>WAN bandwidth limitations, reliability </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> cos</strong>t. Organizations in all industries need to transform their WANs to take advantage of the new technologies, which require more bandwidth, heightened mobility, greater agility and better security.</p> <p>The traditional networking approach is no longer sufficient. What’s becoming increasingly clear is that transforming WAN is central to wider business transformation. The challenge for CIOs is to work out how they can deliver and take advantage of new technologies. However, this must start with a proactive approach to WAN transformation.</p> <p>A great example is the wireless WAN, which we are now seeing take off in a big way. It presents a stark comparison to the expensive and restrictive WANs of the past. The wireless WAN, particularly when powered by Gigabit LTE and 5G, <strong>delivers more bandwidth and performance than many wired networks</strong>, while also providing<strong> extreme flexibility at the edge</strong>.</p> <h2>What Will the CIO of Tomorrow Look Like?</h2> <p>Technology will develop, and it will be down to the CIO to decide how to harness it. Methods used in the past will not be sufficient to keep up with and address the challenges of the future.</p> <p>It’s clear from Gartner’s CIO Agenda Report that success in this next chapter <strong>will not be based on what CIOs build, but what they integrate and whether they use technology change to drive business change</strong>. The job description seems to be moving away from a manufacturer or architect role to that of a buyer.</p> <p>The CIO of tomorrow will become the selector, <strong>an expert orchestrator of services conducting a symphony of next-generation software and services</strong>. As an example, CIOs will move away from a “build your own” approach (trying to build and manage a digital network themselves) toward a Network as a Service approach. CIOs have seen a proven track record of success with Software as a Service; the enterprise WAN is the natural next step.</p> <p>The CIO is facing a wave of new challenges, from artificial intelligence to evolving security threats. Identifying and harnessing the skills required to meet these is a fundamental mission for modern CIOs. Having the <strong>judgment to invest in the right emerging technologies — and the wisdom to retire others</strong> — will be profoundly important over the coming years.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11701" hreflang="en">Donna Johnson </a></div> </div> Fri, 06 Jul 2018 15:27:25 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41651 at Review: Samsung Flip Brings Portability to an Interactive Whiteboard <span>Review: Samsung Flip Brings Portability to an Interactive Whiteboard</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:22</span> <div><p>When it comes to <a href="">collaboration tools</a>, offices and schools have come a long way since the classic blackboard. <strong>Whiteboards</strong>, with their colored pens, added more flair, but they remained noninteractive, with few creative options.</p> <p>Whiteboards that make use of computers to add interactivity provide more options, but they mostly use things such as <strong>short-throw projectors and complex electric eyes</strong> to record and display pen strokes. Typically, that restricts them to<strong> mounted, fixed installations</strong>.</p> <p>With its <a href="" target="_blank">Flip whiteboard</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung</a> gives users <strong>unprecedented interactivity without requiring that the collaboration tool </strong><strong>be</strong><strong> bolted to a load-bearing wall</strong>. The core of the system consists of two parts. The display is a special Samsung WM55H 55-inch television with touch-screen capabilities, while portability is provided by a sturdy metal <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung Flip Moving Stand</a>.</p> <p>The display is basically a large HD television. By default, it will display a white background, which <strong>helps to make the various colors drawn onto it pop</strong>. However, you can have it go dark instead, giving the appearance of <strong>a classic blackboard</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP:</strong> Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Samsung Flip Offers Both Flexibility and Mobility </h2> <p>Users interact with the display using <strong>either the included pencil or their hands</strong>. The writing tool has a thin point for fine work and a thick side that is more like a marker. Fingers also work. And if users don’t like something, a quick brush with the flat side of their hand, which functions as an eraser, will rub it out. <strong>Colors can be changed by holding either end of the pen against the screen, which brings up a selection menu. </strong>Tapping the red circle, for example, turns all writing that color until changed again.</p> <p>Because the Flip can accept input from a smartphone, USB drive, tablet or connected network location, <strong>it can also function as a presentation tool, displaying PowerPoint slides or even movies on the big screen</strong>.</p> <p>Mounting the whiteboard on the special stand enables the heavy screen to be <strong>moved around easily on four wheels</strong>. The base of the stand is wide enough that the display is always fully supported and never in danger of tipping over, yet it easily fits <strong>through standard doorways, down hallways or even into elevators</strong>.</p> <p>The Samsung Flip adds portability and interactivity to whiteboarding, greatly increasing the functionality of most presentations. It would be at home rolling into any office or educational setting, or anywhere that could benefit from a boost in presentation excitement levels.</p> <h2>Save Your Collaborations in Multiple Ways </h2> <p>Gathering around a drawing surface may be the best way to collaborate with a group of people. That’s why blackboards were so popular for more than a century. But even in very large rooms, <strong>you are restricted in the number of people who can participate</strong>. And after the session ends,<strong> the information may not stick around very long</strong>. If someone fails to quickly take a photo of the work, it might be gone forever.</p> <p>The Samsung Flip aims to solve this presentation problem. At the conclusion of the presentation or collaborative session, users have the option of<strong> emailing or printing their </strong><strong>work,</strong><strong> or saving everything to a USB drive</strong>. In our test, <a href="" target="_blank">the Samsung WM55H display</a> had enough internal memory to save about <strong>20 pages of work</strong> before the data needed to be sent elsewhere. Connecting the Samsung Flip to a network drive would provide nearly limitless storage capacity for completed presentations.</p> <p>Similarly, loading presentations back onto the Flip is a simple process, as is<strong> sharing them with other devices (assuming relatively modest file sizes are involved)</strong>. Given this capability, collaborators could work on a project over a long period of time, or in different locations, by simply loading up their works in progress and continuing where they left off. Alternatively, <strong>work from one group can be saved and later examined or audited by another</strong>.</p> <h2>Easily Connect to Other Samsung Devices</h2> <p>The Flip is part of Samsung’s family of devices, so it networks easily with other <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung products</a>. I used a Samsung Galaxy Android phone, and it <strong>detected the Flip within range and shared everything on its screen wirelessly</strong>. Users can also attach non-Samsung devices using the HDMI port, so there is little that can’t be shared with the Flip. Most devices also should be able to accept completed presentations from the interactive whiteboard.</p> <p>Adding interactivity and portability to whiteboards already makes the Samsung Flip a brilliant presentation and collaboration tool. The ability to save work and connect to a network further expands this functionality, making the device<strong> an attractive and innovative tool that would be useful for any organization that wants to improve its collaboration efforts</strong>.</p> <div class="callout"> <h3>Samsung Flip</h3> <p><strong>Display Type: </strong>LED<br /><strong>Display Size: </strong>55 inches<br /><strong>Native Resoltuion: </strong> 3840x2160<br /><strong>Viewing Angle: </strong>178 degrees<br /><strong>Rolling Stand Dimensions: </strong>40.3x39x63.4 inches<br /><strong>Total Weight (Stand and Display): </strong>133.6 pounds</p> </div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/john-breeden-ii" hreflang="en">John Breeden II</a></div> </div> Thu, 05 Jul 2018 15:22:09 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41646 at How Horse Racing Can Embrace Tech to Attract a New Generation of Fans <span>How Horse Racing Can Embrace Tech to Attract a New Generation of Fans</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/03/2018 - 10:45</span> <div><p>Even though American Pharoah <a href="" target="_blank">won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 2015</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Justify achieved the same feat</a> this year, <a href="" target="_blank">horse racing isn’t what it used to be</a>.</p> <p>Before the NFL skyrocketed in popularity, before the advent of the internet and the smartphone, <strong>horse racing captured Americans’ attention and imagination</strong>, especially in the 1970s, when three horses won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to complete the Triple Crown: Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).</p> <p>Viewership for this year’s Kentucky Derby tied a 12-year low, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Sports Media Watch</a>, attracting <strong>14.9 million viewers.</strong></p> <p>Horse racing and technology experts from <a href="" target="_blank">Intel</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> say that <strong>the sport needs to embrace tech to attract a younger fan base</strong>. The sport has been slower than others in moving into the digital age, but it is starting to with more ways to experience the big races via mobile applications and virtual reality.</p> <p>However, more needs to be done, these experts say. They point to <strong>augmented and virtual reality and blockchain</strong> as technologies that could help modernize the sport and make it more engaging for fans that have grown up immersed in digital technology.</p> <p>“The thing that we’re really losing is our fan base,” says Pat Day, an American jockey and horse racing legend who rode Lil E. Tee to <a href="" target="_blank">a surprise victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby</a> and who ranks fourth on the all-time win list in the sport.</p> <p>“Years ago, horse racing was the only game in town. We opened the doors and people came. And when the competition for the entertainment dollar started popping up out there, we didn’t take it seriously,” says Day. The sport’s leaders assumed patrons would keep coming to and watching horse races because it was a great product.</p> <p>But they haven’t come back. Day says he thinks technologies like AR are potentially a “<strong>great way to introduce new fans and get them enthused about the sport.</strong> I think there’s a lot of possibility for that.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP:</strong> Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>VR and AR Can Enhance the Horse Racing Fan’s Experience</h2> <p>While many spectators still watch horse races with binoculars, technology has the potential to change how fans experience races.</p> <p>Advanced technologies like augmented and virtual reality have the potential to<strong> “transform not just the audience experience but also widen the types of audiences that the technology can reach,”</strong> says Andrew Moore, general manager of the digital transformation office at Intel.</p> <p>While VR produces a computer-generated reality that users can interact with (usually via a headset), augmented reality brings digital information into a user’s field of view, overlaid onto the real world, which they usually observe through the camera on a smartphone or tablet.</p> <p>All sports organizations, businesses or clubs can benefit from such technologies, Moore contends, and not just because <strong>it gives fans a unique experience, but it allows the organizations to monetize it</strong>.</p> <p>“There’s a huge business opportunity behind that, because the clubs and businesses that leverage that type of technology can reach existing customers in very new and innovative ways, and grow the business because they are going to be spending a lot more money on the things you are there to bill and promote,” he says.</p> <p>“But,” Moore continues, “it also allows you to reach completely new audiences through the use of technology and bring a whole new set of demographics into the sporting world that you would never have access to before.”</p> <p>NBC dipped its toe in the water <a href="" target="_blank">with support for VR in the 2016 Kentucky Derby</a>. Moore notes that VR headsets could allow fans to feel what it is like to be a jockey on a horse in the Derby, charging around the track, surrounded by other horses, feeling the pulse of the race unfolding. “For a lot of people, I say something like that, and they think it’s a bit fanciful,” Moore says. “But it’s really not.”</p> <p>Chris Carper, director of customer success at Microsoft, says that <strong>he expects horse racing organizations to use more VR and AR experiences to draw people to tracks and tie it to mobile platforms as well</strong>. Fans at home with VR headsets will likely be able to experience racing in VR, and there may be VR experiences fans can only get at tracks, he says.</p> <p><img alt="Panel.JPG" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /><br /><span style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 20.8px;">CDW hosted a panel discussion digital transformation at the 2018 Kentucky Derby that included, starting second from left, Microsoft's Chris Carper, Intel's Andrew Moore, and jockey legend Pat Day. </span></p> <p>AR has the potential to enhance the viewing experience, Carper says, with applications giving fans information they would not see on normal broadcasts of the race, <strong>such as the horses’ speeds and heart rates or the distances they have raced</strong>.</p> <p>AR can help trainers and others who work with the horses, for example, by giving them digital information about<strong> how to wrap a horse’s ankles during training or before races</strong>, Carper says.</p> <p>Watching horse races is also a social experience, Carper notes, with time in between races for fans to mingle and talk about the horses. Applications could provide facts, trivia and information via VR or AR for fans, he says, even if they are throwing a race-watching party at home.</p> <p>“If you look at the nature of how fans interact with sports, on both the wagering and non-wagering side, it’s about the experience,” Carper says.</p> <h2>Horse Race Betting May Get an Update via Blockchain</h2> <p>Another piece of technology that can bring horse racing into the modern age is <strong>blockchain</strong>. The distributed ledger technology creates a temper-proof way to exchange assets, since all members of the blockchain network need to confirm a transaction before it is approved and stored on the blockchain.</p> <p>Blockchain could potentially <strong>reshape betting on horse races and other aspects of the sport</strong>, Moore and Carper say. The online gambling market is estimated to be about <strong>$60 billion this year and $80 billion in 2020</strong>, according to Moore, but <strong>only 5 percent</strong> of that uses cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which blockchain enables.</p> <p>Moore expects that to change. “The use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is going to be leveraged by creating interesting routes to market and business models,” he says. Blockchain can <strong>enable the growth of cross-border betting</strong> on races and will start to address the issues of <strong>trust and safety in online gambling</strong>, he says.</p> <p>One business model Moore sees is where 100 percent of the money bet on a race is returned to the bettors, and the track or bookies make money on the growth of the cryptocurrency being used to place the bets. Such business models are still emerging, Moore acknowledges, but such approaches could create disruption and new opportunities for those willing to try new models.</p> <p>Blockchain can be used to<strong> secure bets and ensure that when a track settles out the day’s races that all of the transactions are verified</strong>, Carper says. The technology could also be used for record-keeping, for example, to <strong>ensure accurate records about which drugs and treatments are given to horses</strong>.</p> <h2>How to Think About Digital Transformation in Horse Racing</h2> <p>All organizations that want to <a href="">undertake digital transformation</a> need to focus on their customers, products, operations and employees, Carper says.</p> <p>Technology is an “accelerant” for that transformation but is not the only element that needs to be present. “You need to have <strong>an internal culture and buy-in from your leadership teams</strong> in that transformation you want to take place,” he says.</p> <p>A key factor in horse racing that can inhibit innovation is that, unlike most sports, there is not a single commissioner who can dictate changes across the sport, Day says. Each state has its own regulations, which creates <strong>a fractured environment</strong>. There are some tracks and racing organizations that are more “visionary” and taking a lead on technology adoption. Yet Day says horse racing “got off the block slow” when it comes to innovation.</p> <p>Horse racing’s leaders should approach new technologies “with an open mind,” Day says.<strong> “We need to look at all avenues.”</strong></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 14:45:52 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41641 at How to Pick the Right 2-in-1 Laptop for Your Organization <span>How to Pick the Right 2-in-1 Laptop for Your Organization</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/03/2018 - 09:30</span> <div><p>According to IDC, 2017 was a dreary year for personal computing device shipments, which saw a <strong>2.7 percent</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">decline from the previous year</a>. The one ray of sunshine on the horizon is <strong>the detachable tablet segment</strong>. Also referred to as <a href=";cx=0" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|Search Results: Convertible Tablet PCs 1|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Convertible Tablet PCs">2-in-1 laptops or convertible notebooks</a>, the category as a whole is poised for <strong>an 11.6 percent growth </strong>in global shipments through 2021, the only device category looking quite so optimistic.</p> <p>Part of this growth may be tied to timing — <strong>a fresh user experience available at the start of enterprise refresh cycles</strong>. “We’ve seen convertible tablets increasing their share of the <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|CDW HUBS: Notebook Computers|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Notebook Laptop Computers">notebook</a> market over the last few years,” explains Kelly Etter, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|INTEL CLIENT SHOWCASE|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" title="Shop Intel Brand Products">Intel</a> Brand Manager at CDW. “For companies that have not upgraded their devices in the last four or five years, this is a new and attractive option. It’s <strong>a much different device experience and performance than a standard desktop or laptop</strong>.”</p> <p>Why is this form factor seeing growth now? <strong>“Convenience is a big reason this form factor is taking off,” </strong>says Justin Kring, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|HP INC PSG SHOWCASE|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" title="Shop HP Brand Products">HP</a> Sr. Brand Manager at CDW. “You can have a full <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|CDW HUBS: Desktop Computers|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Desktop Computers">desktop</a> experience, you can travel with them. If you want the touchscreen and presentation option, you’ve got a full-function <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|CDW HUBS: Tablets &amp; Tablet PCs|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Tablets and Tablet PCs">tablet</a> at your fingertips.”</p> <p>With today’s <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|DIGITAL WORKSPACE OVERVIEW|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Explore Digital Workspace Solutions">mobile workforce</a>, often hopping from a desk to a meeting room, from a shared work space to a couch at home, ease of transport is key. “When I travel with a laptop, and backup battery, and mouse and <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|CDW HUBS: Computer Accessories|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Computer Accessories">other peripherals</a>, it’s a pain,” says Damien D’Amore, a <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|DELL Showcase|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Dell Brand Products">Dell</a> CSG Solution Specialist at CDW. “Two-in-1s make it easier for the business traveler. <strong>C-level folks want to travel lighter. Two-in-1s improve the whole commute experience</strong>. Going through TSA becomes easier without all those extras you need with a typical laptop and tablet and its peripherals.”</p> <p>It’s not just individual users that are drawn to these convertible notebooks. Organizations are seeing savings when moving their workers to these devices. “Two-in-1s provide savings in many ways. <strong>Companies don’t need to buy two devices, a notebook </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> a tablet, for their users. That’s a savings right there</strong>,” explains Andre Sinclair, partner specialist at CDW. “And then there’s the <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|CDW HUBS: Software Main|');" style="background:transparent; color:#0070bc; font-weight:inherit; text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Shop Computer Software">software</a> license savings. Rather than needing a separate license per user for both a tablet and notebook, organizations only need to purchase one license — for the 2-in-1.”</p> <p><a href=""><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Convertible and Detachable 2-in-1s Offer Different Styles</h2> <p>Any good tech trend goes by many names before consumers and OEMs finally lock on a name (<a href="" target="_blank">cloud computing</a> was once referred to as distributed computing), and 2-in-1 laptops are no different. Part of the difficulty in settling on a proper name for this device category is that manufacturers have developed two different designs for it: the <a href="" target="_blank">convertible-hybrid laptop (clamshell) </a>and the <a href="" target="_blank">detachable-hybrid tablet (detachable slate)</a>.</p> <p><strong>Convertible-hybrid laptop: </strong>This is a folding or clamshell design that involves <strong>swiveling the keyboard out of the way to use the device in tablet mode</strong>. It is a better option if you are planning to use the keyboard a lot. Downside is it can be a little bulkier than a detachable-hybrid tablet because of the hinge mechanisms and the battery in the keyboard base.</p> <p><strong><a href=";cx=0&amp;ln=2&amp;key=detachable&amp;gsw=1" target="_blank">Detachable-hybrid tablet</a>: </strong>This is a slate tablet that you can connect to a <a href="" target="_blank">keyboard dock</a>. When attached to the dock, it is <strong>indistinguishable from the convertible-hybrid laptop</strong>. Some detachable docks include extra battery cells or USB ports. The downside is that detachable-hybrid tablets tend to be top heavy, with all the system’s components and batteries residing in the tablet portion of the setup. This is a good device in a presentation scenario where you are controlling a slide deck through the tablet.</p> <p>Which design is right for you? There are a few factors to consider. The first is <strong>the work being done on it</strong>. The detachable tablet design has some specific use cases. “I see it being used by delivery drivers, by healthcare workers, and in police vehicles,” says Kring. “In <a href="" target="_blank">retail</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">small business</a>, it’s being used as a <a href="" target="_blank">POS device</a>. Contractors doing work on a job site or in a house can also make use of the presentation and POS use options.”</p> <p>The clamshell design is <strong>more versatile as a go-to tool for mobile professionals</strong>, workers needing the typical workstation set up. The keyboard experience is more stable and familiar, and you have docking capabilities not available with the detachable tablet design.</p> <p>Given the similarities in user experience, it may come down to simply <strong>what users are more comfortable working on</strong>. “When comparing clamshell versus 360 hinge designs, it comes down to user preference,” says Sinclair. “Does the user want to have a tablet in hand to share, or set up in tent mode? How close to the tablet experience do you want to go? That’s a determinant in which design to go with.”</p> <p><em>CDW offers 2-in-1 devices from several partners. <a href=";cx=0&amp;wcmmode=edit&amp;cq_ck=1529438206882" target="_blank">See which one has the best fit for your needs</a>.</em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 13:30:58 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41636 at Microsoft Nixes Support for Windows 7 PCs with Older Processors <span>Microsoft Nixes Support for Windows 7 PCs with Older Processors</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/02/2018 - 13:23</span> <div><p>For some Windows 7 PCs, the game is up. Although <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> officially will <a href="" target="_blank">support</a> security updates for machines running Windows 7 until Jan. 14, 2020, it has become clear that <strong>the company will not do so for <em>all </em>such devices</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">In an updated support article on its website</a> that was first widely noticed in late June, Microsoft indicated that, for older Windows 7-based PCs that do not support <strong>Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Data Extensions 2 (SSE2)</strong>, it would<strong> no longer provide security patches</strong>. SSE2 allows computer chipsets to process multimedia in parallel, which improves performance. In 2012, the feature became mandatory for processors running Windows.</p> <p>Users of such PCs, which run on now-archaic <a href="" target="_blank">Intel</a> processors (circa early to mid-2000s), have been experiencing a stop error. Previously, <a href="" target="_blank">as ZDNet reports</a>, Microsoft said it was working on a fix for the issue. Now, it is advising users affected to either <strong>“upgrade your machines with a processor that supports SSE2 or virtualize those machines.”</strong></p> <p>It’s unclear how many organizations or machines are affected by this change in stance, which, as ZDNet notes, is allowed under Microsoft’s <a href="" target="_blank">Business, Developer </a><a class="gr-progress" href="" target="_blank">and</a><a href="" target="_blank"> Desktop Operating Systems Policy</a>. “Older products may not meet today’s more demanding security requirements,” the policy reads. “Microsoft may be unable to provide security updates for older products.”</p> <p>However, the change does <strong>provide </strong><strong>fresh</strong><strong> incentive for organizations of all kinds to update their PCs, virtualize them</strong>, or migrate from Windows 7 to <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>. Updating or virtualizing PCs can enhance an organization’s cybersecurity posture, especially by ensuring that the PCs <strong>continue to receive regular security patches</strong>.</p> <p>Small and medium-sized businesses are more likely to have already done so, according to analysts, but government agencies may be more susceptible.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Why Some Organizations Wait to Upgrade to Windows 10</h2> <p><a href="">Three years after the debut of Windows 10</a>, Windows 7 still has more market share than the newer platform. According to data from analytics vendor <a href="" target="_blank">Net Applications</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">cited by Computerworld</a>, in May Windows 7 accounted for<strong> 41.8 percent</strong> of the user share of all PCs and<strong> 47.3 percent </strong>of all those running Windows. Windows 10 accounted for <strong>34.7 percent of all PCs and 39.3 percent of all Windows-based PCs</strong>. (<a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft announced in May</a> that nearly 700 million devices now run Windows 10, up from about 500 million in May 2017.)</p> <p>“Broadly speaking, Microsoft has always been challenged in moving the enterprise markets off of older Windows iterations to new ones for a few reasons,” says <a href="" target="_blank">Linn Huang</a>, a research director at IDC, who covers PCs, thin clients and monitors.</p> <p>Corporate IT departments<strong> generally value stability more than new features </strong>from the latest version of operating systems, Huang says. He adds that OS migrations “can also <strong>get fairly costly</strong> for larger companies.”</p> <p>The effective end-of-support date for Windows 7 in January 2020 is “a means for Microsoft to move the last corners of the corporate world from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and allows it to focus more of its resources on Windows 10, which to its credit has been favorably received by most organizations we’ve talked to.”</p> <p>Another issue, Huang says, is Windows 7’s lack of compatibility on new chipsets, which has been causing “all sorts of driver issues” on PCs. Windows 7 was already proving problematic with Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processors, according to Huang, but <a href="" target="_blank">PC makers</a> built bridges to<strong> ensure their key devices for the enterprise market would be compatible with Windows 7</strong>. “This has not been the case for the subsequent two generations, so a new PC powered by Intel’s latest processors would likely have to remain Windows 10 when deployed,” he says.</p> <p>A commercial survey IDC fielded in February found that larger enterprises were <strong>49 percent through their migrations to Windows 10</strong>, and <strong>97 percent </strong>expected to be complete within <strong>the next two years</strong>, which will put their migration completions right around the time Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7.</p> <p>In another commercial survey completed last week, according to Huang, IDC asked, “On a scale of 1 (not concerned at all) to 10 (extremely concerned), how concerning is the [end-of-life] date of Windows 7?”</p> <p>The average for large enterprises was 6.5, which Huang describes as a moderate level of concern; 41 percent rated their concern levels an 8 or higher, and 14 percent rated their concerns a 3 or lower.</p> <h2>Security Concerns Drive Windows Upgrades</h2> <p>In short, Huang says, “there is still a significant chunk of the enterprise installed base on Windows 7, and there is legitimate concern on behalf of IT managers to get this done ahead of” the January 2020 deadline. However, it appears most enterprises plan to complete the migration in time.</p> <p>“I believe the corporate migration to Windows 10 has occurred faster than previous iterations,” in part due to <strong>how well Windows 10 has been received by the commercial world</strong>, Huang notes.</p> <p>Importantly, the enhanced security features of Windows 10 and the need for continuous security updates likely are major drivers in the upgrades, Huang says.</p> <p>“A focus on <strong>security and on manageability</strong>, in a world where <strong>CEOs lose their jobs over breaches and the IT </strong><strong>environment</strong><strong> accelerates in its complexity</strong>, has and will continue to prove a winning formula for Microsoft and its users,” Huang says.</p> <p>“The primary challenge has been that most organizations only moved from XP to 7 as late as five years ago and were not planning and budgeting to move to the next iteration for another decade.”</p> <p><strong>SMBs have generally migrated sooner to Windows 10</strong>, according to Huang. He notes that for many small businesses, the migration was as simple as buying new PCs. “Concern levels there are generally lower,” he says.</p> <p>Traditionally, according to Huang, <strong>the public sector “is the last to move” </strong>to a new operating system, but IDC has “seen healthy migration efforts from government and education in play already.” <strong>Healthcare organizations</strong> are also on their way to migrating to Windows 10, Huang says. </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Mon, 02 Jul 2018 17:23:45 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41631 at