At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Starting on September 1, 2019, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 users directly into Microsoft Teams, in essence removing the option for customers to run both Teams and the soon-to-be-retired Skype for Business Online.
  • Though somewhat extreme, this migration plan has been coming on for some time now, frankly ever since Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017.

Via blog post earlier this week, Microsoft made the wholly unsurprising announcement that it would officially retire its long-term messaging solution, Skype for Business Online, on July 31st, 2021. Unlike many similar migration plans, where rival products can linger for years after closure, Microsoft does not intend to let Skype for Business Online slowly fade away. Continue reading “At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online”

CSPs Need to Digitize, Automate, and become More Agile

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• There is an urgency for communications service providers (CSPs) to transform their businesses, including systems, processes, and people/culture.

• Agile product development, digital platforms, automation, and SDN/NFV solutions are key aspects of CSP transformation.

CSPs face declining carriage revenue and increasing competition from traditional rivals and disruptive players in the form of OTT players, cloud-based service providers and new market entrants with leaner operating models. Against this backdrop, CSPs see an urgency to improve customer service to minimize churn, develop digital sales channels, and embrace cloud and digital solutions to achieve operational agility. At the same time, technology advancement is opening up new opportunities for CSPs in the enterprise segment. Examples include SDN/NFV, big data, cloud, AI/ML, cybersecurity, IoT, and 5G. Enterprises across various industry verticals are tapping insights from customer data to gain competitive advantages. CSPs hold vast amount of data and operate very complex IT systems and networks. There are opportunities for CSPs to transform their business and operations through the use of digital solutions but major changes need to occur for a CSP to be successful. These include developing new partnerships, upskilling/reskilling their workforce, changing the culture, and streamlining systems and processes. Continue reading “CSPs Need to Digitize, Automate, and become More Agile”

Video Analytics for Public Safety Will Require Digital Transformation

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

  • AI and machine learning-powered video analytics are revolutionizing the video capabilities of public safety departments, with solutions like Scene from Nokia and Appearance Search from Motorola Solutions-owned Avigilon leading the way.
  • Further integration into other public safety infrastructure will be critical to leverage the full potential of this technology, but that presents a challenge, as many critical communications systems rely on siloed radio networks.

Video analytics has been a hot topic for the past few years, but only recently have we seen larger-scale deployments in the public safety sphere. Government spend on these technologies is set to increase in the coming years, and plenty of vendors are readying their portfolios to meet this demand. While there is a wealth of small players specializing in this field, Nokia has developed its Scene Analytics platform and Motorola Solutions purchased AI-based video analytics company Avigilon in March 2018. Both these vendors have seen some significant return on these investments, with Nokia launching its Scene Analytics service in Belgium through security company Room40. Meanwhile, Motorola Solutions has a host of wins for its Aviligon service across public safety, logistics, and education, including the New Bedford Housing Authority in the US, Express Cargo in Ireland and Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Continue reading “Video Analytics for Public Safety Will Require Digital Transformation”

Microservices Apps Prompt New API Security Solutions

Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

Summary Bullets:

• New trends in API security include supporting Istio service mesh technology as part of API management/security solutions

• Vendors are targeting solutions at developers looking to inject security early on in the API lifecycle.

Along with new application development architectures come heightened security concerns within the DevOps process. Enterprises are beginning to move into application modernization projects, adopting new architectures such as microservices and serverless computing. These next-generation architectures, which create distributed applications, require security participation beyond operations and security teams so that app developers and architects can help address new types of vulnerabilities. There is also greater interest in segmenting and monitoring the new app architecture (e.g., access control, authentication, metering, and throttling) so that enterprises have a better understanding of, not only security vulnerabilities, but also how their infrastructure is being used. Continue reading “Microservices Apps Prompt New API Security Solutions”

Tech Mahindra’s GAiA Platform Provides AI Marketplace and Model Lifecycle Management

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• GAiA can be deployed on Google, AWS, or Azure clouds, or in a private cloud, on-premises data center, or in a bare metal environment.

• Customers can go to the GAiA public marketplace and download models developed by Tech Mahindra and others, and retune and retrain them for their own use.

Leveraging artificial intelligence to obtain better insights, make more informed predictions, and improve operations is a top priority for most mid-sized and large organizations. However, the process can be daunting. Developing models is time-consuming and skilled resources are scarce and expensive, leaving many organizations in search of solutions that will help them streamline the process. AI platforms strive to do just that by providing a comprehensive environment for developing, training, testing, sharing, deploying, and managing AI models. Continue reading “Tech Mahindra’s GAiA Platform Provides AI Marketplace and Model Lifecycle Management”

AWS Highlights Trend Towards DevOps in a Serverless World

Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

Summary Bullets:

• EventBridge advances AWS’ DevOps Agenda

• Cloud rivals are challenged to bundle DevOps and Serverless technologies

Enterprises continue to struggle with application modernization complexities involving new microservices and serverless computing architectures. As a result, public cloud providers are trying to do more of the heavy-lifting of infrastructure constructs through new DevOps solutions supporting event-based workloads.

During the recent AWS Summit, CTO Werner Vogels announced the general availability of EventBridge, which integrates operations’ external data and helps automate the DevOps processes within a serverless model. The concept is attractive to enterprises moving into cloud technologies because Amazon is acknowledging their need for application lifecycle management (ALM) technologies while having that data available, typically in a SaaS format, and tucked into the management services within AWS (e.g., AWS Consule/CLI/SDKs).

AWS EventBridge is a serverless event processing model based on CloudWatch Events and provides the integration between AWS apps and business systems important to operations teams, such as analytics and application performance management (APM). The event bus leverages Lambda serverless functions with the goal of further abstracting infrastructure complexities to DevOps members. Continue reading “AWS Highlights Trend Towards DevOps in a Serverless World”

Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• Alibaba Cloud’s partnership with Sena on Smart City initiative strengthens the provider partner ecosystem, especially with the domestic players.

• However, Alibaba Cloud’s City Brain still has limited customer references compared to other hyperscalers such as AWS and Azure. The cloud stack such as AWS Outpost and Azure Stack would enable cloud providers to address the data residency and edge compute requirements without having local facilities.

On May 23, 2019, Alibaba Cloud announced a collaboration with Sena Traffic System (Sena), Malaysia’s leading smart traffic controller, to build a smart traffic management in the country. In the partnership, Alibaba Cloud will provide its City Brain solution, cloud computing resources, and talent development programs while Sena will be responsible for the overall design and development of the traffic light systems as well as the deployment. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem”

Salesforce Is Tackling Blockchain from a Frontend and Backend Perspective

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Salesforce Lightning Platform’s low-code app development technology is the cornerstone of its blockchain strategy.
  • MuleSoft will eventually add compelling backend integration capabilities to customers’ blockchain projects.

Salesforce used its annual developer conference to announce its entrance into the blockchain platform space last week, a compelling prospect considering its strengths in frontend app development via its low-code expertise and, more recently, backend integration capabilities through its newly acquired MuleSoft. Continue reading “Salesforce Is Tackling Blockchain from a Frontend and Backend Perspective”

Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Cost sharing between vendors/SPs and customers can strengthen relationships in a difficult time.

• Calm and deliberate planning by vendors/SPs and customers is key to minimizing impacts to business.

The new tariffs on imported goods in China and the U.S. will have a significant impact on pending and future deals, both for service providers, vendors, and customers. The technology industry has a complex and deeply international supply chain, with U.S. and Chinese companies both utilizing components and intellectual property. Component price increases will lead to sharp increases in product costs. These increases will slow or stall deals as customers may wait and see if the issues can be resolved in a short time frame.
Continue reading “Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector”

Can We Use Blockchain to Thwart Fake News?

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Digital media faces a ‘fake news’ problem where sources may be biased or worse, and actual content may be manipulated.
  • Orange is behind Safe.press, a blockchain-based consortium for certifying news sources as legitimate – and not ‘fake.’

As investigative journalists and whistleblowers struggle to be heard in calling out the rampant abuse of social networks in propagating ‘fake news,’ one startup is trying to tackle the issue with new technology. Continue reading “Can We Use Blockchain to Thwart Fake News?”