Author: Nick Farrell

Edge protector Brookcourt inspires the London Stock Exchange


edge 620_1Brookcourt Solutions has been named in London Stock Exchange Group’s “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain” Report.

The edge protective technology solutions outfit  was recognised in the fourth edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.

The report names fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK

To make the cut, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers

Brookcourt CEO Phil Higgins said: “Brookcourt are pleased to have won such a prestigious and innovative award. We focus on defining ways to deliver effective IT security solutions that match the increasing business demands for secure IT operations in today’s fast paced, unpredictable technological environment. By blending innovating, problem solving technologies across all enterprise verticals, Brookcourt’s award winning, customer centric approach ensures we continuously keep ahead. We are honoured to have been selected to receive this award.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said that four years after its first release,  LSEG’s ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs.

“The strength and diversity of these companies is readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these,” Rolet said.

Ellison bets on IaaS and PaaS business

Larry EllisonOracle founder Larry Ellison has told the world that he expects Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS business to “accelerate into hyper-growth” over the coming year.

Strong SaaS sales dramatically improved the company’s fiscal in the fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results.

SaaS sales grew 76 percent to $1 billion in the fourth quarter pushing Oracle’s overall cloud revenues up 66 percent $1.4 billion. Total revenues for the quarter rose four percent to $10.9 billion.

Although IaaS and PaaS growth was 45 percent in the fourth quarter, rising to $403 million, Ellison predicted Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS business will soon grow so fast it will “be even bigger than our SaaS business”.

He said that during the new fiscal year, Oracle’s PaaS and IaaS businesses to accelerate into hyper growth, the same kind of growth it was seeing with SaaS.

Ellison, who is now Oracle’s CTO, also used the call to make his ritual traditional jibe at Salesforce, claiming fiscal 2017 was the second year in a row Oracle sold more cloud annual recurring revenue than its SaaS rival.

He said that Oracle’s rapid SaaS growth was the driving force behind Oracle’s revenue and earnings growth in Q4.

“The reason we are confident that we will pass Salesforce is because we have a three-fold SaaS application suites for ERP, for HCM and for CRM including financials, procurement, supply chain, manufacturing, human resources, payroll, marketing, sales and service. Salesforce in contrast only competes in three of these nine market areas,” he said.

Vendors can’t keep up with IT changes

race-atalanta-hippomenesHuawei’s UK channel director Michael Rae claimed that most of the established vendors are struggling to keep up with changes in IT.

Speaking at Huawei’s 2017 partner conference, Rae said that as cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) adoption accelerates, most outfits are struggling to cope.

He warned his 300 UK partners that they needed to pull their socks up and improve their level of services certification around IoT and cloud. He slammed other vendors who were hoping for a quick fix by bolting on added products for partners to sell.

Many were adapting with an ‘attached’ strategy which involved attaching licenses and new services that partners must sell. This is going to affect your costing and will have a knock-on effect to customers as well.”

Huawei meanwhile is investing in its partner training resources with a new webinar service and recently launched its online training platform Huawei University, which partners can also use to train customers.

Rae said that, unlike other vendors, Hauwei was extremely partner dependent with service revenue split 85 percent in favour of our partners.

That said, Rae admitted that partners were hacked off with Huawei’s sluggish supply chain. He said that the company was improving this. More than 68 percent of deliveries are now being made out of Huawei’s European distribution hubs in the Netherlands and Hungary and carry around 75 percent of Huawei’s enterprise product portfolio.

More investment in this area was coming, along with significant investments in our production facilities from a planning, forecasting and build perspective.

Passive optical LAN fibre could be a money spinner

Fruit-and-fibreThe Association for Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN) said that it is time that more resellers and vendors put their customers on a high fibre diet.

The outfit has just compiled a report which shows that network users’ demand for connectivity is growing like topsie and this creates a need to re-evaluate the network backbone technology options that can support today and tomorrow’s needs.

Put simply, fibre-based networks deliver significant benefits that traditional copper-based LANs can’t match.

The findings of its APOLAN member survey, ranking the key benefits the next generation technology is delivering to modern IT networks. Findings show tangible green benefits, reduced spacing requirements, and superior scalability top the list as the benefits that most influence adoption and impact for optical LAN customers.

The top five selling points for passive optical LAN customers are:

  •  Tangible contributions to environmental green initiatives: With no power consumption, minimal HVAC needs and reduced equipment needs, passive optical LAN provides stronger green benefits to enterprises compared to copper-based networks. This technology supports LEED and Green Globe certifications.
  •  Reduced spacing requirements: Unlike copper-based LAN need for telecom rooms, passive optical LAN uses very little space in a building due to its reduced equipment and cabling requirements and limited powering and cooling needs. This means space savings for enterprises that can convert this extra space into more comfortable areas or in revenue-generating areas.
  • Superior scalability and availability: To keep up with growing connectivity needs, modern network backbone technologies need to deliver scalability to accommodate more bandwidth needs as well as availability that keeps business going, with no unplanned interruption. In both situations, passive optical LAN provides superior rates when compared to copper-based LAN.
  • Time-saving opportunities to IT teams: Due to its reduced component needs and network simplicity, passive optical LAN requires little time to be deployed and maintained. Another time-saving benefit when compared to copper-based LAN, is its certification period. Typically, it takes three and a half days of training, compared to several weeks required for a copper-based network.
  • Lower capital and operational costs: Because of less equipment and lower energy and cooling needs, passive optical LAN is simpler to deploy and to support, delivering greater cost reductions both short and long-term to enterprises. In another significant cost benefit, POL needs less frequent upgrading, every 10 years or more compared to every 5-7 years with copper.

APOLAN President and Chairman Thomas C. Ruvarac said:  “The survey clearly brought the key network benefits that enterprises can experience when deploying fibre-based networks,” said. “Passive optical LAN is the only network technology that can support the convergence of services, including video, data, and smart building connectivity, with improved network speed and performance.”

APOLAN membership is formed of heavyweight industry leaders that are shaping the network and connectivity future in the hospitality, healthcare, enterprise, building and construction, retail, manufacturing, financial, and education areas as well as in government. The survey was open to all Association members to offer inputs into the key network and technology benefits of the technology that were relevant to the market.


Intoware and AMRC take on the knowledge gaps

ul_books_shelfm290a951078_1100_germangapIntoware and the AMRC are working together to solve knowledge gaps which are causing problems in many vertical markets.

The pair is working on initiatives using software and hardware including wearable devices and machine intelligence to address this issue.

Engineers average age is around 50 years and represents a significant percentage of the workforce. This indicates an impending skills gap that is expected to hit these industries soon, creating an opportunity for technology solve a critical skills problem.

Intoware and the AMRC have joined to form a collective to create a straightforward and effective solution to this issue, each playing an essential role in the success of this cunning plan by providing technology and innovation.

A proof of concept will be set up at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 in Sheffield. A limited number of industry partners interested in participating in this collaboration can apply as early as July of 2017.

Intoware CEO Keith Shipton said: “This problem is something our team has been looking at for some time now,” and added machine intelligence and wearables are at a point where they can be used.

AMRC Augmented Reality Technical Fellow, Chris Freeman, said: “The AMRC has worked with industry innovators on many projects solving problems leveraging the latest advancements in technology.”


NetComm and Telefonia sign worldwide IoT supply deal

shoe phonenetNetComm and Telefónica signed a global  IoT Device Supply Agreement which should help  NetComm’ presence in Europe.

The deal offers new 3G/4G M2M/IoT capabilities for smart city, mobility, retail and energy across multiple geographies as Telefónica extends its IoT reach to over 2,500 enterprises worldwide.

NetComm General Manager M2M Philip Micallef said that Telefónica was globally driving digital transformation with a focus on IoT innovation.

“We are pleased to join Telefónica’s partner ecosystem as the need for smart remote communication between business assets, and machines become ever more critical for enterprises globally,” he said.

Both Telefónica and NetComm Wireless have received important recognition for IoT innovation with NetComm won the Aussie communications industry’s highest accolade for IoT innovation, –  the IoT Innovator ACOMMS Award. Telefónica appeared for the third year running in the “Leaders” quadrant of independent analyst firm Gartner’s report “Magic Quadrant for Managed Machine-to-Machine Services, Worldwide” which was published in October 2016.

NetComm Wireless will supply 3G/4G M2M/IoT devices including the: 4G M2M Router (NTC-140); 3G M2M Router Series (NTC-6200) and its 3G Serial Modem (NTC-3000), under the agreement,


Queen’s Speech features new UK data protection law and digital charter

Parliament 2017Her Majesty the Queen, crowned in her best blue hat, mentioned a few things for the tech industry in her speech including promises of a new UK data protection law and digital charter.

Brexit dominated the speech and observers noted the fact that a few of the key Tory’s manifesto pledges such as a return to fox torture and expanding grammar schools had been removed. However, technology was also a recurring theme in the speech.

“A new law will ensure that the United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data, and proposals for a new digital charter will be brought forward to ensure that the United Kingdom is the safest place to be online”, the Queen said.

This means that a UK-specific GDPR is on the way and this could have a significant impact on the Channel who will welcome it the same way as they would a rabid dog.

Theresa May wanted to establish an international framework which is similar to those for banking and trade is expected to include proposals for closer scrutiny and regulation of certain activities online, chiefly of extremist material or content that is abusive or harmful to children.

This means that despite government claims to want a free and open internet, these proposals will drown tech companies in red tape.

The Queen also said that her government will bring forward proposals to ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security.

“A commission for countering extremism will be established to support the government in stamping out extremist ideology in all its forms, both across society and on the internet, so it is denied a safe space to spread,” she said.

This might be more welcome as cyber security breaches cost businesses almost £30bn last year and small firms, are accelerating investment in security technologies to protect themselves and their customers from threats online.

Periscope teams up with dscout

IMG_5062Periscope By McKinsey has announced an alliance with research platform dscout, to develop a rapid and flexible delivery of qualitative research for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Dscout’s is known for its research capabilities into customers’ thoughts and behaviours in the form of video, images and text as they happen.

Combined with Periscope’s Insight Solutions, the new offering will enable Periscope’s clients to have meaningful C-Suite ready decision support available within days.

Periscope Managing Partner Brian Elliott said: “This is an exciting alliance, with both partners committed to answering our client’s key marketing questions through the lens of the customer by integrating dscout’s agile research capabilities into our insights creation.”

This will also allow the capability to expand from the traditional consumer segments into B2B scenarios and into different geographic regions, he said.

“Using dscout’s digital platform further enables us to understand how customers use products and services in a few days and integrate these ‘in the moment’ and evocative insights into our recommendations.”

Dscout’s digital platform enables clients to commission and complete qualitative research rapidly. Its core assets are its Software as a Service (SaaS) research and analysis platform and a pool of “scouts”—people who capture key moments in their everyday lives through short videos, photos and text entries captured on their mobile phones.

Periscope’s Insight Solutions Offering provides clients with a one-stop shop for cutting-edge outside-in consumer and buyer insights via agile market research techniques and proven approaches with a network of global research partners.

Dscout CEO Michael Winnick said: “Our relationship with Periscope will accelerate our ability to provide in-the- moment insight from people around the world to our global clients.”

AMD returns to servers

AMD-Technician-Poses-With-Chip-WaferAMD was given a good kicking in the server front and left Intel as the king of the chicken coup. However, that is starting to change with AMD providing new competitive products which will give its partners something serious to offer customers.

AMD’s launch of the EPYC data centre processor is a case in point and should give the channel to talk about with its partners.

AMD supremo Lisa Su claimed: “EPYC processors provided uncompromising performance for single-socket systems while scaling dual-socket server performance to new heights, outperforming the competition at every price point.”

“We are proud to bring choice and innovation back to the datacenter with the strong support of our global ecosystem partners,” she said.

The company has the backing of some key server players including HPE, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Gigabyte, Supermicro and Tyan.

It also has a pile of paperwork with shedloads of benchmark studies that indicate the processors deliver speed and reliability. They are being pitched to support cloud, machine intelligence and critical enterprise workloads.

HPE is using the Cloudline CL3150 and expanding into other product lines later this year. Dell claims that its PowerEdge servers combined with the AMD technology would provide performance and security improvements. Lenovo is telling its customers that AMD based gear can reduce TCO as a result of the processor and server performance improvements.

AMD has sauced up the offering by adding its Radeon Instinct accelerators that are targeting the high-powered computing market.

Either way, Intel does not have the field to itself, and that can only be good for the channel.


Microsoft insists Surface laptop can be repaired

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world Microsoft is in hot water after an iFixit report said that its Surface Pro was impossible to fix.

A tear-down of the product showed that since most of it was glued down it would be impossible to even change the battery without scrapping the entire computer.

The review said: “The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it. Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we’d love to be wrong.”

However, Microsoft has hit back, saying its Surface products are “intended to be serviced by professionals” after being criticised for making its Surface Laptop difficult to take apart for repairs.

After using a variety of tools to prise open the case, iFixit then used an “ultra-dangerous” heat gun to burn the keyboard casing off the chassis, melting several keys in the process.

“As is the case with many products, Surface is built by professionals and is intended to be serviced by professionals,” a Vole representative said.

Most top vendors suffering

220px-Dramaten_mask_2008aNumber crunchers from Gartner group claim that four of the top five IT vendors suffered a fall in sales last year.

Out of Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and IBM, only Google grew its revenues.

In its Gartner, Global Top 100: IT Vendors report, the number crunchers attempted to rank the top 100 largest tech companies based on estimates for their revenue across IT and component market segments.

Despite seeing estimated IT revenue fall from $235 billion to $218 billion year on year, Apple topped the rankings, well ahead of Samsung, which saw its haul shrink from $142 billion to $1391 billion.

Google grew its revenues from $74.9 billion to $90.1 billion, while Microsoft shrank from $88.1 billion to $85.7 billion and IBM fell from $79.6 billion to $77.8 billion.

Gartner said its figures will help illustrate the shift in the industry from the ‘Nexus of Forces’ to digital business as the driver of IT purchasing.

For those who came in late, or find it difficult to care, the Nexus of Forces, Gartner’s term for the convergence of social, mobility, cloud and information. It believes it has propped up many of the IT market’s leading players – including Apple and Google – in recent years.

Gartner vice president John-David Lovelock said that the needs of IT buyers are shifting. CEOs were focused on growth and are more focused on realising business outcomes from their IT spend, Big G said.

We are not sure about this, people have been saying that sort of thing since the 1990s when we started reporting on the IT market. In fact, it was the reason so many companies moved to outsourcing.

Digital giants, like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent will leave their mark in 2017, Gartner said.

These seven companies will be involved in 20 percent of all activities an individual engages in by 2020, Gartner predicted.

“Digital giants effectively become gatekeepers for any business that delivers digital content and services to consumers. Any company that wants to engage consumers in, or through, their digital world will have to consider engaging with one or more of these digital giants,” Lovelock said.

Cisco using intuitive switches in compute space push

Cisco Kid Networking giant Cisco is having a crack at pushing itself into the compute space with “intuitive” boxes which can analyse and control network traffic.

The new Catalyst 9000 series switches are shipping with a management platform called “DNA Centre”, and the aim is to make the switches better able to apply security policies and controls for devices on a network.

The control centre can manage access policies and privileges for devices and apply specific security controls via the Talos security tools.

According to Cisco, the tools can analyse traffic and recognize things like malware infections based on the way they move packets over the network.

Meanwhile, Cisco claims machine learning components in DNA Centre will let the switches change policies to recognize devices and users.

All this means is that Cisco partners can push its gear deeper into IT management, letting the network hardware handle things like managing cloud apps and keeping access policies for mobile devices and guest connections.

CEO Chuck Robbins said that the gear can translate their business intent into the network.

The switches are based on custom ASICs from Cisco that will be customisable and reprogrammable to use with private clouds or specific applications and stacks. The 9000 series comes in three models for enterprises: the 9300, 9400, and 9500. The smaller 9300 and 9500 switches are shipping this month, while the larger 9400 switches will be making their way to customers in July.

The 9000 series uses subscription services. Cisco says that from now on, customers will have to agree to a package of either pre-bundled Cisco ONE software tools or as packages with the DNA Centre software.

This is all part of Cisco’s long-term goal to turn from a network hardware outfit into an IT management vendor.

Pure Storage says that Flash space is now mature

flash_gordon (1)Flash space outfit Pure Storage says it has growth plans thanks to a new product set that it says reflects that the market is mature.

The vendor used its second customer and partner event, Pure Accelerate 2017, to highlight concepts like deep learning, data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how they are driving customers’ data requirements.

VP EMEA, Pure Storage James Petter said that the message has changed and matured, particularly around his outfit’s data platform.

“We don’t want to be a storage company; we’re a data company, we’re an innovation company.”

The vendor has released a new NVMe array, FlashArray//X, its FlashBlade storage platform, plus 25 new software features during Accelerate.

Other announcements included a new AI engine offering predictive intelligence, Meta, as well as enhancements to its flash array FlashBlade – now with 75-blades so it is faster to process big data and “unlock iterative real-time analytics, advanced AI and machine learning (ML), and rich simulation for data of any size”.

This will be good news to its UK partners who have been finding it difficult to position FlashBlade because it has been flogged as an object storage platform, even if it is costlier.

It is not clear yet if customer demand for AI, ML and other areas that demand high-performance storage is there yet.

Millennials will go for sustainable IT

millieniansHP managing director George Brasher thinks that moving to sustainable IT will be a money spinner for the channel.

Brasher recently spoke to the Sustainability Summit where he said that more socially aware millennials will begin to exert dominance over IT decision making and he thinks that partners to get on board with device-as-a-service and other sustainable IT initiatives.

HP has pledged over the years leading up to 2025 to reduce its supply chain-related greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent and involve at least 500,000 of its factory workers in worker skills development.

Brasher said this is because HP is responding not only to global “mega-trends”, such as the growth of the global middle class and rise of the sharing economy, but also increased pull from customers.

Those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, the millennials, are typically more socially and environmentally conscious than those who came before them and – crucially – will soon make up the majority of IT decision makers, he pointed out.

Environmental requirements were starting to show up as part of tenders and customers are calling for it.

Millennials will be more than half of the IT decision makers in a decade, and they really value it. Employees are also calling for it. They really value it as part of being prideful of the place they work, and, again, this is especially true of millennials, Brasher said.

Rocco names the World’s Leading A2P SMS Messaging Vendors.

0833-ROCCO-181116Beancounters at Rocco Research have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and named the Tier One Vendors in A2P SMS Messaging for 2017.

Rocco requested Mobile Network Operators to rate their A2P SMS Messaging Vendors. More than 326 Mobile Network Operators in 147 countries gave their opinions on 46 International A2P SMS Messaging Vendors.

CEO of Rocco Jason Bryan said that A2P SMS was a highly competitive and high revenue market, but not all vendors operate with the best interest of Mobile Operators.

“Mobile Operators are opinionated about their Vendors. It is an accolade to be recognised as a Tier One Vendor in our reports because we provide an Independent and completely neutral outlook on the market.”

The leading Vendors as rated by the MNOs were (in alphabetical order):

1.CLX Communications
2. Infobip
3. Nexmo (The Vonage API Platform)
4. Route Mobile Ltd
5. Twilio

The detailed analysis of more than 20 vendors from a pool of 46 Vendors selected by Mobile Operators can be found in the Rocco Research A2P SMS Messaging Vendor Performance Report 2017 here.