IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of April 3rd

Physical security wares from ISC West, a newly expanded Office 365 SKU for desk-less workers, and the app everyone who’s ever agonized over baby names has been waiting for are all among the stories we didn’t tell you about this week.

By Rich Freeman

As paradoxes go, this one isn’t exactly fascinating, but here goes anyway: This wasn’t an especially big news week, yet we’re somehow going to end up using the word “big” a whole lot anyway. Let’s dive right in so you can see what we mean, shall we?

D-Link Vigilance CameraISC you. The big live event this week was the International Security Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Better known as ISC West, it’s one of the year’s largest get-togethers for makers and resellers of video surveillance solutions, access control systems, and other physical security offerings, and vendors who play in that space naturally capitalized on their access to the nearly 30,000 expected attendees to make some announcements. For example:

  • D-Link added two new IP cameras, including the smallest fisheye device in its class (pictured), to its Vigilance surveillance product line.
  • NETGEAR introduced a partner program for its Arlo home security camera system with recurring revenue opportunities.
  • Panasonic rounded out its i-PRO Extreme surveillance product line with the addition of a new high-end recorder and management application.
  • Western Digital, in a press release that didn’t actually reference ISC West, got on the physical security bandwagon anyway by releasing a new 10 TB hard drive for use with video surveillance applications.

Carrie UnderwoodReinforcing the front line. Over at Microsoft, the big news of the week concerned Office 365, and was big mostly in the sense that various components of the cloud collaboration suite are now bigger than they used to be:

  • The Enterprise K1 plan for “frontline” staff who work in call centers, on production lines, and behind counters rather than at desks now includes Microsoft’s new Slack-like Teams solution, a 2 GB OneDrive for Business account, Skype for Business presence and IM functionality, and more. All of that is on top of the recently added StaffHub solution we told you about in this space back in January, which gives frontliners a place to manage their schedule, share information, and access work-related apps. None of this affects the K1 plan’s price, however, which remains $4 per per user per month with an upfront annual commitment.
  • Project Online, for its part, now supports up to 30,000 projects, instead of 5,000 like before. Though frankly, just writing the words “30,000 projects” makes us weary.
  • Finally, two new products named Office 365 Threat Intelligence and Office 365 Advanced Data Governance made their debut. The former provides near real-time information on emerging threats based on billions of data points collected from Microsoft data centers, Office implementations, user authentications, and elsewhere. The latter uses machine learning to help administrators mitigate security risks by weeding out data that’s no longer needed but could pose a compliance or liability issue if purloined.

Oh, and if you’re going to Microsoft Inspire (i.e. the event formerly known as the Worldwide Partner Conference), so is Carrie Underwood.

Western Digital Portable SSDSo who else had big product launches this week? How about these folks:

  • Fortinet introduced a new security fabric that both utilizes and protects SD-WAN connections.
  • IBM revealed that it will soon offer access to NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU accelerators through its public cloud, and unveiled an automated helpdesk powered by its Watson artificial intelligence platform. (Unlike your helpdesk team, IBM insinuated, Watson “never takes a new job, never forgets what it has been taught and is continuously learning with each interaction.”) 
  • iboss rolled out a subscription-priced, SaaS-based distributed gateway platform designed to be an alternative to traditional secure web gateways.
  • 2017 vendor on the vanguard illusive networks added a new set of network safeguards to its “deception-based” security solution, which confuses attackers by packing end user environments with phony resources only they can see. 
  • ManageEngine created a kind of quasi-managed services software suite by integrating its IT service desk solution with parent company Zoho’s CRM, Books, and Invoice solutions.
  • Microsemi added 2 new storage I/O controllers to its Unified Smart Storage Stack.
  • Salesforce shipped a new sales team productivity tool that utilizes the vendor’s Einstein artificial intelligence platform to score leads and track customer interactions automatically. 
  • Western Digital shipped a new line of wee, high-speed portable SSDs with up to 1 TB of capacity (pictured).

Ravi ChpraMore big stories! This time without products, though:

This week’s (BIG!) stats ticker:

  • Android has displaced Windows as the world’s most popular operating system, according to StatCounter.
  • 1 percent of PCs worldwide are running Windows Vista (which EOLs next week), 14 percent are running Windows XP, and 69 percent are running Windows 7, according to Spiceworks.
  • Microsoft is number one in customer satisfaction among tablet users, followed by Apple and Samsung, according to J.D. Power.
  • 35 percent of IT professionals have migrated applications and infrastructure to the cloud and then brought them back onsite, due mostly to security and performance issues, according to SolarWinds.
  • 44 percent of VARs don’t currently offer a cloud service bundle and 22 percent collect no recurring revenue from the cloud, according to Westcon-Comstor.
  • Global spending on artificial intelligence and cognitive solutions will rise 59.3 percent this year to $12.5 billion, according to IDC.
  • 53 percent of social network users haven’t changed their password in the past year and 20 percent haven’t switched passwords EVER, according to Thycotic.

ChoozeDon’t think! Choose a name for your newborn instead, say the makers of Chooze, a newly released app for iOS devices. Designed by cognitive psychologists, the system uses familiar swipe-left, swipe-right functionality to measure your subconscious response to various options and guide you to the name you and your spouse are too nerve-wracked to recognize as the one you wanted all along. Given that baby-naming agonies drive 1 million Google searches a month, according to the app’s developers, and that 1 in 5 parents end up regretting the name they stuck their child with, according to research from parenting site Bounty.com, there’s a more than ample market for such a tool. One can’t help but wonder though if Chooze is really helping you choose or doing the choosing for you. Nor is it reassuring that the app’s FAQ concedes that “environmental noise” can result in different results more or less every time you run the thing. This may just be one of those rare cases in which you’re better off doing things the hard way than giving in to the temptations of outsourcing a difficult task to your smartphone.

 

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Senior News Editor