IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of May 15th

AI news from SAP, developer goodies from Google, and a beer made from…well, let’s just say it’s called Pisner for a reason are all among the stories we didn’t get to this week.

By Rich Freeman

We don’t ask for much really. In fact, the only thing we all wish we had here at ChannelPro, but lack, is total and complete mastery of both time and space. You know, the kind that would allow us to be everywhere at once. Because while some of us were partying with Veeam in New Orleans this week, there were tech world shindigs aplenty going on elsewhere. Let’s take a peek at the ones we missed.

Sap Leonardo Machine LearningMake room in the AI bandwagon. Because here comes SAP, barreling on board this week at its annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Las Vegas. The software maker had plenty to say about the new release of its flagship ERP platform, some new analytics capabilities, and more. But the big news concerned an expanded version of the SAP Leonardo “digital innovation system” that manages to bundle together pretty much every buzzy new next-gen technology on the market, from the Internet of Things to Big Data to blockchain.

And, inevitably, machine learning in the form of the new SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation, which sounds more than a little like the machine learning offerings that Microsoft and ServiceNow introduced just last week, not to mention IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, and a host of other artificial intelligence platforms that among other things come with ready-made services developers can tap into via the interwebs. In SAP’s case, those include AI-based tools that sift through resumes on behalf of job recruiters and process customer service requests, among other tasks.

Meanwhile, because everyone at a good party wants the world to know they’re the host’s bestest friend in the whole wide world, Google and Microsoft loudly explained why their public cloud is the ideal place to host an SAP deployment. Advantage Google, though, for also hinting at ongoing collaboration with SAP on machine learning initiatives, as well as further integration between SAP solutions and Google’s G Suite productivity apps.

TPUThat wasn’t all from Google this week, either. Far from it, in fact. At the Google I/O outdoor festival conference for developers in Mountain View, Calif., the tech giant uncorked a news torrent of its own, much of which, as you might expect, concerned programming tools for Android. There were a few announcements of note for non-developers too though, including word that:

  • The Google Cloud Platform will soon offer access to high-speed chips Google calls Tensor Processing Units (pictured), which sound quite a bit like the turbocharged Volta GPUs NVIDIA unveiled last week, not to mention the Tesla P100 GPUs that IBM and Microsoft are offering to public cloud customers.
  • New standalone Google Daydream virtual reality headsets that don’t require a connection to a PC or smartphone are on the way. HTC and Lenovo both have models in the works, and the processors will come from Qualcomm.

Oh, by the way, that loud sigh of relief you heard at Google I/O? That was the company executives reacting to the news that the name Google hasn’t joined thermos and aspirin as words deemed too generic to trademark.

SharePoint Virtual SummitBut on to the next tech party. Which was a virtual one in this case hosted by Microsoft and supposedly devoted to SharePoint, though other products came up too. For example, we now know that sharing files in OneDrive directly from your PC or Mac will get a little easier this summer and that new customer form building tools for SharePoint and a new SharePoint feature called communication sites will arrive around the same time.

And how will communication sites differ from the team sites SharePoint already offers, you ask? Team sites help workgroups share information internally. Communication sites will help them tell their story to other workgroups.

Anyway, Microsoft also disclosed that embedding Yammer conversations in SharePoint and SharePoint content in Yammer conversations will soon get easier and shipped revised Yammer apps for iPads, Macs, and Windows devices.

Surface HubTurned out to be a big week for Microsoft-related announcements from companies not named “Microsoft” too. For instance:

  • Tech Data rolled out end-to-end support for Microsoft’s giant Surface Hub touchscreen collaboration devices (pictured).
  • Budgeting, planning, and forecasting vendor Vena released a new edition of its Exchange solution and new integration between its software and Office 365.
  • VMware ported its Horizon Cloud VDI solution onto Microsoft Azure. 
  • VOSS shipped 5 new unified communications solutions for users of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Skype for Business.

One last stop on our party crawl. That would be Internet of Things World, where Avnet released a new starter kit for industrial Internet of Things solutions and Samsung added new modules and services to its ARTIK Internet of Things platform, announced new partnerships and a QuickStart program for ARTIK, and jointly launched a new smartwatch-based wearable workflow solution with Hipaax.

Wait, you’ve gone all this way without saying anything about WannaCry? Yup. There’s not much we can add to that story, really, except to say that if you’re wondering just how big the WannaCry onslaught was, the answers are a) big enough to have been blocked by Symantec nearly 22 million times, and b) just possibly big enough to have brought BlackBerry back from the dead.

Epson PowerLite 680In the meantime, here’s some news that’ll make you WannaCheer! If you love new product announcements as much as we do, anyway:

  • Amazon Web Services made its Lambda serverless compute service available in its isolated, extra-secure GovCloud region.
  • BackupAssist announced a new version of its BDR solution that lets users store backups in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or other public clouds.
  • Epson showed off a new presentation display (pictured) that’s designed for use with interactive classroom whiteboards from SMART Technologies.
  • Guidance Software introduced a new version of its end point detection and response solution with threat intelligence-based automation and a redesigned interface.
  • HTC pulled the wraps off a shiny new flagship smartphone with “Edge Sense” technology that lets you interact with the device by squeezing it.
  • ManageEngine added remote control for Android gadgets to its Mobile Device Manager Plus solution.
  • Nuance previewed a new edition of its software for scanning documents into workflows that will let users do that scanning from mobile devices.
  • Salesforce added support for new artificial intelligence-powered consumer buying experiences to its Commerce Cloud Einstein solution.
  • Sprint became the latest telco vendor to enter the SD-WAN market.
  • Western Digital, which also added 10 TB models to its line of WD Red NAS hard drives this week, unveiled its fastest SAS SSD ever, with up to 400,000 IOPS random read and up to 200,000 IOPS random write.

John TippettNothing random about this week’s vendor alliance, partner program, and hiring news though! Actually, it was pretty random, come to think of it, but interesting anyway:

This week’s stats ticker:

  • 41 percent of U.S. small businesses have experienced cash flow challenges in the last year, according to WePay.
  • Nearly 40 percent of small businesses and close to 80 percent of midsize businesses in the U.S. have experienced a mobile security breach--that they know of--wthin the last year, according to Techaisle.
  • A data breach costs an SMB $76,000 on average, according to SolarWinds MSP.

VeggiesAnd while we’re on the topic of stats...see if you recognize yourself in any of these from Intel:

  • 50 percent of Americans would rather eat nothing but vegetables for a week than go without their computer.
  • The average American can go 18 days without talking to family but only 13 days without their computer.
  • 47 percent of Americans say their blood pressure goes up when a balky computer keeps them from doing what they want. (The other 53 percent, we strongly suspect, are lying).

Pee BeerHey, beer lovers! Meet the brew that doesn’t just look like pee. It is pee. Or close enough, anyway. In a somewhat nauseating inversion of the “in one end, out the other” concept, Danish brewery Nørrebro Bryghus has introduced Pisner, a new beer made with barley that was fertilized by 50,000 liters of urine collected at a music festival 2 years ago. Per the New York Daily News, Pisner’s maker says the recipe “draws inspiration from American, Belgian, German and Czech brewing traditions.”

Call us oversensitive, but did a Danish brewer just quietly imply that urine is a part of every other major beer making country’s brewing tradition?

Anyway, turns out the Daily News has been covering the European-beer-made-with-music-festival-urine phenomenon for years. Indeed, those of you looking for beer with a closer relationship to pee than urine-fertilized barley should check out this Belgian lager made directly with the real thing. There was a “special machine” involved in the process, so it must be pure, right? We have a bad feeling about the bouquet, however.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor