IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

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

An avalanche of Google products, good news for makers of virtual reality gaming rigs, and some work life balance research results likely to surprise a certain someone here at ChannelPro are all among the stories we didn’t cover this week. By Rich Freeman

Don’t tell us our priorities are misaligned here at ChannelPro. We know exactly what our loyal readers wanted us doing this week: Watching postseason baseball. And by golly, we came through for you! In the process, however, we missed a few stories you might benefit from knowing about. Let’s take advantage of a break between innings to recap them, shall we?

Google DaydreamGooglanche. Gotta hand it to the Google watchers. They may not have correctly predicted everything introduced during Tuesday’s heavily anticipated launch event, but given how much stuff Google rolled out they came impressively close.

Most of those products—including Google’s would-be Amazon Echo killer and aspiring Amazon Fire TV Stick assassin—are meant for consumers, but it’s just a matter of time before you’re supporting a few of those new HTC-manufactured Pixel phones, and those upholstered Daydream VR goggles (pictured) could have commercial applications too.

Meanwhile, the least heralded but most significant player in this week’s Googlaunch was the company’s artificial intelligence solution. Named Google Assistant and first introduced in May, it’s a core component of that new phone and the new Google Home device too. It also offers up yet more evidence (if recent announcements by Microsoft, Salesforce, and IBM weren’t evidence enough) that AI is shaping up to be the next big battleground among IT’s top vendors.

And before we forget. For some reason, Google decided to wait 6 days before adhering its stripped down new G Suite brand to Google Apps for Education just like it did to the rest of its Apps last week.

AirWatch ConnectHiding in plain sight. With Google and Salesforce monopolizing everyone’s attention, you could be forgiven for not noticing that Commvault and VMware’s AirWatch unit had events this week too. Alas, we’re not sure Commvault and AirWatch will be so quick to forgive us for somehow failing to notice their conferences, but notice we eventually did and just in time to learn that:

  • AirWatch has added support for Vuzix’s M300 smart glasses to its enterprise mobility management solution.
  • Commvault has extended data protection capabilities for Amazon Web Services beyond VMs to databases, added new backup and migration support for Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud, introduced new software-defined data services and APIs, added new orchestration functionality, and more.

Oculus PartiesAnd as long as we’re talking about overlooked eventsOculus employed an event of its own this week to reveal that its Touch controllers ship on December 6th for $199, that new functionality for inviting up to eight custom avatars to deeply strange looking virtual get-togethers (pictured) is on its way soon, and much more.

The buried lede for system builders in that news dump, however, is that thanks to a new technology called Asynchronous Spacewarp that allows games to look great at dramatically lower framerates, the minimum technical spec for the Oculus Rift VR device has dropped low enough to accommodate much cheaper PCs, including a new AMD-powered laptop from Cyberpower priced at just $499.

PattonThere’s only one general more bad ass than George S. Patton. He’s named General Availability, and this week he stopped by Redmond to help Microsoft ship:

And were he here to join us, we’re sure General Availability would salute Azure’s new lower prices too.

GIGABYTE GTX 1080We’re less sure which imaginary officer should get credit for the rest of this week’s product news. But we do know there was a lot of it:

  • Arbor Networks rolled out a new edition of its Spectrum network traffic analysis solution with a virtualized deployment option, archiving functionality, and historical trend reporting.
  • Arcserve shipped the second generation of its unified data protection appliance series, which boasts increased storage capacity, hardware-based availability features, and built-in connections to leading public cloud solutions.
  • AT&T launched an SD-WAN service in partnership with VeloCloud.
  • BIOSTAR shipped the new RACING P1 mini-PC, which delivers clock speeds up to 1.92G.
  • Epson released a new version of its Creative Print app for mobile printers with enhanced customization capabilities for Instagram photos among other features.
  • Estech rolled out a new desktop phone for users of its eCloud PBX offering with a smartphone-inspired interface.
  • GIGABYTE shipped the new NVIDIA-powered GTX 1080 Turbo OC Edition graphics card (pictured) with an onboard blower fan that provides 8 percent more cooling capacity than the original GTX 1080
  • Intel revealed that its 14nm Stratix field programmable gate arrays have entered customer testing and (gasp) contain a 64-bit ARM processor rather than an x86 chip.
  • Kaspersky Lab introduced new decryption software for the Polyglot ransomware variant.
  • LG unveiled a business edition of its V20 smartphone with reinforced security and “military grade durability.”
  • OpenStack launched its Newton release.
  • Panda Security rolled out an updated edition of its Advanced Reporting Tool that utilizes big data technology to find hidden indicators of potential breaches. 
  • Scale announced a new hyperconverged infrastructure solution with built-in VDI functionality from Workspot.
  • Sharp shipped a new set of LCD monitors with svelte 7.8mm bezels and support for Intel’s Mini Open Pluggable Specification for digital signage.
  • Targus unveiled a compact 4K docking station that supports USB-C technology.
  • ThreatSTOP shipped a fresh edition of its DNS firewall solution with upgraded policy customization and a new graphical reporting feature, among other additions.
  • Tribridge pulled the wraps off a new cloud-based corporate learning solution that seamlessly integrates in-house content with articles, videos, and other resources from external providers. 
  • Tripp Lite accompanied the launch of its new combo network switch/PDU line with the introduction of new management software for its NetCommander IP KVM switches and two USB 3.0 docking stations for Microsoft’s Surface tablets.
  • WatchGuard shipped a zippy new tabletop unified threat management appliance capable of hitting speeds over 1 Gbps.

Jon ToorNot that vendors only talk about products, mind you. We also learned this week that:

This week’s stats ticker:

  • The IT sector added just 2,900 jobs in September, according to CompTIA.
  • Global shipments of desktop and mobile client hardware are on track to drop 3 percent this year, according to Gartner.
  • Also from Gartner: 48 percent of businesses will have invested in big data by the end of this year, but the percentage planning to do so in the next two years has dipped from 31 to 25 percent.
  • File storage, sharing, and access problems cost the average business a little under $22,000 a year, according to SmartFile.

Good news for Donald Trump! And bad news for Donald Trump, via Microsoft economist David Rothschild.

Work Life BalanceWhat, help desk technician didn’t make the list? Cheer up, techies! You may or may not realize it, but according to online employment service Glassdoor, at least, you enjoy some of the world’s best work life balance. In fact, by our count, 14 of the occupations on Glassdoor’s recently published work life balance top 25 list—including computer programmer, UI designer, and technical account manager—are IT related. Those rankings are all based on employee input too, not some arbitrary selection scheme.

We do have to wonder who those input-providing employees are, though, given that technical editor is number 19 on the list and web designer placed 17th. We happen to know someone who performs both roles and suspect he’s chuckling ruefully to himself right about now as he reads this post through bleary eyes before heading off to pour himself another gallon of coffee.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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