Feeling a little newsed out after all the announcements made during Microsoft’s recent Inspire partner conference? We were, and it seems the tech industry as a whole was too, because it didn’t provide us quite as many stories as usual to not write about last week. But it did get a few items of note out there, and in our habitual spirit of better late than never, we’ll belatedly take you through them all now.
Whip out your scorecard. Because it’s time to make another addition to the ever-expanding list of alliances involving leading virtualization vendors and top-tier public cloud operators. First came Citrix and Microsoft last May, followed by VMware and Amazon Web Services in October. Just two months ago, meanwhile, VMware linked arms with Google and then Microsoft. And now, as of last week, Citrix and Google are BFFs as well. We think the only major permutation missing now is Citrix and AWS, but haven’t graphed everything out yet to be sure.
Big smarts, small package. IBM had shrunk Watson, the artificial intelligence platform powerful enough to outsmart an entire team of Japanese oncologists, to the size of “three stacked pizza boxes” as of 2014, so we probably shouldn’t have been surprised to discover last week that Intel has created an AI “accelerator” the size of a USB memory stick.
But we were. Developed by Movidius, the computer vision and deep learning vendor that Intel snapped up last September, the new Movidius Neural Compute Stick packs 100 gigaflops of fully self-contained neural networking power into a device that fits comfortably in your pocket and sells for a mere $79. Just plug it into any server or PC with a USB port and you’re ready to start intelligently interpreting real-world data wherever you happen to be.
And to think: someday relatively soon this thing is going to look big and clunky next to its even smaller, more powerful successors.
And what of Intel’s Wintel buddy Microsoft? Well, when it wasn’t showing off the 13 percent year-over-year revenue gains and 73 percent year-over-year operating income spike it recorded during its 2017 fiscal year, Microsoft:
- Named GE Digital veteran Kate Johnson (pictured) the new head of its U.S. subsidiary.
- Built mobile threat defenses from Check Point into the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite, and by extension the new Microsoft 365.
- Added the ability to recover files and folders instantly from Azure virtual machine backups to its Azure Backup service.
- Put its new Security Risk Detection service, which uses artificial intelligence to hunt down bugs and vulnerabilities in application code, into general availability.
- Shipped version 1.2 of Windows Template Studio, the system designed to help developers create Universal Windows Platform apps rapidly.
Other vendors made some product news last week too. For instance:
- 8x8 added new reporting and collaborative performance management features to its Virtual Contact Center solution.
- Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise announced plans to add high-def audio conferencing from PGi to its Rainbow collaborative communications platform.
- Google introduced a new employee recruiting solution that integrates with its G Suite collaboration offering.
- HMD Global, which owns the Nokia mobile phone brand there days, shipped two new throwback handsets with physical keypads, the general purpose Nokia 105 (pictured) and entertainment-oriented Nokia 130.
- IDrive added new virtualization and web remote access capabilities to its bare metal restore appliance.
- Insightly introduced a new version of its CRM solution for midsize businesses that integrates more closely with Microsoft Outlook.
- Ipswitch launched a new edition of its IMail Server solution with new anti-spam functionality and a new web-based administration interface.
- Lastline unveiled a new security solution offering a real-time “dynamic blueprint” of data breaches as they occur.
- ManageEngine added new troubleshooting functionality to its Desktop Central endpoint management system.
- Oracle expanded its Oracle Cloud at Customer private cloud stack to support all of the company’s major PaaS and SaaS offerings.
- RSA rolled out a new release of its NetWitness Suite offering with enhanced threat analytics and an updated interface.
- SolarWinds added an API to its IP Address Manager solution and announced that cloud management integration specialist SovLabs is using said API to link the SolarWinds product with VMware’s vRealize Automation application.
Shipping products isn’t the only way vendors keep busy though. Why, just in the last week alone we saw:
- Avast buy Piriform, the UK-based company best known for the CCleaner PC performance acceleration system.
- Extreme Networks complete its acquisition of Avaya’s networking business.
- Ingram Micro announce that Richard Dufty (pictured) is now senior vice president of the Global Cloud Platform Group, Tim FitzGerald is now vice president of cloud channel sales for North America, and FitzGerald’s predecessor Jason Bystrak is now executive director of partner enablement.
- Jabra launch a new partner program and appoint Cheryle Walline as its new head of channels for the public sector and SME markets in North America.
- Seagate name Ravi Naik its new CIO
- TeamLogic IT roll out a cybersecurity roadmap development program for its member MSPs.
This week’s stats ticker:
- Global spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will rise from a projected $128 billion this year to $266 billion by 2021, according to IDC.
- 90 percent of healthcare organizations have IoT devices on their network, and 70 percent believe traditional security solutions will keep those devices safe, according to ZingBox.
- Bad news: 19 percent of U.S. retailers experienced a data breach in the past year, according to Thales. Good news: That’s down from 22 percent the year before.
- 81.2 percent of businesses don’t test their data protection strategies more than once per year and about half that number don’t test them ever, according to Barracuda Networks.
Emoji uber alles. So how did you celebrate World Emoji Day? We’re taking it as a given that you celebrated, or would have if you were aware that last Monday, July 17th, was World Emoji Day (the date visible on Apple’s “calendar” emoji). It’s an easy assumption to make, too, given how ubiquitously people use the little icons. Take a peek here to see, in real time, how quickly they’re flying across Twitter alone.
That emoji in the top left corner, by the way, represents “tears of joy,” and accounts for 15.4 percent of all emoji usage, according to a late 2016 study by the University of Michigan and Peking University, making it by far the most popular of the 2,666 official emojis in the Unicode Standard. On the other hand, you can’t use it order pizza.
But we digress. If you’re wondering how other folks celebrated World Emoji Day, we can tell you that the people behind the World Emoji Awards, whoever they are, named “person facepalming” the best new emoji of the year, while Apple previewed the brand new emojis it will include in the next editions on iOS and MacOS, which include “breastfeeding”…
…and, um, this: