Oracle will let UK businesses move to its cloud for free

Zach Marzouk

1 Apr, 2021

Oracle is offering new and existing customers free cloud engineering resources and tech support to help them migrate their workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

The company has launched its Cloud Lift Services to give its customers “expanded access to technical tools and cloud engineering resources to quickly migrate workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI),” it revealed in a blog post.

Oracle now offers these resources, at no additional cost, to all existing and new Oracle Cloud customers across the globe.

“Our customers want a seamless path to the cloud with the right guidance, solution architecture, and hands-on help we can provide,” said Vinay Kumar, senior vice president at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “Oracle Cloud Lift Services is just one of several changes we are implementing to accelerate customer success on Oracle Cloud.”

The company declared that its customers and partners are “already seeing value in this programme” and are getting through migrations faster, with more of their IT budget intact for other, “more valuable”, operational services and major digital transformation projects.

Through Oracle Cloud Lift Services, customers can access Oracle cloud engineers and premier technical services, as well as cloud engineering resources for activities like performance analysis, application architecture, hands-on migrations and go-live support.

The company will also work with its customers until their workloads are in production and will help train their staff on best practices.

“Oracle Cloud Lift Services together with Infosys Cobalt cloud offerings help our joint customers accelerate the work of migrating to the cloud and modernizing their landscape to drive faster business results,” said Gopikrishnan Konnanath, SVP & service offering head of Oracle Services at Infosys.

“As a partner, we ensure client success through outcome-driven transformation programs that build differentiated capabilities to help our clients become resilient, agile and competitive.”

Last month, the Home Office moved a number of its critical functions to Oracle Cloud in a drive to modernise its central back-office processes. This included HR, payroll, finance, customer support and employee analytics services.

In February, it was reported that rows had broken out within the government over cloud computing contracts given to Amazon. Some Conservative party members were reportedly concerned that the government was too dependent on one service, as Amazon had received a £75m contract for its services, nearly double that of its second-biggest vendor, Capgemini.

UK Space Agency launches fund to develop hospitals of the future

Bobby Hellard

1 Apr, 2021

Space agencies from both the UK and Europe have challenged British tech companies to develop new services that could support high-tech hospitals of the future.

The UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) have made £5 million of funding available through the Hampshire Together programme, a digital transformation project across the North and mid-Hampshire areas.

The funding is part of the UK government’s Health Infrastructure plan, which includes provisions to build 40 new hospitals across England by 2030.

Tech firms have been asked to submit proposals for technologies and services that are inspired by space missions to a panel made up of experts from the UK Space Agency, ESA, and Hampshire Together. The panel wants to see not only ideas for the design and development of services to support new hospitals, but also the communities that surround them.

The initiative could potentially lead to new diagnostic tools, drones to track and deliver supplies, and also improvements to ‘telemedicine’ devices – technology used to support the care of patients remotely.

A new facility in Hampshire will be the first to use any services developed through the initiative and the ESA suggests this could even incorporate technologies pioneered on missions to the International Space Station.

“In the past but also more recently throughout the COVID crisis, the use of space technologies and satellite data has proven to be an essential driver for innovation in the healthcare sector to address existing and new challenges,” said Arnaud Runge, a medical engineer at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre.

Throughout the pandemic, the UK Space Agency has funded projects to help the NHS deal with the pandemic. This has included satellite-enabled drones that carry COVID-19 samples, test kits, and PPE to speed up delivery times and reduce traffic.

Technologies supporting bowel cancer care, compact 3D X-ray machines, and apps that target people at risk of social isolation and mental health issues have also taken inspiration from technologies developed via the space agencies.

LinkedIn tackles UK’s soaring unemployment with a suite of new features

Sabina Weston

1 Apr, 2021

Microsoft and LinkedIn have launched new features to help the UK’s 1.7 million unemployed connect to new job opportunities by promoting their skills and expertise.

The four newly-announced tools include a dedicated Service Page for freelancers and SMBs, a Cover Story feature which lets users share videos of their work, Creator Mode which helps turn a LinkedIn profile page into a content portfolio, and a Career Coach tool which provides personalised guidance for those entering the job market.

The Career Coach is a Microsoft Teams app powered by LinkedIn which uses an AI-based skill identifier to help students better understand their goals, interests, and skills. As a LinkedIn integration, it works by aligning a student’s profile with current job market trends and connecting them to mentors, as well as promoting skills, which LinkedIn managing director Josh Graff described as “the engine of growth”.

“There is tremendous value in job seekers understanding their transferable skills and ensuring they are front and centre when applying to roles,” he said. “Traditional hiring practices of assessing candidates based on their formal qualifications and experience means that so many capable people that are currently unemployed, or facing unemployment, risk being locked out of the job market since they may not tick all the “right” boxes.”

Graff also said that the “already uneven playing field” of the job market had been “further exacerbated” by the pandemic. Last year, LinkedIn was forced to axe 960 jobs, approximately 6% of its global workforce, due to the global health crisis.

Apart from the four new features created in collaboration with LinkedIn, Microsoft also recently launched a new online platform aiming to connect more UK job seekers with companies looking for apprentices.

Announced last month, the Microsoft Apprenticeship Connector seeks to simplify the search process by listing current apprenticeship vacancies across Microsoft’s network of partners and customers, such as Intequal, Firebrand, and GP Strategies.

Commenting on the announcement, Microsoft senior director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, Hugh Milward, said that it’s necessary to “change in how businesses identify, recruit and nurture talent”. 

According to Milward, “a truly inclusive recovery will require a skills-based economy and that only happens if you have a skills-based jobs market”.

“We are committed to leading that change by helping people get the skills they need to succeed and employers the tools to make their first of many skills-based hires,” he added.

The news comes just days after chancellor Rishi Sunak urged companies that had benefited financially during the pandemic to invest the money in driving the UK’s recovery and “create jobs in the process”.

According to the most recent ONS findings, 5% of the UK workforce is currently out of work.