All posts by Praharsha Anand

AWS wins Adidas contract to host its SAP workloads


Praharsha Anand

23 Nov, 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has won a contract to provide sports clothing brand Adidas with a cloud environment for hosting its SAP workloads.

German-based multinational Adidas AG also intends to develop a modern SAP S/4HANA platform using AWS, according to the deal.

By integrating SAP into its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Adidas aims to connect data across its global operations, while also tapping into AWS‘ SAP expertise to support advanced analytics, data science, and enterprise reporting, the company said in a release.

Utilizing AWS’ machine learning solutions, including Amazon SageMaker, Adidas’ data scientists can forecast seasonal demand for goods. This ensures the right product arrives at a warehouse or retail store at the right time, increasing customer satisfaction.

Through a cloud-based data lake on AWS, Adidas can also gain visibility into both internal and outbound operations, while AWS Sustainability programmes will also assist Adidas in reducing the environmental impact of its cloud operations.

Adidas said the deal will allow it to offer customers discounts and early access to new releases, priority services, and personalized offers.

“We want to drive innovation across our business, which includes everything from how we design our products to how we engage with the consumers who buy them. By committing to cloud infrastructure, we have the scalability and elasticity we need to handle the seasonality of our business during peak demand, and support the projected growth in our e-commerce business in the years to come,” explained Markus Rautert, senior vice president of technology enablement at Adidas AG.

“Deploying SAP environments on AWS isn’t just about transforming our technology—it’s about transforming business opportunities and using AWS’ wide range of cloud capabilities to create efficiencies and bring us closer to consumers,” he added.

SAP and Qualtrics debut Concur Experience Optimizer for hybrid workplaces


Praharsha Anand

28 Oct, 2021

SAP and Qualtrics have joined forces to streamline travel and expense management for hybrid workplaces.

Dubbed Concur Experience Optimizer, the jointly developed solution combines Qualtrics’ employee experience management platform with SAP’s Concur data.

Organisations can also capitalise on the expertise of SAP Concur Experience Management consultants, included within the platform, to implement continuous employee feedback loops.

“Our research shows that demand for business travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, but getting the employee experience right is more nuanced and complicated than ever before,” said Jay Choi, chief product officer at Qualtrics. 

Choi added, “It’s critical for organisations to understand how employees feel about the new world of travel and use that experience data to meet their evolving health and safety needs.”

Concur Experience Optimizer offers critical insights into employee buying decisions and organisational spending patterns, allowing early detection of potential saving opportunities and better coordination of policies and processes.

Businesses can also track employee sentiment with science-backed feedback templates and analyse the results with simple, intuitive dashboards that correlate sentiment with operational data metrics.

Additionally, the platform aids organisations in identifying risk factors in employee programs, preventing non-compliant and potentially fraudulent expenses.

“People are a company’s greatest asset, and it’s no secret that retaining employees has become even more critical,” said Mike Koetting, area lead of SAP Concur solution at SAP. 

“A company’s travel and expense programs can directly impact an employee’s experience. Concur Experience Optimizer helps organisations understand the reasons behind employee behavior so they can make adjustments that are in line with both employee sentiment and business objectives.”

AWS makes its Panorama Appliance generally available


Praharsha Anand

21 Oct, 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the general availability of its Panorama Appliance.

The device integrates computer vision into on-premises internet protocol (IP) cameras, allowing fast and easy visual inspections of production lines, drive-thru queue management, layout optimisations of physical stores, and more.

“While some smart cameras can provide real-time visual inspection, replacing existing cameras with new smart cameras can be cost prohibitive. Even then, smart cameras are often ineffective because they are limited to specific use cases and require additional effort to fine-tune,” explained AWS.

“Alternatively, some customers send video feeds from existing on-premises cameras to third-party servers, but often the required internet bandwidth is costly or facilities are in remote locations where internet connectivity can be slow, all of which degrades the usefulness and practicality of the analysis.”

AWS’ Panorama device minimises costs by enabling customers to pair the solution with existing on-premises cameras and monitor video streams locally through computer vision.

Customers can update their computer vision application in Amazon SageMaker and deploy the model to the AWS Panorama Appliance, thanks to the device’s full integration with Amazon SageMaker.

Together, AWS Panorama Appliance, Amazon Monitron, Amazon Lookout for Equipment, and Amazon Lookout for Vision deliver the most comprehensive cloud-to-edge machine learning solution for industrial applications.

AWS offers its Panorama Appliance in Virginia, Oregon, Canada, and Ireland. Support for additional regions will follow soon.

“CVG Airport is committed to providing a world-class traveler experience through continuous innovation and strategic cooperation,” said Brian Cobb, chief innovation officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Cobb added, “By using TaskWatch’s application on AWS Panorama, we are able to bring machine learning to our existing IP cameras and automatically monitor congestion over 70,000 square feet of airport traffic lanes. Once an issue is detected, such as a disabled vehicle, TaskWatch sends real-time alerts to airport staff so they can provide assistance, keep the traffic flowing, and reduce delays for our passengers.”

Alkira deepens partnership with AWS


Praharsha Anand

20 Oct, 2021

Alkira has announced the expansion of its business ties with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The firm also announced integration with AWS Transit Gateway Connect, a service that allows native integration of software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) appliances with AWS.

The combined solution will provide seamless AWS capabilities to Alkira customers and simplify cloud networking services for on-premises, cloud, and multi-cloud environments.

Furthermore, Alkira announced a multi-year international agreement with AWS customer Warner Music Group to deploy Alkira Cloud Services Exchange (CSX).

“Alkira is thrilled with this closer business engagement with AWS to offer hundreds of thousands of AWS customers a more sophisticated, yet simplified network infrastructure, consumed completely as-a-service,” said Amir Khan, CEO and founder of Alkira.

Khan added, “Visionaries like Ralph Munsen, CIO of Warner Music Group can now realise the company’s cloud networking vision and consume their complete network infrastructure directly from the only comprehensive Cloud Network infrastructure as-a-Service (CNaaS) in the AWS.”

Alkira has also been accepted into the AWS ISV Accelerate Program, a co-sell program for AWS partners that offer solutions integrated with or running on AWS.

Alkira will also participate in the AWS Global Startup Program aimed at supporting mid-to-late-stage startups that have raised institutional funding, achieved product-market fit, and are ready for scaling.

“Cloud has a lot of promise, but we’re always working to improve our network agility and performance and to ensure a seamless process especially in this fast-moving virtual world we’re doing business in,” said Ralph Munsen, CIO of Warner Music Group.

Munsen continued, “Alkira addresses our cloud networking infrastructure as-a-service needs and we’re pleased to see the close collaboration with AWS. WMG evaluated multiple multi-cloud networking solutions and selected Alkira because the Alkira CSX greatly simplifies management of our network infrastructure and enables us to focus on the growth of our business.”

Together, Alkira and AWS will provide customers with enhanced agility, more advanced networking, and improved procurement experiences.

Oracle’s Fusion Marketing automates lead generation


Praharsha Anand

21 Sep, 2021

Oracle has announced its a artificial intelligence (AI)-powered marketing automation solution called Fusion Marketing.

Available as part of Oracle Advertising and CX, Fusion Marketing helps marketers automate lead generation and qualification from start to finish.

CRM has become the system that both sellers and marketers love to hate, due to disconnected workflows, too much manual administration, and siloed data often preventing sales and marketing teams from working with each other to engage customers and drive revenue,” explained Oracle.

Addressing roadblocks in conventional marketing, Fusion Marketing helps brands create campaigns with consistent messaging across customer touchpoints.

The platform guides marketers through the entire campaign creation and execution process and helps businesses generate targeted audience profiles, identify relevant customer references, plan advertising budgets, and more. A built-in dashboard enables marketers to view campaign performance in real-time.

But that’s not all. Following the launch of an advertising campaign, Oracle’s Fusion Marketing automatically generates and qualifies leads. 

In addition to directing customers to an automatically generated landing page, each campaign includes customer references tailored to the industry and interest of the customer. Fusion Marketing also allows enterprises to track engagement across multiple campaign channels, including emails, online ads, and microsite visits. 

The platform uses AI to analyze leads at the account level, predict when consumers are ready to speak with a salesperson and generate a qualified sales opportunity within any CRM system.

“It is time for our industry to think differently about marketing and sales automation so that we can transform CRM into a system that actually works for both the marketer and the salesperson,” said Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president and general manager of Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience. 

“This is not about forecasts and rollups or a reporting tool to see how the sales force is performing, but instead about turning CRM into a system that helps sellers sell. A huge part of that change is bringing marketing and sales teams together and eliminating the low-value, time consuming tasks that distract from building customer relationships and closing deals. That’s why we have invested so much time engineering a system that will help marketers fully automate lead generation and qualification and get highly qualified leads to the sales team faster.”

UN high commissioner calls for ban on harmful AI tools


Praharsha Anand

20 Sep, 2021

The UN high commissioner for human rights has called for a moratorium on AI systems that threaten human rights until governments can set up safeguards.

AI applications that violate human rights law should be banned, said High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, in a statement issued on Thursday.

Her comments coincide with the release of a UN report warning of existing human rights abuses involving AI systems across various sectors, including law enforcement.

The report warned of potential abuses through the irresponsible use of AI, including the erroneous assumptions by AI algorithms that could miscategorize people as terrorists or fraudsters, for example.

The report also voiced concerns about the inability for most AI models to explain their results, which it called the ‘black box problem’. Machine learning algorithms are not based on rules, instead using matrices of numbers, or ‘weights’, between large numbers of digital neurons.

The UN’s document also raised privacy concerns, arguing that AI tools don’t need to train themselves on personal data to infer results about a person’s behaviour.

“AI tools can make far-reaching inferences about individuals, including about their mental and physical condition, and can enable the identification of groups, such as people with particular political or personal leanings,” it warned.

The report suggested several measures to mitigate adverse effects on human rights. These include legislation and regulation, collaboration between the public and private sector, and due diligence when implementing AI systems. It also called for transparency about the nature of systems used, who is using them, and what for, along with what data they are using.

Transparency is something that the Federal Trade Commission has also advocated, but the UN has now gone further, advising governments to create registers containing this information.

“Artificial intelligence can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the great challenges of our times,” said Bachelet. “But AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights.”

The UN has been outspoken about the use of technology in the past, calling in August for a moratorium on the sale of surveillance technology and pointing out the use of spyware tools to tap smartphones.

Fuze deepens partnership with Microsoft Teams


Praharsha Anand

14 Sep, 2021

Web conferencing platform Fuze has extended its partnership with Microsoft to enhance Fuze for Teams.

Fuze for Microsoft Teams integrates Fuze Voice with Meetings, making it easy for users to call or meet from within their Microsoft ecosystem. In addition to Fuze Desktop, Web, and Mobile, Fuze for Teams is available across Teams environments.

According to the company, Fuze and Microsoft’s new strategic alliance will streamline workflows between Fuze and Teams. 

“Across the modern workforce, many employees must navigate between a range of communications platforms throughout their workday for internal and external meetings, including Microsoft Teams,” explained Fuze.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this challenge for employees, as organizations now rely on a myriad of communication solutions to remain productive in a remote or hybrid work environment.”

The company said the software’s new features allow for improved flexibility and a consistent calling experience across enterprise communication channels. The firm also outlined three key capabilities.

Firstly, Fuze now offers flexible direct routing for users with any Teams license, an upgrade of critical importance to customers seeking to have all their communications occur inside Microsoft Teams. Fuze has also expanded click-to-connect functionality allows customers to use Microsoft Teams with Fuze Calling and Meetings at no additional cost.

Finally, enhanced add-on capabilities allow Teams users to access and control their voicemail, check call history, expand their contact list, and access the Fuze Contact Center agent tab regardless of the routing option.

Fuze president and CEO Rob Scudiere said: “At Fuze, we are committed to meeting users where they work, which means eliminating as many barriers as possible to efficient and productive workflows that meet all of today’s communications needs.”

“These integration updates provide users with a flexible and consistent communications experience across the Fuze and Microsoft Teams platforms while enabling users to mix-and-match Fuze for Teams solutions depending on their unique use case. This is an important step towards more productive and efficient communications across the enterprise.”

Google launches Meet Progressive Web App


Praharsha Anand

3 Aug, 2021

Earlier this year, Google revealed it was testing pre-installed Meet and Chat web apps on Chrome OS and planned to release them to the public. Delivering on that promise, Google announced Meet is now a progressive web app (PWA).

PWAs are responsive websites that look and feel like native mobile apps.

Google further stated the PWA version of Meet has the same features as its app counterpart, except it is easier to use and far more accessible. The Meet icon will now appear on users’ shelves and launchers, providing easy access to video chat. As with other PWAs, Google Meet will update automatically during Chrome updates.

“We’ve launched a new Google Meet standalone web app. This Progressive Web Application (PWA) has all the same features as Google Meet on the web, but as a standalone app it’s easier to find and use, and it streamlines your workflow by eliminating the need to switch between tabs,” explained Google.

Users can find the PWA installation prompt on the top-right corner of Chrome’s address or URL bar. Once downloaded, Meet will load into a standalone window. Users can run Google Meets PWA on Windows, macOS, Chrome OS 73 and up, and Linux.

The Google Meets service is available to anyone with a Google account, including G Suite Basic and Business customers. Administrators can manage PWA access or automatically install progressive web apps for users.

Among the Meet software updates are cross-domain live streaming, live stream captions, and hand raise updates for desktops and laptops.

Google has confirmed the Google Meets PWA will arrive starting today, but some features could take up to 15 business days to appear.

AWS introduces fully managed Fault Injection Simulator


Praharsha Anand

16 Mar, 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced Fault Injection Simulator, a fully managed service for running controlled experiments on AWS. 

Primarily used in chaos engineering, fault injection experiments subject applications to sudden stress, allowing engineering teams to observe how systems respond and implement improvements accordingly. 

According to AWS, its new Fault Injection Simulator makes it easy for teams to monitor and inspect blind spots, performance bottlenecks, and other unknown vulnerabilities unidentified by conventional tests. 

The tool comes with pre-built experiment templates that enable teams to gradually or simultaneously impair distinct applications’ performance in a production environment. For convenience, the simulator also provides controls and guardrails so teams can automatically roll back or stop the experiment when specific conditions are met. 

What’s more, the simulator allows teams to create disruptive experiments across a range of AWS services, including Amazon EC2, Amazon EKS, Amazon ECS, and Amazon RDS. Teams can also run “GameDay scenarios or stress-test their most critical applications on AWS at scale,” said AWS. 

For best results, AWS recommends enterprises integrate its simulator into their continuous delivery pipeline. Steadfast integration will enable teams to monitor and unearth production vulnerabilities constantly, improving application performance, observability, and resiliency.

“With a few clicks in the console, teams can run complex scenarios with common distributed system failures happening in parallel or building sequentially over time, enabling them to create the real world conditions necessary to find hidden weaknesses,” said AWS.

“nClouds is adding advanced chaos engineering capabilities and service offerings to our DevOps practice that will improve the resiliency of distributed service architectures we build for our customers and prove regulatory compliance,” comments Marius Ducea, VP of DevOps practice at nClouds.

“AWS Fault Injection Simulator has a deep level of fault injection that will enable us to create failure scenarios that more accurately reflect real-world events. With this capability, we expect to have an even better perspective on the expected time to recovery during real events.”

AWS introduces fully managed Fault Injection Simulator


Praharsha Anand

16 Mar, 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced Fault Injection Simulator, a fully managed service for running controlled experiments on AWS. 

Primarily used in chaos engineering, fault injection experiments subject applications to sudden stress, allowing engineering teams to observe how systems respond and implement improvements accordingly. 

According to AWS, its new Fault Injection Simulator makes it easy for teams to monitor and inspect blind spots, performance bottlenecks, and other unknown vulnerabilities unidentified by conventional tests. 

The tool comes with pre-built experiment templates that enable teams to gradually or simultaneously impair distinct applications’ performance in a production environment. For convenience, the simulator also provides controls and guardrails so teams can automatically roll back or stop the experiment when specific conditions are met. 

What’s more, the simulator allows teams to create disruptive experiments across a range of AWS services, including Amazon EC2, Amazon EKS, Amazon ECS, and Amazon RDS. Teams can also run “GameDay scenarios or stress-test their most critical applications on AWS at scale,” said AWS. 

For best results, AWS recommends enterprises integrate its simulator into their continuous delivery pipeline. Steadfast integration will enable teams to monitor and unearth production vulnerabilities constantly, improving application performance, observability, and resiliency.

“With a few clicks in the console, teams can run complex scenarios with common distributed system failures happening in parallel or building sequentially over time, enabling them to create the real world conditions necessary to find hidden weaknesses,” said AWS.

“nClouds is adding advanced chaos engineering capabilities and service offerings to our DevOps practice that will improve the resiliency of distributed service architectures we build for our customers and prove regulatory compliance,” comments Marius Ducea, VP of DevOps practice at nClouds.

“AWS Fault Injection Simulator has a deep level of fault injection that will enable us to create failure scenarios that more accurately reflect real-world events. With this capability, we expect to have an even better perspective on the expected time to recovery during real events.”