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Nothing new in digitilsation

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Digital transformation is something we liken to Y2K, brought about by the IT industry as a way of creating and driving new business opportunities, but it isn’t something new, says HEATH HUXTABLE, Consulting and Integration at Vox.

Digital transformation as a concept is something we liken to the Y2K phenomenon, brought about by the IT industry as a way of creating and driving new business opportunities, but it isn’t actually something new.

The reality is that businesses like ours, that deliver ERP solutions for brands across verticals and market segments, have been digitally transforming businesses for 25 years, we just didn’t call it that.

The ability to build an ideal solution for any organisation size or sector undoubtedly shifts closer to becoming a reality with each technology advancement, but is not fundamentally different to what we were doing historically despite its new name.

It reminds me a bit of  the artist formerly known as Prince.  His music remained the same, perhaps evolving as styles and melodies changed, but his name changed a few times over the span of his career, and each time, was timed as a means of reinvention over the decades.

A great example of early digital transformation, was the big drive to become a paperless society, community and office.  The legacy systems of today, were at the time, the modern ERP systems, that delivered this exact capability. It was, at the time, digital transformation.

Making sure that organisations  have best practice systems and processes, to automate and digitise tasks like expense claim approvals, transferring of funds and increasing customer limits, came about with the implementation of ERP.  It was / is digital transformation.

We can liken digital transformation to the process of getting the business owner of old, that used to make notes on the back of his cigarette box, and getting him to rather write it onto a system (and potentially automate and digitise some of the functionality).

The digital transformation conundrum is not that businesses aren’t doing it, it is that they are being led to believe it is a completely different business solution.  We continue to talk to our customers about streamlining business processes, becoming more efficient and finding ways to delight their customers (or clients).  You could say, businesses like ours, have got 25 years experience in digital transformation.

Where digital transformation has the greatest opportunity to transform a sector, is those verticals that have traditionally been non-high tech dependent.  We can all cite examples of digitally transformed companies in the consumer services; financial services and insurance sector, but there are a handful in the healthcare, engineering and FMCG sectors, that spring to mind.

We believe that the paradigm shift that we are currently undergoing, will necessitate non-high tech dependent organisations and industry sectors, to critically evaluate their business and prioritise digital transformation as a strategic imperative.

That, or the organisations that lag behind, risk becoming obsolete and replaced by digitally agile, automated and efficient competitors.

The upside, is that many companies are further along the digital transformation journey than they think they are, the next chapters will depend entirely on the partners they choose, the consultancy and business solutions they adopt, to drive progress.

We do not anticipate the narrative about strategic imperatives for businesses across all industries, and of all sizes to change.  2018 will continue to be characterised by digital transformation, but instead of getting caught up in the hype, we see an opportunity to better educate organisations about the systems they have in place, and how technology advancements can drive their businesses into the future.

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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