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5 Ways to beat complexity

According to the 2018 IPSOS research study commissioned by Citrix, currently 51% of South African businesses have moved to the cloud, enabling an environment where employees’ demands of working anytime and from anywhere has become a reality, writes BRENDAN MCARAVEY, Country General Manager, Citrix South Africa.

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That said, organisations must remember that, in order to truly drive innovation and agility, careful orchestration of hybrid and multi-cloud environments is essential. And at the same time, companies also need proper cyber security protocols in place to ensure that cyber-attacks can be avoided. You must protect your apps, content, users, and networks.

These five strategies will help CIOs meet these challenges and simplify infrastructures while providing centralised control.

1.       Focus resources on accelerating business outcomes: If you’re feeling mounting pressure to accelerate business outcomes, you’re not alone. According to a Global Gartner survey of more than 3,000 tech executives from 98 countries, at least 84 percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation. Simplifying an ever-increasing complex IT infrastructure will free up resources and help the IT organisation drive better business outcomes.  Even though you may have extensive investments in legacy infrastructure, that doesn’t mean you can’t also adopt the latest technologies and innovations. With a secure digital workspace, it’s possible to unite the old with the new to create a unique cloud strategy that helps you not only modernise your infrastructure but maximise existing investments.

2.       Enable users to work from anywhere: If there is anything certain about the future, it’s mobility. According to the IPSOS and Citrix study, workspace mobility will increase to 67% in the next five years. This clearly highlights that the need to work anywhere, at any time, on any device, whether it’s personal or company owned, is increasing. Employees expect to have access to whatever device or app they need, whether they’re at the office or on the go. They also expect the same seamless experience, regardless of where they’re working. And it’s no longer enough to just support personal devices; employees are looking for new capabilities, such as machine learning, that will adapt to their patterns and expectations.

3.       Design and deliver a simplified cloud strategy: In the shift to cloud computing, enterprises often end up with a mix of providers and services. In some cases, employees outside the IT department are using their own cloud services, creating a separate shadow IT environment. Naturally, this drives up costs and increases security risks. Your strategy should shift apps and data to the cloud to accelerate innovation and agility, while ensuring flexibility and control.

4.       Get serious about security: The future of security is contextual. When your employees work from anywhere from a multitude of devices, the old ways of securing data with firewalls and perimeters is not enough. Security must be smarter and centre on the user. Access is based on who the users are, where they are, and what devices they are using. To easily manage this smarter type of security, you need new solutions that think about security differently, such as a digital workspace with a secure digital perimeter.

5.       Be global: Year by year, the world becomes a smaller and smaller place to do business. With easy access to IT resources and staff around the globe, companies are tapping into the huge growth potential of emerging markets and the cost efficiencies of outsourcing. Managing a dispersed workforce only adds to IT infrastructure complexity. A single unified platform that centrally manages users, devices, data, workloads, and networks can optimally leverage global resources and comply with data governance restrictions. With cloud data centres available in numerous locations worldwide — 54 regions worldwide in the case of Microsoft Azure, for example — IT can store workloads near the people who use them to minimise WAN latency. This geographic flexibility also allows IT to keep data inside national borders as required, simplifying regulatory compliance.

This unified platform simplifies the IT department’s increasing complexity, giving you the freedom, creativity, and resources to focus on better business outcomes, stronger security, improved employee mobility, and the other critical strategies that will future-proof your IT operation.

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ConceptD: Creatives get a tech brand of their own

The unveiling of a new brand by Acer recognises the massive computing power needed in creative professions, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It’s a crisp Spring morning in Brooklyn. The regular water taxi from Manhattan pulls up at Duggal Greenhouse on the edge of the East River. It’s a building that symbolises the rejuvenation of Brooklyn as a hub of artistic and creative expression.

Inside the vast structure, global computer brand Acer is about to unveil its own tribute to creativity. Company CEO Jason Chen takes to the stage in faded blue jeans and brown t-shirt, underlining the connection of the event to the informality of the area.

“Brooklyn is become more and more diverse,” he tells a gathering of press from around the world, attending the Next@Acer media event. “It’s an area that is up and coming. It represents new lifestyles. And our theme today is turning a new chapter for creativity.”

Every year, Next@Acer is a parade of the cutting edge in gaming and educational laptops and computers. New devices from sub-brands like Predator, Helios and Nitro have gamers salivating. This year is no different, but there is a surprise in store, hinted in Chen’s introduction.

As a grand finale, he calls on stage Angelica Davila, whose day job is senior marketing manager for Acer Latin America. But she also happens to have a Masters degree in computer and electric engineering. A stint at Intel, where she joined a sales and marketing programme for engineers, set her on a new path.

Angelica Davila, marketing manager for Acer Latin America

For the last few months, she has been helping write Acer’s next chapter. She has shepherded into being nothing less than a new brand: ConceptD.

Click here to read more about ConceptD.

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Which voice assistant wins battle of translators?

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Take the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.

OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  (See chart). All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.

OHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard. 

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