The future of retail still lies in the store — it just needs an IT refresh

iot smart retail use computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning concept, automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.

The last few years have been tough for the retail industry, and 2018 hasn’t seen the situation improve

In the UK we have already seen large companies such as Toys R Us and Maplin fall into administration, resulting in significant store closures and job losses.

This has led both industry experts and armchair pundits to question the future of the retail store. Many have predicted ‘the death of the high street’.

Despite the ever-increasing portion of retail that is gobbled up by e-commerce, to say that the high street will soon be obsolete is obviously over simplistic. In fact, the future of retail will still be centred around the physical store, but its role and function will need to evolve.

Recent research found that physical retail will still account for 80 per cent of sales globally by 2025, an indicator that consumers still see huge value in high street shopping. However, the in-store demands and expectations of these consumers are changing quickly, and so retailers need to keep up if they are to remain healthy and competitive.
Ultimately, retailers need to take advantage of innovative technologies in order to deliver an in-store customer experience that drives engagement and loyalty. This is backed up by research from Vista which found that more than two thirds (67%) of consumers believe retailers should be taking advantage of technologies such as AI, AR and VR. The challenge, however, lies in embracing these technologies while simultaneously delivering cost savings.

Despite the best intentions of many retailers, they often face a common stumbling block in their journey towards the ‘store of the future’ — their existing store IT infrastructures. Many of these infrastructures are preventing the innovative in-store experience customers now expect, and so there needs to be a significant shift in IT approach if retailers are to realise their ambitions.


If stores are to flourish in the future, they require agile IT infrastructures that deliver the applications on which new services are built quickly, cost effectively, and without fuelling the costly hardware proliferation in some stores. The infrastructures also need to be secure, easy to support and financially viable. IT needs to deliver cost savings today, as well as a platform for innovation.
Many current retail IT infrastructures are not optimised for the technologies customers now expect to see in-store, cannot easily be integrated to deliver personalisation across in-store and online, and often result in unnecessary and untenable costs.

What’s required is a focus on the ‘retail edge’ – transforming in-store technology to become cost effective, manageable and agile. This new “retail edge” approach enables the distributed store estate to be managed as an integrated whole — one that can run all required applications and experiences, be deployed, upgraded, secured and supported as one entity from a central point, rather than as a collection of disparate and dedicated in-store systems with separate management and support needs.

This implies a powerful distributed virtualised in-store technology to securely run multiple applications, peripheral hardware and more in-store. And while this technology delivers many of the flexibility and cost benefits of traditional cloud architectures, it needs to be in-store rather than in-cloud. The dependency on cloud availability and in-built latency is simply too high a risk for retailers to deal with — particularly for POS and other related peripherals. At the heart of such an approach must be intelligent automation technology to enable the control and updating of IT across the entire retail estate; simplifying previously complex IT tasks and ensuring a consistent and secure IT environment


For physical stores to reach their full potential in today’s market their role needs to be redefined, and this cannot be achieved without a redefinition of the technology landscape. Old alternatives of “run it all from the cloud”, or “keep the old stuff working” aren’t enough anymore. Fortunately, managed, distributed and virtualised in-store solutions provide the way forward and most importantly, retailers are not forced into an expensive ‘rip and replace’ buying cycle. There are many retailers now taking a ‘step by step’ approach to digitising the physical store with their legacy IT and achieving significant commercial benefits that have an immediate impact on the bottom line while providing a more innovative customer experience.

About the Author

Nick East is CEO at Zynstra. Zynstra’s intelligent infrastructure is transforming edge computing for retailers. Purpose-built for retail, it delivers high reliability automation.

IoT in Healthcare: Balancing Patient Privacy & Innovation

vital sign monitoring concept. 3d rendering. abstract mixed media.

Medical technology tends to lag behind other technologies, as the cost of mistakes at medical practices and hospitals can be astronomical

As a result, the field can lag behind when it comes to adopting the latest digital or IoT technologies. Patient privacy is a major issue, so all new technologies must be adopted carefully while adhering to various data compliance obligations that apply both to companies in general as well as healthcare organisations specifically.

Streamlining Hospitals and Clinics

Managing clinics and hospitals is complex, and it’s expensive. Many healthcare organizations rely on multiple computer and networking systems. Through smart bracelets, administrators can better track patient movement, and they can determine how often patients meet with their doctors. In addition, IoT technology can make it easier to track and analyze patients’ vital signs and other metrics, offering invaluable feedback and resolution not possible with manually measurements. Successfully managing a healthcare center is about maximizing resources, and IoT data and its analysis will prove to be invaluable.

More Time at Home

Occupied beds in a hospital are expensive, and most patients would rather spend their time at home. Through the IoT, doctors and other healthcare providers can receive real-time feedback on various medical metrics in patients regardless of their location. Sensors for patients with diabetes, for example, can provide instant feedback if certain levels are too high. Furthermore, IoT devices, when combined with artificial intelligence and deep learning, can even predict if individuals are likely to encounter problems in the near future, leading to more prompt and effective intervention.

Covering the Costs

Technological costs are unavoidable in healthcare. Fortunately, many hospitals and clinics have moved to cloud-based approaches over the years, and these systems tend to be better suited to IoT technology compared to older technologies. IoT devices are relatively inexpensive, and hospitals can conduct small trials to determine their effectiveness. Upgrade cycles are common when budgeting for medical care, so making the upgrade during the next technology upgrade period can make the costs more affordable and, in some cases, less expensive than maintaining current systems.

Security Demands

In the IoT context, some leaked data is fairly insignificant; if a farmer’s temperature sensors are hacked, for example, the impact is insignificant. In the medical field, however, any patient data that is accessed illicitly can lead to lawsuits and other sanctions. Much of the reason for the slow adoption of the IoT in healthcare is ensuring devices are hardened against attacks and meet stringent regulations. Data storage is central to compliance requirements in healthcare, but as Shannon Hulbert, CEO of Opus Interactive points out “accessibility is key”.

Established Companies and Startups

Established technology entities have been somewhat slow to provide medical IoT services. However, Amazon, Google, and other cloud providers now offer services for healthcare centers, pharmacology entities, and biotech companies. Startups are playing a major role as well, and many are using smartphones patients likely already have. Orbita brings healthcare services to digital assistants, including Amazon Echo and Google Home. Even relatively simple apps can provide significant benefits. Sunshine, for example, can track how often a patient is outdoors, which is useful for treating many conditions.

The high stakes involved in the medical industry mean organizations must take a conservative approach when adopting new technology. As the IoT continues to prove invaluable in other sectors, however, organizations are taking note. While the fully connected hospital will take some time to come to fruition, patients can expect to see their healthcare centers evolve over the coming years.

HPE announces general availability for HPE OneSphere

Developers in office

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) recently announced the general availability of HPE OneSphere, the industry’s first SaaS-based multi-cloud management solution for on-premises IT and public clouds

Delivered as a service, HPE OneSphere provides users with a single point to access all their applications and data from anywhere. HPE OneSphere is unique in that it provides a unified view of your hybrid IT estate—consolidating IT operations, developer tools, and business analytics in a single, collaborative platform.

Designed to bring collaboration across the entire enterprise, HPE OneSphere helps IT management, developers, and lines of business accelerate digital transformation.

With HPE OneSphere, IT managers simplify operations through visibility and automation. IT managers can view their entire hybrid IT environment — from a variety of public clouds to traditional on premises IT across containers, VMs and even bare metal. Automation and an unified portal to easily manage resources and applications from anywhere delivers a low-ops  experience, giving IT more time to pursue new, strategic tasks that can help grow the business.

HPE OneSphere also enables fast app deployment. With it, developers get self-service access to curated tools, templates, and resources. IT can also provide unique project workspaces for workgroups, projects, or individuals, streamlining the DevOps workflows.

Business executives can make better business decisions because of increased transparency. Real-time, cross-cloud insights enable CIOs and lines of business to increase resource utilization and reduce costs, improving efficiency across the board.

To learn more about HPE OneSphere, register for the live demo webinars at

*This initial release will be available in North America (US and Canada), the United Kingdom, and Ireland and will be extended to other regions with future releases.

About the Author

Chris Purcell drives analyst relations for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in a hybrid IT world. Learn about HPE’s approach to managing hybrid IT by checking out the HPE website, HPE OneSphere. To read more articles from Chris Purcell, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.

RCS Business Messaging: Why You Should Care

Man holding smart phone with colorful application icons

SMS text messaging has been a staple of mobile phones for years now, and it remains a popular means of communicating

When compared to WhatApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and other texting tools, however, it’s feeling a bit dated, even when using MMS image and video capabilities. Telecoms carriers are now hoping to provide a robust replacement with Rich Communication Services (RCS). While the technology has been around for some years now, differing standards have made it difficult for them to adopt RCS as a service for customers.

RCS isn’t new; T-Mobile in the United States, for example, first began support in November of 2012. Over the years, however, support has grown considerably, with both Microsoft and Google providing mobile operating system support. Sprint is the largest US carrier offering support, and major international carriers include AT&T in Mexico, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Rogers Communications. Smartphone manufacturers are increasingly adopting the technology as well, and supporters include Huawei, Motorola, Kyocera, Sony Mobile, and BLU.

The GSMA’s Universal Profile for RCS has given the industry the standardisation it needed and Google has aligned it’s Android OS, announcing recently that 40 carriers and device manufacturers are now using its platform. Apple is expected to follow.

Google has recently begun working with brands to showcase just how powerful it can be for businesses in their drive for omnichannel customer service. RCS business messaging will enable businesses to communicate with customers using their native text app on their device, allowing them to amend orders, talk to chatbots, download flight boarding passes and more.

Cloud communications platform Twilio, whose technology is the underpinning of Uber’s chat feature, recently announced support for RCS business messaging. We recently spoke to Patrick Malatack to find out more about RCS for business.

Why Should Businesses Care?

SMS texting is limited, and companies looking to embed information in their messages will find themselves forced to make compromises. Among other features, RCS lets message recipients open locations in maps easily, and RCS can be great for embedding boarding passes and financial fraud alerts. Email fills this gap is some areas, but phishing attacks and other limitations make it an imperfect option. Although WhatsApp and other messaging systems can provide similar capabilities, they aren’t open in the was RCS is, and it’s unlikely manufacturers and operating system developers will include them as integrated applications.

As the developer of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android, Google carries a significant amount of weight. By pushing to make Android Messages its default messaging app, Google is making it known that RCS will play a key role in the future of Android development, although carriers may still need to provide support. Lately, Google has been working with companies to provide practical demonstrations of what RCS can do. Collaborations with, Subway, SnapTravel, and others are providing inspiration for other companies.

In the second part of our chat, Twilio’s Patrick Malatack explains why brands should pay attention to its potential

The transition should be seamless for most users. Instead of having to install a separate app to receive richer text messages, users might discover that their current or next device already provides support out of the box or through an operating system update.

Why Reykjavik’s new cutting-edge data center is big news for big business


The most advanced datacenter in Iceland is to be built in Reykjavik next year: why should this make enterprises outside of Iceland excited and confident about the IANIuture?

Because IT used for competitive advantage and the implications of it (such as cost of ownership, commitment) are limiting current innovation – possible, but set back. As the datacenter space in Iceland is running out, but the benefits do not: here is what is exciting for overseas enterprises and business leaders about this announcement.

Together with partners Vodafone Iceland (Fjarskipti hf), Korputorg Real Estate and the IT Service Center for the Icelandic Financial Market (Reiknistofa Bankanna), Opin Kerfi are building what today would be the most technologically advanced facility in the country in the well-travelled city of Reykjavik. The construction of the first data center in the capital area will start this year, and all going to plan is expected to have the first stages ready in 2019 (see announcement).

Why does this matter to international companies?

If any doubt about Iceland as datacenter location is out there, this high-end project should encourage more confidence than ever in international companies who are facing a digital transformation imperative with no sustainable or cost-effective options for massive growth.

The project is the result of confidence from analysing current domestic and international conditions and demand. This demonstrates forward-thinking, readiness and a simple approach to prospects in demand of datacenter space, security and capacity. Especially suitable for high performance workloads, the datacenter will be in immediate vicinity to connection, electricity and any services needed.

It is a fact that the way consumers behave and companies design IT is widely different than even 5 years ago. Leaders are defined by how effectively technology is used to meet customer’s needs. There is no better place for hyper-efficient, low-cost and highly sophisticated IT than Iceland.

Aren’t there already many datacenters in Iceland?

First and foremost, it is important to clarify that there are dramatic differences between datacenters, mostly depending on security and construction complexity (Tier).

While there are many datacenters of different Tier qualifications serving different customers, there has lately been a large demand for higher standards such as Tier III equivalent facilities. In order to give the experience of taking off as a business with the most sophisticated technology efficiently and sustainably, we are boosting the competition as well as accommodating requests both domestically and internationally for high-end data center solutions.

What is so special about Korputorg?

Truly a golden spot: within walking distance to one of the main electricity stations in the capital area, ensuring stable and uninterruptible power supply.

High performance fibre-optic cables are already installed on the spot. Located on a site with minimum interruption but within the capital area ensures speed in any service needed.

Located in Reykjavik, only 40 minutes drive from Keflavik International Airport and 15 minutes drive from the Reykjavik Domestic Airport this spot combines accessibility and convenience together with highest technology utilities.

To which industries is this project relevant?

This announcement specially interesting to industries relying on non-stop systems and the highest security level together with high consumption of power.

Previously, these requirements have been observed with clients putting their Research and Development HPC environments in Iceland (automotive, for example). These conditions are also optimal for the finance industry – where our first and main customer comes from.

Who is the first customer?

RB, the IT service centre for the Icelandic financial market, had the project to unite and simplify their IT operations in less locations, which led to a thorough analysis of possible sites and partners. Running the financial systems of Iceland – both business and consumer – RB relies on mission-critical infrastructure with zero downtime and the highest security requirements as a standard for facilities . This data center will provide a safe location in all aspects for the current systems and possibilities for future expansion.

We at Opin Kerfi are proud of this partnership and look forward to challenge the competition in sustainable, hyper-efficient data centers contributing to accelerating human progress powered by technology that does not compromise the future of our planet or security of IT operations.

About the Author

This article was written by Anastasia Alexandersdottir, international business development and marketing manager at  Opin Kerfi.

Opin Kerfi are partners of Cloud28+, the open community of over 600 innovative technology businesses, built to accelerate cloud adoption and digital transformation around the globe. It has members located across North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia. Join free or find out more here.

The Unstoppable Growth of Azure


When Microsoft chose to move to the cloud in a major way, analysts weren’t sure if the move would pay off

The company was still primarily known as a software business. However, Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and its innovation and profitability has impressed the skeptics.

To the delight of shareholders, Microsoft’s most recent earnings report showed strong growth on the Azure platform, taking their stock price up 20 percent. In total, Microsoft’s revenue grew by 11 percent to 28.9 billion dollars, exceeding Wall Street expectations of 28.4 billion dollars. Azure saw revenue increases of 98 percent, smashing expected growth pegged at 90 percent. So what are the features and factors driving Azure adoption and making businesses place their trust in Microsoft with their data? We recently spoke to Azure CTO Mark Russinovich to discuss some of the latest additions to the platform and find out what users can expect in the next 12 months.

Confidential Computing

In order for the cloud to succeed, it must be thoroughly secured, as the cost of compromised data is extreme. Microsoft has been a leader in providing innovative security measures designed to fight the unique attacks the cloud might be vulnerable to. Most data is compromised while it’s being used, so Azure’s “confidential computing” technology ensures data remains encrypted while in use and won’t send data unless it can be verified as secure. By placing data in a self-contained enclave and only executing code from within this environment, confidential computing enables innovative means of protecting data, offering users even greater assurance that their information is kept safe.

Coco Framework

Nobody quite knows what role the blockchain concept will play in the enterprise, but the technology’s inherent advantages over other paradigms leave little doubt it will carve out a significant role. However, current blockchain paradigms and frameworks aren’t particularly suited for enterprise use. Microsoft’s Coco Framework features a more discrete blockchain framework where both nodes and actors are declared explicitly, proving a more enterprise-friendly interface that also provides some performance advantages over other technologies. Furthermore, the framework is open source, making it open to community development. In fact, the framework has already received significant contributions from both large and small entities, making the platform versatile and easy to modify as blockchain implementations evolve.

Azure Stack

Although more and more operations are expected to move to the cloud in the coming years, experts are realizing that hybrid cloud environments will be more popular than cloud-only platforms for the foreseeable future. Azure Stack promises to provide a seamless means of managing both on-site and cloud resources, enabling easier application development and making operations more flexible. Furthermore, companies can run Azure services on-site, which is a boon for companies relying on automated scaling, and the integrated design offers excellent monitoring techniques. Companies are expected to evolve their cloud infrastructures over time, and the flexibility of Azure Stack is already making it a popular choice.

Urs Renggli, Global Alliances Marketing Lead at Hewlett Packard Enteprise  says “Finding your right mix of Hybrid IT, one that’s powered by software-defined infrastructure engineered for Microsoft workloads, can enable delivery of IT-as-a-Service for improved speed and agility, accelerate the development and delivery of cloud apps and services, and further reduce risk by building security and resiliency into your platforms.

HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack not only helps customers to leverage the benefits of both worlds, but helps to create a seamless experience across on-premise clouds to Microsoft Azure, which is critical when developing, testing, and deploying apps that power the business.

HPE and Microsoft are collaborating on Azure Stack Innovation Centers which aim to give businesses a head start on their hybrid cloud journey.  Renggli adds “Staffed by HPE and Microsoft experts, and leveraging the latest industry-leading Azure Stack hardware and software solutions, the Azure Stack Innovation Centers are designed to help simplify and accelerate your hybrid cloud journey.”

Azure Container Service (AKS)

Containers have become popular in enterprise environments, but implementing them has proven to be complex and often at odds with other development and deployment paradigms. Compatible with the popular open source container automation system Kubernetes, AKS combines flexibility with easy management, providing a platform companies can feel comfortable investing in. Users can feel free to switch to other open source orchestrators as well, including Docker and DC/OS. Importantly, AKS doesn’t charge per cluster; users only pay for the resources they use, making it a great choice for times when on-demand scalability is important.

Event Grid

The newest addition to the Azure platform is Event Grid. This suite of tools provide a single-service means of routing any event to any destination, providing a straightforward and powerful way to bring together Azure resources and providing a simplified means of developing cloud networks. Perhaps most exciting is the ability to develop serverless application architectures, and the tool’s scalable and dynamic design enables a broader range of development paradigms. Microsoft’s stated goal is to let clients focus on logic instead of dealing with infrastructure concerns.

When Microsoft announced its transition to the cloud, many predicted failure. However, a commitment to cloud operations, in addition to a change in attitude toward open source software and a greater willingness to work with other companies, is marking a successful transformation for Microsoft. So what’s next for the fastest growing cloud? According to Russinovich they will “continue to push the boundaries” in its capabilities.

Although the tech giant will maintain a critical role on personal devices and in traditional sever rooms, the cloud-based future is increasingly looking like one in which Microsoft will thrive, innovate, and lead. What’s more, they are embracing the open nature of cloud environments, so companies fearing lock-in will feel more comfortable settling on the Azure platform.

5G: Driving the Global Economy

Earth in human hands with rising symbol 5G

5G is moving connectivity beyond the mobile

Many smartphone users remember 3G mobile connectivity, which, despite its slow speed, allowed access to the internet from almost anywhere. Various 4G technologies overtook 3G and provided far greater speed, and 4G LTE technology still dominates the market. Recently, however, many have heard about 5G technology. While the speed gains it presents will be significant, 5G technology provides much more than a raw boost in speed – it’s poised to revolutionize so many fields.

Laurence Norman, VP Technology at NTT DATA believes 5G will be ill be “life changing” & “economy changing”.

While 4G speeds vary, 5G is expected to provide around 10 times more throughput that current 4G technologies. Video streaming over 4G is typically excellent, but 5G technology will be able to stream at an 8K video resolution, which is greater than typical movie theater screens. This speed can also provide better reliability, as users will be able to download an entire video in seconds and leave towers free to handle other users. Video consumes a significant amount of internet traffic, and 5G technology will provide a boon.

Moving Beyond Smartphones

Smart devices consume a majority of 4G traffic, but this might change when 5G technology comes online. The Internet of Things relies on low-cost sensors, and low-cost 5G chips will enable them to operate in a more versatile manner. Augmented reality is also expected to play a major role in our futures, and smart glasses and other tools can depend on 5G to provide the performance users will demand. Current 4G technology simply lacks the bandwidth these new technologies will require, and many IoT and AR devices depend on WiFi connections. When 5G is available, these technologies will be usable over a larger geographical range.

Although the IoT will be critical for industry, agriculture, and government fields, smaller businesses can take advantage of the 5G-enabled IoT as well. Smart business practices let companies stay connected regardless of location, and they enable virtual offices not possible with existing technology. Expect to see 5G-enabled devices in your home. Smart thermostats, for example, provide easy connectivity, while home automation will let us control our homes in a seamless manner through 5G connections.

Cars and Robotics

Self-driving cars are coming online. While 4G technology might be sufficient for some time, 5G technology will be critical for bringing the technology into the mainstream. In addiction to faster data transfer, 5G technology will also provide lower latency. Furthermore, the dream of self-driving cars revolves around connected cars, as cars that can speak to each other can maximize traffic flow and safety. The sheer bandwidth provided by 5G connectivity will offer the bandwidth needed. Furthermore, people commuting in self-driving cars will undoubtedly want to work or enjoy entertainment while en route, both of which will require more bandwidth than 4G can handle.

Perhaps the biggest change to robots in recent years is that they’re no longer tied to single locations as they were in the past, and this mobility will be play a key role in leveraging the power of robotics. Combined with 5G technology, robots will be capable of far more. Furthermore, 5G technology can allow people to perform precision work from across the globe. Surgery, for example, is too sensitive a task to leave to 4G technology. However, surgeons paired with robotics through 5G connectivity can make remote surgery a viable option.

The Rollout

As a leading innovator in mobile networking, Nokia making strides in the global 5G roll-out. Major providers are looking to incorporate 5G technology ahead of what experts projected, and Nokia has recently formed a partnership with China Mobile, which provides service to more than 870 million people. At the core of this technology is Nokia’s Future X 5G networking infrastructure, which will serve as the backbone of China Mobile’s mobile connectivity should the collaboration continue beyond testing and research phases.

Nokia’s Phil Twist believes the infrastructure will serve as “a blueprint” for the ideal 5G network architecture.

Nokia’s project with China Mobile will incorporate developing standards. As the IoT is expected to be a major user of 5G technology, Nokia will support NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology to allow further testing and enable unprecedented latency and throughput capabilities. Nokia’s Multi-access Edge Control (MEC) platform is also leading to enthusiasm as it complements the emerging field of edge computing and can help push the IoT and related technology by providing an abstracted means of handle data transfer.

As part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 initiative, Nokia are also spearheading a two year research project by in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom and the Port of Hamburg, which aims to test 5G network slicing for industrial use-cases.

For consumers who don’t stream especially large video, the advent of 5G is likely to be a transparent one as existing 4G technology is more than sufficient for most cases. However, the benefits of 5G will transcend download speeds and enable a wide range of new paradigms for businesses and individuals alike. While it will take some time for networks to roll out, the change will be significant.

Vodafone Trial World’s First Drone Traffic Control

Drone over construction site. video surveillance or industrial inspection

Vodafone recently announced trials of its new air traffic control system for drones.

By 2050, the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research expects drones to account for 250 million hours of air time in densely populated areas of the European Union, presenting a significant threat to human-occupied aircraft. Air traffic control systems for traditional aircraft are insufficient for small drones, so new technology is needed to fill this critical gap.

In late 2017, Vodafone launched to first trial of its kind near Sevilla, Spain, using a 1.3 meter X-UAV drone. Over the 32-kilometer course, the drone relayed GPS data along with high-definition video and sent data from a new technology developed by Vodafone: Radio Positioning System. Further trials are expect throughout 2018, and the company hopes the software will be available for commercial use in 2019.

Vodafone Group Chief Technology Officer Johan Wibergh believes the move is a “groundbreaking innovation”.

Vodafone will help to ensure the skies stay safe as drones become ubiquitous, everywhere.

Deputy Director General of the European Commission Matthew Baldwin agrees. “The Commission supports all trials aimed at realising our U-space vision for safe commercial drone operations in the EU – there is a growing network of demonstrations and projects across the EU.  We look forward to hearing the results of Vodafone’s work.”

Tech-Powered Monitoring

Vodafone’s position as a top telecommunication company makes it a natural choice for developing a drone traffic control system, as its 4G Internet of Things network can provide the necessary bandwidth and latency for tracking drones and looking for potential problems. It’s already common to hear stories of drone operators being irresponsible, and there have been several close calls between drones and aircraft. With the popularity of drones expected to increase, relying on the latest technology will be essential for warning pilots and keeping aircraft safe from potentially catastrophic impacts.

GPS technology will continue playing a critical role in navigation, but Vodafone has developed a complementary technology: Radio Positioning System. An embedded SIM in each drone provides tracking capabilities, while the integrated 4G modem provides the necessary information to provide tracking with an accuracy of approximately 50 meters. RPS data is difficult to spoof, especially when compared to GPS data. Furthermore, there’s no licensing fee attached to RPS, and all the relevant information for adopting the technology has been placed in the public domain.

©Boston Consulting

Emergency Control

Drone operators will inevitably make mistakes, and some of these mistakes can lead to dangerous situations. RPS technology can allow drone operators to maintain control of their drones even if they’re out of sight or beyond the horizon. Furthermore, the technology allows drones to be programmed to either land or return to the owner if they venture into a restricted area. If a drone is believed to be on a dangerous course, the proper authorities can take control, allowing a remote operator to land it safely.

Although drones provide invaluable services, they also present risks. Drones make it easy to smuggle contraband into prisons and to other locations. Furthermore, they can carry explosives and other lethal payloads, leading to concerns about terrorism. A key step for preventing such attacks is knowing where drones are flying, and early detection can go a long way toward keeping people safe.

However, it’s not all bad. Drone’s are set to transform a wide variety of industries. Silicon Valley Bank’s Tom Butterworth recently spoke to us about their positive impact. Watch below

While Drones provide invaluable services and can have tremendous benefits for society, they still pose significant risks, especially to human-occupied aircraft. By working with European Aviation Safety Agency and by developing open technology and following established guidelines, Vodafone hopes to be a world leader in ensuring drone operations are done in a safe manner. Even though drone usage today is only a fraction of what it will be in the future, it’s the right time to ensure drones are kept to high standards of safety.

10 ways to tell if an infrastructure solution is really composable

In Data Center Two IT Engineers Walking Through Rows of Server Racks. They Work on Tablet Computer and Laptop.

History has shown that whenever a new, innovative technology comes to market, there are both skeptics and early adopters who embrace it with open arms

For instance, when Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2008, I was skeptical. Why did I need my phone to take pictures and have a GPS to find my way? I had friends and colleagues who ran out to get one and raved about its capabilities. Fast forward a few years, and every cell phone company in the world offers a smart phone, and I have to admit, I don’t know where I’d be without mine.

The same pattern is true when it comes to composable infrastructure. First introduced as a concept in late 2015, some in the industry were skeptical and others saw the incredible potential it provided. Of course, competitors realized the remarkable possibilities for the technology and immediately began imitating it, calling their solutions “composable.”

Just like any new technology, it’s important for customers to be clear on what composable infrastructure really is and what it isn’t – because not just any piece of infrastructure can be classified as composable. To help you evaluate any solution calling itself composable, here are ten ways to tell if it really is:

1. Does it have a single infrastructure for all applications?

Any solution that claims to be composable must deliver the ability to provide the application with the exact optimized footprint it needs – one that provisions and runs a workload across virtual machines, bare-metal deployment, containers, and cloud-native applications.

2. Does it use all resources?

A truly composable infrastructure should provide fluid pools of compute, storage area network (SAN), local storage, and network fabric resources that can be continually aggregated, disaggregated, and composed based on the needs of the application.

3. Does the solution deliver software-defined intelligence?

Composable Infrastructure should remove complexity by providing programmable and template‐driven software intelligence in a single management platform. The software-defined intelligence should also deliver capabilities for self-discovery and auto-integrating across all components of the infrastructure, allowing new resources to be automatically discovered and integrated.

4. Does it have a single unified API?

Today, each element of infrastructure in your data center probably has its own distinct API, requiring complicated code or management tools to configure and provision a single workload. True composability provides one simple and open RESTful API that allows you to abstract and control every element of infrastructure and easily plugs into other programming elements.

5. Is it compatible with a variety of tools, chosen from a growing ecosystem?

DevOps teams prefer sets of tools that allow them to rapidly provision and deploy applications. Those tools should still work in a composable infrastructure. A broad and growing ecosystem of tools should also be available (such as Ansible, Chef, Docker, Microsoft, OpenStack, Puppet, and VMware).

6. Does it deliver true infrastructure-as-code?

A composable solution should allow DevOps teams to provision and control physical resources from their applications, giving them true infrastructure-as-code ability that enables continuous deployment. Think of it as bare metal at the speed of cloud, with templates that unify the process for provisioning compute, connectivity, storage, and OS deployment in a single step – just like provisioning VM instances from the public cloud.

7. Is the solution designed for composability?

Instead of investing in a reconfigured, old product, look for a solution that is designed for composability from the ground up.

8. Does the solution deliver a return on your investment?

A composable solution should eliminate over‐provisioning and stranded resources. Each workload should use only the resources it needs, and return those resources to the pool when they are no longer needed. Processes and services align around a single-delivery model, reducing complexity and cost.

9. Can the solution future-proof your business?

With a composable solution, there should be no limits to scalability and no barriers to creativity – your infrastructure should get out of the way and work harmoniously with any data center.

10. Does it allow you to start on the path to composability now?

Find a solution that allows you to get started when you’re ready and proceed at the speed that is best for your business. Your solution should allow you to deploy in incremental steps, delivering the benefits of composability where it is most needed today without disrupting critical applications.

Composable Infrastructure is changing how businesses are operating their data centers, opening new opportunities for speed and flexibility while removing cost and complexity. As the first platform built from the ground up for composable infrastructure, HPE Synergy guarantees each of these 10 items. Customers worldwide are seeing first-hand how HPE Synergy and composable infrastructure provides the flexibility to adapt to every workload and the power to deliver services at lightning speed.

About Paul Miller

Paul Miller is Vice President of Marketing for the Software-defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in a hybrid IT world. To learn more about composable infrastructure, download the Composable Infrastructure For Dummies guide.

To read more articles from Paul Miller, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.

Why Brands are Turning to Augmented Reality

girl in black paint and neon powder

Mixed reality is opening up a new world of opportunity for marketers

Ever since the emergence of modern virtual reality, experts have been predicting a sharp spike in advertisers and brands taking advantage of virtual reality technology, with augmented reality expected to play a major role. Only recently, however, has the technology enabled advertisers to begin exploring what is a truly novel means of showcasing products.

Personal Virtual Augmentation

As anyone who has seen makeover shows knows, a bit of makeup or style can go a long way. Encouraging customers to try out various ideas, however, has long proven difficult. Through augmented reality, stores can give customers virtual makeovers in mere seconds and with only a few taps. Companies are already exploring this option, and customers will soon be able to try out lipstick, false eyelashes, and other cosmetics without having to spend time manually applying them. Tony Parisi of Unity3D gives us a few examples of brand experiences using VR below.

Street-Level Augmented Reality

Street-level advertising is popular in population centers, and some companies already use interactive displays. Pepsi has been a pioneer in this field, having used augmented reality in it’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter last year, which featured alien abductions, meteor strikes and tiger attacks which was effective as capture attention from passers by.

In doing so they proved augmented reality doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly related to a specific product being sold, as increasing attention on a brand can lead to higher sales.

Home Products

Furniture is practical, but most people are also concerned with how a piece of furniture will look in their homes. Through it’s augmented reality Ikea Place app, everyone’s favourite furniture company is now allowing customers to try out various options through their smartphone screen, showing how the product will look in the room. Buyers are often concerned with whether a piece will fit in their space, and they want to ensure furniture they purchase isn’t too large or small aesthetically for their rooms.

Augmented reality lets customers try out various options to find the perfect fit. Integrating this technology with social media also encourages customers to effectively advertise Ikea’s products to their online contacts.

Virtual Sales Agents

Sales agents serve as valuable educators for store products. However, sales agents can be expensive to employ, and some customers prefer to avoid interacting with sales agents. Through augmented reality, stores can provide in-depth information for to visitors using smartphones, providing the facts customers need to make an informed decision. Databases can store more information than any sales agent can memorize, making them powerful tools for customers looking for specific features. Chain stores can also load information about stock in nearby stores, increasing the odds of landing a sale.

According to Parisi (below), with all these marketing uses AR has the potential to become even more popular than fully immersive virtual reality.

Augmenting Live Performances

Movie theaters and live venues are facing increased competition from high-quality and affordable home theaters and interactive entertainment. As the trend away from traveling for entertainment seems all but inevitable, theaters and live venues are looking to adopt new technology instead of fighting it. Visitors with smartphones can enjoy an enhanced experience using augmented reality, and virtual reality itself is finding its way into more traditional media. This technology is still new, but various entertainment venues are sure to embrace it in the coming years to remain competitive.

Augmented reality presents an array of new options, and it’s not yet clear which will fade away and which will remain. Regardless of how this new technology shapes up, consumers can expect new and interesting ideas to continue emerging over the coming years.