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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to technology trends.

IT Industry News for January 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on January 17, 2019     Tech News Header This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for January 2019

What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

Five years ago, in January 2014 Google was an especially busy player, selling its Motorola Mobility handset unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion but paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs and the company also bought Bitspin.  The other big deal saw VMware pay $1.17 billion for mobile device management company AirWatch.  Other big names on the acquisition trail included Oracle who bought cloud based service delivery company Corente; Microsoft paid a reputed $100 million for cloud based service company (seems to be a theme) Parature; Ricoh purchased IT service company Mindshift from BestBuy; and Hootsuite bought analytics company uberVu.

In January 2015 the biggest deal saw Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, Yahoo logospinning off its $40 Billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought!  Other M&A activity involving a “B” was Telco equipment company Commscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivities network business.  There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying, and in no particular order … Amazon paid something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia bought its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung paid $100 million for Brazil’s largest print company Simpress; Google paid about $100 million for mobile payments company Softcard; Facebook bought Wit.ai a company that has a Siri like solution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox bought CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter paid somewhere between $30 million and $40 million for Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups; and finally Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and in a departure from its history it bought open software company Revolution Analytics. IBM logo

Three years ago in January 2016 there was plenty of activity with some of the household names out shopping.  IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought game form learning tool MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis.  Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and a number of smaller deals included Juniper Networks buying BTISystems Inc.; FireEye bought iSight partners; Acceo Solutions bought Groupe Techna and SmartPrint bought LaserCorp’s Toronto based managed print services business. Cisco logo

In January 2017 the multi-billion-dollar deal of the month was Cisco’s purchase of app performance management company, AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. HP Enterprise purchased data center hardware provider, SimpliVity for $650 million. Microsoft acquired Montreal-based deep learning start-up Maluuba for an undisclosed sum. Google announced plans to purchase Twitter’s mobile developer platform Fabric. Trello, the startup behind a leading task-management app was purchased by Atlassian for $425 million. CRM giant, Salesforce bought Unity&Variety to enhance its productivity app service Quip Managed Service Provider of data and database administration, Datavail, acquired Canadian IT channel leader Navantis.

Amazon Web ServicesLast year January 2018 the big deal saw investment management software company SS&C pay $5.4 billion for financial services software company DST Systems.  Amazon Web Services increased its cybersecurity protection capabilities through the purchase of Sqrrl.  ADP bought gig economy tool WorkMarket and TD Bank bought a Canadian AI company Layer 6.

Which brings us back to the present…  ACCENTURE LOGO

January 2019 was another fairly busy M&A month.  The biggest deal saw DXC pay $2 billion for digital consultancy Luxoft, DXC also bought another European services company EG A/S. Amazon Web Services made a couple of acquisitions, Israeli data migration company CloudEndure and Vancouver startup TSO Logic, a cloud migration company.  Accenture was another high profile company making multiple acquisition in January, Houston based consulting company Enaxis Consulting, and Orbium a company providing services in the banking sector.  Dropbox splashed $230 million to buy electronic signature company HelloSign; Google bought DORA, a research firm; Microsoft bought database startup Citus; AT Kearney bought consulting company Cervello; and Zix paid $275 million for email security company AppRiver. There were a number of companies announcing layoffs, including Tesla (7% of workforce); AT&T; Verizon Media (7% of workforce); McAfee (200 people) and SAP (4,$00) although SAP suggest they will have net job growth in 2019. Canada added job in December and was up 163,000 jobs for 2018.  There is concern about Europe entering a recession with suggestion that Germany might already be in recession, and the situation in the UK is obviously being affected by the Brexit situation (or non-situation).  Generally around the world job numbers look not too bad, with the US continuing to show strong job growth.  The message of skills shortages is also being heard around the world.

That has been my look at the tech news for January … until next month, Walk Fast and Smile!

Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019

Gartner recently released their Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019, which they say is all about building the digital mesh. The publication is packed with valuable information for any technology professional looking to understand where the industry is going, invest in the right areas, or improve their skillset. It’s also quite long and more reading than you may want to do during the holidays.

Fortunately, Gartner also released a video summarizing the information! So make a coffee, sit back, relax, and listen to David Cearly, Distinguished VP, Analyst at Gartner, explain it all for you.

Is It Time for the QWERTY Keyboard to Be Replaced?

QWERTY keyboards have been around for as long as most people can remember. We all learned how to type using these keyboards and they remain the primary way we interact with computers. But this layout is becoming more obsolete with smart devices.

In this video, Wall Street Journal’s David Pierce explores the new inventions that some companies are creating to potentially replace the physical keyboard. Some of these include voice to text and a wearable keyboard. This could be an interesting time for independent contractors in the IT industry who may have an opportunity to be involved with these new inventions. So what do you think? Would you use any of these alternatives?

IT Industry News for September 2018

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on October 5, 2018

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2018.

What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of September in previous years …

Blackberry devicesFive years ago in September 2013 Blackberry announced a quarterly loss of almost $1 million and laid off 4,500 people. Microsoft bought Nokia’s devices and services unit for more than $7 billion. Ebay paid $800 million for payment platform Braintree; Synnex bought IBM’s customer care division for $505 million; Rogers added to its data centre capacity with the $161 million purchase of Pivot Data Centres; Extreme Networks bought Entersys Networks for $180 million; and Manitoba Telephone Systems bought Epic Information Systems.

Microsoft logoSeptember 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Minecraft, Lenovo’s $2.1 billion purchase of IBM’s x86 server business and Cognizant’s $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp.  Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit.  Google also made two acquisitions, biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo’s $8 million purchase of cloud based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco’s purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP’s purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry’s purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu and Red Hat’s purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry.

ACCENTURE LOGOTwo years ago in September 2015 there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals.  Microsoft was very active, closing three deals, Adxstudio which provides web based solutions for Dynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom.  Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology.  Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologies; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company Metafore.

HP logoSeptember 2016 saw Tech Data pay $2.6 Billion for the technology solutions group of Avnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 Billion for Samsung’s printer business.  Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce.  One investment that caught my eye, in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.

Last year September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 Billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities.  In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit, so perhaps you won’t need to put that furniture together yourself in the future!  HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients.  Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursues its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.

Which brings us back to the present …

September 2018 saw some big deals and some familiar names … with Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo the big deal of the month.  Not a true tech play but Sirius XM paid $3.6 billion for Pandora, and with digital/media/tech convergence it seemed like a fit.  There has been some data centre news lately, largely driven by the growth in cloud computing and Digital Realty is expanding its footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty.  SS&C continues on its acquisition path and growth in the financial services world with the $1.5 billion acquisition of Intralinks.  Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft was adding to its AI portfolio buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities with the Advanced Technology Group buy; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack is adding an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.

Facebook logoOther companies in the news were Facebook for announcing its first Asian datacenter, to be opened in Singapore; and Verizon for its cost cutting mode, starting with voluntary retirements, but more to come!

Not surprisingly the US economy continues to hum along, with CDG growth rate of 4.2%, strong hiring outlooks and all indicators showing positive.  The only negatives appear to be a growing skills shortage, but that is echoed around the world.  Canada lost jobs in August after a couple of months of growth, and GDP growth is half of the US rate.  The OECD suggests that unemployment rates are steady in OECD countries, and one outlook says 43 of 44 countries are planning to add jobs.

An interesting report from South Korea highlights the growing phenomena of senior citizens working because the social systems are not strong.  We can expect to see more of that here in North America too, because people are living longer, are more active and the extra income will be needed!

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the October 2018 tech news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

How Tech Rates and Salaries are Shaping Up in 2018

In the last few months, various sources have released information on the salaries and hourly rates of technology professionals. Two of those sources are Dice, which compiled data from the US Board of Labor Statistics, and Inc., who shared an infographic containing data from LinkedIn and designed by MobileMonkey.

As we enter into the final quarter of 2018, it’s worth taking a look at rates and salaries in the technology industry to understand where we’re going. Numbers from both sources are based on the United States so while salaries will not necessarily reflect Canadian salaries, the skills demand usually remains consistent. It provides an idea of which jobs are expected to produce the most opportunity, so an aspiring IT professional can better plan their future.

The 15 Highest (and lowest) Paying Jobs in Tech

The 15 Highest (and lowest) Paying Jobs in Tech

The Top 25 Most In-Demand Skills of 2018

The Top 25 Most In-Demand Skills of 2018

The Cool New Things You Can Do with iOS 12

Earlier this week, Apple finally released iOS 12 and reviews have been pretty exciting so far. While many features are unchanged, there are at least 19 new things you can do on your Apple device that you couldn’t do before. The even better news is that, rather than having to discover the new features on your own, Gizmodo did the heavy lifting for us! Here’s a summary of their list, and you can see their post for all the details.

  1. Create your own Memoji
  2. Add stickers and text
  3. Spot repeated passwords
  4. Clear notifications quickly
  5. Share photos more easily
  6. Search for photos more easily
  7. Tackle your smartphone addiction
  8. Browse for ebooks more easily
  9. Measure objects with augmented reality
  10. Enjoy shared AR experiences
  11. Be disturbed less
  12. Get more from Siri
  13. Browse the web in peace
  14. Use Google Maps in CarPlay
  15. Update iOS automatically
  16. Get more from Stocks
  17. Use gestures on your iPad
  18. Build your own Siri Shortcuts
  19. Make group video calls in FaceTime

IT Industry News for August 2018

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on September 10, 2018

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2018. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of August in previous years …

Five years ago in August 2013 IBM paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector;  Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv.  Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company, Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.

Intel logoAugust 2014 saw no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books.  Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; Vmware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.

IBM logoThree years ago in August 2015 there were two billion dollar deals.  Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 Billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 Billion.  IBM also paid ”big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare.  Smaller deals saw Calgary based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itAugust 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion dollar deals.   The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy one of the larger job boards, Monster for $429 million.  A similar sized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana.  Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications.  Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam.

Last year August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its website security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity.  Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought a Pittsburgh consulting company, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX.  While not a pure tech play the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100million for Confluence.

Which brings us back to the present …

Cisco logoAugust 2018, saw a fair amount of M&A activity, a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names out buying companies.   The big deal of the month saw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security.  In other deals VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee.  Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox.

Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.

Jobs section of the newspaper under a microscopeGeneral job indicators were good in Canada and even better in the US, which continues to see strong job growth.  There were several reports indicating a growing skills gap for key roles, particularly in tech, both in Canada and the US.  Elsewhere around the world job indicators were relatively strong, with a few exceptions due to Brexit or other external factors.  Of course Canadians continue to watch the unfolding sagas of NAFTA negotiations and the bungled oil pipeline, concerned about what that might do to our economy.

On a final note, “digital” continues to be hot, with Canadian firms expected to spend more than $16 billion on digital tech and services this year.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the September 2018 industry news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

How Does Google Maps Work?

It’s rare anymore that we go on a road trip and a co-pilot sits in the passenger seat with a ripped paper map folded in weird ways, trying to navigate through quadrants A-15 and A16. First, MapQuest (yup, it still exists) changed the way we travel by providing us with pages of step-by-step instructions. Then we all purchased a GPS for our car so a lady with a British accent could tell us when to turn and make legal u-turns. And eventually, Google put everything together to create Google Maps, a product that is still evolving and giving us travel tips we never thought could be possible.

It’s no accident that Google Maps has become the navigation leader that it is today. As this video from Techquickie explains, it’s the result of intensive data collection and analysis from a variety of sources, artificial intelligence and human interaction. If you have an interest in maps, data or Google, you’re going to be fascinated by this video.

100+ Amazing Facts About Voice Search

Modern technology plays an integral part in our everyday lives. Through the years, many major technological breakthroughs have been made and one of them is certainly voice enabled technology, or as it is more commonly known – voice search.

It can be found in various portable devices such as smartphones and smart speakers. The most famous technology companies in the world have implemented voice search, and whether it is Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, or Siri, they all have the same goal – making life easier for the people using them. Because of this they’ve steadily been increasing in popularity, with infographic created by teams at seotribunal.com states that 1 in 5 adults use voice search on a regular basis.

Before we take a look at some interesting facts about voice search, let’s see how it actually works.

  1. First of all, voice search processes and transcribes the human speech into text.
  2. Next, it analyzes the text in order to detect questions and commands.
  3. After that, it connects to an external data source such as a search engine to find the relevant information.
  4. And finally, it translates that information into a digestible format and fulfills the user’s intent.

Modern voice search devices are often interactive which makes them capable to maintain a dialog with humans. The rapid growth that they are experiencing is only going to make them more and more sophisticated in the years to come.

Voice search can be used while driving, watching TV, working, and even when showering or using the bathroom. The main reasons why smartphone users worldwide use voice-enabled technology are presented in the following list.

  • Doing online searches – 60%
  • Finding information on a product in which they are interested in – 51%
  • Asking questions – 50%
  • Asking a fun question – 49%
  • Asking for directions – 42%
  • Making a call – 41%
  • Playing music – 41%
  • Asking for the weather forecast – 40%
  • Finding a local business – 34%
  • Looking for info on a local business – 34%

These facts, along with more than a hundred of others, are contained in the infographic below. Take a look at it to find out more fascinating facts about voice search technology.

A Look at Google Duplex — The A.I. Personal Assistant

Independent contractors are busy people. After dealing with the bulk of your work, fitting in tasks like scheduling a hair appointment, making dinner reservations or booking interviews can be the extra nuisance that makes you wish you could stay in bed. In a perfect world, you’d have a personal assistant to handle these tedious phone calls for you, but who has money for that? Google has heard your pain and help is on the way!

This past Spring, Google brought personal assistants to a new level with its artificial intelligence called Duplex. Duplex has an ability (inspiring or terrifying) to make phone calls, book appointments, and have live conversations with people. This video from ColdFusion will tell you all about it along with a couple demos. If you haven’t already seen this, take a few minutes to watch the video (first demo is at 2:04). You’ll be floored, not only how it answers questions, but also the way it sounds human by throwing in a couple “ums” and handling interruptions.