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

Top iOS Mobile App Developments Trends for 2020

iPhone
Photo by Koby Kelsey on Unsplash

From the dawn of its creation, the iOS mobile development platform has provided versatile and powerful options for creating stunning apps. One of the reasons for its permanent thriving is the continuous state of flux that encompasses all the latest trends in mobile app development. New iPhones are out on the market each year, including improved hardware that sets the base for innovative mobile app development, year by year. To avoid lagging behind, mobile app development companies must stay on track with the new advancements and find their place in the platform, too. If you are interested in keeping abreast of the latest mobile design trends, here are a few pointers to focus on as we are moving into the year ahead.

UI Design Trends

Each iOS app development project starts with the basic goal to improve user satisfaction, which inherently makes new progress all about UI or the user interface. The user interface must not only improve in appearance but also provide a new level of satisfaction with feature simplicity and information delivery. This is not so simple as Apple puts iPhones and iPads under the microscope each year to perk up the hardware.

A key trend of feature mobile app development on the iOS platform is leaving this focus on aesthetically pleasing apps behind. That doesn’t mean that iOS apps will no longer be beautiful but it does mean that the ease of access to information and the simplicity of use take the number one place. Therefore, iOS apps must be made from scratch or revamped to help users complete tasks in the shortest possible time.

While we are touching upon aesthetics, the blurred borders of new iPhone screens play a major role in future iOS mobile app development. Designers need to find ways to create apps that work well on older phones with prominent edges and on new seamless iPhone models.

laptop
Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

iOS Animations and Graphics

Animations are an excellent way to attract users and keep their attention in the flow as they navigate through the app features. Animations enable sleek functionality – an aspect of user experience that users are primarily looking for.

How web browser tabs, for instance, look and shift on a smartphone, as well as other aspects that soften the lines between visual appeal and functionality, are important for keeping users pleased with the product.

3D graphics may be more demanding on behalf of the mobile app development team, but rewarding nevertheless because they provide an extra level of dynamism in transferring information to users, reducing the need for physical prototypes and boosting the visual aspect of products. It is important not to overdo 3D graphics as they can slow down loading times.

Gesture-based Navigation

One of the key trends for 2020 is the placement of navigation elements on your end product. A major design principle of navigation in past mobile app development trends was to place as many buttons in the navigation bar so that users have greater visibility of what is available. As the number of functionalities is growing, this approach doesn’t work anymore because the visual appeal gets lost among all those buttons.

Designers are now focusing on a more hidden, intuitive button design, placing the maximum number of buttons on the home screen without distorting aesthetics. Functionalities are still there but are enmeshed in the gesture-based navigation. Features compressed in this way will improve the user interaction with the app and ultimately boost engagement rates – it makes more sense to create iOS products that support a few key features than making it all about endless app possibilities which will impede the smooth use of the home screen.

If you align these iOS app development trends with the design process of past products in order to update them or use them while creating new ones, clients will ultimately reap benefits that haven’t been so important while ago but are essential as we move forward.

About the Author: Michael Kelley

With a background in journalism, Michael’s passion lies in educating audiences in the realm of tech. He is especially intrigued by the world of app development and all associated facets including Android, iOS, blockchain, andd App technology. Michael has spent the last few years working with app agencies to elevate their content strategy and expand his knowledge even further as app development technologies advance. When he’s not typing away at his computer, you can find Michael traveling the globe or taste-testing pizzas in search of the ultimate pie.

IT Industry News for September 2019

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on October 10th, 2019

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

A Little History of September in previous years …

Five years ago, September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s Microsoft logo$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.

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 ACCENTURE LOGODynamics 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.

September 2016 saw Tech Data pay $2.6 billion for the technology solutions group of HP logoAvnet, 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.

Two years ago 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. 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.

Last year, there were some big deals in September 2018.  Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo was 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.  Digital Realty is expanding its data centre footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty.  SS&C paid $1.5 billion for Intralinks.  Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft added to its AI portfolio, buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities, buying Advanced Technology Group; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack added an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.

Which brings us back to the present …

September 2019 was relatively busy in M&A with Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion acquisition of TDK’s share in a RF joint venture, the largest deal of the month.  There were some big Facebook logonames out shopping in September, with Microsoft buying cloud migration company Movere; Facebook bought Wearables company Ctrl-labs (reputedly for big dollars); HP bought endpoint security company Bromium; Western Digital bought Kazan Networks; and Github bought developer tool Semmie.  Commvault paid $225 million for cloud software company Hevig and there were a few more smaller deals.

Other companies in the news included YouTube who reached a $170 million settlement related to protection and privacy for children; Kik interactive shut down its messaging service; and DoorDash became the latest cyber breach casualty.

The jobs numbers were optimistic in Canada, and the US also had good jobs news although the ongoing trade war and potential impeachment have put a negative spin on some of the reports coming out.

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 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

IT Industry News for August 2019

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on September 4th, 2019

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for August 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.

A Little History of August in previous years …

Five years ago, in August 2014, there were no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books.  Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Intel logoAxxia 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.

In August 2015, there were two “billion dollar” deals.  Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years prior) to a group of investors for $8 billion and IBM shelled IBM logoout $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.

Three years ago, August 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 Monster for $429 The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itmillion.  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.

August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its website security Cisco logobusiness 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.

Last year, August 2018 saw a fair amount of M&A activity: a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names were out buying companies.   The big deal of HP logothe 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.

Which brings us back to the present …

August 2019 was a busy month in M&A, with the big deal getting mixed reviews as Broadcom paid $10.7 billion for Symantec’s security unit.  Some saw this as old tech buying old tech, but for Broadcom it provides diversity of offering.  VMWare had a busy month paying $4.8 billion to acquire Carbon Black and Pivotal, and then announcing the acquisition of Intrinsic.  Private equity company BC Partners is paying $2.1 billion to take Presidio private, and Salesforce paid $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware to improve its service capability.  The final deal in the BIG dollar leagues saw Splunk pay $1.05 billion for cloud monitoring platform SignalFxAccenture was busy this month, announcing two acquisitions; Northstream, a telecom consulting company plus engineering company, Fairways Technologies.  DXC spin-off Perspecta paid $250 million for managed services company Knight Point and there were a number of other “big name” companies making acquisitions; Amazon bought E8 Storage; Cisco bought Voicea; Microsoft bought JClarity; Twitter bought Lightwell and HPE bought the assets of MapR.

Other companies in the news included Apple, who, responding to concerns about their Siri recordings, laid off hundreds of workers who used to work with this “data”.  Google announced it is closing its Google Hire offering and Cisco announced layoffs in California.

There were several interesting stories this month related to cyber security and various scams.  The underlying message to individuals and organizations being that training, tools and vigilance are needed to combat the “bad actors”.

Major economic indicators in the US were generally positive, although economists have started wondering when the next recession swill hit, 2020 or 2021.  Canada had mixed job numbers depending upon who you believe and job indicators across the world were generally positive, although Germany’s economy is struggling and the UK continues to deal with the Brexit debacle.

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 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

Regional Job Market Update for Ottawa, Ontario (August 2019)

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

Ottawa Job MarketWhile the Canadian economy shed over 24,000 jobs in July and the national unemployment rate edged up to 5.7% from 5.5%, the disappointment was not reflected in the Ottawa market (and let’s be sure to add context — these are still historically low rates of unemployment.)

The employment story in Ottawa for the same month was one of continued robustness, with the region adding 12,300 jobs in July, dropping the unemployment rate sharply from 5.6% in July to 4.8%. The local tech market along with the Federal Government continue to drive the market as both seek to fill positions in what is rapidly becoming one of the tightest technology talent markets in Canada. In fact, Shopify recently introduced an innovative program to attract “lapsed” developers, former developers who have taken more than two years off and are out of the market. The program will train them back up on the job — surely a sign of the times in an effort to attract talent.

With a pending Fall election, there is no doubt an expected slowdown in hiring, specifically net new IT projects with the Feds. That said, however, this summer has been one of the busiest experienced with numerous large RFP’s on the street and the Feds still forecasting to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 5 years.

TD Bank recently released a study that looks at the evolving inequality in the labour market as it relates specifically to technology and cities in Canada. We have asserted for some time that while the national unemployment rate is a healthy 5.2% to 5.9 % range, the “technology” unemployment rate is likely less than half that national rate at around 2.0% to 2.5%. The reality on the ground, however, is in major cities it is in fact closer to 0 per cent! The study shows that the 5 major centres in Canada of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa make up over 70% of the entire digital services employment in Canada, backing up the near 0% technology unemployment rate. With these kind of market forces in play, in cities like Ottawa, we can verify undoubtedly the scarcity of resources. It’s no surprise that Canada experienced the fastest clip in wage growth in a decade of 4.5%, up sharply again from 3.8% in June.

Recent global economic indicators have brought talk of a possible recession in the months and years ahead, as the long recovery cycle comes to an inevitable cooling off; however, it’s tough to fathom given the local technology market we see in Ottawa today.

In demand roles around the Ottawa tech job market this summer include Architects, IT Business Analysts, System Analysts, Programmers and Project Managers.

IT Industry News for July 2019

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on August 13th, 2019

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 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.

A Little History of July in previous years …

Five years ago, in July 2014, there was plenty of M&A activity but no real blockbuster deals.  BlackBerry bought encryption company Secusmart GmbH; Oracle bought cloud services Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databasecompany TOA Technologies; Twitter bought a startup Madbits, a company that focusing on the media space; Yahoo also bought a startup Flurry in the mobile apps space; Teradata bought a couple of smaller “big data” companies, Hadapt and Revelytix; Apple bought a couple of smaller “books & podcast” companies Booklamp and Concept.io; Qualcomm bought education company EmpoweredU; and finally Nokia continue to rebuild after selling its devices and handsets business to Microsoft, this time buying Panasonic’s 3G and LTE base station operations division.

July 2015 saw no billion-dollar deals, but there was some activity with some big names out Microsoft logoshopping.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, paying $320 million for cloud security company Adallom and also picked up customer servicing software company FieldOne Systems. IBM picked up database as a service company Compose; Cisco paid $139 million for sales automation company MaintenanceNet; HP bought a cloud development platform Stackato; Blackberry bought AtHoc, a crisis communication tool; and DropBox bought messaging company Clementine.  Other acquisitions saw Cisco as a seller, with Technicolor paying $600 million for Cisco’s set top box division; Level 3 bought security firm Black Lotus; Amadeus bought travel software company Navitaire (a subsidiary of Accenture) for $830 million; eBay sold its enterprise unit for $925 million, having paid $2.4 billion for it four years ago.  In the continued blurring of the lines between technology companies and other industries, Capital One bank acquired design, development and marketing firm Monsoon.

In July 2016 Verizon made two multi-billion-dollar acquisitions.  The big name was Yahoo who they bought for $4.83 billion, but they also paid $2.4 billion for Fleetmatics who provide fleet and mobile workforce management services.  Oracle were also out spending big dollars, paying $9.3 billion for cloud-based ERP company, Netsuite. Now if those deals were not big enough, Softbank (like Verizon they have a large telco presence – formerly Vodafone) paid a whopping $32.2 billion for chip designer ARM Holdings. Also joining the July 2016 billion dollar club was security vendor Avast, who bought AVG for $1.3 billion. Other deals saw Salesforce pay $582 million for cloud based startup Quip; Google bought video company Anvato; Terradata bought training company Big Data Partnership; and Opentext bought analytics company Recommind.

July 2017 saw Cincinnati Bell buy Hawaiian Telcom Holdco for $650 million and OnX for Mitel Logo$201 million. Mitel paid $430 million for ShoreTel and bought Toshiba’s unified communications business. In Toronto, digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot, acquired Pixel Point Digital. PNI Canada Acuireco Corp. purchased Sandvine Corp. for $562 million, with plans to merge Sandvine with Procera Networks.

Last year July 2018 was a busy M&A month with the biggest deal of the month, a somewhat unlikely $19 billion acquisition of CA Technologies by Broadcom.  Solution provider, Atos paid $3.45 billion for Syntel, creating a large North American presence.  Fortive paid $2 billion for physical resource management software company Accruent, and the last billion dollar deal of the month saw SS&C pay $1.45 billion for investment technology company Eze Software.  Other deals saw AT&T buy cybersecurity company Alienvault; Hitachi bought AWS integrator Rean; Intel bought specialty chip maker eAsic Corp; Accenture continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of AI company Kogentix; and Getronics re-entered the North American market with the purchase of Pomeroy.

Which brings us back to the present …

July is quite often a slower news month, and July 2019 was a little like that.  Having said Cisco logothat, there were some big deals announced.  Cisco’s $2.6 billion acquisition of Acacia Communications was the biggest deal. Apple splashed $1 billion to buy Intel’s smartphone modem business, and KKR bought Corel for $1 billion too.  There were a few more deals hit my radar with Google buying storage company Elastifile; 8X8 cloud communications company paying $100 million for Platform as a service company Wavecell; and finally Epam Systems bought educational content company Competentum.

There was another big cyber breach announced with Capital One sharing data on more than 100 million customers.  There was also a malware called “Agent Smith” that infected 25 million Android devices.  A report on how AI will impact on jobs seemed significant, but most of the respondents believe new roles will replace the lost jobs.

On the economic front the current US economic expansion is the longest on record, and there are still lots of positive indicators.  Canada lost jobs in June and continues to have struggles.  Around the world most indicators were positive, with a few notable exceptions … South Africa caught the eye with the highest jobless rate since 2003.

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 August 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta (July 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonBy all accounts, Alberta’s recovery has been long, slow and a bit tortuous. Kind of like the last 10+ seasons of the Edmonton Oilers. According to economists, rising incomes, combined with continuing population growth, helped to buttress retail and other components of both the region’s and the city’s economies so far this year, but growth has been disappointing in the 1.3% range.

Previous risks identified are expected to continue and will likely offset gains in other areas. For Edmonton these include:

  1. Oil prices falling again and/or an increase in the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select. While the previous government was able to reduce this gap, increased supply (Americans fracking activity and Donald Trump’s aggressive energy policy) could signal lower prices.
  2. Continued challenges getting our oil to current and potential new markets either by rail or pipeline. I don’t think I need to expand on this although there has been some progress in the Transmountain debate!
  3. Stricter controls on carbon emissions and political and public opposition to energy projects continues to constrain longer term growth in the energy sector. Not sure it matters what side of the political coin you are on but I have no doubt that it is the continued legislative uncertainty and political rhetoric that is giving industry nightmares. Nobody likes uncertainty!
  4. And the continuing international trade conflicts or threatened conflicts continue to rock the markets and serve to depress the global economy. The US seems intent on winning concessions and the various posturing of nation leaders has hit close to home as China has banned Canadian pork and canola, directly impacting Alberta farmers.

But what has this meant for the Edmonton IT sector?  While economic growth in 2019 has been marginal, the IT sector continues to thrive. Looking back at internal numbers from this time last year would suggest little has changed. Our clients continue to seek talent for key projects and they continue to ask Eagle to provide them with that talent to move initiatives forward. Edmonton’s diversity is again its best defense.

Perhaps the only blip on the radar has been the fallout from the election of a new provincial government. As is often the case in these scenarios, the new government has decided that it is best to freeze hiring on projects and according to our sources, existing contracts are being allowed to end naturally and extensions are not being offered. A significant uptick in applications to our Eagle website is evidence that there has been a recent surge in available resources. This could mean greater competition for jobs and contracts. Typically these are short lived interruptions but with the province in debt, and a government that campaigned on getting the debt under control, it might be too early to predict with certainty that hiring will begin again soon. The provincial government is a massive user of contract IT resources so this will have to be monitored.

So what is hot in the market. We saw the following “Hot Skills” in the first half of 2019 and all indications are that these skillsets will be in demand for the rest of the year. There are a couple of more that we’ve added to the list:

  • Microsoft Stack Expertise (C#, HTML, CSS etc.)
  • Cloud Consultants
  • Infrastructure Specialists (VMWare)
  • Change Managers
  • Network Analysts (for cloud preparation)
  • Agile Project Managers

IT Industry News for June 2019

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

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 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.

A Little History of June in previous years 

Five years ago, in June 2014, Oracle paid $5 billion for Micros Systems; Sandisk paid $1.1 Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databasebillion for solid state storage company Fusion-io. Google continued its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud-based home monitoring service Dropcam. Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging, a satellite maker to enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing platform Tap Commerce and Red Hat paid $95 million for eNovance.

In June 2015, Intel paid $16.7 billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp. Cisco paid Intel logo$635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group, a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally, IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

Three years ago, June 2016 saw Microsoft buy LinkedIn for a whopping $2.6 billion. There were other billion dollar deals that month too: Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce Microsoft logoplatform maker Demandware and Amazon announced an extra $3 billion investment in its India operations. Other significant deals included Daetwyler Holdings AG paying more than $877 million for Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell Plc; Red Hat paid $568 million for API management software company 3Scale; and OpenText paid $315 million for HP’s Customer Communication Management products. Other noteworthy deals included an investment group’s purchase of Dell’s software arm; Microsoft bought natural language start up Wand Labs; and Samsung bought cloud computing company Joyent. Also, Google Capital announced its first investment in a public company, investing $46 million in Care.com, an online personal services marketplace platform.

June 2017 saw Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Westcon-Comstar’s Amazon logoAmerican business bought by Synnex for approximately $800 million. US fintech provider, Fiserv purchased British financial services technology firm, Monitise for $88.7 million. Microsoft purchased Israeli cloud startup, Cloudyn, for a price between $50 million and $70 million. Rackspace bought TriCore in an effort to increase Rackspace’s business from customers who want help running their critical applications.

Last year, June 2018 saw a fair bit of M&A activity, the biggest deal seeing Synnex pay $2.43 billion for call centre company Convergys and AT&T pay $1.6 billion for advertising tech IBM logocompany AppNexus. Palo Alto Networks paid $300 million for security company Evident.io; PayPal shelled out $120 million for fraud detection startup Simility; Splunk paid $120 million for incident management platform company VictorOps; Ribbon Communication paid $120 million for Edgewater Networks; and Sharp shelled out $36 million for Toshiba’s PC business. Other companies out shopping included Cisco, who bought WiFi analytics company July Systems; IBM bought maintenance and repair company Oniqua and Shopify bought app company Return Magic.

Which brings us back to the present

June 2019 saw some significant M&A deals with the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau for Salesforce logo$15.7 billion, the largest deal of the month. Infinion Technologies paid $10 billion for Cypress Semiconductor; Google paid $2.6 billion for data analytics company Looker; Capgemini shelled out $3.6 billion for engineering company Altran and in the robotics world, Blue Prism paid $100 million for Thoughtonomy. Other companies with smaller buys included Apple picking up the assets of Drive.ai and Twitter buying machine learning startup Fabula AI.

The Canadian Federal Government invested $5 million into an innovation centre in Markham, which is a trend we are seeing more often. There was also more news about CyberSecurity breaches, with suggestions of state sponsored hackers focusing on telecommunication companies.

canadian flagIn Canada, the job numbers are interesting, with Statistics Canada suggesting May was a bumper month, and ADP suggesting we actually lost jobs. The methods of data gathering differ so it will be interesting see how it works out over time.

The US had some mixed reports regarding the economy but overall the story is still positive, with some reports focusing on the growth being not as great as it was… still growth! Generally, indicators in the US economy are positive. Likewise, indicators on jobs and employment around the world are also positive.

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 July 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

Where is the ICT Labour Market Going?

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

Although there is no “crystal ball” when it comes to forecasting Labour Market trends, there are several sources that tend to be leading indicators if one looks in the right places. To begin, I will share a couple charts that provide historical insight into the Job Market in Canada:

The first was put together by Statista using data from StatsCanada and ICTC. It shows the trend for ICT unemployment rates to be consistently lower than the overall unemployment rates by about 4% in each of the past 15 years.

Unemployment rate of the ICT sector compared to the overall rate in Canada, from 2001 to 2017
Statista.com – Sources: StatCan; ICTC

The second chart was compiled with data from ICTC’s e-Talent Canada portal. It shows the ICT unemployment rates for the major cities in Canada.

ICT Employment Across Canada (December 2018)
Source: e-Talent Canada

I believe that these confirm the relationship to overall unemployment rates quite well. What these two charts suggest is that the ICT labour market is at full employment or is actually in a supply-constrained state across Canada.

I recently attended an industry conference in the USA where it was explained that the labour-supply situation in the USA is even more dire; there, they are calling it a crisis. This is important as the US typically leads Canada by 6 to 18 months in this respect and the trends that they see make their way to Canada eventually. These critical labour shortages are coming.

Although this can be good news if you are a contractor/consultant as it encourages rates to remain high and opportunities to be plentiful, it does provide headwinds for the industry as a whole. Automation and AI are becoming more mainstream and will certainly cover some of the gaps for more basic-level work. However, the presenters at the U.S. Conference suggested that a growing skills gap is forming. They estimate that of the open STEM positions that exist in the USA today, 1/3 remain unfilled. The people who are losing jobs due to technology do not have the necessary skills for the new, high-tech jobs that are being created. The staffing industry south of the border believes that, with remote-work becoming more mainstream, U.S. companies may begin hiring more foreign workers or move some operations out of country to tap other labour markets. It seems that the “labour-crunch” that has been predicted for decades has already begun in the States; and it is expected that they will export this shortage to the rest of the world, further impacting global labour availability. We at Eagle have collected anecdotal accounts of this happening now — American companies are reaching out to highly-skilled Canadian contractors to work as remote members of development teams, as architects, etc.

Interesting times are ahead. In a labour-constrained, gig-economy-friendly world, it will be a good business environment for highly-skilled consultants as the services they provide will be in high demand. However, competition for these open roles is expected to become more global. Over the upcoming years (and perhaps decades), countries will compete for skilled labour and their economic prosperity will depend on how well or poorly they attract highly skilled immigrant experts. Today, Canada is a strong competitor for global talent – this World Economic Forum article shows Canada ranking 3rd overall as a preferred destination for the global workforce behind the US and Germany. With the recent insular direction of US-politics and policies, Canada is further benefiting via the ease with which students and skilled workers can attain the necessary visas versus the USA. However, long term competitive advantages are not easily created or maintained. It will be interesting to see if “remote work on foreign projects” might be an answer for foreign, skilled workers who would prefer not to relocate but, rather, live/work in/from their own countries.

What have been your experiences and observations? Please share by adding a comment below!

Technology Trends from the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

Every year, Stack Overflow surveys tens of thousands of developers around the world to understand how they work, what technologies they use and some other fun facts. The complete report is packed with overwhelming amounts of data that offers something for everybody.

Blockchain is one tech trend the world loves to follow these days and Stack Overflow asked developers their opinions on it. The technology has been making headlines for the last few years but still not necessarily finding its place in the mainstream. The results saw that 80% of organizations are not using Blockchain at all and developers have mixed reviews on how it can be used in the future. Sure, two-thirds of the respondents said Blockchain can be useful in various aspects, but 16.8% say it is a passing fad and 15.6% believe that Blockchain is an irresponsible use of resources.

Expectedly, as they do every year, Stack Overflow used the opportunity to learn about the most popular, loved, hated and wanted technologies. The charts are long and filled with data, so we summarized the findings in the tables below:

Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages
It’s no surprise that JavaScript continues to rank at the top of the list of most popular languages and Stack Overflow pointed out that Python continues to be the fastest growing language — also no surprise. If you want to get paid more, it’s clear that you’re going to have to work with some of the less popular languages. The good news is there are a few languages in the “Most Loved” column and only one in the “Most Dreaded” column (sorry Erlang).
Web Frameworks
For the first time this year, Stack Overflow asked about frameworks for the web separately from other frameworks and libraries. jQuery is the most broadly used. It’s also interesting to note that the results in the tables only represent responses by professional developers and when all developers were surveyed, React.js actually ranked higher than Angular.js in popularity.
Other Frameworks, Libraries and Tools
Although they didn’t make the top 5, more developers did say they use the deep learning framework TensorFlow more than Torch/PyTorch. Interestingly, Torch/PyTorch is more loved than TensorFlow, but TensorFlow is one of the “Most Wanted” (developers who do not yet use it but say they want to learn it).
Databases
As expected, MySQL remains the most popular database used among developers and, for the third year in a row, Redis took the top spot in the Most Loved category and MongoDB clinched #1 in Most Wanted.
Platforms
New this year, Stack Overflow asked developers about container technologies and Docker turned out to be the third most broadly used platform, second most loved and first most wanted.
Developer Environments
When it comes to Developer environments, it’s clear that Visual Studio Code takes the cake, specifically among Web Developers, DevOps and SREs. It ranks the second most popular among Mobile Developers, who are slightly more likely to choose Android Studio.

The survey report contains loads more information around technology trends and predictions by developers. Some are obvious (more developers use Windows as their primary operating systems), some facts are fun but useless (30% believe Elon Musk will be this year’s most influential person in tech) and some are super detailed (you can dive much deeper into the stats summarized in the tables above). If you’re interested or have some extra time, check out the complete report to see all of the data for yourself.

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!