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Tag Archives: technology

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian IT Contractors relating to technology.

For the Better or Worse, 5G Will Change Your Life

We’re barely into the second month of 2019 and how many times have you already heard the term “5G”? It’s a trendy topic that all content creators love to touch on and with good reason. When the new technology finally goes mainstream, our lives will change in ways never imagined. At least that’s according to this video from Digital Trends.

5G is expected to bring us internet connections at super-fast speeds, so much that we’ll be able to flawlessly operate machines and talk to each other around the world in real-time, no lag at all. For example, doctors will be able to perform surgeries from a complete other location! Check out the video for all the exciting ways our world will be improved. And, in true YouTube fashion, read the video’s comments for the alternate theories on how 5G will affect our lives. Whatever you believe, it’s coming so you best be prepared.

Do You Still Need a Mousepad?

We all have a few items that we like to hold on to, even when it’s outgrown its purpose. Maybe you still wear that old hoodie every weekend even though it’s full of holes or you refuse to trade in your current phone even though the screen is completely cracked. Would you believe that there are also people out there who have no desire to give up using the mousepad even though they no longer use a ball mouse? It’s true! And according to this video from TechQuickie, they’re not as crazy as you might think.

As the video says, while a good optical mouse can track on any surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Find out why in less than 5 minutes by watching the video below. And, if you’re that person using a mousepad and getting flak for it, be sure to forward this video onto the anti-mousepadders!

Women in Tech: We’re Still Not Where We Need to Be, But There is Some Inspiring Progress!

Women in Tech: We're Still Not Where We Need to Be, But There is Some Inspiring Progress!Workplace diversity in the technology industry continues to be a hot and critical topic, and reasonably so. Studies have proven time and again that a diverse team can out-perform less diverse groups, with their varied experiences and different ways of thinking which just scratch the surface of reasons.

Still, we continue to see research and articles about all industries failing in minimizing the gap for women. In fact, according to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report recently released by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, not a whole lot of progress has been made in recent years. The Muse summarized these seven facts directly from that report:

  1. Men Hold 62% of Manager Positions to Women’s 38% (and it Gets Worse Higher Up)
  2. Women Are Less Likely to Have Access to Senior Leaders
  3. Women Are Twice as Likely to Be Mistaken for Much More Junior Employees and More Likely to Deal with Discrimination
  4. Women Are Far More Likely to Be “Onlys” and Suffer More for it When They Are
  5. 35% of Women in Full-Time Corporate Sector Jobs Have Experienced Sexual Harassment
  6. Women Negotiate for Raises and Promotions as Often as Men Do
  7. Women Are More Likely to See Gender as an Obstacle to Advancement

We encourage you to read the complete report for more details, but these simple one-liners make it clear — there is still more work to do.

One person putting in significant work to dismantle barriers to equality is Melinda Gates. She wrote an inspiring article for Fast Company about Pivotal Ventures, an organization she started that studies gender gaps in industries and looks for ways to invest for catalytic impact.

As Gates points out, venture capitalists have significant pull in who will be the tech leaders of tomorrow. Shockingly, she learned that they have a rather narrow idea of who those innovators should be, with women founders receiving only 2% of VC dollars! Her solution: have more women doing the funding.

Pivotal Ventures is not meant to be philanthropical and instead, Gates says she is putting her money where her mouth is and invests in funds led by women and people of colour. Rather than a grant or hand-out, she is confident in their potential and expects strong returns.

Overcoming the Barriers on an Individual Level

As great as it is to see somebody like Melinda Gates investing in a few women entrepreneurs, it’s not helpful if you’re battling in technology and/or leadership positions today. For some inspiration, have a look at this other article from Fast Company. It highlights different stories of now successful female executives who overcame various forms of discrimination. Every time they were underestimated, they became more motivated. For example:

  • Lana Crystal and Lindsey Andrews were referred to as “Silly little girls” when they cofounded Minibar Delivery. It has since raised $6.8 million and expanded into 37 markets.
  • Becky Clements was shut out of meetings with talent at a production company after doing all the leg work to make them happen. Today, she is president of Tomorrow Studios and produces shows for TNT and Netflix.

It might be obvious that the sources referenced in this post are US-based, but it’s not to say these issues are not relevant in Canada, albeit some organizations and regions may be better than others. Do you feel your current environment has a positive grip on diversity?

Exciting Technology Trends to Watch for in 2019

Merry Christmas! As millions of Canadians celebrate this morning, there are no doubt a bunch of new gadgets and confusing technologies being explored, with new owners trying to figure out how to use them. If you’re impressed (or worried) with the technology innovations you’ve seen this holiday season, it may only be the beginning. Just check out this graphic below.

Hiddenwires teamed up with Trendforce to create the visual of Top 10 Technology Trends we can expect in 2019. From 5g to increased voice interaction and, of course, expanded IoT, the new year is shaping up to be exciting. Did any of these new technologies arrive in your house this holiday season?

 

Exciting Technology Trends to Watch for in 2019

How Mesh Wi-Fi can Improve Your Home Office

The cool part about an IT contractor’s home office is that it doesn’t need to be an “office”. With the right Wi-Fi connection and proper equipment, you could work at a desk, but you can also get work done in the living room, kitchen or even your back deck! That wireless network is crucial, though. Slow speeds can mean trouble connecting to client sites, patchy VoIP calls, and overall less productivity.

There are a few different solutions to boosting your Wi-Fi signal at home, but according to this video from TechQuick, Mesh Networks are ideal. Why? Watch the video and find out. It may not be too late to add one to your holiday wishlist!

AI Assistants for the Independent Contractor

AI Assistants for the Independent ContractorIt’s no surprise to any IT professional that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is growing at a crazy pace. Companies are investing heavily in it and creating more and more job opportunities for those who specialize in it. But new jobs are not the only way AI can benefit you, as an IT contractor. There are a number of tools out there that you may not be taking advantage of to help you navigate your job search and manage your business. Some are common and right in front of you (ex. Siri, Alexa, Google, Cortana) and you may need to dig a bit more for others. Here are just a few ways your AI Assistant can help you today:

General Organization

Knowing what’s in your calendar, and more importantly making sure everything is actually in that calendar, is one of the most valuable things your personal assistant can do for you. With the proper settings, Google or Siri will even add information into your calendar for you based on emails. All you need to do is ask your assistant at the start of the day what’s happening when and where, or what tasks are due soon.

Job Hunting and other Research

It’s also common to use the big-name personal assistants for research. You can win an argument with a group of friends or seek directions, but on a professional level, you can also research jobs. With the Canadian launch of Google for Jobs, their assistant is a sure bet to find what you need. In addition, there are AI assistants designed specifically for your job hunt. For example, tools like Mosaic and LinkedIn’s MS Word tool can help you build resumes, and newer AI assistants like Wade, Newton and Woo are helping job seekers find new opportunities every day (Canadian content is minimal at this point, but the technology is out there).

Collaboration

AI assistants are also willing and ready to help you collaborate and work with team members. Tools like x.ai provide assistants who just need to be copied on emails and given an order like “schedule an update meeting with Bob”. With access to your calendar, they will continue talking with Bob to finalize the plans.  And that’s just one example. Howdy, Yva.ai and Collaboration.ai all provide similar but varying collaboration abilities like tracking skills and performance, organizing tasks and sending reminders, and working in Slack.

Working with Job Boards and other Online Tools

Being aware of AI assistants is another important step to using them to your advantage. There are many job boards and other online tools who use chatbots to qualify sales leads or candidates and decide how to proceed. Their technology is advanced with the ability to recognize phrases and patterns, but they do not read minds or always understand nuances as a human does. That means you could be talking yourself out of a job if you’re short with the chatbot or forget to mention certain keywords.

There are so many AI tools helpful for IT contractors and their clients in all specialty areas — just check out this article from Nudge and this older one from Medium. Both demonstrate how whether you’re working in Data, Finance, Development, Cybersecurity or nearly any industry, AI is coming into your life, if it isn’t already. You just need to be prepared.

Age is Just a Number: It’s Never too Late to Learn Something New

There seems to be a common belief that at a certain point in your life, you’re too old to learn something new. However, if this was actually the case then many creations and companies wouldn’t exist today. According to an interactive infographic from Funders and Founders, the creator of Starbucks, Gordon Bowker, was 51 when he started the company and an even better example is that IBM was created when the creator, Charles Flint, was 61! These are perfect examples of how you’re never too old to take on the challenge of starting something new.

The same thing goes for IT contractors. Our technology is always changing and improving, so to keep up with industry requirements you need to be learning about latest technology. Because, the reality is that late bloomers can be successful. Funders and Founders created another infographic (see below) demonstrating late bloomers who were successful later in life. For example, Julia Child was a famous French cuisine chef, but knew nothing about French cuisine until the age of 30.  Anyone can learn something new!

 too late to learn - late bloomers-people who succeeded infographic

The Internet Will Be Unhackable by 2034

At least that’s what Futurism predicts in this timeline of the future of technology. They say that “a satellite network using entangled photons for quantum key distribution (QKD) will create a full secure, unhackable internet.” That’s among many other exciting/scary/far-fetched predictions, including underwater cities by 2055!

Whether or not you believe this infographic, it’s fun to look at and many of the predictions are believable. Do you think we’ll be mining active submarine volcanoes in 10 years or buying holographic pets in 2041?

Today’s State of Digital Transformation

Today's State of Digital TransformationEvery year, principal analyst of Futurum and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, Daniel Newman, compiles a list of digital transformation trends and predictions which are published by Forbes.  In his articles, he explores the latest developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT. Recently, Newman took some time to review his predictions and assess where digital transformation is at so far in 2018 and summarized ten specific observations. Below are his thoughts:

IoT Everywhere

Last year, I said that there were three main trends with IoT at the core—analytics, edge computing, and 5G—and that’s still true today. While some of these trends have really taken off in the last six months—I’m looking at you, analytics—others are just starting to really burgeon into a new frontier. There was a reason I had IoT first on my list, it’s paving the way for these trends and will likely continue to do so for years to come.

Analytics

Advanced analytics are showing just how powerful the IoT really is. This year, the data from our IoT initiatives were supposed to be driven by a higher level of analytics, changing manufacturing, healthcare, smart cities and more. And guess what? It’s working.

Truck manufacturer Navistar is now monitoring its fleet of 180,000 trucks using real-time data thanks to IoT and analytics. They are managing refueling and analyzing driver behavior to assess whether goods have been spoiled in transit. And this is only one of a plethora of success stories from all over the world.

Everything at the Edge with Cloud Still Critical

We have heard about the concept of edge computing exploding throughout the tech world. And last year, this was the thought: the edge will become real-world micro-data centers where everything that used to happen in data centers can happen in real-time without them. However, I‘m amending that thought. Now, data centers and edge computing need to work in harmony.

According to the Futurum 2018 Edge Computing Index, 64 percent of respondents are focused on combining edge computing and data center analytics and 72 percent have already begun implementing edge computing strategies. These companies are turning to IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and Cisco—to name a few—to help implement edge computing hardware solutions to improve efficiency in their data centers. It’s clear that edge computing and data centers are just getting started and this trend will continue for years to come.

5G Early Deployments Successful—Still Waiting for Mainstream Adoption

Last year, I said that the amount of data IoT devices produce will push providers to 5G faster, and while that’s still true we are still waiting for it to go mainstream. The early 5G deployments are making meaningful strides though. Intel and Nokia have shown great promise with several deployments in a wide spectrum of industries. These deployments all show that we are clearly at the precipice of 5G tech and that businesses stand to gain a lot from mainstream adoption. I also shared my thoughts on the eventual winners of 5Gwith Qualcomm, Ericsson and Dell EMC making the list. This will definitely be a trend to keep watching in the coming years.

Blockchain Finds Its Way—Well, Sort of

Blockchain, blockchain, blockchain. It’s definitely reached peak buzzword status, but it’s also finding its way outside the financial sector. Major cloud providers are now offering blockchain as a Service for increased security measures. Blockchain is also poised to disrupt industries and departments from banking to HR. But while there’s a lot of talk about blockchain tech, we aren’t seeing many smaller companies adopt the technology. Now I ask the question, how do you know if blockchain is right for your company? I think there’s still a lot of potential in this field, but it’s definitely taking longer than I expected.

AI Is Now Mainstream

“Alexa, turn off the light.” “Siri, lock the front door.” “Cortana, what’s my schedule for tomorrow?” These are just a few of the commands that I said to my AI devices today. These virtual assistants are the norm, now. So much so, that companies are finding ways to add AI into their programs to make life easier for employees and consumers. We now have AI assistants embedded in our computer systems, platforms and software. Companies are using chatbots to aid their customer service. Again, I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AI power, so this trend will remain on my must-watch list for at least a few more years.

AR Takes Flight While VR Stagnates

AR has endless ways of improving our interaction with technology. However, VR is taking a backseat, albeit slowly. Last year, businesses were discovering that AR is cheaper and easier to use next to VR. With 3-D virtualization, companies can better train, pitch, and envision new products, without the large expense of VR.

Although VR still seems to be lagging a bit farther behind, there is still quite a way to go before AR or VR will reach its full fruition. There is lots of promise and opportunity, but not much has come to fruition yet. Companies are working on applications and cross-platform solutions that will hopefully open the floodgates at some point soon. For now, consumers are finding it difficult to place their funds in the young tech.

Fast Failure as a Service or FaaS

People want to buy FaaS. Rapid prototyping, 3-D visualization and other fast fail methods will not only stay trendy, they will become a strategic initiative for all businesses. Companies such as Gremlin are marketing “chaos engineering” which are made to break your production environments on purpose. Why? So you can learn how to turn your short term failures into wins. This one was one of the hardest to assess, but I stand by my prediction here that digital agility starts and ends with the ability to change quickly, especially when an idea doesn’t turn out as good as once thought.

Company Culture Is Still the Biggest Hurdle

Primary Factors Helping Organizations Drive Digital TransformationIn the article from last year, I mentioned that if your company is struggling with culture issues then, they would struggle even harder this year. It is true. We still have to recognize that the digital transformation must be people-focused first. We must lead with experiences and seek out where technology enables and enhances those things to improve our culture. Having visited with organizations around the world this year, I continue to hear about the challenge of bringing people on board and this year’s digital transformation index showed culture as the #2 hurdle only behind technology partnerships. Want to know more? I’ve made it easy for you, if you’re still struggling, take a look at the five critical steps to take to improve your culture.

Digital Transformation Isn’t a Buzzword—It’s the Way

It isn’t just a buzzword. From last year to today, this has remained unchanged. Companies must expedite their digital transformation to drive their business forward. They must adapt to technological changes, work to improve the CX and fight for growth and opportunity. All of these technological advancements, whether on the fringe or in the middle of success, have the opportunity to change the face of business forever. In the coming year we may see the vernacular change, but transforming our businesses to deal with the digital deluge is here to stay. Are you ready?

Daniel Newman is CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, principal analyst at Futurum and author of Futureproof.

Technology Will be the Star of the 2020 Summer Olympics

In exactly two years from tomorrow, the 2020 Olympics will kick-off in Tokyo. The world will have their eyes on the Summer Games rooting for their home countries’ athletes and excited to find out who will break the next record. Naturally, most sports lovers will be watching the events in anticipation of the record-setting runners, swimmers and jumpers. Another demographic, however, will be checking out the record-setting technologies.

The Olympics are not new to using cutting-edge technology in their processes and breaking records with their innovations. Did you know that the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games were the first to use electronic stopwatches on a mass scale? Or that the Berlin Summer Games in 1936 was the first sporting event broadcast on live television? According to this infographic from Futurism, Tokyo introduced the world’s first high-speed train in 1964 and intend to continue their innovative tradition in 2020. If you want a reason to be excited for the Olympics (other than the games) check out these predictions. These games are going to be unreal!