Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: technology

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

The Workplace of the Future? The Answer is Probably Somewhere in the Middle


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Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

There are a number of generally accepted theories as to what the workplace will look like in the near future. With the advent of new and more powerful technology, change is inevitable. And while it is fun to imagine a world of AI, advanced robotics and other marvels of the future which will make our lives so much better, the truth probably lies closer to the middle in that for every potential win for humanity, there is likely an offsetting loss and which side you are on might be as simple as the circumstance and geography to which you were born. Here are some of the most common predictions with a cold, hard look at what it might really mean.

  1. The Rise of the Freelancer

Much has been made of the fact that today more than at any other time, the use of freelancers is expanding. In the information technology field, independent contractors are seen as an essential part of the labour mix. They bring specific experience not available among client’s employees or they help to shore up a project that requires a temporary increase in manpower. But ideas like the “Taskification” of work whereby companies tap into a global pool of freelancers who perform work or “tasks” for a fee is also seen as a growing trend. Taskification allows for employers to tap into a global pool of workers but with no obligations to those individuals. Simply hiring the lowest-priced labor with no concern for their well-being or the conditions under which they deliver their labor is potentially no different than the existing issue of the sweatshops of developing countries.

  1. The Disappearance of the Bricks and Mortar Office

The downfall of the corporate office workspace and traditional employee has been predicted for years. I can remember during the dot.com boom everyone talking about the new economy and how a much more flexible workplace would mean that more and more tech workers could work from home or from random geographic locations. “Co-working” and “Digital Nomads” offer two solutions and address both the problem of isolation that freelancers experience working from home as well as the wander-lust that more and more workers exhibit. The benefits of co-working seem obvious, a “social” space whereby individuals work on their specific assignments while networking and sharing ideas sounds great. But individuals using these spaces report frequent interruptions, difficulty in locking in on their tasks and constant chatter about new and exciting opportunities…which just might be better than the one they are currently working on. And having a workforce, spread across the globe working off their laptop, probably on a beach in the tropics sounds idyllic. But even with the most disciplined worker, is it unfair to suggest that they might just be more inclined to disengage from work when presented with a constant temptation of leisure and recreational activities?  We are already in the middle of a trend that sees workers move jobs more frequently than at any time in history. The effort that goes into acquiring, training and retaining talent is already daunting. While co-working and digital nomads might not exacerbate the trend, I’m not convinced that it is the answer to productivity and retention.

  1. Driverless Cars

This is not so directly related to work but I was struck by this while I attended a presentation recently at the faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta. The topic was driverless cars and looked at a future of networked, people movers which would move citizens and therefore workers to their destinations seamlessly and without accidents or other human-induced glitches. While the idea of relegating gridlock to the pages of history and reducing the human carnage of vehicle accidents is vastly appealing, the presenter mentioned that networked vehicles would also give the worker of the future a “work pod” connected at all times to their place of work while they travelled throughout the day. As we already know, it is getting harder and harder to disengage from work and the thought of a vehicle designed around my desk at work tends to make me cringe. Sure, we’ll also use the vehicle for fun…

 

  1. Retirement will be a Thing of the Past

For some, the ability to continue to work well past their retirement years is an attractive proposition. If you are in a job you love, retirement may not be something you aspire to. And with advances in health care and medical treatment, people are living longer. Demographic changes and an aging workforce may mean more opportunity for our seniors to stay gainfully employed. But for those who are looking forward to retirement their choices may be considerably more limited. Personal debt is at an all-time high and for many workers, the cost of living in large cities where the jobs are presents a massive strain on their budgets. People are living longer, putting more stress on their savings and the same advances in health care and medical treatment mentioned above, means that individuals will have to plan for longer lives. Seniors may very well represent a viable labour force, and for many of them, that may be a good thing. But for those who dream of a life of travel or fishing after their work years, those dreams may be out of their reach.

The future as always, holds the promise of fascinating advances in technology and with these advances, opportunities for humans to experience the world in new ways. Work is and will continue to be impacted by these changes and many of them should be positive. But we also need to be aware that none, in and of themselves, will work for everyone, nor solve all challenges and that the answer, probably does lie somewhere in the middle.

Misused Technology Terms Explained


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With a growing list of technology terms to remember, it can be difficult to use them all correctly. We have all misused one or two tech terms throughout our careers, but which terms are popularly misused today? This (rather geeky) video from Techquickie shows us some of the most commonly misused tech terms.

Learn when to use a variation of tech terms properly such as: disc and disk, or GPU and graphics card. Understanding these terms might just help you win your next internet argument. Make sure that you never misuse another one of these tech terms again!

The Rise of Chatbots


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Artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting innovations in the world today. It is quickly affecting our lives in many ways and defining how we’ll live in the future, but it is in no way “new technology”. For example, did you know that chatbots have been around and have used AI since the 1960s.

This infographic created by Drift digs deep into the history of Chatbots, the different kinds and how they use artificial intelligence. The truth is, some of the early chatbots were pretty useless compared to those we have today, but it is interesting to see how far we’ve come!

Rise of the Chatbots

2016 in Review: Videos for Procrastinating


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The TDC is packed with helpful business information, tools, and advice, but we’re not always about business. Sometimes, especially Fridays, we like to share some fun videos that add a bit of distraction to your day (and yes, we’re aware that it’s counter-productive to the time management rules we often push). To finish off the “2016 in Review” series, we thought it would be fun to share some of the top videos from last year that have absolutely nothing to do with business and everything to do with procrastinating.

If you’re any sort of a geek, you’ll appreciate these videos

If you want a laugh, check out these videos

(you still need to be a bit of a geek for some of them):

And if you love a good brain teaser, have a look at these

Please don’t waste your entire day on these, but a small break never hurts and in fact, can increase your productivity! We hope you enjoyed this “2016 in Review” series.  We’ll be back Monday with plenty of fresh content for everyone. Have fantastic Friday and a great weekend!

2016 in Review: Learning & Explaining the Tech World


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2016 in Review: Learning & Explaining the Tech WorldTraining and development is important for every professional in every field. Permanent employees usually have training provided by their employer or training allowances so they can develop their career path. Independent contractors do not have these luxuries so need to plan accordingly.

Training & Development Priorities for the Independent Contractor

The Eagle Team wrote these posts to help independent contractors get a better understanding of where to prioritize training and development, as well as some tips to achieve your goals without breaking the bank:

Tools to Improve Tech Skills

These tools can also help you improve in areas that aren’t essential to your field, but important to have in any job as an IT contractor:

Technology Infographics

These infographics provide quick overviews on some technologies. They’re perfect for anybody looking to get into a new field. IT contractors may also want to pass them off to non-technical clients or recruiters to help them understand a particular area.

Finally, if you’re not sure where to focus your next training and development initiatives, this video provides extensive details about the top programming languages to learn in 2017.

Top Hacker Shows Us How It’s Done (Video)


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How smart are you when it comes to tech? Can you hack into a hotel’s TV system to get free movies and decide what your neighbours will be watching? Can you access every Bluetooth device in a building and track specific people and who they interact with? If you don’t know how to do any of these things, that’s alright (it will probably keep you out of jail). If you don’t believe that this is possible, then think again!

In this TEDx Talks video, Pablos Holman, one of the planet’s top hackers, demonstrates how easy it is to steal personal information. He also shows how he’s putting his skills to use to help change the world.

IT Industry News for November 2016


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

This post first appeared on The Eagle Blog on December 7th, 2016

A Little History of previous year’s Novembers

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2016. 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 November 2011, Mosaid was sold to Sterling Partners for $590 million, ending a WiLan hostile takeover attempt. Japanese company Rakuten paid $315 million for e-book company Kobo; Huawei technologies bought Symantec out of a storage and security joint venture to the tune of $530 million; Yahoo paid $270 million for online advertising company Interclick; and Best Buy paid $167 million for internet technology company Mindshift. In November 2012, Cisco made two significant “buys”: cloud infrastructure company Meraki ($1.2B) and cloud datacentre and software company Cloupia ($125M); Dell bought software tools company Gale Technologies; NCR bought retail software company Retalix ($650M); Cray bought software company Appro ($25M); Sprint Nextel bought a chunk of US Cellular ($480M); and Toronto-based NexJ bought Broadstreet for $8.2 million.  Three years ago, in November 2013, Opentext paid $1.1 billion for cloud-based integration services company GXS Group and another Canadian deal saw Mitel buy Aastra for close to $400 million. Other deals included eBay’s $800 million purchase of global payments company Braintree; Apple’s $370 million purchase of 3D sensor company PrimeSense; and Akamai’s purchase of Velocius Networks. November 2014 was an exceptionally quiet month on the M&A front with the largest deal being the merger of two semiconductor companies, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion, to form a $4 billion company; private equity company Carlyle Group paid $700 million for investment bank technology company Dealogic and Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising company BrightRoll. Last year, November 2015 saw a number of smaller M&A deals, but not much in the way of mega-deals. The only billion-dollar deal saw Expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete with Airbnb. Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own a Canadian telco after paying $465 million for Allstream. Other, smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in the latest Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify. Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton-based services firm Acrodex; data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington-based New Signature bought Toronto-based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

Which brings us back to the present

November 2016 saw some M&A activity, although it was not too busy. The big deal of the month saw Broadcom acquire Brocade Communication Systems in an all-cash transaction of $5.9 billion; Adobe purchased multi-channel programmatic video platform TubeMogul for $540 million; IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited will acquire IT cloud consulting firm Appirio for $500 million; Oracle Corp. has announced its plans to acquire DNS solution provider, Dyn Inc.; SoftwareOne acquired and integrated House of Lync; and Avnet completed an acquisition of Hackster.  In other news, hackers caused some problems for Casino Rama Resort, claiming to have both employee and client information going back a number of years; also AdultFriendFinder exposed 340 million users’ information. A Harvey Nash Technology Survey suggests 94% of technology professionals across the world believe a significant part of their job will be automated within ten years, rendering their current skills redundant.

The economic indicators in the US were generally favourable and jobs numbers were quite positive. Canada’s economy continues the same tepid trend we have seen for quite some time. Sometimes up a little, sometimes down a little, with unemployment hovering around the 7% mark.

That’s what I saw affecting the tech industry for November 2016.  Until next month Walk Fast and Smile!

Top 10 Worst Computers Ever (Video)


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Every industry has them — new products that were expected to be the “next big thing” but turned into an epic fail. Sometimes it’s a company trying to diversify their current product (New Coke), other times it’s a company trying to get into an industry where they don’t belong (Did you know Bic tried to make underwear, Harley Davidson tried making perfume and Cheetos took a shot at the lip balm market?), and other times, it’s just another failure of an innovative company who tries everything (Google Glass, Google Plus, etc.).

Among the many product flops of all time, the computer market has not been immune. For proof, just have a look at this video from Top Media. It goes through, what they believe, are the top 10 worst computers ever. You’ll be shocked at the types of technology some companies tried to sell.

IT Industry News for October 2016


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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on November 10th, 2016

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for October 2016. 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 previous year’s Octobers …

Five years ago in October 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO.  On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million).  The October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election.   The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell EMC logocarriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS.  There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP).  In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal.  Three years ago, October 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity.  Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud based companies: Big Machines provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and Compendium is a content marketing company.  Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the HP logopurchase of Public Mobile.  In October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities.  HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc.  Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio.  Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business.  NEST bought out competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion dell logointernet entity.  Last year October 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC.  Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer.  In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital paid $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk.  IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe.  Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn paid $110 million for LastPass; Trend Micro paid $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security paid $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple bought a speech processing startup, VocalIQ.  As industries converged it was interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

Which brings us back to the present …

Just like four years ago October 2016 news has been dominated by the US Presidential election … and of course the upset happened!  Maybe the election is why the M&A market was slow this month?  Not much in the way of deals, with one BIG deal seeing Qualcomm Google signpay $47 Billion for NXP Semiconductor.  The only other sizable deal saw Wipro pay $500 million for IT cloud consulting company Appirio.  Google picked up Toronto based video marketing startup FameBit and Pivot Technology Solutions picked up Ottawa based Teramach … and that was about it for October.

Other news saw Google step into the smartphone world with the release of Pixel, at a time Twitter logowhen wireless use in Canada is more than 50% of telecom revenues, however that is a crowded and hyper-competitive space so it will be interesting to watch.  Twitter announced layoffs plus the fact it will be shutting down the video service Vine.  Lastly HP Inc. also announced layoffs in its plans.

Despite all of the hype and vitriol of the presidential campaign, most indicators that were based on numbers were reasonably positive.  A couple of subjective indices (measuring confidence) were down, but nothing crazy.  There were also numerous reports from IDC and Gartner this month with predictions of growth in many tech sectors including total IT spend, cloud spending, security spending etc.  About the only areas that are trending down are PC sales which is no surprise and smartwatches, which is a surprise.

I would be remiss in my husbandly duties if I did not point out Janis Grantham’s inclusion in the 2016 Global Power 100 — Women in Staffing list.

I also found it surprising that it is five years since Steve Jobs passed away, it just doesn’t seem that long ago.

That is my update on tech news for October 2016 … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!

What the World Could Look Like in 2050 (Infographic)


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This infographic may be a couple years old, but we’re still many more than a couple years away from learning how accurate it was. If you’ve been wondering if and when we’ll finally be able to download dreams, build hotels on the moon or have electronic tattoos, then look no further.

Nowandnext put together this visual aid to tell us the likelihood of seeing these and other seemingly far-off technologies in the year 2050. Are there any that you’re particularly interested in seeing?

what-the-world-could-look-like-in-2050