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can be found on page 36, may have been tough to get going so far, but one of the big selling points is the convenience and better service patients can receive for ailments like coughs and sneezes. In fact, service levels dominate this magazine, and are a consistent point of focus for service providers. We see throughout the IoT feature (page 18) that key to the success of the internet of things is the usability, how easy it is to set up out of the box. Particularly now that device management is moving into collaboration platforms, maintaining high levels of customer service is of paramount importance. On top of these features we have extensive coverage of the 2025 & Beyond event run by Nimans this summer. At the event the PSTN switch off was at the front of the minds of many, and now that we are past the stop sell deadline of September, it certainly feels like a lot of work needs to go into migrating businesses before the cut off in less than a year and a half. As always, I hope you enjoy the issue. Things are going to get busy over the next couple of months with partner events and XPOs coming thick and fast, all of which will be featured in UC Advanced, and we will also be building up to the Stockies awards at the end of the year which we are all excited for.
Receiving a decent service from the companies we do business with makes all the difference to the way we feel about them. That may seem obvious, and a good rate or reward may sometimes be worth the aggravation of poor service, but a quick path to resolutions will usually gain enough trust for me to continue to do business with you. Simple pleasures aside, as I see it, the theme of the last couple of years has been improving the customer experience. Accompanied by research about the cost of acquiring customers vs retaining them, this trend makes perfect sense. What is surprising however is how the trend is making its way into the healthcare industry. Naturally we all want a good service from the doctor, and lord knows how stretched these people are, but it appears that many have turned to technology to improve the reputation and service of healthcare institutions.
Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne Editor
Until then, as I say, enjoy the issue, get in touch with myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the rest of the team at UC Advanced, and I look forward to writing the next issue where we will be covering the rise of AI, the state of Video Conferencing, and how the transport sector is embracing UC&C solutions.
When discussing the role technology plays in hospitals on page 12, it was interesting how those in charge are looking to reduce the administrative burden on doctors and nurses, and remove silos of information created by going to different places for healthcare. Similarly, the eConsulting revolution, that
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News You should know p6 Products Hot products p10 Hospitals Improving communications and service p12 Field Agents Connecting the things p18 Data Security Ensuring it won’t be stolen p22 Thought... Retail’s new era p28 Cloud Storage Is convenient a better experience? p32 Remote GPS Calling all Doctors p36 Workplace Zoom’s new office p39 Switch-Off How is industry preparing? p43 Events Nimans BT Tower event and EE’s sunset p47 Thought... The cost of doing nothing p49
How sitting on your hands may be too much for some companies to afford.
Every guy struck down with man flu will tell you the unimaginable pain will make you feel smaller than a thimble.
Retail is heading into a new era according to Stefan Spendrup, VP, Northern and Western Europe at SOTI.
As data becomes more valuable, how can businesses ensure it won’t be stolen?
As IoT becomes more popular, how can it benefit businesses and become a seamless addition to the workplace?
Editorial Elliot Mulley- Goodbarne 07910 441 024 email@example.com Dan Parton 07941 979 845 firstname.lastname@example.org Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 email@example.com Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 firstname.lastname@example.org Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of UC Advanced can be reproduced. © 2023 In the Channel Media Ltd.
When we talk about healthcare these days it’s usually in the guise of what we can do for ourselves.
With two years out, how is the rest of the industry preparing for the end of PSTN?
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It may be more convenient, but how does cloud storage provide a better experience?
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8x8 Introduces Voice AI to Enhance Customer Service
Cloud communication leader 8x8 has expanded its Intelligent Customer Assistant platform with advanced voice conversational AI capabilities, enabling seamless customer interactions across digital and voice channels. Recognising the value of conversational AI in enhancing self-service, 8x8’s move to include voice capabilities aligns with the industry trend. With Intelligent Customer Assistant, contact centres can transition between automated voice and live agent support seamlessly, and empower live agents with comprehensive voicebot interaction context for personalised assistance. The platform comes with graphical scripting, enabling quick bot creation across various channels, built-in analytics offering valuable customer journey insights, and turnkey CRM integrations allowing tailored customer experiences within voicebot interactions. 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant seamlessly integrates into the 8x8 XCaaS (eXperience Communications as a Service) platform, which offers cloud contact centre, business phone, video meetings, team chat, and SMS capabilities, ensuring reliable and
secure unified communications and contact centre solutions. “There is an incredible amount of opportunity around AI-enabled technologies and the ways in which those technologies allow organisations to engage with and support customers. Since the launch of 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, the feedback we’ve received has been astounding,” said Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8x8, Inc. “Our customers have been thrilled by the ability to easily reduce resolution times for simple inquiries as well as being able to handle a significant portion of customer interactions without requiring an agent. “Additionally, the delivery of fast and easy deployments is noteworthy in how quickly our customers are able to see the value. As voice remains an increasingly relevant and preferred channel of communications, we are continuing the momentum we’ve already seen with the introduction of a conversational AI voice self-service option, and look forward to allowing 8x8 customers to design more channels, deploy additional use cases, and exceed their organisation’s customer experience targets.”
Hunter Middleton Chief Product Officer
Zoom grows enterprise revenue over 10%
Zoom Enterprise revenue showed significant growth over the second quarter of 2023, reaching $659.5 million, a noteworthy 10.2% YoY increase. In its Q2 FY2024 report, Zoom announced total revenue of $1,138.7 million, up 3.6% YoY. According to the communications provider, profitability was strong, with Zoom achieving a GAAP operating margin of 15.6% and a non- GAAP operating margin of 40.5%. Customer base expanded, with a 17.8% YoY increase in the number of customers contributing over $100,000 in trailing 12-month revenue following the introduction of Zoom IQ Meeting Summary, Team Chat Compose, and Intelligent Director. It also made strides in enhancing customer experiences with Zoom Virtual Agent and Zoom Contact Center, which garnered over 500 customers in Q2.
Looking ahead, Zoom projects Q3 FY2024 total revenue to fall between $1.115 billion and $1.120 billion, with a non-GAAP income from operations estimated in the range of $400.0 million to $405.0 million. For the full fiscal year 2024, the company anticipates total revenue to range between $4.485 billion and $4.495 billion, with non-GAAP income from operations expected to be between $1.685 billion and $1.695 billion. Zoom’s customer base continued to grow, with approximately 218,100 Enterprise customers, marking a 6.9% increase from the previous fiscal year. The trailing 12-month net dollar expansion rate for Enterprise customers was an impressive 109%. Moreover, the number of customers contributing over $100,000 in trailing 12-month revenue also rose by around 17.8% compared to the same period last fiscal year.
Midwich Elevates Long-Serving Trio to Director Roles
In a strategic move to bolster its leadership team and pave the way for future growth, Midwich has announced the promotion of three seasoned professionals to directorial roles. Kane Barker, Katie
strength to strength to deliver real value to our vendor partners and customers, and I cannot wait to see what else we achieve together.” Aaron Lawther’s ascent to the role of Director of internal Sales underscores his extensive experience spanning over 13 years. He affirmed, “We have an incredible team here at Midwich, one I’m truly proud to be a part of.” Lawther’s rich history with the company encompasses diverse roles, shaping his comprehensive understanding of sales and commercial operations. Mark Lowe, Midwich UK&I Managing Director, emphasised the significance of employee development in the company’s accomplishments. Lowe shared, “To be able to announce that Kane, Katie, and Aaron have been appointed directors of Midwich is fantastic news and is a testament to their hard work and dedication. I wish them all the success in their new roles.” The appointments underscore Midwich’s commitment to fostering internal talent and providing avenues for professional advancement. The trio’s promotion is expected to fortify the collaborative efforts between the three business divisions, bolstering Midwich’s position in the market as it embarks on a journey of continued expansion.
Ford, and Aaron Lawther, all with a
cumulative service of over 36 years, are set to steer the company towards new horizons. With immediate effect, Kane Barker will assume the position of Divisional Director, responsible
for orchestrating seamless synergy between various business sectors. Reflecting on his journey within the company, Barker remarked, “The business is constantly evolving and offering exciting new opportunities to work with our vendor partners, colleagues, and businesses across the Midwich Group to grow together, as well as giving me the privilege of working alongside fantastic team members.” Katie Ford, who has diligently served Midwich for six years, will take the reins as Channel Marketing Director. Acknowledging the collective effort of her team, Ford expressed, “Over the last six years, they have gone from
Aaron Lawther Director – Internal Sales Katie Ford Channel Marketing Director Kane Barker Divisional Director
Exertis Strengthens Commitment to Sustainability with Trade-In Portal Rollout
In a bid to further enhance its environmental sustainability endeavours, Exertis, a prominent distributor, has introduced an innovative trade-in platform tailored for resellers. Accessible at https://recycle.exertis.co.uk/, this cutting-edge portal has been designed to facilitate seamless and convenient recycling solutions within the channel. Customers utilising the self-serve portal will now be able to effortlessly generate quotes for the recycling of a wide array of devices, including handsets, tablets, and laptops. This streamlined process marks a significant step towards promoting responsible disposal practices. A standout feature of the platform is its robust data-wiping mechanism, powered by
the Blackbelt Smartphone Defence system. This failsafe protocol ensures that all traded-in devices are thoroughly purged of any data before departing the facility. Moreover, the option to acquire individual data wipe certificates offers an additional layer of assurance for clients. Exertis has a proven track record in device recycling through its subsidiary MTR, which has operated a successful trade-in website catering to end-users for over a decade. Expanding upon this expertise, Exertis’ latest initiative targets a broader spectrum of customers, amplifying the impact of its recycling endeavours.
Alibaba Cloud Launches Open-Source Vision Language Models for Multimodal Interaction
Alibaba Cloud has launched two open- source large vision language models (LVLMs): Qwen-VL and Qwen-VL-Chat. These models understand images, texts, and bounding boxes, facilitating multi-round question answering in English and Chinese. Qwen-VL is a multimodal version of Alibaba Cloud’s 7-billion-parameter model, capable of comprehending image and text inputs. It responds to open-ended queries related to images and generates image captions. Qwen-VL-Chat allows more complex interactions, like comparing multiple images and engaging in multi-round question answering. It can write poetry, summarise image content, and solve maths questions in images. Alibaba Cloud is sharing the models’ code, weights, and documentation with the global
community via ModelScope and Hugging Face. Commercial usage licences are available for companies with over 100 million monthly active users. These models could enhance interactions with visual content, aiding visually impaired individuals during online shopping. Qwen-VL processes images at 448x448 resolution for better recognition. It excels in various visual language tasks, including captioning and object detection. Qwen-VL-Chat performs well in text-image dialogues in Chinese and English, showcasing human-level alignment in benchmark tests. Alibaba Cloud’s recent open-sourcing of Qwen-7B models received over 400,000 downloads within a month, reflecting the company’s commitment to advancing AI innovation.
Evolve IP Attains Gold Partner Certification from Snom
Evolve IP, has achieved gold partner status with Snom, a prominent IP telephony hardware manufacturer. This partnership enhances Evolve IP’s expertise in digital transformation, particularly across EMEA, enabling businesses to seamlessly blend cutting-edge cloud technologies with conventional devices like desk phones and mobile DECT handsets. Evolve IP’s EMEA Group headquarters are situated in Cardiff, and the company is renowned for its carrier-grade platform that securely integrates unified communications,
collaboration tools, voice, and omnichannel contact centre solutions in the cloud. Ross Clinch, Catalyst Partner Account Manager, noted that despite the rise of applications like Teams and Webex, the demand for desk phones remains strong due to varying stages of digital transformation journeys and the impending PSTN switch-off. He highlighted how Evolve IP’s adaptable licensing model aids reselling partners in sectors like healthcare, education, and hospitality where tailored solutions are vital. This partnership empowers resellers to offer vertical-specific solutions, leveraging Snom’s comprehensive DECT device range, including the ruggedized M80 and healthcare-focused M90. Steven Try, UK&I Channel Manager at Snom Technology, praised Evolve IP’s commitment and expertise, emphasising the impact of this collaboration on organisations’ digital transformation endeavours. This gold partner certification underscores Evolve IP’s dedication to delivering top-tier service and support, propelling businesses forward in their digital evolution.
Ross Clinch Catalyst Partner Account Manager
Cisco and Nutanix Join Forces to Simplify Hybrid Multi Cloud Deployments
Cisco and Nutanix have announced a significant global partnership aimed at streamlining hybrid multi cloud deployments. By combining their strengths, the two companies are offering a comprehensive hyperconverged solution designed to modernise IT and transform businesses. IT organisations are currently grappling with the complexities of multi cloud environments, leading to operational challenges and security concerns. This new collaboration addresses these issues by making infrastructure and application delivery more straightforward and faster on a global scale. The partnership leverages efficient cloud operating models, unmatched flexibility, and automated resiliency, all backed by strong customer support. Jeremy Foster, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Compute, emphasised the customers’ need for simplicity, sustainability, and future readiness. He highlighted that the joint solution covers virtual compute, networking, and storage across various environments, enabling customers to manage modern workloads both on-premises and in the cloud.
Tarkan Maner, Chief Commercial Officer at Nutanix, stressed the importance of an integrated hardware and software platform for agile application deployment. He noted that the partnership will offer solutions for simplifying and securing environments across data centres, public clouds, and the edge, catering to organisations striving to keep up with innovation. The collaboration integrates Cisco’s SaaS-managed compute and networking infrastructure with Nutanix’s Cloud Platform, providing customers with a seamless, end- to-end solution. The partnership marks a significant step in the realm of hybrid multi cloud computing, promising increased ease and efficiency for organisations. The combined efforts of Cisco and Nutanix will introduce the solution to the market through their global sales teams and partners. This collaboration aims to redefine technology deployment and set new standards for integrated solutions in the tech industry. The solution is expected to be available within the next 90 days, representing a significant development in the hybrid multi cloud landscape with the potential to benefit businesses worldwide.
Jeremy Foster Senior Vice President and General Manager
Vivitek Launches D2000 Series: Powerful, Portable Projectors for Modern Meetings
Vivitek has introduced the D2000 Series, featuring the DW2650Z and DH2661Z portable projectors, catering to the needs of small to medium-sized meeting rooms. These projectors offer vibrant visuals with technologies like DLP DarkChip3 and BrilliantColor, and manual zoom and focus for easy adjustments. The DW2650Z provides 4,200 lumens with WXGA resolution, while the DH2661Z offers 4,000 lumens with Full HD resolution and HDR10 for enhanced colour accuracy. Designed for sustainability, the lampless projectors
mode. Portability is key with their 4.8kg (10.5 lbs) weight, and setup is streamlined through various connectivity
options. Security features include anti-theft measures for shared environments. Holger Graeff, General Manager of Vivitek EMEA, emphasised the D2000 Series as a balance of performance and value, serving businesses seeking quality within budget.
Vivitek’s innovation aims to redefine modern meeting spaces with these feature- rich, sustainable projectors.
boast a usage life of up to 30,000 hours and consume less than 0.5W in standby
Sony’s Crystal LED Displays Shine Bright with PSCo’s Distribution Deal
PSCo is enhancing its LED product offerings by adding Sony’s Crystal LED Displays to its portfolio. Sony’s Crystal LED displays come in two distinct series: the modular Crystal LED CH- series with high contrast and the BH-series with high brightness. These displays are available in two pixel pitch sizes, P1.2mm and P1.5mm, catering to a wide range of installation requirements across various applications, including upscale corporate and retail environments.
Comprising modular, seamless, bezel- free tiles, these displays offer versatility in terms of size, layout, and resolution options. Moreover, their lightweight design allows for flexible installation, whether wall-mounted or configured in a curved arrangement. Notably, the Crystal LED Displays stand out for their lower power consumption and user-friendly front accessibility, contributing to a reduced total cost of ownership, including maintenance. Stuart Holmes, executive director – solutions at PSCo, said: “We are excited to partner with Sony on their Crystal LED range and are always looking at investing in our portfolio to offer more choice and the right products for our customers. “Working with leading manufacturers and best-in-class technology ensures that we continue to deliver the high level of service and support that our customers have become accustomed to. Furthermore, our experience centre in Bracknell allows us to showcase these innovative solutions to our customers, all in one place.”
Stuart Holmes executive director – solutions
Boom Collaboration Unveils MEZZO: The Ultimate AI-Powered Conferencing Camera
Boom Collaboration is revolutionising the world of conferencing with its cutting-edge camera innovation, the Boom MEZZO, boasting advanced AI technology. This innovation offers impressive 4K Ultra HD performance at 30fps, electronic Pan Tilt and Zoom capabilities, and an integrated AI system that enables highly responsive auto- framing through its sophisticated ‘brain.’ Equipped with dual omnidirectional microphones with noise suppression, a wide 110° field of view, a 4K glass lens, and 10x ePTZ, this Zoom-certified device is perfectly suited for huddle rooms, smaller conference spaces, hybrid classrooms, and the telehealth sector. Boom Co-Founder, Holli Hulett said “Our Boom MEZZO features a sophisticated Image Signal Processor (ISP) that provides vivid images with balanced brightness, high
resolution and impressive colour layering. The MEZZO delivers a captivating meeting experience and represents a significant step forward in terms of overall quality. “With AI-driven auto-framing, the MEZZO automatically centres on
meeting participants while dynamically and seamlessly reframing to incorporate everyone in the room.” Offering 10 user-defined presets and a remote control, users can quickly focus on specific room features like whiteboards, podiums, or meeting participants. Backed by a three-year warranty, the Boom Mezzo is priced at an affordable £219, making it an attractive choice for those seeking top-notch conferencing solutions.
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Serving those in need
How Hospitals are improving communications in order to give a better service
We are at our most vulnerable when we have problems with our health. Every guy struck down with man flu will tell you the unimaginable pain will make you feel smaller than a thimble. Of course, if things get even worse, the hospitals are there to soothe our ailments. Whether in A&E after you cycle into a parked car, which is not funny in the slightest, or booking an operation to treat a longer term pain. But when our health has such an effect on how we feel within ourselves, the health institutions we turn to can make us feel much better with a good service, accompanied by effective treatment. Just like businesses up and down the country, the key to providing a good service lies in data, as Rajasekar Sukumar, SVP and Head of Europe at Persistent Systems says, “When it comes to digital adoption across the healthcare sector, a key goal is to remove silos. One of the main issues for healthcare organisations is that different departments operate on entirely different platforms or systems. “One area where technology innovation has accelerated is in telemedicine to aid or complement point of care delivery and patient communication, for example, apps for registering test results and video clinics with specialists. However, with a surge in ageing population across the UK and Europe there
is potential resistance to technology-driven approaches which must be considered in rollout and adoption plans.” “Data needs to be readily shared and flow between multiple partners for a complete and holistic view of a patient’s care. There is a huge opportunity for technology leaders to support healthcare companies in building such platforms.” Embracing new technology It’s no secret that processing data has led to a lot of efficiencies within the business world, and, in the UK, NHS nurses say that embracing these sorts of technologies could revolutionise patient care. An analysis commissioned by Vodafone UK, found that the NHS could take £1 billion off the country’s health and social care budget of around £180 billion; enough to pay for 15,400 more full-time nurses. These advancements are likely to be welcomed by healthcare professionals and medical specialists, including nurses and pharmacists. A separate study of NHS nurses found that 40 percent of them believe the biggest barrier to transforming the health service is a lack of investment in new technology. With this new technology, Dr Iain McCowan, Director of AI at Dubber, said that poor experiences can be avoided, adding: “Currently, switchboard operators often route calls to the wrong department due to overload or limited context about a patient issue. This can lead to frustrated patients, often resulting in verbal abuse of staff. Hospitals know this is a problem, but they do not have the data to inform a solution.” “The insights from aggregated cross- departmental conversation intelligence can highlight which departments are receiving complaints outside their domain, providing administrators with the data they require to inform policies and training to improve operators’ ability to route calls correctly. This can improve both patient and staff experiences.”
Rajasekar Sukumar SVP and Head of Europe
On top of cross-departmental data sharing, the boom of smartwatches and fitness accessories is also generating data at a quick pace. On top of this, Sukumar says that some trips to hospitals can be avoided, and treatment can be carried out in the comfort of the home. “Connectivity solutions are increasingly acting as a catalyst for DIY care and we’re seeing early trends of DIY care, overseen by a professional and not “Dr. Google”, become more and more common. “Many tests, consultations and even treatments can now be carried out in your own home – dialysis and even some types of chemotherapy, for example. This means patients can avoid the risk, cost, and time investment of travelling to hospitals while relieving pressure on hospital staff.” “It’s clear that the future of healthcare is data-led - data-driven innovations are already helping to improve our health services for both doctors and patients, and they will continue to do so,” said Roland Harvey, Enterprise Account Executive, LogicMonitor. “Connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving improvements in telemedicine, improving the speed and quality of how patients are seen with digital triage and virtual care, such as remote sensors that allow doctors to monitor a chronic patient’s vitals without them needing to visit the hospital. With remote and IoT devices generating copious data for predicting patient needs, doctors can lean on data analysis to improve patient outcomes. “AI is another technology which is rapidly growing in the health space. AI is already used in online chatbots for patients, as well as in diagnostics and scans, however with more efficient data usage its role could soon be expanded to automatic triage and prescription handling, alleviating busy doctors who can focus on more expert diagnoses. AI and Machine Learning are also being trialled in the pharmaceutical industry, where ML-infused data analytics is streamlining drug testing and prototyping processes. Security Naturally, with all this data, security also comes into the fray. Medical records are some of the hardest datasets to get your hands on, or at least they should be, and any breaches can result in serious consequences. “One of the major concerns related to
Connectivity solutions are increasingly acting as a catalyst for DIY care and we’re seeing early trends of DIY care, overseen by a professional and not “ Dr. Google”, become more and more common.
connecting hospitals is addressing security,” said Sukumar. “In high-paced environments where agility and change are important, a lot of money can be spent to improve connectivity, however, that can often come at the expense of security. “For example, any smart device, whether it’s a headset or a smartwatch, contains a chip with software and connectivity, leaving it open to vulnerabilities. If we consider medical devices, such as hearing aids, pacemakers or insulin pumps, the same potential vulnerability exists, only with much higher consequences. “While the loss of data is, for any company, a nightmare situation, there are potentially far more dangerous and even fatal consequences for the patient whose device has been hacked. For example, even if a hospital were to have hundreds of success stories, a few failures could kill the entire adoption of a therapy. It’s therefore essential that robust, trustworthy security protocols are in place and cyber resilience conversations start happening in hospitals.”
Edge Technologies Looking forward, technologies like
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are already starting to contribute to training surgeons, offering an affordable way to get doctors trained. “We’re also seeing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) begin to revolutionise medical training, especially with regard to surgery,” said Harvey. “Through the generation of entire virtual spaces with digital twins, we can create risk-free environments for surgeons to practise complex procedures, boosting surgery success rates in hospitals. “AR/VR can also open new possibilities for triage, as doctors can demonstrate
Dr Iain McCowan Director of AI
Reducing Admin In the meantime, it seems like hospitals are facing similar challenges that every business is facing. Namely, improving the relationship with “customers”, otherwise known as patients! “Of all organisations, hospitals are one of the most reliant on conversations as they are integral to how they function,” said McCowan. “Whether these are operational or clinical interactions, a significant amount of hospital communication occurs verbally.” “Traditionally, this has presented a major challenge in connecting hospitals, as the information from these conversations could only be captured by incomplete manual notes or hard-to-access audio files. With overrun staff and distressed patients, this increases risks of confusion over details, which can lead to poor patient experience and disputes.” “The latest conversation intelligence, integrated into a secure call capture solution, can help ensure that conversation details are accurately captured and available as an integral part of a hospital’s information systems.” “This can lead to improved patient experience in many ways. Accurate call transcripts can mitigate risks advising patients over the phone, minimise communication errors and prevent disputes. Automated call summaries linked back to accessible media can form part of a more complete patient case record, informing and improving future advice. Administrators can be alerted when calls contain key moments of negative sentiment or complaints, ensuring these receive proper attention and resolution.”
procedures to increase their patients’ understanding. However, for health leaders tasked with making future defining decisions, their job is impossible without the correct observability architecture in place. “With thousands of separate devices producing an excess of messy data, hospitals need total visibility over their critical data to stimulate further breakthroughs in transformative technology.” Sukumar increased the scope of potential new technologies that can be used in the healthcare profession to drones. He said “Technology adoption can be extended beyond the expected too, using drones to collect and deliver pathology samples or tests for further analysis to make the diagnosis process much easier for the patient. “Similarly, this technology could be used to help centres fix supply chain issues between themselves, by sharing tools and equipment where it is needed elsewhere by another team.” “New IoT-enabled approaches to setting up healthcare devices have emerged to overcome key issues. Using smart glasses, for example, someone can be given clear and explicit instructions on how to install or update a medical device, without that expert having to be in the room. “Not only does this limit contact between people, but it also eliminates physical borders. The best person for the job can be giving the training, regardless of where they are based in the world. These new approaches to training benefit everyone.”
Roland Harvey, Enterprise Account Executive
Looking forward, technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
are already starting to contribute to training surgeons, offering an
affordable way to get doctors trained.
Connecting the things
As IoT becomes more popular, how can it benefit businesses and become a seamless addition to the workplace?
The advent of mobile signals has brought about a new way that we connect with each other. From solitary voice capabilities and SMS texting to today where video and voice messages are sent every day and the phone call has been replaced by a video call. But while the technology continues to change, the signals that they take advantage of will stay the same. A clear example of this is the way 3G airwaves are being merged into the 5G offering. As airwaves become less useful to the data- hungry devices we all have in our pockets, the Internet of Things can take advantage of the connectivity that, a decade ago, was considered astounding. In particular, field agents working away from the office wifi can look to IoT devices to gather data that would otherwise have had to be done in person. From there the data processing can allow businesses to come to decisions faster. “IoT sensors are ushering in a new era for field agents,” Pascoal De Oliveira, UK MD of Babble said. “With the ability to monitor diverse metrics such as temperature, motion, and even such things as timing data at sporting events, these sensors provide real- time insights for field agents to make more strategic decisions. “For instance, Babble provided IoT sensors to the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships to ensure timing data could successfully be accessed and shared between equipment across 13 challenge platforms.” Using data That old adage of businesses loving certainty certainly plays into the hands of IoT devices that harvest the information needed to make better decisions. According to a report published by Fortune Business Insights last year, the global Internet of Things market is projected to grow from $662.21 billion in 2023 to $3,352.97 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate of 26.1%.
As businesses get a grip on this growth, Michael Croft-White, Engineering Director for Telemetry at Canonical said that managing these devices is the next challenge to hurdle. “To keep tabs on devices, organisations should have complete visibility and control, even as their fleet grows,” said Croft-White. “IoT devices are often deployed in remote or inaccessible corners of factories, buildings and vehicles, so managing the device fleet remotely is essential. The device management challenge is increased when they are deployed with unreliable network connections, so real-time communication is not always possible. “A tried-and-tested approach to IoT device management is to use a messaging protocol like MQTT, DDS, XMPP, AMQT, to communicate with the devices. Additionally, edge computing allows companies to bring computation, storage and AI capabilities closer to their fleet. Digital twins also facilitate remote management by mirroring devices in the cloud as virtual representations, enabling monitoring and diagnostics without direct connection.”
Pascoal De Oliveira UK MD
Babble provided IoT sensors to the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships to ensure timing data could successfully be accessed and shared between equipment across 13 challenge platforms
Integrating the things As there is a need to manage these
connected devices, it opens the door to that management on a collaboration platform. But as Croft-White added, “the relationship between IoT and collaboration tools is only just getting started. Early integrations are clumsy - they require technical know-how to set up and lack seamless interoperability, but the potential is tremendous. “Taking your observability and telemetry directly into your collaboration platform would allow teams to monitor production lines in Slack, analyse sensor data in applications such as Teams, or collaborate across platforms. “Vendors are working to make integrations seamless for non-technical users. With standardised APIs and pre-built connectors, unified IoT collaboration could reach its full potential.”
The ultimate goal should be out-of-the-box integrations that non-technical users can implement in minutes
This potential can be realised if businesses embrace these collaboration platforms, as De Oliveira points out. “Embracing IoT solutions brings a wealth of benefits to businesses. For example, real- time tracking and condition assessment of goods via IoT devices streamline supply chain visibility and IoT-powered chatbots facilitate round-the-clock customer service, bolstering responsiveness and elevating overall customer satisfaction levels. “The culmination of overall reporting and data is where businesses can realise the true value of this technology.” Ease of use As we look forward, the research from Fortune Business Insights only indicates that the market for devices connected to the Internet of Things is only going to grow. In turn that begs the question of how IoT device manufacturers can improve their devices in order to be easier to adopt. One example that Croft-White gives is the out-of- the-box experience that currently leaves some room for improvement. “The ultimate goal should be out-of-the- box integrations that non-technical users can implement in minutes. With the right standards and tools, IoT collaboration integration can evolve from a technical chore to seamless integration while still ensuring security, reliability and consistency for businesses. “With large numbers of IoT devices to manage, industries are struggling to oversee
and control their fleets. Using the correct tools and platforms, combined with sensible policies, businesses should be able to automate and centralise their monitoring and configuration to identify and correct issues promptly and efficiently. “With the right ecosystem, businesses can orchestrate their IoT fleets, easily configuring, updating and securing every device, no matter how dispersed or varied they may be. IoT should simplify business, not complicate it.” De Oliveira added that improvements in connectivity technology are on track to provide the simplification that Croft-White is referring to. However, he reminded us that this connectivity is essential to the function of IoT devices. “As technological advancements in IoT gain momentum, there is potential for even greater precision. However, the advancement of IoT depends on the evolution of 5G and 6G technology. “Better connectivity means IoT sensors can meet the needs of the increasingly evolving and varied IoT use cases. Solutions like low- power, wide-area networks (LPWANs) and satellite communication are bridging this gap, enabling even the most remote sensors to contribute meaningfully. “With the right innovations, these intelligent sensors mean a future where every field agent will be using accurate and insightful data to optimise operations and make more informed decisions.”
Michael Croft-White, Engineering Director for Telemetry
What is SASE? Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an emerging network security framework that converges multiple security and networking capabilities into a unified, cloud-native service. SASE platforms integrate services like secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, zero trust network access, firewalls, and more. This enables organizations to secure access to applications and resources based on identity, context, and centralized security policies. By combining comprehensive security functions with software-defined WAN capabilities, SASE solutions deliver identity-based access control and consistent policy enforcement across distributed environments. The cloud-based delivery model provides automation and agility, enabling SASE services to scale on-demand to meet changing connectivity and security requirements. Centralized management and monitoring simplifies operations for distributed applications and users.
Where did the term come from? SASE was conceived by Gartner analysts in 2019 based on emerging enterprise networking and security trends, especially cloud adoption. It represents a new framework for converged networking and security in the cloud. Since the introduction of SASE by Gartner, adoption has accelerated rapidly as enterprises look to streamline security and networking.
What is driving the increasing demand? Several key factors are driving increased demand for SASE solutions: • Workforce mobility and distributed branches accessing cloud applications
• Growing adoption of SaaS apps and multi-cloud environments • Limitations of backhauling traffic to centralized data centres • Need for accelerated digital transformation and IT modernization
For organizations dealing with these challenges, SASE represents a strategic opportunity to consolidate point security products, optimize access, and streamline operations. By implementing a SASE architecture, enterprises can secure access from any user, device, or location while providing an improved user experience.
What are the advantages of SASE? SASE offers several advantages over traditional network security architectures. Some of the key benefits of SASE include:
Enhanced Security SASE consolidates various security functions into a unified, cloud-based service, making it easier to manage and enforce security policies. This results in improved threat detection, prevention, and response capabilities.
SASE leverages the scalability and performance of cloud infrastructure to provide high-speed connectivity and low-latency access to applications and services, regardless of the user’s location.
Increased Flexibility SASE allows organizations to easily adapt to changing business requirements by scaling up or down as needed. SASE can be deployed in a variety of environments, including on- premises, cloud, and hybrid environments.
Better User Experience
Reduced Complexity SASE simplifies network security by providing a single, integrated solution that eliminates the need for multiple security products from different vendors.
SASE improves the user experience by providing secure and fast access to applications and services from anywhere, on any device, without compromising security.
Lower Cost SASE reduces the total cost of ownership by eliminating the need fo expensive hardware appliances and reducing operational costs associated with a and maintaining a complex network security infrastructure.
Overall, SASE provides a modern, comprehensive approach to network security that is designed to meet the evolving needs of modern organizations.
Keeping the Company Safe As data becomes more valuable, how can businesses ensure it won’t be stolen?
Now that every company is rolling out a form of Generative AI tool, one of the predictions of the decade may be realised: data is the new currency. In order to generate the emails, articles, and general admin that needs to be done, there needs to be a database to draw inspiration from. As a result, Research and Markets estimate that the global market for Big Data was worth US$154.9 Billion in the year 2022, and is projected to reach a revised size of US$353.9 Billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.9% between 2022 and 2030. In the face of this explosion, many have turned to cloud storage to hold the data they have efficiently. According to Prashant Ketkar, Head of Customer Experience Automation Transformation at Hexaware Technologies, this data explosion is a result of the launch of the iPhone and Amazon Web Services. “Two core secular trends are driving this move to cloud,” said Ketkar. “The first is the introduction of the iPhone and around the same time, Amazon Web Services came out with their first offering around distributed storage.
“With the iPhone and Android devices, a simple example is the camera on my phone today is as good as a camera I could buy 10 years ago. So it’s no surprise that this data is getting created at the rate of knots every day. “On top of that, we’ve seen massive advances in distributed computing on server- side technologies. With these virtualized technologies, businesses can scale to millions of servers, which now makes storing the data that is created cheap, secure, and available.” What’s out there? As we’ve seen, this explosion of data has led to it being one of the more valuable assets businesses can own. But with this new value comes the threat that someone may take it away from them. Ransomware, for example, has been “around forever” according to Jamie Moles, Senior Technical Manager at ExtraHop, but the threat is evolving. “What’s changing is the business model of the threat actors behind ransomware. “Ten years ago ransomware was a shotgun approach, sending out a virus to a lot of email addresses to try to get in. Just like marketing always says, a one per cent success rate for mail shots is good, ransomware operators were operating in a similar way. “But they got wise and started using things like phishing to target their campaigns, which led to defences getting smarter as well.” These defences, according to Tom Mercer Commercial Director of GAIN LINE, “incorporate advanced security features such as encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. These features help to secure data and prevent unauthorised access. However, hackers are also becoming more sophisticated, and new threats are constantly emerging. “One of the ways storage solutions are under threat is through phishing attacks. These attacks involve cybercriminals sending emails that appear to be from a reputable
Prashant Ketkar Head of Customer Experience Automation Transformation
They got wise and started using things like phishing to target their
campaigns, which led to defences
getting smarter as well.
constantly evolve their techniques, exploit vulnerabilities, and leverage sophisticated tools and strategies to infiltrate storage systems. From advanced malware and phishing attacks to social engineering tactics, hackers employ many methods to bypass security measures and gain unauthorised access to sensitive data. The reality is that no storage solution can claim to be entirely impervious to cyber threats. “Ultimately, the challenge lies in staying one step ahead of cybercriminals. It requires a combination of robust security measures, regular security assessments, employee training, and collaboration between businesses, storage providers, and security experts. By recognizing the evolving threat landscape and continuously enhancing data security practices, businesses can better protect their valuable information and minimise the risks posed by hackers. “One of the significant threats facing storage solutions is the rise of ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals deploy ransomware to encrypt valuable data and demand a ransom in exchange for its release. These attacks can severely disrupt business operations, causing financial losses and reputational damage. Storage solutions must have robust security mechanisms in place to detect and mitigate ransomware threats, including real-time monitoring, behaviour-based detection, and backup and recovery strategies to minimise the impact of an attack.” But as Mercer said, attackers are getting in and businesses are weighing up the idea of paying the ransom in the hopes that the hackers will leave. That may seem a natural response, but Mole points out that reports from SOPHOS appear to show that if businesses pay hackers the cost may end up being double the ransom anyway. In fact, according to Mole, the new tactic may be to focus on how to mitigate damage once the hackers are in, whilst also trying to keep them out. “The reality is that CISOs have been coming to us for years saying that we recognise the fact that no matter how many defences businesses put up, they’re in an arms race against the bad guys, and if they’re sophisticated enough, they are going to get in. “Ninety-nine per cent of breaches can be put down to users clicking a link. As a result, CISOs are taking a pragmatic view, recognising they are going to have an
source, such as a bank or a supplier, to trick users into giving away sensitive information. Another threat is ransomware, where hackers take control of a company’s data and demand payment to release it.” Anders Reeves, CEO at CovertSwarm, added that once the hackers are in, it’s hard to get them out again. “One of the mistakes that a lot of organisations make is thinking they’ve kicked out the hacker by shutting down the network where they’ve detected the threat. “If you drop a glass on the kitchen floor, you’ll pick up the big bits first. But if you go hunting, you’ll find smaller shards scattered everywhere. That’s what an attacker looks to do. Like that broken glass, they will try and infiltrate as many places as possible.” The Current Techniques That threat of Ransomware is a particular conundrum for businesses at the moment, as they decide whether to pay these malevolent actors. Such a conundrum means that businesses often have to choose the threats that they protect themselves against, as Chaudhuri says, “countering the threat posed by hackers has been a mixed bag. “On the one hand, storage providers have implemented various security measures such as encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems to protect data. These solutions have certainly raised the bar for cybercriminals and made it more challenging for them to breach data defences. “However, it is crucial to recognize that hackers are persistent and adaptive. They
Jamie Moles Senior Technical Manager
Tom Mercer Commercial Director
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