Microsoft has quietly made changes to its plans to retire its hugely popular OS; Windows 7, for businesses at least. PC manufacturers will be able to continue to sell Windows 7 Professional machines beyond the October 31st cut-off date. The new, extended date has yet to be confirmed, but Microsoft will give out a 12 month warning before. It is easy to think slower than expected sales of Windows 8, especially in the business sector would be the cause for this alteration. Microsoft’s Shad Larsen, senior business program manager refutes this stating “Windows 7 remains the largest part of Microsoft’s install base and is still in the midst of being deployed by business customers, Microsoft wants to make it easy and possible for businesses to continue to obtain it.” Whatever the reason, Microsoft must hope it can deliver the business-value many find lacking in Windows 8 (or beyond), before this new deadline for Windows 7.
Steve Perlman, founder of streaming service OnLive has moved onto his next technology venture, called Artemis. The venture is looking to solve the big problem of cellular congestion affecting modern carriers. The technology called pCell, harnesses interference, taking advantage of the thing itself that causes signal woes in busy areas. This technology was demonstrated streaming Netflix HD and 4K videos to a half dozen devices in the same room over a local LTE network, something currently impossible on current networks. Large scale tests will begin San Francisco later this year. So the question emerges, if this tests successfully, who will pick this technology up and start implementing into the real world?
A recent report has revealed that UK organisations are the most mature, multi-sourced IT outsourcers in the world, with 44% of all outsourced services split between five suppliers and with only 6% of contracts being single-sourced. This compares with southern Europe (France, Spain, Portugal and Italy), where 56% of contracts are multi-sourced between two and four service providers. The US by contrast, tried multi-sourcing but has largely reverted back to a more traditional single supplier model. Whilst it can be more difficult to manage numerous supplier relationships, there can be political and technological justification for this. The BBC is due to transfer its outsourcing business from March 2015 after a 10 year licence with single supplier Atos (on a contract worth £2bn). This will change to a “tower model” favoured by public sector organisations for its flexibility and value, through a number of specialist companies. As long as companies’ IT sourcing policies meet their business goals, it will ensure service providers are on their toes to optimise performance for their clients, or risk losing their business.
South Tyneside NHS Trust has begun its paperless journey by moving its board meetings to the cloud using Huddle for iPad as part of its digital business strategy. This reduced paper output for just this management area by 100 reams a month, with the introduction of Apple iPads to the boardroom. With creation and collaboration on documents up to 600 pages in length each month and an update and approval process only via email, confusion about changes and editorship were common. Now documents are accessed via a secured cloud collaboration service through the tablet devices as part of the Trust’s BYOD scheme. Huddle is part of the G-Cloud service agreement and fulfils the Trust’s requirements for data protection. The company has come a long way since its start in 2006 and is making some competition for Microsoft – at least in the social collaboration market.
No longer a wild story line from the TV series “Mission Impossible”, the US military is funding a project to develop electronics that can self-destruct by remote control. US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has commissioned IBM to work on a £2.1m contract for its Vanishing Programmable Resources project (VAPR). The proposal would create a networked application which would employ a radio frequency trigger to shatter a glass coating on a silicon chip, and turn it into powder, thus destroying it and preventing sensitive data falling into enemy hands. VAPR has also got applications in medical diagnosis and treatment which they hope to develop further. With VAPR targeted first for combat zones, wider ramifications for securing data in a similar vein for commercial use would certainly be interesting in a board room setting.
Kent has the largest growing elderly population in the country. With this in mind, Kent County Council have announced that telehealth is a top priority for the region to provide digital health solutions. Kent has the benefit of a cluster of technology start-ups in the region. These are being actively supported with business loans. The focus of these new digital companies include providing secure solutions for sharing patient data with practitioners. If they succeed as hoped, they could be creating a new wave of innovative, preventative solutions, which could avoid an over reliance on residential care homes and use of geriatric wards in future. It would also save the Council purse and NHS serious money in the long run if they get the combination right.
Sony is selling its PC division (Vaio) after 18 years in the business. The Japanese firm also announced 5,000 job cuts. This news comes after financial struggles for Sony, with the PC unit unable to make a turnaround – unlike it’s now successful smart phone unit. The buyer is Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) who have stated plans to continue making PCs under the Vaio brand. In a statement Sony said “drastic changes in the global PC industry” was to blame in its downfall, pointing the finger toward the rise of tablets and the fall of PCs, which it held less than 2%. This will likely be seen by the competition as an example of what can happen if you are unable to adapt quick enough to the ever changing PC environment.