Category Archives: Big Data

Exciting Possibilities With 3D Printing Innovation

Exciting Possibilities With 3D Printing Innovation

3D Printing Innovation

An early vision of man’s interaction with machines beyond the internet of things.

Since the dawn of time, humans have manipulated the physical world around them into tools which they use to make life easier. In today’s world, the primary tool for most people is the computer and the staggering number and variety of tasks that it can accomplish. Yet, the way we interact with this tool has remained essentially the same – via a keyboard or a mouse and, more recently, a touch screen.

Sean Follmer, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and has been intrigued by this conundrum for a number of years. Speaking at a recent TED talk, he explains that “my belief is that we must need new types of interfaces that can capture these rich abilities that we have and that can physically adapt to us and allow us to interact in new ways.”

As the Internet of Things moves ever closer to a reality, some visionary scientists are seeing a world beyond when devices are connected and into a more fluid, adaptive spatial environment.

Follmer recently earned a PhD from MIT for his work in human-computer interaction that has given birth to an extraordinary technology called inFORM. What is inFORM? It’s an interface that can come off the computer screen and that you can manipulate physically. Whether it’s a 3D application, or digital clay which you can sculpt into a brand new shape, the elements on the surface rise up and are manipulated via actual, physical touch. “The idea is that for each individual application, the physical form can be matched to the application,” he says, “and I believe this represents a new way that we can interact with information, by making it physical.

Exciting Possibilities

New applications of this technology are being dreamed up all the time. Whether it’s in the arena of urban planning around traffic planning or spatial density, or tools for blind people, even new musical instruments, there are a wealth of possibilities that are becoming evident with inFORM.

One of the most astonishing demonstrations during Follmer’s TED Talk was the ability to render a person or an object remotely. Popular Mechanics magazine explains how “for this, the tangible media team decided to use a standard Xbox Kinect, a sensor typically used for motion-intensive gaming, to capture a person’s movement. A mounted projector also displays color.”

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(Image Source: MIT/Popular Mechanics)

The ultimate effect of this is like seeing a person reach through a digital screen and manipulate objects on a table in another space. “Or you can have an object that’s linked between two places, so as I move a ball on one side, the ball moves on the other as well”, said Fowler at the TED Cern conference.

Over the next five years, many of the devices that we buy will be internet enabled and connected in ways that attempt to make our lives easier. But it is becoming easier to predict a time when devices themselves are obsolete, and the environment that we build and live in, takes on an intelligent and fluid dynamism that is likely to transform the globe in ways we are only beginning to imagine.

By Jeremy Daniel

Increase Productivity With Instant Collaboration

Increase Productivity With Instant Collaboration

Instant Collaboration

Interactive, real-time collaboration tools help both local and global organizations perform better and more efficiently, and support business development and growth. With the increased performance and productivity these solutions bring, a range of mobile and desktop applications are now available, and it’s no wonder shrewd businesses are taking advantage of these tools. Though adoption of collaboration platforms has been slow as compared to that of social tools, the IDC believes the market will hit $3.5 billion by 2019 – an annual growth rate of 19%. Industry leaders are honing their tools and platforms to maximize customer satisfaction and business expansion, so ensuring you’re getting the most from your chosen provider is a must.

Enriching Communication

The backbone of any collaboration tool, enhanced communication processes allow team members to discuss particular projects or narrow their focus to multi-member tasks.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Instant communication via chat, voice and video is a must, as well as the tools to share files and communicate project updates. The best tools provide the facilities to keep track of a range of details within a project while keeping relevant team members adequately informed of progress every step of the way.

A Functional Continuum

Treating projects as a continuum rather than a static task, collaboration platforms track all communication and organize pertinent information, providing access only to those involved. Relying only on emailing and meetings often leads to misunderstandings or delays and increases the stress level for the entire team.

A quality collaboration platform, however, ensures team members always stay in the loop while keeping the annoying interruptions away, thus providing agility and flexibility to the users and increasing productivity.

Developing Efficiency

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Collaboration tools decrease the number of meetings required, freeing users up to work toward project goals instead of merely discussing them. With the constant connection and up-to-date knowledge provided, collaboration software allows for a suitable level of transparency ensuring that necessary meetings are efficient and that time isn’t wasted bringing people up to speed. Faster decision-making, time saving, and adroit teamwork promise increased productivity.

Availability

Of course, to be truly effective, the collaboration platform you choose needs to offer extensive availability and accessibility. Choosing between a web-based or desktop app comes down to the needs of the team as well as their personal comfort levels with different platforms. While web-based platforms offer mobility and instant updating, many users prefer the seamless environment of a desktop app.

With the array of business tools we’re all trying to keep track of, not to mention the social networks we have a hard time escaping from, a unified collaboration platform helps alleviate the anxiety of constantly trying to stay informed while improving focus. Better still, a user-friendly and personable collaboration tool promises a superior user experience thus ensuring motivated and effective teamwork. Take Hubgets, for example. Hubgets is a cloud service that centralizes information and facilitates collaboration between teams through secure and private chat, voice and video communication. Designed to create and sustain a collaborative work environment, Hubgets enables teams to connect in real-time and work with minimal disruption.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Cloud Pinup: Analyzing Data With DataRPM

Cloud Pinup: Analyzing Data With DataRPM

Analyzing Data With DataRPM

The transformative power of cognitive data products in the struggle to retain customers

In a world where consumers expect more and more from the products that they buy and the services that they use, the intelligent and effective use of cognitive data services can make all the difference in the high stakes game of customer retention.

One of the most disruptive elements of high-growth companies like Uber, Netflix or Amazon is the way that they seem to improve their understanding of their customers over time. Netflix gets progressively more accurate at recommending content that you like as they receive more data about your viewing habits, while Amazon seems to understand the kind of consumer you are and how best to serve you efficiently. These amazing organizations are mastering the use of big data and machine learning and creating a business environment that other organizations are continuously trying to emulate.

DATA SCIENCE

Data scientists are key players in this new economy, and there is a huge demand for their services right now. It’s a highly skilled and complex field, and a widely cited report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the United States will experience a shortage of over 180 000 data scientists by 2018.

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As a result of this shortage of data scientists, companies are increasingly turning to partners like DataRPM who are able to deploy cognitive data products at lightning speed to solve the specific business problems of recommendations and personalization and delivering actionable insights for the client to implement.

CUSTOMER CHURN

There’s an old adage which states that bringing in new customers is hard but losing them is easy. The phenomenon of customer churn refers to the loss of a customer or consumer to an organization and is a universal problem for companies big and small. For example, analysts estimate that US credit card companies deal with an annual churn rate of over 20% and considerable resources are dedicated to trying to reduce that customer leakage.

Of course, companies that spend most of their energy constantly trying to bring in new customers are rarely able to grow to the extent that they fulfill their potential.

CUSTOMER RETENTION

Why is customer retention so difficult? Online, most customers are young, brand conscious and price sensitive. Fluctuating prices for subscriptions, multiple passwords to remember, complex barriers to entry and shifting tastes can all lead to high customer churn. Of course, the process of attrition is only worsened when a product simply doesn’t operate properly. Recently a leading telecommunication provider in France recently faced a major crisis.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

They had a customer base of 10 million customers who were using their ITV set-top boxes, but nearly 42% of their boxes were throwing out errors and customers were deserting them in droves. The clients’ internal data team was able to identify 30% of set-top boxes that were likely to throw errors but that wasn’t getting to the heart of the problem. When DataRPM was engaged to work on the problem, the company deployed a machine-first approach with its Cognitive Data Product customized for the client’s issue and which automated the whole process of predictive model building. This allowed them to test all 50 000 set-top box models and select the one with the best prediction accuracy.

Inside eight weeks, DataRPM built a reusable model that not only predicted the types of errors that could occur, but also the 77% of set-top boxes which were throwing out errors and the reasons behind them. Ultimately, they were able to cut the clients’ operation costs by between US$3 – 5 million (through customer service), and help them retain 36% of their customer base, leading to an increased customer lifetime value of US$6.6 million.

COGNITIVE POWER

The addition of cognitive capabilities to machine learning is transforming the arena of data science and leading to massive leaps forward in customer retention. The ability to let the machine figure out the best algorithms according to the data, as opposed to waiting for a data scientist to run different models, dramatically changes the scale and speed of the solution.

It’s a staggering breakthrough that effectively eliminates the problems caused by the scarcity of data scientists and allows companies to scale as and how they see fit. And the more data they process, the better their insights and recommendations become, leading to a virtuous cycle for clients and consumers alike.

Cognitive data products which positively impact customer retention, such as those offered by DataRPM allow clients to focus on their core products and delegate resources appropriately. For many companies, it’s a complete paradigm shift that helps them rediscover the reasons why they went into business in the first place.

By Jeremy Daniel

The Monstrous IoT Connected Cloud Market

The Monstrous IoT Connected Cloud Market

What’s Missing in the IoT?

While the Internet of Things has become a popular concept among tech crowds, the consumer IoT remains fragmented. Top companies continue to battle to decide who will be the epicenter of the smart home of the future, creating separate ecosystems (like the iOS and Android smartphone market) in their wake.

Google’s OnHub router works with Weave, which the tech giant recently received in its acquisition of Nest, in a clear play to become the leader in smart home technology. Apple has the Apple TV hub and the HomeKit, while Amazon has its Amazon Echo and Alexa.

Samsung acquired SmartThings, which connects Samsung appliances in the same home and will be integrated into its smart TVs, and LG just announced its own SmartThinQ hub. All of these systems work within their individual product lines, but none provide the cohesive solution that will lead to true interconnectivity.

smart-homes

(Image Source: Ekimetrics)

Defragmenting the Ecosystem

When I leave my house, I have to turn off the air conditioner with Nest, turn on the porch lights with Philips Hue, and lock the door with Lockitron. Why can’t I press one button to tell the house to go into “vacant” mode after I leave? With tech giants competing with one another to own the smart home, the consumer gets a fragmented product full of potential but without an avenue to realize it.

For startups, the problem rests with centralized business processes. Young companies don’t have a go-to platform for discovery and distribution like larger ones (think the Google Play store for Android). An IoT company needs to develop a native app for both Apple and Android, purchase retailer shelf space, advertise its device, and promote its platform. This massive barrier to entry stifles innovation for growing companies, but we know what needs to be done.

Changing the status quo starts with encouraging connectivity. The smart home of the future needs to have contextual awareness. If my security camera identifies a burglar, I want the fire alarm to activate, the lights to go off, and the door to lock behind him. When I enter the car to go to work, I want the coffee machine to heat up and the air conditioner to turn on at the office.

Smart Home IoT Connected Cloud Market

(Infographic Source: Rogers)

All of these things are possible through individual apps today, but without context awareness, technology fails to live up to its potential. We need interoperability. We need the IFTTT for the IoT to get everything working together.

But connectivity doesn’t mean companies should slap an Android logo on a device and say it raises the value. Both Samsung and LG tried this tactic with washing machines that connected to smartphones but received a lukewarm public reception.

Connectivity in itself isn’t enough. We need meaningful connectivity, and the only way to produce that is to identify the pain points in using our appliances and alleviate them using technology. Otherwise, we risk using technology for technology’s sake without any clear end goal in mind.

Wouldn’t it be great to get a call from the service center before your refrigerator breaks down rather than have to call in as you frantically put the milk in a cooler while mopping the floor from the melting ice? A true IoT solution makes this possible, and while we’re not there yet, some companies are on the right path.

Driving Connectivity in the IoT

The business that creates the best, most inclusive ecosystem first will be the winner. Google’s Weave protocol coupled with its Brillo operating system holds a lot of potential. Intel and Qualcomm are working on the hardware for potential single-source solutions. And smaller companies, such as HeliumSenseware, and Arrayent, are working to create the kind of revolutionary connectivity that would allow everything to work together.

Whether current attempts succeed or not, the uncertain state of the IoT solutions market tells us that the IoT wave is still new — with the potential for astronomical growth on the horizon.

Comparing the IoT to smartphones, we’re currently developing apps for the Nokia 3310. The IoT has yet to experience its revolutionary moment — its iPhone. Once one or two functional ecosystems emerge and we start building infrastructure for them, the possibilities for innovation will explode overnight. When everything can talk to everything else and work as a single unit, the possibilities for creative solutions become endless.

After a comprehensive IoT ecosystem finally takes hold, any kid with a computer will be able to tap into data from multiple sensors, made by different manufacturers with different protocols, and tie them together to create a meaningful experience. This reality isn’t decades away, either. Within the next few years, the IoT promises to transform our homes and lives with interconnected experiences seemingly unimaginable just 15 years ago.

How can we — especially those in the technology industry — encourage and advance these opportunities?

By being open to sharing APIs and linking to other platforms, we increase the chances of a serendipitous breakthrough. We need to give developers access to the tools and see what they can discover.

In the right environment and with the right attitude, we can finally connect all of the pieces we already have and create the cohesive solution that has so far eluded us. Will 2016 be the year smart home platforms start to converge? We sure hope so.

By Saar Yoskovitz 

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Saar Yoskovitz is the CEO and co-founder of Augury, an Israel- and New York-based company that is bringing predictive maintenance technology to new markets. Augury is a mobile-based solution that diagnoses and predicts machine performance using vibration and ultrasonic sensors paired with machine learning algorithms.

Building IoT App Innovation With Quarks

Building IoT App Innovation With Quarks

The Growing IoT Developments

According to Jill Klein, Sirius Computer Solutions consultant, the Internet of Things (IoT) “is no longer hype,” and she believes mining big data and driving vertical market solutions is the key to IoT sales growth. Says Klein, “With the growth of big data, so much data is derived from the sensors of an IoT solution, and customers aren’t sure what data you keep versus analyze, and how quickly you need data.” Many industry players have entered the IoT fray and are making it easier for organizations to participate in and contribute to the IoT arena.

IBM’s Open Source Development Tool

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IBM’s introduction of their new open source development tool, Quarks, promises to help both programmers and manufacturers develop apps based on IoT sensor data. Based on the IBM Streams product, Quarks has been designed specifically to provide an open source app building tool that allows programmers and manufacturers to exploit live data coming from connected devices simply and efficiently. While these applications facilitate real-time communication between devices and operators, the information can also potentially be used for broad-scale comparison across similar devices. Though still in the early stages, IBM hopes to build a user community around Quarks with the aspiration to see the development tool become a standard for developing IoT apps. In efforts to support this goal, IBM has approached the Apache Foundation proposing Quarks be an incubation project.

Aaeon’s Quark-Based Gateway Trio

In moves to mainstream IoT, Aaeon has launched a new Linux-enabled, Quark-based IoT gateway design that endeavors to smooth the setup of IoT installations. With three configurations offered, one for indoor commercial applications, another for indoor industrial applications, and a final for harsher outdoor environments, Aaeon’s gateways are intended to “eliminate the distance” confronted when discussing IoT. Fitted with a variety of I/O, users are able to connect an assortment of instruments.

Intel’s Quark Chips and free cloud OS

brianIntel’s low-power Quark processors and microcontrollers for IoT devices, when combined with cloud services from their Wind River subsidiary, help organizations connect devices and upload data for analysis. Says CEO Brian Krzanich, “There’s a need for a suite of connected products and services that are aware of each other and their surroundings.” The complete product package includes two Wind River operating systems, Rocket and Pulsar Linux, as well as cloud services, and it’s been suggested that developers can begin building apps within ten minutes of initiating these new products. Developers can prototype IoT devices and software models, and prepare their products for final deployment.

Eurotech CEO, Larry Wall, notes that 2015 saw many businesses focusing on the connection of embedded devices, and he hopes this will drive fresh IoT solutions and innovations in 2016. With Gartner’s prediction that 2020 will boast 21 billion connected devices, and the IDCs forecast of IoT spending reaching $1.7 trillion by that year, it’s no wonder the tech industry is refocusing and progressing IoT efforts.

By Jennifer Klosterman

Destroying Cloud Data In The Age Of Data Multiplication

Destroying Cloud Data In The Age Of Data Multiplication

The Age of Data Multiplication

We are surrounded by data, whether in our personal or professional lives with digital elements that are constantly being captured about us. This leads to exponentially increasing volumes of data whether from Internet-connected devices, video, cell records, customer transactions, healthcare and government records.

Today, there is a growing awareness and sensitivity from end users, government agencies and lawmakers of how all of this data might be used and in the coming years this concern is only set to heighten.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Organizations leveraging cloud services to store this data may need to take a closer look at the lifespan of the data they collect and how it is expired and destroyed. Today’s organizations need to understand that cloud as a model causes data to multiply further. The dynamic nature of resource allocation and maximizing availability in a hybrid or public cloud means resources are replicated and backed up across multiple data centers. When an organization contacts the cloud provider to expire or expunge data they may only be severing their client connection to the data. Organizations often don’t allow for the fact that backup instances or traces of data may still linger and could be a source for unauthorized access.

So, how do today’s organizations ensure their data is destroyed?

1. Tag all sources of mission-critical data: It starts with strong preventative measures: If data is classified digitally to a scheme that is intuitive to your cloud provider and your organization it will be easier to track through its lifecycle and then expire and destroy.

2. Take time to assign entitlements and access rights: Ensure that access rights or entitlements for sensitive or mission-critical data are limited to only those who have a legitimate need for access.

3. Apply encryption based on context: When data is encrypted, it is only readable to those with access to the encryption keys. It is the most certain way to limit unauthorized access to data in the cloud. By encrypting organizations can be better assured of the confidentiality of their data and potentially be less concerned with their cloud providers’ data destruction methods.

4. Perform data wipes: Many government and industry standards require data storage wipes to ensure that hardware is safe for reuse. There are different types of software and hardware that even allow for remote erasure. The benefit is to enable a provider or enterprise to repurpose the media for reuse.

5. Physically destroy data and media: In the cases of highly classified information organizations can use strong magnets to destroy data or even shred physical media. This ensures that the data on the destroyed media can never be recovered. Physical destruction methods are the last resort and only feasible in a private cloud environment.

By Evelyn de Souza

Internet Performance Management In Today’s Volatile Online Environment

Internet Performance Management In Today’s Volatile Online Environment

Internet Performance Management

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Internet is now the heart of the global economy. Competition is intense and the performance of an organization’s web-based assets can make or break its future. Business continuity, which is defined as the ability to survive either man-made or natural disasters without losing valuable data, revenue, or customers, is now a critical aspect of Internet Performance Management. The effectiveness of an online presence relies on a healthy Internet infrastructure that connects cloud, data centers and CDNs to customers, employees and partners.

The size, scale, and complexity of the data which is uploaded to the Internet annually is staggering. In 2015 alone, over 250 million new users gained access to the internet, connecting through more than 10 billion devices. Every 12-month period represents a quantum leap in the volume of online activity, and this trend is only likely to increase.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Without a robust, responsive Internet presence, a company will struggle to survive. The volume of traffic, the numbers of users and the amount of money spent online are compelling drivers. Yet there are real concerns around the issues of control, resiliency and security for organizations serving online clients.

These concerns include:

  • Uncertainty over how to measure and analyze performance

  • An inability to control cost and quality with cloud providers

  • An incomplete view of internet traffic; and

  • A lack of visibility to plan for price, performance and scale

As companies move toward an Internet-dependent infrastructure, it is imperative that they find ways to maintain visibility and control in order to manage performance.

Optimal Migration Planning

Visibility is a critical tool. It leads to effective planning for business scale, an optimal migration to cloud providers and it gives way to the right tools to optimize cloud performance and manage business continuity.

Management of downtime, including communication with clients, is also vital. Downtime is costly, and when clients are unable to access cloud-based information or monitor and manage their equipment remotely, they face the very real possibility of losing sales and eroding hard-won customer confidence.

mlarsonA safety-first mindset is a valuable asset in this environment. Matt Larson, CTO at Dyn, a leader in Internet Performance Management solutions, puts it like this: “Assume every piece of technology you use in your business will break. Think about the time you spend making your data center components more reliable from redundant servers, power supplies and database servers to entire data center sites. Are any of these perfectly bulletproof? The record shows they are absolutely not.”

Now think about protecting from failure and Internet Infrastructure itself. Most companies do not even monitor the Internet backbone to know if there are problems and they do not build redundancy and failsafe into how their customers connect to their Internet assets such as cloud providers and CDNs. Business Continuity extends to an Internet Infrastructure that demands planning and dynamic agility to defeat outages, performance degradation, and security risks.

New Challenges and Demands

Every year brings new challenges and demands for internet performance managers. In the coming year, experts predict more security breaches, more mobile banking, greater peer-to-peer distribution and a surge in the viability of the Internet of Things. Whether you’re working with data centers, content delivery networks, cloud service providers or with SaaS providers, “the need for visibility, insights and control of Internet Performance has never been more prevalent across countries, service providers and enterprises,” writes Dyn Chief Strategic Officer Kyle York. “As the world flattens, as the Internet grows more complex and volatile, and as user demands for exceptional experiences heighten, 2016 will assuredly be a big year for Internet Performance.”

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to leverage the Internet to cope with the challenges of business continuity and gain a competitive advantage.

CDN Performance Series Provided By Dyn

By Jeremy Daniel

Data Disruptions With Adobe Creative Cloud

Data Disruptions With Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe has quickly pulled an update for its Creative Cloud desktop app or Mac, which accidentally deleted some users’ files.

Creative Cloud is the subscription-based umbrella for the cloud versions of Adobe ADBE 2.31% apps such as Photoshop and Lightroom, and it comes with a desktop application for managing data stored in Adobe’s cloud.

Adobe pushed out an update on Thursday to Mac users with “auto-update” turned on. Many of those people, as well as those unlucky enough to download the Mac version of the Creative Cloud desktop app at the time, found files inexplicably vanishing.

The company pulled the update on Friday after cloud storage outfit Backblaze identified the problem. Here’s how Backblaze described what went down:

“…files from folders within your root directory could have been removed. We typically saw this occur to the user’s top-most (when alphabetically sorted) hidden folder, or to a folder that had a space at the front of its name (a semi-common practice to force a folder to always appear at the top of the list).

Read Full Article: Fortune

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Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

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Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

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Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

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Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

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Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs

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Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

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Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

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The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

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The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

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Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

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The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

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Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

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Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

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Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

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