Category Archives: Technology

Oakland Celebrates a Year of Exceptional Growth and Strategic Client Partnerships

Leeds-based data company, Oakland, one of the few data consultancies to earn B Corp certification through its commitment to high social and environmental standards, announces significant growth in excess of 25% for its financial year ending 31st March. 

This success highlights Oaklands’ mission to transform and grow businesses by liberating and activating data.

Expansive Growth Through Strategic Partnerships

This year has seen Oakland enhance its client portfolio with notable additions, including the University of Leeds, Information Commissioner’s Office, Emerald Publishing, and Raw Charging. These partnerships underscore Oakland’s capacity to deliver expert data consultancy services across various sectors:

  • Data Strategy: Implementing cutting-edge data strategies with the Information Commissioner’s Office and Raw Charging to deliver value focused and sustainable data capability.
  • Data Platform: Developing a robust data platform for Emerald Publishing, enabling scalable and efficient data management.
  • Data Governance: Enhancing data governance frameworks with the University of Leeds to ensure data integrity and accessibility.

Innovation at the Forefront with the Launch of the Future Lab

Furthering their commitment to technological advancement, Oakland launched the Future Lab. This new initiative is dedicated to exploring emerging technologies, with its first project focusing on generative AI in partnership with Network Rail. This project aims to pioneer new applications of AI technology, positioning Oakland at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

Richard Corderoy, Chief Executive Officer of Oakland, commented, “This year has not only seen tremendous growth in terms of revenue and client portfolio, but it has also been a year of strategic innovation. Our Future Lab exemplifies our commitment to leading at the frontier of technology, ensuring our clients and partners benefit from cutting-edge solutions.”

Modernizing Utilities Infrastructure in an Era of Competing Challenges

Written by Rob Lenarcic , General Manager of Utilities for North America, VertiGIS 

Electric, gas, and water utility companies face challenges in almost every facet of their business. From climate change and decarbonization to modernizing pipelines, distribution networks, and power grids, ensuring reliable energy sources, and tackling aging infrastructure to digitally transform and better harness data – the issues are complex and interdependent.

For example, modernizing and evolving new power grids or water and gas supply networks requires new planning resources, assets, and strategies, as well as significant investment. However, the industry, like many others, faces a shortage of skilled workers and an aging workforce. At the same time, the trend toward increased electrification is rapidly accelerating across various sectors, in particular EVs, forcing power companies to prepare for increased demand.  

Utilities are also working hard to adapt to and leverage digital technology to gain the advanced insight and agility needed to deliver robust, reliable services. Yet, these organizations are often tackling today’s challenges with yesterday’s methods. They are reliant on an aging infrastructure which is not only expensive to run and maintain but is also frequently dependent on manual operations that are difficult to scale and hard to integrate with third party digital systems. 

No unified system of record  

This, combined with a lack of unified asset management systems, is hampering innovation and development. Utilities often don’t have a thorough system of record, a system of engagement, and a system of insight. They typically lack automated standard operating procedures and often don’t have automated workflows associated with their asset management systems. This means that when problems arise there are no records documenting appropriate corrective actions. Instead, companies often rely on veteran subject matter experts who, in many cases, like to do things manually. 

In today’s environment, utility companies clearly need to optimize planning for industrial assets to better meet the challenges outlined above and comply with evolving regulatory and environmental requirements. However, many of these organizations don’t have modern asset investment planning approaches either, to respond to these factors and optimize their spending. Investment decisions for critical assets have often relied on historical practices and rules of thumb, processed in manual spreadsheets.  

These legacy processes are ineffective, error-prone, and often complicated. Additionally, the decision-making process is not repeatable or auditable.  

The role of GIS 

Most utilities track their assets in databases or specialized platforms. Those assets have spatial elements or components that are included within the inventories. For example, above-ground power line systems, poles, stations, and protective devices all have precise geographic location data. This is where utility companies rely on geospatial technology to visualize their infrastructure. This could be serving a network underground or an aerial network above the ground. 

GIS is a tool for   getting the most out of spatial data. Spatial data is any data with a link to geography. This could be direct, such as X and Y coordinates, or indirect, for example when you have data associated with a location such as a postcode.  

GIS drives the ability to derive meaning from this data, transforming it into information that can be actioned. When organizations have digitized plans of their estate to understand what’s under and above ground, they utilize GIS software.  

How GIS software enables utilities to tackle aging infrastructure 

One of the key challenges facing utilities is aging infrastructure, including pipelines, treatment plants, and storage facilities. Managing and maintaining this infrastructure is a constant challenge, requiring substantial investments for repairs, replacements, and upgrades. 

This is where GIS software enables utilities to visualize, trace, and maintain their entire network. They can address and document aging infrastructure in real time and manage maintenance through one pane of glass. Aging infrastructure eventually needs replacement. When that time comes, GIS software can help utility organizations prioritize what infrastructure is likely to need replacement first based on historical evidence and predictive analytics derived from trained machine learning models. GIS software can be used to plan retirement or replacement of infrastructure, coordinating with multiple agencies and departments around capital improvement. Likewise, GIS software is essential throughout the planning, design, and construction phases of infrastructure projects, and for recording as-built modifications. 

The result might be that a city digs up a road once to access a common trench which can be used to replace water, sewer, and gas infrastructure simultaneously, rather than digging up the same road three times over a three-year period. GIS software can also expose information dashboards to executives, or the public, who may be interested in the status of replacements or capital improvement projects scheduled in the future. 

Enabling more employees to access and share data 

With many utilities facing staffing challenges, making sure that software solutions are easy for end-users as well as administrators is critical. This is where SaaS or managed service options help to eliminate single points of failure, instead relying on a robust, secure, cloud-hosted application that scales to the organizations’ demands, without the administrative overhead or internal IT costs.  

Utilities should be looking at web-based solutions that enable more employees across the business to access and work with their data – from anywhere. This democratizes workflows across the organization to improve efficiency and reduce dependency on a small set of veteran experts that can lead to bottlenecks. These solutions should be lightweight and web-based, enabling organizations to always have efficient and cost-effective access to the latest technology. 

In the past, expert GIS systems required large, heavy workstations. These are increasingly expensive to deploy and maintain and are untenable in a cloud setting. On the other hand, lightweight SaaS software doesn’t require significant hardware investments, making it ideal to support some of the largest organizations.  

This not only lowers total cost of ownership; it’s easier, cheaper and more accessible to get it into the hands of people who work with network data. 

Modernization of utilities is pervasive across the globe 

Globally, the electric, gas and water industries are transitioning to improved methods and technology due to regulatory and social pressures. Better utilization of existing assets, combined with energy and water conservation, offer great potential for cost savings. The modernization of utilities involves expanded use of rich data, and the deployment of powerful user-focused GIS software systems. Modern utilities require their engineers to adopt data-driven decision-making, collaborating and accessing information across departments.  

Therefore, reducing information silos within utilities allows them to innovate and deliver more digitized services. Not only does this enable a wider employee pool to access services and benefit from information sharing, but it enhances safety, reliability, and improves customer experience. But the advantages extend far beyond this. Implementing better systems enables utility companies to future-proof their capabilities while managing natural resources, such as water, gas, or electricity, far more efficiently to reduce wastage and leakage. This aligns directly with climate action goals and contributes towards a cleaner, greener future for all. 

EJ Peak Technology Solutions secures multi-million-pound framework with Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water has appointed EJ Peak Technology Solutions, part of the Edwin James Group, to its Motor Control Centres and Systems Integration framework following a competitive tender. The contract will run for an initial period of four years with an optional four-year extension.

Peak has recently opened a new office in Leeds and is now further recruiting in the local area to support the contract.

Projects under the framework will include work on existing Yorkshire Water assets and the integration of new assets into the network, such as PLCs and intelligent motor control centres.

 

Michael Thomas, executive director at Peak Technology Solutions, commented: “We are pleased to secure this new framework with Yorkshire Water and look forward to collaborating with them on their business plan. We work with several utilities clients, and our team has been supporting systems integration, automation, and digital technology innovation in the sector for 20 years.

“Last year, we opened a new digital academy that is equipped with the latest hardware and software platforms used in the sector. This has allowed us to recruit and train talent from diverse engineering backgrounds, adding capacity to support the delivery of AMP7 and AMP8 schemes.”

 

Yorkshire Water provides essential water and wastewater services to every corner of the Yorkshire region. It currently serves over 5 million households and 140,000 business customers, collecting and treating approximately one billion litres of wastewater and rainwater every day.

AI is predicted to take 20 percent of jobs by 2050 – here’s the biggest challenges companies face when implementing it into their business. 

From automating tasks and speeding up burdensome processes, through to ground breaking advances in diagnostics and smarter decision making – the opportunities are endless.
Experts predict AI may take one fifth of jobs by 2050, and not just jobs which are often classed as ‘unskilled’.
For businesses, AI offers real opportunities in their existing field and the scope to expand into new areas by building new machine learning models as diverse as creating content to predicting customer buying habits.
But it’s not just a question of ‘adding some AI’ into your business.
One of the biggest experts in this area is Laurence Moroney, the lead Artificial Intelligence Advocate for Google.
He’s now one of the worlds best AI Speakers and travels the globe to share solutions to the biggest challenges companies face when implementing AI – and how they can navigate them
1.        Don’t get caught in the hype.
Laurence says it is important for businesses to think strategically about how AI can work in their area, instead of rushing in with the latest fad.
He says: “It’s hard to go onto social media nowadays without some tech bros out there showing you how, with a simple prompt, you can turn your business around, or you can make a whole new business, or you can become a gazillionaire using GPT. There’s also a negative hype where it’s going to destroy your business, it’s going to destroy your economy, it’s going to take over the world. And I think first and foremost is to try to figure out the signal amongst all of that noise.”
2.      Understand the technology
Using AI in your business ‘requires a deep understanding of the technology’, Laurence believes
He says:. ‘It’s about education and trial and error and working with the technology, and understanding the technology is the first part of that. It’s my belief that you really need to go deep with the technology to understand exactly how to apply it for your business and your domain specific knowledge, how you can apply that along with AI technology, to come up with new and unique solutions, or better solutions, for what you already do.’
3.      AI requires a different mindset to traditional computer engineering
Laurence says: ‘AI isn’t about writing code that’s going to execute an action directly, it’s about training a model which then makes predictions based on input data,’ Moroney explains. ‘It’s a very different mindset and your staff need to be equipped to understand that and to trust that process, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge.’
4.      Fear amongst staff that they will be replaced
Laurence says: “People are worried that their jobs will be replaced by AI. ‘But staff within your business will begin to realise that AI will actually make them more powerful.’ That understanding comes with a caveat. ‘It’s managing that process that is going to be a challenge. There’s a great opportunity there, and the advice that I would give is to invest in those skills and invest in people who understand your business as well as these skills.’
‘Artificial intelligence will shape the future of work, making our existing staff much more efficient and allowing us to drive skilled people up the value chain. If you think about job roles that you have where there are tasks that are inefficient, there’s definitely low-hanging fruit there for AI to be a part of that.’

5 Ways GenAI Powers The Travel Experiences Of The Future

Written by Matthew Biboud-Lubeck, Vice President EMEA, Amperity

The digital world has permanently changed the relationship between travel brands and their customers. Travellers are providing brands with more and more data in exchange for unique, personalised experiences. Yet despite this, the traditional loyalty program model appears to be failing to meet the demands of the next generation of travellers.

As McKinsey points out, reaching the top tier of a loyalty program, traditionally, was a facet of many travellers’ personal identities. Now, many loyalty program members now seem more inclined to play the field. According to its 2023 survey on travel loyalty, younger generations are more likely to consider and transact with multiple travel players. Gen Zers and millennials consider about 1.7 times as many brands as do baby boomers and the Silent Generation and transact with about 1.3 times as many brands.

Faced with fierce competition and a rapidly changing landscape, travel brands must innovate and win back their customers’ allegiances – or risk getting left behind at the terminal.

 

The game is changing for travel loyalty

For many travellers today, loyalty means much more than having a membership number or collecting points. To reap the most benefits from a loyalty program, members often feel obligated to commit to one brand. The reality of their lives and personal preferences are often very different.

Going all in with a brand makes sense for a traditional road warrior or a family whose primary vacation preference is going to Disneyland Paris four times a year. But those types of behaviours are increasingly becoming outliers. A majority of travellers want something different – different experiences for different travel occasions with different travel companions in different types of destinations.

Consumers’ expectations for loyalty are changing in a number of ways. They now expect brands to streamline reward interactions, allowing them to earn and redeem rewards quickly and easily, while also offering a variety of reward options to choose from – not to mention exclusive, differentiated benefits in exchange for their spending.

 

Loyalty that takes flight

For a peek into the balance travel brands are trying to strike, look no further than the recent updates to airline loyalty programs. These changes intend to recalibrate rewards so that elite members will feel truly special. But the flipside of that choice may be that lower-tier members feel devalued, and therefore, may not be as loyal to the brand.

Some experts predict that the future of loyalty might not look like an allegiance to a single brand at all. Instead, it will look more closely like a ‘choose your benefit’ or an à la carte service, offering flexibility as a perk. Loyalty members who traditionally remained loyal to one carrier in efforts to gain status and earn upgrades along with other perks may no longer see a reason to spend thousands of dollars to reach the “exclusive” next tier.

This seems to be the case with many younger travellers. A recent Morning Consult study found that just under half (46%) of Gen Z travellers said that it was “absolutely certain” or “very likely” they would patronise hotel brands in whose loyalty programs they were already enrolled. Moreover, 33 per cent said that they don’t trust these brands, despite being members of the programs.

These trends underscore the opportunity for travel brands to benefit by taking an open-minded approach to customer acquisition and retention. This would see them focus less on increasing loyalty membership for its own sake and more on earning travellers’ trust and winning their loyalty on a more personal level.

Loyalty programs are paying more attention to the less frequent leisure traveller, which requires staying top of mind through lifestyle marketing. Members still expect miles and points, but they also want recognition and experiences. This requires an intimate understanding of who they are.

 

Out with old and in with the AI-powered new

The old way of attempting personalisation was just “guessing” at it. Brands would make broad assumptions. For example, if guests were in one demographic, then they might like what a brand has to offer other people in that cohort. In practice today, personalisation means building a customer data strategy based on a unified, cohesive view of every traveller who comes through their purchasing funnel.

By leveraging new AI-powered technologies, travel brands will be able to create clear, holistic customer data strategies that enable them to build more direct, personal relationships with all of their customers, including those who are already in their loyalty programs and otherwise. Successful efforts to do so will lead to more bookings, additional cross-selling opportunities and higher lifetime value.

Of course, leveraging AI is relatively simple in concept but much more complex in execution. AI is only as good as the data it’s learning from. And it’s only as useful as the decision-making power that it’s given. The vast majority of consumers have accepted the fact that by virtue of being online, they are giving up personal data. The flip side is that now they expect companies to use that data to help improve their experience. The rise of AI in the public consciousness has only accelerated these preferences.

 

Travellers to brands: “Do whatever it takes to make my trip better”

Travellers no longer fear AI. They want companies to work faster and smarter to use it to the customer’s advantage. According to a 2022 survey of travellers worldwide, nearly 75 per cent said they were either “very” or “somewhat” interested in AI that would analyse their data as a means to provide more personalised offers and customer service.

Among those, approximately 30 per cent said they’re happy with whatever it takes to make their trip better. Perhaps more tellingly, about 45 per cent said they were interested, but with the caveat that they are given the opportunity to consent for its use with the explicit purpose of using that data to present better offers and advertisements or provide more personalised service.

Personalisation must be a holistic experience throughout the entire customer journey from online booking to customer service. However, the siloed nature of data and the lack of trust in its accuracy make it challenging to provide seamless personalisation at each touchpoint. Bridging these gaps requires a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey and the ability to infuse data into the personalisation process.

 

AI to replace the white-glove treatment

The introduction of AI, in general, and now generative AI, more specifically, has levelled the playing field for travel and hospitality companies. In the pre-internet days, the highest levels of service came from ultra-luxury, up-market brands that could afford to dedicate personal assistance for every individual need – the white-glove treatment, if you will.

Now, at every level of hospitality, from budget to 7-star, brands can communicate on an individual level in ways that their customers feel most comfortable. That’s not only creating better traveller satisfaction, it’s driving innovation faster across the entire industry. As our Head of Generative AI at Amperity Joyce Gordon says, “Brands with a good data foundation will be able to use generative AI and create personalised experiences that will quickly become ubiquitous, and they’ll shape customer expectations.”

She believes we’re going to see a lot of rapid innovation in the GenAI space over the next two years that is likely even faster than previous paradigm shifts we saw with internet, e-commerce and mobile adoption.

In practice, individual travellers don’t understand or experience the health of a company’s data program. They care about:

  • finding the right information at the right time as they plan their travels
  • enjoying a seamless travel experience in the moment

And they want to be appreciated by companies they’ve patronised after a stay and in between trips. By using all the data they have at their disposal, especially first-party data, brands have the opportunity to build direct relationships with a much wider base of customers.

 

“Brands can offer experiences that feel authentic if they use your first-party data,” says Gordon. “For instance, if a brand has purchased all of this third-party data and I’ve never been to their site and now suddenly they know all of these things about me, that feels creepy.

“It’s like the person you go on a date with who has stalked all of your social media. But if I’ve shared this information with you in the past – for bookings and for experiences where I know that information has been used – and if you use it well, it’s almost a relief.”

 

GenAI: Better data means better results

The conversational capabilities that GenAI enables will be an important game-changer. It’s more natural to provide preferences in a back-and-forth dialogue than checking a bunch of boxes or filling out one-way, predetermined form fields. That said, Gordon warns that the No. 1 issue holding brands back in deploying generative AI-powered agents is in fact that data foundation. A virtual agent powered by ChatGPT might seem cool, but if it doesn’t have any knowledge of the customer at the outset of a conversation, it’s going to feel robotic.

“Better data means better results in the world of generative AI,” Gordon says. “If you’re in a conversation with a chatbot, it’s actually more frustrating if it feels like you’re talking to a human, but it doesn’t have any of the personalisation that a real travel agent would be able to provide.”

In addition to customer service chatbots, which are the most common uses of generative AI today, below are several ways that generative AI will support the travel experience of the future.

 

5 Ways GenAI Will Support Future Travel Experiences

  1. Personalised booking: Given a generative AI-powered chatbot assistant vs. an open-ended search bar or filtering tool, travellers can react conversationally to suggestions, feeding more data back to the booking engine to create better and more specific recommendations.
  2. Ancillary offerings: Suggest the right add-ons based on real-time interactions and past preferences. Travelling by yourself? Here’s a deal including a massage. Going with your three kids? Pre-purchase those flight snacks.
  3. Automated creative generation: Of all the possible images and descriptive information a brand has on file, generative AI can respond to interactions with the user and serve up the options which will resonate best.
  4. Customer insights and recommendations: Understand patterns of actions customers typically take and give real-time recommendations for when customers want to redeem loyalty points, upgrade, etc.
  5. Simplified technology: The modes of how brands ask questions of their data itself will radically change, becoming more natural language-driven vs. code-based.

 

The future of travel is here and it’s personalised

Whether or not they admit it – or fully understand what’s happening – travellers are craving personalised, curated information at every turn. In the world of predictive search, social media feed algorithms, e-commerce recommendation engines and now GenAI, the bar has been set extremely high for travel companies to step up and provide similar levels of service to meet the demands of their customers.

The good news for travel brands is that their customers are already willingly sharing detailed information about themselves. No matter how much a person regularly shops at a pet food store, they’re not offering up intimate information about their day-to-day lives from work to family to individual wants and needs in the same way they will to enjoy a travel experience.

With the tools available to aggregate and activate traveller information into a CDP (customer data platform), travel brands can create truly personalised relationships with their customers today. Getting started is easier than it seems. Because there’s so much data out there, there’s a temptation to think big and try to boil the ocean. By starting with what they have, travel companies will realise they have a lot to work with.

 

They can use customer data to make better business decisions, such as:

  • Optimising their pricing strategies
  • Developing new products and services
  • Targeting their marketing campaigns more effectively

 

This can lead to increased revenue and profitability.

The most exciting part of building a strong customer data strategy today is its potential for tomorrow. The physical and digital worlds are continuing to blur, and the ability to connect data intake and analysis to reflect this reality will give travel brands a significant advantage in their ability to serve their customers of the future.

 

Optimise your customer data initiatives to achieve the goals below:

  • Build out first-party data collection. Expanding privacy restrictions are making it harder to use data provided by third parties, which comprise a majority of the customer data travel brands have today. Brands that evolve their data strategies and focus on first-party data will have a huge opportunity to provide better service using information they’ve received directly from the customer.
  • Reach beyond loyalty members. Combining data from loyalty programs with other sources helps to better understand each customer, effectively repositioning “loyalty” around the person instead of the program. By targeting customers with the greatest potential value – in the moment and over a lifetime, regardless of status – brands can start to formulate a more accurate foundation for their customer data and personalisation strategies.
  • Build a unified view of the traveller. Brands now have the ability to utilise platform technology that breaks down silos and collates data together into a unified view of each customer, which will enable them to develop detailed customer profiles and support personalisation efforts.
  • Drive personalisation to every customer touchpoint. There is a huge opportunity to use customer data to customise experiences for travellers throughout their journeys – and today’s consumers are clamouring for this. The next frontier will be using AI to learn what customers want and need without asking.

About the author

Matthew Biboud-Lubeck, Vice President EMEA, Amperity

Matthew is the vice president of EMEA where he is responsible for the commercial expansion of Amperity, a leading customer data platform trusted by brands like Reckitt, Under Armour and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Lubeck joined Amperity in 2017 to help launch the company and has served in a number of key roles building sales, customer success, and marketing functions. Matthew established Amperity’s LGBTQ employee resource group (ERG) and is a trusted advisor and customer-centricity change agent to the C-suite across leading consumer brands.

Prior to Amperity, Lubeck spent 10 years with global beauty conglomerates Estee Lauder Group and L’Oréal as Group Head of Customer Data Strategy and Analytics, leading 30 brands across luxury, mass and salon professional divisions to better use data & unlock incredible beauty experiences, establishing L’Oreal as an industry leader. He resides in London with his husband and young daughter.

 

About Amperity

Amperity delivers the data confidence brands need to unlock growth by truly knowing their customers. With Amperity, brands can build a first-party data foundation to fuel customer acquisition and retention, personalise experiences that build loyalty, and manage privacy compliance. Using patented AI and ML methods, Amperity stitches together all customer interactions to build a unified view that seamlessly connects to marketing and technology tools. More than 400 brands worldwide rely on Amperity to turn data into business value, including Alaska Airlines, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Endeavour Drinks, Planet Fitness, Seattle Sounders FC, Under Armour and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. For more information, visit amperity.com or follow us on Linkedin, X, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Gcore Unveils Inference at the Edge – Bringing AI Applications Closer to End Users for Seamless Real-Time Performance

New AI solution enables fast, secure, and cost-effective deployment of pre-trained machine learning models globally, at the edge

Gcore, the global edge AI, cloud, network, and security solutions provider, today announced the launch of Gcore Inference at the Edge, a breakthrough solution that provides ultra-low latency experiences for AI applications. This innovative solution enables the distributed deployment of pre-trained machine learning (ML) models to edge inference nodes, ensuring seamless, real-time inference.

Gcore Inference at the Edge empowers businesses across diverse industries—including automotive, manufacturing, retail, and technology—with cost-effective, scalable, and secure AI model deployment. Use cases such as generative AI, object recognition, real-time behavioural analysis, virtual assistants, and production monitoring can now be rapidly realised on a global scale.

Gcore Inference at the Edge runs on Gcore’s extensive global network of 180+ edge nodes, all interconnected by Gcore’s sophisticated low-latency smart routing technology. Each high-performance node sits at the edge of the Gcore network, strategically placing servers close to end users. Inference at the Edge runs on NVIDIA L40S GPUs, the market-leading chip designed specifically for AI inference. When a user sends a request, an edge node determines the route to the nearest available inference region with the lowest latency, achieving a typical response time of under 30 ms.

The new solution supports a wide range of fundamental ML and custom models. Available open-source foundation models in the Gcore ML Model Hub include LLaMA Pro 8B, Mistral 7B, and Stable-Diffusion XL. Models can be selected and trained agnostically to suit any use case, before distributing them globally to Gcore Inference at the Edge nodes. This addresses a significant challenge faced by development teams where AI models are typically run on the same servers they were trained on, resulting in poor performance.

Benefits of Gcore Inference at the Edge include:

  • Cost-effective deployment: A flexible pricing structure ensures customers only pay for the resources they use.
  • Inbuilt DDoS protection: ML endpoints are automatically protected from DDoS attacks through Gcore’s infrastructure.
  • Outstanding data privacy and security: The solution features built-in compliance with GDPR, PCI DSS, and ISO/IEC 27001 standards.
  • Model autoscaling: Autoscaling is available to handle load spikes, so a model is always ready to support peak demand and unexpected surges.
  • Unlimited object storage: Scalable S3-compatible cloud storage that grows with evolving model needs.

Andre Reitenbach, CEO at Gcore comments: “Gcore Inference at the Edge empowers customers to focus on getting their machine learning models trained, rather than worrying about the costs, skills, and infrastructure required to deploy AI applications globally. At Gcore, we believe the edge is where the best performance and end-user experiences are achieved, and that is why we are continuously innovating to ensure every customer receives unparalleled scale and performance. Gcore Inference at the Edge delivers all the power with none of the headache, providing a modern, effective, and efficient AI inference experience.”

 

Cohesity Offers Customers More Choice and Energy Efficiency with AMD EPYC CPU-Powered Solutions for Modern Data Security Infrastructure

Cohesity has today announced that the Cohesity Data Cloud now supports AMD EPYC™ CPU-powered servers, offering customers even more options for modern data security and management. Customers can now deploy and run Cohesity Data Cloud on AMD EPYC CPU-based all-flash and hybrid servers from Dell, HPE, and Lenovo.

As companies continue to generate increasing volumes of data, it’s critical they manage and secure that data properly. Organisations face many challenges, from ransomware and other cyberattacks to stringent regulatory requirements, IT constraints, tight budgets, and tough economic conditions. To solve these challenges, companies need to take advantage of technology that is best suited to their specific requirements.

“Customers each have unique needs but a common goal – securing and gaining insight from their data. They trust Cohesity, in part, because we strive to offer the largest ecosystem with the most choices to suit their preferences,” said John Davidson, group vice president, Americas Sales, Cohesity. “By supporting AMD EPYC CPU-powered servers, we’re opening up new options for our customers to customise and modernise their data centre, increasing performance and delivering energy, space, and cost savings so they can execute their data security and management strategy on their preferred hardware configurations.”

All-flash servers have become an increasingly popular choice for organisations with high-demand applications and workloads, stringent power budgets for their data centres, or increasing storage capacity requirements and little physical space within their data centre. Leveraging the performance, cost efficiency, and energy efficiency of AMD EPYC CPUs, Cohesity now delivers compelling AMD-powered all-flash servers from HPE to modernise customer data centres and meet the requirements of green initiatives through the greater density, performance, and cost savings all-flash servers provide over traditional servers. Single-socket 1U HPE servers based on AMD EPYC can reduce the number of required nodes and power costs by up to 33% when compared with dual-socket 2U servers based on other CPUs. Additionally, through HPE’s Secure Supply Chain, Cohesity’s software is preloaded at the factory, reducing deployment and increasing the security of the overall solution.

“Businesses increasingly demand more from their data centres to meet their business needs —more performance, more energy efficiency, more cost savings,” said Kumaran Siva, corporate vice president, Strategic Market Development, AMD. “AMD is uniquely positioned to help meet the demands of the modern data centre while enabling technology partners, like Cohesity, to deliver business critical applications like their AI-powered data security and management capabilities.”

Cohesity’s AI-powered data security and management capabilities are now generally available on AMD-powered all-flash servers from HPE and hybrid servers from Dell and Lenovo.

Learn more by reading the blog: “Revamping Your Data Centers with Cohesity on HPE Next-Gen Compute, Powered by AMD.”

86% of UK people managers believe AI tools can improve their role effectiveness, Visier research finds

New research from Visier reveals the top factors shaping managers’ approach to decision-making in the workplace—and opportunities to incorporate generative AI tools to improve outcomes and bolster manager effectiveness.

Visier, the globally recognised leader in people analytics and workforce solutions for people-powered business, today unveiled new global research that serves as a plea for help from managers who see major insight gaps in what they need to do their jobs well – and points to enthusiasm for AI as a key solution.

The research shows that AI is seen as a net-positive addition to the flow of work with an overwhelming 86% of UK (87% overall) respondents expressing excitement about the potential of generative AI tools to improve their role as people managers. Managers also expressed an overarching desire to make better, data-informed people decisions with 94% of UK respondents (96% overall) agreeing that improved access to people-related data would lend more confidence to their processes.

“Nearly half of the survey respondents said their current decision making process is greatly influenced by intuition and practical experience, rather than hard facts,” said Ben Harris, Vice President EMEA, Visier. “Many managers also said that accessing data is time consuming and difficult, so relying on instinct is an everyday reality for most.

“It’s recognised that people managers in every sector are under severe pressure, and bearing in mind organisations are sitting on vast amounts of useful data, creating access to it – especially for those who aren’t data analysts – will help them with decision-making accuracy and align to overall organisational strategy. Through this research, managers said that better people-related data could inform their decisions on hiring, promotions, engagement, productivity and efficiency.”

As part of the research, Visier surveyed over 750 people managers in the UK, U.S., Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. The results revealed a clear belief in leveraging generative AI-powered tools to become better leaders.

Other key findings from Visier’s research include:

  • Adoption of AI is already underway with 52% of UK respondents saying they have already used generative AI tools to support their role as a people manager. This compares to 64% of overall respondents. Additionally, 59% of UK respondents already use it to help write performance reviews (in comparison to 49% globally). Likewise, 93% of UK respondents (81% overall) said if they had access to a generative AI tool that provided their desired use cases, 41% would use it multiple times a week.

  • Time savings created by AI would flow back to the team with 36% saying they’d direct their energies to team planning (UK 31%), and 30% on coaching their team. In the UK, the second highest choice was ‘working on personal learning and development’ (29%).

  • Trust is, however, a challenge, highlighting that employers and employees want to work with tools recognised as safe and secure. Thirty-three percent of UK respondents have concerns about data privacy and security. Another 33% of UK respondents said their organisations don’t allow the use of generative AI tools, while 15% said they don’t trust generative AI tools.

“Generative AI has the ability to democratise access, providing deep insights within the flow of work, and without the need to become proficient in analytics tools,” said Keith Bigelow, chief product officer, Visier. “But its benefits extend beyond the delivery of data to act as a personal coach to every employee, nudging them to ever higher performance, delivering real-time insights in a way that just hasn’t been possible or scalable to date.”

He continued: “Managers’ approaches to decision-making should always involve a balance of data-driven insights and experience. The absence of either harms the organisation’s ability to align to strategy and ultimately maintain a competitive edge.”

For more information on Visier, visit: https://www.visier.com/solutions/outcome/manager-effectiveness/. To learn more about Vee, Visier’s AI digital assistant, visit: https://www.visier.com/products/ai-digital-assistant/


About Visier

Visier is the recognised global leader in people analytics, providing on-demand answers to people-powered businesses. At the core of Visier’s innovations is a simple premise: People impact is business impact and that’s why Visier provides the tools and insights organisations need to drive productivity, performance, and business outcomes through their people. Founded in 2010 by the pioneers of business intelligence, Visier has over 50,000 customers in 75 countries—including enterprises like BASF, Panasonic, Experian, Amgen, eBay, Ford Motor Company, and more. Visier is headquartered in Vancouver, BC with offices and team members worldwide. To learn more about Visier, visit www.visier.com.

6 Reasons for Using Custom Magento Themes for Your Store

There are prebuilt Magento themes available to choose from that work well from the start, so looking for a custom-made one may sound like extra work. However, there are good reasons to choose one tailored specifically for your shop over a ready-made option, and we will discuss why in this article.

What are Custom Magento Themes?

The visual layer of a website plays a pivotal role in its overall success, as it is the first thing customers see when they visit your online store. Themes are specifically designed front end templates that are created to match the unique branding and style of your business. Usually made by experienced designers and developers who understand the intricacies of the Magento platform, custom designs can be utilized to improve the functionality of your website.

By investing – money, time, or effort – in a custom theme, you can ensure that your online store stands out from competitors and provides a seamless and visually appealing shopping experience for your customers. In fact, the visual layer is not the only part of a custom theme; it also includes various features and functionalities that may change the way the store operates and how customers interact with it.

From intricately designed and coded designs to customizable themes like the popular Hyvä. Hyvä Theme benefits are vast, and all stores, regardless of their niche, can make use of them to upgrade their online presence and drive more sales.

How to Get a Custom Magento Theme?

There are different ways to acquire a custom Magento theme for your online store. One option is to make one yourself, using tools available online for designing and customizing themes. The other option is to hire a Magento professional to create one for you.

While the first option is considerably less expensive, it also involves a steeper learning curve and may require a long time to polish the theme to perfection. Choosing a Magento development services company to handle the customization can save you time and ensure a professional-looking result. The costs of hiring professional web designers and developers may be higher, but it may be a more worthwhile choice if you do not want to invest the time and effort into learning how to design a theme yourself.

Benefits of Using a Custom-Made Magento Theme

You may wonder what exactly sets a custom-made Magento theme apart from pre-made options. How will you benefit from choosing a custom-made theme? Why is it worth it to invest your time, effort, and money in the visual presentation of your online store?

Magento support services can help you if you encounter any technical difficulties or need assistance installing your theme, so you do not have to worry that you will not be able to sort out any issues that may arise during the process on your own.

Let’s take a look at several reasons why using a custom-made Magento theme can work better for you.

Reason 1: Better Brand Identity

Building a strong brand identity heavily relies on visual recognition. Making your website reflect the overall aesthetic and values of your brand and its history through a custom-made theme can help create a unique but cohesive brand image. Shoppers will find it easier to remember and distinguish your store from the competition if they recognize your aesthetic and branding elements easily.

Reason 2: Enhanced User Experience

A custom-made Magento theme allows you to not only change the visual side of your website but also some of its functionalities. A well-designed Magento theme can affect the user experience, for example, by improving navigation, making the checkout process smoother, and ensuring that the website is responsive on different devices.

Reason 3: Improved SEO Performance

By using a custom Magento theme that makes your site load faster, you can make it more optimized for search engines. Doing so will increase your visibility and bring more organic traffic to your site. In effect, it has the potential to drive more sales, as a higher search engine ranking means more potential future customers will find your store.

Reason 4: Easier Website Management

If you are skilled in web development, creating your own theme would likely be no problem. However, using a custom Magento theme can make website management easier for those who may not have the technical expertise. This can save you time and resources in the long run, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Reason 5: Higher Conversion Rates

While many factors contribute to conversion rates, having a visually appealing website that functions properly can surely help increase the likelihood of visitors making a purchase and returning for more. Additionally, a custom Magento theme can be optimized for mobile responsiveness and user experience, increasing the chance of conversions from users accessing your site on phones and tablets.

Reason 6: More Integrations

Custom Magento themes can be built to allow for easy integration with more third-party tools and software than the prebuilt ones. Integrating different payment gateways, shipping providers, and marketing tools can greatly enhance your store’s functionality. Properly implemented integrations can also streamline the shopping process, leading to a better customer experience.

Getting the Most Out of Your Custom Magento Theme

A tailored Magento theme provides much more than just aesthetics. Custom designs come with multiple benefits, from easier website management and higher conversion rates to better third-party app integrations. A new, well-designed theme can make it easier to accomplish your goals, whether they are to increase sales or enhance the overall user experience.

Investing in a custom design, regardless of whether you learn how to code it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, can go a long way in enhancing the functionality and performance of your online store. With the right theme, you can get the most out of Magento, stand out from your competitors on the market, and build a distinct brand identity to help you attract and retain customers.

 

Strategic Leadership Expanded with New Chief of Staff Role at digital learning firm

The new role sees Europe’s fastest-growing digital learning provider, GoodHabitz, further committing to its AI and technology journey

In an innovative move, digital learning provider, GoodHabitz, has created a new role for a member of its Engineering Leadership team. Israel Roldán has become the company’s Chief of Staff, cementing the firm’s long-term strategic commitment to operational effectiveness.

The new role’s purpose is to foster collaboration and drive strategic initiatives across the company, including focusing on AI and data. Roldán is an expert in engineering management, web architecture, software development, strategic communications and product development.

Key to Roldán’s new role is advising the GoodHabitz leadership team while also ‘seeing around corners’. He will leverage data and insights to spot opportunities to boost workflow, teamwork and strategic outcomes. He will also set benchmarks and identify challenges early to brainstorm solutions with internal experts. Communication is also paramount. Roldán will be responsible for ensuring the company’s 380+ strong team working across more than 20 countries understand its direction, challenges and opportunities, helping them move forward together and talk with a united voice.

 

Israel Roldán, Chief of Staff at GoodHabitz, explains: “In the past two years, we’ve expanded our strategic initiatives across the company, enhancing our product offerings and customer engagement. Moving from the Engineering Leadership Team to Chief of Staff my role is to ensure initiatives are implemented effectively across all departments, supporting our overarching goal of driving organisations forward by empowering their employees with personal, high-impact learning journeys.

“One of our company’s key objectives is to help our people – and our clients’ people – to develop. It’s what all our work focuses on. Pivotal to this position, and engineering roles generally, is to connect seemingly disconnected efforts and initiatives to better move towards organisational goals. Communication with the directors and facilitating collaboration across the company is central to this.”

 

Chief of Staff roles are more common in the United States, associated with the government, military, and increasingly, corporate organisations. According to GoodHabitz, the role needs a strategic mindset to transform strategy to execution, managing stakeholders along the way. With so many organisations’ processes relying on tech and AI, Roldán believes that many more organisations may tap into their Product Engineering teams as a pool for strategic talent development, as engineering is all about solving problems with the resources at hand.

 

Roldán, personally, has always wanted to move beyond engineering towards product development and strategy as a whole. “I’m genuinely excited about the opportunities ahead. Technology isn’t merely a tool for innovation; it serves as a catalyst for enhancing operations across all departments.

“As Chief of Staff, my role is to orchestrate our efforts to ensure seamless alignment with our overarching strategic goals. This coming year I’m particularly focused on advancing our adoption of AI-powered features and strengthening our data capabilities for more informed decision-making and for the benefit of our students. I look forward to reflecting on our progress and sharing insights from this journey in future collaborations.”

 

About GoodHabitz

GoodHabitz believes it’s people who drive companies forward. That’s why personal development is key for every organisation.

GoodHabitz offers digital learning experiences that make personal development work for everyone. Its engaging content and unique approach are designed to move people, teams and your entire organisation forward.

GoodHabitz was founded in The Netherlands and is now active in more than 20 countries worldwide, serving over 2,700 enterprises and SME clients in a wide variety of industries. Read more about us at www.goodhabitz.com.