Archive for September 18, 2018

Ten diverse technology companies join Lazaridis Scale-up program

Posted in Commentary on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, based at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, has selected 10 of Canada’s most promising technology companies to participate in the third cohort of the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program.

The innovative program, now in its third year, helps emerging companies achieve global success by providing critical resources, including one-on-one time with international business experts, 120 hours with dedicated growth specialists, and access to a national peer group of entrepreneurs.

The Lazaridis Institute has chosen 10 Canadian companies that have demonstrated the potential to dominate their markets and are ready to take the next steps to grow globally.

The companies in the third cohort of the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program are:

  1. Altus Assessments, Toronto
  2. Applied Brain Research, Toronto
  3. Blue J Legal, Toronto
  4. Flosonics Medical, Sudbury
  5. Jane App, Vancouver
  6. Needls, Toronto
  7. Sofdesk, Montreal
  8. TinyEYE, Saskatoon
  9. VanHack, Vancouver
  10. Vive Crop Protection, Mississauga

The cohort companies took part in a competitive selection process beginning with an online application powered by open database company Hockeystick. A panel of North American venture capitalists and industry experts then gathered for video interviews to select the 10 companies who showed the most promise for rapid growth and the best fit with the program.

The Lazaridis Scale-Up Program is tailored each year to the specific challenges faced by the companies in the cohort as they scale their businesses. Over the course of six months, the cohort will travel to six different cities across North America for intensive weekend workshops with experienced executives.

Past workshop topics have included leadership for growth, next-level product development, scaling customer acquisition, finance and operations, and expanding in global markets. The companies will also meet and begin to work with the sector and functional-area specialists, sourced from across North America, who will be supporting them for the next year.

Since its commencement in 2016, the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program has worked with 20 companies from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS. Surveys demonstrated that, after only one year, 100 per cent of the companies in the first cohort had increased revenues and 90 per cent had launched a new product or service, increased exports and received external financing.

The 2018/2019 Lazaridis Scale-Up Program will begin on Oct. 25, 2018 in Toronto. Participants will travel to Toronto, Vancouver, New York and Palo Alto, among other cities, for this year’s weekend modules. Learn more about the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program and previous cohort companies.

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Pandora iOS 12 Updates: New App Icons + Siri Shortcuts

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

With Apple’s release of iOS 12 , Pandora has made some upgrades to the Pandora app that will allow listeners to choose one of seven new P icons for their home screen.

APP ICONS: We’re focused on creating hyper-personalized experiences for our listeners. Starting today, iPhone users can change the way the Pandora app icon appears on their phone by choosing from seven new designs. Once a user updates to iOS 12, they can simply open the Pandora app, go to Settings > Change App Icon and choose their favorite.

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SIRI SHORTCUTS: Listeners can now access their “Recently Played” items from Pandora directly through Siri! In the Pandora app, go to Settings > Add to Siri and select the station or playlist you want easy access to. You can then customize what you ask Siri to start listening to your jams. Non-Premium listeners can even jump into Premium Access sessions from on-demand shortcuts they’ve created!

Download the latest version of Pandora for iOS here.

SureCall Announces N-Range

Posted in Commentary on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

SureCall today announced the N-Range, a revolutionary new cellular signal booster that delivers the most reliable cell phone connectivity for single devices in cars, trucks and other vehicles.

Groundbreaking New Technology

Extended Range Technology (ERT) was developed by a team of the industry’s most innovative engineers who reimagined booster performance with this patent-pending new technology. With several patents to their credit, the team of SureCall engineers set out to break the booster down into its basic elements and entirely reengineered how the technology works together. The result is ERT, a refined signal booster system that delivers what the team internally coined, “as good as it gets” technology for signal boosting devices.

ERT amplifies a signal immediately at its strongest point to boost the signal at maximum power before feeding the signal directly to the device. In doing so, ERT has a greater ability to receive a signal from the cell tower, connect the user’s cell phone or device, and return the signal back to the cell tower for improved calling, texting and 4G LTE data using distant or very hard to reach cell towers.

Best All-Carrier Cell Coverage in Cars, Trucks and More

N-Range is purpose-built for drivers who need the most reliable cellular connectivity in their vehicle. Its new design makes N-Range the most simple, efficient and powerful single-user cell signal booster available to drivers, which means consumers receive:

  • Industry best cellular reliability for one device at a time that needs clearer calling, uninterrupted texting and faster data speeds in weak cell signal areas of the road.
  • Improved cell signals for all North American carriers including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Bell, Telus, Rogers, Telcel, and all others. Support for any cellular powered device by simply placing the device right on the N- Range air vent phone mount antenna.
  • Hands-free support for all signals including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE data and more. This means drivers or passengers can call, text, use data and run applications without needing to handle the device.
  • Simple installation makes it quick to install and easy to transfer to other vehicles.

The entire N-Range kit – comprised of the N-Range antenna, phone mount antenna and power adapter – can be held in the palm of a hand. Compact, streamlined and simple to install, N- Range magnetically attaches to the exterior of the vehicle and the air-vent cradle mount indoor antenna provides a secure and hands-free hold that delivers the improved cell phone signal directly to the device.

Pricing and Availability

N-Range will be available for purchase through Amazon.com and select SureCall certified retail partners in mid-August with pricing starting at $199.95 ($249.95 CND). As with all SureCall boosters, the SureCall N-Range is covered by an industry-leading customer satisfaction suite that includes a 60-day money-back guarantee, lifetime 24/7 technical support and a three-year warranty on parts.

SureCall advocates for motor vehicle operators to obey all applicable laws and practice strict road safety, including stowing distracting mobile devices when driving.

Martello Named 2018 Frost & Sullivan Price/Performance Value Leader in Network and Application Monitoring Performance

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

Martello Technologies Group (Martello) announced today that it has been awarded Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 Price/Performance Value Leadership Award for the Network Performance Management (NPM) and Application Performance Management (APM) Global Market. The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award compared Martello against market-leading vendors on key criteria such as functionality, ease of use, quality, purchase and service experience.

The report recognized Martello’s flexible and modular approach to delivering unified communications (UC) and network performance management, in a ‘one-stop shop’ model that delivers a superior and unprecedented quality of experience for the end user.The Frost & Sullivan Price/Performance Leadership Analysis noted, “Endeavoring to simplify network and application performance management for not only enterprises but also MSPs and OTT SPs, Martello took the strategic initiative of merging with Elfiq Networks (Elfiq) in January 2018 to guarantee outstanding UC performance for its customers and end users. Elfiq, now operating as Martello’s subsidiary, is known for its cutting-edge SD-WAN technology that boosts network performance through the effective link balancing of in-bound and out-bound traffic for multiple sites as well as the dynamic selection of multiple site paths and bandwidth control tools.”

Martello’s products, including its ATLAS SD-WAN technology, EDGE Series hardware platform, virtual private network (VPN), Stateful Firewall, and Vantage unified communications performance management suite have rocketed global sales by more than 150 percent over the last three years.

This is the latest recognition for Martello in 2018, with the company recently ranked as Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Company at No. 28 on the Growth 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies, and receiving the INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award in August 2018. Martello also debuted on the Branham 300listing of Canada’s top ICT (Information and Communications Technology) companies in June 2018. The company recently went public with a TSXV listing, following the closure of an oversubscribed $7.5 million private placement. The company’s ambitious growth plans include future merger and acquisition activity, an area in which the company has a positive track record. In December 2017, Martello merged with SD-WAN player Elfiq Networks.

Download the Frost & Sullivan best practices research report here.

 

Review: Apple iOS 12

Posted in Products with tags on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

Last year’s iOS 11 was far from Apple’s best effort to say the least. It also had multiple security issues. It wasn’t Apple’s best moment. Thus you’d think that iOS 12 would have to be substantially better. At best, it is only marginally better.

Here’s the good first before I get to the bad. The big news is that Apple promised that this update would make your iPhone feel faster. For the most part they’ve delivered on that as this is the first iOS update that didn’t feel slower than the last update. And so far, I am only noticing a slight hit on battery life. By that I mean that the battery drain that this enhanced performance causes is so slight that it’s almost not worth mentioning.

Notifications are now grouped together and easier to manage. That way they are far less overwhelming. This is another welcome change that users will appreciate. Users will also appreciate  the new features in the Do Not Disturb functionality. Specifically the ability to set a specific hour for bedtime and calls, texts, and notifications will be silenced until whatever time you set to wake up. While I still wish for a option to program weekday and weekend Do Not Disturb times, this is a welcome addition. Screen Time is an option that is meant to curb smartphone addition by tracking and even limiting your smartphone usage. I won’t be using this feature personally, but there are many who will.

Siri got some love in this update via Siri Shortcuts which will allow you to create complex actions and trigger them using Siri. For example turning on your HomeKit enabled security system when you leave the house via a Siri command. And the love continues in Siri Suggestions which can tell you to call someone back if you have missed a call for example. The built in apps have been nipped and tucked, and there’s a new one called Measure. This app not only acts as a tape measure and a level, it also shows off Apple’s ARKit 2.0 functionality. Photos is another app that is worth mentioning as the tweaks that it got makes finding and organizing photos easier. Finally, CarPlay will finally allow you to use Waze or Google Maps instead of Apple Maps. At least you’ll be able to use them once updated versions of those apps ship.

So now to the bad. It’s like iOS 11 still shockingly buggy. Let’s start with CarPlay where the Mail notification sound is no longer suppressed in CarPlay. That in my business is called a regression which is a situation where something worked and then broke. It’s also a sign that Apple’s QA didn’t do their job. I’ve also noted user interface bugs in Mail which have been present since iOS 11 where you can go through a list of messages until there’s nothing that is marked as being unread, but you will still see that a message is unread. And browsing the Internet indicates that others have tripped over other iOS 12 bugs as well. Now based on past history, Apple is likely to come out with a quick update to squash bugs in the original release of iOS 12 in the next week or two. But frankly, stuff like this should have never made it out the door and it highlights how far Apple has slipped when it comes to their software quality.

So, should you update to iOS 12? Maybe after the first bug fix comes out you should because even with all the enhancements that Apple has done, I’m finding it difficult to say that you should dive right in given the negatives that I have outlined above. Once they are (hopefully) addressed, then give it a shot.

Science Literacy Survey Finds 74% Agree The World’s Challenges Will Need To Be Solved By Science And Tech

Posted in Commentary on September 18, 2018 by itnerd

The Ontario Science Centre’s third annual Science Literacy Survey reveals most Canadians (74%) believe that science and technology will play a major role in solving the world’s challenges. However, many are concerned about the impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (62%), automation (60%) and the “Internet of Things” (54%) once they are applied in everyday life. The study also reveals a worrisome development: 54 per cent of respondents believe society is turning away from science. Each year, the Ontario Science Centre publishes the results of its Science Literacy Survey to coincide with Science Literacy Week, a national celebration of science from September 17 to 23.

Most Canadians are optimistic about the power of science and technology, but this optimism coexists with an underlying concern about how new technologies are being put into effect. All things considered, respondents believe that scientific advancement will likely end up solving far more problems than it will create and many benefits will result from future scientific and technological advancements, like safer equipment and products, and better health care.

The implementation of most advanced technologies causes discomfort

Canadians recognize the need for technology in their daily lives, but many feel nervous putting it into practice. While many respondents (45%) believe artificial intelligence will have a large impact on improving and advancing society, concern over its implementation is still high (62%). The same concern holds true for large-scale automation (60%) and devices enabled by the “Internet of Things” (54%).

In contrast, Canadians believe that alternative fuels and bioengineered body parts will have a significant impact on improving and advancing society (58% and 43%, respectively), and far fewer respondents expressed concerns about these technologies.

 Scientific advancement will lead to improved quality of life

Canadians feel hopeful in the role that science and technology can play in solving humanity’s greatest challenges and improving their lives. A clear majority believe that science contributes to improved quality of life (84%). Additionally, most Canadians believe scientific and technological advancements will benefit society:

  • 63% believe they will lead to safer equipment and products
  • 62% believe they will lead to better health care
  • 58% believe they will lead to more efficient processes
  • 53% believe they will lead to new skills development
  • 36% believe they will lead to better quality jobs

Science and technology institutions are critical for improving science literacy

Science centres, being among the most trusted sources of accurate information (90%), are called on to play a vital role in helping Canadians understand, engage with and use scientific knowledge in their day-to-day lives. The majority of Canadians believe that most people do not understand the impact of science on their everyday lives (81%). They also indicate interest in improving their science literacy and learning more about science and how it affects their world (83%). Initiatives like Science Literacy Week are a catalyst for Canadians to engage with the science and technology community.

For full Science Literacy Survey results, please visit SciLitSurvey2018.

Methodology

An online survey of 1,501 Canadians was completed between June 18 and June 26, 2018, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.