Archive for September 16, 2020

Oral-B Announces The Oral-B iO

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

Following up on the amazing Oral-B Genius X 10000 which I gave an IT Nerd Award to last year, comes the Oral-B iO. The Oral-B iO introduces a new era in brushing and is a monumental leap in innovative oral care technology combining the best-ever clinical performance with a superior user experience, making it one of the industry’s most advanced brushing products Oral-B iO was designed as a result of insights collected from more than six years of product research and over 250 patents from around the world.

The iO wakes up with you every morning and greets you before you go to bed every evening. WIth its built in 3D tracking and AI recognition, the toothbrush says “Good Morning” and “Good Evening” on its interface (the first-of-its-kind), counts down two minutes while you brush, and even shares a smiley face once you’ve finished your brushing. The iO also gives you personalized brushing encouragement delivered in real time, offering seven modes depending on what your goals are (ie. whiten, sensitive, daily clean). The Oral-B iO uniquely features a frictionless magnetic drive, which distributes energy evenly to the tips of the bristles to create revolutionary micro-vibrations. When combined with oscillation rotation, the brush distributes a professional-grade, tooth-by-tooth cleaning, resulting in Oral-B’s smoothest and quietest cleaning experience yet.

When compared to manual toothbrushes, Oral-B iO can help improve healthier gums in just one week with six times more plaque removal along the gumline.

The Oral-B iO is the result of years of expert development, Oral-B iO  strikes the right balance between effectiveness and experience and reimagines how a brush performs, cleans and feels.

The Oral-B iO is available in 4 different colours – Black Onyx, White Alabaster, Violet Ametrine and Rose Quartz, sold at local retail stores and amazon.ca from $259.99.

GoCo Launches Innovative Communication & Collaboration Solutions For Canadian Businesses

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

Today, GoCo officially began to simplify access to robust and flexible business communications technologies for Canadian businesses. The innovative GoCo model provides businesses of any size with a suite of solutions that are simple for business leaders to implement and use, even with little-to-no IT expertise, allowing leaders to focus on what matters most – growing their business. GoCo combines the strengths and expertise of bluArcBroadConnect CanadaInfra-SolutionsNetriumRadiant, and Ubity to provide businesses across Canada with simple and scalable solutions for unified communications, managed connectivity, and network security. Backed by TELUS, GoCo already proudly serves more than 4,400 businesses, 100,000 unified communications users, and 27,500 managed network sites, supporting a roster of customers including Tim Hortons, Shell, and La Vie en Rose.

Today, business moves faster than ever, and Canadian businesses need the right tools to ensure they can not only keep up, but help their teams thrive. GoCo’s unique platform provides several must-have solutions on one package that is easy to install and use, no IT degree required. These solutions include:

Unified Communications

  • Cloud Business Collaboration tools – ensure employees in any location have desktop or mobile access to their phone system such as Cisco Webex
  • Call and Contact Centre – advanced IVR, automatic call distribution, application integration, powerful analytics, and more help to make the contact centre a profit centre
  • SIP Trunking – provides secure, reliable routing over standard Internet and data networks with no need for expensive dedicated private circuits
  • Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams – enjoy the flexibility of reaching any phone number, anywhere in the world, directly from Teams

Managed Connectivity

  • SD-WAN – simplify branch networks, deliver branch agility, optimize application performance over the network and take full advantage of the cloud powered by VMware by Velocloud and Cisco
  • Secure VPN and MPLS – feature-rich virtual private network (VPN) securely connects locations and remote users and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) provides multi-carrier redundancy and automatic fail-over at each client site
  • Business Internet – GoCo is the largest carrier-agnostic network in Canada, with the ability to connect all locations from a single source
  • 4G LTE Wireless Backup – robust, secure connection that protects against the high cost of downtime
  • Wi-Fi and Analytics – high-quality, Wi-Fi service that is easily managed for both employees and guests. Sophisticated analytics provide comprehensive insight into usage as a basis for capacity planning and control

Network Security

  • Unified Threat Management – enterprise-grade security solution by Fortinet providing multiple security functions at a single point on the network, automatically updated to respond to emerging threats
  • DDos Protection – built into our core network, traffic is continuously inspected and if an attack is detected it is immediately mitigated
  • Managed Firewall – fully-managed and customized enterprise-grade protection against security threats to networks, systems and data

GoCo solutions are available today to businesses in Canada. More information is available at GoCo.ca.

ServiceNow Delivers New Levels Of Business Agility & Resilience for the COVID Economy

Posted in Commentary on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

ServiceNow today unveiled the Now Platform® Paris release, to help organizations remain agile and be resilient so they can grow and enhance their productivity during the COVID economy. With ServiceNow workflows, people can work smarter and organizations can realize faster time to value from their technology investments.

The COVID economy has exposed weak links in old value chains, driving a workflow revolution. Organizations that struggle to digitally transform and create great experiences for customers, employees, and partners in this new work environment are being left behind. According to IDC, 45 percent of organizations worldwide are now in economic decline or recession, with 64 percent of organizations worldwide planning to be early adopters of emerging tech. Those organizations that are digital laggards are more inclined to seek out emerging tech as a means of catching up.1 With nearly 80 percent of the Fortune‑500 leveraging the Now Platform, ServiceNow is committed to delivering solutions that will help companies on their digital transformation journeys, whether their workforce is remote or planning an eventual return to the workplace. 

Several leading organizations, including Microsoft, Zoom, Adobe, Uber, Accenture, Deloitte, Acorio, TPx, Veolia, Novant Health, Lone Star College, AEGIS Insurance Services, and City of Raleigh, are turning to the Now Platform and its Paris release capabilities to power their digital transformations.

With the Paris release, ServiceNow is unveiling six completely new products as well as new features that enable organizations to leverage one platform to:

  • Quickly respond to business change with new workflow apps, boost productivity with embedded analytics and AI in every app and digitize and automate work across the enterprise.
  • Deliver employees the right experiences anywhere, drive productivity of their workforce and transform their organization to provide critical services.
  • Drive customer loyalty with connected workflows that allow them to manage location‑based work efficiently and effectively, organize resilient operations for unforeseen circumstances, and expand capacity via automated self‑service. 
  • Optimize IT productivity, cost, and resiliency to modernize and automate with ITSM and AIOps, deliver resilient operations, and help reduce software, hardware, and cloud spend.

Generally available today, key new products in the Paris release include:

  • NEW Business Continuity Management unveils modern, automated business impact analysis, business continuity plan development, and crisis management leveraging context within the ServiceNow platform to enable operational resilience. With operational disruptions as a persistent threat, resilient organizations need to anticipate these disruptions and develop actionable plans that will help minimize impact, as well as duration.
  • NEW Hardware Asset Management automates the IT asset lifecycle by tracking the financial, contractual, and inventory details of hardware and devices to make smarter decisions from purchase to disposal. In order for companies to be resilient in any economic environment, it’s critical to know what IT assets are where, so companies can persist or have the ability to pivot if the time comes. 
  • NEW Legal Service Delivery provides legal operations the visibility they need to make decisions fast and enhance productivity by eliminating manual emails and phone calls.

Strengthening the ServiceNow ecosystem with industry solutions and partnerships

ServiceNow’s new industry products, which are generally available today, enable telecommunications providers and financial services organizations to transform business operations within the context of their industry and create value at scale. Together with strategic go‑to‑market partners, Accenture for telecommunications and Deloitte for retail banking, these new offerings will force multiply business value for customers. 

  • NEW Financial Services Operations helps banks connect teams and systems in the front, middle, and back office to more quickly serve customers. It digitizes core workflows, such as payment and credit card operations, resulting in greater efficiencies.
  • NEW Telecommunications Service Management gives customers a more proactive experience and greater flexibility to manage their services, while providing the care and operations organizations with an enhanced service platform and insights into the customer status and health, resulting in a reduced cost to serve.
  • NEW Telecommunications Network Performance Management provides network operations teams with a unified view of the install base and the ability to analyze, correlate, and resolve events and alarms originating across multiple network monitoring platforms, resulting in a precise identification of affected customers and a faster time to resolution.

Telecommunications Service Management and Telecommunications Network Performance Management work together to efficiently identify and resolve network troubles across services, while proactively informing customers and creating a more connected experience between customers and the care organization. 

Partners play a critical role in accelerating customers’ digital transformation journeys. ServiceNow is introducing partner integrations with Microsoft and Twilio, as well as the new ServiceNow Service Graph Connector Program, which helps customers streamline internal processes by seamlessly connecting new and old tools to prepare for a new way of working.

For more details on additional new features available in the Now Platform Paris release, visit: https://www.blogs.servicenow.com/2020/welcome‑to‑the‑now‑platform‑paris‑release.html

Review: EnGenius ECW120 Cloud Managed 11ac Wave 2 Indoor Wireless Access Point

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

WiFi is a huge deal these days for business. Especially in the age of IoT. You need to have good speed and good coverage to keep your workers and devices happy. The best way to do this is to deploy wireless access points throughout your environment. And EnGenius has one in the form of the ECW120 Cloud Managed 11ac Wave 2 Indoor Wireless Access Point which is very much worth looking at:

It looks good and will fit into any decor. Plus it won’t attract any negative attention. That’s a good thing.

Here are the key specs:

  • Dual-radio 2×2 802.11ac/a/b/g/n with MU-MIMO & Beamforming technology
  • Supports up-to 867 Mbps in 5-GHz band & 400 Mbps in 2.4-GHz band
  • Compliance with 802.3af & 48V power over Ethernet input for flexible installation up-to 328 feet
  • MU-MIMO support

You get everything in the box to mount this on a wall or a ceiling, except a power adapter despite having a plug for a power adapter. That’s not a big deal as this access point supports power over ethernet. So if you pair it with a switch that supports power over Ethernet, you’re golden.

Setup is pretty easy using the EnGenius App which makes the process insanely easy. It walks you through everything you need to do to get it online, keep your firmware up to day, and observe and manage performance. The app has one other advantage. All the functionality is free. That’s a total win.

In terms of what this access point can do, the list includes 802.11r and Captive Portal which has various Authentication Types. That increases the possible use cases that this access point can be used in. In terms of performance, it seemed to be very consistent when I threw a bunch of IoT devices at it along with some high bandwidth devices. It wasn’t insanely fast, but I don’t think it has to be. When I set these sort of devices up for my clients, I prefer to have strong consistent performance as it is more important for devices to be able to get online and stay online than to have the fastest speeds known to man. That’s not to say that it is slow because it isn’t. In terms of range, I was able to pick up the 2.4 GHz band from the back of my condo building 12 stories below my unit. That was impressive. It also means that you likely need fewer access points to cover your space with WiFi.

If you need wireless access points, the EnGenius ECW120 Cloud Managed 11ac Wave 2 Indoor Wireless Access Point is a nice solid choice. It’s $199 on Amazon in the US but can be found for less if you look around.

SkipTheDishes Unveils New No-Fee Rewards Program

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

SkipTheDishes, Canada’s largest and most popular food delivery network, is excited to announce its new loyalty program, Skip Rewards. This style of loyalty program is an industry first, reinforcing Skip’s innovative leadership in the food delivery space.

With absolutely no cost to participate and no sign up required, Skip users will begin earning points on each and every order starting early October. Skip’s focus remains providing the best value to their customers by never charging added services fees, and with Skip Rewards, they’re evolving their offerings and elevating the customer experience.

Points are earned on every dollar spent through Skip from any of its 27,000 partners across the country. Points can be redeemed for discounts on future orders, which means Skip users can earn rewards at any time of the day for:

  • Getting a morning cup of coffee delivered from Tim Hortons®
  • Settling the boneless debate between chicken pop-ins and chicken wings at Mary Brown’s for lunch
  • Indulging in a bottle of wine and sushi from Earls Kitchen + Bar for a romantic night-in, or wings and a couple of beers from St. Louis Bar & Grill while watching the big game
  • A late-night order of Slurpees and taquitos from 7-Eleven

Skip Rewards is accessible to customers Canada-wide and will launch with two tiers of earning:

  • Orange Status – All users start here at launch, earning five points for every dollar spent.
  • Gold Status – After ordering twice in one month, users level up to Gold Status and begin earning ten points for every dollar spent.

With a simple redemption structure, Skip Rewards gives users points for doing what they love: ordering their favourites and having it delivered conveniently and safely right to their door.

Review: EnGenius ECS1008P 8 Port Gigabit POE Managed Switch

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

Today I am reviewing something slightly different which is an 8 port managed switch that is aimed at the enterprise. Specifically, the EnGenius ECS1008P 8 Port Gigabit POE Managed Switch:

Let’s break this down. You get the following features in the box:

  • 8 10/100/1000 Base-T GbE Ports
  • Full-Featured Layer 2+ Switching
  • 802.3af Compliant. Also known as power over Ethernet or POE.

This is a managed switch which means that you can configure it to suit your use case. You can log into the switch directly using the switch’s IP address via a web browser, or you can use the EnGenius Cloud app. I chose the former, but I perhaps should have chosen the latter as the EnGenius app has a whole lot of functionality such as being able to set up your network, upgrade the firmware, monitor network performance and the like. And all that functionality is easy to use which is a win for network administrators.

I set this up on my test network and found it to be largely solid. Since it supplies power over Ethernet, you can power cameras, WiFi access points and the like. Performance was good and I really didn’t find any issues with it. While this switch is aimed at the enterprise, I would recommend this switch to SMB environments or even a power user for home use. The only catch that I see is that it has a maximum bandwidth capacity of 16GB. While I couldn’t get close to that limit, I can see a graphic design house or some other environment where multiple computers who are firing large files over the network would stretch this switch. The bottom line that the EnGenius ECS1008P 8 Port Gigabit POE Managed Switch is a must buy if you need a solid and versatile switch for your network. Especially given that it goes for a rather affordable $215 US on Amazon (But it can be found for less if you shop around).