Archive for October 15, 2020

ServiceNow Partners w/ IBM To Automate IT & Releases New IoT Solution & COVID Testing App

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

The stakes have never been higher for enterprises – in order to survive, it’s crucial for them to enhance employee productivity, get full visibility into their operational footprint, and respond to incidents and issues in real-time.

ServiceNow and IBM today announced a strategic partnership to help enterprises around the globe automate IT. The partnership includes a first-of-its-kind joint IT solution – combining IBM’s Watson AIOps with ServiceNow’s IT Service Management and IT Operations Management Visibility – that equips companies with the tools they need to drive greater efficiency, reduce risk, and lower costs in IT across their organizations.

The company also released new products to help businesses and employees manage work in the wake of COVID-19 and sustain business continuity, including:

  • Launching Connected Operations, a powerful new solution that bridges IoT data with ServiceNow digital workflows so enterprises can monitor and manage critical infrastructure, break down data siloes, and pursue new business models (like goods-as-a-service). You can find more informationhere.
  • Updates to the ServiceNow Safe Workplace app suite, including a new Health and Safety Testing app to streamline the process for requesting and receiving test results from employees. You can find more information on today’s release – including a new Safe Workplace Experience for Now Mobile and enhanced contact tracing capabilities with Zebra Technologies’ MotionWorks Proximity solution – here.

Review: Roku Streambar

Posted in Products with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

Today I’m reviewing a 2 in 1 device called the Roku Streambar. It combines a Roku streaming device that is capable of 4K with a compact sound bar that is capable of Dolby Audio.

Here’s what you get in the box:

Besides the Streambar and the power cable, you get an high speed HDMI cable, a optical cable which you only need if your TV doesn’t have an HDMI-ARC port, and a remote with AAA batteries.

On the back of the Streambar you get power, optical, HDMI, USB ports along with a reset button. The Streambar does support Ethernet via a USB adapter that is an optional extra. Out of the box you can connect the streaming part of the Streambar to your network via 802.11ac MiMO WiFi.

This is the Streambar set up and functioning normally.

It is tiny by sound bar standards. It also doesn’t take up a whole lot of real estate as it’s about a third of the size of a typical sound bar. That’s great if you need the space. It also has a pair of mounting holes on the back so that you can mount it to a wall if you wish.

Speaking of the set up process, it was laughably easy. I plugged it into the HDMI-ARC port of my TV and then followed the directions onscreen to set it up. Including adding it to my WiFi network and software updates, it took me ten minutes to set it up. I might have been able to set it up quicker if I didn’t put one of the AAA batteries into the remote backwards. As part of the process, the streaming half of the Streambar automatically optimizes itself for my TV so that it can stream in 4K HDR.

The Streambar has four internal speakers that point in different directions so that it fills your room with sound. You can easily tweak your sound to highlight voices for example, or level the sound, or reduce bass. And it did a good job of filling my living room with sound despite being a physically small sound bar. The sound is very rich, clear, and detailed. This was true whether I was watching regular TV, a movie, or playing a video game. I was kind of surprised at a sound bar at this price point could be this good. More on the price in a moment.

The Streambar comes with Roku OS 9.4 which as part of its feature set is supposed to come with Apple HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support. However, I could not find this support for either in the product. A quick email exchange with Roku confirmed that this is still coming later this year. It makes sense as my TCL TV which has Roku functionality that needed to be updated to Roku OS 9.4 so that I can test the Streambar doesn’t have HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support either. But until AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support makes an appearance, you can stream music to the Streambar via Bluetooth which sounded really good. On the downside, I had to switch to the Streambar to stream music via Bluetooth. And I had to use the remote (which by the way supports voice commands) that came with the Streambar to use it. Maybe I am doing something wrong here, but assuming that I am not doing something wrong, I would have liked to see a bit more integration between the two devices.

In my opinion, if you don’t have a Roku device, the Streambar is a great way to get streaming and upgraded sound onto your “dumb” TV. As always Roku brings a large channel selection to the table. So at what this costs, it’s a total win. If you’re like me and have a Roku TV, in my case a TCL TV, you’ll get upgraded sound. But you’ll also get a second Roku device that you won’t be using most if the time. In my case, I only used it when I was streaming music via bluetooth after I was finished my initial testing. But in either case, the Streambar only costs $189.99. So even in my use case it’s still a win. The Roku Streambar is very much worth a look if you want to bring better sound to your TV along with streaming to your TV at a good price.

New TELUS Owner’s Advantage Plan Gives Canadian Business Owners Exclusive Benefits

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

In celebration of Small Business Month, TELUS announced the launch of The Owner’s Advantage Plan, a new mobility plan for business customers that includes a variety of exclusive benefits designed to provide greater value and more flexibility than ever before. Here’s an overview of the key features:

  • Upgrade every year: Stay ahead of the competition and upgrade your smartphone to the latest and most advanced 5G smartphones every year.
  • Same day device repair: Quickly reconnect with same day screen repair included in your plan and available at more than 80 Mobile Klinik locations nationwide.
  • Fastest customer support: Save time and get back to running your business faster with front of the line access to customer support. 
  • Endless data: Plan includes 50GB of high speed data and no overage charges for added peace of mind, all on the fastest mobile network in the world. 
  • TELUS Health Virtual Care: Owners get one year of complimentary access to on-demand virtual healthcare service, Akira, for themselves, their family, and up to ten of their employees – 24/7, 365 days a year, in English and French.

For a limited time as part of Small Business Month, the Owner’s Advantage plan is $110/month (regular price $120/month), plus the monthly cost of your device. For the latest information about the Owner’s Advantage Plan, please visit: www.telus.com/ownersadvantage.