HP Asks You To “Get Real” During The Holidays

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 12, 2019 by itnerd

Smartphones, social media, video games, and myriad other digital distractions have become the love-hate focus of our modern era. But, there’s a growing trend to reintroduce real-world experiences, from “digital detox” retreats to phone-free dinner parties to reading more hard-cover books.

HP recently conducted a survey [Warning: PDF] to better understand how North Americans feel about their relationship with screens.

  • 90% of people would rather have 1 real friend than 100 online
  • 70% of people believe relationships were closer before the internet
  • 61% of parents worry their kids aren’t fully developing social skills
  • 60% wish they could return to a time before social media

To bring families and friends together and make the holidays REAL, HP has developed 250+ hours of printable content, including partners such as Disney, DreamWorks, All Recipes and more. You can view the content here.

HP is also hosting an event this month in Toronto to bring this topic of balance to life – Get Real – details below. It’s free and open to the public.

Get Real – an HP Event 

Where/When: Yonge Dundas Square | November 14 – 16, from 10 AM to 6 PM
Activities: 

  • Get Real Emoji Photo Wall – Guests will be able to take a photo outside of the digital tunnel against in Get Real emoji photobooth
  • Digital Tunnel – An immersive experience where guests can login with their social media handles and see their ‘digital footprint’
  • Hot Cocoa Station – Complete a ‘Get Real Pop-Quiz’ and bring it to the hot cocoa station to receive a complimentary hot beverage
  • 250+ Hours of Real Content – Browse through different content/activities to have printed instantly as a takeaway

 

 

Review: Roku Premiere

Posted in Products with tags on November 12, 2019 by itnerd

Roku has a streaming device that is feature packed and affordable which is perfect for upgrading a non “smart” TV with streaming functionality. It’s the Roku Premiere.

Roku Premiere Box With Product

 

Here’s what you get in the box:

  • The Roku Premiere with 4K HDR streaming & 802.11b/g/n single-band WiFi
  • Roku remote
  • A kind of short HDMI cable

Under the hood, you get a quad-core processor and comes in a low-profile form factor that allows you to stick it under a TV to save space (adhesive included). In short, it’s a powerful package that takes up very little space.

Now you are likely asking how powerful is it? Well despite the fact that didn’t have much of an issue streaming 4K video in a bedroom located a room away from my router. There was no buffering or anything of the sort that I noted during my testing. Thus unless you have a large home where a Roku Streaming Stick + may be a better fit due to the fact that it has 802.11ac WiFi built in, the Roku Premiere will work just fine. In terms of picture quality, that’s going to depend on the TV that you have. Mine supports 4K HDR so video looked stunning. Speaking of video, Roku as usual has a massive catalog of streaming services including Apple TV+ and live TV which will keep you streaming for hours.

Gripes? Admittedly these are first world problems. But besides the rather short HDMI cable which could make positioning it a challenge, the remote control is one of Roku’s line of sight remote controls without voice control functionality. If you want that functionality, you need to download their app to your smartphone which isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Another gripe is that no Roku device supports AirPlay 2 functionality which is weird given that Apple TV+ is available on the platform. And that casting from Windows 10 devices and the like is supported. But none of those gripes should deter you from buying the Roku Premiere if you want to get 4K HDR streaming at a great price.

Speaking of that price, the Roku Premiere goes for $49.99 CDN which is a very low barrier to get into the streaming game. Given what is on offer here, the Roku Premiere is very much worth a look if you want to add streaming functionality to your TV.

OpenText To Acquire Carbonite

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 11, 2019 by itnerd
OpenText announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Carbonite, Inc. (“Carbonite”), provider of cloud-based subscription data protection, backup, disaster recovery and end-point security to small and medium-sized businesses and consumers.

OpenText CEO & CTO, Mark J. Barrenechea and OpenText EVP, CFO Madhu Ranganathan will host a conference call today at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss today’s announcement. Conference call details are included further below.

The acquisition of Carbonite is expected to extend OpenText’s leadership in the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) market by complementing OpenText’s security offerings in data loss prevention, digital forensics, end-point detection and response with the addition of Carbonite’s data protection and end-point security solutions. The acquisition also adds significantly to OpenText’s Cloud business and further complements OpenText’s routes to market, strong enterprise customer base in the Global10K, enhanced SMB and prosumer markets.

About the Transaction and Terms of the Agreement:

  • Tender offer to be commenced for all outstanding Carbonite shares for $23.00 per share in cash(1)
  • Total purchase price of approximately $1.42 billion, inclusive of Carbonite’s cash and debt
  • Total purchase price is approximately 2.8x TTM (Trailing Twelve Months) Carbonite GAAP revenues (as of September 30, 2019), inclusive of annualized full year reported Webroot GAAP revenues, a significant acquisition which closed in March 2019
  • Expect significant expansion of cloud revenues, cloud margins, adjusted EBITDA and cash flows in Fiscal 2021
  • Current Carbonite Annual Recurring Revenues (ARR) of 90%
  • Accretive, and targeting to be on the OpenText operating model by end of Fiscal 2021
  • Funded with OpenText’s existing cash on hand and revolver
  • Estimated OpenText net leverage ratio at closing of approximately 2.5x, with a target to return to less than 2x net leverage during the 4-6 quarters post close of transaction
  • Financial projections and target models will be provided upon closing of transaction
Expect the transaction to close within 90 days of this announcement
OpenText, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, intends to commence the tender offer for all of the shares of common stock of Carbonite within 10 business days. Pursuant to the agreement, the tender offer will be followed by a merger to acquire any untendered shares. The tender offer is subject to the tender of a majority of Carbonite’s shares and certain other regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close within 90 days.

Review: Tile Slim

Posted in Products with tags on November 11, 2019 by itnerd

The people at Tile have been busy coming out with a bunch of new Tile products. Two of them in new form factors. The first of these new form factors is the Tile Slim:

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This is a credit card sized (though it is thicker than a credit card) Tile tracker that has the following going for it:

  • Waterproof
  • 200 ft range
  • Louder ring
  • Built-in 3-year battery that isn’t replaceable

The fact that this battery isn’t replaceable unlike many other Tile products may deter some. But the fact that it lasts 3 years can likely offset that. In terms of the 200 foot range, I was able to test this inside a storage locker facilely where I could find the Tile Slim anywhere on the same floor of the facility which is at least 100 feet in length. It will however not work between floors which makes sense seeing as this is a Bluetooth device and Bluetooth doesn’t work well or at all through floors. The ringtone is definitely loud as I could hear it down the hall with was in the storage facility that was testing in. This is why this Tile will be my choice for being in my luggage when I travel.

Downsides? The battery lasts three years and isn’t user replaceable. That basically makes this a subscription service as opposed to be something that you can use long term. The flip side to that is the fact that when your Tile does run out of juice, they do have a program called reTile that allows you to replace your Tile at a discount of up to 50%. The new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old one to recycle. But that’s only true for those in the US. For those anywhere else on Earth, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center.

The Tile Slim goes for $29.99 USD for each one. It’s a bit expensive given that you can’t seem to get multi packs to save some cash. But if you’re like me and you need a tile that fits into a location where space is a premium and it has to be loud, then this may make it worth it for you. 

 

New IDC & SAP Report Says That Experience – Customer, Brand & Product – Is The Secret to Profitability

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 8, 2019 by itnerd

A new report from IDC Canada and SAP Canada reveals that while digital strategy execution is incremental for Canadian companies, advancement is tied to succeeding on the human side of business.

Canadian enterprises across all sectors are faced with shifting customer demands, economic uncertainty and an ever-changing cycle of innovation. With the digital economy is in this constant state of change, Canadian enterprises need to be aware of what’s at the heart of business evolution– great leadership. Thus, comes the comparison between innovative leaders and observers who fall short.

The report shows Canadian businesses need to shift to become intelligent enterprises (IE) and that IE leaders need to embrace a greater focus on customer experience in order to see a direct link to profitability. The report highlights several statistics that highlight how customer and employee experience go hand in hand with profitability:

  • 73 per cent of IE leaders will increase their focus on employee experience next year, while 59 per cent of IE leaders will increase their focus on customer experience
  • In terms of expected focus for 2020, 70 per cent of IE leaders will increase focus on employee experience in the next year
  • Over 80 per cent of IE leaders have a CEO that is a strong customer experience champion
  • 66 per cent of IE leaders believe that customer experience has significantly improved financial performance within their business
    • Companies in the financial services sector are more likely to say it’s important to improve employee experience while improving the customer experience

You can download the report here (registration required, but totally worth it having read this report).

88% of Canadians Would Take a Four-Day Work Week if Employer Offered: Citrix

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 7, 2019 by itnerd

Canadian office workers are eager to transition to a four-day work week, but are currently spending an average of four hours each week working outside of their existing contracted hours – according to new research from Citrix which surveyed nine countries worldwide including Canada, Norway, Germany, UK, France, Denmark, Italy, Mexico and Sweden.

The new data – from a survey of 500 office workers in Canada carried out by OnePoll – sheds light on whether a shortened work week could be feasible for Canadians considering average overtime hours.

Top reasons cited for this overtime include feeling like it’s the culture of the business (37%), unrealistic targets and workload (22%) and, for some, it’s wanting to do the extra work (21%).

Outdated working culture despite tech evolution

Despite the existence of new technology that enables greater efficiency and productivity, Canadian employees revealed the pressing need for their organizations to upgrade technology – with improved processes (30%) cited as a top solution to help reduce extra time worked.

The country is divided with just less than half of Canadian workers (45%) believing a national four-day working week is feasible with their current workload, despite the same workers claiming a growing workload is what’s causing them to work overtime.

A working culture where Canadians (32%) still believe employers reward and/or promote those who work longer hours, coupled with outdated technology, are the top barriers preventing Canada from adopting a four-day working week. It’s not to say Canada won’t ever achieve this, but a shift in business culture and decision makers’ mindset must happen first. Embracing a more innovative workplace means measuring employees on the work they produce rather than correlating it to how much was produced during the traditional contracted hours of nine to five. Canadian companies need to focus on discovering how and where their employees work best and providing them with the technology necessary to enable them to do their job most efficiently.

Employees eagerly await 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Canada employees (88%, compared to the survey average of 87%) would take a four-day working week if it were offered. However more than half (74%, compared to the survey average of 72%) of those employees would only take it if they could keep the same salary, with less than a quarter (14%, compared to the survey average of 15%) being willing to take it if it meant a reduced salary.

Progress is being made, yet four-day working week is still years away

When asked when they might see a four-day working week in their companies, Canadian employees think we could be six years away. Despite progress being made globally, six years was the average among all countries surveyed when asked about the adoption of a four-day work week. UK workers think it will be possible soonest (approximately 5.61 years), followed by those in France (just below six years at 5.89) and then Canada at 6.22 years.

Canada is not alone with workload being the main barrier. Of all countries surveyed on this subject, the average overtime hours spent was four hours and 36 minutes. Notably, Norwegian workers work the most overtime (10+ hours) and Swedish workers work the least (three hours).

When comparing reasons for overtime work, the top reason among all countries was that it’s the culture of the business (23% compared to 37% in Canada). This was followed by unrealistic targets and workload (22% on average and for Canada) and getting paid overtime (20% compared to 18% in Canada).

Eden: There For All of The GTA This Winter For Snow Removal

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 7, 2019 by itnerd

Eden offers seasonal service and one-time snow removal services at the tap of a button. As easy as using an IOS or android device, Eden has you covered with no contracts and with the seasonal service you can pay per visit, but they come out automatically when there is 5cm/2 inches or more of accumulation!

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Eden prides itself on its excellent service standards. The support team are snow removal industry veterans. The crews are all vetted and insured snow removal professionals with professional equipment.

Eden also wants to provide value to the snow removal community through the newly launched Eden U training program. This is aimed at existing and new professionals within the landscaping and snow management industry who want to grow their business through the use of technology. Find out more on the Eden U page: https://edenapp.com/eden-university.