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Tech Insights

Tech Insights

By Info-Tech Research Group
Welcome to Tech Insights, from Info-Tech Research Group. Join me, Brian Jackson, and our team of expert analysts as we delve beyond the headlines in the world of tech. We cut through all the noise and focus on what really matters for technology leaders.
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The New Corporation v Twitter and Canada

Tech Insights

How Allianz took a blockchain platform from pilot to 1 million transactions
In 2021, Allianz went into live production with a new solution to settle international auto insurance claims involving its 25 subsidiaries in Europe. The blockchain-based solution based on Hyper Ledger Fabric has already settled more than 1 million transactions, automating a process that was painful and slow. In this episode of Tech Insights, Allianz Chief Architect Bob Crozier shares how his team went from an exploratory interest in Ethereum smart contracts to "burning the ships" and retiring their old settlements system to run entirely on an enterprise blockchain platform. Also, hear Bob's thoughts on whether NFTs need insurance. This episode is part of our CIO Priorities 2022 mini-series. 
February 08, 2022
Close call with ransomware: a CIO recounts a near security nightmare
We recount the discovery of a ransomware attack that’s staged to execute on the network of a mid-sized U.S.-based manufacturer. A day-by-day account of what it’s like to discover ransomware, the severe steps that need to be taken to contain the damage, the cyber-criminal groups looking to profit from the attack, and the lessons learned about security needs in the current threat landscape. Actor Michael Bedford lends a voice to our anonymous CIO in this case study, and Info-Tech’s Senior Director of Security Workshops Sandy Silk provides analysis.
February 07, 2022
Frictionless hybrid working: How the Harvard Business School did it
When the pandemic hit, Harvard Business School wanted its students to have an equally rich education experience whether they were physically in the classroom or connecting remotely. To design the technology solution that would make it work, CIO Elizabeth Clark participated in a multi-functional team that put 4K cameras, huge TV screens, and Zoom rooms to work and defined a process that could be repeated in various classrooms. The approach to hybrid collaboration was so successful that Harvard is now adapting their conference rooms so operational staff can see some of the same benefits. Hear how Elizabeth Clark is reducing the friction of a hybrid operating model on this episode, part of our mini-series to highlight Info-Tech's CIO Priorities for 2022. 
January 28, 2022
How a financial services company dodged ‘The Great Resignation’
During the past year, workers have left their jobs at an unprecedented rate. The mass migration has been dubbed 'The Great Resignation' and it's shone a light on the importance of employee retention. Especially in IT where there is already a shortage of technical talent available on the market, companies should make a serious effort to keep their workers engaged and productive. Jeff Previte, the executive vice-president of IT at CrossCountry Mortgage knows all about that. After joining the company in 2019, he worked to address a high turnover rate. By implementing an employee-first experience, he moved a 60% turnover rate to 10% in just a few years time. On this episode of Tech Insights, he tells us how to set priorities to keep your staff. We're also joined by Info-Tech senior research analyst Nick Kozlo. This episode is part of a mini-series for Info-Tech's CIO Priorities 2022 report.
January 21, 2022
CVS Health chairman David Dorman on healthcare's hybrid future
David Dorman is no stranger to being in the captain’s chair amid a crisis. Previously the CEO at storied telecommunications firm AT&T, Dorman shepherded the firm through the disruption to the industry in the early 2000s. He repositioned the firm in a rapidly modernizing environment and ultimately delivered on selling the firm in 2005 for $16 billion. Today Dorman is the chairman of CVS Health, a firm that owns a network of retail locations within a 10-minute drive of 85% of the U.S. population. The pharmacy has played a crucial role in improving Americans’ collective health during the pandemic, delivering more than 41 million COVID-19 tests and more than 50 million vaccines. In addition to its vaccine delivery program, CVS Health has accelerated its digital initiatives to push out services through mobile apps and websites.  It further integrated Aetna, a health insurance firm it acquired in 2019 and launched a new virtual care platform with the brand. It also furthered its corporate social responsibility strategy, “Transform Health 2030” and took the lead in mandating vaccines for its own frontline staff. A special interview with CVS Health Chairman David Dorman, joined by Info-Tech Research Group Research Fellow Ken McGee.
January 14, 2022
Raine Maida defines 'proof of fandom' for web3 with Drrops launch
Can being present for an epic concert define your relationship with your favorite artists? Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida is kicking off another web3 project with Drrops, an app that allows concert-goers to connect directly with artists and collect unique digital collectibles. Raine helms the company as CEO, and says big things are in store for the platform in 2022. It's his second web3 project targeting musicians after launching NFT platform S!NG earlier this year. We speak with Raine the day after his concert in New York City at Gramercy Theatre to debut the Drrops app. 
January 07, 2022
Enhancing healthcare with data platforms
We live in the era of the quantified self, awash in different metrics about our health. Yet barriers stand in the way of using health data in research studies because of the privacy requirements around sensitive medical information and the highly technical skills needed to use data science approaches to yield results. Software vendor SAS is looking to supercharge healthcare efforts with its data platform, SAS Viya, and research hospitals are already using it to investigate big questions like the root cause of multiple sclerosis. Special guest Greg Horne, the global principal in health care at SAS and host of The Health Pulse podcast joins us, as does Jennifer Jones, Info-Tech's industry analyst for health care.  Check out The Health Pulse:
November 01, 2021
Microsoft on the 'paradox of hybrid work'
The pandemic changed the way we work, for better or for worse. At Microsoft, a recently published study in Nature details how remote work created more flexibility for employees, but also created more friction communicating between different groups within the office and hindered innovation. We talk with Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft about how Microsoft's first-hand experience during the pandemic led to new product approaches, including new features in Microsoft Teams and the new Microsoft Viva platform for digital employee experience.
October 25, 2021
Zoho's chief strategy officer on unique approach to hybrid collaboration
Zoho Corp.'s headquarters are Chennai, India and it operates remote offices in the southern rural regions of India as well. The company's flexible approach to work and employee-centric view helped it quickly pivot during the pandemic, and continues to inform the software vendor's approach to its own operating model. In an interview, Chief Strategy Officer Vijay Sundaram shares Zoho's experience through the pandemic and how it's shaping its products to help companies navigate a world that's mixing both remote work and office work. 
October 15, 2021
Clio drives digital transformation to redefine the legal industry
Clio describes itself as the operating system for the legal industry. A Software as a Service suite that is packed with all the tools a law office could want, Clio's founders had the foresight to build their company with the capability to expand its usefulness. By using an open API approach, Clio acts as a platform that can integrate with other software products used by its clients. Clio's seen its API adoption - and its client base - expand during the course of the pandemic as legal officers were forced to adapt to remote work conditions. A discussion with Mik Learnout, VP of Product, Clio.
September 27, 2021
New discovery of the golden ratio in the economy
The golden ratio has been a subject of fascination since the days of Greek philosophers like Pythagoras and Euclid. The ratio is commonly found in nature, and humans have adapted it into beautiful works of art. But the latest discovery of the golden ratio may be the most surprising of all. Bert de Groot, Professor of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, conducted a macroeconomic analysis to find that the golden ratio appears in the cycles of the economy. How can that be possible? We speak with Bert about his insights on this matter, discuss what it tells us about the digital economy, and then turn the conversation to this study's influence on Info-Tech's Tech Trends 2022 Report with designer Jess Leung.
September 20, 2021
Update on the global semiconductor shortage
The global semiconductor supply shortage is slowing down production of many different products and threatening to hamper economic recovery. The consolidation of the semiconductor manufacturing sector is a major factor in why this is happening. Is it time to create a new, domestic supply chain for semiconductors? We revisit our April 12 interview with President and CEO of ventureLAB, Melissa Chee. 
August 02, 2021
The New Corporation v Twitter and Canada
Has social media become a part of the public square? Sure, the big-name social media firms are all owned by private companies. But have they become so big, and so popular, that they are now entering into the realm of a new, digital public space? If they are, then do companies like Twitter have to respect certain rules that would normally be reserved for public entities – like, for example, the right to freedom of expression? That's what Joel Bakan is arguing. The Canadian law professor is the author of the documentary movie The Corporation and its recent sequel, The New Corporation. The new film is critical of Silicon Valley, questioning whether big tech has too much influence over our lives. After Twitter denied Bakan the ability to advertise his film on its platform, Bakan decided to take legal action against the company and the Government of Canada.
July 26, 2021
AI Moonshot: Canada’s robotic arm plans for the Lunar Gateway
Welcome to the special first-anniversary episode of Tech Insights! As part of NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the Moon and eventually beyond, a new space station called the Lunar Gateway will be put into orbit around the Moon. It will play an important role in staging missions to the Moon’s surface and eventually onward to Mars. Canadarm3 will be Canada’s contribution to the international project, and for the first time ever, the robotic arm will be expected to function fully autonomously without human intervention. We explore the preparations that the Canadian Space Agency and Canadarm3 manufacturer MDA are making to ensure the AI is ready for the task. Interview 1: Daniel Rey, Systems Engineering Manager and CSA Chief Engineer for the Lunar Gateway Interview 2: Chris Langley, AI and Autonomy Architect for Canadarm3, MDA Related Info-Tech Blueprint: Integrate Artificial Intelligence Into Your Manufacturing Operations
July 19, 2021
Intel's federal CTO on ransomware crisis and AI in military
*Correction: In the podcast we refer to the federal government's IT budget as $90 trillion. The intent was to say $90 billion. The U.S. federal government is spending more than $90 billion on IT in 2021. That's a lot of Benjamins. When you consider that the Pentagon is reconsidering a $10 billion cloud computing contract on its own, and that federal agencies are trying to investigate the rise in ransomware across the country, you realize it's totally plausible. Add in the fact that spending on AI in government is seeing rapid growth, and you realize the spending is likely to go up from here. To discuss how the government is approaching IT, how it could combat ransomware, and even make use of AI we speak with a special guest on Tech Insights this week - Steve Orrin is the federal chief technology officer at Intel. Want to learn more about government modernization? Read Info-Tech's Gov 2.0: government as a Platform blueprint.
July 12, 2021
Less screen time, more summertime
We revisit a previous episode of Tech Insights contemplating how much we are all using screens during the pandemic. Now that it's summer and vaccines are rolling out, we might feel we have more options to get out of the house. But screens can be a hard habit to break. Amber Mac has some tips on managing your own screen time, and managing it for your kids too. 
July 05, 2021
Windows 11 reveal: Android apps and a new Microsoft Store
Windows 11 is here! Because it just makes sense. And we're here again to tell you the highlights of the main event. Last week we gave you a preview of what to expect from the new release. Now that Microsoft has given us the official presentation, we have some new details to dig into. And to help me do that, I'm joined by two Info-Tech Analysts that are fresh off watching the event. We have infrastructure practice lead John Annand, and we have senior research analyst Ken Weston. Key discussion points: - Android apps coming to Windows - Microsoft Store and a new deal for developers - A stumbling block in the upgrade path - Microsoft Teams integration
June 24, 2021
What to expect from Windows 11
It's a big week for Microsoft. For the first time in six years, a new version of Windows is expected to be released. We expect that Microsoft CEO will take the stage and reveal Windows 11 to the world on Thursday. Of course, that follows a leaked early build of Windows 11 being released last week and making the rounds. So in some ways the cat is out of the bag. But there is a lot we still don't know about the big release. To discuss what we do know and what we'll be looking for from the Microsoft event, I have am joined today by Info-Tech's infrastructure research lead, John Annand.
June 21, 2021
Not meeting accessibility requirements could cost you $100,000 per day
If you're like me, you use the web every day. And you do so just about as easily as you breathe. Reading websites and accessing media is effortless. But imagine if it wasn't. Imagine if you suddenly couldn't read the text on your favourite news website. Or if the layout of that online store you were shopping became so confusing that it was impossible to make sense of it. Or if you just couldn't even type your search term into Google. That's what using the web can be like for people that are differently-abled. The web has generally been a pretty unwelcoming place if you are visually impaired especially.  The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are an international standard that's trying to change that. It aims to help web site owners adapt their content to be accessible for as many people as possible. And this summer, version 2.2 of the guidelines will become the official standard. That will mean that some laws that require accessibility will also be updated. Here to tell me more about this is Mike Cart, vice president of Siteimprove Canada.
June 14, 2021
Is Amazon Sidewalk a security and privacy risk that's not worth taking?
If you've heard about Amazon Sidewalk in this past week, it's probably through an article that explains how you should opt out of the new feature that goes live on June 8. "Amazon plans to share your internet with neighbours" proclaims one headline. But what is Amazon Sidewalk? And why did Amazon think it was a good idea to have owners of Amazon Echos and Ring cameras automatically enrolled? Amazon Sidewalk is a mesh network. It turns some of the connected devices you already own into a network gateway. Now it's not a Wi-Fi gateway. It's using the 900 Mhz frequency range, which we call the LoRa network. T Why would it do this? Well Amazon wants to enable more features for those connected devices around your home and out in your yard. Yes, maybe even out on the Sidewalk. It wants to help you track down your lost items that have a connected Tile device on them. It could even help you find a lost pet, or maybe even a person with dementia that's in your care. You could also use it to control your devices at home, even when your internet service is disconnected. The security and privacy concerns are real. But the big picture is a bit more complicated than what some of these articles might have you believe. To work through it all, I have two guests with me today on Tech Insights. We are joined by friend of the show Alexandre Blanc. He's a cyber security expert and a virtual CISO for hire We are also joined by Info-Tech security analyst Isaac Kinsella. 
June 07, 2021
The future of farming is digital
The ways that technology is transforming the farming industry are striking. Digital transformation has reached out of our urban centers to the farmer's fields in our rural areas. The result is that the future of farming will be about far more than growing and selling the food that you put on your plate.  Here today to discuss that future is Wade Barnes, the CEO and founder of Farmer's Edge. And we are also joined by Info-Tech Research Group Principal Research Director Sandi Conrad. 
May 31, 2021
Project Starline and post-pandemic web conferencing trends
At Google I/O this week, the Silicon Valley giant showed off a vision of what web conferencing might be like in the future. It's called Project Starline and you know they had a dramatic marketing video ready to introduce the technology. We discuss the implications, but Project Starline isn't going to change my experience - or yours - anytime soon. It's a prototype. That got me wondering what actual web conferencing vendors are doing to make my experience a little bit better in the months ahead. We discuss with Info-Tech analyst Thomas Randall.
May 24, 2021
How tech can help pro sports recover from major disruption
With NBA and NHL playoffs starting this week, we're revisiting this episode on how pro sports are modernizing. Originally aired Aug. 19, 2020. COVID disrupted pro sports leagues around the world just like it disrupted the rest of society. The implications for this multi-billion dollar industry are still being realized. At the moment, we have players competing in empty stadiums so we can all watch it on TV. Some leagues have collected all of their players and team staff in isolated "bubbles" to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Tied to it all is a lot of new technology. At first blush, it looks like tech to help keep players healthy. But look a bit closer and you might realize this is an accelerating trend towards an enhanced understanding of player performance. Coming in off the sidelines to put some points on the board now is Hans Eckman, principal research director in Applications at Info-Tech Research Group.
May 17, 2021
Is the cloud secure?
We’ve all heard of the cloud, and many of us have even migrated some or all of our workloads to AWS or Microsoft Azure. But can we trust it? Putting our most important data and resources in someone else’s datacenter and managing them with a fancy new software layer requires a lot of trust. On this episode of Tech Insights, Abdul Kittana, co-founder of A Secure Cloud, talks about his company’s unique approach to helping customers manage their cloud environments and answers the ever-important question: is the cloud secure?
May 10, 2021
Who took control of the Pentagon's IP space and why?
A company called Global Resource Systems came out of nowhere and started announcing that it had control over a huge portion of internet real estate that used to belong to the Pentagon. This internet space is called IPV4, and it's crucial to how traffic is routed around the world. Now this portion of space that belonged to the Pentagon has never been active before. It's sort of like land that's not developed. There's no roads to it. Nothing is built on it. Nobody goes there. But with Global Resource Systems - we'll call them GRS - making this announcement, that suddenly changed very quickly. Suddenly there's a ton of traffic going to this block of IPV4 space.  So many questions abound. Why did the Pentagon give control over this space to an unknown company? What does it mean that it now controls so much IP space? Should organizations that are navigating the internet be worried about this? To help me sort it all out, we have a special guest on the podcast today. Mark Jeftovic is the CEO of EasyDNS. He's also a member of the Canada chapter for the Internet Society.
May 03, 2021
Why Formant connected a remote control Spot to the web
Ever since I saw Spot, the robot dog developed by Boston Dynamics, I’ve wanted to drive it. Well, I finally got my chance. Controlling it through my web browser no less. And I couldn’t even believe it was happening. San Francisco-based firm Formant made it possible. It used Spot to show off its robot command center and the experience was so good I thought it was fake. But here to convince me that it was in fact real, we have the CEO of Formant, Jeff Linnell. Play with Spot - 
April 26, 2021
How Virginia is fighting the pandemic with an advanced data strategy
The vaccine rollout is hitting full steam in the United States. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered into people’s arms. The vaccine distribution effort is crucial to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. And to get those vaccine doses into people’s arms, you need a good registration system. And to have a good registration system, you need good data management. Today's special guest  Carlos Rivero is the Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are also joined by Info-Tech’s data practice lead, Andy Neill. Carlos discusses how the Commonwealth's centralized registration portal was key to driving a smooth vaccine rollout and details the data architecture features of the system. Virginia also used its open data portal to make available key data sets related to COVID-19 infections, illustrating how different communities are impacted by the virus. We also discuss the Commonwealth's data trust and how it sets up a legal framework to enable data sharing in a privacy-protective way.  This episode of Tech Insights was also recorded as video that will be featured on Info-Tech's social media channels. 
April 19, 2021
Will the semiconductor supply shortage disrupt your business?
Did you see that the new Apple car came out? Well, almost. The Wall Street Journal did a tongue in cheek arts and crafts project for a video it released on April 5. The video features an iPhone that’s been modified to look like a car. It looks pretty fun. But the really interesting part is the demonstration of how many components an iPhone and a car have in common. The Wall Street Journal made this video to show us why it makes sense that Apple would even try to make a car. In doing so, they make another compelling point. Computer chips, or semiconductors, are ubiquitous. They are in so many different products that we use every day. Phones. Cars. Toys. Even light bulbs. And guess what? The world is facing a chip shortage. It’s causing major supply line issues and production slowdowns in various industries. Some are calling it ‘chipaggedon’. I think that’s pretty dramatic, so maybe I’ll call it the silicon slowdown.  President and CEO of ventureLAB Melissa Chee joins us. And we also have John Annand, our infrastructure practice lead at Info-Tech.
April 12, 2021
Post-pandemic economic outlook and CEO sentiment
Since World War 2 there have been three really major economic crises. You can mark these moments by times when gross domestic product growth plummeted down towards near 0 or worse. The energy crisis of 1982 led to a global recession and jobs crisis. Then We made it all the way to 2008 before the next melt-down. Remember, that was the sub-prime mortgage crisis. We rebounded after that and made it to 2020. And I don't have to remind you why we dipped into that recession. But the good news is we've already bounced back. We hear an economic outlook for the post-pandemic period and how CEOs are feeling about the near term with guest Ken McGee, a research fellow at Info-Tech. 
April 05, 2021
International Workplace Group CEO on the post-pandemic future of work
According to Info-Tech's data, 98% of employees say they would like to work from home to some extent. So this past year, we've got our chance. The question is: what happens next? The vaccines are being distributed. We could be free of the worry of COVID-19 infection soon enough. Does that mean we'll all be rushing back to the office? Or have we grown accustomed to the comforts of working from home? Or will working together take on an entirely different approach in the future? To discuss this with us today we have a special guest, the CEO of International Workplace Group Americas Wayne Berger. And we are also joined by Info-Tech analyst Jane Kouptsova.
March 29, 2021
Raine Maida's startup is an NFT app for music
Raine Maida is Juno-award winning musician best known as the lead singer of Our Lady Peace and he's also the recipient of the 2014 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Now he's the chief product officer at S!NG, an app that wants to help musicians collaborate by using NFTs. Raine and CEO Geoff Osler talk about their vision for S!NG, discuss the utility of NFT technology, and share their excitement for the potential that NFTS hold for creators to establish a new relationship with their audience. 
March 22, 2021
How to read into signals of future trends
You don't need an AI platform to practice foresight. Futurists are people that make a practice of tuning that trends dial and are able to isolate signals clearly. And you can be a futurist too. In this podcast, learn how to use techniques including: SPLEET analysis, scenario planning, and second-order effects. Here to help us with our desire to predict the future are two of my colleagues. David Glazer, is the strategy and innovation practice lead at Info-Tech. Adib Ghubril, is an executive advisor at Info-Tech. 
March 15, 2021
eSports gambling goes mainstream
e-Sports are a big deal. The industry has already grown to $1.5 billion in annual revenue. It's conceivable that e-Sports might even overtake actual sports in the future. And just like there is a major betting industry built around traditional sports, there is a burgeoning betting business emerging around e-Sports. Here to talk to us about that today is Steven Salz. He's the CEO of Rivalry, an internationally-regulated sports betting and media property. We also have Hans Eckman, a principal research director at Info-Tech Research Group. 
March 08, 2021
When misinformation is a feature, not a bug
During the U.S. election last fall, tech giants hosting user-generated content finally felt they had to take action against the misinformation being hosted on their platforms. That lead to other lesser-known platforms courting the banned users as a strategy to increase their user base and overall audience. What are the risks of misinformation gaining a new foothold on the Internet when it's so important that a majority of our population opt into receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to end the pandemic? We discuss the current misinformation climate with Alexandre BLANC, vCISO, VARS Corporation and Eric Cabral, a research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group.
March 01, 2021
How to hire people of color
It's Black History Month and today we're going to focus on what companies need to do to improve their ability to hire people of color, and then retain them. Like so many things, good diversity practices are driven from the top of the organization. You need executives to be open to doing things differently, to working with different types of people. Unfortunately the view of many leaders doesn't match the reality of the situation. The tech sector severely lacks a diverse workforce. Yet 68% of leaders feel like they are already creating inclusive environments where employees can be themselves and raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure. However if you ask their employees if they agree, well only 36% of them do. Allison Straker is a research director and Ugbad Farah is a senior research analyst, both with Info-Tech Research Group. They walk us through their research.
February 22, 2021
How to have awkward conversations around diversity
Remember the movie Hidden Figures? It was an award-winning movie from 2016. It was even nominated for best picture at the Oscars. It is about three black women who broke through a very white, male culture at NASA and contributed mathematics that helped get Americans into space, and eventually to the moon. It's been a long time since the '60s and there is still a lot of work left to be done. Especially in the tech sector. As of 2020, black and Hispanic employees make up an average of only 6% of the staff at tech giants Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.  So we need some help to get past some more awkward conversations. Here to help us with that today is Cinnamon Clark, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Services at McLean and Co.
February 15, 2021
Top 5 CIO Priorities for 2021
The theme for Info-Tech's 2021 CIO Priorities Report is resilience. Guest Travis Duncan, a research director in applications at Info-Tech explains the priorities and why they are at the top of the list: #1 Create an appropriate budget reserve #2 Refocus IT risk planning #3 Strengthen organizational change management capabilities to maximize technology investments #4 Establish capacity awareness to optimize resource utilization. #5 Keep emerging tech in view to capitalize on innovations.
February 08, 2021
How IT can help healthcare workers post-pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, we've seen many efforts to express gratitude for healthcare workers. And they deserve it. Treating patients with COVID-19 means that healthcare workers are risking their lives every day, just by going to work. A study that came out in The Lancet in November demonstrated that healthcare workers, and especially nurses, have a higher rate of infection for coronavirus than non-healthcare workers. Not only are they taking that risk, but they are burned out. Overloaded intensive care units has stretched hospital staff to their limits. And now we're asking that same group of people to help us roll out the vaccines as fast as possible.  It wouldn't be fair to healthcare workers if we didn't learn some lessons from this pandemic. From an IT perspective, there is an opportunity here to help reduce the risks faced by healthcare workers, and help reduce their workloads overall. Virtual healthcare is one promising area to explore here. Addressing the failures of the long term care home model is another. We have Jennifer Jones, Info-Tech's industry analyst for healthcare. And we're also joined by a special guest today. We have Shash Anand, the vice-president of product strategy at SOTI, an enterprise software vendor. 
February 01, 2021
IT Talent Trends 2021
We're discussing Info-Tech's new IT Talent Trends for 2021 with report author Rebecca Factor, a senior research analyst at Info-Tech.  The five trends are: Remote Work is Here to Stay The Rise of DEI in the Workplace A Greater Emphasis on Wellbeing A Shift of Skills Priorities  Uncertainty Unlocks Performance
January 25, 2021
Slay the invisible dragon: conquer your technical debt
If you don't expose the problems in your infrastructure, they can quickly overwhelm your employees and your business. The concept of technical debt has its roots in the agile approaches honed by software developers in the '90s. It's the root of many IT problems including way too much time spent on maintenance. Just like real debt, the interest can build up over time if you don't pay it off and really cripple your company. We talk with Andrew Sharp a senior research analyst in the operations practice at Info-Tech about his just-published work in this area.
January 18, 2021
Implications of the SolarWinds hack
The headlines were everywhere. Hackers infiltrated the U.S. government and some private firms by exploiting vulnerabilities in SolarWinds' network management software. More than 250 networks were pierced and it's believed that Russia's S.V.R. intelligence service is behind the attack. Other vendors like Microsoft and FireEye also say they were breached in the attack.  For IT pros that are accountable for security and returning from the holidays wondering what this means for them, today we will recap the news and explore some practical steps to take to ensure vendors aren't creating security problems. Joining me to help me with that is Howard Solomon, a cyber security reporter that is a main contributor to We also have an analyst from Info-Tech's cyber security team. Jimmy Tom.
January 11, 2021
How Salesforce will make Einstein smarter in 2021
Salesforce launched Einstein, its artificial intelligence tool, in 2016. It was memorable because of the marketing materials, featuring a cute cartoon of the world's most misquoted-scientist. It was also memorable because of the unique capabilities Einsten brought to the table. This wasn't some sort of algorithm builder for data scientists. It was a smart assistant woven into the platform. As Salesforce liked to tell me, it "democratized" artificial intelligence. So today we're getting an update on Einstein and how it's grown with the Salesforce ecosystem. Here to tell us about it is Sanjna Parulekar, a Senior Product Marketing Manager, of Salesforce Einstein at Salesforce. 
January 04, 2021
Microsoft's plan to become carbon negative by 2030
Digital technologies can help get us meet the IPCC goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Typically technology is only considered from an emissions-producing viewpoint. Computers need electricity, and in most cases using electricity means creating carbon emissions. But what's not often considered is the impact that digital technologies could have in reducing emissions in other sectors. One estimate suggests that it could reduce global carbon emissions by 15% by the year 2030. So here today to talk with us about using digital technologies to achieve sustainability goals is Michelle Lancaster, director of sustainability partnerships at Microsoft. Not only does Microsoft have a plan to be carbon neutral, but it plans to erase all of its historical emissions too.
December 17, 2020
How the Citizen Developer helps solve local community problems
Toronto has a legacy of citizens volunteering their time to contribute technology solutions for local problems. In recent years the City has actively embraced that trend and now maintains a huge open data portal. Aside from transit data, you can find data about waste collection, bicycle sharing, child care, water quality at the beach, and events across the city. One group that's latched on to the movement to take that data and turn it into products and services for residents is Civic Tech Toronto. It hosts hack nights weekly, dedicated to finding solutions to civic challenges through technology and design.  Joining me today on Tech Insights to discuss all this is Skaidra Puodziunas. She's the senior engagement advisor, Ontario Digital Service and she's also a co-organizer at Civic Tech Toronto.
December 14, 2020
How do you innovate through design thinking?
Kenneth Grange is a British industrial designer behind many famous household items. He was prolific over his 40-year career, designing everything from Kodak cameras, to Imperial typewriters, and even the nose cone of the British Rail high-speed train. But the story my colleague keeps telling me about is how Grange revolutionized the design of the sewing machine. In 1971 redesigned the sewing machine to allow more table space in front of the needle, instead of the old convention of putting the needle right in the middle of the table. It's a change that seems self-evident, yet it took decades before it ended up in product design.  So now here to tell you the same story about Kenneth Grange and talk about what organizations can learn from this sort of approach, I'm joined by my colleague Vivek Mehta, a research director at Info-Tech Research Group.
December 07, 2020
The flexible future of cloud computing with Aptum
Cloud spending is still growing. Just not as fast as it was a year ago. But many expect that will change next year, with the return of growing growth. (If that makes any sense). Why? Well IT budgets might be better off if the economy returns to life. And many companies are realizing they need access to cloud services to stay competitive. If you can't hire a team of data scientists, you can still tap into AI by using a service like Amazon SageMaker. Also, a lot of governments are waking up the cloud era and realizing that they just haven't created enough rules for this area yet. Different regions around the world are introducing new regulatory requirements about how data is stored, transferred, and accessed. To react to new laws, companies want improved agility. Here today to walk us through it all is Craig Tavares, the global head of cloud at Aptum.
November 30, 2020
What your vendors won't tell you about managing cloud costs
The cloud has totally changed the way we pay for IT. Its operating costs model where you pay for what you need, when you need it, has its advantages. You don't need to invest in expensive servers to deploy an infrastructure, you just have to sign in to your Amazon account. But there are downsides too. Most businesses have a hard time estimating just how much cloud compute they will really need. According to the State of the Cloud report, 46% of IT users say they exceeded their cloud budget, and another 32% just didn't know if they had or not. 96% believe they could save money, if only they could optimize their cloud spend. But optimizing is easier said than done. Here to tell me how we might be able to achieve it is Derek Shank, a research analyst in Infrastructure and Operations at Info-Tech Research Group. Welcome Derek. Please rate us on Apple Podcasts!
November 23, 2020
AI as fashion designer with Idris Mootee
Urbancoolab’s AI machine is collaborating the next wave of tastemakers from a crosswind of creative fields in including those in music, fashion, visual arts, technology, sports, food and everything in between. You might ended up picking a piece that is co-designed by machine with people such as Kiesza, Smif-N-Wessun, Command Sisters, Chris Crack, Sandy Gill or other artists.  Today's guest Idris Mootee is the CEO and co-founder of Urbancoolab. He's also the former CEO and co-founder of Idea Coutour and the former global chief strategist for Blast Radius. And he's the author of Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation. Also on this episode is David Glazer, the practice lead of Info-Tech's strategy and innovation practice.  Visit Urbancoolab at:
November 16, 2020
How will we work with AI in 2035?
Today, we're going to look at a vision for the year 2035. It's a vision that still has AI at work as a focal point. But not humanoid robots. It's a survey of 500 executives and 1,000 employees about what they think work will look like in 15 years. The study was conducted by Oxford Analytica and Coleman Parks with the support of technology vendor Citrix. Respondents were based in the U.S. and Europe. Joining us to discuss the findings of the survey is Tim Minahan, the Executive Vice-President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix. We are also joined by Info-Tech's resident expert in artificial intelligence, Natalia Modjeska. 
November 09, 2020
Amber Mac on screen time and mental health
Here we are more than six months into the pandemic and I've got something on my mind. COVID-19 means more staying at home, and staying at home means more screen time. What are the effects of that on our mental health? I know that I feel a lot better when I've had time to disconnect and get away from screens. I suspect you might feel the same way. But the data shows its getting a lot harder to do just that. We discuss strategies to stay sane in a world where screen time is all the time with Amber Mac, a keynote speaker, bestselling author, and technology journalist. 
October 29, 2020
Cybersecurity attacks on the rise during pandemic
According to new data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, businesses are facing more attacks during the pandemic compared to last year. Worse yet, the attacks are being themed to take advantage of the pandemic. And because business is being disrupted, IT is uncertain it can get together the resources and the people it needs to fight back. Here to discuss the state of cybersecurity in Canada is Spencer Callaghan, the communications and content manager at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.  Also joining us is Aaron Shum, Info-Tech's practice lead for our cybersecurity group.  2020 CIRA Cybersecurity Report - 
October 14, 2020
Quantum computing now mature enough to optimize a grocery store
Quantum computing may be in its nascent days still, but there are a lot of serious players working hard to develop stable and useful quantum chips. Instead of your boring old binary bits, these new chips use qubits, which can either represent a 1 or a 0, or thanks to the quantum weirdness of superposition - both at the same time. Just last year Google announced that it had performed a quantum computation that is infeasible on any classical computer. That made some wonder if the golden grail of quantum supremacy is just around the corner.  So is it? Answering that question is complicated. Much like a qubit in superposition, it's sort of yes and no at the same time. But we've seen a lot of advancements in quantum computing lately and here to talk about them is my colleague and research director at Info-Tech Research Group, Adib Ghubril. He discusses quantum updates such as Xanadu's Quantum as a Service, D-Wave's 5,000 qubit system and customer case studies, and IBM's quantum chip roadmap. 
October 08, 2020
Tech Day of Pink with Estée Lauder CIO Michael Smith
Hear Info-Tech's LinkedIn Live stream featuring analyst Allison Straker interview Michael Smith, the CIO of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. about how he's galvanizing the global tech community to take on breast cancer awareness, education and fundraising with the Tech Day of Pink initiative. Learn more about hashtag#TechInPink2020 here:
September 28, 2020
Apple shifts to lifestyle brand with services strategy
Apple's September event lacked an iPhone announcement. But hardware isn't the big story for Apple anymore, as it hits the next gear on a services strategy that is its core promise of future growth.
September 16, 2020
Will a partnership with Oracle save TikTok in the U.S.?
After the White House demanded that Beijing-based owner ByteDance sell its American operations to a U.S.-owned firm, or else be blocked from doing business starting on September 20th. Oracle emerged as the company that will make it happen on late Sunday night, Bloomberg reports. This morning, Oracle confirmed that it's reached a deal to become the trusted technology provider to TikTok. The next step will be government approval.  Microsoft was in the mix to buy TikTok's U.S. operations with a plan to completely move all data to U.S. soil and take over all of its algorithms from day one. Microsoft President Brad Smith said that would protect against two key threats from TikTok: the risk of the Chinese government infringing on the privacy of American users, and the risk of the platform being used for misinformation.  Adding even more uncertainty to the equation are new reports on Monday morning. China state broadcasters are reporting that ByteDance won't sell TikTok to either Oracle or Microsoft.  Here to discuss the situation with me today is Carmi Levy, director of content marketing at Info-Tech Research Group. And we have Scott Bickley, a principal research director in our CIO group at Info-Tech. Welcome. Also joining us is Marc Mazur, a research specialist in Security at Info-Tech. 
September 14, 2020
Back to school has never looked like this
School boards, colleges, and universities across North America are offering a variety of options to their students:  - Some are trying to deliver education in the conventional model. Fill classrooms full of people, practice physical distancing and hand washing, and basically pray that it all works out. - Others are offering an all-remote experience, shipping out laptops, Chromebooks, and iPads to their students. - And some schools are offering a hybrid model, giving students the option of in-class or remote learning, or maybe a bit of both. Sound complicated? Just wait until I tell you about the global supply shortage for laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets. That's right, stack remote work on top of remote learning and the world has never been so hungry for personal technology devices.  How are IT departments supposed to wade through all these challenges?
September 04, 2020
What a neuroscientist thinks about Elon Musk brain-jacking a pig
Elon Musk is worried about artificial intelligence. I guess he's seen The Terminator, or The Matrix, or Battlestar Galactica, or, well the list goes on... but he's worried humans are going to fall behind robots in the who's smarter. To address that problem, he founded Neuralink, a company he's also invested $100 million in. Neuralink is a brain computer interface that's implanted into the brain. One day, Musk hopes that it could enable incredible new capabilities like telepathy, and the ability to search the Internet with the power of your mind. Last week, Musk took the stage to give us an update on Neuralink's progress towards that Sci-Fi vision.  Mahmoud Ramin has a PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University. He shadowed neurosurgery in London at the University of Western Ontario, where he did a medical innovation fellowship. He and analyst Ken Weston join us to discuss the demo.
September 02, 2020
Championship analytics with MLSE
It was in 2016 that the Toronto Raptors opened up the "War Room" in their new training and development facility. It featured nine screens dedicated to data visualizations driven by IBM Watson. 2016 was also the year the Raptors added players Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. Players that were key to winning the NBA title last season and are currently at work in trying to win another one.  With success like that, it's no surprise that the practice of analytics has caught on across the Raptors' parent organization, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, or MLSE for short. Here to discuss how Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is using technology to get a competitive edge on the court (and the ice, and the field) is Sumit Arora, Senior Director, Strategy & Analytics Digital Labs, MLSE.
August 27, 2020
How tech can help Pro Sports recover from major disruption
COVID disrupted pro sports leagues around the world just like it disrupted the rest of society. The implications for this multi-billion dollar industry are still being realized. At the moment, we have players competing in empty stadiums so we can all watch it on TV. Some leagues have collected all of their players and team staff in isolated "bubbles" to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Tied to it all is a lot of new technology. At first blush, it looks like tech to help keep players healthy. But look a bit closer and you might realize this is an accelerating trend towards an enhanced understanding of player performance. Coming in off the sidelines to put some points on the board now is Hans Eckman, principal research director in Applications at Info-Tech Research Group. 
August 19, 2020
Panel - Rise of the Virtual IT Executive
In May, the U.S. Tech Sector experienced a net decline of 33,800 jobs, according to Among the people out there available for hire are experienced executives. CIOs just waiting to step into an organization's Zoom meetings and craft a proper IT strategy. Often, these virtual CIOs can have relationships with several clients, jumping in on a monthly or even quarterly basis to provide guidance. Today we're talking about the state of the virtual CIO market and what the future holds for this type of executive model. I'm joined by two guests to discuss this today. We have Fred Chagnon, the practice lead in infrastructure at Info-Tech Research Group. And we also have a special guest, Michael Ball is the founder of Team CISO. 
August 17, 2020
Interview - Enterprise collaboration market booming thanks to forced work from home
Companies around the world are adopting cloud collaboration apps like crazy. Whether it's Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, or who knows what else, this is one software category that is booming right now. For IT departments, it can be a confusing time. Supporting everyone in a situation where they're now dependent on a collaboration tool is tough. And choosing the right option can seem daunting. Even if you've implemented one, your users are probably adding on other shadow IT options to fill in the gaps. So here to help us sort through it all is Thomas Randall, a research specialist at Info-Tech Rsearch Group. 
August 14, 2020
Interview - Early signals of pandemic implications for IT spending
How has the pandemic affected IT spending? A couple of new surveys shed light on the matter. It looks like a good news / bad news situation. Today we'll talk through the findings from the Bank of America and the ISG Index, and what it means for your IT shop with Scott Bickley, a principal research director in cloud at Info-Tech Research Group. 
August 10, 2020
Interview - Fighting COVID-19 with Contact tracing apps featuring NearForm Head of Product Conor O'Neill
NearForm is the developer behind Ireland's Covid Tracker app, one of the first launched using the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) APIs, and is the first developer to launch apps in multiple countries. Head of Product Conor O'Neill discusses the privacy protections of this app approach, the challenge of getting a huge portion of a population to adopt the apps, and what's coming next in the effort to turn smartphones into a warning system for COVID-19 exposure. 
August 04, 2020
Interview - Tech CEOs face antitrust grilling by U.S. Congress
If you could sit down with the richest and most powerful CEOs in the world and ask them anything you want, what would you ask them? That's the situation that 15 members of U.S. Congress found themselves in on Wednesday. The antitrust panel questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple boss Tim Cook, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, and Google head honcho Sundar Pichai. In a session that lasted more than five hours, lawmakers grilled the CEOs of the most valuable firms in the world about their competitive practices.  With guest Ken Weston, a senior research analyst in management and governance at Info-Tech Research Group.
July 30, 2020
Interview - Blockchain adds resilience to supply chains
COVID-19 has created supply chain pain in many ways. First of all, lockdown meant that some manufacturers weren't able to produce. That created a lack of supply for certain industries. Second, because of panic buying by consumers, there were huge demand spikes for certain products. Remember when you couldn't seem to find toilet paper to buy anywhere? And now that we're likely facing a deep, long recession, supply chains face continued and prolonged uncertainly. Some will see production spike. Others will grind to a halt.  No matter what the case, supply chains need to become more resilient. It turns out blockchain could help with that. Here to explain why is David Glazer, the digital and innovation practice lead at Info-Tech Research Group.
July 29, 2020
The Monologue - Should Amazon and AWS be two different companies?
Should AWS be a separate company from Inc.? Some people sure think so, and Jeff Bezos has agreed to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, which is overseeing an antitrust investigation. They probably want to talk to him about Amazon’s retail business, which is booming. But we think Amazon Web Services is a far more interesting investigatory subject.
July 28, 2020
Trend Watch - Alexa Live recap
On Wednesday, Amazon hosted Alexa Live, its Alexa developer conference. That meant a bunch of new announcements for new developer tools that could change the way Alexa is used by everyone. 
July 25, 2020
Interview - Think twice before sharing that Zoom screenshot
Have you been posting screenshots of your Zoom meetings to social media? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic started and we've all been working from home, taking a screenshot of your video call is the closest we can get to a group photo. It's always fun to show off your own take on 'The Brady Bunch' view of talking heads. But in doing so, are we taking risks with our privacy? According to a study from Ben-Gurion University, artificial intelligence tools can be used to learn more about us than we realize. Here to talk more about the implications of this and what you should do about it is Jimmy Tom, an advisor in Info-Tech Research Group's security practice.
July 24, 2020
Interview - Privacy Shield down with Cassandra Cooper
In Star Trek, it's always bad news when the Enterprise's shields go down in the middle of a conflict. You just have that feeling that the whole crew is one photon torpedo away from being blasted into space. Well, last week the E.U.-U.S. privacy shield went down. The European Court of Justice struck down the deal based on the challenge of a privacy advocate, Max Schrems. Now, I don't think anyone is at risk of being blown up here, but it is definitely a red alert situation. The privacy agreement involved more than 5,300 companies, most of them small businesses. It underpinned $7.1 trillion in trade. So why did this agreement suddenly get torpedoed? What did Ed Snowden have to do with it? And what should affected companies do next? Here to explain it to me is Cassandra Cooper, senior research analyst in security, risk, and compliance at Info-Tech Research Group. 
July 23, 2020
Panel - Sustaining work from home in the new normal
 As COVID-19 infections spread around the world, offices had to close. Companies were left with two bad options: either have all your employees work remotely or shut down entirely. Depending on where you are in the world, things may or may not be back to normal for your business. And no matter where you're based, there's always the threat of another COVID-19 outbreak and a new lockdown. So how will companies adapt to allow their employees to work from home in the long-term? Many companies resisted flexible work scenarios for a long time. Now that's not an option. A new blueprint from Info-Tech sister company, McLean & Company, advises on how to Sustain Work-From-Home in the New Normal. It's authors are Jex Waxman, Elysca (E-lis-ka) Fernandes, Alyssa (Ah-Lis-ah) Lampert, and Talia (Tal-yah) Speigel. Joining me to discuss this today are the Info-Tech advisors for this blueprint. Welcome to Jane Kouptsova, Amanda Mathieson, and Tracy-Lynn Reid.
July 22, 2020
Monologue - clipboard snooping
 How many times do you copy and paste text in a day? It's probably so many times you couldn't even count. For me, hitting control-C and control-V is wired into my muscle memory. It's so easy that I don't even think about it. Until now. It turns out that some mobile apps have been snooping on the contents of my clipboard - and yours too. Here to tell us about it in this week's monologue is Jeremy Roberts, a senior research analyst in operations at Info-Tech Research Group.
July 21, 2020
Trend Watch - Evolve your business with innovation
 These days, most businesses are thinking about how to keep the lights on - never mind innovation. But David Glazer, Info-Tech's practice lead for innovation and strategy says that now is the perfect time to think about innovation. He's here to tell us why businesses need to re-evaluate their technology strategies. It's time to make sure that we're aspiring for not just business benefits, but human benefits.
July 20, 2020
Security Alert - Should you delete TikTok?
TikTok. It's the latest social media app that Gen Z love. It's about fun, short videos. Full of dance routines and pranks. It seems like a good time. But is it also a security threat? Some companies seem to think so. Amazon sent a memo to its U.S. workforce on July 10, instructing them to delete the app. But then it told the media that email was sent in error. Then Wells Fargo told its employees to delete TikTok from company phones. Why is there so much concern about this app from Beijing-based parent company ByteDance? Here to explain it all is Aaron Shum, Info-Tech's practice lead in security.
July 18, 2020
Security Alert - Twitter 'Bitcoin doubling' Hack
A lot of famous people were suddenly feeling really generous on Wednesday. At least, that's what it seemed like if you were on Twitter. A major hack of the social media site saw many verified accounts taken over. Including Elon Musk, Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, Bill Games, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. All of the hijacked accounts made the same promise: send me Bitcoin and I'll send you back double the amount. Judging by the transactions to the Bitcoin wallet address shared, a lot of people fell for it. Which leads me to promise you that if you send me bitcoin, I will triple the amount! OK, just kidding. Here to tell us what we know about this hack and what companies should be doing as a result, we're joined by Aaron Shum, practice lead of security at Info-Tech Research Group.
July 17, 2020
Pilot - Tech Insights
 Welcome to Tech Insights, the new podcast from Info-Tech Research Group. Hear from our analysts on what really matters for technology leaders. In this episode, learn about Europe's new cloud platform effort in Gaia-X; the latest updates to Microsoft Teams; Oracle's evolving shift to the cloud in its Q4 earnings report; and police use of facial recognition technology in Detroit. Join us in this pilot episode.
July 17, 2020