Canada was predicted to have approximately $26.83 billion in online sales in 2015 representing almost a seventeen percent increase over the previous year. Of course part of this is fueled by people taking less time to shop, new services being offered by retailers like online grocery purchasing (then pick up on a predetermined time at the store or other location), as provided by Loblaws at their Click and Collect locations and also due to tools for easing returns when products don't match expectations.Read More
Office Document Strategies Blog
In 2009 Xerox made a large acquisition to be able to move to penetrate the technology outsourcing business on the computer and systems side. Understanding that much of the growth of business technology systems business required a congruence between the hardware and print business and the network business that was connecting all the devices the strategy was to get a foot in both camps.
On January 29th Xerox announced it was splitting into two public companies, one focused on document technology (the 'old' print business) and one on business process outsourcing by the end of 2016. The two companies will be independent with two CEOs, two boards and separate business operations. It essentially says that the combined strategy has not worked and that a different structure is needed going forward.
It is very interesting to look at this announcement in light of the split that HP has also undergone. In the HP situation the decision was to create two companies with different market targets based upon size and business type. HP Inc. retains the personal computer and printer business while a newly formed Hewlett-Packard Enterprise would focus on the services, server and storage businesses primarily focused on larger enterprises.
Whereas HP defined the new roles by market segment primarily by size keeping services and hardware in both new entities, it appears that Xerox has decided to keep its traditional hardware business in one company and spin the technology services business of into a new entity.
Of course both strategies have merit depending upon the strengths of the originating operations and there are businesses that have successfully rebuilt themselves like this before. One which comes to mind is IBM which has transformed into almost exclusively a services business after selling off its hardware operations to Lenovo, first on the PC side and then in a subsequent deal on the server side as well.
What a new Xerox will end up looking like is anyone s guess at this point. Will the retrenching of the traditional document focused print side stay as is or will it be able to make changes to compete in an area of business that is very different than it was only ten years ago.Read More
Most business managers have concerns about their computer networks getting compromised either due to direct hacking or the inadvertent impact of someone downloading malware. This just makes sense. On the other hand how much time is spent teaching their users about how to avoid problems and what to do if they suspect there is an issue?
Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported in a global study that Canadian information security budgets had a significant increase over 2014 but fewer than 57 percent indicated their organization offered security training and awareness programs. The participants in this study will be larger, more formalized firms so we can safely assume that with so many Canadian companies being SMBs (Small Medium Businesses) the percent taking the time to educate their people will be even lower.
PwC's report indicates that Canadian cybersecurity incidents increased by 160 percent year over year which shows that the problem is not going away. There is some good news in the report in that Canada is actually doing better than other world wide jurisdictions. This means we are not the worst at dealing with this kind of business risk but the percentages indicate there is much more than could be done.
One are identified as being problematic is the impact of connections to in house systems made by partners. This could be the visiting technical or sales person who connects to the office network and introduces a problem by mistake. Simple isolation steps through guest logins and isolated IP ranges can help to mitigate this kind of intrusion and most organizations could have this basic security provided.
Of course the more depth of access a user or guest has the greater the risk to the business so proper security planning and policies (if enforced) can help to protect from these challenges.
Basic to all of this, however, is making sure that employees understand the importance of IT security to the business (it could be a survival issue if the intrusion is serious enough) and that they are trained to be able to identify how they can participate in a protection regime. The solution starts at the hiring stage as IT policies are spelled out, the consequences of violations explained, and the steps to be taken if a problem is experienced outlined.Read More
In July 2015, Canada Post announced new proposed postage rates for implementation effective January 11 2016. There are always several components to a postal rate change as there are many categories of rate.
The rate most commonly looked at is the single stamp rate which is currently $1.00 per stamp, unchanged from the previous rate. In the July announcement Canada Post proposed to increase the bulk purchase rate (the way many people buy stamps in bundles of 10 or more) from $0.85 to $0.90 effective with the new rates.Read More
When a big IT data breach occurs there is lots of media coverage and we all hear some of the gory details on how serious the impact may be. Unfortunately, we do not hear as much about the smaller breaches that also occur and that means that many companies do not work as hard as they should to protect their computer networks.Read More
When you look at your everyday operations it is easy to see that a highly IT connected world, fast performance from devices and quick response from systems and people is an increasing expectation.Read More
In 2011 a UK Professor, Harald Haas, demonstrated how using a simple LED light and a photo receiver it is possible to transmit data without any radio or hard wired connection. Using subtle changes in the light intensity data is transmitted quickly and securely to a receiving device. This design has been designated LIFI.
A startup company based in Estonia is bringing the technology to market to enable it to support the wireless data needs in an office. Here's the founder showing how it works.
Some of the benefits of this technology can be the security by retaining the light source and receiver within one location without leakage to surrounding rooms as with WIFI. The transfer is faster and uses much less energy as well.
The inventor of the LIFI system presented a more detailed explanation of how it works at a recent TED talk and demonstrated how current LED infrastructure combined with available solar cells could potentially be used to become part of a LIFI system. One of the big benefits of this use is that there is less need for new installations and thus a lowering of the power requirements for supporting data transmission. The solar cell used as the capture station for the LIFI can continue to be used as a capture source for the energy it holds as well.
Here's Professor Haas showing how this all works and explaining how he sees it impacting the needs of our future wireless and internet environment.