22 Mar 2018

The Sky’s the Limit for SMBs Taking to the Cloud

The Sky’s the Limit for SMBs Taking to the Cloud
There has been a lot of hype about cloud computing transforming the way small-to-medium sized businesses do business. Proponents of the cloud say that cloud computing has leveled the playing field, allowing SMBs to finally compete with bigger companies despite their limited financial resources and staffing.
Still, many are apprehensive to make the jump. They’re hesitant to give up control and they fear the cloud will expose them to greater security risks. Moving to the cloud definitely requires a leap of faith, but a recent ComScore study, completed on behalf of Microsoft, suggests that those who are froggy enough to take the leap (sorry) have no regrets once they do.
In fact, more than half of those surveyed wish they had adopted it earlier and feel that the benefits far outweigh their initial worries.
What are those benefits?
Enhanced Privacy and Security
According to the study, 94 percent of companies who’ve adopted cloud services believe they’re now more secure than they were before, thanks to the cloud’s spam management and up-to-date systems and antivirus protection.
Less Downtime and More Confidence
61% of those surveyed reported fewer instances of downtime since their move to the cloud. Even those who still experienced downtime events felt that they were shorter in duration and that full recovery could be achieved much quicker.
93% indicated that they were more confident in their ability to fully recover after an outage. Comparatively, 73% responded that they felt the integrity of their data in the cloud was stronger than previously, which is interesting since data integrity has often been the biggest worry about the cloud.
Environmental Friendliness
Any company striving to be more “green” will appreciate the environmental benefits of moving to the cloud.  A recent six-month study conducted by the Berkeley Lab found that moving 86 million U.S. office workers to the cloud resulted in the use of 87% less energy, leaving enough leftover electricity annually to power a city the size of Los Angeles for twelve months.
Cost Effectiveness
Cost effectiveness and greater ROI (return on investment) are the most important factors in getting CEOs and major decision makers to support shifting to the cloud.  A Rackspace commissioned study conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that 62% of respondents felt that adopting cloud computing strategies freed up money that could be reinvested in other operations like marketing, customer service, product development, and expansion into new markets.
While there is a competitive advantage that can be realized by moving to the cloud, those who are still apprehensive should migrate to the cloud at a pace they’re comfortable with. Once they implement cloud monitoring, and understand it a bit more, most SMBs grow more comfortable with the cloud and expand their use of it.
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15 Mar 2018

Why Should You Get On The Cloud?


A recent article by The Guardian (UK) states that the cloud industry is set to see a growth of around 30% soon. But many small and medium business owners are still struggling to make sense of the cloud and how it can benefit them. If you are one of them, then here’s what’s in store for you when you migrate to the cloud:
1. Connectivity – Being on the cloud gives you unparalleled connectivity to your data—from anywhere and at any time. All you need is a device that can connect you to the web and you are set!
2. Save On Hardware Costs – Using the cloud for certain programs spares you the cost of investing in specific hardware. Even devices as simple as your smartphone or a tablet can help you access those applications so you don’t have to spend money on dedicated hardware. Studies have shown that cloud users end up enjoying as much as a 17% IT cost reduction compared to their non-cloud counterparts.
3. Cloud Enables SAAS – The cloud allows you to use software as a service. Microsoft 365 is one such example. When you use software as a service, you enjoy certain benefits such as more regular updates at a lower cost and the ability to have anyone work on the program for you by sharing the access credentials with them.
4. More Efficient Use of IT Staff – Moving to a cloud-based environment puts the burden of maintenance and downtime reduction on your service provider. That means you can use your limited IT staff more efficiently and also don’t have to worry about the costs associated with such maintenance or downtime.
5. Improved Productivity – Studies have shown that cloud users enjoy better productivity than their non-cloud counterparts. This could be because cloud service providers are better equipped to handle any IT eventualities than the average SMBs.
So, perhaps it’s time to ‘get cloudy’ and enjoy all that the cloud has to offer your SMB. And…if you need help in doing that, we are just a phone call away!

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09 Mar 2018
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08 Mar 2018

How mixed reality is changing the game for healthcare, from performing live surgeries to delivering ultrasounds in 3D

Author: Lorraine Bardeen
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Man and woman in lab wearing HoloLens looking at a hologram of a DNA strand.

Last year around this time I had the chance to write a post about one of my favorite mixed reality uses cases – healthcare.

Since that time, we have continued to see remarkable momentum for mixed reality across numerous facets of the industry. This week at HIMSS our team had the privilege to once again be on the ground to see and experience how customers and partners are embracing mixed reality to transform the way they innovate, support, and help others.

Coming out of the show I wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the innovation work we are seeing from organizations who are working to forge the future of healthcare.

CAE Healthcare

Joining us onsite at HIMSS this year was CAE Healthcare. CAE is an industry leader in the development of simulation-based technologies, curriculum, and resources that improve clinical performance. I talked about some of their earliest work with Microsoft HoloLens last year – well, they certainly haven’t slowed down!

CAE VimedixAR is the first ultrasound simulator to integrate HoloLens. Freed from the limits of a two-dimensional environment inside a monitor, healthcare professionals can display, enlarge, turn, and rotate realistic-looking anatomical parts, or command them to return into the manikin body. Users and those learning with this technology are able to witness (in real time) the ultrasound beam as it cuts through human anatomy.

With CAE LucinaAR, clinical learners can view 3D holograms of a fetus as it descends the birth canal and gain an unprecedented view of anatomy as they learn to manage a shoulder dystocia delivery. CAE Lucina is a wireless childbirth simulator with validated, integrated maternal-fetal physiology for training on all the stages of delivery and the rare emergency scenario. With five pre-configured Simulated Clinical Experiences (SCEs), and new mixed reality modules coming soon, Lucina allows instructors at universities and hospitals to easily integrate simulation and augmented reality into their hands-on educational programs.

With their Abiomed Impella procedural training solution, CAE Healthcare is integrating HoloLens into its simulation-based training platform that allows physicians to practice ultrasound-guided placement of the world’s smallest heart pump. Overlaying the ultrasound manikin, probe and instruments, the CAE HoloLens framework will depict physiological responses and potential complications to help clinicians quickly master and deploy the device without risk to patients.

Adding to its physics-driven simulator for the Medtronic Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), the world’s smallest pacemaker, CAE Healthcare delivered a mixed reality training solution for up to 11 simultaneous learners on its Microsoft HoloLens platform. Learners can practice while viewing interactive holograms of a 3D beating heart into which the Micra delivery system is visible and connected in real-time.

Pearson delivers mixed reality learning tools for nursing professionals

At Bett this year we were thrilled to announce some of the great curricula our friends at Pearson were delivering to train nurses using mixed reality and the benefit of holographic patients. Today, I am happy to share more details about one of their extraordinary pieces of the curriculum – HoloPatient.

HoloPatient is a mixed-reality learning tool for nursing, allied health and medical schools that will deliver simulated patient experiences to more students, at a more manageable cost, and with a greater degree of consistency than ever before. This cutting-edge 3D immersive solution redefines how learners interact with their worlds and each other—bringing learning to life with startling clarity and breathing new possibility into teaching. Designed and conceived in collaboration with expert healthcare educators and simulation facilitators from around the world, HoloPatient uses Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture technology allowing tutors and students to engage in a range of learning and assessment activities previously only possible when using actors or by encountering patients in real life.

Hologram of a patient sitting on a hospital bed called HoloPatient created by Pearson.

HoloPatient drives consistency across the delivery of learning content and assessment while also allowing nursing and medical schools to augment their existing delivery of world-class education and training with one of the most promising and engaging teaching and learning use-cases for mixed reality currently available.

The HoloPatient app will be released globally in April 2018, along with a virtual reality version later in the year. By the end of June 2018, Pearson will have released four other learning tools including Anatomy, Chemistry (building molecules in 3D), Math (Area and Volume of 3D objects) and History.

You can find out more at pearsonimmersive.com.


SphereGen is utilizing mixed reality to create innovative solutions designed to increase efficiency and revolutionize the learning process. SphereGen collaborated with St. George’s University to develop the Learning Heart. The Learning Heart is a HoloLens application that assists students in understanding the elements of the Heart. As a study aid and teaching tool, this application can be used individually or collaboratively by multiple HoloLens users. The holograms are fully three-dimensional and can be traversed around and viewed from any position and angle.

DICOM Director is a full product suite designed to enable communication and collaboration between different radiologists, doctors, and medical practices. The backend of this solution enables radiologists to view, transfer and share scans. This solution utilizes HoloLens as a viewer for radiological scans, such as MRIs, cat scans, and several others. Radiologists and doctors can remotely view their scans through the HoloLens and/or a Windows Mixed Reality headset. The viewing functionality enables the user to see the series of scans, an enlarged view of the selected scan (which they can scroll through), and the 3D model reconstruction from the scans.

Live surgery with HoloLens

One of the most mind-blowing moments in mixed reality occurred just a few months ago. On that day AP-HP, Paris French hospitals group, conducted a live surgery on YouTube, assisted by TeraRecon medical holographic platform leveraging Azure GPU and HoloLens. The surgeon was assisted by TeraRecon and their partners to develop the complete end-to-end solution from the patient surgery planning up to the real-time streaming of the real patent image data (pre-operative 3D CT scan) with its full volume rendering in the highest quality ever seen including segmentation of the CT scan. This live surgery was conduct using sharing experience to share the same patient data across multiple HoloLens with the same holographic space (operating room) as well as sharing the HoloLens view with the remote surgeon.


With a mission to empower doctors, Visual 3D Medical Science and Technology Development CO. LLC) is dedicated to the use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and mixed reality to enhance the capability of doctors. By way of research and development, Visual3D’s technology can promote doctor’s ability of perception and appliance of medical information; enhance the remote cooperative abilities of doctors in different places to build a scientific and technological platform for intelligent medical therapy.

Visual3D has already performed over 200 hip, knee, and spinal surgeries in China using HoloLens. In addition to using HoloLens in the operating theater, Visual3D is using HoloLens to assist doctors pre-surgery as both a tool to brief patients on their upcoming surgical procedures, as well as allowing doctors to pre-visualize and rehearse the procedure before entering the operating room.

Next Surgeries

Digital Pages, a leading Brazilian company in the lifecycle management of digital contents, has developed an interactive application for surgery planning using Microsoft HoloLens. The application offers students, surgeons and healthcare professionals a new perspective on the modeling and manipulation of physical and virtual 3D objects. Next Surgeries introduces the use of holographic projections in surgical planning, reducing the total time of surgeries, the exposure of the patient and staff to radiation and risk of infections, blood loss, etc. The application is available on the digital teaching platform RDP Learning integrated to HoloLens, bringing innovation and more security to the health sector.

I look forward to sharing more with you all soon as we continue to shine a light on many of the great mixed reality innovations being delivered by customers, partners, and developers of mixed reality!


How mixed reality is changing the game for healthcare, from performing live surgeries to delivering ultrasounds in 3D

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08 Mar 2018

Understand How Data Losses Happen – In Order to Prevent Them


Small business owners are often worried about data loss. Rightly so, because data loss has the potential to wipe out a business. We have identified the most common forms of data loss so you can see how they fit into your business and assess the risks related to each of these pitfalls.
1. Human Error – Human error – by way of unintentional data deletion, modification, and overwrites – has become much more prevalent in recent years. Much of this is the result of carelessly managed virtualization technology. While virtualization and cloud computing have enabled improved business continuity planning for many businesses and organizations, humans must still instruct this technology how to perform. The complexity of these systems often presents a learning curve that can involve quite a bit of trial and error. For instance, a support engineer may accidentally overwrite the backup when they forget to power off the replication software prior to formatting volumes on the primary site. They will be sure to never do that ever again, but preventing it from happening in the first place would be more ideal.
2. File Corruption – Unintended changes to data can occur during writing, reading, storage, transmission and processing – making the data within the file inaccessible. Software failure is a leading cause of data loss and is typically the result of bugs in the code. Viruses and malware can also lead to individual data files being deleted and hard drive partitions being damaged or erased.
3. Hardware Failure – Storage devices may be at risk due to age, or they may fall victim to irreparable hard-disk failure. Viruses and hackers can also potentially shut down a hard drive by inserting undeletable malicious code and huge files via open, unprotected ports. If these malicious programs cannot be deleted, the entire hard drive may have to be reformatted, wiping out all the data.
4. Catastrophic Events/Theft – The threat of catastrophic events such as fire, flooding, lightning and power failure is always a concern. Such events can wipe out data in a millisecond with no warning. Theft is also a data loss risk that companies must address. While advances in technology like anytime/anywhere connectivity, portability and the communication/information sharing capabilities of social media and crowdsourcing have revolutionized business – the risk for theft is even greater due to this increased accessibility. More people are doing daily business on their laptop, iPad and mobile phones. They are also carrying around portable media like thumb drives, USB sticks and CDs. Physical theft of any of these devices can spell big trouble.
Data loss is as unique as the various sources from which it comes. The key is to identify the areas in which your business is weak and work towards a mitigation plan for each one of them. An MSP can act as a trusted partner in such cases, holding your hand through the process of safeguarding your data.

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07 Mar 2018
07 Mar 2018

Windows 10 in S Mode coming soon to all editions of Windows 10

Author: Joe Belfiore
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Some of you may have seen a discussion around our plans for Windows 10 S on Twitter today, and given some additional questions I’ve received, I thought it might be helpful to share more about our plans with Windows 10 S.

Last year we introduced Windows 10 S – an effort to provide a Windows experience that delivers predictable performance and quality through Microsoft-verified apps via the Microsoft Store. This configuration was offered initially as part of the Surface Laptop and has been adopted by our customers and partners for its performance and reliability.

Since that time, we’ve received great feedback from customers and partners on Windows 10 S. Customers love the security, faster boot time, better battery life and consistent performance over time. Our partners have brought to market more than 20 devices with Windows 10 S enabled. We have also heard feedback that the naming was a bit confusing for both customers and partners.

Based on that feedback, we are simplifying the experience for our customers. Starting with the next update to Windows 10, coming soon, customers can choose to buy a new Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro PC with S mode enabled, and commercial customers will be able to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise with S mode enabled.

We expect the majority of customers to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 in S mode. If a customer does want to switch out of S mode, they will be able to do so at no charge, regardless of edition. We expect to see new Windows 10 devices ship with S mode, available from our partners in the coming months, so check back here for updates.

We hope this new approach will simplify and make it possible for more customers to start using Windows in S mode: a familiar, productive Windows experience that is streamlined for security and performance across all our editions.

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07 Mar 2018

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