Artificial Intelligence (AI), Business Intellegence (BI), Gunnebo Business Solutions, Machine Learning (ML), Microsoft Azure

Machine Learning and Cognitive Services

Machine learning is gradually becoming the driving force for every business.  Business organizations, large or small trying to seek machine learning models to predict present and future demands and do innovation, production, marketing, and distribution for their products.

Business value concerns of all forms of value that decides the well-being of a business. It’s a much broader term than economic value encompassing many other factors such as customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, social values etc. It’s the key measurement of the success of a business. AI helps you to Accelerate this business value in two ways. That’s through allowing to make correct decisions and innovation.

Machine learning technologies. Millennial students teaching a robot to analyse data
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Remember the days when Yahoo was the major search engine and Internet Explorer was the Major web browser. One of the main reason for their downfall was their inability to make correct decisions. Wise decisions are made by analyzing data. More data you analyze, better decisions you make. Machine Learning greatly support in this cause.

There was a time, Customers accepted what companies were offering them. Things are different now. Demands of customers for new features are ever more increasing. Machine Learning has been the decisive factor behind almost every new innovation whether it be face recognition, personal assistants or autonomous vehicles.

Machine Learning in more details

First starts with learning what machine learning is. Machine learning enables systems to learn and make decisions without explicitly programming for it.  Machine learning is applied in a broad range of fields. Nowadays, Almost every human activity getting automated with the help of machine learning. A particular area of study that machine learning largely exploited is data science.

Data science plays with data. Data must be extracted to make the best decisions for a business.

The amount of data that a business has to work with is enormous today. For example, social media producing billions of data every day. To stay ahead of your competitors, every business must make the best use of this data. That’s where you need machine learning.

Machine learning has invented many techniques to make better decisions out of large data sets. These include Neural networks, SVM, Reinforcement learning and many other algorithms.

Among them, Neural networks are leading the way. It improves consistently spawning child technologies such as convolutional and recurrent neural networks to provide better results in different scenarios.

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Learning machine learning from the beginning, and trying to develop models from scratch is not a wise idea. That yields huge cost and demands a lot of expertise in the subject. That why someone should try to take the assistance of a machine learning vendor. Google, Amazon, Microsoft they all provides Machine learning services. Let’s take Microsoft as an example, and review what qualities we should look for when selecting a vendor.

Using cloud as a solution for machine learning

It simplifies and accelerates the building, training, and deployment of machine learning models. It provides with a set of APIs to interact with when creating models hiding all the complexity in devising machine learning algorithms. Azure has the capability to identify suitable algorithms and tune hyperparameters faster. Autoscale is a built-in feature of Azure cloud services which automatically scale applications. This autoscaling feature has many advantages. It allows your application to perform best while keeping the cost to a minimum. Azure machine learning APIs can be used with any major technologies such as C# and Java.

There are many other advantages you will have with cloud Machine Learning

  • Flexible pricing. You pay for what you use.
  • High user-friendliness. Easier to learn and less restrictive.
  • More accurate predictions based on a wide range of algorithms.
  • Fine tuning results are easier.
  • Ability to publish your data model as a web service Which is easy to consume.
  • The tool allows data streaming platforms like Azure Event Hubs to consume data from thousands of concurrently connected devices.
  • You can publish experiments for data models in just a few minutes whereas expert data scientists may take days to do the same.
  • Azure security measures manage the security of Azure Machine Learning that protects data in the cloud and offers security-health monitoring of the environment

Using Cognitive Services to power your business applications

We will go on to discuss how Azure cognitive service can be used power up a business application. Azure cognitive services are a combination of APIs, SDKs, and services which allows developers to build intelligent applications without having expertise in data science or AI. These applications can have the ability to see, hear, speak, understand or even to reason.

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Azure cognitive services were introduced to extend the Microsoft existing portfolio of APIs.

New services provided by Azure cognitive services includes

  • Computer vision API which provides with advanced algorithms necessary to implement image processing
  • Face API to enable face detection and recognition
  • Emotion API gives options to recognize the emotion of a face
  • Speech service adds speech functionalities to applications
  • Text analytics can be used for natural language processings

Most of these APIs were built targeting business applications. Text analytics can be used to harvest user feedbacks thus allowing businesses to take necessary actions to accelerate their value. Speech services allow business organizations to provide better customer services to their clients. All these APIs have a free trial which can be used to evaluate them. You can use these cognitive services to build various types of AI applications that will solve a complex problem for you thus accelerating your business value.

If you want to talk more about ML and AI, feel free to contact me: bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Gunnebo Business Solutions, Innovation, Reflections

InnoTown 2019

Finally the day is here, and it is time for another InnoTown in my beautiful hometown Ålesund. Ålesund’s Art Nouveau architecture is known far and wide. The myriad of turrets, spires and beautiful ornamentation are like something from a fairytale.

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Photo: Sponland Foto AS

The InnoTown Conference, arranged over two decades has brought speakers that have skilfully entertained the audiences with their unique stories. Their talks contain a rich blend of deeply motivational personal journeys and exceptionally practical business cases. They leave us energized and confident to capitalise on new ideas beyond the tried and tested. Ålesund is also the centre of one of the most innovative and dynamic regions in Norway, with a long history of groundbreaking innovation.

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Photo: InnoTown

This year Monica Parker moderated and narrated the event. Monica is an ex-homicide investigator, organisational behaviorist, speaker, author, workplace nerd, status quo challenger and founder of HATCH Analytics guiding businesses through change.

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Photo: InnoTown

Monica has fifteen years experience in understanding the influence of environment and processes on human behavior. Monica specializes in an evidence-based approach to change, using social scientific methods of data collection grounded in a pragmatic and commercial foundation.

“I have always been interested in human behaviour, my background as a homicide investigator in the U.S. gave me an analytical mind and a broad understanding of behavioral psychology.”

What is Creativity?

Fredrik Haren talks on creativity, innovation and idea generation – and on how to develop a global mindset and build a truly global company.  His speeches help the audience understand how valuable it is to think in new ways and how difficult this is to achieve. He also speaks on business creativity and human innovation, on embracing disruption and change, and about the importance of having a global, human mindset. Fun fact about Fredrik is that he owns three private islands and he invited the InnoTown audience to join him there 😎

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Creativity is a combination force, it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources, knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds that we have accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.

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Photo: InnoTown

Talking more on creativity, Fredrik spoke about how great nations have been able to remain relevant with amazing ideas. Over the years,  USA have come up with grand and great ideas and creative innovations such as Tesla, SpaceX, Microsoft, Apple.

For Japan, creative small incremental changes have been key. All of these incremental changes add up, and make a significant positive impact on organizations. One approach to continuous incremental improvement in japan is called kaizen. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers.

China economy find it’s niche in mass manufacturing, and this lead to huge market of copying in Chinese economy. China, copy and copy right has led to a lot of good products and huge revenues for China. 

Mongolia nomadic mindset has been very important for the development of such a small nation. The Mongolian people belong to one of the oldest nomadic cultures in the world and still highly regarded as a major part of the fabric which is Mongolia and commercial success of Mongolia. They move to where the business is.

Iceland is probably the most improved nation in Europe this century, and they have gone about this by simply getting out and getting inspired in all facet.

Philippines creativity became widely known in 2010 when inmates in Cebu prison  were recorded dancing to Michael Jackson’s thriller. The dance performance took place in a prison on the Filipino island of Cebu and the purpose was to showcase the island’s proud dance tradition

The value of travel, let go of parts of your identity and embrace other cultures and mindsets. That way you might become a fountain of ideas.

He concluded by saying in order to put in the hard work to acquire a skill, you need to believe that the activity really is a skill you can learn. When you believe the activity is a talent then you don’t bother to work hard at it, because you attribute any limitations in your performance to your lack of talent.

Sustainable Energy

What are the structural changes that are needed in the financial industry to align the business models with the Paris Climate Agreement and United Nation Sustainability Goals?  Sustainability has become the fundamental to resilient business. It is about trust and the ability to provide long term value creation. Sustainable energy is a form of energy that meet our today’s demand of energy without putting them in danger of getting expired or depleted and can be used over and over again. Sustainable energy should be widely encouraged as it do not cause any harm to the environment and is available widely free of cost.

This energy is replenishable and helps us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and causes no damage to the environment. If we are going to use fossil fuels at a steady rate, they will expire soon and cause adverse affect to our planet

Thina Margrethe Saltvedt is a senior advisor Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank. Before joining the Sustainable Finance group in January 2018, she worked as a chief analyst macro/oil for 10 years. Thina is a member of the Minister of Climate and Environment’s Climate Council.

Sustainable development gained traction after the Brundtland commission definition statement, created on behalf of the United Nations in 1983 to reflect about ways to save the human environment and natural resources and prevent deterioration of economic and social development: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Also the Norwegian Pension Fund focuses on a sustainable investment profile and how they seek to reduce financial risks associated with the environmental and social practices of companies in their portfolio.

Thina spoke about how Sustainable energy management is a key issue for companies today. She said long-term strategic thinkers and energy entrepreneurs must be closely involved in these practices. They must play an important role in helping their organizations make more sustainable energy choices. Energy entrepreneurs must support energy consumption reduction efforts with their in-depth knowledge of energy costs. And they help steer management towards the right decisions for using renewable energy. She reiterated that sustainability is a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organization operates in the ecological, social and economic environment. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies foster company longevity.

As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, companies are recognizing the need to act on sustainability. Professional communications and good intentions are no longer enough. Also, investors today avoid taking on climate risks. Making short term decisions in the wrong direction might involve costs and risk for the investment.

A Missed Opportunity for the Maritime Community

The super yacht Industry! How did this Norewgian-born end up designing custom motor yachts for an international clientele? What is the super yacht market like and what does this mean to Norway?

Espen Oeino first involvement in yacht design is the popular ECCO yacht, and he hasn’t looked back since then. 

Photo: Staale Wattø / InnoTown

For over twenty years Espen Oeino has been hard at work. The world recognized designer, founded his technical and design office specializing in yacht design, naval architecture and engineering related disciplines in Monaco. With a multicultural and multi disciplined staff of 20, based in the yachting capital of Monaco, the studio has left a significant imprint on the new build market and is today considered one of the world’s leading design studios for large bespoke motor yachts.

Espen Oeino talked on the world of interior superyacht design and how it has been largely dominated by a small specialized group of yacht stylists, interior designers and architects. He also gave opinions on the mindset of the yacht designers.

Espen Oeino also gave an honest opinion on yacht designers offering both exterior and interior design, explaining that some clients prefer to entrust their yacht’s interior to a different designer.

Initially, your designer of choice will want to find out your ambitions for the yacht where you’ll sail, who with, and what you plan to do aboard. This information will inform their designs, and these discussions will often involve reference boats  other yachts you have admired, and showcase vessels you have seen at boat shows around the world, or in the designer’s portfolio. For constructing each Superyacht up to 1.000 people can be employed for up to four years.

Finally, he gave an insight to how yachts are constructed explaining that no yachts are built from A-Z in the Nordics, even if the competence is there.

The Generation Gap

For the first time in history we have four different generations competing in the workplace and marketplace, all with separate ways of working, communicating and expectations of these relationships. Forget the outdated emphasis on Millennials, the biggest challenge facing business now is how to manage and maintain a multi-generational and diverse workforce and consumer-base.  The Generation Gap is becoming an increasingly difficult issue for business. It is a difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding beliefs, politics, or values. In today’s usage, generation gap often refers to a perceived gap between younger people and their parents or grandparents.

Dr. Paul Redmond specializes in ‘Generational Intelligence’, helping companies and services navigate the complex generational developments within politics, society and the workplace.

Paul educates companies on long-term generational trends on how business can adapt, not only for Millennials and Gen Z’s needs, but crucially across the generations. His aim is to smash some of the misconceptions and generalisations that come with speaking about the generations.

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Dr. Paul Redmond talked on how Generation Gap is Caused by Collectivism and Individualism: Whether in non-western countries or westerns countries, when there are changes in politics and societies, families and individuals are affected greatly. In many non-western countries such as China, Japan and Korea, collectivism is considered as one of the most significant values in the cultures, whereas in western countries such as the United states, individualism is emphasized. However, from the middle of 19th century, a great number of Asian people immigrate to the United States.

He mentioned how the generation gap is growing for each generation, and every generation has its own approach to life and work. At the risk of stating the obvious, the interactions between generations have profound effects on families and their businesses. Today, Boomers are mostly in charge and getting hit with the new wave of change brought in by the Millennial generation, born between 1982 and 2004.

Change and how to Embrace it..

Monica Parker, the moderator, comes back to talk about change and how it can positively impact lives. Change is a big part of being successful. Not only is change good, but it’s accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace.This means that you need to keep adapting. It’s both a survival skill and a success skill

Monica Parker the moderator talked about change and how it never stands still in real life. It’s not like the movies where characters can freeze-frame and the writer takes the viewer on some tangential story. In real life, change happens constantly. You can fight it or welcome it. It’s your choice. Change will occur regardless.

Monica explained how all companies are tech companies today in the age of IoT. The total installed base of IoT connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years. 

She told the story of how China uses AI to monitor people and India use AI to reunite orphans with their family, and in 2018, the Chinese government has installed close to 200 million surveillance cameras across the country, which amounts to approximately 1 camera per 7 citizens.

Monica also gave an insight on how change is going to affect employment rate, explaining how Kids growing up today will have 17 jobs in 5 different industries according to a research from McKindle.

She rounded up by explaining how the decisions to vote Trump and Brexit is a backlash for globalization.

What are you Great at?

René Carayol is back and this time he shares the magic and simplicity of the SPIKE philosophy. Spike is the product of some 30 years of supporting the growth and development of individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes. The vital and essential ingredient of the Spike methodology is that absolutely everyone has at least one inherent strength.Sometimes, it’s hard to see these things in ourselves. Our natural abilities/talents/gifts come so naturally to us that we often don’t even notice them! We tend to assume that our gifts come just as naturally to everyone else, therefore, they aren’t special or unique, nor are they particularly useful. But that assumption isn’t accurate because we all have multiple gifts and something to offer the world it’s just a matter of getting clear on what those things are so that we feel confident in sharing what we have to offer.

Rene gave his opinion on humanity. According to him, humanity is plural, not singular. We embrace the diversity of humanity and all it brings to innovation. Because the best way the world works is everybody in and nobody out.

Finally he spoke on the concept of “Challenge up, support down”. “Challenge up” is when people honestly disagree with ideas and policies that come from top management. Once final decisions are made, they “support down” by standing behind the decisions and making them work in the department and the community. This philosophy is important for greatness.

Carayol is one of the world’s leading business gurus specialising in leadership, culture and transformation, drawing from his own unique experiences on the boards of the biggest British and American organisations. He has had the privilege of working closely with some of the world’s prominent leaders; from former US President Bill Clinton to the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sir Richard Branson.

 

Read more about InnoTown here: InnoTown
Read more about Ålesund here: Visit Norway

 

Gunnebo Business Solutions, Operations, Tactical Meetings

Efficient Technical Support Tactical Meetings

Gunnebo Business Solutions AB is working on establishing an international, dynamic and enthusiastic software development team who will build sophisticated security and business applications. Within the new organization, customer support and operations plays a vital role.

Global communication network concept

To be able to effectively help our customers, we are implementing and improving our routines around the support process. We have started our journey with ITIL version 4 and DevOps, but lately an article from Holocracy regarding “Tactical Meetings” caught my eye. Tactical meetings are held regularly, on a weekly basis, with the intention of removing any obstacles that may arise preventing the team from achieving their goals for that cycle (the duration between 2 meetings), or to update the rest of the team as to what is going on with the task assigned to a team member.

Tactical Meeting Procedure and Expectations

Tactical meetings are usually kept short and on point. These meetings usually can be divided into five main parts, they are namely “Check-in”, “Checklist, Metrics, Project Updates”, “Agenda Building”, “Triaging Issues” and finally the “Closing Round”.

  • Check-in Phase: This phase is basically sort of a get to know your team member phase, here team members are given a little time to talk about how they are doing or feel free to express how they are feeling at that moment (maybe they were feeling little blue at that moment or rejoicing about something special, or maybe they were just not themselves), just so that the other members would know where that member was coming from.
  • Checklist, Metrics, Project Updates Phase: Here the team members are given the opportunity to provide the rest of the team with some context about the issues they are facing with regards to the task they were assigned. The other team members are also encouraged to either ask the member questions or may save them for a later time in the meeting.
  • Agenda Building Phase: At this point, the facilitator (the person chairing the meeting, who is usually the team leader or a supervisor or someone from the management) would go ask the members to let him/her know of the problems they are facing. These problems are known as “Tensions”. Here the team member would either give a short phrase describing the tension or if they do not have any tensions, they could just say pass.
  • Triaging Issues Phase: This is the point where the team is allowed to discuss the issues they are facing in detail and try and come up with solutions to the tensions, keeping in mind any limitation that may arise in completing the task from the side of the team member who is facing the tension. The facilitator also plays a larger role here in keeping the topic on point and not letting the discussions to get derailed at any point. He / She can also add possible tensions that may arise from implementing the solutions into the agenda. But, once tension is crossed off the list, it cannot be revisited for that meeting.
  • Closing Round Phase: This is very similar to that of the check-in phase, but here the team members would deliberate on how they feel about the solutions that they have come up with, and whether or not they are happy with it.

The process of an Efficient Tactical Meeting

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The efficiency of a tactical meeting depends largely on the shoulders of the facilitator. An efficient facilitator would use a few tricks to keep the meetings short and on point. Here are some key tricks that a facilitator would need to use in order to achieve high levels of efficiency.

Recap from the previous cycle

Here the facilitator would go around the table, asking each member to present any updates from the solution(s) to the tension(s) they faced at the previous meeting. At this point, a good facilitator would have a checklist of the tensions and their solutions from the previous cycle and cross them off after they are resolved. Here the team members are also allowed to request to add items to the checklist as long as it is in keeping with the solution to the tension as well as accepted as a valid point for the solution by the other team members.

Keeping up with the time

This is when the facilitator allocates a certain amount of time for each task. For example, while building the agenda, the facilitator would ask the members to keep their tensions short and sweet, and sometimes even ask them to use one or two words to describe their tension, as these tensions can be elaborated in the triaging phase, it is not particularly necessary for everyone to understand the tension at this point. However, when it comes to the triaging phase, it is important that the facilitator finds a balance between allocating enough time for each tension in the agenda as well as being able to keep the meeting moving forward. Here it is considered good practice to not discuss minor issues (especially when considering technical support issues) in depth, but to find quick solutions and move to the next tension.

Processing the Tensions

This is the most important part of the role of a facilitator. Here the facilitator would ask the team member what their tension is, and then ask them what they need. The team member would then give a quick description of their tension and then give the team the solution to his/her tension or engage the other members of the team to come up with a fruitful solution. These tensions would be captured by the secretary and also the solution for the tension that was accepted by the team member. This would help the facilitator in the next cycle meeting when they recap the previous cycle. Finally, the facilitator would ask the member if they are happy with the solution, and if they are, move on to the next tension.

Tasks of a Facilitator

  • While most of the tensions in a technical support framework are quite straightforward, there are instances where the solution would require multiple steps to achieve the solution. Since these tactical meetings are set frequently, there may not always be time to complete all the steps required to achieve the solution. Hence, the facilitator would ask the team member for a “Next Action”, this is quite literally, what the team member wants to do next to achieve the solution to his/her tension. This could also be helpful to the facilitator to keep track of the checklist for the next cycles recap phase.
  • In cases where there is only one step, or is at the final step, the facilitator could also ask for the outcome of the project. A “Project” is a solution with a definite endpoint.
  • The facilitator can also ask team members to share information on tensions where there may not be an immediate solution.
  • In the case of where a member does not know how to express their tension(s), the facilitator could also either ask the team members to address the tension or even offer a possible pathway for the team member to address it by him/her self.
  • Another important task for the facilitator would be to make sure that only one tension is being discussed at one point. There may be instances where another team member would want to discuss a related or similar tension to that of which is being discussed. At this point the facilitator is required to refocus the team’s attention to the tension and hand, to ensure the meeting is efficient.
  • In cases where the teams come up with multiple solutions to the same tension, it is the job of the facilitator to urge the team to come up with a consensus as to what is the better solution. If the team member with the tension is not sure whether he/she would be able to achieve the solution, they can also request the help of other team members to reach their goal.
  • If the situation arises where the solution that the team has come up with, is not in keeping with the organization’s policies or is not a service provided by the organization, the facilitator has the job of taking this matter to the management and try to come up with a solution at that level.

In summary, the main objectives of a technical support tactical meeting are to spend more time talking about the important things and find a solution to help the customer more efficiently and satisfactorily. The purpose of these meetings is not to talk about things that are beyond the control of the team, or talk strategies or even politics, the purpose is to spend less time complaining and working together as a team to help each and every member of the team to perform their work efficiently and effectively. Hence, that is why we have not only implemented weekly tactical meetings at our organization, we also abide by the guidelines put forward in this article.

If you want to talk more about software support and operations, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com

Gunnebo Business Solutions, Milestone, Technical

Extending Milestone Smart Client with Bing Maps

The utilization for Milestone’s Xprotect smart client gets more limitless with every version. It supports hardware accelerated video decoding, and this means that you can be able to view very high resolution streams about 5 times better with your lower CPU and the aid of external graphics card. Amongst all its magnificent SDK has allowed the Gunnebo team to make a great plugin for the Xprotect Smart Client 2018 that now implements Microsoft’s Bing maps.

This operation is possible due to XProtect Smart Client very powerful, adaptable and easy-to-use client application for the daily operations of security installations. Using the Milestone Integration Platform and the unique application plug-in architecture, various types of security and business systems applications can be seamlessly integrated in XProtect Smart Client.

Bing Maps has abilities such as:

  • Buildings can be created with a number of levels which are easily navigated through a pane that will be made available for you after selecting a building.
  • Cameras can be added and attached to different levels. With this you will be able to shift the camera for different levels available.
  • You will be able to have a complete geographical overview of all the camera from different sites on your smart map. With this, you can be able to build live and current feed and as well monitor the recordings from your smart map camera.
  • It can go through seamless operations of jumping to cameras or custom overlays rather than having to navigate to them manually.

Bing maps can be easily embedded into the Xprotect smart clients with the aid of the Gunnebo map plugin which allows for seamless operation and as well shows all camera locations on the map.

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Window presentation foundation, a graphical subsystem from Microsoft was used by the Gunnebo team to work on the Bing map in such a way that the software development kit provides the basic programming pattern for tor the Bing.

The system requirements that this program is compartable with includes: windows 7, windows 8, widow’s server 2008, windows vista, windows 2000 service pack, widow’s server 2003 etc. Make sure you verify that your operating system is compatible with this programming reference before downloading the application or running it.

For its incorporation with milestone’s Xprotect the plugin would automatically generate location names from Milestone Camera groups/folders and groups cameras according to Milestone grouping.

The Milestone Camera and their location entity (parent folder) could be retrieved by MipSDK by the follow calls:

var items = Configuration.Instance.GetItemsByKind(Kind.Camera);

where

  • if FQID.Kind==Kind.Folder that means location(parent folder)
  • if FQID.Kind==Kind.Camera that means camera

Administrator of SmartClient can drag/drop each location into the map or specify the location address and comments.

You can search for different views for the various camera available on the view item types. Take for example if you want to see all of the views for the PTZ cameras, or those fron a particular manufacturer, or those that contain view item types:

  • Map
  • Alarm
  • Matrix
  • HTML
  • Name of camera in view
  • Add on products

With this you can be able to search for the key words available.

Location on the map

The Administrator of SmartClient can drag/drop each location into the map or specify the location address and comments. Also, you can create locations at the points of the map that interests you. with this you can be able to create a location for home office, satellite office. Aside the fact that the location will give you a full picture of your environment, you can also use them in the navigation of the map.

However, you should know that an Xprotect smart client location can only be added depending on your configuration. With this it becomes very easy with go to the general overlay of map when you are zoomed out.

Location data is stored on a central server in XProtect configuration. Administrator needs to set it up only once, then it will be shared between all SmartClients. Also once Administrator edits it in any SmartClient instance, it will be shared between all of them.

public static Guid DefaultLocationGuid = new Guid("AA2BB85A-B965-448f-BBA9-CC4DCE129411");

public static void SaveLocationCoordinates(this IList locations)
  {
   var coordinatesConfig =
         locations.Select(item =>
            new MapLocationConfigItem()
                { Latitude = item.Latitude, Longitude = item.Longitude, Name = item.Name,Address = item.Address}).ToArray();

    var node = coordinatesConfig.ToXmlNode();
    Configuration.Instance.SaveOptionsConfiguration(DefaultLocationGuid, false, node);
   }

To retrieve the stored coordinates from XProtect Central Server the follow code could be used:

var coordinatesConfigXmlNode = Configuration.Instance.GetOptionsConfiguration(DefaultLocationGuid, false);
var coordinatesConfig = coordinatesConfigXmlNode.ToInstance<MapLocationConfigItem[]>();

Where the key element is DefaultLocationGuid that contains a GUID of the our custom configuration entry.

Camera Navigator

The camera navigator is a feature that enables the ability to view all the cameras in relation to one another. This means the camera would be seen as they are laid down on a floor plan or map. With the camera navigator, you will be able to move from one camera to another in just a single view.

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The plugin checks the status of each camera and marks every location on the map with colored icon:

  • green if all cameras inside that particular location are online,
  • yellow if less than half cameras are offline,
  • red if more than half cameras are offline

To get the cameras status we use MessageCommunication mechanism provided by Milestone and implemented in MipSDK.

The plugin checks the status of each camera and marks every location on the map with colored icon:

  • green if all cameras inside that particular location are online,
  • yellow if less than half cameras are offline,
  • red if more than half cameras are offline

To get the cameras status we use MessageCommunication mechanism provided by Milestone and implemented in MipSDK:

Here we initializing  MessageCommunication API and registering callback(ProvideCurrentStateResponseHandler) which should be called once we get data with cameras statuses:

MessageCommunicationManager.Start(EnvironmentManager.Instance.MasterSite.ServerId);
messageCommunication = MessageCommunicationManager.Get(EnvironmentManager.Instance.MasterSite.ServerId);
communicationObject = messageCommunication.RegisterCommunicationFilter(ProvideCurrentStateResponseHandler,
                new CommunicationIdFilter(MessageCommunication.ProvideCurrentStateResponse));

To get the callback called and receive the status (online/offline) of each particular camera we should perform this call:

messageCommunication.TransmitMessage(
               new Message(MessageCommunication.ProvideCurrentStateRequest,
                    cameras.Select(camera => camera.CameraId.ToString()).ToArray()), null, null, null);

Below is an example of the implementation of ProvideCurrentStateResponseHandler callback:

private object ProvideCurrentStateResponseHandler(Message message, FQID dest, FQID source)
   {
     Collection result = message.Data as Collection;
     if (result != null)
       {
          foreach (ItemState itemState in result)
            {

           //itemState.FQID.ObjectId - Camera Id//itemState.State - Camera State             
    }
        }
            return null;
    }

The plugin also supports “Camera Monitoring” mode where all cameras are displayed regardless of location. Each camera has Status indication there and displays the time how long it being offline.

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If you are interested in knowing more about the Milestone SDK or the plugins we can offer, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Gunnebo Business Solutions, Holiday, Reflections

Happy Easter :-)

It’s the time for Easter, a time for a vacation. Many of you are eagerly waiting for Easter week which is always celebrated on first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon following the Vernal Equinox. It gives us the chance to welcome the spring after the prolonged dark winters. Although Norway is predominantly a secular country, the arrival of spring is always welcomed by people to spend time with their loved one. It’s a time for a family reunion and a needed break from work and schools.

Easter is special for me; I look forward to Easter candy and Sunday dinners. I will cook leg of lamb stuffed with garlic and served with root vegetables and potatoes.

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Why Paint Easter Eggs?

Painting Easter eggs are easier than trying to wallpaper them! Well jokes apart, but eggshells were decorated since ancient time. Ostrich eggs were decorated and engraved in ancient Africa dated 60,000 years ago. Eggs especially ostrich eggs are associated with death and rebirth. During the pre-dynastic period of Egypt and early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete, decorated ostrich eggs with gold and silver, were placed in graves of Sumerians and Egyptians.

Influence of ancient Egyptians and Sumerians is seen on modern Christian and Islamic religions. Also, ancient influence like cultural, political and mercantile is seen around Mediterranean areas.

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“Easter egg” for me defines a “secret feature” than the painting of eggs. This term originates from the 1979 video game called “Adventure”. It was coined for the Atari 2600 game console which was programmed by an employee “Warren Robinett”. Fearing competitors would steal his employees; Atari didn’t acknowledge employees names in the game credits. Warren Robinett who didn’t agree with his senior over lack of credits secretly and unknown to others, he inserted the message “Created by Warren Robinett”.

It was designed in such a way that, during a particular part of the game if the avatar of a player is moved over a particular pixel, the secret and unofficial message “Created by Warren Robinett” would appear.

After Robinett’s exit from Atari, the specific Gray Dot and the message which were unofficial were exposed by players. This discovery was soon informed to Atari. Atari’s management wanted the message to be removed but this would cost them a high price. Steve Wright, then the Director of Software Development at the Atari Consumer Division, proposes to keep the message and encouraged the insertion of such kind of messages in upcoming games, and coined them as Easter eggs for the players to find them.

With this “secret Easter egg’s”, I am hoping for a sunny weekend. Happy Easter to all, tune in next week for a new and exciting post 🙂 .

Gunnebo Business Solutions, IBM International Business Machines, Mender, Node RED, Technical

Mender IoT Device Management

With the progress in humanity, innovations are starting to move towards being digitalized. The vast majority of all human data are stored using digital methods. This would involve the use of computers, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) which is one of the latest technological disruption. These technologies are used to connect devices through digital channels, which are used to transfer data back and forth. On the other hand, the digital world is in constant need for updates. These updates are essential to cope with the increase in data and the overall customers’ requirements.

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Why is Software Update Essential?

  • Bugs: One of the main problems in computing technology is the number of bugs that rise due to weak developing skills or high amounts of data; which was not accounted for. Updating your software will acts as means to fix and overstep such bugs.
  • Security: Unfortunately, cyber security is a huge issue in this era. With many threats rising in the field, updates are always released with better security settings in hopes to lower and eliminate threats.
  • Features: The most common reason for software updates is to release new competitive features that copes with the customers’ requirements.

However, with the high numbers of devices invading our planet, it is impossible to provide these software updates through physical means. This is why, Over-the-air (OTA) methods are the most efficient way to deliver software updates. In some cases, the only available method to use is OTA; where physical means can’t be used. The process of software update through OTA is a very complex process where the data is delivered over networks and digital channels to reach your device. This is a very delicate process where you have to ensure proper connection and power connectivity to avoid any errors in the process.

Mender: Your New Solution

With the intensity of such transactions, you should always look for the best service out there to implement the process as efficient as possible. Trying to build your own infrastructure that will achieve efficient OTA might be a real hassle. The amount of time and work spent on the process is way more than you can handle, so is the cost you are about to pay too.

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This is why, companies should look for the different software update solution companies out there. Here is where Mender kicks in; it is an end-to-end open source software update solution for connected devices and IoT. You can consider Mender as a ready-made infrastructure that will solve all your software update issues.

Why we use Mender?

No Vendor lock-ins: One thing to look forward too while using Mender is the fact that we won’t face any vendor lock-ins. Mender is an open source, licensed under Apache 2.0. This gives it the complete freedom of being used by the customers without the interference of vendors or other third parties. With Mender, you should no longer worry about getting locked in.

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Reduction in customer support issues: Mender focuses on their customers’ experience, making it as smooth as possible. This is achieved through strong security protocols during the update process. The process is focused to be as efficient and optimal as possible, compensating for any pitfalls in the connection. Mender uses image-based updates which acts as a safety net when connectivity problems rise. It will ensure full device connectivity at all times leading to a decrement in system failures and device recalls.

Features and Functionality

The developers of Mender are very concerned with the common software update issues and the hassle customers go through. This has helped them develop Mender with more features that other software update solution provider that surely helps in making the process simpler and more effective for the users. The following is a list of some of the features you can enjoy while using Mender:

  • Intuitive UI
  • Deployment Reports
  • Custom checks via scripting support
  • Code signing

Anticipated Progress and Updates

With Mender, there is still much more to look forward too. Gunnebo, which is a multinational business specialized in security services, are of course interested in contributing to Mender, possibly to help implementing the features we and other companies like us needs.

Our first project will be updating Node-RED flows from the Mender v.2 update module. If you are interested in contributing or want to know more – feel free to contact me at: bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com

Reflections

Say hello to Robbie! (April Fools Post 2019)

As you all know Gunnebo Business Solutions AB are currently recruiting software developers in multiple fields. We need to strenghen our team with both JAVA, C# .net and Node.JS developers to work on our new and exiting GBS and GRS platform.

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Since hiring is a lengthy process, Gunnebo in cooperation with our pristine partners and cloud computing power, has come up with a genious solution. Based on commecially available cloud AI services we have created a computer software program that can actually generate computer code. Based on information available in our document management system, Azure DevOps Epics, Features and User Stories and the vast amount of code publicly available on GitHub – this piece of computer software can actually perform on the level of a quite decent software developer.

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Currently the product owner will register the user story with acceptance criteria into Azure DevOps and then Robbie takes over. With advanced Artificial Intelligence and first hand knowledge about our business process, it will take the requirements and turn it into .NET Core microservices.

With Robbie, we would let our mammal employees focus on confirming the accemtance criteria where the AI and robotic solutions would not cover up the human efforts.

We are even going to the extreme with this innovation by making sure that Robbie can be a cognitive robot, such that it will be emotionally intelligent to deal with human as social animals as well as being able to understand human moods. We know the implication of this to the labor market as well as how a lot of software engineers out there will be affected, but we have concluded that this is the next step to take in other to elevate our operations.

To increase customer value, we will actually move most of our staff to work in an augmented environment with Robbie interacting and validating the User stories to get as much value for the dollar as possible.

Not only is Robbie a skilled developer, but also implements the full DevOps methodology. So when a user story is completed, Robbie will make sure that Azure DevOps performs unit testing, integration testing and system testing prior to depoloying the service into the production environment.

Another great thing with Robbie is that it never gets sick.. I mean computers doesn’t get viruses right? Only problem we have had so far is it mixing up Halloween and Christmas Day, why? Because 31 OCT = 25 DEC..

Also, Robbie would not order for vacations and sick leaves, and it would not come to work late on some days since we can control everything about its movement unlike some of our staffs.

Hope you all have prepared your mind for these hard times ahead?

NB: Sorry if this rattled you or made you feel uncomfortable. If you also believed all of these, it’s the first day of April, and the jokes are on you!! This is my APRIL FOOLS POST TO Y’ALL!!

 

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What is next for Gunnebo Business Solutions? Follow my BLOG to see the future of security and retail 🙂

 

Commercial, Fashion, Gucci, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Gunnebo Retail Solution, Louis Vuitton, Retail

Why luxury fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are flourishing

I had a great opportunity to visit London during the weekend, to experience the luxury fashion industry first hand. Whether you want to spend big or just browse, London is a luxury shopper’s paradise, offering everything a discerning buyer could possibly want.

In my opinion luxury brands have been doing so well based on their capacity to react to social patterns. They have figured out how to submerge themselves into the culture and give new dimensions of access that, while retaining their validness and originality, to make their brands increasingly alluring to more clients.

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As a result, Luxury brands are increasing their revenue and results, and I think that this is very much due to their focus on the customer experience. They tend to be very commited to every product they put out, as well as being conscious of how the customers react to the product. Best in class are of course Gucci and Louis Vuitton that are among the fastest developing brands on the planet, with the extravagance design and their product developing by 42 percent since 2017.

Not surprisingly, most luxury brands are performing great in a rundown of 100 companies that includes technology, retail products, cars, and financial enterprises.

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Photo from press.gucciwatches.com Timepieces and Jewlerry Campaign 2015 with clean and simple styling and Madison Stubbington wearing a slip dress and a no makeup look.

Gucci’s brands are of course the fastest rising of any luxury style name on the rundown list, with up to 30 percent to $12.9 billion, while Louis Vuitton, grew 23 percent to $28.2 billion. The nine luxury brands on the list had a joint brand estimation of $105.8 billion and include other top brands including Hermes, Tiffany, and Co, Dior, and Burberry.

  • Louis Vuitton – $28.6 billion.
  • Chanel – $20 billion.
  • Hermes – $16.4 billion.
  • Gucci – $12.9 billion.
  • Cartier – $7.7 billion.
  • Tiffany – $5.6 billion.
  • Dior – $5.2 billion.
  • Burberry – $5 billion.

The global apparel market which does not include shoes and jewelry is worth $1.34 trillion a year in retail sales. Of this, a staggering $300 billion are luxury and premium brands.

How Did Luxury Brands Come This Far?

Building a fruitful business system infers the comprehension of how things are going to change over the span of time. The fate of retail is characterized by the most encouraging patterns we are watching today and is custom-made to the requirements of various gatherings of customers. The organizations which need to prevail in retail in 2030, ought to arrange their business procedures and specialized modernization remembering such significant thoughts as accentuating customers review and experience, guaranteeing flexibility for different target audiences, giving consideration, and remaining cognizant.

Luxury industries have proven to be ahead of all others in all of the aforementioned aspect, and that is one of the many reasons that they do so well. The society is winding up more to be more fashion conscious and its relation to an eco-friendly environment, and everyone is looking at ways to innovate fashion-wise. Consider, for instance, a luxury design brand Elvis and Kresse. The business began as an endeavor to handle a ten-million-ton of Leather scraps which should be discarded in London every year. Presently the organization delivers a full scope of calfskin from what recently was covered in the ground.

Purchasing a luxury item, being a Lois Vuitton NéoNoé bag or a Rolex Perlmutter is also viewed not only buying a bag and a watch – it is a feeling, an experience and a rush. Building on this rush is sharing the experience with Instagram followers, and this, in a nutshell, is how much value these brands have. Dopamine and oxytocin give the shoppers a rush all through the shopping experience.

This is particularly apparent when you are shopping, and you see something that you like (a dose of oxytocin is delivered to your bloodstream) and you get excited about it (a dose of dopamine is delivered to your bloodstream). Hence why these hormones are referred to as “happy hormones”.

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Going to the store, you may not have planned to shop for anything at that moment or maybe you were planning on getting something else, but because your body is full these hormones, you end up buying it. This is what people generally call an impulse buy. This is also true when it comes to social media. You could be just browsing through your social media, and you may see something that attracts your attention at once, and then you get excited and feel the urge to find out more about that person, or place or thing. This is the reason why, even though you visit your social media platforms with the intention of just checking in, you end up spending hours on end on that platform at times.

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I have to say, going to the Tiffany & Co store at Harrods, you get the celebrity attention and a great feeling just browsing through all their fantastic jewelery. Buying the same piece online or in a common store does not give you the same rush.

Transformation and Progress in The Industry.

The Luxury merchandise industry has faced a number of changes in the course of the last two decades. Right now, fluctuating economic patterns, advanced digital scope and developing customer choices and tastes are making another competitive scene in the industry such that conventional methodologies are under danger. All things being equal, development in the luxury merchandise industry will proceed. However, to come up to a consistent and strong rate of offers development, luxury companies need to look up to new difficulties and manage them ineffectively.

There have been situations of incorporation between two companies or more, like Recently Michael Kors acquired Versace at the last quarter 2018 and Jimmy Choo in 2017, moving them up on the ladder of luxury brands. Keeping Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd and creative director Donatella Versace on is of course extremely important to not devaluate the Versace brand. Such is the manner of competition that is experienced in the luxury industry today.

Ideally, the retailers wants to be focused on shoppers and their shopping journey and behaviors first, and then focus on staff and their activity separately. I am sure that the future retailers has a lot to gain by technologies like IoT, business intelligence (and even artificial intelligence and machine learning) and analysis when multiple data streams interact, for how long, and how they are related to purchase patterns and other performance metrics.

The future achievement of the business will also rely upon its achievement in penetrating and proactively connecting with the more youthful age. Luxury brands have in the past been known to restrict and separate themselves from clients. But compared to the state of things today, they now make use of social media and online networking. Luxury brands now see web-based life as “mass advertise”, yet today it has turned into an undeniably imperative advertising tool for them.

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Burberry is an amazing example of a luxury brand that utilized the power and impact of internet-based life. The brand commits around 60 percent of its advertising spending plan to computerized stages, connecting with clients on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. Recently Louis Vuitton also started tagging their Instagram posts with the models private Instagram profiles, making the relationship between the customer, the brand and the model even more intimate.

After a great weekend I feel very confident about the future for both the luxury, premium and the regular fashion brands. I am sure that with the right approach the physical stores has great advantages and will also be vital for transitioning from on-prem via omnichannel to phygital.

If you are interested in hearing more about the future of fashion retail and IoT, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Commercial, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Recruitment

Join our Team as our new Customer Support Associate in Gothenburg!

Customer Support Associate for the future of Security Solutions in our support team – Join Our Team!

We invite you to be part of a Digital Revolution at Gunnebo and to deal with the Latest and Greatest in Software Technology and IT Security. Interested? Read more about our Mission and Join today.

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Would you like to join an international, dynamic and enthusiastic team responsible for developing and operating our cloud-based security and business IoT platform?

Yes!   ¡Sí!   Ja!

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You will be an integral part of Gunnebo Business Solutions (GBS) operations team which is dedicated to offering connected security solutions to Gunnebo customers. From entrance systems to cash management solutions, you will help support our customers using our platform.

About our next Hero…

You should be a true team player with fluent written and spoken English. You should be passionate about technology, keep up to date on the latest in IT, and be willing to learn new things every day. You should rise to the challenge with the mind-set of an engineer and not be afraid to be creative. You should have a get-it-done mentality!

You will learn a lot about:

  • Customer Support
  • ITIL
  • User Experience
  • Web and Mobile Applications
  • Cloud Technologies
  • Monitoring and Logging

About the company…

The Gunnebo Business Solutions team is one of the core innovation hubs of Gunnebo. We are a newly established organisation with the mission to take Gunnebo’s customers into the connected future.

Gunnebo is a global supplier of security products, services and solutions with an offering covering Cash Management, Entrance Security, Safes & Vaults and Electronic Security for banks, retail, mass transit, public & commercial buildings and industrial & high-risk sites.

Check out more about Gunnebo Retail Solution here: http://www.solutions.gunnebo.com/

If you are interensted in joining our team, please send me an email: bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com and I will be in contact with you shortly.

Cosmos DB, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Microservices, Microsoft Azure, Mongo DB, Technical

Microsoft LEAP: Designing for the Cloud

The Microsoft LEAP is an event for the developers worldwide who are looking for original training from Microsoft.  It takes place annually in Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA. The five-day conference helps the attendees to fully understand how Microsoft products can be used and how they can solve the problems of the companies. This time, the participants learned how to design a cloud in an up-to-date fashion.

 

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The following piece will provide you with a glimpse through the Microsoft Leap program. The sections are the highlights with the greatest impact and effect on the developers’ community.

Deep Dive into Cloud Computing: Azure Strategy

On January 28, Microsoft kicked off the Leap program for software architects and engineers. There were loads of speakers on the agenda. Among them, Scott Guthrie was one of the strongest. Scott is in charge of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure, servers, CRM and many more tools. He was the leader of the team that created Microsoft Azure. In his keynote, “Designed for Developers”, he discussed cloud computing technology. His aim was to help the developers with a different level of skills to reach one goal, which is sustainable development and use of cloud computing.

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Scott focused on how to develop clouds and maintain them.  The session was concluded with the presentation of Microsoft’s anticipated plan of providing Quantum Computing in their Azure technology.

The Strong Impact of Microservice Architecture

On this issue,  the most memorable was the session featured by Francis Cheung and Masashi Narumoto. They talked about microservices and the strong architecture that they hold. This architecture is considered a paragon in the world of cloud computing as it has raised the bar.

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The speakers mentioned several important features of a strong company that has the potential to succeed. And it was well-established that the success of microservice implementation depends mostly on a well-developed team with a strong strategy (preferable domain-driven).

 

No matter how beneficial microservices could be, it is not necessarily the right choice for your business. You need to be well aware of your products and the level of complexity your business needs. Having extra unrequired tools will set you back rather than take you anywhere.

SQL HyperScale as a Close Based Data Solution

This session was different as it celebrated two decades of Pass and 25 years of SQL technology being used. The speaker, Raghu Ramakrishnan,  has been Microsoft’s CTO since he moved from Yahoo in 2012. With his strong background and experience, Raghu was the best candidate to discuss the use of SQL Hyperscale and how groundbreaking this technology has been.

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The Hyperscale service has become a crucial update to the currently existing services. According to Ramakrishnan, this is the most modern technology of SQL services which has the highest storage with the most computing performance. This precise model has up to 100 TB of the database.

 

This technology is generally used to replace cloud computing database structures as it is more reliable and accessible than other alternatives. Microsoft has added many features to the SQL hyperscale making it the leading databasing solution in the market. With the amazing features discussed in the talk, it was really worth a separate session.

The Commercial Database: Cosmos Database

Deborah Chen, the Cosmos Database program manager at Microsoft, took the time to discuss the most viral commercial form of database out there. Most current implementations use non-relational databases. The Cosmos DB is one of the most widely used sources for databasing.

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As it was mentioned by Deborah, the Cosmos DB is a very volatile and responsive tool. With numerous transactions taking place in a second, response to applications (especially for real-time) is a very sensitive thing. since it is a non-relational database, the retrieving and storing of data is easier and faster. Thus, this is where Cosmos stands out, as it was intentionally created with an architecture aimed at handling such tasks.

 

She also discussed the use of Service Level Agreements (SLA). This agreement helps to provide guarantees, availability, and latency for all users, making Cosmos DB the most viral product out there.

Monitoring Your Procedures Using Azure Monitoring

Rahul Bagaria, a product manager of Azure monitoring, joined later on to talk about the importance of monitoring your work, flow, and operations.  But the monitoring process is not limited to single tasks only but to the connections, workflow, and final output. To monitor all the steps taken through the procedure is important for maintaining efficient delivery and quality assurance as a whole. It is also beneficial to pick out errors and problems in the cycle, may they arise.

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This is where Azure monitoring kicks in, with many strong details like log analytics and application insights. Rahul emphasized the importance of this tool and all the features it provides. His team has worked hard to provide a service that can help with multiple tasks, milestones, and services. This session helped the developers to learn why and how to monitor their work processes.

 

All in all, the first day at Microsoft LEAP 2019 was very on-topic and interesting. I look forward to the next sessions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com