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.

Mender

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.

White cyborg finger about to touch human finger 3D rendering-1

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.

Heart shaped by human and robot hands. Isolated on white background. 3D illustration

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”.

Formula love concept. Research, search for an answer to the question what is love. Sheets of paper with chemical formulas of hormones by candlelight

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.

elegant young lady in classical coat

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

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

Microsoft LEAP: Looking into the future

Cloud Computing have become one of the most profitable industries in the world and cloud will remain a very hot topic for a foreseeable future. There is a huge competition among cloud service providers to win customers by providing the best services to their customers. Cloud service providers invest a lot of money on inventions. Thus, cloud services make most of the trends in the future IT industry. Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS is one of the leaders in innovation in their respective fields.

Data centers around the world

As the demand for cloud services rapidly increasing in all parts of the world, establishing data centers around the globe becomes a necessity. Azure has understood this well and expecting to expand its service by constructing data center regions in many parts of the world.

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From news.microsoft.com article about Project Natick’s Northern Isles datacenter at a Naval Group facility in Brest, France. Photo by Frank Betermin

The world is divided into geographies defined by geopolitical boundaries or country borders. These geographies define the data residency boundaries for customer data. Azure geographies respect the requirements within geographical boundaries. It ensures data residency, compliance, sovereignty, and resiliency. Azure regions are organized into geographies. A region is defined by a bandwidth and latency envelope. Azure owns the greatest number of global regions among cloud providers. This is a great benefit for businesses who seek to bring their applications closer to users around the world while protecting data residency.

The Two Major Azure’s Global Expansion of Cloud Services

Two of the most expansion that Microsoft Azure has incorporated to improve its service updates includes the following:

Expansion of Virtual Networks and Virtual Machines Support.

With utility virtual machines like A8 and A9 that provides the advantages of operations like rapid processors and interconnection amidst more virtual cores, there can now be the seamless configuration of virtual networks for specific geographical locations and regions.

This feature gives more room for optimal operations, cloud services, complex engineering design video encoding and a lot more.

Incorporation of Azure Mobile Services, and its Expansion to Offline Features

Even with a disconnected service, this operation makes it possible for applications to operate effectively on offline features.  Furthermore, is that this extends the incorporation of Azure cloud services to apps on various platforms, including Android and iOS on mobile phones.

Then there are Availability Zones. It is the 3 rd level in the Azure network hierarchy.

Availability zones are physically separated locations. They exist inside regions. They are made up of one or more data centers. Constructing availability zones is not easier. They are not just data centers, they need advanced networking, independent power, cooling etc. The primary purpose of Availability zones is to helps customers to run mission-critical applications.

You will have following benefits with Azure availability zones

  • Better protection for your data – you won’t lose your data due to the destruction of a data center
  • High- availability, better performance, more resources for businesses to continuity.
  • 99% SLA on virtual machines

Open source technology

Microsoft took some time to understand the value of Open source technologies. But now they are doing really fine. With .Net Core and the .Net Standard, Microsoft has done a major commitment to open source. Looking at GitHub alone, Microsoft is one of the largest contributors to open source.

Redmond, Washington USA - 4th June 2018 Microsoft confirms its acquiring GitHub
“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

With  .Net core 3.0, Microsoft introduced many features that will enable developers to create high security fast productive web and cloud applications. .NET Core 3 is a major update which adds support for building Windows desktop applications using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Entity Framework 6 (EF6). ASP.NET Core 3 enables client-side development with Razor Components. EF Core 3 will have support for Azure Cosmos DB. It will also include support for C# 8 and .NET Standard 2.1 and much more.

Mixed reality and AI perceptions

Mixed reality tries to reduce the gap between our imagination and reality. With AI, it is about to change the way how we see the world. It seems to become the primary source of entertainment. Although Mixed reality got popular in the Gaming industry, now you can see its applications in other industries as well. The global mixed reality market is booming. That’s why the biggest names in tech are battling it out to capture the MR market. All major tech products have introduced MR devices such as Meta2 handsets, GoogleGlass 2.0, Microsoft HoloLens.

Mixed reality and AI perception is a result of the cooperation of many advanced technologies. This technology stack includes Natural Language interaction, Object recognition, real-world perception, real-world visualization, Contextual data access, Cross-device collaboration, and cloud streaming.

Factory Chief Engineer Wearing VR Headset Designs Engine Turbine on the Holographic Projection Table. Futuristic Design of Virtual Mixed Reality Application

As I said earlier, Although the Gaming industry was the first to adopt mixed reality, now MR applications are more used in other industries. Let’s visit some of the industries and see how Mixed reality has transformed them and what benefits those industries get from mixed reality and AI perception.

You can see tech giants such as SAAB, NETSCAPE, DataMesh, using mixed reality in the manufacturing industry. According to research, mixed reality helps to increase worker productivity by 84%, improve collaboration among cross-functional teams by 80% and improve customer service interaction by 80%. You may wonder How mixed reality was able to achieve it? What it offers to the manufacturing industry. There are many applications of Mixed reality in manufacturing, following is a small list of them.

  • Enhanced Predictive Maintenance
  • Onsite Contextual Data Visualization
  • Intuitive IOT Digital Twin Monitoring
  • Remote collaboration and assistance
  • Accelerated 3D modeling and product design
  • Responsive Simulation training

Retail, Healthcare, Engineering, Architecture are some other industries that use mixed reality heavily.

Quantum revolution

Quantum computing could be the biggest thing in the future. It is a giant leap forward from today’s technology. It has the potential to alter our industrial, academic societal and economic landscapes forever.  You will see these massive implications nearly every industry including energy, healthcare, smart materials, and environmental system. Microsoft is taking a unique revolutionary approach to quantum with its Quantum Development Kit.

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Picture from cloudblogs.microsoft.com article about the potential of quantum computing

Microsoft can be considered as the only one who took quantum computing seriously in the commercial world. They have a quantum dream team which is formed by the greatest minds in physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering to provide cutting-edge quantum innovation. Their quantum solution integrates seamlessly with Azure. They have taken a scalable topological approach towards quantum computing which helps to harness superior qubits. These superior qubits can perform complex computations with high accuracy at a lower cost.

There are three important features in Quantum development kit which makes it the go-to Quantum computing solution.

It introduces its own language, Q#. Q# created only for quantum programming. It has general programming features such as operators, native types and other abstractions.  Q# can easily integrate with Visual Studio and VS code which makes Q# feature rich. Q# is interoperable with the Python programming language. With the support of enterprise-grade tools, you can easily work on any OS windows, macOS, or Linux.

Quantum development kit provides a simulated environment which greatly supports optimizing the codes. This is very different from other quantum computing platforms which still exist in a kind of crude level. This simulation environment also helps you to debug your code, set breakpoints, estimates costs, and many other things.

As we discussed earlier, Microsoft has become the main contributor in the open source world. They provide Open source license for libraries and samples. They have tried a lot to make quantum computing easier. A lot of training materials are presented to attract developers to into quantum programming realm. The open source license is a great encouragement for developers to use the Quantum development kit in their applications while contributing to the Q# community.

Cloud services will shape the future of the IT industry. Quantum computing, Open source technologies, Mixed reality will play a great role in it.

This is my last day in Redmond, but I really look forward to coming again next year! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com

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

Microsoft LEAP: Adding Business Value and Intelligence

Adding Business Value and Intelligence

The concept of business value and intelligence is aimed at more productive measures through the utilization of various tech application and analytical tool for the assessment of raw data. Business intelligence makes use of activities like data mining, analytical processing, querying and reporting. Companies take advantage to improve their operationalization, as well as accelerate their decision making. Business intelligence is also useful in the aspect of reducing cost and expenses and also identifying new business opportunities.

Machine learning technologies. Millennial students teaching a robot to analyse data

A lot of experts have shared their ideas and spoken on various aspect of business values and intelligence relating to AI in Redmond. Notable speakers include Jennifer Marsman, Maxim Lukiyanov, Martin Wahl, and Noelle LaCharite. The aspects that they extensively spoke on is a machine and learning fundamentals, introduction to new azure machine learning service, using cognitive services to power your business applications, and how to solve business problems using AI, respectively.

Machine and Learning Fundamentals

The fundamentals of machine learning have to do with understanding both the theoretical and programming aspect. it is also important to be up to date with the latest algorithm and technology that is being implemented by the various programming tools for machine learning. The there simplest explanation of the term machine learning is that the operation of the machine in such a way that it would be able to perform various tasks.

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Algorithms can learn how to perform these tasks in various ways, and this brings us to the different types of machine learning. They include supervised learning which is carried out to enable the machine to identify and differentiate between various data. Unsupervised learning, on the other hand, does not have to do with a specific data or structure that the machine is supposed to produce. Another type of machine learning is reinforcement learning.

The importance of a machine model’s accuracy cannot be understated. The accuracy is what really determines how effective a machine can be for the operationalization of a company. machine models are estimated or measured mainly by prediction making and putting them to work in the real world sense. In the business world, a model cannot be accepted until it has been tested against the real world and the results are satisfactory. Measuring a machine model depends on the characteristics of such a particular model, and the circumstances the model is needed in the real world.

Two vital aspects of Machine learning are CNN and RNN. CNN is convolutional neural networks, while RNN is recurrent neural networks. For CNN mainly generate free size outputs, and are used for minimal amounts of reprocessing. RNN on the other hand functions on random inputs and outputs. They can also be sued for the processing of random sequences. So in basic terms, CNN is built such that they can be able to recognize images while RNN, on the other hand, recognizes sequences.

Presentation about machine learning technology, scientist touching screen, artificial intelligence-1

Furthermore, Jennifer Marsman helped in the description of various methods that are related to artificial intelligence, and they include the following.

  • Search and Optimization

The use of a search engine and search optimization helps to rank AI algorithms. Explaining the role of AI for search and optimization purposes on search engines could be very technical. Machines are also taught on how to work with these to rank algorithms.

  • Logic

Logic also plays a major role in AI. The application of Logic in Ai could be as an analytical tool, as a knowledge representation formalism, and also a method of reasoning. Logic can also be used in the aspect of programming language. With this, it can explore both the prospects and the problems of the success of AI.

  • Probabilistic Methods for Uncertain Reasoning

One of the most widely artificial methods for representing uncertainty is a probability. A lot of certainty factors have been utilized for quantifying uncertainty for alternative numerical schemes over the years.

  • Classifier and Statistical Learning Methods

Classifiers associated with AI includes Naive Bayes, Decision trees, perceptron, amidst a host of others. There are also various statistical learning methods and theories that are in used to evaluate the uncertainties of AI. However, there are limitations to these statistical models, and this is where logic comes.

  • Artificial Neural Networks

This is the impact of the earlier mentioned RNN and CNN on the concept of AI. A typical explanation of ANN in a natural language processing AI which can be used in the interpretation of human speech.

  • Evaluation Progress in AI

This is imperative in the estimation of the progress of the concept of AI across all sectors including business models. Three evaluation types include human discrimination, peer confrontation, and problem benchmarks.

An Introduction to New Azure Machine Learning Service

Maxim Lukiyanov spoke about the working principle of the new Azure machine learning service. The service helps to simplify and accelerate building, training, as well as the development of various machine learning models. Furthermore, the automated machine can be utilized in such a way that algorithms that are needed are easily identified, and the hyperparameters are tuned faster.

New Azure Machine Learning Service also helps to improve productivity and reduce costs with auto-scaling compute methods, as well as develops for the machine learning procedure. New Azure Machine Learning Service also have the advantage of storing the data easily on the cloud. Using the latest programming language is also a seamless operation with the New Azure Machine Learning Service, with open source frameworks like PyTorch, TensorFlow, and scikit-learn.

Maxim also spoke further on some benefits of the New Azure Machine Learning:

  • Easy and flexible pricing method, as you will have to pay a=for only the features that you use.
  • The machine learning is very easy to understand, and the tools that come with it are not in any way restrictive.
  • With the various data and algorithm of the tool, there will be more accurate predictions
  • The tools from the machine make it very easy to import data, and as well as fine-tune the results.
  • A lot of other devices can be connected easily to the platform with the aid of the tolls
  • Data models can be easily published as a web service
  • The time scale for the publish of experiments is only a matter of minutes. This is a very major upgrade when compared to expert data scientists that take days.
  • There is adequate security from the Azure security measures. And this is very useful for the storage of Data in the cloud.

Using Cognitive Services to Power your Business Applications: An Overview and Look at Different AI Use Cases

Martin Wahl explained that with Azure cognitive services, customers are set to benefit from AI with developers. With this, they will not even need the service of a data scientist, which is a major advantage to saving both time and costs. This is done by building this machine in such a way that the learning models, pipelines and infrastructure needed are packaged up on cognitive service for important activities such as vision, speech, search, processing of text, understanding languages, and many more operations. This means that anyone who is capable of writing a program at all can make use of the machine learning to improve the application.

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Customers who have patronized this service are already benefiting from cognitive services such as face container, text container, custom vision service support for logo detection, language detection, in-depth analysis and many more.

Martin Wahl finally explained that with Azure service, more value is added to the business, and the implementation of artificial intelligence is easier than ever.

How to Solve Complex Business Problems Using AI Without Needing a Data Scientist or Machine Learning Expert.

With the possession of basic skills like python coding, data visualization, Hadoop platform, apache spark etc. complex business problems can be solved, even without being a machine learning expert or a data scientist.  All of these are made possible through the help of AI and all that is needed is just dedication and willingness. Some procedure to go about this include:

  • Understanding the basics: This has to do with acquiring general knowledge on the basics, both theoretically and practically.
  • Learning Statistics: Statistics is core to solving business problems, and some of the aspect to be looked at include Sampling, data structures, variable, correlation, and regression etc.
  • Learning Python
  • Making attempts on an explanatory data analysis project
  • Creation of learning models
  • Understanding the technologies that are related to big data
  • Exploring deeper models
  • Completing a complex business problem.

Finally, Noelle LaCharite gave a vivid explanation of how a PoC was made and I did one myself in Delphi in 30 minutes with the aid of Azure AI.

DevOps, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Microservices, Operations, Technical

Microsoft LEAP: Accelerating Business Value

This is my third article from Microsoft LEAP and todays’ focus is the use of microservices and Kubernetes.

Containers Are Crucial For the More Essential Microservices

A very important topic that was discussed throughout the agenda of the conference was the use of Microservices and how essential they are for most applications for the business sectors. With different approaches and angles to this topic, Brendand Buns, one of Kubernetes co-founder, gave a session which focused on the use of containers for microservices. He focused on his product, Kubernetes, which is one of the best and most recommended open-source services for the use containers with the use of policies. Microservices are important due to their ability of being agile and their sophisticated architecture which helps in a faster digital offering.

Conceptual business illustration with the words microservices-1

However, currently found microservices are used on physical services which leads to many problems. This is why the use of containers is a breakthrough which gives the user a light runtime environment. It can also be used on physical or virtual servers which is a huge development compare to older technologies.

The use of containers will also help in providing better isolation, due to the use of many executions on only one operating system. Such an opportunity will aid developers in minimizing the use of many different VMs. Brendand discussed the use of Domain driven developments against using test driven developments; in terms the more relatable for businesses and how to pick the right method. Overall, the final conclusion was to reflect the scaling levels that could be reached through using Kubernetes as a service to provide containers while using microservices for your business.

The Use of Service Fabric Mesh

One popular session in the program was by Mark Fussell and Vaclav Turecek. This talk discussed the introduction of the anticipated future product called Service Fabric Mesh, with a full comparison with the currently used cloud service. Many different points have been discussed to describe the service fabric fully. However, the audience got more excited when they heard the different benefits that are met while using this new service.

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Mark spoke about the time taken to create instances of VMs and the hassle in the whole process. This is where service fabric shines as it creates the VMs only once, allowing it to be used through the platform. More packages can be added to the cluster further on without any time consumptions. The second point tackled by Vaclav was the hosting opportunities with service fabric which is described as high-density. Which explains why the cost is lower for service fabrics, as the applications are not connected to the VMs in particular, giving a space to connect more than one application to a single VM.

Last but not least, they both discussed the flexibility of the service fabric mesh to be used with different servers or any different environments, disregarding the current existing infrastructure. They added the fact that service fabric helps in controlling the machine lifecycle. Developers were more educated on the differences between cloud technologies and whether to transfer or not.

The Touch Point: ACI and AKS

When it comes to the use of Azure Container Instances(ACI), Justin Luk, the product manager for Azure and Kuberentes, was the best pick for such content. Developers were glad to know that containers by AKS can be used with their ACIs. The containers can be quickly used when needed without any preps, saving time and effort. Instances will also be easily deleted directly after the needed work is done. AKS is used in these on-demand moments to monitor the work and control the creation and deletion process. This can help developers provide new severs instantly when needed without any hassle. When a certain problem or demand is asked for, AKS are used to reach the needed output without any extra services or products.

An Environment of AKS: Best Practices

Another session that stood out from all the Kubernetes sessions was the one conducted by Saurya Das, another product manager in Azure. This session was to reflect the success stories by some of the developers out there that used AKS in their platforms. Developers were happy to know about the multi-tenancy when using the cluster isolation. In addition, was the different network designs that could be used with their new service. These networks can also be implemented using policies, that help make the development easier and more secure. Overall, everyone in the session was satisfied to know about the scaling opportunities to expect and the strong control for monitoring and handling it possesses.

Monitoring Your Procedures Using Azure Monitoring

On the other hand, Ralph Squillace, gave a wider image and a better understanding on multi-tenancy and their use with AKS. He discussed how it is commonly mistakenly used through the AKS products itself, whereas it is actually recommended to be used in the application directly. Ralph emphasized on such points, by relating to some best practices which were mainly of SaaS products. He gave a few tips and tricks on how your service should be in terms of security, designs, policies and much more in order to be able to integrate and handle the multi-tenancy directly and easily through the application.

dashboard

Kubernetes: Guide for its Tools

The end of this section of containers being used was bent towards introducing the different operating tools that will assess developers while using kubernetes services. Bridget Kromhout was able to introduce the developers to new tools as Terraform, Helm, Draft, Brigade, Kashti and many others. These different tools were discussed thoroughly on how to use them in terms of configurations and app development. They were also helpful in scripting for event-driven operations and to manage the app fully. Developers were happy to learn how to efficiently use Kubernetes and containers for their currently existing architectures and structures.

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