Showing posts with label mobile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mobile. Show all posts

Friday, 26 February 2016

Microsoft reaches landmark deal with Xamarin

 By Sarah Morgan

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced their latest major business move - acquiring Xamarin, an industry leading mobile app development company. Having previously had a long-standing working relationship with Xamarin, this deal makes the next step in allowing Microsoft to make Xamarin their sole partners in mobile app development. Building on their cross-platform vision.

Image courtesy of Microsoft the Microsoft Blog

Who are Xamarin?

Xamarin’s mobile app specialities give developers the ability to code mobile apps in one language across iOS, Android, Windows and Mac devices. Its customers, totaling around 15,000, boast names like Coca Cola, the US Air Force, UK Parliament, Bosch Siemens and more. Plus, Xamarin have been at the forefront of mobile app development for some time, creating testing methods for developers in the cloud. Xamarin were named as one of the “9 startups that run the internet” by UK Business Insider in December 2015.

Why this makes sense for Microsoft

The primary aim for Microsoft in this deal is to advance its development of a cross-platform vision. Providing an outstanding and consistent experience across all of it devices, in unison with Windows 10. As Microsoft has previously worked closely with Xamarin, the deal is a natural progression for both parties, giving them both great potential for growth.

Microsoft has been working relentlessly on growing their presence in the mobile sector. This acquisition is a landmark moment that could see their mobile app development capabilities improve significantly. Already a market leader, the skills and abilities Xamarin add to Microsoft, have the potential to establish their mobile app dominance.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

How Microsoft is changing the face of IT education


Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke at Future Decoded this week about the success and worldwide adoption of the Youthspark apprenticeship program.

Amongst talk of Microsoft’s cloud-first, mobile-first ethos, Satya also described Microsoft’s vision for the future of education.

Satya Nadella spoke about the importance of computer science being within STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) education.

Microsoft’s aim is to make computer science and IT education available to all. ‘The role of technology is to empower people,’ Satya states – he views IT education as something not to be restricted to the ‘elite.’

A commitment to IT education

So far Microsoft’s global apprenticeship program, YouthSpark has enabled over 6000 IT-passionate young people across the UK to find jobs as apprentices.

Through 30+ programs, Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 227 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.

‘To me that’s the kind of empowerment, at large, that will transform societies and economies.’ – Satya Nadella

Announced in 2012, this company-wide initiative aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth by 2015. And with more than 75 million unemployed young people around the world, it’s definitely a worthwhile cause.  

The UK needs more digital skills

Microsoft isn’t the only company aware of this need for IT education amongst young people. There’s an undeniable lack of digitally skilled workers in the UK. In fact the UK will need another 750,000 digital-savvy workers by 2017, according to research from O2.

That’s a massive deficit but consider this:  Telefónica’s UK CEO Ronan Dunne, speaking at Future Decoded, explained how NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are actually more digitally literate than the UK’s existing workforce.

The IT-savvy professionals we need are out there, they just need programs like YouthSpark to prove that a career in IT is one worth pursuing.

Know a young person passionate about IT?

Firebrand is partnered with Microsoft as part of Get On, the UK division of the Global YouthSpark initiative.

Firebrand Apprentice, Kimberley Bolton, was the first woman to receive a Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award. Now she’s a Microsoft Apprentice ambassador and was sat on the Microsoft Apprenticeship panel at Future Decoded.

Kimberley explained how at first she was somewhat uneasy going into her IT apprenticeship but with encouragement from staff and a strong female role model, she prospered.  Kimberley previously saw her role as a ‘man’s job’ but now she’s doing it, and with incredible success.

Bring in new talent and secure the future of your business with a young apprentice or graduate from Firebrand. Boost your business and help solve the worldwide need for IT education.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Touch ID - security concerns and flaws


Apple’s Keynote on Tuesday did not bring too many surprises. Although, the company did not reveal as many new products as expected, the most important ones, such as the iOS7 and two new iPhones, got a fair share of stage time. While most people are admiring the new colours, the slightly changed looks or the simplicity of iOS7, IT pros and tech fans are concerned about mobile security issues brought by the Touch ID.

What it is

Touch ID is the name of Apple’s new pride, a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S’ home button, that unlocks the device through biometrics.  Although, the Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint scanner two years before the new iPhone, ‘innovations’ sound more exciting to many, when presented by Apple. But let’s put trends and the craze aside, and see the potential flaws and risks of the revamped home button.

Concerns and flaws

According to the Cupertino-based firm, Touch ID will store the encrypted fingerprint data on the device’s A7 ARM chip and it won’t be sent to iCloud or any of Apple’s servers. Moreover, the company also reiterated that third-party applications won’t be able to make use of the fingerprint scanner, for now. But what will happen when the day comes? What will happen when apps can somehow access the encrypted data? If Touch ID could be extracted by an exploit, you'd be facing a much bigger problem, than a simple breach. Your fingerprint would be given away, instead of your password. And let’s be honest, passwords are easier to change than fingerprints. But that's not all, as fingerprints are not only used to your new iPhone. Think of biometric passports, or entering facilities where fingerprint authentication is required.

Besides the aforementioned potential security issues, future users of the iPhone 5S may encounter further annoying flaws, such as the strictness of the fingerprint sensor. Imagine you have just moisturised your hands or scarred your finger in a kitchen accident and suddenly you are unable to access your phone. Although, the four digit passcode and password options will remain available, it surely is frustrating not to be able to use one of the top features of your new handset. 

Many will have a go at it

Until the smartphone is officially out, we can only speculate about how Touch ID will perform in everyday life, but one thing is certain: many of us will try to fool it, one way or another. However, the more concerning fact is that so will hackers. 

About the Author:       
Peter writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself.

Friday, 14 December 2012

2012 IBM Tech Trends report

IBM recently released the results of its 2012 tech trends study offering great insights into the tech world. The study explorers how enterprises are responding to the opportunities and risks introduced by new technologies.

IBM surveyed over 1,200 IT and business decision makers to determine why, when and how they adopt mobile, analytics, cloud and social business technologies.

One of the more notable finds is that there is a growing skills gap. In the four technologies studied, only 10% of companies stated that they had all the skills needed to be successful and one out of four reported major skill gaps. Three out of four students believed that the current shortage of IT skills could get even worse.

Growing skill gap - The IBM Tech Trends Report
Source: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report
Professor of Information Systems at Fordham University, Dr. Wullianallur Raghupathi stated: “Technology is changing so rapidly–not just upgrades, but dramatic changes in the discipline itself. Keeping pace is a challenge, not only teaching current technologies, but also forecasting and trying to guess what is coming down the pipeline.”

Organizational stance on emerging IT - The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report
Source: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report
IBM also asked the respondents to rate how important emerging technologies are to their business success and also their rate of adoption compared to their competitors. From this IBM were able to identify a small group of ‘pacesetters’ who move forward with technologies faster despite the barriers formed from adoption. They all use mobile, analytics, cloud and social technologies in more strategic ways.

IBM found that these pacesetters are more ‘Market-driven’, ‘Analytical’ and ‘Experimental’. What makes them more successful is the fact that they have a head start from all other companies. Instead of waiting until there is a business demand for new IT skills, ‘pacesetters’ start building skills ahead of time. IBM found that these companies are nine times more likely to experiment with technologies that don’t have a clear business application and they are twice as likely to develop skills beforehand to anticipate needs.

One of the finds also noted that the majority of companies are now using social media to engage with its customers. But the difference with ‘pacesetters’ is that they also use social media as a strong form of communication within the enterprise. This is also seen in cloud computing. Many companies are starting to adopt cloud but it’s the ‘pacesetters’ that are “more likely to have significant deployments of newer cloud concepts, like hybrid cloud and community cloud.”

About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, IT training, , IT certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the IT industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.