Category Archives: Internet

Professional Liverpool – Unstoppable Disruption

The ever-changing technological landscape is transforming how businesses and professional services operate. From the days of filing cabinets, businesses have transformed with Internet, mobile and cloud technologies, bringing about an irreversible wave of change. As a result of this unstoppable disruption, the challenges are for businesses to adapt, and to equip the future workforce with the skills needed today, to thrive and survive in this brave new world.

Last month, I was delighted to attend an event organised by Professional Liverpool’s Creative, Digital & Technology Group. Held at the academic surroundings of the Liverpool Medical Institute, this event discussed how technology is changing how businesses and professional services operate. Chaired by Paul Furlong of Opus Media, this event featured three different speakers, including Mike Batters from NETprotocol, Jonathan Ford from Jonathan Ford & Co, and Roland Emmans from HSBC, who each gave their own unique perspective on how businesses are adapting to the changing digital environment.

Working in IT, I am keen to learn about new technologies, and to educate and remind myself continuously of the importance of adapting to change in my industry. What also interests me is how businesses, society and people can learn and adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape, and I saw this event as the ideal opportunity to gain an understanding, of the related challenges to be overcome. Suffice to say the quality of the speakers and what new insights I learned, exceeded my expectations.

Overall there was so much that I learned from Mike, Jonathan and Roland. Indeed, I learned that technology today, means offices have downsized and employees can work agile from any device using the Internet and cloud technologies, meaning businesses are more flexible, which helps to reduce costs. I was also able to understand that data can be processed faster, and can be accessed from multiple managed devices. Therefore, by using technologies such as 5G Internet, Cloud Computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things, this unstoppable disruption brings new possibilities.

Whilst technology brings these opportunities for businesses, it also brings several concerns and considerations to be addressed. These relate to security and adapting technology to meet the needs of businesses, employees and clients, which include the following examples below:

  1. Businesses still need to hit performance and productivity targets.
  2. Data is the new oil, meaning skills such as data analysis will be important!
  3. There is no one-size fits all solution.
  4. Important to have user security awareness, education and reminders.
  5. Businesses will still need to manage infrastructure, activity and security on a global scale.
  6. IT and personal skills need to be stronger than ever, meaning businesses will need to consistently train their employees, so they have the skills required for the future.
  7. Changing technology is easy, but most fail due to not keeping business processes updated.
  8. People will still need to be supported to handle these new technologies.

These have all given me plenty to think about how technology has changed how businesses and organisations operate today. This is because businesses and employees need to evolve, by learning and reinventing themselves, in order to meet the demands of the future. As industries constantly change and utilise new technologies, including Cloud Computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, these all bring both opportunities and challenges to be considered and addressed in equal measure. What this means in simple terms, is that new skills will need to be learned and developed.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the event, the networking opportunities, and the content delivered by the speakers. I was impressed with their technical knowledge, experiences, and importantly their ability to put their individual points across with clarity and understanding. Therefore, I went away having gained a significant and brief glimpse into how technology is changing our society, meaning it is crucial to learn continuously and adjust, or risk falling behind the competition. For all businesses, professional services and organisations, failure to adapt to technological and industry changes is simply not an option they can afford to take!

To conclude, I would like to thank Mike, Jonathan and Roland for their contributions. My thanks also go to Alex Clark, Rory Caine and Ciara Hutchison at Professional Liverpool, for organising an interesting and knowledgeable event, and in my opinion a very important one, of which I shall leave you with these important words.

The jobs of the future are here today!

Gardner Systems – Getting Your Cloud Migration Right

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a metaphor used to describe IT services (e.g. software, applications, networks, e-mail, and data storage) that are provided to businesses and organisations through the Internet. Cloud technology is an alternative to traditional hosting of on-site managed IT infrastructures i.e. data centres.  

With cloud technology such as Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Amazon Web Services, many businesses and public-sector organisations are moving increasingly away from managing their own in-house data centres, to migrating their data and services to the cloud. This is because the cloud is more cost-effective and scalable, however it is very important to get the cloud migration right!

Last month, I attended an event organised by Gardner Systems, which looked at cloud migration. Held in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) at Mann Island, this included several speakers who talked about the advantages and challenges involved with cloud migration. These speakers included Ian Hawkins and Rachel Hellier from the LCRCA, Vincent Sparks from Stobart Group, and Jason Fitzgerald and Paul Stringfellow from Gardner Systems.

Working in the IT industry myself, I was very keen to learn more about cloud migration, what it brings, and what needs to be considered. From all the speakers, I learned plenty about both sides of cloud migration, making this an extremely beneficial experience.

Migrating to the cloud brings considerable opportunities for businesses and other organisations. These include lower maintenance costs, flexibility and the ability to adapt and provide on-demand services, which are more scalable, and helps to create new relationships and ways of working (e.g. the ability to work agile from corporate devices anywhere). This reduces the reliance on managing in-house data centres, as important services such as e-mail and file storage are hosted in the cloud.

In addition to the benefits, I also developed a good understanding of the challenges involved with cloud migration. These include the following, which I have listed below.

  1. Security is important, as the responsibility for protecting data stored in the cloud is with the client, and not the provider.
  2. There will be resistance to both change and adapting to it.
  3. Cloud migration requires a plan, vision and commitment from everyone involved.
  4. Communication, collaboration and engagement is required from all parties.
  5. Not everything can be migrated to the cloud, e.g. legacy applications, databases and infrastructure.
  6. Users need to be continually educated, so training must be mandatory.
  7. To support cloud migration, you need to have the right on-site networking and hardware infrastructure in place to support the cloud.
  8. In addition to the above, you must have a fast Internet connection to access cloud resources efficiently.
  9. Whilst it is important to reduce risks with cloud migration, you still need to make it usable.
  10. To protect data and resources in the cloud, multi-factor authentication needs to be enabled.

Overall there was plenty that I learned from this event, which has enhanced my knowledge of cloud computing. From having a tailored approach to meet business requirements, ensuring effective security measures are incorporated, and having the right infrastructure in place, cloud migration is a very complex process, that requires detailed work, planning and implementation.

I have also learned that successful cloud migration is not just about meeting the business needs. This is because it also requires the input and support of all affected parties from directors, managers and staff at all levels, who will be using the cloud. Securing data and resources must also be taken seriously, as although cloud providers are responsible for providing services and hosting, businesses are still responsible for adhering to various legislation e.g. GDPR. This explains why some on-site-resources such as legacy databases containing confidential or sensitive information, may not be suitable for cloud migration. Finally, I have also learned that businesses need to have the physical infrastructure and suitable Internet connectivity in place, to support the migration and access to cloud services.

Overall, I enjoyed the event and found it educational. My thanks go to Ian, Rachel, Vincent, Jason and Paul for sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise, as I came away enlightened and more informed about the possibilities, that cloud migration provides.

I enjoy attending these tech events, to not only meet and learn from fellow professionals in the IT industry, but they also remind me to use technical, communication and practical skills to empower others.

Thanks for reading!

Creative Kitchen & YouTube – My Thoughts & Recollections

The Internet has changed how content is created. As a powerful open-platform, YouTube has allowed anyone with an idea and an Internet connection to create videos, build an audience, and engage with brands. This means YouTube has disrupted the world as we know it, allowing people to bypass traditional media, and to view and create unique content.

I recently attended an event organised by Creative Kitchen and YouTube. Held at Avenue HQ in Liverpool, the event was to inspire people and businesses to harness the power of YouTube, engage with audiences and to grow their brands. I was very keen to find out more about the possibilities that YouTube offers, and how it has rewritten the rules, making anything possible to achieve.

Delivered by YouTube’s Lucy Banks, the event was a delight for me to attend and learn from. I found this to be a fascinating insight into how YouTube has not only been successful, but also as a call to arms for businesses and individuals to create fresh content to learn, educate, inform and entertain through storytelling that breaks boundaries.

I have included some YouTube facts below.

  1. 2 billion people visit YouTube every month.
  2. 100 countries have YouTube available in more than 80 languages worldwide.
  3. 40% of shoppers have purchased products through discovering them on YouTube.
  4. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and is also the world’s largest R&D platform.
  5. The number of channels earning six-figure sums per year on YouTube is up by 25%.

The event also featured talks from Christian Hughes, Andy Castell and Lucy Wood who are successful YouTube creators from Liverpool. Each explained about their YouTube journey, and how they harnessed their individual passions for gaming, toddler learning, and fashion into videos, to engage and develop a positive and supportive community. I was greatly impressed with Christian, Andy and Lucy, as I recognised their enthusiasm for using YouTube to share their passions and stories, whilst helping others. I recognised this as I listened, because I sensed their personalities radiating with authenticity, from the words they spoke.

Another common thread that I noticed with Christian, Andy and Lucy, was they all shared a genuine love for their work, and for putting the effort into making interesting content. I found this refreshing because it is easy to fall into the trap of creating videos on YouTube purely for money, which is a sure-fire route to failure. This is because if you are not authentic, passionate, or lack knowledge about your subject, then it is much harder to connect with audiences, as you are not being yourself.

In addition, it can be hard and stressful to create content. As a blogger, I relate to and understand this, as you need to create content that reflects your true personality, interests, values, and has a human touch. Finally, I also learned some other interesting points from the event, which are listed below.

  1. You can learn to do anything on YouTube.
  2. People can find something on YouTube they cannot find anywhere else.
  3. Use your passion to make an emotional connection.
  4. Bigger businesses are at a disadvantage.
  5. The fundamentals of marketing remain the same.
  6. Content must be authentic.
  7. People are always looking for fresh content.
  8. With an open platform, there is also open responsibility.

There are plenty of opportunities that YouTube offers. From developing your brand, engaging with audiences through videos that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, an Internet connection and an idea is a starting point, to getting the best out of the platform.

To get the best out of YouTube, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you stand for?
  3. What stories to you want to share?
  4. What is the value you bring to the world?

In summary, this was an excellent event full of learning and creative energy, from start to finish. I enjoyed listening to the speakers, and of how they turned their hobbies into content that connects with audiences. Therefore, my thanks go to everyone at Creative Kitchen, along with Lucy Banks and all the speakers, as this event has given me creative inspiration, which is encapsulated in the words represented below.

Do What You Can’t!

IX Liverpool – Who Are They?

Who are IX Liverpool and what do they do?

IX Liverpool (Liverpool Internet Exchange) is a collaborative and co-operative non-profit organisation, that provides a network for members to connect and share their Internet connections for the benefit of Liverpool businesses and organisations.

These members of IX Liverpool include Baltic Broadband, MICT Ltd, National Telecoms UK and Internet of Things Ltd. Each member provides essential services vital to IX Liverpool and local businesses from broadband, telephony, IT support, cloud, security, storage and other services. In addition, all members bring experience, knowledge, flexibility and reliability to the city.

For businesses of all shapes, sizes and sectors, high speed Internet connections are required to connect with customers, partners and suppliers. As the business community of the Liverpool City Region (LCR) develops and interconnects with the UK economy and beyond, the demand placed on the city’s local Internet infrastructure increases.

Based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, IX Liverpool helps to facilitate fast, reliable and open Internet connections to small business startups and larger organisations in the city region. This helps not only to support the local economy, but also provides a connectivity infrastructure supporting the city region by adding resilience, which reduces Liverpool’s dependency on other UK cities for sufficient Internet bandwidth.

As well as providing local Internet connections, there are other benefits that IX Liverpool brings to the city region.

These include the following below:

  1. Roll-out of free Wi-Fi connections across the streets of Liverpool, allowing local businesses to connect with visitors and residents.
  2. By attracting and connecting digital businesses, this helps to create highly-skilled jobs locally.
  3. As a non-profit organisation, IX Liverpool has an open joining policy. This means anyone can become a member of IX Liverpool in return for a yearly fee of £120, which funds the organisation to enable it to serve the city region.
  4. Faster and better connectivity will also enable better innovation in Liverpool’s renowned medical science and research facilities.
  5. Improved connections will also benefit Liverpool’s schools, colleges and universities.
  6. By providing a strong local Internet community, IX Liverpool helps to manage traffic locally, providing faster speeds, better reliability and is ultimately more cost effective.

IX Liverpool is growing beyond to serve the wider city region. Last December, it was announced that IX Liverpool and Baltic Broadband were working together to install a connection of 10Gbps to the North Liverpool areas of Everton and Vauxhall. This will benefit the regeneration of the city by providing quality Internet connectivity to the Ten Streets Project, supporting future businesses as well as local residents.

In summary, IX Liverpool plays an important and under appreciated role in supporting the regeneration of Liverpool and the surrounding region. As the local economic landscape changes, the importance of providing high-quality Internet connections cannot be underestimated, as fast speeds are paramount in supporting local businesses and residents. This is why IX Liverpool is crucial in helping the city in joining others such as London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin, Prague and Warsaw in building a powerful local Internet community.