Red Hat Forges Ahead with PaaS Strategy with OpenShift Enterprise

Red Hat Forges Ahead with PaaS Strategy with OpenShift Enterprise

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

Making good on its promise made nearly six months ago, open source provider Red Hat (News - Alert) has made the next move in its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) strategy with the general availability of OpenShift Enterprise, a PaaS product that is designed to be installed on-premise within customer datacenters or private, public or hybrid clouds.

OpenShift Enterprise is designed to help customers to streamline and standardize developer workflows and facilitate increased IT service delivery speed that can better support business demands, according to Ashesh Badani, general manager of Red Hat’s Cloud Business Unit and OpenShift.

“This product offers our customers further freedom and choice in the cloud with the backing of Red Hat’s full stack and open source leadership,� Badani said in a statement. “Developers are now able to choose among leading application development languages and tools for the job, and IT operations leaders can choose to deliver these application stacks to their enterprise on their choice of clouds in compliance with their security, governance and compliance requirements. This offering stands to revolutionize how enterprises use PaaS platforms.�

OpenShift Enterprise gives enterprise users the ability to build cloud-based applications and have them run in a cloud architecture and is designed to automate much of the provisioning and systems management of the application platform stack in a way that enables the IT operations team to more easily meet growing business demands for new application services, company officials said. With its Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) approach, OpenShift Enterprise also offers security and multi-tenancy with the ability to subdivide the Node instances.??

OpenShift Enterprise is built on a stack of open source-based Red Hat technologies, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and OpenShift Origin, the basis for Red Hat’s existing online OpenShift PaaS service that has been available in a free beta since May 2011.

OpenShift Enterprise is being initially offered in North America, the U.K. and continental Europe. The OpenShift PaaS online service remains available in developer preview.

The worldwide public PaaS market grew over 40 percent in 2011 as organizations continued to leverage the benefits of platform services to develop, deploy and manage applications of all types, according to Stephen D. Hendrick, group vice president of application development and deployment research, IDC (News - Alert).

“Advanced PaaS products support multiple development patterns, high availability, high performance, automated provisioning, dynamic scalability and shared services delivered as public, private or hybrid clouds,� Hendrick said. “OpenShift Enterprise brings Red Hat’s advanced PaaS capabilities into the private datacenter where they are most needed and enables hybrid cloud computing with enhanced security, flexibility and consistency.�?

In May 2012, Red Hat first announced plans for an on-premise PaaS offering. At that time, Red Hat said it planned to extend the OpenShift enterprise PaaS platform to provide a choice of management and operational models, including: A DevOps model that empowers developers to deploy and manage their applications via either a Public PaaS solution at openshift.redhat.com or a private PaaS solution with OpenShift on-premise.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

NASA Announces Crew for Year-Long Space Station Mission

November 27, 2012

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor

NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) have selected two men to make a one year stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015. NASA has selected Scott Kelly while Roscosmos selected Mikhail Kornienko for a mission to collect scientific data for planning long-duration space missions around the moon, to an asteroid and Mars.

Kelly and Kornienko will go to orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and return to earth in spring 2016. The goal of the year long trip is to understand better how the human body reactions and adopts to the zero-gravity environment of space. Data from the 12 month expedition -- can you say lots of blood draws and medical tests -- will help inform assessments of crew performance and help and provide insight and validate countermeasures to reduce risks of biological changes from a lack of gravity.

Twelve years of humans on the International Space Station have provided data on the effects of microgravity on bone density, muscle mass, strength, vision and other aspects of human physiology. A year long stay should provide greater analysis of these effects and trends. One surprise that has cropped up is vision effects, with expansion of fluid spaces around the optic nerve, flattening of the back of the eyeball and bulging of the optic nerve. The effects are attributed to intracranial hypertension, possibly caused by fluid accumulation due to a lack of gravity. Astronauts get bloated faces while orbit since there's no gravity to pull liquids "down."

Kelly, a U.S. Navy captain, served as a pilot on space shuttle mission STS-103, commander on STS-118, flight engineer on ISS Expedition 25 and commander of Expedition 26. Brother of retired astronaut Mark Kelly, Scott has logged more than 180 days in space between space shuttle and space station missions. Korniekno is also no stranger to space flight, logging more than 176 days in space as a flight engineer on Expedition 23/24 in 2010.

Long-duration spaceflight is going to get a harder look as NASA and its partners build data and an experience base for moving beyond low earth orbit operations. NASA would like to put an outpost at the L-2 gravity point on the far side of the moon to gain experience in remote operations before launching an asteroid exploration mission by 2025.

Ultimately, humans need to figure out a way to have people travel for up to six months between Earth and Mars. Astronauts traveling to Mars would have to be robust enough to handle re-entry and have enough strength and bone mass to be functional upon arrival on the surface. Hopefully, the mission will provide insight into ways humans can manage zero-gravity exposure without serious penalty.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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Pets at Home Promotes Animal Welfare with New Customer Service Initiative

November 26, 2012

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Pets at Home, a U.K. pet retailer, has unveiled a new customer service program entitled Very Important Pets. Every time a purchase is made and a membership card is swiped, a pet-loving customer will collect points.

The points are called VIP Lifelines, and can be redeemed by various animal charities to provide essential supplies to the organizations.

Members looking to sign up for a card will receive a 10-percent discount welcome voucher on their next purchase, as incentive to take part in the program.

Additionally, customers who decide to become members will receive access to exclusive offers on accessories, food, toys, “Groom Room� services and “Companion Care� vets.

The commercial director for Pets at Home, Peter Pritchard, commented on the new program, saying, “We have a very loyal customer base at Pets at Home and we wanted to reward their ‘VIPs’ along with pets in our customers’ communities that need some extra support.�

The company has been making changes recently to improve its customer service, and the Very Important Pets program is just one of such new offerings.

Pets at Home also recently appointed a new digital partner to help the company build more loyalty online. The appointment will focus on e-mail communication, copywriting, design, build and deployment of all Pets at Home online services.

Of late, the company has been hard at work to prove its dedication to helping pets and pet-owners, in accordance with its motto “Where Pets Come First.�

Pritchard expressed his company’s concern for pets in need, “Every year, thousands of pets end up homeless through no fault of their own. Thanks to the tireless work of rescue and re-homing centers across the U.K., many of these animals are given a new life in the loving home they deserve.�

Not only does the company donate to the companies, but now its customers can become the vehicle for these donations, which is a smart plan, as who better to ask for donations to pets in need than those frequenting pet-stores?

“These centers are almost completely reliant on donations and public support and customers collecting VIP Lifelines in store will be a great help in securing the future of vulnerable pets in need,� said Pritchard.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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SDN Beyond the Data Center

While the impact of software-defined networking (SDN) inside the data center is still reverberating among enterprises, SDN’s potential outside those walls is coming into clearer focus. The effect of extending SDN to the optical domain and beyond the data center could be tremendous in terms of enabling whole new applications and even business models for carriers and cloud providers.

With OpenFlow or some other SDN protocol establishing an open interface for unified control of the information technology (IT) and network resources both within and beyond the data center, individual slices of the network could be assigned to disparate parties for developing their own on-demand services, cloud-computing services, interconnection services for geographically dispersed data centers and other applications. Furthermore, such a scenario could unleash a whole new wave of networking innovation, with the development of custom networking applications that are not yet even envisioned.

What might extending SDN to the optical domain mean for carriers, cloud provides and large-scale enterprise network managers in the future? And what is required in terms of protocol innovation and connectivity assurance in order for that vision to come to fruition?

SDN’s Limitations and Possibilities

SDN is a concept for managing and virtually controlling networks, and it offers network operators terrific benefits in terms of streamlining and automating network infrastructure and operations and establishing a flexible environment for cloud-based networking and other services.However, SDN’s impact in terms of simplified network management and control to this point has been limited to the confines of the data center.

In most contemporary SDN deployments, open interfaces are integrated among centralized network management systems and electrical packet network elements. Control of the network elements is pulled out of those network elements themselves and into a centralized software device. A high degree of management and control software resides in the data-center infrastructure of packet switches and routers, and this allows SDN-based virtualization of servers and storage. Such forms of virtualization are being deployed across more types of enterprises every day, in fact.

OpenFlow is a simple, lightweight application programming interface (API) that is an increasingly popular protocol for such SDN implementations. With OpenFlow, flow-forwarding behavior is specified across an infrastructure of packet switches via an external controller.

The end vision of SDN proponents and the most radical new efficiencies that they envision, however, depend on extending these concepts and capabilities beyond the data center—to the circuit-switched, optical transport network. Today, for example, cloud computing is isolated from the control and operation of the optical transport networks that typically interconnect data centers. Cloud-computing processes and the statically configured network are not interoperable and do not interact. For network operators, this tees up a non-integrated, multilayer operation requiring individual, proprietary management solutions and tremendous costs with regard to scaling. It should be no surprise, then, that extending SDN to the optical layer has become a point of development focus for the optical-networking industry.

Bridging to the Optical Domain

A prototype implementation within the European Commission’s “OpenFlow in Europe—Linking Infrastructure and Applications� (OFELIA) collaborative project has provided a glimpse into a networking future in which SDN is extended to the optical wavelength-switched domain. The OFELIA prototype demonstrates integrated control of the network’s circuit-based optical and packet-based switching layers, all via a common, OpenFlow-based umbrella integrated with reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM (News - Alert)).

The prototype implementation relies on additions to OpenFlow that adapt the protocol to the strict switching constraints of optical networking (wavelength continuity, optical impairments and optical power leveling on the line side, among them). The additions successfully allow OpenFlow to serve as a bridge between the optical and the enterprise application layers, effectively transforming SDN is into “SDON�—software-defined optical networking—and allowing true network virtualization across multiple layers.

For carriers, cloud providers and large-scale enterprise network managers, SDON based on OpenFlow or some other protocol might one day allow end-to-end, single-stroke orchestration of IT and network resources. The holistic control of all cloud computing, storage and networking resources could be enveloped under one, unified API, dramatically simplifying configuration, management and scaling of infrastructures. Introducing SDN beyond the data center would set up a scenario in which there would be less software content in the cloud or data center itself. Content could be located anywhere, with code accessing and running everything at the network layer.

With a constraint-aware agile optical network acting as a large, geographically dispersed switch, new opportunities stand to present themselves at the network control layer for large-scale, macroscopic network applications that haven’t even yet been envisioned. Bandwidth, latency and power consumption could be optimized per the needs of a given application, enabling true network virtualization and, with it, valuable capabilities such as capacity on demand, adaptive infrastructure and dynamic service automation.

Ongoing Development

Before that vision of a truly transparent, wavelength-switched optical network comes to pass in real-world commercial deployments, however, SDON requires additional development.

There remain issues, for example, with regard to the security and scalability of OpenFlow that will need to be addressed. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) leads development and standardization of SDN and OpenFlow, and part of the ONF’s work now is concentrated on readying the protocol for the optical domain.

There also must be greater confidence in the performance of the connectivity beyond the data center. Customers will not move their high-value applications into the cloud unless they are offered the assurance of service-level agreements (SLAs) with regard to their connectivity to the cloud. SLA-based Ethernet into the cloud will be another requirement for network operators to maximize the business possibilities presented by SDON.

Furthermore, the prototype capability of OpenFlow-based SDON is available via the OFELIA testbed network to any researcher in the world for additional experimentation via standardized, secure interfaces through the GEANT network. Lessons learned there will inform ongoing development of the capability.

But SDON’s potential for carriers, cloud providers and large-scale enterprise network managers is clear: Extending SDN beyond the data center to the optical transport layer could play a key role in delivering the dramatically more efficient and scalable network operations that they seek.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Facebook Encourages Employees to Use Android Devices

In the past, Facebook has been known for handing iPhones to its employees. This, related to the fact that the iPhone Facebook app works better than what Android users experience, might give room for some biased conclusions. So what if Facebook employees used Android devices to balance all this out?

Conspiracy or no conspiracy, Facebook is trying to convince its own employees and developers to try out Android devices through the “droidfood� initiative that has seen several posters placed in and around its offices and internal help desks, a move aimed at encouraging employees to try their hands on Android devices.

The move can be seen as a technical one. Plastered on one of its walls is a poster with a graph of Android and iOS operated device shipment. Soon, the market is expected to be flooded with Android devices and the only smart move Facebook can make is securing the field before it is too late.

With a good number of its own employees on Android, the company will be in a better position to debug its lagging Android app by collecting information on problematic issues easily, rapidly and cheaply. Actually, leaks from insiders say that Facebook workers on Android have to use the latest beta build of Facebook for Android and Facebook Messenger to contribute to the developer bug database.

This entire scuffle is to collect as much bug reports as possible through the Range Shake bug-reporting tool that is only available to internal beta builds given to Facebook employees. Having all the members of a specific company work toward a common goal is quite impressive. However, Facebook is not dictating to employees to switch to Android-powered devices, but rather, to have a healthy mix of both the iPhone and Android phones in the workplace.

In addition to this, it would have been easier to generate a more comprehensive bug database if the Range Shake bug collection tool was opened up to the entire public. Whichever way it decides to approach the matter, it is up to Facebook to look for a fast and realistic way to patch up its Android app, which is likely going to be used by a large number of people in the not-so-distant future.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

18 Ways to Boost Conversion for SaaS and Web Application Companies

November 26, 2012

By TMCnet Special Guest
Rafi Sweary, Co-founder, WalkMe.com

Converting SaaS (News - Alert) users is an ongoing challenge, since it's not enough to convert them once, as in an e-commerce purchase. SaaS visitors need to be converted over and over, as they get more engaged with the online service, and go from being an anonymous visitor, to a trial user, to an active trial user, to a paying customer. And if you thought you were done at “paying customer,� think again, since one of the biggest challenges for SaaS companies is customer churn, so even if you have great paying customers, you need to continually convince them to renew their contracts, which is conversion all over again.

The SaaS conversion funnel can be broken down into four levels, each of which is a process unto itself:

  • Acquisition: New Visitor --> Registered Member
  • Activation: Registered Member --> Free Active User
  • Revenue: Free Active User--> Paying Customer
  • Retention: Paying Customer--> Renewed Customer

Based on our own experience with our SaaS offering and the large number of SaaS customers that we serve, we developed the following insights and tips for how to improve conversion at each of four stages.

Stage One: Acquisition: New Visitor --> Registered Member

In Stage One, you are trying to convince anonymous visitors to try out your service. You don't really know if they're qualified yet, and the most information you have about them is where they came from, what keywords they searched on, and what pages they viewed on your site.  Here are some tips to get these unknown quantities to register on your site.

  • Tip 1: Don’t ask for a credit card Most people won't make their purchase decision without trying your solution first. And requiring credit card details is a major step that can turn users off. You should wait to ask for the credit card until you really need it, that is, when you plan to bill them (stage 3). More importantly than the psychological aspect, often the person who is testing out the service does not even have a company credit card, so requesting it at this stage means they have to get permission from someone else for something they are not even sure they want yet. This is a major political risk for some people, one that they may not be willing to take for your as-yet-unproven SaaS application.
  • Tip 2: Keep registration form shortAsk only for the most needed information, usually e-mail address and a password.  Sometimes even just an e-mail address is enough. A quick rule of thumb is that each field reduces conversion by 10 percent. Of course if there's addition information you absolutely must have in order to make the solution work, or to qualify your visitors, then ask for it, but also test to see how it affects your conversion. Adding additional qualifying questions may reduce conversion at stage 1, but increase it at a later stage, since your initial members are more qualified. But you can't know if it helps or hurts you without testing.
  • Tip 3: Display social proof: customer testimonials Let your happy customers brag about your service for you, telling the world on your pages how they benefit from your amazing SaaS service. Compile the list from all the industries you target, so each visitor will see a customer in a meaningful segment. Better yet, if you can identify the sector certain traffic belongs to based on its source or keyword, present the most relevant testimonials for those visitors. Tip: adding an image of the customer or their logo, together with their quote increases visitors' trust in your service.
  • Tip 4: Increase the urgency If a visitor leaves your website without registering, there is only a slim chance that he will return. You need to convert the visitor while he is on your site that first time, so give him reasons why NOW is the right time. Examples for this can be coupons, limited time offers, and so on.
  • Tip 5: Test EverythingYou never know what will change conversion rates. Some have found that simply changing the color of a button increased their conversion. Keep track of all the changes you make and invest in tools to make tracking changes and testing easy. Every change you make should be tested and if it depresses conversion, you should be ready to make an immediate roll-back. If it improves conversion, try doing more of the same.

Stage Two: Activation: Registered Member --> Free Active User

Registering for your SaaS application is no guarantee that the registrants will try it out. Put yourself in the user's shoes – he could have ten tabs open on his browser, each with a different solution under consideration, while he winnows them down to his short list. And you want to be on that short list of apps that he actually tries, since playing with the software will of course make him fall in love with it. Here are some tips to convert your users at stage two

  • Tip 1: Consider First Time User Experience

Your app may be designed with experts in mind, but bear in mind that everyone starts as a beginner. Try to approach your app with fresh eyes and anticipate what brand new users will want to try first, and make it easy to access.

  • Tip 2: Make it Easy to Accomplish Something Right Away

You have only few seconds to make the user understand what you want him to do before he gives up. If he can't get that first feature to work right away, he may just assume your app is broken. Through user analytics or actual interviews with users, determine the top five things a new user would want to do. Then focus on making it super-easy for them to accomplish those five things. One quick way to accomplish this is by using step-by-step guides, actually taking the user by the hand and leading him to complete the required steps. This can be done with third-party tools, or you can ask your developers to create tool tips to walk users through these key processes. Remember, your app may do five thousand things, but that is not necessarily relevant at this stage. Most important is to help your user get his feet wet and gain confidence in how easy your app is to use. If you can get past that hurdle, you will have time later to introduce them to more advanced features.

  • Tip 3: Provide Help and Contact Information

Users that contact your support or sends an email are literally the best thing that can happen to you. This means these users spent valuable time investigating your system, and that they want to learn how to do things that are important to them. Make sure that contact us information is available at the website footer. Just to be doubly sure, send the new user an email with all the contact information he will need in case he gets stuck. You can even go the extra mile and provide live chat, live feedback or live walk-throughs to these users.

  • Tip 4: Don’t Give Up on Your Users

Follow up with your users via e-mail, invitations to webinars and even phone calls, if applicable. At the same time, make sure the content you give them is relevant to the user's shown areas of interest. The secret to keeping a user engaged is in providing the information they can use, while avoiding over-saturation and thus, user “tune-out.�

Stage 3: Revenue: Free Active User --> Paying Customer

This is the holy grail of freemium conversion. You might have thousands of users on your free service, but until you can get them to convert to paying customers, your dreams of revenue will remain just that, dreams. Assuming that your premium, paid version provides added value that is of interest to your target market, there are certain things you can do at this stage to encourage them to convert:

  • Tip 1: Provide Training in Multiple Formats

Your best premium user is the one who understands the value premium features bring, so it's important that they know how to fully use them. Training helps your users exploit the system to its maximum potential, constantly exposing them to the utopia of, “If only I had the premium version.� Different people learn differently, and some have more or less time to invest. Various training methods we recommend include webinars (live and on-demand), live walk-throughs of the site, and pre-recorded videos. Of course, it goes without saying that you need top notch, searchable documentation, available on site.

  • Tip 2: Promote Premium Features

Make sure that your users are aware of your premium features. You never know which feature will catch the attention of a user and drive him to upgrade his account. An email newsletter highlighting several premium features can help this process along. Monitoring click throughs can give you an indication of what the hot button issues are. For example, if you see a lot of click throughs on a mention of security features (e.g. SSL) you will know that this is a feature worth further highlighting, to drive conversions to premium service.

  • Tip 3: Provide Payment Options that Match Your Customers

When buying low price services, most people (or companies) don’t mind paying with their credit card. But, paying recurring monthly bills of hundreds of dollars might need a standing order, or pre-payment in advance, rather than putting them on a credit card. Depending on your target market, you may wish to offer PayPal (News - Alert) as a payment option. Lastly, most people feel safer giving their credit card details when they know that they can change their mind. So be sure to offer a money-back guarantee, and make sure your finance team is willing to stick to it. The last thing you need is someone tweeting about how your SaaS company ran away with their $20.

Follow up with information, success stories and case studies of happy, relevant customers to show how your service already benefits users like them. Call to check how satisfied they are and to ensure that they have access to all the features they need. Also, once your users reach the limits of the free trial/usage, don’t be shy about sending a nicely worded warning mail – if they've gotten to the point where they need your software, they will be quick to pay, since they don't want to lose something they need. If you see that even the warning email gets ignored, try to reach them another way, to see if you can convince them to stay with your solution.

Stage 4: Retention: Paying Customer --> Renewed Customer

This can sometimes be the trickiest stage of all, since vendors can become complacent, thinking if the customer has already paid, he must be happy. But come renewal time, they will vote with their credit card, and may decide not to continue your service.

  • Tip 1: Give the Opportunity for Customers to Autorenew

Many customers prefer autorenewal since they do not have to go searching for the credit card, and they do not want to take a chance of losing even one day of a service they are using. Try to get a large portion of your customers on the autorenewal track, since it reduces paperwork and chasing. Of course some people hate autorenewal, and some companies even have a policy against it, so make sure it's not something you force on your customers.

  • Tip 2: Make Renewal Easy to Do Within the Application

It seems a bit backwards if your users do everything via your app on the web, but when it comes to renewal time they have to pick up the phone or send an email to a representative. The renewal process should be as easy to accomplish as any other feature on your app. If you can make it web-based and basically frictionless, your chances of encouraging renewal are greater.

  • Tip 3: Remind Early and Often

Your users probably don't have your app's renewal date on their calendar (sad, but true). Send them an email ahead of time to warn them that their contract is about to expire, and incorporate a warning on the app itself when you get into countdown phase.

  • Tip 4: Remind Your Customers of the Value Your App Provides

Throughout the subscription period, remind your users how much they gain by using your application. You can do this through personalized email newsletters that provide statistics and insights into their usage of the app; or you can highlight their usage within the app itself in an automatically generated dashboard. Users may not even realize how much value they are getting from your app, unless you point it out to them.

  • Tip 5: Make Sure Customers are Aware (News - Alert) of New Features

Don't forget to market to your existing customer base, and to share good news with them about any new features you roll out. This may be just the feature that keeps them coming back at renewal time.  

The Bottom Line: Successful SaaS Conversion is a Step-by-Step Process

As you have already read, SaaS conversion is done to its fullest potential by understanding the stage of the conversion process and approaching the user with this in mind. If you follow the steps above, while correctly identifying and responding to the user's needs, you will keep him coming back for more – as a satisfied customer, as a paying customer, and eventually as a renewal customer. And every satisfied customer you achieve opens the floodgates to a steady client base.

Rafi Sweary is a co-founder of WalkMe.com, the world's first interactive online guidance system, enabling organizations to overlay on-screen “Walk-Thrus� into their websites or apps. These “Walk-Thrus� assist end-users in quickly and easily finishing even the most complex tasks, thus, helping organizations fight the “gremlins�  that take their marketing efforts off-track. To learn more about WalkMe, visit www.walkme.com.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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Philips to Unveil 15 New Products

Royal Philips Electronics is all set to unveil the next chapter of its unique approach to radiology, Imaging 2.0 at the 98th annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, held Nov. 25-29, 2012. It is showcasing 15 new products and features that reflect the principles of Imaging 2.0 by improving collaboration among caregivers and by integrating different systems to transform care.

The Philips new features and products provide new ways to integrate products and share information. They offer patient adaptive smart systems that provide better quality of image and increases patient’s comfort. Including the ones offered in current year, Philips has so far introduced about 50 new products and upgrades as a part of Imaging 2.0. The innovative upgrades add value to the existing radiology products, offer fast ways to collaborate and reduce healthcare costs which helps the providers in offering customized care and better patient outcomes. With its introduction of Imaging 2.0 in 2010, Philips has intensified its efforts to help solve the world's toughest healthcare concerns and clinical challenges by partnering with healthcare stakeholders and clinicians.

Increased emphasis on sophisticated, diagnostic care has put radiologists and their specialty front and center in healthcare, said Deborah DiSanzo, the chief executive officer of Philips Healthcare. "We are working to combine ideas with expertise, innovation and funding, to create solutions that make a real difference to radiologists and their care teams, patients and their loved ones through meaningful innovations.�

“At Philips, we believe that radiology is the cornerstone of diagnosis and treatment,� said Gene Saragnese, chief executive officer of Imaging Systems at Philips. "We're in the middle of the most massive transformation in imaging history. At Philips, we're delivering on our promise of delivering innovative solutions year upon year. With additional works in progress, our innovation has only just begun.�

Philips is committed to keeping pace with the changing needs of radiologists by launching several of its new products which have been developed with customer insights in mind including:

  • The latest version of IntelliSpace Portal. It is an advanced visualization solution to analyze and interpret medical images which simplifies working with the vast amounts of imaging data sets for the radiologists.
  • iPatient, an advanced platform for its family of CT and PET/CT scanners that deliver focused innovations to provide patient-centered imaging. With its SyncRight feature, iPatient delivers appropriate contrast dose and consistent image quality which enables easy and efficient communication between the CT system and the injector.
  • Revolutionary dStream broadband technology that provides easier coil handling, enhanced image quality, improved workflow and better patient comfort. It would be available for the majority of the installed base of Philips Achieva and Intera MR Systems.

Philips is further expanding its MR offering in the interventional MRI area with the next-generation Ingenia MR-OR solution for intraoperative neurosurgery. An MR-OR suite for intraoperative MRI supports resection procedures that can save precious time for both surgeon and patient and adds value to neurosurgical facilities.

The new Philips MicroDose SI brings the potential of non-invasive spectral imaging to clinical practice without X-rays. It is full-field digital mammography system.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


Intelligent Notification Mobile App Unveils Advanced Features for Enterprise-Wide Alerting

November 26, 2012

The Intelligent Notification Mobile is the newest version of MIR3 Intelligent Notification platform that helps mobile workers do business while traveling. This new platform is developed by MIR3, Inc., the developer of Intelligent Notification (IN) and response technology.

This MIR3 Intelligent Notification app specifically improves business continuity, IT service management, operational performance and employee safety. The app enables users to create messages on the fly, send alerts to pre-defined groups or individuals, see response reports, join or drop a conference call with one touch, work with GPS to direct or respond to an alert with one touch and send and receive alerts at no charge.  

These days, enterprise workforce is becoming mobile and employees are spending less time in a typical office environment. According to a survey performed by Forrester Research (News - Alert), 44 percent of information workers now use smartphones in the workplace. So there is need to enable mobile enterprise workforce to be able to access key information at any time, from anywhere, using any device. This is what MIR3 Intelligent Notification Mobile app is doing.

This app enables workers to complete important and critical tasks when they are away from their offices. It allows iPhone (News - Alert) and Android users to use existing templates or create unique messages and deliver them to pre-defined groups or individuals throughout the enterprise, directly from a smartphone. 

This app can be connected with a company's name and logo and is native to either the iPhone or Android (News - Alert) operating system. This app helps enterprises to implement policies and procedures for a mobile workforce.

Frank Mahdavi, chief strategy officer at MIR3 said in a statement, “It's clear that the mobile workforce will continue to grow and business continuity tools need to be adapted to serve their needs. The MIR3 Intelligent Notification Mobile app offers the enterprise mobile workforce a flexible, reliable and powerful way to communicate and send notifications when away from the office environment, enhancing lines of business communication, protecting resources and even safeguarding the lives of other employees.�

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

HealthTechZone Week in Review

Not even a shortened week brought about by the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States could stop the flow of news in the healthcare technology segment! So we've got plenty of news to discuss with our Week in Review coverage. So loosen your belt and settle in for a reasonably-proportioned helping of all our hottest and freshest news.

First we looked at the issue of electronic patient records, and how best to keep them secure. The use of electronic patient records has the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency, but at the same time, keeping them safe can be a problem. But new advancements in the field of voice biometrics may look to change that, as voice-based systems are easy to use with tablets and smartphones, yet still allow for very tight security that's hard to crack thanks to the unique nature of voice biometrics.

Then came a closer look at the matter of electronic health records (EHR) incentive payments, geared toward getting more healthcare providers to switch to the EHR system. The level of EHR incentive payments paid out so far has recently reached $8 billion, with total costs to the government looking to reach over two and a half times that much at $20 billion.

These numbers have brought some opposition along with them, but the move to EHR is expected to make for bigger savings in the long run.

Next, we examined Connect 4 Healthcare, and its potential to shake up the healthcare industry by changing the way contacts are made in emergencies in long-term healthcare settings. Connect 4 Healthcare uses a notification system that allows for multiple contacts to be made simultaneously, and all of it tied into a single push of a button. Connect 4 Healthcare's mass notification system has been around for some time, but it's starting to get some extra notice in the industry as a better way to notify multiple parties of an issue in a long-term healthcare setting.

Then came a surprising bit of news for the sector: layoffs. Normally people think of healthcare as a resilient field – people always need healthcare on one level or another – but for GE Healthcare in Vermont, jobs were lost and fully 10 percent of the Vermont workforce is losing jobs based on "the current economic climate." The numbers may not be as bad as initially noted, however, as GE Healthcare promised an extensive search for "alternate roles" for those affected, meaning at least some percentage of the lost jobs will likely be re-employed elsewhere within the company.

Finally, we took a look at the issue of medication patents, as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients will be able to obtain what's known as a "generic Fixed Dose Combination" (FDC) therapy in developing countries. This gives HIV patients who wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford medication for the disease access to a low-cost alternative, thanks to a unique approach in the development of off-patent medication.

That was the week that was in healthcare technology – granted, it was a fairly short week, but even the truncated nature of the proceedings couldn't prevent plenty of news from emerging in the sector as a whole. Holiday weekend or not, our global online community is constantly in the hunt for fresh news to bring your way, so be sure to join us back here next week for more big news, as well as every weekend for our Week in Review coverage. Have a happy Thanksgiving!


Mobility TechZone Week in Review

Though we find ourselves in a week shortened by the upcoming festivities of Thanksgiving, there was some interesting technical and mobile news packed into the last three days. We hope that everyone finds their extended Thanksgiving weekend an awesome one!

First, let's get the mobile device and OS news out of the way. It appears that the 50+ carriers currently in pre-release testing of the new Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry hardware and operating system are showing some excitement about it. Enough so, in fact, that it moved a financial analyst with a once entirely negative outlook on RIM to offer up some new positive RIM perspectives. Or is it damning with faint praise? It's one or the other.

Apple has managed to score a slew of new patents from the Patent Office - 38 of them in fact. But among this collection there is one patent that we must rate as amazing. It has to do with page turning. Apple this week was also crowned King of the Mobile Ad Impressions Market; at least if a certain new market study is to be believed.

According to a recent statement from Norton by Symantec, one in three mobile users has had their mobile device lost or stolen, putting their personal data at risk. One in three is substantial. The new Norton Mobile Security protects against these situations, helping users to keep their device secure, recover the missing device, and prevent others from accessing their information.

On the mobile app and device end of things, KODAK has a new application for smartphones, which allows users to print photos taken on their smartphones and create photo gifts. iPhone or Android users can visit the KODAK kiosks found in participating CVS Pharmacies and Bartell Drug stores by using a wireless connection via the KODAK app, which can be downloaded for free on the KODAK website.

Tools for developing mobile apps - whether for consumers or for the enterprise, continues to be an enormously hot mobile market segment. But which tools - and which kinds of tools - are likely to emerge as the most desired? Further on the mobile tools front, SAIC is now working with Motorola Solutions to promote Moto's RhoMobile Suite to potential customers

This week also saw another of our favorites - device teardowns - emerge, this time from ABI Research, which recently dissected Samsung's new Galaxy S III E210s developed specifically for the Korean market. Guess what? The beast sports a new modem - one that is no longer from Qualcomm. Whose is it?

Mobile networks are seeing such heavy use that service providers continue to look for solutions to help make the most of these network assets, both in terms of resource efficiency and revenue creation. In a recent move reflecting that trend, ADVA Optical Networking today revealed that it has invested $1 million investment for a 10 percent stake in Saguna Networks, which provides mobile content optimization solutions.

Finally this week we have some interesting wireless network happenings. In Japan it appears that Japan's NTT is finding consumers are shifting demand from fixed networks to Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile networks, which is a real world test of whether LTE 4G networks and wireless broadband can replace fiber to the home for the last mile of connectivity. T-Mobile meanwhile, continues to make deals amidst an uncertain future. Perhaps one of those deals will work to mitigate something that Virginia Tech researchers have discovered: that new mobile networks are exposed to jamming attacks.

Those are the week's mobile highlights. For much more make sure to scope out Mobility TechZone directly.