London Tech Week: How edtech will shape our future

2The last couple of decades have seen much talk of technology’s power to radically disrupt the future. Yet without ensuring that we have the skills to use and devise new technologies, this power will never reach its true potential.

Little wonder that the use of technology in education is attracting increasing attention as the fostering of skills needed to adapt to our changing world becomes more important. This year’s EdTech Europe conference, part of London Technology Week 2015, was focused on how this potential is being explored and expanded.

The opening session, from EdTech Europe founder Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, highlighted five key insights to give any newcomers an understanding of the rapidly developing field of education technology.

5 edtech insights for 2015

1. Unlike other areas of technological change, edtech won’t have a rapid transformation, but with only 3 percent of education budgets being spent on digital, huge growth potential exists as governments and schools begin to make progress in this area.

2. As in many other digital industries, edtech lacks established business models. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) may be leading the way through “freemium” models, providing educational content for free but charging to turn these newly acquired skills into recognized qualifications.

3. LinkedIn’s recent purchase of online learning provider is a potential landmark moment where education begins to be seen as valuable, not just a social good. At $1.5 billion, the deal was the fourth-largest acquisition in social media history, and potential investors are sure to take note.

4. Education is no longer just for the young. Almost every industry is seeing jobs threatened by advances in technology, and as this continues, current skills and knowledge will depreciate in value much more quickly. To stay employable, we’ll all need to adapt and retrain throughout our careers. Little wonder LinkedIn is investing.

5. Digital education has the potential to be the global economy’s reset button. With each additional 25 points in Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores leading to an increase of $100,000 in gross domestic product per capita, investing in education is a must for future prosperity, ensuring that future generations have the skills to adapt.


How education technology can change the world

Vedrenne-Cloquet suggested it can be far more cost-effective and easier for emerging markets to opt for tech-based education solutions than in developed countries, where existing infrastructures and institutions can make it difficult to pivot. Edtech could change the world.

This idea was developed further in a later panel that looked at a variety of global initiatives, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa. Panel chair Paul Cable of EnSo set the scene: Children will be the ones to build the future, and technology can help empower them to start having a positive impact today, opening their eyes to new perspectives and potential.

By connecting schools around the world and getting them to collaborate around key ideas, such as Global Action Plan’s Water Explorer project, students can develop new approaches with valuable skills. Infrastructure may be needed, like the iMlango project to deliver satellite Internet to schools in Kenya, or One Billion’s provision of literacy apps and hardware in Malawi.

But most important is to highlight the personal relevance of education. By providing a local focus and placing it within a global context via the connectivity of technology, not only is educational engagement being boosted, but new ways of meeting challenges are also being discovered.

How engagement in education leads to innovation

Engagement was also a focus of the keynote presentation from Liz Sproat, head of education for Google EMEA. Providing access to information alone isn’t enough, according to Sproat.

“If students are asking the kinds of questions that Google can answer, they aren’t asking the right questions,” she said.

Technology can be a powerful tool for increasing access to information, but it’s how we use that information that matters. The true aim of education should be to make children fall in love with problem solving, and inspire a lifelong love of learning. Without this, they won’t have the attitude needed to survive in a rapidly changing world.

When thinking about how technology can change the world, the focus needs to be not so much on the technology, but on inspiring the user to take what they’ve learned to the next level.


Francesca James

Francesca James

Francesca is a Director at Amplified Business Content.

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Tags: Big Data, Business, Productivity

Partner of the month questions



  1. Question: What is your name, company name and position within your company, and how long have you been with this company?
    Dr Stuart Nielsen-Marsh
    Pulsant Ltd
    Microsoft Cloud Product Manager
    7 months
  2. Describe your company and what it does in 50 words or less.
    Pulsant offers managed hosting, private/hybrid cloud and professional services to customers in the UK ranging from SMEs to large private and public sector organizations. Pulsant has over 3,500 business customers which it serves from its 15 data centers in the UK and 6 other data centers globally.
  3. What is your biggest daily/weekly challenge?
    Keeping up with the pace of change in the cloud technology and services space – in the cloud space we have seen the cadence of the business change from yearly IT changes to monthly and now weekly innovation, updates and changes which in turn our customers expect us to be able to deliver to them.
  4. What is your greatest daily/weekly satisfaction?
    When a member of my staff comes to show me the latest technology innovation they have seen, learnt about or mastered and how it will improve our services, offer our customers additional benefits or improvements and so ultimately help the company succeed in delighting our customers.
  5. In your view, what has been the most significant technological and/or business driver to have emerged over the last five years (i.e. cloud, hosted services, thin clients, social media, flexible working….) and why?
    350x250Definitely the cloud, but in particular the changes that will come with the introduction by Microsoft of Azure Stack. Azure Stack intends to allow users to bring the Azure cloud model down to the datacentre. Specifically, Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform that will allow organisations to deliver Azure services from their own datacentres in a way that is consistent with [public] Azure. The point of Azure Stack is that it takes the benefits of public cloud and brings these same capabilities and services into your (private) datacentre. This will enable a host of new ideas letting companies develop a whole Azure Stack ecosystem where:

    • Hosting companies can sell private Azure Services direct from their datacentres
    • System integrators can design, deploy and operate Azure solution once but deliver in both private and public clouds
    • ISVs can write Azure-compatible software once and deploy in both private and public clouds
    • Managed service providers can deploy, customise and operate Azure Stack themselves
  6. How do you see IoT (Internet of Things) technologies (distributed networks, edge analytics, big data etc) driving change across business organisations?
    IoT is currently on the peak of inflated expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, poised to slip into the trough of disillusionment. When you hear people advising the industry to focus on need, rather than ‘throwing technology out there’, you can understand why – IoT will without doubt have a significant impact on business organizations in the near future, but only in combination with the use of machine learning, AI and analytics more generally. In particular, predictive analytics is emerging as the key game-changer. Instead of looking backward to analyze “what happened?” predictive analytics help executives answer “What’s next?” and “What should we do about it?”
  7. Why Dell?
    Partnering with Dell enables us to provide cost-effective hybrid cloud solutions to our customers from the Dell Hybrid Cloud Solutions range. In addition, working closely with Dell’s engineering teams and architects allows us to be at the cutting edge of new cloud technologies such as the forthcoming Azure Stack services from Microsoft.
  8. Why the channel
    When expanding into new markets it is much easier to partner with a reseller who already understands the market and already has the networks and infrastructure to sell to and service it than it is to set up a new division etc.
  9. How (or in what ways) did you interact with your partner, Dell, in the last month?
    Currently Pulsant and Dell are planning a joint venture to create a UK Centre of Excellence for Hybrid Cloud. We have been working jointly with the Dell’s EMEA Cloud Services Director, one of its leading Hybrid cloud architects and head of its Partner Services Director to progress these plans. In addition, our corporate IT team have been working with Dell’s hybrid cloud support teams as part of our internal IT services migration to Dell’s DHCS platform.
  10. It’s early days, but what is your current view on how Brexit will disrupt IT investment?
    The flexibility to purchase cloud services can be both the cloud’s greatest asset and its worst feature, resulting in almost every business today having some form of cloud outsourcing – from strategically sourced hybrid IT through to shadow IT. This has created a world of complex hybrid cloud environments; mixing on-premise infrastructure controlled by IT with cloud services, sometimes purchased departmentally. So, as the UK heads towards uncertainty, IT managers with hybrid environments are now looking to minimise their IT risk as they navigate the post-Brexit landscape.
    It may be too early to predict the likely impact but Pulsant recognises that there are a number of important factors to consider if you are an IT decision maker operating in the UK. The first thing to think about is, “Where are your current IT services being delivered from?” Next comes the question of your data and where its located. Another big area is around staffing IT teams and UK businesses’ continued ability to retain top talent once outside of the EU. Then there is business continuity, and the need to have business continuity plans in place across IT that could trigger the transfer of data, IT services and staff resources back to the UK in the event that Brexit results in more serious consequences than can be foreseen at this moment in time.


Madeleine Hudson

Madeleine Hudson

Madeleine Hudson is a Dell Senior Content Advisor for the EMEA channel. She is a highly experienced strategic marketer, specializing in B2B social media and content management. Prior to Dell, Madeleine spent six years at Microsoft UK, working in digital channel marketing for SMB audiences.

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Tags: Cloud Computing, Technology

University secures research with new HPC solution

KeyboardGerman institution, Jacobs University Bremen, runs highly sought after courses on a variety of subjects, including science, engineering and the arts. The university’s academic focus on research sets it apart from other universities. Students and researchers use its facilities to find solutions to prevalent social and technological problems of the 21st century. Various departments have been utilising computer modelling and simulations, as well as data analysis, for years. One of the main infrastructures for this work is the Computational Laboratory for Analysis, Modelling and Visualisation.

Achim Gelessus, Head of CLAMV at Jacobs University Bremen, says: “CLAMV serves as a common support initiative for computer-based research at Jacobs University Bremen and is the platform for exchange and collaboration during computer projects.” Many of the computation tasks require powerful high-performance computing technology. But the older HPC systems that the university were using couldn’t keep up with the increasing importance of computer simulations. As waiting times and delays to research projects grew, so did the need to remove bottlenecks and acquire more capacity.

CLAMV assembled a catalogue of requirements for a new HPC environment to which Dell soon responded with a solution that met every requirement. Dr. Gelessus says: “When we looked at the proposal from Dell it offered excellent computational power and came with a comprehensive range of services.” He adds: “We got exactly what we wanted from Dell – a turnkey solution. We gained a complete HPC design, including hardware and management software.”

The new solution was deployed soon after and the results speak for themselves. Jacobs University Bremen now has the infrastructure it needs to continue innovating and supporting its academic programmes. Researchers have significantly more computing power and have no problems when using applications. “Our new cluster has around 64 teraflops of theoretical processing power compared with our previous solution, which had just 8 teraflops. The HPC solution from Dell is a significant step forward for Jacobs University Bremen when it comes to computer simulations and has become an indispensable tool for many research projects. It means that our Dell HPC infrastructure is recognised by our peers as a first-class environment for research and academic programmes,” says Dr. Gelessus.

The boost in processing performance has led to an increase in research projects the university has been able to win. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kleinekathöfer, Professor of Theoretical Physics, School of Engineering & Science at Jacobs University Bremen says: “We have provided researchers with around a fivefold to eightfold increase in simulation times with our Dell HPC environment, which enables them to win new research projects.” User feedback has also been consistently positive since the infrastructure went live. “Our researchers are much happier with our Dell HPC infrastructure. Not only has computing speed increased to support complex work, but waiting times to use the environment are a lot shorter,” says Dr. Gelessus.

Dell and its partners can deliver tailored solutions for effective IT improvements in any organisation. Read more customer success stories here, and find your own Dell technology provider by visiting the Find a Partner page here.


Madeleine Hudson

Madeleine Hudson

Madeleine Hudson is a Dell Senior Content Advisor for the EMEA channel. She is a highly experienced strategic marketer, specializing in B2B social media and content management. Prior to Dell, Madeleine spent six years at Microsoft UK, working in digital channel marketing for SMB audiences.

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Featured partner profile: Zizo


Tags: Education, Industries

Private Cloud In European Enterprises

Business concept

Adoption leads to more efficiencies

The rise of cloud computing has been one of the most remarkable transformations of the IT arena. About six years ago, it was an approach taken only by the boldest and innovative of companies with many CIOs swearing that their infrastructures would never be placed in the cloud.

Just look at how the landscape has changed in just a few years: cloud is now a vital part of the business toolset. It’s something we see right across the board: for start-ups, cloud is the natural choice, saving thousands of dollars on set-up costs – and digital companies, where there’s a lot of innovative development work needed, there’s a tendency to go with cloud.

Cloud has many forms

Even larger corporates find that there’s room for cloud in their infrastructure. The technology is being used by more and more organisations. What’s more, companies have become more sophisticated with the type of cloud being used. In the early days of the technology, cloud was seen as being synonymous with public IaaS but the modern enterprise is fully aware of all the options and, when moving to cloud, will take a hybrid approach.

PrintAccording to IDC, companies are split three ways when it comes to opting for cloud.  One third of businesses are reluctant to go down the cloud route at all; one third will choose whichever option is best for their needs, while the other third will tend to have a preference for a cloud solution first of all – the approach that many governments are urging public sector CIOs to take.

Enthusiastic about the cloud

The research shows other signs too that companies are beginning to get more enthusiastic in their support for cloud. The number of companies who are looking to spend 40 per cent – or more – of their IT budget on cloud services is set to increase from five percent to nearly 14 per cent by the end of 2016.

Why is there such support for more cloud?  It’s because companies who go down that route are going to be better placed for future growth. According to a survey from Dell itself, businesses who adopted a private cloud approach are seeing the benefits: organisations who have opted for private cloud have seen a growth rate 46 per cent higher than those who haven’t invested, while those who have gone down the path of public cloud services have seen a growth rate 51 per cent – a clear demonstration of how cloud can lead to a more efficient business.

Laggards will be left behind

All those early concerns have now been swept away: it’s not quite true to say that there’s a tide of enthusiasm for cloud – there are concerns over privacy, legacy integration and service delivery to grapple with – but the trend is moving one way only. Any company that is ignoring the advantages of cloud and doesn’t include the technology as part of a strategy going forward is liable to be swept aside in the coming years.

And those CIOs who swore they would never go down the cloud path? They’re going to be the ones struggling to justify to their superiors as to why the IT department is holding back company modernization.


Max Cooter

Max Cooter

Max is a freelance journalist who has covered a wide variety of IT subjects. He was the founder editor of Cloud Pro, one of the first dedicated cloud publications. He also founded and edited IDG’s Techworld and prior to that was editor of Network Week. As a freelancer, he has contributed to IDG Direct, SC Magazine, Computer Weekly, Computer Reseller News, Internet magazine, PC Business World and many others. He has also spoken at many conferences and has been a commentator for the BBC, ITN and computer TV channel CNBC.

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Tags: Cloud Computing, Technology

Cloud boosts business results up to 30%

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Emmet Porter

Emmet Porter

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Tags: 2-Cloud

What Makes a Private Cloud a CLOUD?

Creating an agile, manageable private cloud environment that enables efficiency and solves business problems.

Four Key Areas That Define Future-Ready Companies

IDC’s June 2015 global Future-Ready Enterprise Study illustrated how future readiness matters in today’s digital business world.

Data centre design: Where to begin

main 1

So, you need a data centre. Where do you begin?

First off, consider what you need it for, how much data needs to be supported, your back-up options and processes. Start by taking into account the following:


You need to ensure you have access to the power you require, and back-up power is just as critical.  Bear in mind that while you may have generators providing emergency power, you also need battery back-up that can provide power for at least 150 per cent longer than the time it takes for the generators to come back online.

Back-up generators need enough energy to last for at least 48 hours, while a tried and tested protocol in the event of mains power failure is essential.


Do not rely on standard internet access from one ISP, as you will need a lot bandwidth capacity and you need back-up too. If you employ more than one ISP make sure that the two ISPs do not share bandwidth, especially in the ‘last mile.’


It is crucial that you have someone involved in the project who understands WAN routing. This individual needs to be able to diagnose problems when they arise.

Redundancy for the core system is equally important. Achieve this by making sure that the entire system has back-up which you test thoroughly and regularly.

Data centres generate a lot of heat, and indeed noise. Thus, adequate cooling technology will be needed, and more than one thermostat should be employed to effectively monitor temperature fluctuations.

Sufficient back-up is also a key necessity; you need to know that air cooling systems and batteries will remain operational in the event of an outage.

Security is a priority across today’s online domain. As such, only authorised individuals should be permitted into the centre, while locking systems need to be installed to prevent illegal entry.

One potential threat to your data centre is fire. You need to install sufficient fire prevention technologies such as Halon, a liquefied, compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion.

Ensure that the entire data centre is monitored at all times so that you are instantly aware in the event of any system disruption. You can mitigate against the likelihood of anything going wrong by updating hardware and software regularly.

Above all, back-up is key across all facets of the centre. Not only for data, power, and in case of equipment failure but staff too; individuals and teams need to be on standby and on site if necessary to deal with any issues promptly.

Data centre management is a major responsibility, but don’t try to take short-cuts. If something goes wrong the consequences can be damaging and far-reaching.




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Tags: IT Transformation, Technology

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Today’s IT organizations are frequently asked to not only support, but help drive business transformation within their organization.