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Shock and awe: the blockchain unpacked

A book review of The Business Blockchain  There’s nothing short of a revolution happening in world of business and computing, according to author William Mougayer. “If the blockchain has not shocked you yet,” he writes in his book, The Business Blockchain, “I guarantee it will soon.” His belief is that blockchain technology is the biggest technological breakthrough since the Internet – an instrument of social and political change with the potential of disrupting everything from commerce to financial services to the exchange of ideas and information. Blockchain technology of course is best known as the underpinning of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Employing a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange of data, a blockchain authenticates and permanently records every transaction on a distributed public ledger. It can only be sequentially updated, thereby ensuring that every single exchange of data can be continually reconciled, and cannot be erased. It is incorruptible. The essence of the…

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Artificial Intelligence: is it real?

What it means for business, government, and the individual For the very few of you who may be questioning whether Artificial Intelligence is here for real, it might be worth having a chat with Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. They’re always game for a conversation. Or at least, a command. The fact is, the field of AI has been around for decades. Today, with the continued growth of big data and the ability to quickly develop neural networks, AI is becoming more and more prevalent. And with the wider availability of toolkits, frameworks and open source data sets for software engineers, the pace of AI development keeps on accelerating. Google, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and many other technology leaders are all scrambling to hire the best AI talent, acquire AI start-ups, invest more heavily in AI research, and market their own flavors of AI-enhanced products and services. Two years ago, in 2015,…

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A Bitcoin Primer: What it is, and how to use it

No country issues it. No bank holds it. No institution backs it. No coins (or bills) even denote it. Bitcoin is cryptocurrency – entirely virtual, transacted almost exclusively online, it exists only in digital form, its value determined wholly by the market. Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has been a curiosity for many, and a mystery to many more. After all, can a currency that exists purely online even be real? The answer is yes. Yes, it can. In fact, its value is very real. It recently surged to well above $2,000 USD – more than doubling its value in one year. One financial analyst at Saxo Bank predicts its value could hit $100,000 USD in just ten years. At the same time, its value can fluctuate wildly. In May 2017, for example, it took a dive of more than $500 in just one day. So how exactly does…

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Drip? Flood? Hurricane? How much content is too much content?

For technology professionals, there’s no shortage of content online, but let’s be honest: much of it is of questionable value. The reason? It’s easy – too easy – to push content out there. The critical question is, what’s the optimal amount of content an organization needs to produce for its audience to get the desired effect? If the content is worth producing at all, it should answer a very loud “Yes!” to these four essential questions: Is it relevant? This is the most important question to ask of all. It’s absolutely critical to look at the information being sent from the perspective of the intended audience. Is it meaningful to them? For example, does it address a prevailing technology trend? Is it a new perspective on a current issue? A unique perspective on a recent event? Some piece of truly breaking news – for example, a new product release, technique,…

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How can we develop women in tech?

In our latest Women in Digital series of blogs Ali Palmer, Technology Consultant, Odgers Interim Management outlines some of the key issues that can help support women into technology roles. There’s no question that we need to encourage more women into technology. Women represent over half of the creative talent pool in this country, but remain under-represented in the industry. Our economy needs digital skills to thrive and grow, and encouraging more women into the industry creates diversity which many studies have shown increases the bottom line. But how do we achieve this? At a foundational level, there needs to be an emphasis within schools to encourage young women to study maths and the sciences. These subjects need to be brought to life and placed within the context of careers. For instance, how many young girls realise that maths and science can lead to careers in areas as exciting and…

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Diversity can fuel the fires of continued digital innovation

I was recently invited by Westminster eForum to give a keynote presentation at their seminar: Women in the tech sector: education, company cultures and business benefits. My brief was to show that there is a commercial case for gender equality. Yes we may all agree that it is the right thing to do, but does gender equality make a business more profitable? Here is a brief summary of some of the key points that I was able to make during the presentation. I am delighted to say, the answer is yes. I’ve got the stats and my own experience as the General Manager and VP of Cogeco Peer 1 to prove it. (Which is a good job because if the answer was no, this would have been be a very short and not very popular keynote speech.) Here are 5 cold, hard, researched stats that demonstrate the ways in which…

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