Innovation is king. In the face of rising expectations and disruptive digital competitors, enterprises are desperate to innovate to safeguard their businesses and unlock future growth. Yet how often do we see many struggle to be able to execute? Look at Xerox, Kodak, Nokia. All big names that struggled to adapt to the changing demands of the market. Yet, interestingly, these companies often had “the next big thing” first yet failed to deliver on those innovations and instead found themselves ceding to others. Why?
People are realising that being able to generate ideas and being able to execute those ideas effectively - either in implementing new business models or turning ideas into business outcomes - are two different things. This was identified as the innovation execution gap by Cass Business School and VMware in the ‘Innovating in the exponential economy’ report. With fluctuating market conditions and the unpredictability of doing business in today’s global economy, combined with unprecedented speeds in technical innovation, organisations have to move faster than ever before. This has left traditional approaches to executing ideas no longer fit for purpose.
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As the report outlines, to bridge that gap organisations need to finely tune their focus on putting the right people, process and technology into play and creating the right conditions for them to succeed.
People is really about the work culture. It’s creating, fostering and enabling an environment where individuals feel empowered to come up with ideas themselves, rather than assume it’s someone else’s job.
Process supports people. Deploying the mechanisms that allow those ideas to be captured, developed and shared effectively with decision-makers.
Underpinning it all is technology. It’s how we deliver, the digital foundation on which everything is built: the infrastructure, apps, services and devices which allow businesses to experiment, to scale, to be nimbler; people to work smarter and in new ways– often at speeds and with lower risk profiles not available before. The role of cloud computing in this cannot be underestimated.
The role of the CIO in transformation
That technology and process piece requires CIOs to be the instigators of business delivery. Many are already aware of this, and their role in delivering innovation. According to a report we developed with Forbes Insight, 46 per cent of CIOs say their function will be essential to fostering innovation within their companies.
How do they plan to achieve this? Even those that don’t realise it are taking steps in the right direction. In the past the questions for a CIO have been about the executional concerns of classic IT, which focused on when hardware could be procured and installed. Increasingly, however, they now are asking ‘when will I see results?’ They are looking for services that can be deployed and integrated quickly, and deliver results and value, even faster.
And this is where cloud environments can really help deliver.
Why cloud delivers the execution of innovation
There are five core ways that cloud is enabling organisations to execute innovation.
Firstly, it delivers. It is ‘sign up and go’ simple. Need additional licenses, servers, functionality, features, applications? If it’s delivered by cloud the acquisition and set up time is minute compared to on-premises classic IT. Speed in delivering new applications and services is now essential to business advantage, and cloud technologies provide a great sand-pit for experimentation. This is exactly why Amadeus, a provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, is using cloud - to help speed application development lifecycles to realize and respond to new business opportunities rapidly.
Secondly, it empowers users to be innovative. That speed and simplicity, combined with a re-imagined digital workspace, allows access to cloud native applications and delivers the heightened, intuitive experience employees have come to expect from the digital tools they use outside of the workplace. It means the technology is in the background, IT ceases to be an inertial barrier, and users get on with the task at hand.
Thirdly, cloud delivers financial freedom. Traditional IT required upfront investment to be hedged against expected requirements. Cloud changes that dynamic – with most services being subscription based, cash can now flow in the form that best meets the needs of the work being done. That means having the full flexibility of both capital (capex) and operational (opex) expenditure models to have both long-term spend optimisation and venture-style investment backing for trialling new services or applications. In other words, finance is no longer the blocker to experimentation and innovation, but becomes a strategic weapon.
Fourthly, cloud delivers scale. It allows organisations to scale up and down all of their resources as business demands it, quickly and without a high cost of change. This means a wide spectrum of our finite resources, including people and technology, can be aligned to shifting business priorities on a daily basis, rather than in quarterly cycles. This gets more out of investment, making it work harder as opposed to standing redundant, and mitigates the costs of deviation where changing course can result in exponential costs increases.
Finally, cloud offers access to shortcuts. That might be prebuilt platforms or X-as-a-service solutions – whatever it is, and whatever you need, it’s likely that, a version of it already exists. This is what allows digital native companies to scale rapidly. Take Uber – it isn’t all custom-designed code but instead uses other services to get the job done quicker. If you only have to develop a part of your offering from scratch and can augment it with off-the-shelf components that have already been delivered and proven, you will have a much faster, and less risky, time to market.
All cloud is not equal – why hybrid cloud is fundamental
That said, it isn’t as simple as listing five reasons and that being it. Consideration needs to be given to the reality of enterprise infrastructure. Most established organisations have a complex mix of legacy systems and applications, some of which are critical to the business, but simply can’t be moved wholesale. They may need to evolve, they may need to be decomposed, or they may simply have to stay where they are. To support all the ways of working we now need, we need consistency between our different environments and cloud platforms.
This is where hybrid cloud environments, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, come in. They act as the digital foundation that allows businesses to place applications where they function best, but also provide the flexibility to move services around as circumstances change. For the likes of IHS Markit, that has meant developing infrastructure across multiple cloud environments, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. By taking a hybrid approach, with seamless connectivity across private and public clouds, it has been able to achieve frictionless IT, in a fast and secure way.
This is vital for CIOs looking to make any sort of transformational business case to their board. The CIO can take a line of business as an example project, use cloud to rapidly transform the necessary elements, and take those results to their leadership to prompt engagement and further sign off.
By being able to action change and deliver results rapidly, the CIO increases relevance. Rather than long term planning to “pilot this” or project plans to do “proof of concepts for that”, they have live use cases. In turn, they become the catalyst to turn the established business model into an innovative one.
Innovation is king, but a failure to execute is the death knell for organisations in all sectors. This gap exists because companies lack the ability to effect, and demonstrate the impact of, change without significant debate, sign off and drawn out decision-making. In these cases, silos are the enemy as more problems and barriers spring up around the things you are trying to change.
Cloud can help overcome the gap by providing the technology enabler people and process need to complete the innovation prism. Yet it cannot be a single cloud, but an integrated mix of environments with a consistency at its core to provide the digital foundation to unlock rapid results using the right technology, in the right location, at the right time. With this, the CIO’s hand is strengthened as they assume their role as the catalyst for transformative innovation.
Richard Munro, Director of Global Cloud Strategy at VMware
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Tencent Games and PUBG Corporation are celebrating the first anniversary of PUBG Mobile with the launch of a new version of the popular battle royale title. In the past year, PUBG Mobile has grown to 30 million daily active players and has over 200 million downloads registered on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The game is also the most popular title in India where the company also hosted two big tournaments -- Campus Championship with a prize pool of 50 lakhs following it up with the India Series 2019 which had a prize pool of 1 crore.
PUBG Mobile update 0.11.5: Here's everything new
The latest PUBG Mobile release is 212 MB in size and updates the game to version 0.11.5. It brings in a slew of improvements to the gameplay in addition to a new weapon, vehicle and Royal Pass subscription packs. Erangel and Miramar maps have been updated to support dynamic weather as well.
With the new Season 6, features of the Royal Pass have been enhanced to include two subscription plans- Prime and Prime Plus. Players will be able to buy either of the plans starting from early April. The subscription plans will offer 80% discounts on crates along with free UC, Royal Pass points among other benefits.
The new update also brings in a new weapon, the G36C, which is a carbine-type assault rifle that replaces SCAR-L in the Vikendi map. The G36C fires 5.56 rounds in Single or Auto mode and has hit damage of 43 points. With an extended magazine, the rifle can house 40 rounds in a single cache and has 4 attachments.
Players will also find a new three-wheeled rickshaw, the Tukshai which has a capacity of 3 and replaces the Jeep, Dacia and Mini Bus in Sanhok map.
Some general improvements have also been done to the game which improves the gameplay and make it more seamless.
PUBG Mobile 0.11.5 update: full changelog
- Players can now view RP rankings of the entire region and your friends directly from the Royale Pass page.
- Elite Pass Plus purchase now has additional rewards besides instantly gaining 25 ranks.
- Weekly challenges now award more points. Point rewards can now be collected with just one tap.
- Birthday parties on Spawn Island! Light fireworks and collect crates during matches.
- Open the collected crates after the match to get anniversary rewards.
- Find randomly spawned birthday cakes in matches for a surprise!
- Dynamic weather added to Erangel and Miramar.
- Added a new weapon: G36C rifle (Vikendi only). Fires 5.56mm rounds and can be equipped with stocks. Replaces SCAR-L in Vikendi.
- Added a new Sanhok-exclusive vehicle: Tukshai, a three-wheeled bus. This will replace the Jeep, Dacia and Mini Bus.
- Subscriptions will be available in early April. There are two plans: Prime and Prime Plus. Both plans come with free daily UC, Royale Pass points, daily 80% discount on Crates, purchasing from the shop with BP and more. Benefits from both plans are stackable.
- When players don't win items above a certain quality many times in a row at the Shop, they will earn vouchers instead. Relevant titles and achievements relating to bad luck have also been added.
- "Room Card: 1-Use" in Clan Shop has been adjusted to 1 purchase every 10 days. Added a robot avatar to the Clan system.
Survive Till Dawn:
- Zombies will now enter a weakened state from time to time during the match. Please see in-game announcements for more information.
- Fixed some areas on the map where zombies could not enter.
- Damage outside of safe zone at night has been increased.
- Some resource drops have been tuned.
- Some zombie skills have been tuned.
- Vehicle fuel levels have been tuned.
- Quick chat message "I got supplies" is now pre-selected.
- Outfit preview will send a warning when a piece being previewed is hidden by a currently equipped piece.
- When previewing outfits from a new crate, the preview from the previous crate will now be removed.
- Added tapping feedback to buttons of the main menu.
- The animation skipping feature (when purchasing 10 crates) has been tuned.
After the launch of the Moto G7 Power last month, another phone from Moto's G7 series is headed for India. The Moto G7 is all set for an official unveiling on March 25 after which it is expected to hit both online and offline stores. There is no word on its price at this moment but we know that it retails for $299 in the US which roughly translates to Rs 20,000.
The Lenovo-backed company is also running a contest on its official social media handles where participants have a chance to win the Moto G7.
Moto G7 specifications
The Moto G7 features a 6.2-inch Full HD+ (2270 x 1080 pixels) IPS panel and is the first phone by Motorola to sport a waterdrop style notch. This gives the screen an aspect ratio of 19:9 albeit with visible bezels. The phone comes clad in Gorilla Glass 3 both on the front and the back which gives it an overall premium finish. A fingerprint sensor is also housed on the rear panel.
It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset with an octa-core CPU and is backed by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Users can choose to expand its storage by up to 512GB via dedicated microSD card slot.
Moto G7 has a dual camera setup on the back consisting of a primary 12MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 5MP depth sensor. On the front, there's an 8MP selfie camera.
The phone has a 3,000mAh battery which supports fast charging via 15W adapter.
The iPod was a revolution in portable music players, and rumor has it that while the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle have long since been benched, Apple might be announcing a refreshed version of the iPod Touch today.
The company is expected to announce the new iPod Touch via a press statement, as they did with previous low-profile announcements of the new iPad Air, iPad mini, and iMac, according to a Macrumors report.
The information reportedly came from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a good history of Apple leaks. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith also discovered references to a refreshed iPod Touch among the iOS 12.2 code.
The new Apple iPod touch is expected to include an A10 Fusion or A11 Bionic processor, to keep up with future iOS updates. The design is still unclear: will Apple keep the thick-bezels in order to mark the difference between its iPhone and iPod, or will the company embrace the iPhone's notched design- or will we get a completely new full-screen design taking advantage of swipe gestures of the iOS.
The current generation iPod touch comes with a tiny 4-inch Retina display and a home button with Touch ID. It packs Apple’s old A8 chip, and also features an 8MP rear camera. The report suggests that the official announcement about the new iPod touch is slated for today. So it won't be long before we see what changes that Apple aims to bring to its music streaming device.
After its debut, last month during MWC 2019, HMD Global's penta camera phone - the Nokia 9 PureView is all set for its India launch. The official Facebook page of Nokia Mobile India has posted a video which is essentially a montage of pictures shot on Nokia 9. By the end of the video, the company takes a jab at other smartphone makers who have been using fake camera samples in their promotional content by stating "Shot on Nokia 9 for real"!
The video is accompanied by a caption which reads, "Get ready to capture the most breathtaking pictures with the all new Nokia 9. Stay tuned!". While there is no official word on the exact launch date or pricing of the Nokia 9, we will certainly know more as we near the launch date.
With the Nokia 9, HMD Global brings back Sony's Carl Zeiss optics and tops it up by adding Light's lux capacitor for image processing. Hence, there are some big expectations tied to the camera prowess of the Nokia 9.
Nokia 9 specifications
The phone features a 5.99-inch POLED display with QHD (2880 x 1440 pixels) resolution and is layered with Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection. In addition, the display on the Nokia 9 PureView is HDR10 compliant which makes it one of the better phones to watch content.
Nokia 9 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset with an octa-core CPU, coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie and is part of Google's Android One program.
The five cameras on the phone consist of 12MP snappers optimized by Carl Zeiss. Two of those sensors are RGB while the other three are monochrome which works simultaneously to capture a frame. Additionally, there's a Time of Flight (ToF) camera as well which assists in depth sensing. On the front lies a 20MP camera for selfies.
The fingerprint sensor is embedded into the display itself and there is a 3,320mAh battery to boot which supports both 18W fast charging and 10W fast wireless charging.
After reaching an astonishing 50 million players in less than a month, Apex Legends has now officially launched its first season, dubbed Wild Frontier.
Players on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC are now able to purchase the Wild Frontier Battle Pass for 950 Apex Coins, entitling them to a new character in Octane (available separately for 750 Apex Coins or 12,000 Legends Tokens) and the ability to earn 100 new items, such as Legend Skins, Apex Coins and a new legendary Havoc skin.
As a reference, Apex Coins start at $9.99 (around £7.50 / AU$14.15) in real world money for a pack of 1,000.
Octane is a colorful character who possesses robot legs, incredible speed, self-healing abilities and a Launch Pad Ultimate Ability which other team members can also take advantage of.
You can find out more about Octane's play style and special abilities in the character trailer below.
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Along with this speedy new Legend, the Wild Frontier Battle Pass also offers the ability to earn 100 new items, such as Legend Skins, Apex Coins and a new legendary Havoc skin.
Players who want to get a head start can immediately unlock the first 25 levels (out of 100 available in Season 1) by purchasing the Battle Pass Bundle, which costs 2,800 Apex Coins.
Check out the trailer for Apex Legends' Season 1 Battle Pass below.
Google has introduced Stadia, its streaming game platform that will let you play graphics-intensive mainstream games from within a Chrome browser window using a basic internet connection, no hardcore hardware needed. These are big claims, but if Google can pull it off, Stadia could change the gaming landscape.
First up: we know very little about either next-generation console... not even their release dates. Some rumors have suggested a PS5 could be coming some time in 2019, others say we won’t get it ‘til 2021. Yet more rumors about the Xbox Two consoles (plural!) have them coming possibly in 2019 but likely 2020, though news has been thinner about Microsoft’s consoles.
In other words, they’re coming so soon that it’s doubtful that either Sony or Microsoft could make dramatic changes to their consoles in response to Stadia before their release – the trains have left the station. But it’s unlikely that they’ll come out before Google’s platform launches, which the company officially announced would be some time in 2019.
Let’s start with the stakes. Google Stadia runs entirely off of company servers – players simply have to open up a Chrome browser window, load up the service, pass a connection test (Google requires a streaming rate of 15Mbps, latency below 40ms, and data loss below 5%), and they can play anything in Stadia’s catalogue. So far as we know, there aren’t any other requirements.
On stage, Google demonstrated playing the graphics-intensive game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey through Stadia on low-specced computers and a Pixel tablet. Hardware doesn’t seem to be holding the platform back, and Google claims it will work on a wide array of desktops, laptops and devices – as well as use a plethora of existing controllers, keyboards and peripherals.
Google’s service was effectively demoed as Project Stream, which wrapped up in January after a public beta had players streaming Assassin’s Creed on everyday machines. Assuming all the broad components of Stadia work as advertised, the PS5 and Xbox Two consoles may have serious competition when they launch – and might even look a bit old-fashioned.
Leaving the console behind
“The future of gaming is not a box,” as Stadia’s official page boldly proclaims. This is a very clear shot across the bow of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, which have dictated progression through generational consoles.
Instead, Stadia will operate on Google servers packed with custom GPUs built in partnership with AMD that aim to deliver 10.7 teraflops of power (compare that to the 4.2 teraflops of the mid-generation PS4 Pro or 6 of the Xbox One X). Players with a basic internet connection will be able to play on what will, presumably, be a very wide range of devices, many of which players already own. All they have to do is run Chrome.
In short, Google is handling the march of progress for game tech – all you have to do is sign up for Stadia. Sure, we don’t know how much it’ll cost (are there sign-up fees? Subscription dues? Price per game?), but it would have to be a seriously expensive service to out-price a next-generation console. Again, we don’t know how much the PS5 or either of the rumored Xbox Two consoles will cost, but seeing as the Xbox One was priced at US$499/£429/AU$599 at launch back in 2013, we’re assuming the next ones will be pricier.
Tack on extra peripherals and/or services like the $10-per-month Xbox Game Pass and console gaming could face a lot of competition so long as Stadia is priced right.
Google is audaciously claiming that players will get a norm of 4K resolution at 60fps on Stadia, which will eventually climb to 8K and over 120fps. Doom Eternal will be one of the first games on the service, and id CEO Marty Stratton said on Google’s stage that the Stadia version of the game will support 4K/HDR/60fps. How?
Because Google, really. The company runs the servers where games are rendered, eliminating intermediate steps, which means the only thing that changes from player to player is latency. The experience is standardized.
Which means... well, a lot of things. Google can integrate a lot of its services directly into the experience, which we saw demonstrated at the Stadia announcement. Stuck in-game? Ask Google Assistant for help. Watching a streamer play a game on YouTube? Join that game with a button press. Friend stuck? Join their game by clicking a link. This is streamlined even further by the proprietary controller, which has buttons dedicated to each of these perks.
There’s a lot of integration and optimization that consoles won’t have. Their big advantage, of course, is local processing, which is a feather in their cap to appeal to players in areas without robust internet. But given the intermediate steps Stadia eliminates, this may not be as much an obstacle as we’d expect. We’ll have to see how much connectivity players need to make the most out of Stadia.
It’s not like console makers have ignored streaming game platforms, obviously: one rumor has the first Xbox Two console, codenamed Lockhart, as a cheaper disc-less console that streams games from the cloud. It’s Google’s infrastructure advantages that might make the difference in this fight.
Co-op so easy, it should be required
“Stadia will, of course, embrace full cross-platform play,” said Google’s Phil Harrison during the platform’s announcement. The prospect of cross-play has been so contentious that only enormously successful games like Fortnite have had the clout to more or less force cross-platform play.
But it’s not just playing with your friends – Stadia enables developers to let players bring over their game saves and progression. This is a bigger deal than just storing your progress on one company or platform’s cloud: it’s obnoxious to have made a lot of progress in the PC version of a game and buy it again elsewhere (like, say, the Nintendo Switch), only to have to start all over.
The death of couch co-op is another popular lament, and some developers have stated that performance suffers with local co-op in today’s high-performing games. Of course, when you have hundreds of server-side GPUs rendering your game, this is a thing of the past, and those developing exclusively for Stadia should expect zero performance dips during couch co-op. How does local console processing compete with that?
Developers, start your engines
On stage, Google showed off a cool trick for Stadia: using machine learning, the platform lets developers feed an image into a game engine, which applies a matching art style to the visual landscape of whatever game the developer is building. That’s cool, and shows off artistic applications of Stadia’s (and Google’s) processing muscle.
It’s unclear how many more toys Google will provide developers to incentivize them to build on its streaming platform, but one thing we can predict: developers won’t have to fret over a lot of the downsides of digital gaming, like downloading patches or players with different versions of games. Just update on the server, and everyone plays the same edition. It’s hard to imagine next-gen consoles achieving that kind of game version parity.
There’s another advantage developers have for working on Stadia, and it involves State Play, a feature that lets anyone click a link to immediately load up an instance of a game with a particular world, player-character and item state. “Can you get yourself out of this sticky situation?” the on-stage demo suggested.
But think about what else a developer, especially smaller ones, might do with that feature. Players can send dev teams their favorite moments, and the dev teams can rebroadcast those moments on social media. Sure, players can use ‘share’ buttons on PS4 and Xbox One to broadcast screenshots and clips, but who knows if next-gen consoles will have pathways letting players and developers jump into each others’ game-states by something as easy as clicking a hyperlink?
Players playing... anywhere
This might be the cheapest shot, but it bears mentioning: if you can play some of the latest games on a cheap tablet anywhere, why would you buy an expensive console that’s stuck in your home?
Google is claiming a lot with Stadia, but the platform could change how and where we play. The Nintendo Switch has cruised to record sales on its hybrid portable-home form factor. Imagine that same portability, but at a cheaper cost and not bound to a single system.
Play on your tablet while out and about and then on a bigger screen when you get home. Heck, you can even play on a huge screen linked to a Chromecast. And if you lose your device? Don't worry – just pick up the game on another. All you need is something that runs Chrome and a decent internet connection.
This might not be a death sentence for Xbox Two and PS5; one TechRadar editor pointed out that Fortnite has attracted plenty of younger players on their phones, and some have likely invested in more established gaming as a result.
The question is whether Stadia can achieve the same experiences as the Xbox Two and PS5, or if the latter will have their own must-have features or interoperability. Who knows? Not us. We’re still in the dark about the next generation of consoles. But if they can’t justify their high cost against Google’s colossal network advantages, this could be one of (if not the) last console generations.
- Before Stadia gets here, check out the best PC games you can get right now