Coffee briefing Dec 20, 2022- City of Kitchener partners with Microsoft, Eurocom gives 20 per cent off; New Communities feature on MS Teams; and more

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What’s new this week

City of Kitchener partners with Microsoft to bring safer sidewalks for residents

Source: City of Kitchener

The City of Kitchener is collaborating with Microsoft to build applications, automations and reports using Power Platform in order to help the city manage work related to winter by-laws, including clearing snow and ice from city-owned facilities, ensuring residents clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall, and issuing snow removal notices.

For the bylaw officers, this new technology reduced the inspection process time, resulting in an increase in the number of inspections completed per day, as well as improved coordination with back-office operations, with images available for staff to see wherever they are. Additionally, notices, along with detailed information about bylaws for property owners are now generated in an app in real time. The city also noted that the development process was fast, stating that the team was able to engage in the process to test the new technology and incorporate feedback in real-time. 

Jon Amsden, manager of business solutions at City of Kitchener, said that there is opportunity to use Power Platform in other areas such as property maintenance, and for other municipal requirements like pet licensing.

Eurocom offers 20 per cent off on computer system to students and educational staff for Christmas

Source: Eurocom

Canadian computer developer Eurocom Corporation is offering students, recent graduates and faculty members 20 per cent off on any Eurocom computer system purchased between Dec. 10 and 31, 2022, as part of the company’s XMAS 2022 Edition of Educational Program.

“Eurocom is extremely pleased with the lives we’ve touched and the education we’ve improved through the Eurocom Education Program. Students can now receive the capable hardware they need for their studies with the Eurocom Education Program,” said Mark Bialic, Eurocom president.

The Eurocom Education Program applies to high school students, university or college students and graduates as well as educators. The discount applies to all new Eurocom laptops, supercomputers, workstations and servers purchased directly from Eurocom.

Microsoft launches new Communities feature on Teams

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft has launched a new Communities feature in Microsoft Teams for Consumers and Teams Essentials, enabling individuals and small businesses to connect, share ideas and collaborate with groups and teams.

Users can also post announcements for group members, organize community events, and share documents, as well as filter content to access images, videos, links, and events. Until now, Microsoft Teams for Consumers only allowed users to send chat messages, start video calls and share files/images with their friends and families.

“Whether your group is a recreational sports team, event planning committee, parent-teacher association, or even a small business, this new experience gives groups of all kinds a digital space to stay connected before, during, and after gatherings.” said Manik Gupta, corporate vice president for Microsoft Teams. “Communities is currently rolling out in the free version of Microsoft Teams.”

PropTech company partners with AIR MILES

Source: Ownly

E-commerce PropTech solution for home buyers Ownly is partnering with the AIR MILES Rewards Program to give consumers the chance to earn Reward Miles through each step of the home buying process.

Home buyers using Ownly who are also AIR MILES collectors can earn rewards by getting pre-qualified and completing the home-buying process online. Similarly, home builders can earn Miles by designing, building and selling their properties on Ownly.

“AIR MILES is a household name for Canadians. Its expansive roster of leading brands give the millions of collectors who participate in the program a variety of opportunities for consumers to turn everyday and milestone purchases from top retailers into incredible rewards,” said Jason Hardy, chief executive officer and co-founder of Ownly. “I’m thrilled to be part of that list.”

New York’s transit authority to use Hamilton-based AI startup to prevent buses from breaking down

Source: Preteckt

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the public benefit corporation responsible for New York’s public transit, has announced that it will leverage artificial intelligence from Hamilton, Ontario-based Preteckt to help detect operational anomalies and prevent buses from breaking down.

Preteckt flags anomalies by analyzing data such as temperature outside, how full the bus is, and how fast the bus is going. If a problem is detected, the bus would be sent to a depot and AI notifies crews of a specific repair plan.

The company tested its technology on 326 buses, which sent hundreds of millions of pieces of information from sensors to the company’s servers, where the data was then analyzed. About 50 buses were sent to depots with repair plans from Preteckt in the last six months, the company said. 

Preteckt’s founder Ken Sills said the technology prevents “progressive damage.” “Where you have a small issue that can be fixed fairly inexpensively with little amount of time, that, if you get ahead of, can prevent you from damaging a very expensive component,” he noted.

More to explore 

Sell-off of Avaya product lines a real possibility if Chapter 11 filing occurs, says analyst

News that Avaya Holdings Corp. could imminently file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection means that both channel partners and corporate clients are watching anxiously to see what will happen next.

New CEO and vice chairs appointed at the CRTC

Today, Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the appointment of Vicky Eatrides as chair and chief executive officer (CEO) and Alicia Barin and Adam Scott as vice-chairs of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Canadian Government announces a hybrid work model for the Federal Public Service

Starting next year, Canadians working for the federal public service will have to spend at least two or three days per week in the office, Treasury Board president Mona Fortier announced Thursday.

Santa’s list for the IT Pro-ho-ho

Wondering what IT professionals have on their Christmas list? I asked for suggestions from a number of readers, and here’s what they’d love for Santa to bring them. I’ve selected the most popular items from their lists.

Zoho launches Blended Conversations and updated UI for Zoho Desk

Zoho Corporation has launched new tools for Zoho Desk, an anchor application in the company’s customer service platform.

Global government IT spending to exceed $580 billion in 2023: Gartner

In 2023, worldwide government spending will increase by 6.8 per cent over 2022, with a total budget of US$588.9 billion, Gartner Inc. predicts, as governments look to develop a cohesive total experience framework (TX) strategy in order improve delivery of services as well as citizen experience and engagement.

Global market for low code technologies expected to grow 20 per cent in 2023: Gartner

According to Gartner Inc., the worldwide market for low code development technologies is forecast to total US$26.9 billion in 2023, representing an increase of 19.6 per cent from 2022.

Ottawa-area IT firm says it has fully recovered from ransomware attack

An Ottawa-area IT services company says it has completely restored service to its customers after being hit by the Cuba ransomware strain last week. However, they lost a day’s worth of email and data.

Constellation Software and Lumine Group reach agreement to acquire WideOrbit

Toronto-based Constellation Software Inc. and its subsidiary, Lumine Group Inc., have entered into a binding agreement and plan of merger with WideOrbit Inc., a U.S.-based media vertical market software provider. Lumine Group is an acquirer of communications and media software businesses.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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