University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Haslam College of Business | February 14, 2022
On a Thursday morning in fall 2021, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville seniors weren't sure what to expect from the next session of their capstone marketing course at the Haslam College of Business. As they took in the scenic view of a desert landscape surrounding them, they watched their fellow students fill the class space, where instructor Mark Collins stood at the front of a futuristic-looking auditorium.
These students weren't on a field trip; they were in their apartments and dorm rooms, attending an experimental hybrid section of Marketing Strategy (MARK 460), which Collins, distinguished lecturer of marketing at Haslam and director of the college's Office of Technology-Enhanced Education, believes to be the first class at UT to utilize virtual reality as a regular delivery modality.
Engaging Marketing Students in a New Way
VR technology has become common in fields like medicine where training involves high risk or high price tags, but Collins was inspired by marketers who had begun using the related technology of augmented reality, enabling users to view their physical surroundings through a phone or tablet and see computer-generated content such as a brand mascot overlaid on the space. With the encouragement of the college's leadership, he obtained Oculus Quest 2 headsets to interface with the VR platform Spatial, which provides high-quality audio and video and integrates easily with smartphones and Microsoft Office.
For this hybrid section of MARK 460, Collins planned for six or eight class sessions in the middle of the semester to be delivered via VR and the rest face-to-face. In the same semester, he taught another section of the course that was completely face-to-face. He says that while both sections achieved the required level of learning for the class, he believes the VR class absorbed the material at a higher level.
"Because it was so different, it made them focus and pay attention a lot more," says Collins, who makes a clear distinction between VR and other types of remote learning. "The interaction and engagement by the students in VR is night and day compared to if we only had met on Zoom. Part of it, I'm sure, is the fact that they're an avatar, so they don't feel that self-consciousness."
Bridgette Liederbach, a Haslam marketing major scheduled to graduate in May 2022, agrees.
Having an avatar makes the classroom experience feel personal and like we are all in the room together but also makes it less intimidating. Zoom sometimes makes me uncomfortable to have my camera on and [unmute myself] because I know everyone will see my face pop up on their screen, but using Spatial makes talking in class easier."
Bridgette Liederbach, a Haslam marketing major
Potential for Teaching Across Disciplines
For future sections of the course, Collins wants to take his entire class on a virtual field trip to a store, using VR footage of retail aisles that has already been shot.
"I want to stand there with them in front of that and say, 'OK, what's happening here? Why are there 13 different types of Cheez-Its?'" he says. "Then we can go down the aisle and see how the competitors are reacting, and what they're doing that kind of matches up with what Cheez-It did."
Other Haslam faculty members have approached Collins about the feasibility of using VR in their courses, and he is enthusiastic about the possibilities, especially as more units, apps and software become available at lower price points. While he doesn't recommend teaching full courses exclusively via VR yet, he imagines financial reports in which students could reach out to pick up information and place it where it belongs, or a VR supply chain where they could identify and manipulate bottlenecks.
"Across all disciplines, there are moments where we want the students to understand something at a really deep and meaningful level, and we can use VR to make that engagement and interaction happen," he says. "I can see using it in a focused, short time span, to keep it really powerful rather than just becoming the new normal."
Options Technology | April 25, 2022
Options Technology, the leading Capital Markets services provider, today announced the achievement of VMware Cloud Verified status in their London LHC data center.
The accomplishment follows the VMware Cloud Provider Principal Partner Status awarded to the firm last year, along with cloud verified status at LD4 and NY5 sites.
Cloud Verification assures that a partner is validated to expertly deliver cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service across VMware’s best-in-class network, storage, and compute solutions to specifically meet individual client needs.
VMware Cloud Verified partner services enable customers to achieve unmatched levels of consistency, performance, and interoperability for traditional and containerised enterprise applications with the confidence the service received is based on the most advanced VMware cloud technologies.
Extending our VMware Cloud Verified status to LHC is the latest step in our roadmap to a truly multi-Cloud offering across our global locations. We are proud to be VMware Cloud Verified across multiple sites and augment our footprint to deliver a holistic, flexible, and resilient cloud strategy for our clients to meet their bespoke cloud requirements.”
Options President and CEO Danny Moore
Today’s news comes as the latest in a series of strategic announcements for Options, including hosting capabilities in Euronext Aruba IT3 Bergamo, a fifth Microsoft gold partner status, and the appointment of Charlotte Montgomery as VP.
In 2019, Options received investment from Boston-based Private Equity Firm Abry Partners. This investment has enabled Options to accelerate its growth strategy and develop its technology platform while expanding its global reach in key financial centres.
Options Technology is the No. 1 provider of IT infrastructure to global Capital Markets firms, supporting their operations and ecosystems.
Founded in 1993, the firm began life as a hedge fund technology services provider. Today, the company provides high-performance managed trading infrastructure and cloud-enabled managed services to over 550 firms globally, providing an agile, scalable platform in an Investment Bank-grade Cybersecurity wrapper.
Options clients include the leading global investment banks, hedge funds, funds of funds, proprietary trading firms, market makers, broker/dealers, private equity houses, and exchanges. With offices in 8 key cities; New York, Toronto, Chicago, London, Belfast, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand, Options are well placed to service its customers both on-site and remotely.
In 2019, Options secured a significant growth investment from Abry Partners, a Boston-based sector-focused private equity firm. This investment has enabled Options to considerably accelerate its growth strategy to invest further in its technology platform and expand its reach in key financial centres globally.
Options has been named among the UK’s leading growth companies in the 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017 Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table.
Dell Technologies | February 18, 2022
Dell Technologies and VMware are working with Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers, to create a consistent approach to global IT operations that performs with improved performance and flexibility at the high level of security required for its data-intensive workloads.
Dell and VMware are assisting Munich Re to more easily adhere to compliance requirements and reduce IT costs. Azure VMware Solution, part of Microsoft Azure, and a modern private cloud based on Dell Technologies and VMware will help create a consistent multi-cloud architecture where data and workloads can be processed and delivered exactly where they are required and shared across multiple environments. The multi-cloud architecture will support Munich Re to offer a coherent customer experience across environments through a consistent IT infrastructure that consolidates all of Munich Re's global data centers into three hubs.
"With Dell Technologies and VMware, we are creating a consistent cloud operating model to standardize our infrastructure and increase our environment's performance, stability, and resilience in a smart way," said Robin Johnson, CIO at Munich Re. "This modern multi-cloud infrastructure will help us in our daily business operations by providing the agility to match the right cloud to any application or use case."
The Azure VMware Solution can accelerate application and cloud modernization initiatives with less risk and better economics than traditional approaches. It also allows for the extension or migration of existing VMware workloads natively on Microsoft Azure. Munich Re's private cloud will be based on Dell VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure systems with VMware Cloud Foundation software. Munich Re will also use VMware vRealize Cloud Management and VMware NSX to enable consistent management across cloud environments and enable security policies that follow workloads wherever they move.
The insurance industry is going through a technology revolution ranging from how they process claims to how they engage their customers. Munich Re turned to Dell and VMware with the ambition of creating a multi-cloud strategy that could provide a powerful and stable IT infrastructure and respond flexibly to the demands of a dynamic industry with a seamless, standardized and automated platform."
Bradd Lewis, Dell Technologies vice president and global lead for financial services
"Across the insurance industry, we are seeing our customers invest in hybrid-cloud strategies to deliver more efficient and tailored solutions for their clients," said Jennifer Manry, vice president, global industries, VMware. "But to remain resilient, it's no longer about a 'cloud first' approach—it's about being 'cloud smart'. Together with Dell, we are uniquely positioned to give Munich Re the power to accelerate innovation with a smarter path to a hybrid-cloud environment that enables the flexibility to scale quickly and move workloads between IT environments without restrictions or trade-offs."
About Dell Technologies
Dell Technologies helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play. The company provides customers with the industry's broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.
VMware is a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. As a trusted foundation to accelerate innovation, VMware software gives businesses the flexibility and choice they need to build the future. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to building a better future through the company's 2030 Agenda.
VIRTUAL SERVER INFRASTRUCTURE
iolo | March 11, 2022
iolo, the award-winning privacy and security software company today announced the immediate availability of ioloVPN. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) software subscription service features privacy-first hosting infrastructure, costs as little as $1.16 per device per month for five simultaneous devices.
Privacy is delivered via bank-grade 256-bit encryption over a 100% dedicated VPN server infrastructure with a zero-tolerance policy for data logging or tracking. Moreover, ioloVPN is the only VPN service to offer extra 24/7 customer phone support delivered by live human beings.
“The VPN market is very competitive. We are confident ioloVPN will stand taller than the rest due to our unwavering commitment to privacy and affordability,” said Avani Patel, VP of Product at iolo. “We are a privacy-first company! ioloVPN is built for maximum customer privacy – encrypting your connections and providing you the most speed. Lastly, we do not and will never track, log, aggregate or sell your information, browsing patterns, giving you the most privacy.”
User benefits of ioloVPN subscription service include:
Encrypts all data traffic with bank-level 256-bit data security
Works anywhere in the world, on any WiFi hotspot, on both PCs and mobile devices
Privacy is assured: zero customer data is tracked, logged, aggregated or sold
Unlimited data; access your favorite streaming content from anywhere
Protects 5 simultaneous devices for one low price starting at $5.80/month when billed annually (which works out to just $1.16 per device)
24/7 live phone support available at extra cost
Running underneath, ioloVPN operates on a world-wide network of VPN server locations on every major continent on the planet (except Antarctica). Each datacenter location is dedicated to VPN processing only (unlike cloud-based providers such as AWS or Azure) and runs OpenVPN, IPSEC, and IKEv2 with MOBIKE (RFC4555) services. iolo also enables Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) throughout its VPN network, which is optimal for securing instant messages because it switches encryption keys after every message.
iolo is a brand of RealDefense LLC, which develops award-winning software that optimizes and secures both mobile phones and PCs. iolo’s product line of software and services includes its flagship System Mechanic®, which is an 8-time winner of PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice awards.