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."
Frost & Sullivan | January 19, 2022
Frost & Sullivan recently evaluated the North American managed SD-WAN services industry and, based on its findings, recognizes AT&T with the 2021 North American Managed SD-WAN Services Market Leadership Award. The company has the largest deployment of SD-WAN sites in North America and led the 2020 market in terms of revenue share. Based on the number of contracted sites yet to be deployed and deals closed in the first three quarters of 2021, the company is well-positioned.
AT&T's managed SD-WAN solutions portfolio is among the most comprehensive in the industry. It recently added Aruba Networks (Silver Peak), Palo Alto Networks, and Fortinet to its mix of existing partner vendors, which include Cisco and VMware. Customers have access to network-based SD-WAN via an AT&T FlexWareSM device, over-the-top (OTT) SD-WAN through vendor-specific appliances, or a hybrid of the two options.
Security and networking continue to converge and make way for secure SD-WAN or SASE services, enabling AT&T to build a robust portfolio of SASE solutions. The company currently offers SASE solutions from Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and Cisco, with plans to add VMware to the mix in the future."
Roopa Honnachari, VP of Research, Network & Edge
Most businesses deploying SD-WAN opt for managed service at all sites to enable consistent performance and address the challenges of lack of knowledge in-house and trouble with LAN discovery at branch sites. AT&T understands the level of complexity involved in designing global WANs as a long-time leader in the business network services industry. Some benefits of AT&T managed SD-WAN service include:
The Expert Engineer, offering customers high-touch solution support and deep network design verification covering WAN, LAN, and applications.
The Integrated Service Experience (ISE) team, acting as a single point of contact for managed services support across overlay, underlays, and security solutions, eliminating the complexity of deployment.
Immediate customer response for any kind of incidents or outages.
Network management tools and orchestration platform, enabling seamless service chaining, reducing uCPE price by over 50% in the last couple of years.
Multiple key network functions in virtual formats (e.g., routing, WAN optimization, security, session border controllers), which reduces appliance sprawl, improves network scalability, and eases manageability.
AT&T FlexWare devices eliminating the need for a separate CPE and allowing businesses to seamlessly integrate SD-WAN functionality into their WAN architectures, driving additional revenue growth and creating customer loyalty.
AT&T investments in software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) position it strongly as businesses speed up their digital strategies. AT&T's hybrid networking solutions allow customers to grow at the pace of their WAN infrastructure. It enables customers to access a range of network service options (broadband, DIA, Ethernet, wireless, IP VPN, and MPLS) with SD-WAN, driving loyalty. With its focus on building and supporting managed SASE services, the company offers a simplified and future-proofed approach to security and SD-WAN services for businesses.
"This recognition from Frost & Sullivan is a testament to our approach to SD-WAN and commitment to caring for our customers as their businesses evolve," said Will Eborall, Assistant Vice President, Edge Solutions Product Marketing Management, AT&T Business. "From emerging SD-WAN technologies to existing solutions, AT&T's comprehensive portfolio, global reach and ability to scale operations is enabling customer digital transformation journeys with managed end-to-end SD-WAN services."
"AT&T is the leading communication service provider in US markets with a broad range of solutions and deep expertise in the network services market. Its brand strength has earned it the highest market share in 2020 and various recognition for its excellence," said Honnachari.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed an innovative element in a product by leveraging leading-edge technologies. The award recognizes the value-added features/benefits of the product and the increased ROI it offers customers, which, in turn, raises customer acquisition and overall market penetration potential.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in various regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analyses, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
About Frost & Sullivan
For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders, and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models, and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.
Docker | May 11, 2022
At DockerCon 2022, Docker, Inc.®, a leading provider of cloud-native application development tools, content, and services for developers, announced new features and partnerships to increase developer productivity. Specifically, the company announced Docker Extensions which allow developers to discover and add complementary development tools to Docker Desktop. Docker announced that 14 launch partners have published Docker Extensions, including JFrog, Red Hat, Snyk and VMware. In addition, the company announced the generally available release of Docker Desktop for Linux, which brings the productivity benefits of Docker Desktop - before today available only to developers using Mac and Windows workstations - to developers using Linux workstations as well.
“The large, complex cloud-native tools landscape presents a challenge for developers, who need the right tool for the right job, right now. Docker Extensions enables developers to quickly discover and start using the tools they need for their apps and not waste time searching, downloading, configuring, evaluating, and managing tools.”
Docker CEO Scott Johnston
Today's announcements are the most recent result of Docker's increased investment in product development for application developers. Using Docker, development teams release 13X more frequently, ramp productivity with new technologies in 65% less time, and compress the mean-time-to-remediation (MTTR) of security vulnerabilities by 62%. Docker not only underpins today’s initiatives focused on app modernization and microservices, but it also enables tomorrow’s with its support for serverless, WebAssembly, Web3, and more.
Docker Extensions offer a breadth of familiar experiences that integrate with Docker Desktop so developers can speed up innovation without having to learn new patterns. Docker Extensions are built with the developer experience in mind and include official tools built by Docker and our trusted ecosystem partners, giving you the convenience and flexibility to create workflows that meet individual development needs. And with the Docker Extensions SDK individual developers and partners can unleash their creativity to build entirely new integrations.
Docker helps millions of developers efficiently and collaboratively build, share and run applications. The Docker application development platform provides developers with an unmatched experience for an integrated, reliable and secure workflow that accelerates app delivery from code to the cloud. Through a combination of the world’s largest marketplace of trusted content and integrations with leading tools, Docker allows teams to rapidly create modern applications.
Dialpad | January 12, 2022
Dialpad, Inc., the industry leader in AI-powered communication and collaboration, announced the appointment of Prashanti Aduma as the company’s first Chief Information Officer (CIO). With more than 20 years of demonstrated leadership and project management experience at high-growth startups and enterprises, Aduma will play a significant role in advancing the core business systems, data, and security framework in concert with Dialpad’s rapid growth and global scale.
Aduma is a transformative leader who brings deep experience in building world-class IT organizations and driving global strategic initiatives to enable next-generation technologies. Aduma joins Dialpad from Salesforce where she served as Senior Director of Enterprise Services. Prior to Salesforce’s acquisition of Vlocity, Aduma served as Vice President of Business Applications at Vlocity and was responsible for the full suite of front and back-office business applications. Aduma has also held leadership positions at Rodan + Fields, SunPower, and VMware where she led the rollout of major IT and engineering initiatives.
Work as we know it has been forever changed, driving the need for better methods to connect and collaborate. In order to succeed in this new world, businesses need cloud-first, customer-first solutions that can accommodate all forms of communication. As the only truly unified AI-powered enterprise cloud collaboration platform, Dialpad is uniquely positioned to fill this need. I could not be more thrilled to welcome Prashanti Aduma to the Dialpad executive team as we prepare for a tremendous year ahead. She is an insightful leader with a focus on building strong teams and trusted partnerships throughout the organization and with the external community. We have a huge opportunity in front of us and believe when the right people come together — anything is possible.”
Craig Walker, CEO, Dialpad
As CIO, Aduma will play a critical role in ensuring the company is well-positioned through its rapid global expansion. Aduma will lead the business technology group which focuses on digital transformation, establishing industry standards and securing end-to-end business processes through next-generation technology roadmaps, data-driven analytics, automations, security, mergers and acquisitions. In her role, Aduma will focus on creating an integrated operating model providing A+ customer service across all business functions. Beyond her technical acumen and work experience, Aduma is passionate about mentorship, promoting empathetic leadership, and encouraging youth in STEM education.
“Dialpad has the only AI-powered cloud communications and collaboration platform that spans all modes of contact center, unified communications, distributed meetings, and text and team messaging. I could not be more excited to become a member of the amazing team at this important vector point for the company,” said Prashanti Aduma, Dialpad CIO. “This is the perfect time to embark on the digital transformation journey as we scale globally and get the company ready for the public markets.”
Dialpad is the global leader in AI communications for business, transforming how the world works together. Dialpad customers benefit from truly unified business and customer communications, including a cloud business phone system, text and team messaging, video meetings, and the world’s most advanced AI-powered contact center — all in one beautiful app. More than 7,000 innovative brands and millions of people use Dialpad to connect their teams from anywhere including Motorola Solutions, Netflix, T-Mobile, Twitter, Uber and WeWork.