How Big Data & AI is enhancing innovation in the energy & utility sector 

02 December 2020

The energy and utility sector is something most of us take for granted. We pay them for warm showers and to heat our homes, and no doubt we will all be reaching for the thermostat over the long winter months ahead to keep us extra cosy. However, behind the scenes, these companies have to embrace digital transformation and harvest massive amounts of data in order to grow, evolve, and meet the demands of the future. 

The industry is constantly up against challenges; from pressure to reduce emissions, increasing demand, and providing competitive prices to their consumers. Google Cloud has a wide range of industry-leading and energy-specific solutions aimed at helping these businesses digitise faster, and respond to these demands. 

Why data is important for digital transformation

The most valuable asset many companies have is data, and in order to be successful, energy providers must adapt to change, stay current, and realise this. They need to be able to store, read, and analyse data properly, in order to gain a competitive advantage and solve complex business challenges. 

Google’s BigQuery can help businesses bring different data sets together in order to gain those insights, and Google’s AI-powered solutions are the key to unlocking analytics capabilities within your data sets. In this case study, you can learn how Energyworx, an energy supplier in the Netherlands, uses GCP and smart analytics to harvest their data to better plan for future energy demand, and find ways their customers can save on their electricity use. 

If you would like to learn how to use smart analytics to help your business grow and evolve, download our Smart Analytics White Paper here.

A deeper dive into AI and ML energy-specific solutions

Powerful AI models use data analytics to provide actionable insights, and these models can help inspections at scale. This is extremely useful for energy and utility companies who have large areas they need to monitor, such as energy grids, wind farms, or solar panels. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection solution reduces inspection times without compromising on safety or accuracy and makes organisations more efficient and sustainable. 

Businesses also have the ability to build their own custom Machine Learning model with minimal effort and little to no Machine Learning experience. 

AES is a Fortune 500 global power company that distributes sustainable energy in 15 countries. Their asset inventory is phenomenal, with a value of over £33 billion. They use Machine Learning and drone technology in their wind farms to monitor, manage, and maintain their assets. 

This was the perfect solution, as it was in keeping with their greener vision and they were able to massively scale using Google’s powerful infrastructure. Learn more about their custom made solution powered by Google Cloud’s AutoML Vision here.


For most modern energy and utility companies, contributing to greater customer satisfaction is also an important identifier for success.

AI models like Contact Centre AI allows agents to assist with customer requests more efficiently, leading to shorter call times and improved outcomes, with much quicker resolutions. Learn more about Google Clouds CCAI and how companies are using this technology to modernise.

A smart future for the energy industry

Smart meters are the latest innovation to tackle the biggest challenges facing the industry today. By 2024, almost 77% of EU households will have one installed*. 

This new technology brings multiple benefits such as delivering automated, real-time readings, giving consumers access to their own data; and being able to identify faulty appliances, reducing downtime, and enabling repair staff to be efficient and effective with their time. They also improve the awareness of energy consumption, allowing individual households and businesses to reduce their energy use and generate savings.

Of course, with all new technology advancements, comes an influx of data. Energy companies need a scalable data warehouse to be able to import, process, and anaylse this data. Google Cloud’s BigQuery streams data in real-time and can predict business outcomes with powerful built-in ML models; plus it runs on Google’s infrastructure and is a managed service, meaning companies spend less time developing technology and can focus on their service instead. Read how Halsfund, the largest power company in Norway, uses GCP and BigQuery for the new smart meter network here.

Being a successful energy and utilities company today requires the right technology to solve big business problems. However, in order to truly succeed, you must make the right decisions for your business by making the most of the information you gather.

Now you know what you can do with your data, are you using it to the best of your advantage?

Speak to one of our data experts and we can help you implement this technology and show you how to use it. Contact us here.


*By 2024 almost 77% of EU households will have a smart meter installed, European Commission 

 

06 November 2020

Download our new Collaboration & Productivity White Paper to explore the key areas of digital transformation and a new way of working

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Download our “Guide to Adapting to a Digital Workplace” to explore the key areas of digital transformation, and how Netpremacy can help implement these into your business. Also learn the results of the biggest POC ever to understand what the immediate impact of the pandemic has had on businesses, the attitude towards remote working, and what this means for the future.

Contents:

  • Adapting to a digital world
  • The correct setup, MDM & Security
  • How Netpremacy have helped businesses to adapt
  • Google Workspace – Better collaboration in one interface
  • Adapting to work in a pandemic and beyond
  • What the people think – our results from the biggest POC ever, analysed
  • Will things go back to the way they were?

 

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from Google’s collaboration and productivity tools, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

Is this the Biggest Proof of Concept in History?

We recently created a study on the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses, and here are the results… 

Since the proliferation of Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS), over the past ten years or so, the debate around allowing employees to live more flexible working lives through remote working has been ongoing. In recent years Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Office 365, Teams, and Zoom are making it increasingly easier for businesses to mobilise their workforce, collaborate with their teams, and continue speaking directly to their customers from any location, on any device.

Despite this, progress has been surprisingly slow. According to the Office of National Statistics, the percentage of the UK population mainly working from home in 2019 was 5.1%  compared to 4.3% in 2015 with only 30% of people having “ever” worked from home.*

That is until now,  in June 2020 at the height of the Pandemic the ONS stated 49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the seven days to 14 June, up from 41% the previous week.* As we head into a second lockdown we would like to think that businesses will be better equipped to work from home. 

Is this the biggest Proof of Concept in history?

If you asked the average Financial Services IT department 9 months ago to enable every member of staff to work from home tomorrow, or a retailer to close high street stores and transition to a 100% virtual shopping experience within days, they would have told you it can’t be done!. Yet this is exactly what they were asked to do. (and they did it)

 These businesses- thousands of them,  were forced into the biggest Proof of Concept in history.  While many would agree “The Concept ” has been proven, we should now ask what we have learned and what we will do differently? 

It’s time to ask yourself some questions. 

How confident are you that the platform is scalable enough, secure enough, reliable enough, easy to use, cost-effective at scale? How prepared are you for when something like this happens again?

• How has this changed your business? 

• Will this change your approach to remote working?

• Will you reduce office space? 

• Does this mean you can now hire from a broader talent pool if the location is no longer an issue?

• Will you offer more flexible working options in the future?

Will we go back to how we worked before?

No-one knows for sure but I believe the short answer is probably not. In a recent Netpremacy survey of UK knowledge workers 82.6% said that pre – COVID-19 lockdown, they were expected in the office every day

Fast forward to now.

47.8% said that they would be allowed to choose how to split their time between working from home and the office.

netpremacy covid 19 survey

39.1% said that they would now be working from home permanently. Leaving just 13% of the respondents having to go back to the office full time when the pandemic is over.

This is a big shift and if we listen to the  95.7% who prefer working from home and the 60.9% who felt like they were more productive, then,  I believe the majority will have to offer more flexible home working practices in the future. 

netpremacy covid 19 surveynetpremacy covid 19 survey

And those that don’t?… 

Well,  at the very least, now more than ever,  they understand how SaaS and the Cloud platforms such as Google Workspace, Teams, and Zoom, can help prepare for an ever-increasingly unpredictable future.

In our whitepaper ‘Three ways Google Workspace helps business thrive and plan,’  we outline how our customers have been using Google Workspace to thrive throughout this pandemic as well as plan for an increasingly uncertain future.

Download your copy here. 

Dan SullivanDan Sullivan is a Cloud and SaaS technology veteran currently working with Google Cloud Premier Partner and Google 2019 Work Transformation Partner of the year Netpremacy. With more than  20 years of technology experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses deliver game-changing business and technology transformations.

If  you would like to learn more about how Google Workspace can help your company adapt and thrive, please contact Dan on: dsullivan@netpremacy.com

 

*https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/19june2020 

24 September 2020

Adapting to a more digital world – Top tips to ensure you are set up to take your work home

 

Businesses around the world have been working remotely in a more permanent way for over 6 months now. To put that into perspective…that’s half of 2020. Now, in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like working from home will continue long into 2020.  We are over the initial shock to the system, but we need to keep on top of keeping our employees happy and motivated and start putting into place measures that are more permanent. 

Netpremacy was born in the cloud, and working remotely is what we teach to other businesses across the country. Which is why we wanted to share our experience and best practices with businesses that were not traditionally used to remote working. Office culture has changed dramatically, however, employees’ mental health and wellbeing is important, as is keeping business running as usual. 

Working from home has benefits and struggles you should consider:

Benefits 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduced travel costs
  • Reduced office maintenance costs 
  • Good for the environment
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Good for the environment

Struggles

  • Difficult to unplug from work
  • Loneliness
  • Different working environments
  • Distractions at home
  • Affects mental health
  • Hard to stay motivated

 

Do you have the correct setup?

When the UK was sent home to work, it was done overnight in a panic. Businesses didn’t have a choice and had to ensure their employees were sent home to keep them, and the rest of the country safe. 

Now we have started to adapt, more businesses have decided that working from home benefits them in several ways. Businesses are making the decision to keep this a more permanent solution, and we need to ensure that our employees have the correct setup and working environment. This can have a major impact on a person’s physical, and mental health. There are some simple steps that should help you and your employees to work comfortably and effectively. 

Ensure that when working from home you have somewhere comfortable to sit, that supports your back and neck. Yes, it’s a novelty working from your bed, but how much goodwill that do your back in the long run? The answer is not a lot! 

Working from a clean, and clutter-free environment is another way to ensure employee happiness. Make sure the area you are working in is free from distractions such as the TV, and is a clean space, to keep your mind clutter-free, and to create a productive environment in which to work. 

 Having a consistent spot that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot with getting work done. Choose the same spot for a few days and your brain will learn that when you’re in that spot, you’re focused.

Customise your working environment, so that you feel comfortable and at home- make it a place you WANT to go to – just like you would at your desk at work! 

Ensure that your MDM is set up correctly

Mobile Device Management is essential when working remotely, which is exactly why employers need to make sure that this is set up correctly so that company devices can be managed no matter where your employees are working. Through Google’s single console, your company is able to manage the entire enterprise mobility. This provides comprehensive protection whilst being easy to manage.

G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events and have associated actions. When an event specified in a rule occurs on a device within your organisation with a G Suite Enterprise license, the corresponding action you have set will automatically be executed by Mobile Management.

• Easy for admins to enroll all company owned devices for MDM

• Easily enforce device-owner mode on multiple Android company-owned devices

• Not be dependent on the end-user to enable device-owner mode

• Gather info on each and every Android device/app accessing G Suite

Read more on how to ensure your MDM is set up correctly, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you get set up. 

Keep your teams secure 

Security is important, no matter where you are located. Luckily, much of the Google technology we use has many security features already built-in (learn more here). But it’s always a good idea to have multiple security procedures in place to keep your employees, and data, extra secure. 

The challenge of remote working, when it comes to security, is that if something does go wrong, your IT team is not there to fix any issues. However, by utilising the Google Admin Control allows you to manage devices remotely, which is useful in a time where everyone has been sent home to work. Another suggestion would be to allow only company approved apps to be installed in the work profile, so your employees are not using apps on the work profile that your business has not approved. It is also recommended to set up dedicated work profiles that are isolated from personal apps, and you should make sure data sharing is restricted. These simple steps can help to keep your employees and your company data secure. 

Setting up employee devices correctly is a fool-proof way of making sure data cannot be accessed by people outside your company. The data is encrypted, and in case the device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped remotely. The new Advanced Protection Programme is an added level of protection for users who are more likely to undergo security challenges. This uses security keys which prevents unauthorised access to your Google account and protects the user from harmful downloads. New updates and security features are automatically added, so it’s one less thing to think about. 

Employees are generally kept safe from phishing attacks, as Gmail has in-built features that cleverly identifies and flags them; however, it is good practice to train employees, making them aware of what to look for and how to handle these types of cyberattacks. 

Adhering to these suggestions will definitely help to keep your mind at ease, however, if you have any further queries or questions our support and security teams are available to help. 

Regular communication & human interaction 

It’s important to remember that everyone is in their own unique environment, which may make working from home more challenging. Some will have a dedicated office space, whilst others are working in a one-bedroom studio. Whatever your situation is, you need to make sure it works for you, whilst being able to communicate with your teammates. 

Regular communication is important to stay motivated, and to keep up the morale too. Schedule catch-ups with your co-workers, so you are on top of your workload, but also socialising with the people who you usually spend most of your working week with.

Probably the most obvious, but it does get overlooked more often than not – take your lunch break! It can be quite difficult to cut off from work when you are in your own home, so step away from the computer, clear your head, and refresh. If you can spend your lunch break outside, that’s even better.

Keep things fun

Office culture differs with each organisation. Distractions in the office may make things difficult to get things done. Equally, you may find it easier to focus in the workplace more than anywhere else. No matter what you are used to, this is your opportunity to make things fun and make it work around you and your workload. Perhaps suggesting an online office quiz, or meeting up virtually on a Friday afternoon for a virtual drink will help keep things fresh!

Being successful in a digital environment is not just about getting the work done. Balancing health, both physical and mental, whilst having the right technology to communicate, collaborate, and keep your data secure is the key to allowing your business to excel.

Contact us and speak to one of our experts today about the technology we use in order to thrive in a digital world and remember to look after your mental health in times of uncertainty!

14 September 2020

Netpremacy’s Covid 19 Lock-down home working survey

 

We need your help…

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, many businesses have had to immediately change how they operate. While some organisations adapted quickly enabling home-working others struggled without the required video and collaboration infrastructure in place and invested massively to deploy new technology at a speed and scale like never before.

How did it go? What’s next? Where do we go from here?

Now lockdown restrictions are easing, this is a good time to evaluate what we have learned over the past few months; Will we do things differently? Has our attitude to remote/home working changed? How will we plan for future major disruptions? 

To understand this, we have devised a short anonymous survey,  the results of which together with our findings will be published shortly. Please take our survey, the link is below. The results of this survey will be analysed and posted, but do not worry, you can remain anonymous. 

We appreciate your assistance.

TAKE THE SURVEY

 

11 September 2020

Netpremacy Next Insights

One Final Roundup – Netpremacy’s highlights

Netpremacy Next Highlights: Our highlights from the remaining weeks

We can’t quite believe how fast Google Cloud Next has whizzed past. Over the 9 weeks, we have seen so much exciting content, industry insights, and product updates. Although things have been slightly different for Google Cloud Next this year, we are glad that Google technology has still enabled us to stay connected, and to learn about the development in cloud technology whilst working from a remote environment. We have enjoyed learning throughout the weeks, and already we are looking forward to what 2021 will bring. 

Here are some highlights of the final leg of Google Cloud Next on Air, we have included links to our favorite bits, however access to the full Google Cloud Next on-air event can be found here. 


Week 5: Data Analytics 

The week began with a keynote on how the latest innovations in Google Cloud’s smart analytics platform can help strip out layers of complexity and analyze data in a multi-cloud environment. Google Cloud has now developed a comprehensive toolkit of data services and products, so we have listed some below.

  • Cloud Composer, a fully managed workflow orchestration service built on Apache Airflow
  • Cloud Data Fusion for fully managed, cloud-native data integration at any scale
  • Data Catalog, a fully managed and highly scalable data discovery, and metadata management service
  • Looker, an enterprise platform for business intelligence, data applications, and embedded analytics

What’s New in BigQuery ML, Featuring Demandbase

This session demonstrated how to build and use machine learning models in BigQuery using SQL in a matter of minutes. Google is adding many exciting model types and new features to BigQuery ML. Watch the session here. 

New Big Query Features – Google announced new features on pricing, administration, and monitoring. Watch the full session here to learn more about the new features that have been released.

Data-Driven Responses to COVID-19 Using Looker & BigQuery

This session taught us how e-commerce companies are using BigQuery and Looker to leverage COVID datasets to adapt to radically-increased usage, how restaurant chains are retooling to focus on deliveries, and how governmental agencies are using it to plan so they can mitigate the impacts of COVID on their citizens. In addition the session talks around how organisations across the healthcare space — hospital systems, labs, and insurers — are using it to understand how to continue to help people and save lives. Watch the full session here


Week 6: Data management and databases

Week 6 of Next OnAir ‘20 focused on how to migrate and manage enterprise data with security, reliability, high availability, and fully managed data services.It started with a keynote that showed us a few new releases and showcases how customers are transforming their core business with innovative new database solutions. Watch the session here. 

Cloud SQL is a managed database service that makes it easy to set up and maintain your MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server databases in the cloud. The session “What’s new with Cloud SQL” looked at new features and enhancements that improve security, protect against disasters, and much more. Watch the session here. 

Connecting Cloud SQL from Kubernetes – In this session, Google explains the ins and outs of connecting to Cloud SQL from Google Kubernetes Engine. Learn from multiple scenarios how to make the most of your Cloud SQL instance: understand how to safely and securely connect to your Cloud SQL instance from a Kubernetes-based application, when to use public vs private IPs, recommended practices to deploy the Cloud SQL proxy, and how to structure for high availability. Watch the session here. 


Week 7: Application modernisation

Week 7 of Google Cloud Next focused on how to develop and run applications using open source and other software without needing operations staff. This is a very relevant topic considering all the massive changes and challenges businesses have faced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The top highlights of this week were as follows: 

Hands-on Keynote: Building Trust for Speedy Innovation: This session focused on the basics—“what are you really trying to accomplish?”—by tying technology innovation back to business goals such as increasing trust and speed.

Getting Started with Anthos: With many businesses adopting hybrid- and multi-cloud strategies, they’re looking for tools that can help them create the best environments possible. Google explains how Anthos is a tool that has a lot to offer for this.

Mainframe Modernisation: Accelerating Legacy Transformation: More businesses are working to understand life beyond the mainframe. This session addresses challenges and solutions around mainframe-to-container modernisation.

Integrating VM Workloads into Anthos Service Mesh: This session addresses that VM solutions are still popular and sometimes the best tool for the job. It also talks around how popular technologies commonly associated with containers, like service mesh, can offer benefits to VM-based applications also. 

Evolve to Zero Trust Security Model‎ with Anthos Security: Google has a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to modern, zero-trust application architectures and this session will share that expertise, and demonstrate the tools to implement it yourself.


Week 8: Cloud Ai

As usual, the week began with a keynote. Next OnAir solution keynote, Generating Value With AI, in this session we got to hear how customers across industries have used AI to navigate uncertain times – and how they’re innovating with AI to transform their organisations going forward, something very relevant for businesses all over the world. 

Operationalising machine learning workflows are critical to building repeatable, scalable processes. To improve the MLOps experience, Google announced: Prediction backend GA, Managed Pipelines, Metadata, Experiments, and Model Evaluation. These features—part of AI Platform—provide automation and monitoring at all steps of ML system construction, including integration, testing, releasing, deployment and infrastructure management. Read more here: Key requirements for an MLOps foundation.

Google also announced Dialogflow CX, designed to support complex (multi-turn) conversations. This can be built once and then deployed everywhere, both in contact centers and digital channels. 

Google also spoke around how enhancements are continuously being made to Contact Center AI. This includes Agent Assist for Chat, a new module that provides agents with continuous support over chat in addition to voice calls by identifying intent and providing real-time, and step-by-step assistance. Read more about the latest updates in Conversational AI drives better customer experiences.

Google announced several solutions that leverage AI to help with industry-specific challenges. Lending Document AI, a new, specialised solution powered by Document AI for the mortgage industry, automates many routine document reviews and speeds up loan applications. Procure-to-Pay Document AI, now in beta, helps companies automate the procurement cycle. And Media Translation API provides real-time speech translation from streaming audio data. 

Here is a video recap of the weeks content. 


Week 9: Business application platform

Week 9 of Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir was about continued investments in the business application platform—how it’s helping organisations build and automate business processes, create and extend new applications, and connect and modernise legacy applications. 

Google introduced a new business application platform category, including API management, no-code app dev, and automation and data insights capabilities.

They also announced the beta release of API Gateway, this is a fully-managed service that lets developers build, secure, and monitor APIs for Google Cloud workloads and serverless backends.

AppSheet also unveiled two new capabilities. Apigee datasource for AppSheet connects AppSheet with Apigee APIs, opening up numerous new data sources for no-code apps. AppSheet Automation let users automate business processes through a natural language interface and contextual recommendations.

Finally, it was announced that new app templates from AppSheet extend G Suite capabilities further into no-code development of line-of-business apps.

These are just some of the sessions and highlights that we found useful, however there is a whole host of content available, on demand here

If you are interested in any of the updates we have posted around over the Google Cloud Next on Air series, and would like to know more, please contact us for a further discussion.

14 August 2020

Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir: Half Time Round-Up

 

We are half-way through Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, and have already seen lots of exciting new content and product updates. The first 4 weeks have covered Industry Insights, Productivity & Collaboration, Infrastructure, and Security – and we are excited to see what the next 5 weeks will bring!

In this blog post, we have highlighted some of the stand out sessions that we have found insightful. See below for just some of our highlights and find out how you can access the on-demand content.


Week 1: Industry Insights

In Thomas Kurian’s opening keynote, we were given a first look at updates such as the upcoming new interface in Gmail, the release of BigQuery Omni, and we got an insight into how companies have been able to adapt using Google technologies during the pandemic. Read our blog: Netpremacy Next Insights: Week 1 Industry Insights for our top highlights from the opening week.


Week 2: Productivity & Collaboration

As one of the UK’s leading Google Premier Partners, specialising in business transformation with G Suite, we anticipated this week would be full of exciting and valuable content for us, and our customers. We weren’t wrong!  Here are just some of the sessions we thought really highlighted the value of G Suite and how you can use it to power your organisation.

G Suite’s Vision: Your Future Workplace

Ever since the sudden and global transition to a remote way of working, more than 6 million businesses have chosen G Suite as their partner in digital transformation, and billions of people are using it to stay connected. This could be the catalyst that will accelerate the shift to a more flexible work culture.

*80% of employees want to see a more flexible way of working continue

**74% of CFOs are seeing a permanent shift in the way they are going to run their business

Giving employees more flexibility is helping to prepare us for the future. It has other benefits too, like saving businesses money and reducing their carbon footprint. Google is cloud-native, so G Suite tools were engineered with flexibility in mind. Noise cancellation and low light mode in Google Meet was just one of the many updates Google announced to help with the challenges of remote working, where often your environment isn’t that predictable. 

Google Meet is now free for everyone, so more people can enjoy secure and reliable video meetings. Google also announced earlier in the year that G Suite Essentials, for businesses, will be free until October 2020. The better home for work update was another exciting new feature, which will integrate the main G Suite collaboration tools to work even more seamlessly, helping users better manage the pace of work.

Watch the full session here and learn more about Google’s first step in their long-term vision of what the future workplace could look like.

Power Your Business with Search & AI in G Suite

This session looks at some of G Suite’s incredible capabilities that help with employee efficiency, by improving meeting experiences, simplifying tasks, and turning data into insights: 

  • Google Calendar is able to automatically suggest the time and place of a meeting, based on the number and location of participants. 
  • Gmail and Google Drive use powerful search and assistant features to enable you to find the files you want, quickly. 
  • Machine Learning (ML) is used in Gmail (and now Docs) with smart compose, allowing you to write more quickly and accurately – powered by world-class Google search technology and ML models. 
  • Deep learning signals are used to learn and utilise these behaviours, delivering relevant and highly intelligent results.

Watch the full session here to learn more about the intelligent features in G Suite you should be using in your business.

Communication in G Suite: The Future of Gmail, Chat, Meet, and More

In this session, Google announced the key features, tools, and updates they have made to make it easier for people to work remotely. 

  • Extended tile view layouts in meetings
  • “Guest Access” – collaborate with external partners on Google Chat
  • Forward to inbox – makes it easier to follow up on specific chat messages
  • Ability to edit messages in Chat
  • Voice and Chat now available in Gmail 
  • New home for work – access everything you need straight from Gmail

Personalisation in Retail

Consumer behaviour in retail has been changing for years, but the sudden closure of brick and mortar stores highlighted and accelerated the importance of digital strategies. Now, the customer journey is much more complex, but behaviours online can be tracked and used to personalise experiences. Data science, AI, and ML models are at the forefront of implementing these strategies in an intelligent, scalable, and automated way. AI is fuelled by consumer demand, so it’s more important than ever to collect and analyse data properly. You can then make better decisions, such as delivering personalised product recommendations based on products they have previously viewed, and with Google’s powerful ML models, you can suggest products based on what other consumers have bought.

Watch the session here to learn how you can use this technology to deeply understand your customers.


Week 3: Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a vital part of any business which is why we need to ensure that it is protected and working to the best of its ability to keep businesses running efficiently. There was a range of interesting updates, and below are just a few that we felt stood out, and that will make a big impact on the way that businesses work going forward. 

New Transatlantic cables – Grace Hopper cable system

Google already has a deeply impressive private network, including many different sub-sea cable investments. However this week, Google announced the new transatlantic cable that they will be building, named after the famous Grace Hopper. This cable will be linking the US, UK, and Spain and will provide extra bandwidth to this key connectivity route. People will be able to share, search, send, and receive information more than ever. After all, in today’s day and age reliable connectivity is more important than ever before to ensure business continuity. The new transatlantic cable will provide even better resilience for the network that underpins Google’s consumer and enterprise products. Read more about the new cable and all the others here.

New private service connect

Private Service Connect in alpha, which allows you to connect and consume first and third-party as well as customer-owned services easily and privately. It creates service endpoints in consumer VPCs that provide private connectivity and policy enforcement, allowing you to easily connect services across different networks and organisations. Private Service Connect abstracts the underlying infrastructure for both the teams consuming and delivering services, making it easier for you to use value-added services. With Private Service Connect, traffic stays private and secure over Google’s global network. See the overview video, or Read more here.

Google Cloud Armor

There has been 3 stand out Google Cloud Armor updates over the infrastructure week that will have a large impact on many businesses across the globe. Google has simplified the way you can use Cloud Armor to help protect your websites and applications from exploit attempts as well as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Here’s a quick overview:

Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus 

This is a subscription service with a predictable, enterprise-friendly monthly pricing model that mitigates cost risk from defending against a large L7 DDoS attack. Leveraging the edge of Google’s network, as well as a set of products and services from across Google Cloud, Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus can help protect applications from DDoS attacks and targeted exploit attempts. Businesses can now benefit from the same scale and expertise Google employs to protect applications and critical services from malicious activity.

Named IP Lists 

Named IP Lists are now in beta. These are Google-curated rule sets containing a pre-configured list of IP addresses that can be referenced and reused across policies and projects. Google is starting with providing Named IP Lists that have source IP ranges for common upstream service providers that many users would want to allow through their Cloud Armor security policies.

New WAF rules: RFI, LFI, RCE

Google is also making RFI (Remote File Inclusion), LFI (Local File Inclusion), and RCE (Remote Code Execution) rules available as a beta. Collectively, these rules contain industry-standard signatures from the OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set to help mitigate the Command Injection class vulnerabilities while enhancing the out-of-the-box coverage for OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities as well.


Week 4: Security

Security is something that is on everyone’s mind. At Netpremacy, we want to ensure that our employees and customers are safe, especially with so much of the world working remotely since early 2020. Google has introduced a range of new security measures to ensure that everyone’s new normal is safe. This week Google made sure to speak about security to people on every level, from introductory sessions all the way to advanced sessions.

Google also shared with us some of the recent resources, features, and products they’ve been working on in the Security space:

Cloud Security Best Practices Center

With Security being at the forefront of organisations minds, Google has collated lots of information, whitepapers, and blog posts relating to the best practices and key considerations across a number of workloads. It’s a central place to go to ensure you’re meeting your compliance and security needs in Google Cloud.

BeyondCorp Remote Access

Google’s BeyondCorp methodology is one of the most innovative parts of Google’s overall security posture. By using the principle of Zero-Trust, Google enables its own employees to work and access internal systems from anywhere in the world. BeyondCorp Remote Access is a solution built on top of Google products (Cloud IAP and Cloud Identity) that enables organisations to adopt the BeyondCorp methodology for their own applications and employees.

Certificate Authority Service

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and certificate-based authentication are one of the most popular methods of securing networked devices and services. But Google recognises that there is a significant problem – it’s hard to set up Certificate Authorities (CA), and even harder to do it reliably at scale. Google has announced that they are releasing the Certificate Authority Service: a highly scalable and available service that simplifies and automates the management and deployment of private CAs.

Confidential Computing + Confidential VMs

Google has widely documented its security controls, governance, and policies and is completely transparent when it comes to their usage of data. However, Google still recognises that there are organisations that need extra assurances that their data is secure while on Google Cloud. At the present, Google encrypts data at rest and in transit but must decrypt it for processing inside of its servers. Now Google is announcing a new product category called Confidential Computing, with its first product – Confidential VMs.

Like many Google products, Confidential VMs are based on the open-sourced framework Asylo and ensure that data is encrypted at all times, including during processing. And the best part is that enabling this technology is as simple as creating a regular virtual machine – just check the box during creation and let Google take care of the rest. Confidential Computing could truly be the next frontier in data protection in the cloud.

Confidential VMs are in beta, and you can read more about the service here.



These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out over the first 4 weeks. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to
Google’s blog. Week 5: Data Analytics is available now. To book on, head over to the Google Cloud Next website.


*Source: Global Workplace Analytics: Work at home after COVID-19 
**Source: Gartner: 74% of organisations to shift some employees to remote work permanently

 

20 July 2020

Netpremacy Next Highlights: Week 1

 

It’s fair to say that the opening week of Google Cloud Next online did not disappoint. With a range of product updates, industry insights and sessions on diversity and equality, Google hit the nail on the head with a strong and exciting start. We can’t wait to see what unfolds over the next 9 weeks. 

We have compiled just some of the updates and sessions that stood out to Netpremacy in particular and have rounded up what each session covered, and how you can access the on-demand content. 


Opening keynote

The week began with the opening Keynotes from Thomas Kurian. 

This session covered how Google, and companies across the globe have adapted to a changing world amidst a global pandemic, and how Google technologies have made that possible. Thomas spoke around how the future of work is going to be more digital and collaborative. He touched on how businesses have had to accelerate their digital transformation projects and bring them forward by 2-3 years to adapt to the changes that have happened since the pandemic. In addition to this, he spoke around how businesses are reimagining the way they work and that data powered innovation will make this possible. Watch the full on demand keynote here


Product Updates 

Google Meet in Gmail

Some exciting changes were announced around how Gmail is going to be made into a more collaborative space, with tools from Hangouts and more all being accessible in one interface. This change will be rolled out to G Suite users by introducing a dedicated Meet tab in the Gmail iOS and Android mobile apps. This means users will soon be able to join secure video meetings directly in Gmail without needing to open another app on their phone. The full update can be found here.

BigQuery omni release 

Another exciting announcement was on BigQuery Omni. This is a flexible, multi-cloud analytics solution that lets you cost-effectively access and securely analyse data across Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Azure. All of this is now possible without leaving the familiar BigQuery user interface. Using standard SQL and the same BigQuery APIs you will be able to gain critical business insights from a single pane of glass. Due to BigQuery Omni being powered by Anthos, businesses will now be able to analyse data without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.

Google Meet Updates 

Next up was the announcement of many new changes coming to Google Meet in Q3, and how this can help businesses to become more seamless when communicating through Google Meet. There are many new features that will be rolled out soon that will make for a more streamlined and enhanced experience. We recently wrote a blog on the new features coming soon, read more here. 


Industry Insights

As well as product updates and announcements, Google released a series of online content that put into perspective how different industries have adapted along with the pandemic. These industry insights have helped businesses gain confidence on how they can successfully adapt and thrive due to Google technologies. 

Retail 

In this briefing, Google discusses the recent challenges in retail and what they are working on to help their customers. Digital transformation in retail has been happening long before COVID-19, but now businesses are seeing a sense of urgency to innovate faster. To help tackle these challenges, Google has been working on industry specific solutions, through driving operational improvements, capturing digital and omnichannel revenue growth, and helping make data driven decisions. Watch the full session here.

Manufacturing 

Here Google addresses what the “new normal” is for businesses in the manufacturing industry, and how they have moved and adapted throughout the years when faced with serious disruption. We have witnessed unprecedented disruption to a strong economy and our daily lives. This has included dropping oil prices, record unemployment, demand uncertainty, supply chain disruption, major austerity measures, unprecedented government intervention and unstable credit markets. Watch the full session here to learn how manufacturing businesses have moved to a more digital environment to adapt and continue to thrive.

Healthcare 

This session covers how healthcare has had to adapt their technologies and make changes that would have taken 10 years, in just 10 weeks. It explains how Google technology has been helping with the fight against COVID-19. Whether it’s been helping people access information, supporting hospitals and research, or working alongside customers to build a strong foundation for the future. In particular how Google meet has been used to replace in-person appointments when social distancing measures have not allowed face-to-face appointments. Technology has been shaping the world’s response to coronavirus and that doesn’t stop in just the healthcare sector. Watch the full session here. 

Earthquake detection 

A recent experiment using one of our subsea fiber optic cables showed that it could be useful for earthquake and tsunami warning systems around the globe. This is exciting news for the advancement in technology, and how it could potentially help us to avoid or cope with natural disasters in a much more controlled and successful way. Read the full blog post here

These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out in week 1, and we can’t wait to see what week 2 brings. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to Google’s blog. To book onto week 2, productivity and collaboration head over to the Google Cloud Next website. 


 

10 July 2020

Highlights:

Bespoke COVID-19 back to work strategy

◦ Google Meet offerings – keeping people connected remotely

◦ Fast deployment of Chrome devices

◦ Ongoing support for our customer base

◦ Ongoing webinar knowledgebase

◦ Supporting schools, parents, and children through Google technologies

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On the 23rd March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that the UK was to be put into lockdown to help squash the curve and help the NHS to deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, there have been a number of changes globally that have forced businesses to drastically change the way that they work in order to stay afloat and to survive a global pandemic.

Netpremacy is born in the cloud, and so we took this change in our stride. We were proud to win the 2019 Google Cloud Global Specialisation of the Year – Work Transformation Enterprise award as a testament to our dedication and knowledge within the Google Cloud space. Mobile working is one of our core competencies and before the lockdown was fully declared, our whole team was working from home safely, securely, and collaboratively.

We appreciate that it was not that easy for many other businesses around the UK, and as such we have aimed to be the helping hand that many companies have needed to help get them through this difficult time. As such, Netpremacy has been running a series of webinars throughout lockdown, answering questions businesses may have on this new way of working, as well as offering advice, tips, tricks, and more on how to keep ahead of the game even during a global pandemic.

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How DFS responded to the recent COVID-19 pandemic through the use of Google Cloud technologies.

When the lockdown was announced, the DFS group decided to immediately close down all operations, pause deliveries, and halt manufacturing. DFS was then left with just an online presence, and had no other option than to furlough 5,000 members of staff across the UK. Read more on how DFS and Netpremacy worked together to ensure that the business was able to stay online and to keep the business running smoothly when the UK was first put into lockdown.

“As soon as the UK was put into lockdown our number one priority was ensuring that we could help keep our customers up and running safely in the cloud. This was a drastic change for many businesses around the world. At Netpremacy we are agile and used to working remotely, so we took our expertise and shared our services, knowledge, and experience with anyone who needed it. We understood that this was an unprecedented time for so many people and wanted to ensure that we were on hand to help. We will continue to do so long after lockdown is eased, and we believe that this has brought to life a new way of working that perhaps many businesses were not fully aware of beforehand.”
– Andrew Martin, Commercial Sales Director, Netpremacy

Our longstanding and strong relationships with our partners at Google meant that our teams have been able to collaborate remotely and help with ensuring that our customer base had access to everything they needed. Whether that be knowledge sharing, training, or support when making the big transition to working from home.

Since lockdown began, we have been working on a number of solutions to ensure that businesses are using the Cloud to the best of their ability, to ensure that they can work more effectively.

We have been in constant contact with our current customer base to ensure that we can support our customers in any way possible through these unprecedented times.

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Getting you back to work safely

Using G Suite tools, (Apps Script, Sheets, Calendar, Forms, and Data studio) our highly skilled teams have built and developed a simple to use booking system which will help prepare businesses for a safe return back to the office. This system ensures that strict numbers are adhered to and that colleagues are kept safe and appropriately distanced when they do decide to return to work. The system allows staff to book a seat on their given day, and to see when their other team members are booked into the office. The bonus of this system is the data it collects, allowing for contact tracing to be quick and simple if a COVID-19 outbreak were to occur in the office.

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Google Meet Offer

To help businesses stay connected and to continue working, we have been offering free Google Meet licenses and deployment services, available to new businesses until 30th September 2020.

For more information, download our one-pager or to book in your free* installation contact us on: info@netpremacy.com.

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“My vision has always been for CSS to be focused on unlocking the full potential of the Google product suite, this requires both Netpremacy and Customer to be far forward-thinking and always working towards that. Recent times have had me and our customers thinking differently, we have all had to adapt very quickly to Covid-19. What has been constant though, is technology is no longer a barrier. What we are now focused on is the creation of a feedback loop with those working from their homes all over the world. We want to know what is and is not working, letting people know we are listening and working towards constant improvements. There is a new normal but it will be created by those that are living and working it every day, so we had best listen!”
– Martin Russell, Head of CSS, Netpremacy

Looking after our current customers will always be our number one priority, we value our relationships with our customers above all else, and it was important to us that we made sure we were there to help in any way possible.

________________________________________________________________

It’s not just current customers that Netpremacy has helped. Due to the pandemic, we have seen new relationships form with businesses across the UK. We first began to speak to Loxam when they urgently needed 100’s of Chrome devices to ensure that their whole company was able to work remotely.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of project delivery for our chrome deployment services, with some of our customers requiring immediate and fast deployments to enable them to keep connected and “business as usual” while working from home. The Netpremacy delivery team has successfully adapted to the change in pace and understood the urgency in which customers wanted the deployments delivered. A perfect example of this was the chrome deployment project with LOXAM PAD. The team was engaged and ready to support the customer immediately with the whole chrome deployment completed within days minimizing any downtime.”
– Jordan Brown, Project Manager, Netpremacy

Following the delivery, both Netpremacy & LOXAM PAD pulled their teams together for a crash course on all things Chrome. After a few calls, the team at LOXAM PAD was up and running and enrolling devices within hours, with Netpremacy observing and supporting across the whole journey.

They were rolled out and deployed within 3 days of delivery, so 200 members of the LOXAM PAD workforce were now fully operational and could continue working remotely. This rapid delivery and deployment is a testament to the hard work and effort the team at Netpremacy put into providing the right solution for their customers, and another great example of how Google’s browser first solutions have a real impact when it’s needed the most.

Read more on how we worked to get LOXAM PAD up and running in days.

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We are also proud to be supporting the next generation by helping schools maintain learning through these difficult times. Schools, parents, and children are able to get the support and training they need, through Google technology, so young people can continue their education while learning from home. Learn more about the Government’s Schools of England Platform Provisioning Programme here.

In this new age, even when businesses do begin to return to the office, we understand that this has opened up a new way of working. Some companies may return to the office, whilst a vast majority have now learned that they can survive and thrive remotely if they need to. Hear from Alastair Lumley, Account Director at Netpremacy, on his predictions for the future of working remotely, and how he sees the workplace changing.

If you would like Netpremacy to help implement these solutions into your business please contact: info@netpremacy.com.

15 June 2020

Manufacturing with G Suite during, and post-pandemic 

 

We’ve all faced uncertain times this year and it has brought to light many challenges that organisations face when running their day-to-day activities. I wanted to share with you ways in which we can adjust and innovate to be able to adapt seamlessly in times of global disruption. 

female engineerMy focus in this article is to gain insights into the challenges that have been overcome, and how businesses have adjusted to the global disruption by using Google Cloud. My view is that the immediate concern that this pandemic has addressed, for not only manufacturing organisations but all firms globally is that to sustain any business through times of separation, we must transform not only digitally but culturally. 

With the huge adoption of remote working during this current period, the emphasis has been shaped by the importance of Connectivity, Collaboration, and Security, the key features that G Suite is renowned for. This is shown in their current user base of more than 2 billion users. Colleagues working in real-time on Documents, Sheets, and Slides from across the globe have driven productivity and proven the efficiency and effectiveness of the G Suite collaboration tools. This is even more apparent through this time which has inevitably separated the nation. In addition to these features, Google Meet has seen a huge increase of users, rising to 3 million now connecting with Google Meet every day.  Teams are able to perform video conferences on a secure, reliable, and expandable platform. Users have the ability to connect to 250 colleagues simultaneously, share screens, docs, or sheets, allowing suppliers and distributors to communicate and reduce cycle time. 

I could go on and touch upon Chrome, AI, Big Query, and many more services and solutions that have benefited Google customers during this time of uncertainty. For this article, I want to focus on how Netpremacy can help as a  Google Premier Partner and Global award winners in Work Transformation Enterprise, and Google’s successes in Manufacturing.

According to a March 2020 survey by the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers, four out of five U.S. manufacturing companies expect to be financially impacted by COVID-19. More than half think they’ll need to change how they operate, and over a third anticipate supply chain disruptions. We have been through a huge period of change, and anticipate further changes to the way our manufacturing and logistics organisations run their supply chain. PWC carried out their assessment of the effect of COVID19 and this brought a number of concerns to the industry. Facing fluctuations in the supply chain, social distancing concerns, now is the time to change to ensure your operations are running at the lowest cost of service but with increased performance. 

By transforming your business through G Suite you will;

  • Gain a more effective route to market
  • Expand your route to market options
  • Cut operational and IT costs
  • Safeguard your employees by using cloud services  

What is stopping you from exploring this innovation?

Whirlpool is a key reference for the power of G Suite and how utilising G Suite and Chrome devices has given them the initiative to innovate, break down global barriers, work collectively across nations to deliver the best product to the relevant markets quicker and more efficiently. Manufacturers face a huge demand, with global competition and most firms face the challenge of dealing with legacy systems due to rapid expansion and a large base of IT infrastructure and IoT provides the daunting challenge of business transformation. With these challenges being legacy issues facing the vast majority of manufacturers, the pandemic and need for remote working have drastically emphasised the need for change. G Suite offers secure, efficient, and collaborative tools for today but also the innovative tools for tomorrow to stay ahead of the curve.

“[G Suite] is a simple solution in many ways, but the features are actually very sophisticated, enabling us to surround our business processes with the right tools to connect people.” -Mike Heim, CIO of Whirlpool Corporation

Google provides world-class cloud solutions to help every sector and every vertical of every size. Netpremacy as a Google Premier Partner is here to guide you on your Google journey with the expertise and experience that you require. Netpremacy is Google’s Global award-winning leader for Work Transformation – Enterprise for 2019, we have taken some of the largest firms through periods of complete change, assisting with not only the technology changes but the cultural and educational changes too. We pride ourselves on our world-class teams, here to help you deliver against your cloud strategy with G Suite, Chrome or GCP.

Netpremacy is running a number of webinars throughout June and July to explore further the points mentioned in this article. We will have Google specialists and Customers share their experiences on how utilising G Suite and Google Cloud has helped them become agile, meeting the demands of remote working without impacting performance and how these changes affect the future of their businesses.

The webinars specifically relate to Manufacturing, identifying the services and solutions we can provide to ensure you can work seamlessly with business-critical tasks through these pressing times. 

Take a look on our link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manufacturing-with-g-suite-during-and-post-pandemic-tickets-108711107850

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on: amunroe@netpremacy.com