Heroes of GAVS

Every day we witness these heroic acts Of GAVSians!

A special shout-out to our GAVSians who go into the hospital (BronxCare Health Services) every day to keep their vital computer systems going. 

Ivan Durbak, CIO, BronxCare – “Every day we witness these heroic acts: one example out of many this week was our own Kishore going into our ICU to move a computer without full PPE (we have a PPE shortage). The GAVS technicians who come into our hospital every day  are, like our doctors and healthcare workers,  the true heroes of our time.”

“I am especially inspired by my GAVS colleagues who are supporting some of the healthcare providers in NYC. The GAVS leaders truly believe that they are integral members of these institutions and it is incumbent upon them to support our Healthcare clients during these trying times. We thank the Doctors, Nurses and Medical Professionals of Bronx Care and we are privileged to be associated with them. We would like to confirm that 100% of our client operations are continuing without any interruptions and 100% of our offshore employees are successfully executing their responsibilities remotely using GAVS ZDesk, and other tools.” – Sumit Ganguli, CEO

“Customer Success is all about being proactive and getting ready to address newer situations. At GAVS, RITE is a key DNA and Empathy to our teams and customers is absolutely at the top. That drives us to do the right things for both our teams and customers. In this endeavor and to ensure that our teams are safe and healthy and are able to seamlessly provide support and service to our customers, we have created a task force to understand, assess and plan for events that would unfold due to this massive viral pandemic. We have created 3 broad pillars as part of the task force – 1st How do we take care of our people – people safety first (ability to shift GAVS and customer assets to their home offices smoothly and provide adequate support to enable them to stay in touch with our customers and drive value),  2nd continuation of services and support to customers (continue with newer mechanisms and tools of collaboration and governance) and 3rd is the adoption of new operating model (potential onboarding and collaborative situations in a hybrid model for the future as well and enabling culture for such adoption and collaboration). With these 3 key facets, the task force prepared a plan and executed it with measurable outcomes at every stage. Clear goals and empowerment to various teams enabled us to execute a seamless transition to the new model. We moved 700 assets over a course of 4 business days and created stock and contingency plans for an additional 50% of the workforce.”- Balaji Uppili, Chief Customer Success Officer

GAVS’ Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness -COVID-19

Dear Client leaders & Partners

I do hope all of you, your family and colleagues are keeping good health, as we are wading through this existential crisis of COVID 19.

This is the time for shared vulnerabilities and in all humility, we want to thank you for your business and continued trust. For us, the well being of our employees and the continuity of clients’ operations are our key focus.

I am especially inspired by my GAVS colleagues who are supporting some of the healthcare providers in NYC. The GAVS leaders truly believe that they are integral members of these institutions and it is incumbent upon them to support our Healthcare clients during these trying times.

We would like to confirm that 100% of our client operations are continuing without any interruptions and 100% of our offshore employees are successfully executing their responsibilities remotely using GAVS zDesk, Skype, collaborating through online Azure ALM Agile Portal. GAVS ZIF customers are 100% supported 24X7 through ROTA schedule & fall back mechanism as a backup.

Most of GAVS Customer Success Managers, Client Representative Leaders, and Corporate leaders have reached out to you with GAVS Business Continuity Plan and the approach that we have adopted to address the present crisis. We have put communication, governance, and rigor in place for client support and monitoring.  

GAVS is also reaching out to communities and hospitals as a part of our Corporate Social Responsibility.  

We have got some approvals from the local Chennai police authorities in Chennai to support the movement of our leaders from and to the GAVS facility and we have, through US India Strategic Partnership Forum applied for GAVS to be considered an Essential Service Provider in India.  

I have always maintained that GAVS is an IT Service concierge to all of our clients and we individually as leaders and members of GAVS are committed to our clients. We shall also ensure that our employees are safe.

Thank you,
Sumit Ganguli
GAVS Technologies

Message from Balaji Uppili, Chief Customer Success Officer:

Customer Success is all about being proactive and getting ready to address newer situations. At GAVS RITE is a key DNA and Empathy to our teams and customers is absolutely at the top. That drives us to do the right things for both our teams and customers. In this endeavor and to ensure that our teams are safe and healthy and are able to seamlessly provide support and service to our customers, we had created a task force to understand, assess and plan for events that would unfold due to this massive viral pandemic. We had created 3 broad pillars as part of the task force – How do we take care of our people – people safety first (ability to shift GAVS and customer assets to their home offices smoothly and provide adequate support to enable them to stay in touch with our customers and drive value), a continuation of services and support to customers (continue with newer mechanisms and tools of collaboration and governance) and 3rd is the adoption of new operating model (potential onboarding and collaborative situations in a hybrid model for the future as well and enabling culture for such adoption and collaboration). With these 3 key facets, the task force prepared a plan and executed it with measurable outcomes at every stage. Clear goals and empowerment to various teams enabled us to execute a seamless transition to the new model. We moved 700 assets over a course of 4 business days and create stock and contingency plans for further 50% of the workforce.      

Voice of our Product Managers and Customer Success Managers:

#EachforEqual

Padma Ravichandran

This year the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. 

Before we delve into making collective individualism work and bringing that change to the workplace, we need to believe that, to build a culture of equality, an individual must be comfortable to bring one’s authentic self to work.

Sometimes bringing your authentic self to work is about managing your identities with ease – we may have multiple spheres to ourselves – with our family, society, spiritual, health and wellbeing, hobbies, and of course, career. When we’re able to create a connection to each of these dimensions and leverage it, we can be our fuller self. Doing this enables us to create a culture of trust, accountability, belonging and purpose, and that, in turn, builds family-friendly practices, supports genders and are bias-free in building a culture of equality.

A culture of empowerment trusts employees and respects you for who you are. It gives employees the freedom and authority to respond to situations in real-time.

An empowering environment gives way to #EachforEqual by having these culture drivers:

  1. Teamwork and collaboration 
  2. Breaking stereotypes 
  3. Mentoring through peer circles
  4. Creating a community and embracing your identities

Creating a culture of equality has gone beyond just a diversity story, and to an agenda in a CEO’s scorecard, and organizational scorecards. At the heart of this journey is building a respectful and gender-neutral workplace where women feel safe, respected, and valued for the skills (technology and soft skills). #EachforEqual happens when the workplace is gender-sensitive. 

#EachforEqual in teamwork and collaboration

Where we celebrate our differences and co-create, we can collaborate better, this results in a cohesive teamwork where we celebrate being equal. Our diverse thoughts, perspective, enables in propelling innovation. A diverse team brings in a varied set of skills, knowledge and thought processes and almost always is better equipped to tackle any curveball thrown at them.

#EachforEqual in diversity by breaking stereotypes Where our thinking broadens from celebrating diversity, empowering underrepresented groups, and encouraging people to be themselves. The culture drivers should focus on enabling these groups with decision making, designing their work schedules, and being self-reliant. Groups with representation from diverse members do produce more well-rounded solutions, than those with homogenous members. It makes a significant impact in the fields of policymaking, education and technology, among others.

#EachforEqual by mentoring through peer circles

Where we have women networks that allow her to express themselves. This community enables women to learn new skills, meet role models, and have peer circles (like returning moms group) to support one to ensure a women’s life journey doesn’t hamper her career journey. By increasing the representation, through focused efforts on gender diversity hiring, the ability to impact the community is more. Organizations all over the world face the issue of lower women representation in the higher ranks. Mentoring women at entry and mid-levels opens doors for them keep climbing the ladder and not quit. 

#EachforEqual by creating an environment to embrace your identity in totality 

A true #EachforEqual culture is created when women at the workplace start feeling fully empowered. Women play multiple roles, and seamlessly move across their roles at ease – that of a homemaker, intrapreneur, leader, a returning mother or a caregiver. Building an ecosystem at work that helps women balance these multiple roles they play in life is what makes a woman feel empowered, and paves way for #EachforEqual. 

We at GAVS, have taken several initiatives to ensure an equal and supportive workplace for all genders. From women’s peer group, to mentorship for women returning after breaks, to maternity and paternity leaves, we are always striving to give GAVSians the most productive environment. 

Reference:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com

https://chronus.com/mentoring-women-in-the-workplace

About the Author

Padma’s Clifton Strength Finder Top 5 Signature Themes are Consistency, Discipline, Developer, Empathy, and Harmony.
She is part of the HR team, and enjoys listening to her audio books, journaling, and practicing yoga.

From the Boardroom to Beyond

Rama Vani Periasamy

It is March! And you if haven’t already been flooded with women-centric marketing messages from brands trying to cash in on “International Women’s Day” then you most probably ARE living under a rock. Yes, womanhood should be celebrated. However, over the years, it has been reduced to a marketing gimmick. We have come very far, but there are miles more to go, ceilings to shatter and doors to be broken down.

For starters, here are some facts I read in a book.

  • Only 17% of startups have a woman partner.
  • Just 5% of the senior management roles in an organization are filled by women.
  • There are very few women in political offices and even fewer as University chancellors & directors.

Despite all their stellar achievements, women often feel or are made to feel secondary to men in life. All thanks to the society’s stereotypes of the role of a woman. We have some amazing examples of women who have paved their own paths to success. How do we make that the norm and not the exception?

I ask all my fellow women in corporates, have you ever felt bound by the invisible shackles of the society? Have you ever retrospect on what is stopping you from climbing the corporate ladder? Here are a few takeaways from a book that might help you.

  • Ask for Help

We women usually deal with a lot on our plates and have multiple roles to play. And don’t we just love multi-tasking? I have been in several situations when I’ve had work piled on me with strict deadlines. And I have always rolled up to sleeves and got the work done, often feeling burned out at the end. Why did I not ask for help?

Women everywhere are failing to ask for help. But why? It is how we are raised and conditioned.

It is normal to ask for help. It is not going to take away from our contributions. No one at the top could have reached there without the help they received all along. Asking for help is not admitting weakness; sometimes it is the wiser thing to do. It is an invitation for others to join your mission and it is a step towards self-love.

  • Exuberate Confidence

Despite all their degrees, certifications, and fighting against all odds, women often tend to downplay their capabilities. Most of the time only a fraction of their potential is tapped, while there is an entire universe inside, unexplored. Thousands of years ago, our cave-dwelling male ancestors had to go out hunting, while women and children remained at home. While men donned masks and walked with puffed out chests, women shrank themselves. This pattern seems to hold true in workplaces across the globe.

The present-day woman brushes aside compliments, speaks hesitantly, hardly questions, never learns to says no, negotiates extremely well for others but not for herself. Now imagine a board room scenario filled with men who are the decision-makers. They usually present their arguments without hesitation, as they are expected to. On the other hand, many women are not able to demonstrate the same confidence while speaking at such occasions. Women tend to use insipid language despite knowing the significance of her statement. When the language is weak and the body language is timid, the arguments do not get the weight they deserve.

We think our work will speak and gain recognition. We believe talent will not remain hidden and we are conditioned to remain quiet and we choose to be. But this is no fairy tale and we are not drawn to that board room by a fairy God mother in a carriage, but by our years of hard work. The magic wands are in our hands and we must be our own fairy grandmothers. The only way to deal this is to standup, make our own voice heard and our opinion matter.

  • Focus on your Strengths, not the Weaknesses

There is a high level of incongruence in the self-confidence between the men and women. I still remember the scenes outside the examination hall at our university. My female friends and I always worried about the mistakes we made in the exams. Whereas the boys used to walk out of the hall like they had just successfully launched a space craft! The scene outside the office meeting rooms looks no different. I still see women focus on their weaknesses and the flaws, and men walk out with an assurance of having delivered the best presentation. Women fail to realize that we all are a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on both can be miraculous. Building on your strengths not only boosts confidence, but also enthuses your boss and colleagues to support you.

  • Find that real life role model

A decade back, as a fresh graduate, every day I entered the huge campus of an IT giant, and see 9 out of 10 in a crowd were men. Leaders and managers were all men. I wouldn’t speak much to them not share my concerns at work. Months later, I moved to a team that had a female lead. Though she was miles apart, I was more comfortable. My subconscious mind gave me a message that if she can do it, I can very well do. I began aspiring of reaching her level and I did in the next couple of years. The crux of this personal anecdote is, a woman in a senior position can use her well-deserved status to inspire other women, be that role model and empower women around her. Such a woman will be a friend in your uphill battle, showing you right path and sometimes shielding you. So, go find that role model who will help you forge ahead.

On this note, GAVS is a place where I can look up to a lot of women in senior and important roles, as strong role models who help steer the young women in the right path.

It is only when we retrospect that we realize that we could have done things a lot better, both in personal and professional fronts. When women believe, that there are no boundaries, she begins to dance to a tune of her own and reaches the pinnacle. When she learns to take the power and authority to make the choice, she’d stop saying yes when she means a no. She’d stop downplaying herself and become her own publicist. She’d stop looking at her flaws but use that as a catalyst to grow. She’d grow and lead other women to grow.

When there is an entire universe inside, why shrink like a microorganism? And to bring about a change, the old instruments of trade are to be trashed. So, stand strong, speak up and spread your wings with flamboyance, confidence and empower other women.

This article is based on the book “Lady You’re the boss” by Apurva Purohit.

About the author:

Rama is that everyday woman you see who juggles between family and a 9 hours work life. She loves reading history, fiction, attempting half marathons and traveling.
To break the monotony of life and to share her interest in books & travel, she blogs and curates at www.kindleandkompass.com

The Women Pioneers in Tech

Rajeswari S

“She is water. Powerful enough to drown you, soft enough to cleanse you, deep enough to save you” – Anonymous.

Yes, she has proven this time and again. Poets compare women to the moon, oceans, and nature. I don’t think they do it just for the sake of it. She is rightfully called so for her supremacy, magnanimity, profundity and omnipresence. I dedicate this article to all those women.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Commemoration of International Women’s Day ranges from being a public holiday in some countries to being largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.

Even as a homemaker, a woman is a blessing, who pillars anything accomplished by her family members. She earnestly compliments their lives. If her contributions are immense behind the scenes, can she be overlooked when she steps out to take on more responsibilities? You name a field, she is already there – IT, show business, sports, business, medicine, law, space, the list is endless! They have come out of their cocoons to prove themselves as masters of all trades. Women’s partaking and influence on a society and its economy is enormous.

Equal work opportunities, access to services, physical safety, legal and political representation are still weighing down a woman from realizing her full potential.

“Cultural norms still militate against equality…India has a considerable way to travel to match the best performance in the region on the female-to-male labor-force participation rate, maternal mortality, financial and digital inclusion, the sex ratio at birth, and violence against women,” stated a McKinsey report.

If despite these, she exhibits her values to society and country, isn’t she unstoppable!?

While we speak of women’s contribution to economy and technology in recent days, I would like to introduce you to a few eminent women who have pioneered technology in their own fields. Did you know, women during WWII have supported artillery machines and gunnery officers by calculating variances in temperatures and air density to improve shot accuracy?

Learn about these SHEroes, who were among the firsts in their fields; the list is not exhaustive though:

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was an English mathematician and writer. Her contribution to the field of computer programming was recognized posthumously and had also earned her the title of being the first computer programmer.

Grace Hopper (1906–1992) joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and was assigned to program the Mark I computer. After the war ended, she continued working on computing. She led the team that created the first computer language compiler, which led to the popular COBOL language. She also is known as the “mother of computing”

Margaret Hamilton wrote the software code used for the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1960, which guaranteed Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin safe passage to the moon and back. Hamilton was still criticized for her career choice, forsaking the traditional role of running a household full time. Developers, and the larger tech industry, should be thankful for Hamilton’s contributions. Did you know she coined the phrase ‘software engineering’?

Mary Allen Wilkes helped develop what is now considered the first ‘personal computer’. She worked on the LINC computer as a programmer and instructions author. She is credited with writing the LINC’s operating program manual, and she was also the programmer of the LAP6 operating system for the LINC. She later revealed in an interview, that she actually took the LINC home with her in order to write the operating system, helping to make working remotely a reality for so many of us today. So, now you know who to thank for the ‘’Work from home’’ concept!

Angelica Ross a transgender woman, is among the leading advocates for transgender opportunities in tech. Ross is the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, focusing on “lifting people out of poverty” through social work and technical training, and helping gender-nonconforming people get opportunities in technical roles.

Karen Spärck Jones is the reason why Googling is a part of our daily activities. She made breakthrough discoveries in the field of natural language processing, that led to the subsequent development of search engines. She was recruited to Cambridge into the “Language Research Unit” by another female professor, Margaret Masterman. She introduced the use of thesauri into language processing, which allows computational recognition of similar words. She also introduced the idea and methods of “term weighting” in information retrieval, which helped queries determine which terms were the most relevant.

Katherine Johnson was a NASA mathematician whose calculations helped propel not only the first Americans to space but also many other breakthroughs in space exploration. She paved the way for women and people of colour in her field. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions in 2015.  She has the honour of a book and movie by the name ‘Hidden Figures’ to commemorate her life and work.

Who can forget Kalpana Chawla, and the inspirational NASA astronaut Christina Koch who spent 11 months in Earth’s orbit. They have shown the world, sky is not the limit! Born to a humble family, should we not celebrate Shivangi Swaroop from Bihar, India, who has joined the Indian Navy as the first female pilot! Then there is Biocon’s Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw declared the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 for innovation and enabled affordable, life-saving medicines through her strong investments in research.

While we are celebrating women, it would be unjust to not speak about the men who’ve supported all of them. As Indian singer, Usha Uthup said, “My husband has contributed so much to my success by not contributing; just leaving me to do what I want!” All the men out there, take a bow!

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We have achieved many milestones and are well on our way to achieve many more. Kudos to all the humans who cared for each other!

Let’s make the International Women’s Day our day and help women flourish. Let’s work together to exhibit our prowess in every arena; let not women be the enemy of women, let’s take an oath to save and protect women from all the endangers she is exposed to, let us show the world that our mind is the true muscle!

References:

About the Author:

Working in IP, into Content Development with 13 years of Technical, Content and Creative Writing background. Five months old at GAVS. Off-work, passionate about singing, music, creative writing; love highway drive, a movie buff.

People-Centric Technology Trends for 2020

Priyanka Pandey

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  

– Charles Darwin, 1809

Most of us know about ‘Darwinism’ or the theory of biological evolution by Charles Darwin. It talks about natural selection and inheriting variations by organisms to increase its ability to compete and survive. Over the years, there have been many examples that prove this theory applies not only to biological evolution, but also to the technological evolution. With technologies advancing with ever-increasing velocity, it becomes a necessity for Technology Innovation Leaders to adapt to these changes with least friction. What can come handy is the annual analysis report released by Gartner, which galvanizes different technology trends together.

The Gartner report for this year – ‘Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020’ is structured around the idea of “people-centric smart spaces”. It examines how certain technologies can create numerous opportunities and can drive disruptions in a way that will change how we, humans, will live in the coming years. This report makes it very clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a bottom-line role in providing a good ambient experience. It also talks about how important it is to have governing principles, policies, best practices and technology architectures to increase transparency and trust in AI.

At Gartner 2019 IT Symposium/Xpo™ in Orlando, Florida, Brian Burke, Gartner Research VP, said “These trends have a profound impact on the people and the spaces they inhabit. Rather than building a technology stack and then exploring the potential applications, organizations must consider the business and human context first.”

Workplaces are becoming more people-centric, putting people at the centre of any technology strategy. Organisations are now making significant investments in user experience to meet growing expectations. Listed below are the 5 People-centric Technology Trends which, per Gartner, have great potential for disruption.

Trend 1: Hyperautomation

Automation can broadly be defined as employing technology to perform routine tasks thus reducing the human involvement. Hyperautomation is the next step. This trend is about providing an end-to-end automation solution using a wide array of machine learning algorithms, packaged software and automation tools. Almost every forward-looking company is now looking at processes it can automate and are also aware of the potential of Robotic process automation (RPA) and Intelligent Business Process Management Suite (iBPMS) in achieving this. Since it involves automating every process of an entire organization like operations model and business process model, it often results in the creation of a dynamic, virtual representation of that organization, also called Digital Twin of Organization (DTO). DTO helps align employees with the organization’s goals and operations and evaluates the impact of changes in a constrained environment.

Trend 2: Multiexperience

Multiexperience is about changing the way people interact with the digital world by providing them with a multi-modal user interface that will utilize multisensory and multitouchpoints. It will use all human senses along with advanced technological senses (like heat, humidity, radar) to connect across different devices including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors, and consumer appliances. These widened sensory channels will support varied capabilities, such as emotion recognition through facial expression analysis or using accelerometers to identify abnormal movements that may indicate a health condition. Both Google and Amazon are already working on providing multi experience by adding screens and cameras to their smart speakers.

Per Gartner, “By 2023, more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps, and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built and/or run through a multiexperience development platform.” A multiexperience development platform (MXDP) is a suite that offers both front-end and back-end services for the development of an ambient experience that can be integrated across a range of devices. Although predictions state that privacy concerns can impact the level of adoption in many organizations, but it is still expected to evolve through 2024.

Trend 3: Democratization

Democratization is about empowering everyone through access to technical and business level expertise without extensive and costly training. The target of this trend could be anyone from customers, business partners to professional application developers and assembly line workers. Democratization has four key aspects: Democratization of Application Development, Democratization of Data and Analytics, Democratization of Design and Democratization of Knowledge.

It also talks about dealing with “Shadow AI”. Shadow AI is a natural outcome of democratization where people without formal training can use tools to develop their own AI-powered solutions and provide peer-to-peer support to others. Low-code or No-code application development has seen an increase due to the rising demand for rapid application development platforms. Per Gartner, by 2024, more than 65% of application development will be based on low-code development and 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four such tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.

Trend 4: Human Augmentation

Human Augmentation (or “Human 2.0”) aims at enhancing human capabilities through technology. It may seem to be a new trend, but it started even before the computers were introduced. It goes back to the time when the usage of typewriter, copy machine and printing press started, which gave humans the ability to create, copy and publish text. This trend includes combining different innovations to deliver cognitive and physical improvements as part of human experience. Physical augmentation has several aspects like Sensory Augmentation, Brain Augmentation, Genetic Augmentation and, Appendage and Biological Function Augmentation. Since human augmentation will affect human lives to a very great extent, organizations must consider five major areas before adapting to it: Security, Privacy, Compliance, Health impact, Ethics. All types of enterprises are now examining ways of implementing human augmentation in different business use cases.

Trend 5: Transparency and Traceability

As consumers are becoming more aware, they want a guarantee of the products they consume and demand control over their personal information. With increasing AI-based decision making, the concern of digital ethics and privacy needs are rising, and transparency and traceability are critical in supporting it. This trend focuses on six pillars of trust: Ethics, Integrity, Openness, Accountability, Competence and Consistency. This is the age of surveillance capitalism. There are billions of endpoints collecting information of each one of us through which it is not difficult to identify who you are, where you are, what you’re doing and even what you’re thinking! Many jurisdictions, including Europe, South Africa, South Korea and China, have the ‘Right to be forgotten’ (RTBF) legislation in place. Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 75% of large organizations will employ AI experts in behaviour forensic, privacy, and customer trust to reduce brand and reputation risk and by 2025, 30% of government and large enterprise contracts for purchase of digital products and services using AI will require the use of explainable and ethical AI.

One of the most important things to note here is that the trends listed above cannot exist in isolation. For people-centric technologies to provide digital services, people need an environment where they can interact with digital spaces as a natural part of their everyday life. This brings in the concept of Smart Spaces. The next 5 trends in the Gartner report explores the technologies around Smart Spaces. IT leaders will have to analyse what combination of the above-mentioned trends along with smart space technologies, will drive the most innovation and strategy fitting it into their business models.

To Be Continued…         

References:

https://www.gartner.com/en/doc/432920-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020

About the Author:

Priyanka is an ardent feminist and a dog-lover. She spends her free time cooking, reading poetry and exploring new ways to conserve the environment.

The Edge for Speed

Jaisri Vijayakumar

As enterprises’ IT landscapes become more convoluted, newer technologies are coming to the rescue. Businesses now have the flexibility to scale their operations as per their needs, run their infrastructure more efficiently, and ensure that they’re not losing any customers due to a slow application. All of this is made possible by Cloud Computing. Simply put, cloud computing delivers computing services over the internet. This gives the owners the freedom to access their data from any location via the connected network of servers/data centers. This has proved to be profitable for organizations. 

What is Edge Computing?

Gartner defines Edge Computing as “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge – where things and people produce or consume that information.”

Edge Computing is an emerging technology that is already playing an important role by enabling quicker decision-making by analyzing the data at the edge of the network.

At its basic level, Edge Computing brings computation and data storage closer to the devices where it’s being gathered, rather than relying on a central location that can be miles away. This is done so that data, more importantly, real-time data, does not suffer latency issues, as that can affect an application’s performance. Additionally, companies can reduce costs by having the processing done locally, reducing the amount of data that needs to be processed in a centralized or cloud-based location.

Edge computing was developed due to the exponential growth of IoT devices, which connect to the internet to either receive information from the cloud or deliver data back to the cloud. IoT devices generate enormous amounts of data during their operations.

A single device producing data can easily transmit it across a network. For example, a video camera live streaming footage from a remote warehouse. Problems arise when the number of devices transmitting data at the same time grows. Not only will quality suffer due to latency, but the costs of bandwidth can be tremendous.

How does Edge Computing work?

Edge Computing hardware and services help solve the above-stated problem by being a local source of processing and storage for many of these systems. An edge gateway can process data from an edge device and then send only the relevant data back through the cloud, reducing bandwidth needs. For real-time applications, the data will be sent back to the respective edge device.

Edge devices vary from things like an IoT sensor to a laptop, a smartphone, a security camera or even an internet-connected microwave oven in the office break-room. Edge gateways are considered edge devices within an edge-computing infrastructure. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are an important component of edge computing because these connected devices can process data on the edge. 

This technology fulfills the local computing needs by processing data in micro data centers, like an office or a facility, instead of sending them directly to the main data center. Micro data centers are at the center of edge computing needs. This can be considered as an on-premise technology which is diminished to match certain business models.

It is important to ensure that IT infrastructure can operate on-site, from within the largest spaces to small remote sites. The connectivity challenges in remote locations can be overcome by bringing data locally on-site, thus eliminating latency.

The units will be configured for functions which will be their primary job in a device. Each unit in the edge computing will have its infrastructure like a computer, storage, and networking system. These devices will take care of the context/network switching, routing, security, and load balancing. The complete network of these devices becomes a centralized point for data processing from multiple sources. The data points will be analyzed by event processing engines which would decide on where the data should be streamed. 

The data may be processed on edge or can be sent to a data center nearby based on pre-defined rules for further analysis. There are two types of data, namely ‘hot data’ and ‘cold data’. Hot data will be instantly analyzed to make quick decisions and in the case of cold data, it will be stored and analyzed later for analytics based on historical trends.

One of the key features of edge computing is the speed and responsiveness it offers is so great that in future the data which is stored will be acted upon the edge of the network instead of transferring it to data centers for further analysis.

There is a common misconception that edge computing is only for IoT embedded devices but that is not true. Edge computing, though ideal for IoT, offers great scope for departmental and traditional business applications. Wherever the data sources are, the edge computing layer will be operating close to it.

Edge computing has several advantages, such as:

  • Increasing data security and privacy
  • Better, more responsive and robust application performance
  • Reducing operational costs
  • Improving business efficiency and reliability
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Conserving network and computing resources
  • Reducing latency

Edge Computing Use Cases

Autonomous Vehicles

The choice to stop for a pedestrian crossing in front of an autonomous vehicle (AV) must be made in very little time. Depending on a remote server to deal with this choice isn’t practical. Moreover, vehicles that use edge innovation can cooperate even more effectively if they can speak with one another first instead of sending information on mishaps, climate conditions, traffic, or bypasses to a remote server first. Edge registering can help.

Healthcare Devices

Health monitors and other wearable healthcare gadgets can constantly watch out for the conditions of patients. It can save lives by alerting caregivers when help is required. Moreover, robots aiding medical procedure must have the option to rapidly break down information so as to help securely, promptly, and precisely. Transmitting data to the cloud before making decisions is not the most efficient for healthcare devices.

Security Solutions

Since it’s important to react to dangers instantly, security surveillance systems can benefit from edge computing innovation. Security frameworks can distinguish potential dangers and alert clients to unusual activity.

Retail Advertising

Targeted promotions and data for retail associations depend on key parameters, for example, demographic data, set on field devices. Right now, edge computing can help secure client protection. It can encrypt the information and keep the source as opposed to sending unprotected data to the cloud.

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers can attain the ability to interpret voice instructions and execute basic instructions. Turning lights on or off, or changing indoor regulator settings, regardless of whether web availability fails would be possible.

Video Conferencing

Poor video quality, voice delays, frozen screens—a poor connection to the cloud can cause numerous video conferencing disappointments. By putting the server-side of video conferencing programming nearer to members, quality issues can be reduced.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether edge computing is just another buzzword, it has great scope for organizations to implement it and realise the benefits of faster data processing and transferring, thus enabling quick decision-making. It is time for enterprises to take the next logical step towards upgradation of their business processes.

References:

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3224893/what-is-edge-computing-and-how-it-s-changing-the-network.html

https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2019/08/will-edge-computing-transform-healthcare

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/5/7/17327584/edge-computing-cloud-google-microsoft-apple-amazon

About the Author

Jaisri is a tech enthusiast. She is passionate about reading and sharing knowledge. She believes “CHANGE IS THE END RESULT OF ALL TRUE LEARNING”

Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Juliana Koshy

As a woman, I have always thought about what makes a man and woman different, apart from the emotional intelligence and physical strength. In all other aspects, I believe women and men are equal, but then why is it that there’s a dearth of women in the workforce. It is more pronounced in the technology industry. The tech industry by its very nature is progressive and ground-breaking, but when it comes to women in tech, there is still a long way to go.

Studies state that women are likely to quit their careers in tech twice as quickly as men, and the lack of upward mobility is a major reason. In the US, only 26% of those in computing jobs are women and the number decreases at higher ranks. The situation is similar in India. Women in the tech industry are concentrated at entry-level jobs and very few make it to the top. India also faces the problem of retaining women after maternity breaks.

There are myriad reasons that prevent women from climbing up the ladder, some are more internal than others. It is important to start with those that we can change. From my experience, I can say that stepping out of our comfort zones will help us get ahead. We, as women, must embrace risks and challenges and ask for more to show our managers that we are ready to take on more responsibilities.

I cannot overstate the importance of finding a mentor at the workplace. Our struggles are not unique, and the right mentor can help guide us towards the right path and boost our confidence. If you are a woman in a leadership position, it is equally important for you to step up to a mentorship role. It will send a strong message to all on the importance of diversity. Being a part of women’s support groups in the workplace is also a great way of talking about specific issues that affect all women.

While on the topic of gender equality in tech, we must talk about the historical data that needs to be set right for accurate predictive and prescriptive analyses to be carried out. Women have been linked to words like fragile, beauty, appearance and emotional. These will result in biased algorithms. Given the number of industries that are adopting AI for its business processes, such biased algorithms may well have negative consequences.

I am proud to be part of GAVS, where we are encouraging women to pursue their dreams in the technology industry. We aim to be the brand ambassadors in providing young women the platform and inspiration they need to be empowered to realize their dreams.

Recently, I have been attending events at the AnithaB and WIT (Women in Technology) forums and see a collective vision in making a bigger impact and to operate more efficiently in an inclusive technology industry. Women in leadership roles have also been making their voices heard. Recently we had Ms. Bouchra Galluccio (VP, HealthFirst) visit us and it has been a great inspiration for me to hear from a woman leader in the IT industry of the US.

GAVS has been very progressive in this aspect and is trying to improve the gender ratio. As a woman, I feel that the world at large needs to encourage more women to work in this sector.

As International Women’s Day approaches (March 8), the technology industry needs to foster, embrace and promote women to positions of impact to create a more balanced future for the next generation. Increasing the number of women in technology has the potential to improve the design of products and services to better aid a more varied population in the global market place.

Last but not least – Men at the top in all spheres of the industry must believe and support their female peers when they highlight the micro-sexism happening in business every day. Good thing is that attitudes are improving and I now work in a business where I always feel heard.

Cheers to an astounding 2020!

About the Author:

Juliana is part of the Customer Success team at GAVS. She is very passionate about technology, and music and is a doting mother to her two sweet sons. She believes that “Empowered Women, Empower Women”

The Journey Beyond

Kerrie Hoffman

The Introduction

A personal introduction during a business meeting or the reading of a speaker’s bio is a typical way to get to know someone in our business life. It’s fun to visualize the illustrious journey of our colleagues, leaders in companies, and famous guides and visionaries as we listen to their introductions and Bios. The stories these introductions tell are like the stories we post on social media sites including Facebook and LinkedIn. It all sounds so wonderful.

It’s completely normal to list all the highlights of the path we have taken in our formal and even informal introductions. You can easily find the highlights of my career in my LinkedIn profile. But the power of the path we’ve taken lies not in highlights, but rather in the lowlights, obstacles, and missteps.

The Journey Beyond the Highlights

I recently completed a 2-week business trip to India with my business partner. We were visiting 4 cities and many partners and potential partners of our company Get Digital Velocity. The last stop was with a technology company I have been doing advisory work with for over a year. It happened to be Women’s Week, which, at this company included daily sessions from various women leaders and industry experts. I was honored and humbled to be asked to speak.

This was an excellent opportunity to let my guard down, be vulnerable, and speak about the journey beyond the professional Bio. For me, the events which occurred prior to a new position or a promotion often included a significant low-light, obstacle, or frankly a significant misstep.

I think it’s important to note, I did not come up with the idea of sharing the journey beyond the highlights. One of the companies I worked for, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), had strong diversity initiatives and affinity groups. The J&J Women’s group would have a conference each year which included a panel where the panelist would talk about the Journey Beyond the Bio. The J&J Affinity Networks, including the Women’s Network, was a key factor in not only very favorable Diversity metrics but also strong business results and consistency in being rated a Top Place to Work.

Circling back to the recent Women’s Week event, here’s are just 3 of the lowlights I shared:

  1. A common recurring theme of being impatient and labeled overly aggressive in pushing my ideas and agenda – sometimes you must learn a lesson repeatedly before a course correction is made. As a leader who pushes a lot of change, there’s a fine line I need to make sure I don’t cross, and if I do cross, I recognize it early and adjust.
  2. Completely missing the unwritten rules and industry trends during a business unit-wide project I was leading. This led to the first time I hit a glass ceiling – and I hit it hard.
  3. Not recognizing the strength of some cultural differences during the beginning of an Expat assignment which almost took me out of a role and sent me back to the US.

What many people miss about the lowlights, obstacles and missteps of their career, is these are the catalyst for peaks in personal transformation and growth. I believe there are two triggers for personal transformation and growth: deliberately stepping outside our comfort zone and being pushed outside our comfort zone through difficult times and experiences. The most powerful trigger is often the latter.

Of the three I shared above from my career, all led to times of accelerated growth in my career, promotions once growth was achieved, and more importantly accelerating learning I could apply to contribute to business growth and outcomes.

My experience pales in comparison to great teachers and leaders in the world around us. Leaders like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon Hill, even Einstein and Edison. The obstacles and struggles in their lives shaped them into incredible leaders and role models.

Women in the Workplace

One of the great outcomes of the first time I hit a glass ceiling was becoming an effective mentor for women and men who don’t fit the typical Corporate mold. Prior to hitting the first glass ceiling, I believed you had to do something wrong to hit one. I really didn’t do anything wrong that first time, although there were things I could have done differently if I was more aware of the nuances of Women’s Journey in the workplace. I was determined to learn and share these nuances.

So, after I hit the first glass ceiling, I went into heavy research mode. One of the best resources recommended to me at the time by one of my mentors was a book called “Play Like a Man, Win Like a Women” by Gail Evans. The author utilizes a lot of research to scientifically explain the typical differences between men and women and the strengths women bring to the workplace. Women’s strengths in the workplace include: collaboration, team building, listening, innovation, and empathy to name a few.

Another great source of information on Women in the Workplace is the Catalyst organization (www.catalyst.org). There are strong business reasons to embrace diversity in the workplace. According to Catalyst:

“Leaders who embrace a more holistic view of diversity, equity, and inclusion can build a more innovative and collaborative workforce, which is associated with increased productivity and better business results.”1

To embrace a holistic view, it’s important to understand the unconscious bias which occurs in the workplace. Catalyst has some great resources on this topic. One unconscious bias Catalyst points out really resonates with me as I experienced it throughout my career.

In general, when a woman is promoted to senior levels, she is assumed incompetent until she proves herself, while a man is assumed competent until he screws up. I really don’t like generalizations, but I experienced this personally and observed it many times. Catalyst describes this unconscious bias as follows:

“Because some people see women as less competent than men, they may undervalue their accomplishments and overvalue their mistakes.  Research shows that feedback given to women tends to be vague and focused on communication style, while men are given specific feedback that tends to be tied to business goals and technical skills that accelerate advancement.”

The Strengthening Case for Women Leaders

We are living in one of the most amazing times in human history as we exit the Industrial Age and Enter The Next AgeTM. The speed of business is accelerating at a rapid pace and work is becoming much more distributed. As Talent pools work in teams with members located in different buildings, at home and even in different parts of the world, there is a need for technology-based collaboration tools.  More importantly, skills in collaboration, empathy and relationship building are required, the same skills at which women excel.

An exponential growth in technology is the trigger moving us into The Next AgeTM. Some of these exponential technologies include Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Cognitive Automation. These technologies combined with others are creating smart machines and even a new kind of ‘coworker’.

According to Catalyst, “while machines are getting smarter, they don’t possess the same abilities as humans to listen, empathize, and relate to other people. As more routine tasks are automated, inclusive interpersonal skills will become even more essential—companies will need leaders who can build diverse and collaborative teams that integrate and optimize both tech and human resources.”3 And talk about diverse, some of our future team members will be human and some will be automated processes and robots.

Conclusion

I leave you with these thoughts:

  • Embrace the obstacles and challenges which come your way as these are times you will grow the most. Reflect on the lowlights of your career journey and appreciate them as the true highlights.
  • Whether constructive or not, feedback is a gift. Feedback is often the first glimpse into a misstep or obstacle. Resist the initial tendency to make excuses or explain it away and find the lesson learned and opportunity to grow.
  • There has never been a better time to embrace women in the workplace and promote more women into leadership roles. Women’s skills in collaboration, listening, empathy and relationship building are required as more distributed teams and new AI co-workers become commonplace.

Resources:

About the Author:

Kerrie is passionate about business transformation and getting as many companies as possible on their journey to The Next Age™. Kerrie is a #1 Bestselling Business Author and CEO of Hoffman Digital, an ecosystem of companies “Igniting the Human Experience at Work”. This includes Strategic Advisor at GAVS, Partner at Get Digital Velocity, and Digital Advisor at FocalPoint Business Coaching.

The Hands that rock the cradle, also crack the code

Gavs technologies ceo

Sumit Ganguli

It was an unguarded moment for my church-going, straight-laced handyman & landscaper, “ I am not sure if I am ready to trust a woman leader”, and finally the loss of first woman Presidential candidate in the US, that led me to ruminate about Women and Leadership and indulge in my most “ time suck” activities, google and peruse through Wikipedia.

I had known about this, but I was fascinated to reconfirm that the first programmer in the world was a woman, and daughter of the famed poet, Lord Byron, no less. The first Programmer in the World, Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace nee Byron; was born in 1815 and was the only legitimate child of the poet laureate, Lord Byron and his wife Annabella. A month after Ada was born, Byron separated from his wife and forever left England. Ada’s mother remained bitter towards Lord Byron and promoted Ada’s interest in mathematics and logic in an effort to prevent her from developing what she saw as the insanity seen in her father.

Ada grew up being trained and tutored by famous mathematicians and scientists. She established a relationship with various scientists and authors, like Charles Dickens, etc..   Ada described her approach as “poetical science”[6] and herself as an “Analyst & Metaphysician”.

As a teenager, Ada’s prodigious mathematical talents, led her to have British mathematician Charles Babbage, as her mentor. By then Babbage had become very famous and had come to be known as ‘the father of computers’. Babbage was reputed to have developed the Analytical Engine. Between 1842 and 1843, Ada translated an article on the Analytical Engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes, simply called Notes. These notes contain what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer. Ada died at a very young age of 36.

As an ode to her, the mathematical program used in the Defense Industry has been named Ada. And to celebrate our first Programmer, the second Tuesday of October has been named Ada Lovelace Day. ALD celebrates the achievement of women in Science, Technology and Engineering and Math (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

Most of us applauded Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn as Alan Turing in the movie,  Imitation Game. We got to know about the contribution, that Alan Turning and his code breaking team at the Bletchley Park, played in singularly cracking the German Enigma code and how the code helped them to proactively know when the Germans were about to attack the Allied sites and in the process could conduct preemptive strikes. In the movie, Kiera Knightly played the role of Joan Clark.  Joan was an English code-breaker at the British Intelligence wing, MI5, at Bletchley Park during the World War II. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1947, because of the important part she essayed in decoding the famed German Enigma code along with Alan Turing and the team.  

Joan Clark attended Cambridge University with a scholarship and there she gained a double first degree in mathematics. But the irony of it all was that she was denied a full degree, as till 1948, Cambridge only awarded degrees to men. The head of the Code-breakers group, Hugh Alexander,  described her as “one of the best in the section”, yet while promoting Joan Clark, they had initially given her a job title of a typist, as women were not allowed to be a Crypto Analyst. Clarke became deputy head of British Intelligence unit, Hut 8 in 1944.  She was paid less than the men and in the later years she believed that she was prevented from progressing further because of her gender

 In World War II the  US Army was tasked with a Herculean job to calculate the trajectories of ballistic missiles. The problem was that each equation took 30 hours to complete, and the Army needed thousands of them. So the Army, started to recruit every mathematician they could find. They placed ads in newspapers;  first in Philadelphia, then in New York City, then in far out west in places like Missouri, seeking women “computers” who could hand-compute the equations using mechanical desktop calculators. The selected applicants would be stationed at the  University of Pennsylvania in Philly. At the height of this program, the US Army employed more than 100 women calculators. One of the last women to join the team was a farm girl named Jean Jennings. To support the project, the US Army-funded an experimental project to automate the trajectory calculations. Engineers John Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly, who are often termed as the Inventors of Mainframe computers, began designing the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC as it was called.  That experimenting paid off: The 80-foot long, 8-foot tall, black metal behemoth, which contained hundreds of wires, 18,000 vacuum tubes, 40 8-foot cables, and 3000 switches, would become the first all-electric computer called ENIAC.

When the ENIAC was nearing completion in the spring of 1945, the US Army randomly selected six women, computer programmers,  out of the 100 or so workers and tasked them with programming the ENIAC. The engineers handed the women the logistical diagrams of ENIAC’s 40 panels and the women learned from there. They had no programming languages or compilers. Their job was to program ENIAC to perform the firing table equations they knew so well.

The six women—Francis “Betty” Snyder Holberton, Betty “Jean” Jennings Bartik, Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, and Frances Bilas Spence—had no documentation and no schematics to work with.

There was no language, no operating system, the women had to figure out what the computer was, how to interface with it, and then break down a complicated mathematical problem into very small steps that the ENIAC could then perform.  They physically hand-wired the machine,  using switches, cables, and digit trays to route data and program pulses. This might have been a very complicated and arduous task. The ballistic calculations went from taking 30 hours to complete by hand to taking mere seconds to complete on the ENIAC.

Unfortunately, ENIAC was not completed in time, hence could not be used during World War II. But 6 months after the end of the war, on February 14, 1946 The ENIAC was announced as a modern marvel in the US. There was praise and publicity for the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Eckert and Mauchly were heralded as geniuses. However, none of the key programmers, all the women were not introduced in the event. Some of the women appeared in photographs later, but everyone assumed they were just models, perfunctorily placed to embellish the photograph.

After the war, the government ran a campaign asking women to leave their jobs at the factories and the farms so returning soldiers could have their old jobs back. Most women did, leaving careers in the 1940s and 1950s and perforce were required to become homemakers. Unfortunately, none of the returning soldiers knew how to program the ENIAC.

All of these women programmers had gone to college at a time when most men in this country didn’t even go to college. So the Army strongly encouraged them to stay, and for the most part, they did, becoming the first professional programmers, the first teachers of modern programming, and the inventors of tools that paved the way for modern software.

The Army opened the ENIAC up to perform other types of non-military calculations after the war and Betty Holberton and Jean Jennings converted it to a stored-program machine. Betty went on to invent the first sort routine and help design the first commercial computers, the UNIVAC and the BINAC, alongside Jean. These were the first mainframe computers in the world.

Today the Indian IT  industry is at $ 160 B and is at 7.7 %age of the Indian GDP and employs approximately 2.5 Million direct employees and a very high percentage of them are women. Ginni Rommeti, Meg Whitman are the CEOs of IBM and HP while Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. They along with Padmasree Warrior, ex CTO of CISCO have been able to crack the glass ceiling.    India boasts of Senior Leadership in leading IT companies like Facebook, IBM, CapGemini, HP, Intel  etc.. who happen to be women. At our company, GAVS, we are making an effort to put in policies, practices, culture that attract, retain, and nurture women leaders in IT. The IT industry can definitely be a major change agent in terms of employing a large segment of women in India and can be a transformative force for new vibrant India. We must be having our Indian Ada, Joan, Jean and Betty and they are working at ISRO, at Bangalore and Sriharikota, at the Nuclear Plants at Tarapur.