You’re reading this because all over the world IT professionals are at work keeping the internet’s vast array of routers, servers, switches and other equipment functioning.

Unless you work for a telecom or one of the organizations that plays a role in keeping the internet operating, chances are you’ll never meet these network engineers and system administrators.

But you know the guy or gal who fixes your computer problems when you call. Even if you’ve never met them in person, you’ve come to rely on them to be there when you say “Help!”

These are the unsung tech heroes we recognize today on IT Professionals Day. And never before have we all had so much to thank them for.

When the COVID pandemic closed offices across the world, IT professionals made it possible for employees to work from home.

Their round the clock work keeps us in touch with friends and family, enables students to attend class remotely, and makes it possible for us to consult a doctor by video from home.

As SolarWinds, founder of National IT Pro Day in 2015, says, “The success of organizations during the reality of an unprecedented global pandemic is due in large part to IT pros’ preparedness and ability to adapt and manage through substantial change. We didn’t know it at the time, but all your training, ideas, and skillsets were leading up to this year’s events, which saw entire organizations rely on IT teams to keep their business up and running.”

We at Green Key Resources join with the millions of others in saying thank you to all IT professionals. We are grateful for everything you do. And, to quote SolarWinds, “If we’ve learn anything from our IT pros this year, it’s they’re ready, willing, and able to tackle any challenge head-on.”

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash


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CIOs Want You to Stop Saying ‘Digital Transformation’

Is your change management sufficiently agile to facilitate the digital transformation that the disruptive technologies of 5G and artificial intelligence bring?

That’s just the kind of talk CIOs and other IT leaders wish to banish from all our conversations.

“Buzzwords start out as powerful ideas,” says Matt Seaman, Lockheed Martin’s director and chief data and analytics officer of enterprise. “It’s not until they’re misused and watered down that they become a problem.”

And all the buzzwords we used in the first sentence of this blog post are words so often abused and twisted that CIO magazine listed them among the “10 misused buzzwords in IT.”

Take “digital transformation” for example. It’s a phrase CIO writer Clint Boulton says is one “CIOs love to hate because it’s often pitched as a cure-all for modernizing legacy businesses.”

No matter how much tech is implemented it won’t make a difference if it isn’t accompanied by business transformation, maintains Mark Bilger, CIO of One Call. “Digital solutions do not magically transform the business. A fool with a tool is still a fool.”

OK, but what about change management?

Consider it the twin of digital transformation. Jenny Gray, senior director of application development at Power Home Remodeling, tells CIO the phrase suggests the “antiquated” idea that change should come through major initiatives and strategies. Change, she says, should be happening constantly in businesses.

Change also happens “more slowly than people think,” insists Target CIO Mike McNamara, who is tired of hearing of “disruptive technology.” The notion that there are technologies that will transform an industry overnight is a mistaken one, he says. “There is no disruptive technology out there right now, because the whole point of disruption is that you don’t see it coming.”

What other buzzwords made CIO’s list?

  • Agile – It’s applied indiscriminately, complains Bilger. Most teams are anything but agile, he says.
  • DevOps – It’s used so often and so incorrectly that it has “an identity problem.” Especially by vendors pitching DevOps tools, “The definition gets watered down,” says Brittany Woods, a cloud automation engineer at H&R Block. “People need to stop using DevOps in the wrong context.”
  • Minimal Viable Product — MVP is (wrongly) used to describe a technology proof-of-concept, says Lockheed Martin’s Seaman. “MVP isn’t complete until the enterprise improves the product based on user feedback,” the article explains.
  • Artificial intelligence – There’s nothing “intelligent” about the processes and applications that get labelled AI, says Target’s McNamara. “Machine learning” is his preferred term.
  • Machine Learning – Vendors are to blame for the common misuse of this term. When not erroneously describing smart automation tools as AI, they’re describing them as machine learning. Bilger, of One Call, says ML is a valid description, but only when applied properly.
  • 5G – Because of all the hype, Matt Clair, CIO of Clair Global, complains, “Everyone is talking about 5G, but 90% of them don’t know what they’re talking about.”
  • Extended reality — Virtual reality and augmented reality apparently weren’t enough, so extended reality entered the jargon and now gets misapplied to all sort of computer environments.

Of course, just because these words and phrases get misused and misapplied on a regular basis doesn’t mean we’ll all stop using them – or learn to apply them correctly.

“Reasonable minds differ on what constitutes legitimate or sketchy applications of terminology. Sometimes 5G really means 5G. XR can include a legitimate application of AR or VR.”

Photo by Jason Rosewell


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Origami-Inspired Robot Shows It Can Do Delicate Surgery

A tiny robot, inspired by the paper-folding art of origami, may someday take on surgical tasks as delicate as pushing through a human eye to reach the hair-sized veins inside.

Two engineers recently demonstrated how a device weighing as much as a penny and no larger than a tennis ball can perform such delicate procedures with far more precision than a human. They described their work in the August issue of Nature Machine Intelligence.

The device was able to outperform a human in a test that involved tracing a square smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen. The so-named miniature remote center of motion manipulator or mini-RCM, was 68% more accurate than a tool controlled by hand.

In a second test, the device successfully punctured a mock vein twice the size of a human hair, simulating a procedure that involves puncturing an eye to reach the blood vessels at the rear in order to inject a medication. Such surgeries have been done on an experimental basis with other robots, but are considered too risky to be performed exclusively by hand.

An article on Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering describes how Robert Wood, an engineering professor at Harvard, and Hiroyuki Suzuki, a robotics engineer at Sony Corporation, built the robot.

For years, miniaturized tools and cameras have enabled doctors to perform minimally invasive surgeries. Now, large robots are assisting surgeons by handling multiple tools with great precision. The downside is the size of these robots and their tools, and the cost. There’s also research suggesting that for many types of procedures these robots – costing $2 million and more – get no better results than traditional laparoscopic surgery.

Te mini-RCM, although still just a prototype, holds promise for reducing the size and cost of medical robots and has potential utility as a precise tool for teleoperated microsurgery.

“The Wood lab’s unique technical capabilities for making micro-robots have led to a number of impressive inventions over the last few years,” says Suzuki . ”I was convinced that it also had the potential to make a breakthrough in the field of medical manipulators as well.”

“This project has been a great success.”

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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