Thursday, August 28, 2014

Forbes Article On Microsoft Kinect Apps

Michelle Greenwald of Forbes has recently written about Microsoft using Kinect technology to springboard into exciting new business areas:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellegreenwald/2014/08/18/how-microsoft-has-leveraged-xbox-kinects-technology-into-brilliant-new-business-areas/

She highlights ten new Kinect applications, ranging from airplane and automobile visualization to physical therapy and clothing retail.  Two of these were developed by InfoStrat for its clients -- both relating to education. 

The Kinect media wall at Liberty University engages visitors with interactions. 



Kaplan Early Learning Company builds interactive games using the latest technology including motion sensing and touch. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Scenarios for Microsoft Azure

To put it simply, Azure is the Microsoft cloud.  Microsoft hosts an Internet-scale computing and services platform in data centers around the world.  Azure is flexible and hosts not only Microsoft servers and products, but the full range of modern computing capabilities. Several scenarios are appropriate for deployment in Azure:

1. Extend your data center -- if you run out of space, racks, computers or other infrastructure, you can start up Azure virtual servers for the same purposes you would deploy servers at your data center.  Azure servers can be set up in minutes rather than waiting days or weeks for physical hardware.  You could use these servers for development, test, staging or production servers.  You can run Windows Servers, Oracle, SAP, Hadoop and other servers.

2. SharePoint on Azure -- If you want more flexibility and power than you can get on shared hosting of SharePoint, you can host your SharePoint documents and data in Azure.  Migration is easy and you can interoperate with Office365.

3. ERP on Azure -- You can move your ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and PeopleSoft to the cloud using Azure.

4. Hybrid identity management -- Azure can be part of your overall authentication scheme for your organization, allowing single sign-on and sophisticated security implementations.

5. BigData on Azure -- Using a cloud platform allows you to easily scale your big data projects as needed.  You can quickly build a Hadoop cluster and make it available to all the users who need it.

6. Extend your storage on Azure -- Cloud storage is inexpensive and provides excellent options for disaster recover and backup.

7. Custom websites -- Azure Web Sites can host small or large websites, and you can dial up more scalability whenever you need it.  Sitecore provides cloud-based campaign management.

8.  Mobile apps on Azure -- Mobile Services can power apps for any mobile platform, including iOS, Android, and Windows.  Azure can store data and host mobile apps.

From these scenarios, you can see that Azure supports many different cloud scenarios, from infrastructure as a service to application hosting.  InfoStrat helps its clients determine the best ways to use cloud computing to serve their strategic goals.  Microsoft offers a pricing tool to estimate Azure costs:  http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Age of Empires to Learn Business

The Age of Empires series of games is a fun way to learn about resource allocation and strategy.  It imparts some lessons that are quite useful in business. 



Should you build capacity now for future demand or maximize profit in the short run?  Hire more sales people or train your staff to be more productive. 

Gaming is a great way to see how your choices play out, and strategy games help you understand trade-offs and the importance of fast decisions.