Five for Friday is a weekly feature to give a brief roundup of our top five stories from the week that you might have missed. Think we left anything out? Let us know your favourite stories of the week by pinging us a tweet @pcr_online.
The efforts of the government to get teachers up to speed with coding and programming has been branded ‘an embarrasment’ and ‘awful’ by Raspberry Pi Trading CEO and co-founder Eben Upton.
In comments made exclusively to PCR, Upton passionately argued that though progress has been made to improve the IT syllabus, that progress has not been reflected in educating the educators themselves:
"Over the last five years we’ve gone from having a computing curriculum which is very focused on the likes of Excel and Powerpoint, to one which is very focused on programming. That’s fantastic, but unfortunately the government’s investment in teacher training to support that has been wholly inadequate. You’ve got a shiny new curriculum which is really fit for purpose, and you’re expecting people who don’t necessarily have quite the right skillset to go and deliver that in the classroom.
When asked if he feels the government can do more, Upton gave a succinct yet scathing response:
"The government can start by doing something.
"It’s appalling, it’s just appalling. It’s a terrible failure. We advocate constantly to the government that they should step up in this area. Fundamentally, training teachers is a job for the government and we’ll do it while we wait, but we’re not going to stop saying that the government should do it."
In a bid to stay ahead of the pack, Intel is throwing its weight behind the rise of artificial intelligence. In the hope of accelerating AI innovation, the US chipmaker has made three new capital investments. Expecting AI to be the driver for the next big wave of computing, Intel has made investments in CognitiveScale (a provider that specialises in industry-specific machine learning software), AEye (a robotic vision pioneer) and Element AI (an AI solutions firm).
With an enormous opportunity to make AI accessible across a broad range of industries – for example, in gaming, the office and in schools – Intel, as a data company, is keen to stay ahead of its rivals from day one. The firm is desperately trying to deliver solutions that create, use and analyse the massive amounts of data that are generated every minute through AI.
Ahead of its national conference on Thursday, Channel services group Synaxon UK signed a members’ exclusive distributor agreement for Autotask Endpoint Backup (AEB). This deal will see Synaxon members benefit from a simple and cost-effective way to provide file backup with unlimited storage to customers and thus safeguard against the threat of ransomware and other malware attacks.
AEB is designed specifically for resellers, and fully integrates with Autotask’s professional services automation and remote monitoring and management software. It includes full provisioning, reporting, and monitoring capabilities, and in doing so, paves the way to generate recurring revenue from sales of managed services. Synaxon has partnered with Autotask to provide all provisioning and delivery of AEB via EGIS, its online information and procurement platform. Due to its cost-effectiveness and easy automation, the firm says that AEB is the only true safeguard most small firms have against ransomware and other malicious threats.
International distributor Tech Data has announced a triumvirate of appointments in key roles within its Consumer Technology Group (CTG). Ross Turner will lead customer engagement and relationships while Catherine Craig steps up to the role of business manager and Teresa Johnston will take on added responsibility for consumer hardware sales development.
CTG was formed in February to provide a clear focus on opportunities around consumer technologies, such as consumer PCs and components, home networking and smart home products, PC gaming, VR and wearable devices, that present rapid growth potential for retailers and webstores.
While PC fans were buoyed by the positive news of shipment growth for the first quarter of 2017 – ending eight consecutive quarters of decline – monitors have not seen the same uplift.
According to IT market analysis company Context, worldwide shipments of desktop monitors declined by 1.1 per cent in the first quarter compared to those a year ago. The firm notes that the the lower end of the market has been shrinking and there has been a shift to larger and more expensive screens.
“The decline in sales was driven by the consumer segment, which dropped -1.8 per cent, while the fall in commercial shipments was smaller at -1.0 per cent”, said Lachlan Welsh, Senior Analyst at Context.