The world is continually being moulded by small, unseen technologies. We rarely appreciate the massive impact of a new technology, until we can’t consider life without its influence. Imagine the world before screws, string, ink and countless other dark horse game changers. It is simply unfathomable how societies could operate without such innovations.
Today such technologies continue to expand our abilities. The humble USB port connects more devices together. Touch screens have opened the gates of easy interaction with devices. Sensors are making our vehicles and buildings intelligent. Yet one of the modern world’s biggest disruptors continues to go on unseen. Dell EMC says that if they were to nominate the technology MVP of the early 21st century, it would be flash memory and storage.
Flash is all around us. You will find it in your phone and most electronic devices around you. The SD card used in cameras and some phone models is flash memory. Your smartwatch tablet and computer use flash memory, as do those USB thumb drives that seem to be as ubiquitous as change under the sofa cushions. If you ever transitioned to a Solid State Drive (SDD) on your laptop, you have sampled a taste of flash’s transformative power.
“When someone asks me to explain flash memory, I pull out my smartphone,” says Rudi van Rensburg, senior manager for Primary Storage (All Flash) at Dell EMC. “You can run your life off your phone – that’s how powerful a device it is. Flash memory is a big part of what makes that phone so fast and compact all at the same time. That is not possible with spinning drives.”
Flash trumps spinning drives
Flash is fundamentally different from spinning drives aka. hard drives. The latter operates like a high-speed vinyl record, moving a robotic arm across the spinning platter of the drive to locate data. There are physical limitations to how fast this can be done. Hard drive platters are also very sensitive and can be easily damaged. Often a small amount of damage can cascade over time to corrupt the entire drive. Due to the random nature of such damage predicting imminent failure of a hard drive is challenging and rarely accurate.
Having no moving parts is one of flash storage’s big advantages. Instead of spreading data along a platter, the data on flash is written by arranging electrons along grids through tiny power currents. This not only renders much faster data reads and writes, but it is also easier to manipulate and rearrange that data. The result is magnitudes more speed, as well better predictable reliability. Whereas a spinning drive shouldn’t go beyond a five year lifespan, top grade enterprise flash storage has shown longevity of well over a decade.
Combine speed and reliability, and you have a lot of flexibility. The impacts of this on a business are manifold, says Van Rensburg:
“I’ll give you a real world example I see all the time. A client wants 100 terabytes of storage for their data. So they have that much in spinning disks, plus extra disks to address failure issues. These are arranged in tiers so they can get the best performance out of the fastest disks. This works, but it is expensive and takes up a lot of space.
“Now, let’s convert that into flash. First, they don’t need the full 100 terabytes, because flash is much, much faster and uses compression technologies not available on traditional spinning disk drives. We’ve seen customers’ performance benchmarks double, quadruple and even go as high as ten times. Second, they don’t need tiers, because you can pool flash as a resource, so you are doing far more with less. Third, the failure rate is much lower and also much easier to predict.”
The high speed and reliability of enterprise flash storage is perfect for modern Tier 1 applications such as ERP systems, says Dell EMC. As Van Rensburg points out, companies that adopt enterprise grade all-flash systems for their core applications are seeing performance jumps that leap off the chart. The larger boon of flash’s flexibility is that it can easily be allocated to other applications in the business.
“When flash started being adopted in enterprises, around 2008, you saw maybe five percent of company workloads being put on flash storage. Today we’re seeing 100 percent utilisation. In none of those cases did the companies feel forced to use flash. They started small, but saw such leaps in performance and reductions in cost of ownership that it just made sense.”
“There is still place in modern companies for spinning drives. But just as wooden wheels made way for vulcanised rubber, the way forward is the speed, agility and reliability of enterprise flash storage.”
Three African-American Female Engineers Who Changed Our World
Image source: Pexels
The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) produce innovation that drives us forward as a species. Despite the fact that women and people of color have often been at the forefront of new discoveries, their representation within the STEM fields is historically low.
As culture progresses in understanding toward the value of a diverse workforce, those seeking out the future leaders of STEM are reaching out to underrepresented populations – specifically, women and people of color. One such outreach is ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’, a global campaign established by the National Society of Professional Engineers.
The event, which takes place this February 25, is run by teachers, volunteers, and STEM professionals, and includes engaging engineering-based learning activities that encourage young women to develop problem solving skills and indulge their interest in science and engineering.
The road to their future success was paved by the intrepid women who came before them, including these three remarkable African-American female engineers:
- Kimberly Bryant: Seeking to create an inclusive technology learning space for young women of color, Ms. Bryant created the not-for-profit coding camp Black Girls Code. As of late 2019, the organization has 15 chapters, and Ms. Bryant has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion as well as one of 2013’s 25 Most Influential African Americans in Technology.
- Dr. Patricia Bath: An early pioneer of laser surgery for cataract treatment, Dr. Bath was the first female member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first female African-American surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, and the first female leader of a postgraduate ophthalmology training program.
- Alice Parker: A housewife from New Jersey, Mrs. Parker developed and filed a patent for a gas-powered central heating system inspired by cold coastal winters. Her filing came before both the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, a remarkable achievement for an African-American woman during her time.
More stories of African-American female engineers and female leadership in engineering can be seen here:
To discover more about Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, visit NSPE online.
North Ladder Secures $5 Million Series A Financing Round To Accelerate Global Expansion
North Ladder Team (Source: Siddharth Sudhakar)
North Ladder (previously called BuyBack Bazaar), a UAE based secured trading platform for pre-owned luxury assets and electronics, today announced a $5 million Series A funding round led by regional venture capital firm BECO Capital. The new investment will help the company scale up its technology platform, enhance customer experience and pursue further geographic expansion.
The homegrown start-up also revealed that it will begin operating under the new brand name North Ladder effective immediately, representing the company’s strategy of charting new markets and supporting individuals across the globe in their endeavour to elevate their financial situation. The disruptive and innovative technology platform is the first of its kind, providing access to verified buyers of second-hand goods and instant cash. North Ladder currently enables users to sell electronics such as phones, laptops, tablets, and smart watches, as well as luxury assets including watches and cars, with a unique option of buying it back within a few months.
The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for North Ladder which saw rapid growth of its clients, network of buyers and corporate partnerships. To date, the platform has witnessed over 15,000 transactions in the UAE, with over 85 different nationalities served while earning an impressive 4.9/5 customer satisfaction rating. In 2021, the start-up is looking to establish its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, with a focus on scaling the platform significantly in the next 18 to 24 months.
“North Ladder has demonstrated tremendous success with its unique model of helping customers access immediate funds against their assets. The provision of a seamless and trusted digital platform for the sale of pre-owned goods has immense socially transformative potential at a global scale. We are excited about partnering with them to take their services to the next level,” said Dany Farha, CEO & Managing Partner, BECO Capital.
The company recently appointed Sandeep Shetty, former Managing Director of the core ride hailing business at Careem, as Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of North Ladder. Prior to Careem he also led the digital transformation program at Emirates NBD and has held leadership positions at McKinsey & Company and GE Capital across India, the United States and the Middle East. Sandeep joins the leadership team of co-founders Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini who together bring years of prior global start-up, financial services, technology and operations experience.
“Our exciting partnership with the region’s leading investor BECO Capital gives us the opportunity to scale operations in the UAE and expand to other strategic markets, with the mission of meaningfully impacting people across all strata of society,” said Sandeep Shetty of North Ladder. “Our global auction brings professional buyers from around the world to compete and provide local customers with the best prices and no hidden surprises.”
Since its launch in 2018, North Ladder has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 innovative start-ups in the MENA region” by PayPal backed accelerator, Village Capital and awarded as an Innovator by Entrepreneur Middle East.
Gebeya Inc. Launches App to Accelerate Access to Job Opportunities and Skilled Talent on the Continent
Gebeya Inc. announced the launch of its new app: Gebeya Talent. With this, the Pan-African online talent marketplace will expand access to its network across the continent and around the globe. African talent seeking their next freelance work opportunity will now have access to these features:
- A quick and easy application process
- Save time with automatic matching with exciting projects inline with their skill sets
- No bidding; get paid at rates that represent their capabilities and experience level; get paid in multiple currencies
- Being part of an engaging, growing community with exclusive professional networking, events, free upskilling, and mentorship
- Showcase their best work via custom portfolio and profile
Prior to the release of the Gebeya Talent app, the process to apply to join our talent network was largely manual, requiring intensive human involvement. Now, leveraging improved processes and automation, the process has greatly improved. Throughout the year, additional features will be added to streamline and further optimize the process, and leverage the full power of artificial intelligence and automation. From application, to testing, from interview to onboarding, potential candidates can expect to enjoy a seamless experience.
“We strive to be THE most-referenced freelance African Talent company. Having fast, reliable, seamless digital tools at the heart of our marketplace is a MUST,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-founder of Gebeya. “Currently, the process for talents wanting to join our marketplace takes anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. “Our objective is that, with the Gebeya Talent app, we will be able to onboard a talent within 24 hours after they submit their application.”
A New Kind of Talent Marketplace
The year 2020 was abuzz with phrases like “future of work,” “gig economy,” and “remote work.” The release of the Gebeya Talent app proves that this bold, new future predicted has arrived. Access to opportunities for talent has expanded, as they are no longer restricted to their immediate geographic location; we follow a remote-first work model. And: anyone can download the app.
“This is only the beginning,” said Thierno Niang, Chief Platform Officer at Gebeya. “We launched a mobile app before a web application, because all of our talent have access to a phone. As we add features to the product, we will also expand to include a web app.”
The most in-demand talent for startups and corporations include: software development, graphics & design, project management, digital marketing, product management, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. But, as market needs evolve, so will the Gebeya Talent pool.
Best of African Talent for the World
The Gebeya Talent app grants access for talented professionals in Africa and its diaspora to join a community built with them in mind. Rather than bid against millions of freelancers in an anonymous pool of talent, they can be assured that every opportunity caters to their skill set and agreed-upon rate. No more underbidding, missed payments, or ghosted clients. Because Gebeya manages the entire process of matching, plus administrative and finance processes, talents are ensured timely and fair delivery of payment in exchange for their work.
Within the next three-to-five years, we anticipate identifying and vetting the top 100,000 talent. From that, we expect to onboard the top 20,000 best. If you’re a talent from Africa or of African descent, seeking to join a community that will care about you, download the Gebeya Talent app and apply today.
A web-based application to connect clients of all sizes, including individual entrepreneurs, startups, and large enterprises with talent, will launch later this month. This will be for clients that are seeking to: diversify their workforce, augment their existing team, or expand into new markets without the hassle of opening a physical office. Our goal is that clients will be matched with talent within seconds, and within 24-to-48 hours of contract-signing, begin the work.
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