Jan 12, 2021

WWT and Dell Technologies: partners in financial security

WWT
Dell Technologies
William Smith
3 min
World Wide Technology’s Chris Konrad and Matt Berry on the partnership with Dell Technologies and changing security needs in the financial services space
World Wide Technology’s Chris Konrad and Matt Berry on the partnership with Dell Technologies and changing security needs in the financial services sp...

World Wide Technology (WWT) is one of the world’s premier technology solution providers. “Revenues right now are approaching $13bn in 2020, encompassing our digital strategy, innovative technology, as well as supply chain solutions to a variety of different customers in the public and private sectors around the globe,” explains Chris Konrad, Director of Security for WWT’s global business. “We're hyper-focused on providing secure business outcomes for our global clients,” adds Matt Berry, Principal Security Advisor, Global Financials. “We deliver solutions in the area of data governance and strategy, security platforms and tool operationalisation. We also address AI and ML model security and enterprise security architecture. Regardless of what the challenge is, our goal is to bring together business acumen with a full stack of technical know how to develop solutions that address our customers’ most complex cyber needs.”

Security in the financial services space has been made only more necessary by the ongoing challenges around the pandemic and the transition to remote working. “Financial institutions are being forced to deal with their technical debt as non-digital processes are being digitised,” says Berry. “Often these workloads are being moved into cloud environments, for instance.” That shift in technology comes alongside a rise in cyber attacks. “Threat actors are getting smarter, they're getting more organised and they’re becoming increasingly innovative in their tactics and technologies.” With those challenges in mind, WWT tailors its solutions for customers. “We architect our solutions and services around these business outcomes and offer strong consultancy combined with the technical competency.”

WWT’s reputation has led to a strong partnership with Dell Technologies. WWT is a $1bn partner of Dell Technologies’ and their first ever Titanium Black partner. “We've leveraged about 25 years of partnership expertise to do everything from designing to testing and delivering best-in-class integrated solutions that really help accelerate digital and security transformation journeys,” says Konrad. “Working with Dell Technologies ensures that as we speak to our financial services customers, we're going to have the right technical solutions to offer, regardless of whatever business outcome we're solving,” adds Berry.

The partnership extends to the wider Dell Technologies ecosystem, with WWT having recently secured its largest managed services deal in partnership with Secureworks, a leading Cybersecurity Managed Services provider that is a strategically aligned business within the Dell Technologies portfolio of capabilities. “It’s a three-year programme broken out across 10 different key work streams, with the goal of working with this financial services customer to accelerate their security maturity by the end of next year,” says Berry. WWT also has invested $500mn in an advanced technology centre for clients to try technology before buying, as Konrad explains. “They can do proofs of concept, testing, and validation with the entire Dell technologies portfolio of capabilities. And then we also have a digital Dell desk that we're able to offer our customers.”

Going forward, Berry sees the partnership evolving to continue addressing current trends. “The digital landscape is at war and the commodity that is being fought over is data. Bank accounts are stored in ones and zeros, and proprietary algorithms and financial projections are all digitised and accessible from anywhere on earth - organisations need to know where their data is, at speed and at scale across a very complex ecosystem.” The answer is a focus on data discovery, classification and protection, as well as cloud everywhere security competencies. “Going into the cloud creates additional challenges,” says Berry. “Organisations need flexible security solutions that can adopt a cloud-agnostic approach to security. If you have sensitive data, wherever it is, however it's stored, it needs to be easy to protect with simplified policies that are applied as code.”

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Jun 14, 2021

Amazon tests new technology to improve employee safety

Technology
Amazon
robots
Innovation
3 min
Amazon is testing new technologies in an effort to make handling packages safer for employees

At the Amazon Robotics and Advanced Technology labs in Boston, and Northern Italy, team members are testing and developing new technologies in order to help to make employees’ jobs safer, these include technologies that help move carts and packages through Amazon facilities.

Recently the safety of Amazon's warehouses has drawn scrutiny. On June 1, the Washington Post's Jay Greene and Chris Alcantara published findings from an analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration data showing Amazon's serious injury rates are nearly double those at other companies' facilities.

A spokesperson from Amazon said the company spent more than $1 billion last year on safety measures, and hired more than 6,200 employees to a group dedicated to workplace health and safety.

Motion-capture technology

One innovation being tested by Amazon, which is in early development, is the use of motion-capture technology to assess the movement of volunteer employees in a lab setting. These employees perform tasks that are common in many Amazon facilities, such as the movement of totes, which carry products through robotic fulfillment centers.

The motion-capture software enables Amazon scientists and researchers to more accurately compare data captured in a lab environment to industry standards rather than other modelling tools traditionally used by ergonomists.

“With this data, visualisations, and employee feedback, we are looking to identify relatively simple changes that can make a big impact,” said Kevin Keck, worldwide director of Advanced Technology at Amazon. “Something as simple as changing the position of handles on totes may help lower the risk of injuries to our employees at a massive scale.”

Autonomous Robots creating new paths to safety

In order to reduce the need for employees to reach up or bend down when retrieving items, Amazon is testing a new workstation system called “Ernie.” According to the company Ernie takes totes off of a robotic shelf and uses a robotic arm to deliver it to employees, so they can remain in a more comfortable and stable position.

“We’re known for being passionate about innovating for customers, but being able to innovate with robotics for our employees is something that gives me an extra kick of motivation each day,” said Keck. “The innovation with a robot like Ernie is interesting because while it doesn’t make the process go any faster, we’re optimistic, based on our testing, it can make our facilities safer for employees.”

“Bert” is one of Amazon’s first Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), and is being tested to autonomously navigate through facilities with Amazon-developed advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology. In the future, it is thought that an employee would be able to summon Bert to carry items across a facility. 

‘Scooter’ and ‘Kermit’ are two other robots that also operate autonomously, and are both transport cars. The carts are used to carry empty totes and packages through our facilities. 

In a blog post the company said: ‘By having Autonomously Guided Carts (AGCs) like Scooter and Kermit perform physical tasks, we believe we can make our facilities safer and enable our employees to focus on jobs that require their critical thinking skills. In addition, using an AGC like Scooter to pull carts through our facilities reduces the risk of strains on our employees, or even collisions. We currently plan to deploy Scooter to at least one Amazon facility this year.’ 

Amazon began using robotics in its facilities in 2012, and since then they have added more than 1 million jobs worldwide while simultaneously deploying 350,000 mobile drive unit robots. 

“The role robotics and advanced technology can play in not only innovating for customers, but helping make our facilities safer, is a massive motivation for me and my team,” said Keck. “The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. By listening to them, innovating on their behalf, and driving new technologies into our facilities over the coming months and years, I’m confident we’ll make a big contribution to our goal of reducing recordable incidents by 50% by 2025.”

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