Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

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What’s new this week

Government of Canada announces new Indigenous Council to lead clean energy projects in Indigenous and remote communities

The government of Canada has announced the selection of seven Indigenous leaders to make up a new Indigenous Council for Wah-ila-toos to help guide the transition to clean energy in Indigenous, rural, and remote communities.

The members, selected by an Indigenous consultant team, will serve on the council until the fall of 2024. The Indigenous Council is distinctions-based, with First Nation, Inuit and Métis representation, and reflects diverse communities, languages, geographies, and skills.

The announcement was made last week by the Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson; the Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor Dan Vandal; and the Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu.

The Indigenous Council will support the government in the following ways:

provide guidance on program design and policy
help engage with Indigenous partners on accessing resources and funding that reduces diesel reliance
act as the jury for the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative’s (IODI) Second Cohort, aimed to support clean energy champions and their communities with training, access to expertise, and funding for projects that reduce diesel use for heat and power.

“I congratulate all of the members of Wah-ila-toos. The Government of Canada looks forward to your advice and guidance as we work toward reducing diesel reliance, advancing clean energy deployment, and creating economic opportunities and sustainable jobs with First Nations, Inuit and Métis,” said Wilkinson.

Zapier’s National No-Code Day contest returns for a second year

No-code automation platform Zapier is hosting its second annual No-Code Day Contest to recognize the most innovative employee/company using no-code technologies to make their work processes more streamlined and productive.

National No-Code Day, celebrated on March 11, was started by Zapier to create awareness among businesses and organizations to do more without code.

Applicants can submit to four categories:

No-code transforming businesses – how people or companies are using no-code tools to optimize their business tasks
No-code changing the world – how non-profits who are using no-code to further their missions
No-code empowering small businesses – how small businesses are using no-code to launch, scale or run their operations.
No-code featuring AI – how people or businesses are using AI to transform their work.

Zapier’s chief executive officer, Wade Foster, will be selecting a winner in each category to receive a cash prize of US$5,000.

The deadline for entries is Mar. 8. Finalists will be contacted prior to posting, and the winner of each category will be announced on Mar. 13.

Project management firm launches SaaS solution to accelerate construction projects

Contruent, an Illinois-based project management firm for large construction projects, has announced the launch of Contruent Enterprise, a software-as-a-service solution to empower owners and EPCs (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) companies to complete projects faster and more precisely.

“Construction projects show no signs of slowing down, particularly with President Biden’s US$1.2 trillion infrastructure initiative being deployed, and budget owners need the best tools to manage these opportunities,” said Ryan Kubacki, Contruent chief executive officer.

The announcement of the cloud-based software comes after the company rebranded from ARES PRISM to Contruent.

Users can perform scheduling and budget management for construction megaprojects with a customizable dashboard and other features such as contract management, engineering and field management. Furthermore, the software allows users to oversee project-critical tasks and enhance communication and collaboration across departments.

The company said that clients utilizing existing on-premise legacy systems will “continue to receive the same support with a stronger business foundation.”

ConnectPay weighs in on top e-commerce payments challenges in 2023

ConnectPay, a finance platform for online businesses that offers a broad range of payment solutions, has zeroed in on what it believes are the top ecommerce payments challenges that SMBs need to address to be successful in 2023. 

Here are the 2023 ecommerce challenges, according to ConnectPay:

Choosing a payment provider that offers multiple payment solutions in order to relieve SMEs of the burden of managing many vendors at once. 
Customers abandoning their shopping carts have been a key issue for many ecommerce SMBs. Additional delivery charges, multiple log-ins, and a complex payment process contribute to the high rate of losing sales.
Ensuring payment security and protecting client data. The fintech industry is implementing industry standards, such as PCI DSS 4.0 and 3DS 2.0, and integrating biometrics in payment processing to enhance user experience. This all adds an extra layer of security, however, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and keep the security standards up-to-date, considering how fast new methods of fraud pop up,” said Chief Business Officer at ConnectPay, Simas Simanauskas.
Keeping up with the rapid rise in contactless payments and digital wallets to lessen friction in the payment journey. Contactless payments can help SMBs increase sales, reduce costs, increase customer reach and competitiveness in the market.

York University launches full-time post-graduate certificate in CloudOps


York University School of Continuing Studies has announced a post-graduate certificate in CloudOps, the only full-time university-level cloud operations program to be offered in Canada, designed to prepare recent domestic and international university graduates for entry-level cloud computing jobs.

“People looking to enter this profession need the right mix of cloud competencies from organizational change management to data governance and flawless execution and deployment,” said Claude K. Sam-Foh, cloud computing expert and curriculum developer, instructor and program advisory member for the post-graduate certificate in CloudOps..

The curriculum includes the following:

Learn about cloud operations roles such as compliance, security, containers, microservices etc.
Work first-hand with a vast array of industry-standard tools, including Terraform, Git Merge, Ansible, Docker, and more. 
Become adept with prominent cloud platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
Develop and present a business case for cloud adoption and digital transformation
Build effective automated pipelines and monitor systems and metrics for early detection of problems

Registration for the post-graduate certificate in CloudOps is now open, with classes beginning in September 2023.

More to explore

Unihertz Titan Slim review: the keyboard phone lives

BlackBerry fans who mourned the demise of the keyboard phone now have hope, thanks to a Shanghai-based vendor called Unihertz that has been developing phones, including several with keyboards, since 2017.

Veeam puts its money where its mouth is with ransomware warranty program

The big news from Veeam’s Software’s launch on Tuesday of what it simply called the new Veeam Data Platform was not the introduction of upwards of 500 new features, but the fact that the Premium Edition now includes a warranty program that covers data recovery in the event of a verified ransomware attack.

Record $117M funding for Scale AI supporting 15 AI projects

Montreal-based Scale AI announced recently that it has completed a $117 million financing round, its largest to date. This funding will support 15 AI projects that “demonstrate the acceleration of AI adoption in manufacturing, retail and agriculture, as well as in the development of innovative AI solutions for businesses”.

FBI detects, contains cyber attack on New York office: News reports

The U.S. federal law enforcement agency told the news organization that the incident involved an FBI computer system used in investigations of images of child sexual exploitation.

Indigo back online, but only for browsing

Canada’s biggest book chain is back online, but shoppers still can only buy products in stores.

Rogers-Shaw merger deadline extended again

The deadline to complete Rogers’ C$26 billion takeover of Shaw has been extended again.

IntegrityCounts: Finding fraud and waste all via the cloud

The term whistleblower, in the context of someone doing some good, has been in existence since the early 1970s, but for Shannon Walker, the sense of its significance came in the early 2000s with the onset of the Enron Corp. scandal.

Skyhigh’s new global partner program now officially in action

Skyhigh Security this month launched the Skyhigh Security Altitude Program, a global initiative the company said provides its partner community – value-added resellers, strategic integrators and managed service providers – with “incentives, tools and information designed to help them earn more.”

Rogers-Shaw merger closing date looms, critics go all out

The deadline to complete the biggest and most contentious merger in the history of Canadian telecom is nearing, and critics are pursuing their crusade against the deal.

Channel Bytes February 17, 2023 – Proofpoint launches simplified partner program; Exchange Server 2013 support ending; SASE market to hit US$60 billion by 2027; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Hashtag Trending Feb.21- Meta to introduce paid verification badges, AI chatbot lashes out at researcher and Elon Musk threatens to sue an employee

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, Feb. 20, 2023 – A business email scam group is broken in Europe, GoDaddy’s IT system hit again and more

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Tendances

If you live in Québec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

The post Coffee Briefing Feb. 21 – Government of Canada announces new Indigenous council, Zapier’s National No-Code Day contest returns; York University launches post-graduate certificate in CloudOps; and more first appeared on IT World Canada.

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