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!

Missed last week’s Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

Vault, an online financial platform for SMBs, launches

Vault, an all online financial platform which seeks to provide business owners with a one-stop-shop to manage their money and save on costly banking fees, announced its official launch and widespread availability across Canada last week.

Business owners can sign up for an account, and once approved, access a host of financial services, with no monthly or annual fees or minimum balances, the company said.

These services include:

Local accounts in CAD, USD, GBP, and EUR where you can send, hold, and receive funds
Real-time currency exchange, which the company says is “significantly cheaper than big banks”
Vault Prepaid Mastercard Card with one per cent cashback, powered with Vault’s foreign exchange (FX) rates
Management of transactions and spend for team members
Free domestic and international bank transfers to 180 countries in over 36 currencies
Accounting integrations to automate bookkeeping

The company plans to extend its offerings, including lending, savings products, payment automation, and more FX products, later this year.

Angel investors in Vault include Paypal, Google Pay, Affirm, BNY Mellon, Airbnb, Coinbase, Revolut and Robinhood. The company also secured C$5,000,000 in funding co-led by Fin Capital and Gradient Ventures. 

Users spending less time on apps with poor connectivity: Opensignal

According to a new Opensignal report, app retention rates are nearly 50 per cent lower for users who have seen consistently poor connectivity, undermining the mobile app business.

“Almost all apps are monetized either through in-app purchases or ads, and both business models require people to continue using the app,” the report reads. 

But with poor mobile connectivity, users spend 20 per cent less time on apps and with poor Wi-Fi, it’s an even greater – 38 per cent less time.

Accordingly, video players, lifestyle and navigation apps tend to see the largest drops in app session length, the report shows.

App developers and publishers should look to improve users’ experience during time spent with poor connectivity so that they can boost ad, in-app and subscription revenue, the report says.

Webex partners with Voiceitt to enhance accessibility in the workplace

Source: engadget

Cisco’s collaboration tool, Webex, has announced a partnership with Voiceitt, a speech recognition technology, to enhance accessibility for people with non-standard speech.

The new integration uses AI captioning and transcription from Voiceitt to ensure that people with speech impairments are able to speak and are understood in virtual meetings.

Voiceitt’s technology is based on machine learning algorithms that are learning constantly from the growing database of individual users’ speech.

“The integration with Webex is game-changing because it creates more independence for users with disabilities, while increasing the potential for more collaborative, inclusive work environments. True collaboration means everyone at the table has a voice,” said Sara Smolley, Voiceitt co-founder and vice president, strategic partnerships at Cisco.

Voiceitt for Webex is available now in the Webex Hub. Later this year, it will include closed captioning capabilities for transcription accuracy.

IBM announces US$100 million initiative to develop quantum-centric supercomputer

At the G7 Summit in Japan, tech giant IBM announced a 10-year, US$100 million initiative, in partnership with the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago, to develop a quantum-centric supercomputer.

The new supercomputer would be powered by 100,000 qubits, which would serve to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change.

It could, for instance, unlock new understanding of chemical reactions that can help researchers develop better methods to capture carbon, or discover materials to build batteries for electric vehicles.

Moving forward, IBM intends to partner with more laboratories that are capable of offering the expertise and resources needed to deliver the technologies to build a quantum-centric supercomputer.

 “We have achieved significant progress along our roadmap and mission to globally establish useful quantum technology, so much so that we can now, with our partners, truly begin to explore and develop a new class of supercomputing anchored by quantum,” said Arvind Krishna, chairman and chief executive officer of IBM.

Continuity Centers announces new Backblaze-powered  disaster recovery service

Disaster recovery solutions provider Continuity Centers has announced Cloud Instant Business Recovery (Cloud IBR), a new disaster recovery service built on cloud storage and data backup company Backblaze’s B2 Cloud Storage.

Cloud IBR seeks to simplify disaster recovery plans for small to medium-sized businesses with its easy to use interface and affordability, Backblaze said.

The fully-automated service deploys a recovery process through a web user interface, and in the background uses phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud servers to import Veeam backups stored in Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage and fully restore the customer’s server infrastructure.

The Cloud IBR Silver Package will be free for one year to any Veeam customers that purchase Backblaze’s B2 Reserve. Those customers can activate Cloud IBR within 30 days of purchasing Backblaze’s B2 Reserve service.

“Launching Cloud IBR is taking our technology a step further in making disaster recovery from ransomware more accessible to small and mid-size businesses at a time when it’s needed more than ever,” said Nilay Patel, co-Founder and vice President of Sales at Backblaze. “We are excited to work with a disaster recovery specialist like Continuity Centers to bring a simple and affordable disaster recovery solution to businesses who need it the most.”

More to explore

Meta hit with US$1.3B fine over GDPR data privacy violations

Meta has been hit with a record 1.2 billion euro (US$1.3 billon) fine by the European Union following an investigation into Facebook’s transfers of personal data since July 2020.

Minister Champagne talks LG-Stellantis after U.S. semiconductor conference

Friday, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne discussed the latest updates on the federal government’s bid to keep automaker Stellantis from pulling out of building NextStar Energy, an electric-vehicle (EV) battery plant in Windsor, Ontario.

Acronis says its new EDR offering will simplify endpoint security

Swiss cyber protection vendor Acronis International GmbH this week launched Acronis Advanced Security+ Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR), an offering it said is targeted at managed service providers (MSPs) and the businesses they serve, to deploy improved security and data protection.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox APIs set to roll out in July for all Chrome users

Google announced today that its Privacy Sandbox APIs will be available by default to all Chrome users in July 2023.

Surrey’s Safe Software rebrands, sets aggressive revenue goals

There are not many 30-year-old software firms whose founders can say they have never taken on an outside investment or loan, and that is still entirely owned by them, but such is the case with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) firm Safe Software.

Key to a thriving partner program: Avoid this trio of pitfalls

Jonathan Eisner, the chief channel officer and vice president of global alliances for Sovos, a company that designs and develops tax compliance and business-to-government reporting software, says there are three signals channel chiefs need to look out for as they start to build a partner program or are already running one.

Channel Bytes May 17, 2023 – ITWC Digital & Leadership Conference next week; Parallels receives Arm SystemReady certification; Microsoft pushing Windows 10 22H2 to users; 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 May 23rd-Meta faces US$1.3 billion dollar fine; Microsoft sounds the alarm on email fraud; Chinese ChatGPT programmed to avoid any mention of Xi Jinping and Winnie The Pooh

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, May 22, 2023 – G7 nations speak out on cybercrime and artificial intelligence, the latest ransomware news, 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 May 23 – Vault, an online financial platform, launches; Webex partners with Voiceitt to enhance accessibility in the workplace; IBM announces US$100 million quantum deal and more first appeared on IT World Canada.

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