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Microsoft have recently announced the general availability of Immersive Reader, one of the Azure Cognitive Services. Immersive Reader is probably more applicable to schools and, maybe, FE than to universities but is interesting nonetheless:

Empowering remote learning with Azure Cognitive Services
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/empowering-remote-lea....

Immersive Reader is an Azure Cognitive Service within the Azure AI platform that helps readers read and comprehend text. Through today’s general availability, developers and partners can add Immersive Reader right into their products, enabling students of all abilities to translate in over 70 languages, read text aloud, focus attention through highlighting, other design elements, and more.

So……


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I just stumbled across a couple of blog posts by Graham Brown-Martin. The first entitled Why don’t you design a school?https://medium.com/regenerative-global/why-dont-you-design-a-school-19409e6316db and the second entitled University as a Service (UaaS)https://medium.com/regenerative-global/university-as-a-service-uaas-b729667b216e.

Both are wotth reading and both touch on issues related to changes in education due to the fourth industrial revolution.

In my opinion, the university one spends too long using Napster, Apple and the music industry as an analogy for what might happen in education. I don’t think the analogy works and I think that Graham ultimately makes the same point. The school one includes a…


With the move of large numbers of university and college staff and students to working from home there has been a significant shift in traffic flows across Janet.

Microsoft have released guidance, How to quickly optimize Office 365 traffic for remote staff & reduce the load on your infrastructure, about how to optimise these new traffic flows and avoid unnessecary traffic flowing across your institutional networks and Janet. …


As must be clear to everyone by now, there has been a massive spike in demand for public cloud services since the coronavirus outbreak first hit us. Microsoft report that whole countries have gone from zero use of cloud to deliver teaching to 100% coverage of cloud-based remote learning in a matter of weeks. MIcrosoft Teams has probably borne the brunt of that demand.

It is therefore not surprising that we are beginning to see the first signs of resourcing problems. …


If you currently work in a UK university or college, then the chances are that somebody, somewhere in your institution is already a customer of AWS or Microsoft Azure. Maybe both? In most cases, that usage of AWS or Azure will be known about and managed by the central IT deparatment, in some cases, possibly not.

Maybe you have one or two public cloud proof-of-concept projects on the go. Or maybe you’ve gone further and have some production workloads running on AWS or Azure?

If so, how confident are you about the way you are using public cloud? Is security…


If you currently work in a UK university or college, then the chances are that somebody, somewhere in your institution is already a customer of AWS or Microsoft Azure. Maybe both? In most cases, that usage of AWS or Azure will be known about and managed by the central IT deparatment, in some cases, possibly not.

Maybe you have one or two public cloud proof-of-concept projects on the go. Or maybe you’ve gone further and have some production workloads running on AWS or Azure?

If so, how confident are you about the way you are using public cloud? Is security…


The AWS re:Invent annual conference in Las Vegas kicks-off next week, which means we are about to be snowed under by hundreds of new service announcments, product updates and the like. This year, AWS have started this process slightly early, so as not to overwhelm people during the week of the conferenece. There have been lots of announcements already.

Here are a few that I’ve spotted slipping past in my inbox that I think will be of interest to our members and customers. But there’s probably a lot of things that I’ve missed, so I suggest you keep an eye…


AWS have announced a new pricing feature called Savings Plans, offering a way of saving up to 72% on your compute (EC2 and Fargate) spend. Even though I suspect that in most cases the realised savings will be lower than this headline figure, there is no doubt that they will be substantial in many cases. This is a pretty big innovation in how customers can buy AWS resources.

Full details on the AWS Savings Plans web page.

Savings Plans is a new flexible pricing model that allows you to save up to 72% on Amazon EC2 and AWS Fargate in…


The Cloud Solutions team in Jisc works with a variety of members and customers from across education and the wider public- and third- sectors on a variety of projects and activities. For many, our primary focus is to help them with the strategic planning for their IT infrastructure, particularly as it relates to cloud adoption (obviously!). What are the pros and cons of moving to the cloud? How does the TCO compare to on-prem? How ready are they to move? Where are they with their digital transformation? What does their infrastructure roadmap look like? That kind of thing.

For others…


I spent part of last week at Networkshop47 in Nottingham, a Jisc conference predominantly aimed at networking people within the UK higher and further education communities (UK HE and FE). Networkshop isn’t on my usual list of conferences — I last went in 1987 (to Networkshop15 in Edinburgh I think) and obviously enjoyed it so much I haven’t been back since! — but, to be fair, there was a good line up of speakers and parallel sessions.

My involvement was two-fold: a presentation, “Building the Modern Institution: how Jisc can help your cloud-based digital transformation” on Wednesday morning and a…

Andy Powell

Cloud CTO, Jisc

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