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How the Cloud is Driving Innovation in the Financial Services Industry

Innovation is a natural value of cloud technology. The cloud itself is an emerging, growing technology, and cloud nativity is increasingly becoming the norm for younger and more forward-thinking companies. This makes the cloud an intuitive fit for companies building emerging solutions and working in growing industries, but innovation happens everywhere, even in some of the biggest and most varied industries on the market––including the market itself. When it comes to innovation in the financial services industry, there are no opportunities available like those offered by the cloud.In some ways, innovation in the financial services industry occurs naturally. Every company is reliant to some extent on the financial services industry, and probably partnering with multiple financial services companies to manage its payroll, its benefits enrollments, and its investments. Innovation across the business universe will inevitably occur in step with innovation specific to financial services. With this innovation essentially a foregone conclusion for the industry, established advantages of cloud adoption like scalability, speed of operations, cost reduction, and security should be top of mind for financial services companies.At C2C Global, a worldwide online community of Google Cloud users where people work together to solve problems and build new solutions, we’ve seen financial services organizations share that a huge opportunity for migrating to the cloud for their business is better insights from data analytics. Legacy organizations hoping to get the necessary value out of their increasingly massive datasets will struggle to process their analytics using on-prem models. Using AI and ML to augment these insights will be even harder without access to the training available to AI apps and ML models built on the cloud, where more of these models are available, as well as more computing and processing power.One major financial services provider just opted to migrate to Google Cloud: banking giant Wells Fargo. The bank began its migration recently, announcing the partnership with Google Cloud in 2021, but it’s already made big plans, including a customer experience engine using customer metadata to build predictive models that proactively offer personalized suggestions. To prime for the migration, Wells Fargo created sandbox environments for developers to build apps and tools on the cloud. The speed with which the teams were able to build the infrastructure for the customer experience engine on the cloud as opposed to on-prem was immediately apparent. The engine also has access to Google Cloud’s vast network of AI and ML data models, which are trained on trillions of petabytes of data.Many legacy banks may be hesitant to migrate to Google Cloud, or to the cloud at all, due to the inertia processes experience after years on an on-prem architecture. However, migration is not only possible; with the right support, it’s a smooth and comfortable process. Google Cloud offers a service called Cloud Customer Care that makes migration manageable and minimizes lift for companies looking to modernize. Data Capital Management (DCM), an innovative financial services company using automation to make the investment process more accessible to consumers, used Cloud Customer Care to manage a complex migration to Google Cloud. The data and computing power required to maintain DCM’s AI models made the migration essential. Cloud Customer Care made it easy.Many of the most exciting innovations in the financial services space are coming from cloud-first retail banking companies. The FinTech space is exploding now that electronic payment is emerging as the default mode of payment for organizations and individuals alike and alternative financial models like cryptocurrency and other forms of decentralized finance are going mainstream. Other innovations like embedded finance and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) show great potential for growth in the near term. Much of this innovation is being accelerated by the growing prevalence of remote work. Just like innovation in financial services is dependent on the business ecosystem as a whole, FinTech continues to evolve as more and more companies adopt it to modernize.More than just work has gone remote since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many transactions that individuals and businesses once conducted exclusively face-to-face have now become possible online, from takeout orders to doctors’ appointments. Self-service models for banking are emerging as well, quickly and effectively enough that in the coming years, negotiating a mortgage and closing on a house virtually might become as simple as ordering a new pair of shoes online.These are just a few of the innovation use cases available to financial services organizations hoping to modernize on the cloud. Each, though, demonstrates the clear advantages of cloud adoption for organizations in the industry and beyond. For businesses, scalability, computing power and storage capacity, and speed and cost reduction will make for advantages too attractive to pass up. For individuals, innovation in financial services will mean autonomy, control, and a world of resources at their fingertips. We can afford to migrate. We can’t afford to wait. Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsFinancial Services

Cloud Cost Reduction: Our Top 9 Cloud Cost Optimization Strategies

Cloud cost optimization is the process of minimizing resources without impacting performance and scalability of workloads within the cloud. Cloud cost best practices are rooted in determining methods to eliminate costs by identifying unwanted resources and scaling services accurately. There are many external factors including inflation and a changing labor market that force businesses to restructure financial priorities.Though many models of cloud computing offer flexible payment structures and pay-as-you go methods, cloud cost optimization strategies will allow businesses to tighten their grip on controlling resources. Additionally, cloud cost optimization tips will also highlight if the amount of resources being used are in alignment with the infrastructure and business goals of an organization.The following are strategies that will help run applications in the cloud at lower costs. 1. Eliminate Resources One of the most simple, yet effective cloud cost-saving strategies is to eliminate resources that are not fully benefiting a business. For example, users may allocate a service to a workload that is temporary. Once the project is complete, the service may not be eliminated instantly by an administrator, resulting in unwanted costs for the organization. A solution would be to examine the cloud infrastructure and look for servers that are no longer needed within the environment if they aren’t serving business needs. Cloud cost optimization strategies are not just about eliminating spending but also ensuring that costs are in alignment with an organization’s objectives. If a particular server or project is no longer serving a business, eliminating this resource will be beneficial as it enhances cloud infrastructure optimization.This can be accomplished through routine scanning and testing to identify resources that are idle. 2. Rightsize Services Rightsizing services is allocating cloud resources depending on the workload. By allocating resources, rightsizing allows users to analyze services and adjust them to the appropriate size depending on the needs of a business. By evaluating each service task and modifying the size until it matches a specific need, cloud computing services will maximize capacity at the lowest possible cost, resulting in cloud cost reduction. In addition, many businesses rely on vendors to deploy cloud resources when they do not understand operational goals. The solution to this problem is to develop rightsizing approaches that are customized to your business, strengthening cloud resource optimization. Customized approaches develop transparency by creating a clear view of what resources are needed for your specific cloud infrastructure. Rightsizing services will also assist with analyzing the volume of certain metrics that are being used and can inform business decision makers to either upgrade or terminate specific services. 3. Create A Budget Develop a clear budget between engineers, product managers, and other team members in regard to utilizing cloud computing services by setting a monthly budget rather than an arbitrary number. Building a culture that is rooted in transparency and cost awareness will also influence how users utilize cloud services. 4. Monitoring Cloud computing platforms may have some small incremental changes when it comes to pricing. However, users should keep an eye out for any unexpected spikes that may impact cloud spend optimization and overall spending. A solution here would be implementing an alert when cloud computing costs are going over the budget. Detecting the root of these large increases and analyzing the cause can also ensure that overspending on this particular factor will not occur again, allowing for stronger cloud cost control. 5. Select Accurate Storage Options Organizations need to consider many factors when selecting an appropriate storage option.  Performance, security needs, and cost requirements are all components that should be taken into consideration when selecting an appropriate storage model. Selecting a storage tier that is user-friendly and is also aligned with a budget is critical to cloud cost efficiency. Storage tiers that are underused should also be removed for cloud cost reduction purposes. 6. Use Reserve Instances (RI’s) If an organization is using resources for a specific amount of time, consider purchasing a cloud cost optimization tool, such as a reserved instance. These are prepaid services that are discounted and are similar to saving plans that are ideal for steady workloads that have a clear timeline. When purchasing an RI, the organization selects the type, a region and a time frame that may vary depending on the purchase. 7. Manage Software License Costs Software licenses can often have high costs and monitoring them can be challenging in regard to cloud cost management. There are often forgotten fees that are associated with licenses and  many organizations face the risk of paying for licenses that they have stopped using. Conducting a thorough software audit will not only help you to understand what software is being used within the business, but it will also demonstrate what software is critical and what licenses are no longer needed. 8. Define Clear Metrics Highlight what metrics are most important to your organization. Metrics, such as, performance, availability, and cost can also help to create reports and dashboards that outline activity in the cloud. Major cloud providers have a process whereby metrics are tagged which allow an organization to create a detailed report that provides insight on cloud cost analysis. These reports should be used to track spending as they outline trending patterns in regard to finances. 9. Schedule Cloud Services It is common for organizations to have services that are idle and not being used during certain times of the day. Reduce spending by scheduling services during specific time slots in order for them to be fully used. A duty scheduler tag can be used, and the scheduled services will then be implemented. Leveraging a heatmap can also help to establish when services are being underused in order to determine an effective scheduling arrangement. SADA, an organization that serves as a cloud consultant and helps other businesses in their own cloud journey, recognizes how effective this strategy can be. SADA’s Director of Customer FinOps, Rich Hoyer, states that “Of these strategies, we have found that scheduling cloud services’ runtimes are often one of the largest overlooked savings opportunities we encounter. Specifically, non-production workloads, such as testing, development, etc., are commonly left running full-time, 24/7, instead of being scheduled to run only when used. The potential savings of running those workloads only during business hours are often surprisingly large, and they can usually be realized via simple automation and modest revisions to maintenance schedules. The first step is to analyze exactly what is being spent on these resources during the hours they sit idle. The number is often large enough to quickly motivate the implementation of a workload scheduling regime!”

Categories:InfrastructureGoogle Cloud StrategyIndustry SolutionsCloud OperationsGoogle Cloud PartnersFinancial Services

C2C Launches Financial Services Community at 2Gather: NYC

On February 9, 2023, C2C formally launched its Financial Services community with a 2Gather event at Google’s Chelsea Market offices in New York City. However, for participating speakers and guests, the community experience began the evening before. On the night of February 8, at Chelsea’s Le Zie Trattoria, executives from some of the largest financial services enterprises, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and TD Bank, mingled over cocktails and traditional Venetian fare with technologists, startup founders, and representatives from C2C partners Publicis Sapient, NetApp, and Workspot, the latter a sponsor of the dinner. The relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on personal connections set the stage for the event experience to come the next day.“It’s so easy to show up to these events and be corporate, buttoned up,” said Paerpay CEO Derek Canton, who dined with representatives from Publicis Sapient before switching seats and trading stories about recent travels in Southeast Asia with Michael Beal, CEO of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), who leads C2C’s financial services group. “I’m more casual, because I want to be approachable. I’m just like, ‘this is me.’ I felt super comfortable, and it really created space for that, so I loved that.”“Publicis Sapient works with large enterprises, and PaerPay is a startup, so we don’t cross paths as often,” said Sharonyka Kumar (@sharonyka.kumar), Group VP and Global Head of Google Practice at Publicis Sapient. “Their solution has a very intriguing piece to it around data monetization, which is something that we care a lot about for our customers, and our paths would not have crossed if it were not for the community bringing us together.”C2C and WorkspotExecutive Dinner at Le ZieIn addition to meeting the PaerPay team for the first time, Sharonyka also discussed current and future collaborations with Deepinder Kaur (@Deepinder) and Larissa Filine of Deutsche Bank. “Deepinder is specifically responsible for their cloud transformation journey. It was a great connect for her and I, and she knew Publicis Sapient because of her work with her peers, so she hears our name quite a bit,” Sharonyka said. “What we decided to do at the end of it was come back to her with some of our key stakeholders in the US, whatever SVPs or financial services live here in New York.”At the event itself, the relationship-building facilitated at the dinner made for lively discussion onstage. “That vulnerability is really important,” said Derek, who was particularly animated during Paerpay’s fireside chat with Publicis Sapient and during a panel discussion with Sharonyka, Michael, OpCo Operating Advisor Mark Etherington (@Metherin), and Geoff Tudor, Director of Google Cloud Solutions at NetApp. Geoff also delivered a presentation and, at dinner the night before, discussed a potential new business opportunity with Clair Hur, Senior Program Manager at Vimeo (@write2clair). During the discussion, the panelists agreed early on that legacy financial services organizations can be unnecessarily obstinate when it comes to the prospect of cloud adoption, setting the tone for a conversation that explored ample controversial territory.The ideas introduced during the sessions, however, were only the points of departure for the conversations that followed during the closing networking reception, where attendees deepened the relationships they’d built throughout that day and the previous night. “A lot of events that are put on, they’re hyper-focused on the topic at hand, whereas you guys are able to take everyone a step back from that and think about the power of community and actually driving that at a higher level,” said Bogdan Petrescu (@bogdan.petrescu), Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Workspot. “I like that a lot.”To be a part of these conversations and make connections with these and other colleagues, join the C2C Financial Services community!

Categories:Industry SolutionsFinancial Services

Building for Scalability, Block by Block: An Interview with Carrefour Links CTO Mehdi Labassi

When I ask Mehdi Labassi (@Mehdi_Labassi), CTO of Carrefour Links, what he does outside of work, the first thing he mentions is his family. Mehdi spends a lot of his free time playing with his kids. Sometimes they play video games on Nintendo Switch, but they also enjoy hands-on activities like building with Legos. Lego is a popular interest among tech practitioners building products on Google Cloud––after all, the four letters in “Lego” can also be used to spell “Google.” This connection turns out to be a fitting point of departure for an examination of Mehdi’s journey to a decision-making role on the technical team at Carrefour Links.Mehdi began his career as a software engineer, working first in air travel and then moving on to Orange, “the one major telco in France.” At Orange, Mehdi led the company’s Google Cloud skills center and took part in a major migration to Google Cloud from a historically on-premises infrastructure. “We had a really strong on-prem culture, so we had our own data centers, our own Hadoop clusters with thousands of machines, and the shift to cloud-based services was not something natural,” he says. “There was a lot of resistance, and we needed to really show that this gives us something.”Proving the value of the Cloud to a historically on-prem organization required zeroing in on a specific technical limitation of the existing infrastructure: “As I was driving the big data platforms and the recommendations, I do remember we had a lot of issues in terms of scalability.” Google Cloud turned out to be the perfect solution to this problem. “Then we tried the Cloud, and we found that instant scalability,” says Mehdi. “That’s another level compared to what we had on prem, so this is really the proof by experimentation.” “You assemble and program the thing, and then you need to understand how each brick works.” When Carrefour introduced Carrefour Links, its cloud-hosted retail media and performance platform, in Spring of 2021, Mehdi was immediately interested in getting involved. He reached out directly to the executive team and joined as CTO three months after the company declared the platform. “I joined when the thing just got in production, the first version, the V1. That was kind of a proof of concept,” Mehdi says. In the time since––only a little over a year––the venture has grown considerably: “We have a lot more data from different verticals, everything that’s related to transactions, to the supply chain ecosystem, to finance, a lot more insights, and we are exploring machine learning, AI use cases… so we are scaling even in terms of use cases.”Even a fast-growing platform run on Google Cloud, however, will encounter challenges as it continues to scale. “The first thing is the ability to scale while keeping FinOps under control,” Mehdi says. As he sees it, this is a matter of “internal optimization,” something he believes Carrefour Links handles particularly well. “The second thing is how to provide what I call a premium data experience for our customers, because we are dealing with petabyte-scale pipelines on a daily basis, and however the end user connects to our data solutions, we want him to have instantaneous insights,” he adds. “We leverage some assets and technologies that are provided by Google Cloud to do this.”These are challenges any technical professional managing products or resources on the cloud is likely to face. Overcoming these challenges is also what makes new solutions on the cloud possible. What competencies do IT professionals need to be able to overcome these challenges and pursue these solutions? According to Mehdi, “a good engineer working on the cloud, with this plethora of tools, he needs to be good at Lego.” Mindstorms, Lego’s line of programmable robots, he explains, require a lot of the same skills to build as machines and systems hosted on the cloud. “You assemble and program the thing, and then you need to understand how each brick works,” he says. “I really find a lot of similarities between these activities and what we are doing in our day job.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:InfrastructureIndustry SolutionsDatabasesRetail

C2C Global Launches New Google Cloud Community Group Dedicated to Healthcare and Life Sciences

What a great day for our team at C2C Global as we officially launch our Healthcare and Life Sciences community! The new vertical will bring together healthcare leaders, technology experts, practitioners, administrators, and pioneers to share best practices, problem solve and develop new innovative solutions for the future of healthcare. Collaboration in this space is what leads to life-changing breakthroughs for billions across the globe, and we hope that the new community will be a place that serves as a catalyst for innovation for years to come.Read more here: C2C GLOBAL LAUNCHES NEW GOOGLE CLOUD COMMUNITY GROUP DEDICATED TO HEALTHCARE AND LIFE SCIENCES  New healthcare group will facilitate sharing of information, techniques, and best practices to solve problems and spur innovation across the sector   CHICAGO, IL – C2C Global, the largest worldwide community of Google Cloud users, announced today the launch of its newest vertical dedicated to Healthcare and Life Sciences. This latest offering from C2C will bring together healthcare leaders, technology experts, practitioners, administrators and pioneers to share best practices, problem solve, and develop new innovative solutions for the future of healthcare. “In recent years, the healthcare and life sciences community has been placed at the forefront of our lives like never before, and as a result has faced additional challenges. Collaboration in this space is what helps lead to not only industry solutions, but life-changing breakthroughs for billions of people across the globe,” said Josh Berman, President, C2C Global. “By launching a new, dedicated community for these practitioners, we want to provide a place that serves as a catalyst for innovation in an ever-changing, dynamic landscape.” In addition to diverse forums, in-depth case studies and a continuous sharing of the latest news, trends and solutions affecting the industry, the new community will feature executive panel discussions highlighting some of the problems facing the industry today and how practitioners can come together to solve these challenges. C2C recently hosted a discussion with senior leadership from Intermountain Healthcare and Community Health Systems to outline how they have leveraged Google Cloud to meet today’s healthcare needs, especially since the industry has seen a boom in innovation over the past few years in frontline caregiving, virtual care, and patient management.“Creating a community and having this type of collaborative capability to talk to others who have been there and done that and to share ideas, and to share lessons learned, is so powerful,” said Paul Novak, CIO of Community Health Systems. “It allows you to move forward quickly when you’re having problems or trying to innovate. Having this ability to connect is priceless.” The C2C Healthcare and Life Sciences Community will regularly host online and in-person panel discussions and will populate a continuous stream of conversations highlighting the most up-to-date needs facing the industry where members can come together to share best practices and solutions on a daily basis. About C2C Global C2C is the only peer-to-peer community built to support, connect, and educate Google Cloud customers across regions and industries so they can better harness the power of the cloud—and each other—to solve their biggest challenges and drive innovation.

Categories:Industry SolutionsC2C NewsHealthcare and Life Sciences

2Inspire: Meeting Today's Healthcare Needs (Key Takeaways)

On August 23, 2022, C2C welcomed longtime colleagues Paul Novak (@paul_novak), CTO of Community Health Systems, Steven Michaels (@Steven Michaels), Vice President of Technology Services at Intermountain Healthcare, and Michael Ames (@michaelames), Managing Director of Vertical Markets at SADA, for an inaugural 2Inspire event introducing the new Healthcare and Life Sciences community on the C2C platform. The hour-long conversation covered virtually every major consideration for HCLS organizations looking to pursue transformation on Google Cloud. For those who weren’t able to attend, read on for an overview of the discussion and a video of the complete discussion.Michael opened the conversation by asking Paul and Steven why a community for Google Cloud customers in the HCLS space is a value-add for their organizations. “This healthcare-specific forum is actually a first for C2C,” he said. Paul was quick to offer an enthusiastic response: “Having that type of collaborative capability to talk to people who have been there and done that, and to share ideas, and to share lessons learned, is so powerful to allow you to move forward quickly when you’re going through and you’re having problems, or you’re trying to innovate and you’re trying to create ideas around how IT can be more of a value-add to the business. So having that ability to connect is priceless in my mind.”Michael and Steven agreed, Michael adding that “a unique opportunity with C2C, because it isn’t a Google-operated community, it’s an independent community, is to sometimes maybe have conversations that are a little uncomfortable.” Michael moved on to ask the guests a series of questions about their experiences with innovation in the cloud. “You do have to challenge from time to time what exactly is it you’re doing and why,”  said Steven, to illustrate the importance of being willing to fail. This prompted the guests to comment on the opportunities for innovation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the change that can come about when IT professionals and teams get ahead of business challenges and innovate to help organizations overcome them.Next Michael asked the guests to talk more about how their organizations are using Google Cloud in particular. CHS has been a Workspace customer since 2018. According to Paul, they are trying to push the idea of collaboration across an organization and share lessons learned across hospitals. The company’s first foray into Google Cloud was migrating an enterprise data warehouse. “Then something fun happened,” Paul said. “We started to think about, well, what are some other ways that we could be using this.” CHS hired a data scientist to standardize all semantic layers of hospital KPI measurement and started making new decisions around palliative care offerings and using documentation to track and potentially impact mortality rates. SADA had a similar experience moving resources from on-premise to the cloud, Michael said. “You realize you’ve opened this door.” “Having that type of collaborative capability to talk to people who have been there and done that, and to share ideas, and to share lessons learned, is so powerful.” For Intermountain, Steven said, the greatest impact of adopting Google Cloud has been speed to scale. “There’s a lot of stuff that used to happen in the background,” he said. “That all gets taken care of when you find a cloud partner like Google Cloud.” Intermountain is extending its Google partnership into hardware by equipping frontline healthcare workers with Google Pixels. Michael pointed out that this addressed an audience question about using technology to improve communications with patients. Then he asked if Paul had anything to add. “No,” said Paul, “I’m just jealous.”Toward the end of the event, Michael started posing some tougher questions. First, he asked each guest what his organization needed from Google that it hadn’t seen yet. Paul said he is interested in “trying to get Workspace to be more corporate-based or enterprise-based to enable ease of use, to enable ease of administration,” while Steven said he would “like to see Google be more deliberate in their partnerships within our technology ecosystems.” When Steven added, “I would love, and I’m sure we would all love, to see Epyc and Google get together and make their platforms a little more partner-like,” Michael raised both hands with his fingers crossed.To wrap things up, Michael asked each guest to share one unpopular professional opinion on the IT industry. Steven believes there is a common misunderstanding that healthcare technology and IT lags behind technology and IT in other industries like retail. Michael agreed, while Paul answered the question from another angle altogether. “I personally don’t think that working from home is a positive thing for the overall environment,” he said. Michael was interested in the questions this comment raised about challenges for hospitals adapting to the hybrid work environment. However, by the time Michael was able to make this last point, the group had run out of time. “Let’s make it another C2C event,” Michael said.Watch a full recording of the event below:  Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsHealthcare and Life Sciences

Financial Services Case Study: Magnum Real Estate, Blockchain Transactions, and Google Cloud

Realtors trade property for cryptocurrency for various reasons. It’s cheap, because crypto is transacted over the blockchain, a distributed, shared ledger. There are no middlemen, like notaries, lawyers, title companies, brokers, banks, or attorneys, which affords agents drastic savings. It’s also fast. A blockchain-processed transaction slashes standard home-buying timelines from around three months to three weeks. The peer-to-peer transaction cuts out the hassle of hiring and working through intermediaries, and the seller and buyer secure documents on a ledger that automatically updates and distributes these forms among stakeholders. This eliminates the hassle of back-and-forth review of paperwork.Blockchain is also transparent––because all blockchain participants communicate in real time and review transactions as they cross the blockchain––and secure. Realtors use the blockchain ledger to encrypt titles, leases, and other contracts on the premise that its allegedly unhackable network is arguably safer and more secure than the centralized cloud. Fractional Investment in Tokenized Real Estate Some modern realtors trade pieces of property for crypto, in hopes of democratizing the market for buyers. Relatively few people have the money to invest in quality real estate. Fewer still have the funds for premium commercial property such as offices, nursing homes, or hotels. However, for buyers with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple, the property is simply divided into pieces. Each block is auctioned off for a specific amount of cryptocurrency, so instead of buying the entire infrastructure, interested parties simply buy that bit off the premise, making it more affordable. That fractionalized asset can later be traded for fiat or cryptocurrency, or retained for lodging or business purposes. Smart Contracts and Blockchain-Processed Real Estate All PropTech transactions are paired with blockchain programmed smart contracts that protect and secure the transaction process. Smart contracts automatically release funds when contract conditions are met and withhold them in cases of dispute. These digitized smart contacts allow buyers to claim that proffered property once they’ve paid the realtor the required amount of Bitcoin and fulfilled the conditions listed in that contract. Example: Magnum Real Estate GroupNew York-based Magnum Real Estate Group, which uses the Google Cloud Platform for its realty services, started selling condos for Bitcoin back in 2018. Google Cloud helps Magnum automatically update its commercial real estate listings and provides real-time updates that gives its team timely insights into real estate performance and pricing. Prospective tenants and their representatives have immediate access to the dashboard’s functionalities, helping them see details on properties as they update. Google Cloud also automatically scales workloads up and down and drastically reduces cloud hosting costs, among other benefits. In short, Google Cloud provides a continuous integration and deployment model with fast and accurate data and unprecedented scalability that gives Magnum an edge over competitors.In September, 2021, Magnum made headlines by advertising that they would sell three retail condos in Manhattan’s Upper East Side for the equivalent of $29 Million in Bitcoin. Magnum’s step was significant, since it marks the most robust property investment opportunity for crypto investors yet. Managing partner of Magnum Real Estate Group Ben Shaoul has sold more than $25 million worth of commercial and residential real estate in cyber currency since 2018.All crypto transactions are completed by Magnum using BitPay, a crypto payment processor with substantial experience in property transactions. Buyers deposit Bitcoin payments in BitPay’s “wallet.” BitPay converts this Bitcoin into fiat and wires those funds to Magnum. The entire transaction is completed overnight, in contrast to the standard thirty to ninety days required for fiat.By using blockchain-transacted cryptocurrency, Magnum can now transact faster, cheaper and more securely with traders from around the world. It’s a digital wallet-to-wallet process that cuts out legacy banks and their legislations, costs, and time lags. The process is vetted by blockchain participants. PropTech realtors say the company is considering tokenizing its properties in the future. Impact of Blockchain-Processed Real Estate According to Ben Shaoul, “Accepting cryptocurrency for select condominiums in our New York City portfolio enabled us to expand our buyer pool.” That’s because “you are opening up real estate investment to a whole new demographic of investors,” Shaoul says. “Crypto currency holders are a different type of person. They aren’t just finance people, or doctors and lawyers who own stocks. These are bus drivers, school teachers, and cab drivers.”Speaking to Yahoo Finance, the Magnum developer said: “There’s a demand for real estate and there’s nothing being offered to the holders of crypto. Our idea is to offer something that’s unique and try to pair the holders of crypto with those who want to sell real estate.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsFinancial Services

C2C Connect Live: Cambridge

On June 14, C2C hosted an event in Google’s Cambridge office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. Introduction from Google Yee-chen Tjie (@yeetjie), Google Cloud Life Sciences Head of Customer Engineering, kicked off the program at C2C Connect Live: Cambridge with a few words about how Google is using 10x thinking to make major unique and substantial investments in Healthcare and Life Sciences technology. Tjie made a point of mentioning Google’s record of solving problems using AI and ML, particularly with AlphaFold 2, the focus of the presentation Luke Ge of Intel gave later in the afternoon.After his opening remarks, Tjie hosted a round of Google trivia, inviting everyone in the audience to stand and then sit down every time they answered one of his true-or-false questions incorrectly. After guessing whether Google Suite was initially offered on CD in 2006 (false), the first Google Doodle was about Coachella because the founders were going (false––they were going to Burning Man), and the English translation of Kubernetes is “cargo ship” (false––it’s “pilot”), Tjie handed the lucky winner a free Google hub device. CISO Healthcare and Life Sciences Reflections Before beginning his presentation, Taylor Lehmann (@taylorlehmann1), Director of the Office of the CISO at Google Cloud, thanked the hosts for the opportunity to join and speak, noting that he had just had his “mind blown” talking to fellow presenter Jonathan Sheffi before the event. Lehmann went on to discuss some of the core principles of invisible security, and his office’s mission to “get to this vision where security is unavoidable.” A big part of this project, he explained, is eliminating the shared responsibility model in favor of what Google calls “shared fate.” Under this model, Google provides blueprints, solutions, and curated patterns to enable customers to manage their own security infrastructures. “If you have a bad day on Google Cloud, it’s a bad day for us too,” he summarized. “If you win on Google Cloud, you win too.” The History and Future of Human Genomics Jonathan Sheffi (@sheffi) formerly a Director of Product Strategy at Veeva Systems and Google Cloud, began his presentation by prodding the audience with an enthusiastic “How’s everyone doing?” and then added “First rule of public speaking, make sure the audience is awake.” The focus of Sheffi’s presentation, the history and future of human genomics, took the audience back to the year 1990, when, in Sheffi’s words, “Nirvana’s Nevermind is a year from coming out, it’s a very exciting time.”Sheffi went on to cover the advents of next-gen sequencing and of public cloud computing, government and pharmaceutical adoption of genomic sequencing, and recent cost-cutting advancements in genomics. When he opened things up to the audience for questions, Michael Preston of Healthcare Triangle shared his own experience seeking treatment for melanoma to ask how genomic sequencing can be used to predict patient reactions to prescribed medications. Sheffi took the question to heart, and acknowledged the need for sequencing and screening processes that take into account data on patient-reported side effects. End-to-End Optimization of AlphaFold2 on Intel Architecture Luke Ge (@Liangwei77ge) an AI Solution Specialist at Intel, opened his presentation by saying, “Yesterday I spent 6 hours on a plane to come to this beautiful city,” prompting a round of applause form the audience. Then he asked “How many of you are using Alphafold 2?” A few hands went up. He followed up with, “How many of you have heard of Alphafold 2?” Many more hands raised.Ge’s presentation explored how analyzing human tissue from DNA to protein structure requires using AI for processing huge sequence data. The Google product that handles this processing is AlphaFold 2. Ge explained how Intel’s computing hardware supports Alphafold 2, including by providing a deep Learning model inference and removing memory bottlenecks in AlphaFold 2’s attention and evoformer modules. At the end of his presentation, Ge demonstrated a model generated using non-optimized versus optimized Alphafold 2 code. The difference was clear. Panel Discussion Tjie moderated the panel discussion with Sheffi and Ge by asking each whether he is a Celtics fan or a Warriors fan. Immediately, the tension in the room rose: Sheffi and Ge are from opposite coasts, making Sheffi a Celtics fan and Ge a Warriors fan. The tension was short-lived, however. When Tjie asked Ge what he considers the best way to choose a compute instance, Sheffi followed up to ask Ge if it’s possible to run multiple sequences on a single instance and maintain performance. Ge said yes.When Tjie opened questions to the audience, several guests rose to ask Sheffi questions about genomic sequencing, more than one of them focusing on use cases for genomic research for patients and caregivers. After several of these questions in a row, Tjie turned to the crowd and said, “I warned Luke that if he picked the Warriors then he would get less questions from the audience.” After the laughs in the room died down, Tjie asked Ge where he sees HCLS problems being solved with AI. Ge did not have to think long before citing computer vision as a solution for detecting cancerous cells. Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section. Extra Credit  

Categories:Data AnalyticsIndustry SolutionsIdentity and SecurityGoogle Cloud PartnersHealthcare and Life SciencesSession Recording

Patient Advocacy and Speaking from Experience at C2C Connect Live: Cambridge

“I was at the hotel one morning working at a hospital in Missouri, noticed blood on my t-shirt, and said ‘What’s that about?’” Sitting at a high-top conference table outside the Boston Common auditorium on the fourth floor of Google’s Cambridge, MA office, Michael Preston (@Preston14) of Healthcare Triangle briskly recounted his struggle to find effective treatment for melanoma. Before he was able to eliminate the cancer with immunotherapy, he explained, he underwent chemotherapy and experienced near-fatal complications. “That medicine that I qualified for because of my gene mutation nearly killed me,” he said. “How do you get genomics to reflect how a patient will interact with a medicine, not just whether or not they qualify for that medicine based on their genomic profile?”Jonathan SheffiPreston had come to the office for a C2C Connect Live event for Healthcare and Life Sciences professionals in the Boston-Cambridge area. This last question is the same question Preston asked Jonathan Sheffi (@sheffi), a director of Product Strategy formerly of Google and Veeva Systems, who had taken the stage earlier for a presentation and panel. Sheffi’s presentation focused more broadly on use cases for cloud technology in genomics and clinical trial matching, but the content resonated with Preston enough that he was moved to share his personal experience with the rest of the group. This kind of personal connection to technical and business-related discussions is typical of the HCLS space, Preston said. “Something will resonate, whether it’s my grandmother, my grandfather, my neighbor down the street, or me. If you can’t bring your own perspective into a conversation with a client or a partner, then it’s too generic.”Sheffi agreed: “Working in healthcare and life sciences, no matter what industry you work in, everyone’s a patient, and everyone knows some patients.” Before he began working in technology, Sheffi was able to experience firsthand what it’s like to serve in a patient-facing role. “I was actually a pharmaceutical sales rep early in my career, and met patients who would come up to me and would say, ‘your drug saved my life,’” he recalled. “I feel weird taking the credit, because I didn’t develop it, I didn’t manufacture it, I was just making sure that they had access and had it available to them, but there is nothing quite like meeting a patient who’s actually been impacted by your work.” Although Sheffi has held executive-level positions at several major tech companies, he has organized his career around the opportunities he sees to serve patients and meet their needs. As he put it, “I’m here because I’m excited about what technology can do for patients.” Guests mingling before the eventThe program at the event, which included presentations from Sheffi, Google Head of Cloud Sales Engineering Yee-Chen Tjie, Taylor Lehmann, Director of the Office of the CISO at Google, and Luke Ge, an AI Solutions specialist at Intel, and a panel discussion with Ge, Tjie, and Sheffi, was largely technically focused. However, patient experience dominated the conversations that followed, which Sheffi and Preston both cited as a unique value of a community space for HCLS professionals in the tech field. “Another gentlemen talked about his parent, who had cancer,” Sheffi recalled. “He had to push for a more medically appropriate treatment option that wasn’t initially recommended by the physician.” “Working in healthcare and life sciences, no matter what industry you work in, everyone’s a patient, and everyone knows some patients.” Sheffi was referring to Raj Tuliani (@tuliani), a customer engineer with Google Life Sciences who shared his experience caring for his sick parents during the panel discussion that closed the program. “I was trying to give my perspective as a patient advocate, as a patient caregiver,” he says. “There’s a good use case for a patient advocate to use the genetic data that’s being given as a way to guide treatment, not only from the provider perspective, but from the patient side as well.” Tuliani had wanted to be a doctor from a young age, and when he started at Google he had already worked as a senior director of technology at Anthem and at Johns Hopkins, and had also taken time off from work to be a full-time caregiver to his parents. As a patient advocate, Tuliani appreciates that Google’s life sciences products are “are all about helping everyone,” with “the emphasis on helping and everyone.”A focus on patient experience is that much more impactful at an event where technical and business professionals are convening to share ideas and make new connections. Once the guests started opening up in the room during the prepared program, they were primed to engage candidly during the networking reception that followed. Making himself vulnerable in front of the others in attendance only made Preston more eager to connect one-on-one with his colleagues and peers. In the middle of describing the security risks his clients in the small- to medium-sized community hospital space face when they don’t have resources like a CISO, he caught sight of Lehmann walking past. “I’m going to go hunt him down and talk to him more,” he said. Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsC2C NewsHealthcare and Life Sciences

Media, Entertainment, and Gaming Case Study: Netflix, DaaS, and Google Cloud DRaaS

Two years ago, Netflix launched NetFX, its premiere desktop-as-service (DaaS) offering. Netflix describes NetFX as “a cloud-based platform that will make it easier for vendors, artists and creators to connect and collaborate on visual effects (VFX) for our titles.” The platform provides virtual workstations, integrated storage, and full access to secure rendering in a connected environment, which Netflix hopes will help it become a leading producer of visual effects (VFX) and original animated content.To create stunning animation, Netflix artists need access to specialized applications, petabytes of images and raw video files, and enough computing power to render completed files. Multiple artists work in teams, and each VFX frame can take up to 30 hours to produce. With more and more of these artists working remotely, Netflix needed to look for a solution that could deliver similar security, performance, and functional characteristics to the workstations available in its studio headquarters. To do so, the company turned to DaaS. What is DaaS? Desktop-as-service (DaaS) delivers a unified, centrally managed computing experience to users on almost any internet-connected device. DaaS doesn’t require buying any hardware and poses no worries about storage security or maintenance. DaaS also eliminates much of the expense usually associated with managing and maintaining mobile computer users. Users can run hard-powered applications, including video and graphic applications, on a relatively low-powered portable device with no freezing or buffering, allowing for secure encrypted access to apps and desktops from anywhere on any device. With DaaS, Netflix can deploy apps on virtual desktops to hundreds of artists around the world in minutes. Benefits of DaaS Netflix profits from DaaS in the following ways. Upfront investment: Managers shift from major long-term capital expenses (CAPEX) to daily operating expenses (OPEX) as they adopt the pay-as-you-go model, which cuts office expenses like electricity, cabling and maintenance. The virtual desktop also helps Netflix minimize the costs of office infrastructure, along with cabling and desktop maintenance on their premises. Physical and digital security: DaaS providers store data in high-security data centers that are under continuous surveillance. All information is stored under multiple safeguards like firewalls, multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection and prevention, and 256-bit data encryption. Updating patches are simplified and unified. No data is stored on the mobile devices. If a device is lost or stolen, data access can be revoked immediately.  Business continuity: DaaS providers offer DRaaS service, whereby providers replicate the company’s data and apps in multiple data centers at different locations, to safeguard against natural disasters.  NetFX and Google Cloud DRaaS Netflix piloted a beta version of its NetFX platform in Canada, and recently unveiled a working template of NetFX in Mumbai. The company said it plans to make the platform available in more countries “where infrastructure can be deployed.”Whether due to extreme weather or to cutting a critical cable, Netflix must be prepared for anything that disrupts operations. It will want to recover as much data as possible in the shortest time possible, without impacting operations. For that, Netflix regards the Google Cloud Platform as the best environment, because it offers time-tested disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Netflix uses Google Cloud VPN as conduit for connecting NetFX to Google Cloud, where data can be copied to Cloud Storage for rapid and cost-effective data recovery. This helps Netflix return to full operations rapidly following disasters, avoid regulatory risks, avoid data losses, keep customers happy, and maintain its reputation.About its DaaS solution, Netflix says: ”NetFX is a cutting-edge platform which will provide collaborators frictionless access to infrastructure to meet Netflix’s demand for VFX services around the world as our library of original content continues to grow.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsMedia, Entertainment, and Gaming

Healthcare Case Study: McKesson Corporation and the Google Cloud Healthcare API

An API is an interface that allows other isolated interfaces to communicate with one another, by integrating all information into a single, shareable source. In the context of healthcare, such devices aggregate masses of patient, government, and research data from internal and external sources across one single pane of glass. The ramifications of this functionality are significant. Researchers that need data for detecting breast cancer or diabetes no longer need to travel from institutions to libraries for their sources. Instead, all they need to do is access one centralized hub. Hospital and healthcare managers can analyze live data for ML-programmed insights. They can also provide faster, more up-to-date patient information. Insurance providers can use these same analytics to analyze and adjust patient information in bulk. Stakeholders involved in patient care and billing can share medical records, reducing error and allowing hospital staff to focus on healing, rather than paperwork.This technology also makes a difference on the individual level. Patients can have safe and convenient access to their data for more informed health decisions, anytime, anywhere, mostly from their smartphones. Doctors and nurses can more easily access government and research data that might help them make smarter diagnoses. Application developers can work on one centralized platform, enabling them to implement institutional upgrades and updates with half the usual time and cost. Managers can adhere to changing HIPAA standards while driving innovation in healthcare. The Google Cloud Healthcare API The Google Cloud Healthcare API meets the latest HL7, DICOM, and FHIR standards, making it uncommonly secure. According to an IDC InfoBrief titled “The Role of Customer Experience Networks in Delivering Value-Based Digital Transformation,” one of the biggest issues healthcare APIs have is how they handle security and regulatory requirements. Healthcare APIs are more vulnerable to security issues and their ramifications than APIs from most other industries, since they deal with sensitive patient information, accessed by diverse stakeholders and integrated with third-party integrations.Google Cloud assures vendors that its API “protect[s] your healthcare data with security and privacy controls you can trust.” Its system uses REST-based APIs, making the system faster and more lightweight, with increased scalability, perfect for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as for patients (or providers) to access health records via their mobiles. McKesson Corporation and Google Cloud In 2019, McKesson selected Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider.  A Fortune 6 company, McKesson is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology. The company’s objectives were to “create and modernize next generation solutions to deliver better healthcare, one patient at a time.”To that end, McKesson adopted Google Cloud Platform’s managed services, along with healthcare-specific services that included the Google Cloud Healthcare API, to enhance its platforms and applications.  The company transferred its on-premise resources to Google Cloud, using the Google Cloud Healthcare API to ingest, store, analyze, and integrate the company’s healthcare data across its cloud applications. It also used Google’s analytics function to make data-driven decisions for product manufacturing, specialty drug distribution, and pharmacy retail operations. “This partnership [with Google] will not only accelerate and expand our strategic objectives,” said Andrew Zitney, senior vice-president and CTO of McKesson Technology, “it will also help fuel next-generation innovation by driving new technologies, advancing new business models, and delivering insights.”Offerings like the Google Cloud Healthcare API will continue to impact the healthcare industry in various ways, but across potential industry use cases, data production overall will become more accurate and storage more secure and safe. In short, hospitals, healthcare systems, insurers, and life sciences companies have a better chance at increasing their productivity and efficacy with these API integrations. Extra Credit:  

Categories:API ManagementIndustry SolutionsHealthcare and Life Sciences

C2C Connect Live: New York City (full video)

On May 12, C2C hosted its first east coast event at Google’s New York office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below.  A Warm Welcome from C2C and Google Cloud Opening the event was Marco ten Vaanholt (@artmarco), who leads C2C initiatives at Google Cloud. To kick things off, Marco prompted the audience to get to know each other, and all enthusiastically turned to their table neighbors. After Marco covered the history of C2C and our early adventures in hosting face to face events, Marcy Young (@Marcy.Young), Director of Partnerships at C2C, followed to reiterate our mission statement: we’re here to connect Google Cloud customers across the globe. Since March of 2021, when the C2C online community first launched, our community has grown in size to make valuable connections with people like Arsho Toubi (@Arsho Toubi), Customer Engineer, Google Cloud, who followed Young to introduce C2C’s partner speakers.All three introductory speakers emphasized the excitement of being able to make new connections in person again. As ten Vaanholt put it, peers introducing themselves and initiating new relationships is “the start of community building.” When Toubi announced “I received some business cards, and that was a fun experience I haven’t had in two years,” the room responded with a knowing laugh. Toubi also asked the Googlers in the room to stand up so others could identify them. “These are my colleagues,” she said. “We’re all here to help you navigate how to use GCP to your best advantage.”  Getting to Know AMD and DoiT C2C partners and the sponsors for this event, DoiT and @AMD shared updates of the partnership between the two companies focused on cloud optimization.Michael Brzezinski (@mike.brzezinski), Global Sales Manager, AMD Spenser Paul (@spenserpaul), Head of Global Alliances, DoiTBrzezinski framed the two presentations as a response to a question he received from another attendee he met just before taking the stage, a question about how the two companies work together to enhance performance while reducing cost. One half of the answer is AMD’s compute processors, which Brzezinski introduced one by one. To complete the story of the partnership between the two companies, Spenser Paul of DoiT took the stage with his Labrador Milton. “I’m joining the stage with a dog, which means you won’t hear anything I’m saying from here on,” he said as he took the microphone. “And that’s totally okay.” The key to minimizing cost on AMD’s hardware, Paul explained, is DoiT’s Flexsave offering, which automates compute spend based on identified need within a workload.  A Fireside Chat with DoiT and CurrentSpenser Paul, Head of Global Alliances, DoiT Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall), Chief Technology Officer, CurrentPaul invited Marshall to join him onstage, and both took a seat facing the audience, Milton resting down at Paul’s feet. After asking Marshall to give a brief introduction to Current, Paul asked him why Current chose Google Cloud. Marshall did not mince words: Current accepted a $100,000 credit allowance from Google after spending the same amount at AWS. Why did Current stay with Google Cloud? The Google Kubernetes Engine. “I like to say we came for the credits, but stayed for Kubernetes,” Marshall said. Paul wryly suggested the line be used for a marketing campaign. The conversation continued through Current’s journey to scale and its strategy around cost optimization along the way.When Paul opened questions to the audience, initially, none came up. Seeing an opportunity, Paul turned to Marshall and said, “Selfishly, I need to ask you: what’s going to happen with crypto?” Just in time, a guest asked what other functionalities Current will introduce in the future. After an optimistic but tight-lipped response from Marshall, another moment passed. Marshall offered Paul a comforting hand and said, “We’re all going to make it through,” before fielding a few more questions.  Panel Discussion  All our presenters, with the addition of Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO, Data Capital Management reconvened on stage for a panel discussion. Toubi, who moderated the conversation, began by asking Michael Beal to introduce himself and his company, Data Capital Management, which uses AI to automate the investment process. Beal ran through Data Capital Management’s product development journey, and then, when he recalled the company’s initial approach from Google, playfully swatted Marshall and said, “The credits don’t hurt.” Toubi then guided Beal and Brzezinski through a discussion of different uses cases for High Performance Computing, particularly on AMD’s processors.When Toubi turned the panel’s attention to costs, Paul took the lead to explain in practical detail how DoiT’s offerings facilitate the optimization process. “I have an important question,” said Toubi. “Can DoiT do my taxes?” Then she put the guests on the spot to compare Google Cloud to AWS’s Graviton. Brzezinski was ready for the question. The initial cost savings Graviton provides, he explained, don’t translate to better price performance when taking into account the improved overall performance on Google Cloud. Other questions covered financial services use cases for security, additional strategies for optimizing workloads for price performance, and wish-list items for Google Cloud financing options.Marco ten Vaanholt kicked off the audience Q&A by asking what a Google Cloud customer community can do for the customers on the panel. Marshall said he’s interested in meeting talented developers, and Beal said he’s interested in meeting anyone who can give him ideas. As he put it, “Inspiration is always a very interesting value proposition.” After a couple more questions about estimating cost at peak performance and addressing customer pain points, Toubi asked each panelist to offer one piece of advice for someone considering using Google Cloud who isn’t already. Again, Paul saw a shot and took it. “If you’ve never been to Google before,” he said, “Come for the credits, stay for the Kubernetes.” Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section, and to get involved in the customer-to-customer connections happening in person in the C2C community, follow the link to our live event in Cambridge, MA to register and attend. We look forward to seeing you there! Extra Credit 

Categories:Data AnalyticsGoogle Cloud StrategyContainers and KubernetesIndustry SolutionsGoogle Cloud PartnersFinancial ServicesSession Recording

Sustainable IT with Chrome OS

End user computing devices account for 1% of greenhouse gas emissions. This may not sound like a lot, but it’s far too much if we want to change the course of our planet’s future. Fortunately, sustainability is a top-ranking trend across the business landscape, and Michael Wyatt, Head of Google’s Chrome Enterprise in EMEA, was happy to join C2C Global’s Clean Clouds Happy Earth event to tell our members about using Chrome OS to practice Sustainable IT.Chrome has committed to more sustainable manufacturing, consumption, and downstream practices for managing its products, integrating sustainability into the entire device lifecycle. Chrome’s manufacturing partners are producing more sustainable devices, including the first made entirely from ocean-bound plastics. Chromebooks also use up to 46% less energy than competitors. If other vendors adopt these practices, and customers make it a priority to invest in these resources, the goal of a sustainable future will be that much easier to achieve.After reviewing Chrome’s commitments, Wyatt introduced two case studies submitted by Chrome customers. Kingston & Sutton Council partnered with Citrix, Chrome, and Acer to update its systems and reduce their energy consumption by one third. Nordic Choice Hotels converted 2,000 windows PCs to chrome using OS Flex in one weekend after suffering a ransomware attack to adopt more secure software without investing in any new machines. The company distributed one-pagers to all of its hotels and each location’s staff migrated their machines onsite. As these stories demonstrate, sustainability is achievable for any organization willing to work proactively with Chrome.Watch a full video of Wyatt’s presentation below:  Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsSustainabilitySession Recording

Collisions and Community at C2C Connect Live: New York City

Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall) had just left the stage after over an hour of nonstop conversation, but he was ready for another interview. The CTO of Current, an aptly-named disruptor in the developing fintech space, had come to the event to participate in a panel discussion with Spenser Paul of DoiT (@spenserpaul), Michael Brzezinski of AMD (@mike.brzezinski), and Michael Beal of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), immediately following a one-on-one fireside chat with Paul, who also brought his labrador Milton onstage with him for both sessions. Now Marshall was sitting at a wooden dining table in an open workspace overlooking Manhattan’s Little Island floating park, enthusiastically describing a proof-of-concept his company is running with Google Cloud’s C2D compute instances, an offering powered by AMD’s EPYC processors.“It’s cool to actually be able to put a face to some of this technology,” he said. “We have a lot of compute-bound instances, and for me, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s the C2D guy!’” Brzezinski had discussed AMD’s role in bringing C2D instances to Google Cloud customers, but Marshall hadn’t known until the two were seated onstage together that his fellow panelist is directly involved in selling the same technology he hopes to adopt. “I’m going to be reaching out to that guy,” he said. “I do have some questions. That will actually unlock some progress in our stack, and I think that’s pretty sweet.” Trevor Marshall of Current, Spenser Paulof Doit, and Paul’s Labrador, MiltonMarshall’s positivity and excitement to collaborate reflected the prevailing atmosphere at C2C Connect Live, New York City, the most recent of C2C Global’s regional face-to-face events for Google Cloud customers and partners, this one hosted at Google’s 8510 building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The scheduled program put Marshall in conversation with Brzezinski, AMD’s Global Sales Manager, Paul, DoiT’s head of Global Alliances, and Beal, Data Capital Management’s CEO, on the topic of innovation and cost optimization on Google Cloud. These sessions were designed as a starting point for the reception that followed, where the panelists and guests shared their stories and explored the topics discussed in more depth.“You get an opportunity to say the things you feel like people are interested in, and then you get to talk with them afterward,” said Brzezinski. “They’ll come and ask you more about what you said, or say, ‘you mentioned this one thing, but I want to know more about something different.’” “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Thomson Nguy (@thomson_nguy), Vice President of Sales in the Americas at Aiven, was grateful to be able to meet both Brzezinski and Beal in person, having worked with both companies, AMD as a vendor and Data Capital Management as a customer, but only remotely. “We’re an AMD customer, we’re a Google customer, but also we’ve got one of our customers [at the event] that can actually use the price performance that AMD can drive, and so it’s actually being able to connect relationships along the whole value chain,” he said. “Working together as partners, we can actually create real value for the customers.” Customer conversations outside Google’sGoblin King AuditoriumNguy particularly appreciated being able to make these connections in an informal setting, where sales was not top of mind for him or his team. When he and Beal met, before talking shop, the two reminisced about Harvard Business School, where both earned their MBAs. “This event was very natural,” said Nguy. “It wasn’t like going to an AWS summit, where you get lost in 10,000 people at the Javitz center. It’s a very intimate place that lets you connect and talk with people, and it has that really cool vibe, a community vibe that I really appreciate.” Faris Alrabi (@faris.alrabi), one of Aiven’s Sales Team Leads in the Americas, wholeheartedly agreed. At most events, he said, he feels obligated to pitch, whereas, at C2C Connect Live, he went out of his way not to.Attendees repeatedly echoed these sentiments. In conversation with Nguy in front of a spread of refreshments that depleted rapidly over the course of the reception, Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics, another company that brought multiple team members out to the event, attributed the unique value of this intimate setting to the possibility of chance encounters. “Collisions create innovation,” he said. “You collide two atoms together, you create something new. You collide two people together and have an open discussion, you learn something new, get new insight.” Nguy and MacNeil also exchanged information to discuss opportunities to partner in the future.New business deals aside, however, the ability to meet and share ideas and impressions in person, guests agreed, was reason enough to attend already. “Even if we left this event without getting a single lead,” said Nguy, “the experience of being here and understanding our customers and the way they think and the way they talk in a lot fuller context, I thought that was super valuable.” C2C Will be hosting many more face-to-face events in the coming months. To connect with Google Cloud customers in your area and spark more innovation for your company, register for these upcoming events below:  

Categories:ComputeIndustry SolutionsC2C NewsFinancial Services

Clean Clouds, Happy Earth Panel Discussion: Sustainability in EMEA

The centerpiece of C2C’s virtual Earth Day conference, Clean Clouds, Happy Earth, was a panel discussion on sustainability in EMEA featuring C2C and Google Cloud partners HCL and AMD and cosmetics superpower L’Oreal. Moderated by Ian Pattison, EMEA Head of Sustainability Practice at Google Cloud, the conversation lasted the better part of an hour and explored a range of strategies for enabling organizations to build and run sustainable technology on Google Cloud.According to Sanjay Singh, Executive VP of the Google Cloud Ecosystem Unit at HCL technologies, when advising customers across the value chain evaluating cloud services, Google Cloud becomes a natural choice because of its focus on sustainable goals. Connecting customers to Google Cloud is a key part of HCL’s broader program for maintaining sustainable business practices at every organizational level. “What you cannot measure, you cannot improve” says Singh, which is why HCL has created systems to measure every point of emission under their purview for carbon footprint impact. In alignment with Google Cloud’s commitment to run a carbon-free cloud platform by 2030, HCL plans to make its processes carbon neutral in the same timeframe.Suresh Andani, Senior Director of Cloud Vertical Marketing at AMD, serves on a task force focused on defining the company’s sustainability goals as an enterprise and as a vendor. As a vendor, AMD prioritizes helping customers migrate to the cloud itself as well as making its compute products (CPUS and GPUS) more energy efficient, which they plan to do by a factor of 30 by 2025. On the enterprise side, Andani says, AMD relies on partners and vendors, so making sure AMD as an organization is sustainable expands to its ecosystem of suppliers. One of the biggest challenges, he says, is to measure partners’ operations. This challenge falls to AMD’s corporate responsibility team.Health and beauty giant L’Oreal recently partnered with Google Cloud to run its beauty tech data engine. In the words of architect Antoine Castex, a C2C Team Lead in France, sustainability at L’Oreal is all about finding “the right solution for the right use case.” For Castex, this means prioritizing Software as a Service (SaaS) over Platform as a Service (PaaS), and only in the remotest cases using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). He is also emphatic about the importance of using serverless architecture and products like AppEngine, which only run when in use, rather than running and consuming energy 24/7.For Hervé Dumas, L’Oreal’s Sustainability IT Director, these solutions are part of what he calls “a strategic ambition,” which must be common across IT staff. Having IT staff dedicated to sustainability, he says, creates additional knowledge and enables necessary transformation of the way the company works. As Castex puts it, this transformation will come about when companies like L’Oreal are able to “change the brain of the people.”As Castex told C2C in a follow-up conversation after the event, the most encouraging takeaway from the panel for L’Oreal was the confirmation that other companies and tech players have “the same dream and ambition as us.” Watch a full recording of the conversation below, and check back to the C2C website over the next two weeks for more content produced exclusively for this community event.  Also, if you’re based in EMEA and want to connect with other Google Cloud customers and partners in the C2C community, join us at one of our upcoming face-to-face events:  Extra Credit:  

Categories:Data AnalyticsGoogle Cloud StrategyComputeIndustry SolutionsCloud MigrationGoogle Cloud PartnersSustainabilityConsumer Packaged GoodsSession Recording

Retail Case Study: How Marriott International Builds Smart Kiosks on Google Cloud

Early last year, Marriott International, Inc. introduced various smart kiosks at several Marriott venues to eliminate the need for in-person interactions. These grab-and-go kiosks have everything from snacks, beverages, and sundries to piping hot coffee, fresh sandwiches, sweet indulgences, yogurt, cereal, and fruit. Other Marriott smart kiosks provide keys to your hotel rooms and help you map out your itinerary. Don’t have cash or credit for your purchases? Don’t worry. Marriott kiosks also accept contactless Bluetooth connection for mobile pay. According to Chard the Tech Guy “These contactless kiosks are the wave of the future.” Use case: Marriott International Hotel, Hangzhou, China Visitors to China use Marriott’s smart kiosks to check in for reservations and pick up their room keys. The machines are powered by facial-recognition technology and work in tandem with Marriott Bonvoy apps, where guests have previously paid for rooms. Before departure, guests use those same machines for contactless check-out. The whole process displaces traditional long lines with less than a minute. Smart Kiosk Technology Smart kiosks are everywhere. They serve hot pies and pizza in Ottawa, Canada and jars of fresh salad in six U.S. states. They’re also used in the education sector buying school meals, printing class schedules, renting or purchasing books, registering for classes, and checking exam grades. In healthcare institutions, post-offices, (or other organizations across industries), these kiosks are used to schedule appointments. Airports use passport kiosks to slash average wait time by half, according to Global Gateway Alliance. In retail, these kiosks provide consumers with brand information, directions, self-checkout, and price lookup, leading to shorter lines, boosted revenue, lower labor costs, and increased customer satisfaction.Naturally, smart kiosks have their issues too. They break down, stall, and sometimes return inaccurate responses. Mostly, though, they’re controversial because they displace certain human jobs. In 2018, employees at Marriott International went on strike across the U.S. to demand a say in decisions related to the adoption of new technologies. For kiosks to maximally benefit Marriott International, the hotel will have to successfully integrate its workers with its robots.Marriott International uses Google Cloud to create experiential memories for its customers across 19 brands in 81 countries. Objectives include monitoring news and popular events; real-time analytics on Marriott’s hotel bookings worldwide and where they’re coming from; a calendar of cultural events; and YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.Have you ever used a smart kiosk? Can you think of any other Google Cloud retail or travel industry use cases? Reply below or write a post to our community to let us know. Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsRetailTravel

Introducing C2C’s Newest Community

Our team always says that the “C”’s in C2C are up for interpretation. Whether we’re connecting to customers, connecting customers to communities, connecting companies to the cloud, or enabling communities to connect, C2C exists to facilitate these connections and foster community and growth. All Google Cloud customers have valuable experiences and insights to share within and among one another, no matter their location, their demographic, or even their species. With all of the above in mind, C2C is proud to announce that April 1, 2022 marks the official launch of C2C’s newest Google Cloud Customer Community: Cat2Cat. JellyCommunity Manager, C2CAs we open up this new section of our community, please give a big welcome and a healthy amount of head scratches to C2C’s newest community manager, Jelly. He is a good boy, having previously provided support and socialization training to stray fosters for housecat readiness.  Like some of the other community managers you can expect to meet in C2C, Jelly fuses his connection-minded spirit with his significant experience using Google Cloud products. Jelly joins us from happn, where he worked as a product architect to upgrade the app’s infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform. Happn’s app uses geolocation information to notify users—whether people or outdoor cats roaming the neighborhood—when they’ve crossed paths, allowing them to connect afterward. To fully scale the application, terabytes of data were transferred to servers hosted in GCP data centers, using Google Compute Engine for additional functionality. Read happn’s full case study here. Throughout history, cats have been recognized variously as exalted souls protected from harm by law, familiars to witches and other beings blessed with magical powers, and immortal creatures possessed of multiple lives. Today, we recognize these early mythological depictions of cats as attempts to recognize their facility with the extraordinary technologies that govern the world we live in. Cats may not be able to do magic or live forever, but in recent years they have proven especially adept at harnessing the power of the cloud to host their software and data, build their own cloud-native applications, and adopt digital architecture to transform their businesses. Read on below for some detailed examples of how cats representing some of Google Cloud’s biggest customer companies are incorporating Google Cloud Products into transformative technical and business initiatives. CheddarCloud Data Architect, Mondelez InternationalWith a name like hers, Cheddar was destined to become a subject matter expert in the field of snacking. She has been collecting data on snack brands and their products her entire life, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to put this expertise to use at Mondelez International, the largest snacking company in the world. Thanks in large part to Cheddar’s efforts, Mondelez recently adopted the Google Cloud tech stack to transform its data collection and analysis to allow for personalized insights on cat customer experiences. As a lifelong snacker, Cheddar understands the Mondelez customer experience as well as anyone. Now, with Google Cloud, she is developing data solutions that will model this customer experience for every cat in search of the perfect snack. Read Mondelez International’s full case study here. LunaMachine Learning and Data Engineer, Johnson & JohnsonLike many cats, Luna has very little patience for bathtime. However, she does believe that grooming is essential to the leisurely life of a cat, which is why she wanted to bring her expertise building machine learning models to healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, known most widely for its hair care products. J&J recently started working with Google’s Cloud Talent Solution to rebuild its careers portal. Luna, knowing that cat baths are projects not to be mismanaged, was eager to take the lead on this project. Read Johnson & Johnson’s full case study here. LeiaLead Engineer, Stores and Supply Chain, TargetAs a busy consumer looking for the best products to support her many hobbies—eating fish, drinking milk, and finding the most opportune spots for a nap—Leia is inspired by the ways Google Cloud technology can improve customer experience. Target has employed products like Google Kubernetes Engine and Compute Engine to deliver enhanced convenience for inventory management and online commerce. Leia’s work is also impacted by cross-team collaboration, working with her canine colleague, Chewi, whose work focuses on serverless technology for mobile app development to empower store associates. Read Target’s full case study here. Cats are proud and particular animals. We don’t always think of them as natural community builders. However, their characteristic skill and grace makes Google Cloud’s adaptable and dynamic platform a perfect fit for their technology needs. Our continuing mission at C2C is to connect cloud users, no matter how cuddly or sassy they may be. As long as cats are using cloud technology to solve their business problems, C2C will be here to remind them that every cat is welcome on Google Cloud.

Categories:Industry SolutionsC2C NewsDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Healthcare Case Study: Mayo Clinic's Remote Patient Monitoring Program for COVID-19

People with COVID-19 are typically advised to self-isolate for two weeks, with some patients needing comprehensive home care. Mayo Clinic's Center for Connected Care originally designed its Remote Patient Monitoring Program to be used for patients with chronic conditions. Now it has adapted the model for patients with COVID-19.Quarantined Mayo Clinic patients participating in the Remote Patient Monitoring Program receive medical devices they use to screen and electronically transmit their vital signs. A team of remote nurses regularly monitors the patients’ health assessment data and contacts the patients if their conditions worsen, or if they may require support. How the Remote Patient Monitoring Program Works Mayo’s Remote Patient Monitoring Program serves two categories of patients: Patients who are at moderate to high risk for complications are given remote patient monitoring kits with blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, pulse oximeters, and a scale. Two to four times a day, patients use these devices to screen and process their vital signs to Mayo Clinic through the tablets they receive with their kits. Mayo’s Patient Monitoring nurses monitor these vital signs and call patients to ask if if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. Patients who are at low risk for complications monitor their conditions each day through the Mayo Clinic app. They receive a daily alert reminding them to provide their health assessments to their Mayo Patient Monitoring team.  What Is Remote Monitoring? Remote patient monitoring allows physicians and healthcare facilities to track outpatient progress in real time. Caregivers also use this technology for geriatric wellness monitoring. Devices used for remote patient monitoring include wearable fitness trackers, smart watches, ECG monitors, blood pressure monitors, and glucose monitors for diabetes. Collected data is electronically transmitted to the patient’s doctors for assessment and recommendations. Benefits of this technology include: Remote care reduces burden for healthcare practitioners and healthcare organizations.  Hospitals and clinics save on operational costs by reducing readmissions, staff engagement, and in-person visits.  Remote patient devices enable early detection of deterioration and comorbidities, thereby reducing emergency visits, hospitalizations, and the duration of hospital stays. According to the Financial Times, remote patient technology could save the U.S. a total of $6 billion per year. A more recent scientific report calculated $361 in savings per patient per day, or around $13,713 in total savings per patient per year. Results Mayo Clinic’s Remote Patient Monitoring Program has reduced its caseload from 800 Covid patients to 350 patients with intensive needs. These patients were connected to 1-2 physicians per shift who monitored their symptoms and escalated care as needed.One such patient reported: “[This program] was our lifeline…. It just took some of that fear away, because we knew that there was somebody still there taking care of us with our vital signs. It motivated us to do better on getting well.” The Impact of Google Cloud Mayo Clinic uses Google Cloud and Google Health to positively transform patient and clinician experiences, improve diagnostics and patient outcomes, and conduct innovative clinical research. In addition to building its data platform on Google Cloud, Mayo uses Google Health to create machine-learning models for assessing symptoms of serious and complex diseases.

Categories:Data AnalyticsIndustry SolutionsHealthcare and Life Sciences

Accelerate Your Energy Decarbonization Goals - Key Takeaways

Reducing Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions can be complicated for global organizations; the process can be long and expensive, and it can be difficult to prove the return on investment. Hearing from leading experts in this field can make an immense impact on your plans. During this event C2C’s Uk and Ireland community heard from Trinity Lloyd, Energy Transition and Sustainability Specialist at Google Cloud, and Eric Jen, CEO and Founder of Ren Energy. The two discussed how technology can transform the decarbonization process, reduce time to value, and activate an ecosystem of shared cost. As always, there was plenty of time for audience questions.Here are some of the key takeaways from this session:Google’s energy consumption is the equivalent of that of a small country. Google hit 100% renewable in 2017, and in 2020 they limited their carbon legacy impact to 1998. Getting to 100% renewable energy is a process. It took 10 years for Google to get from carbon neutral to 100% renewable energy. Google has partnered with Ren Energy to get GCP customers carbon neutral and renewable. In 2018, Eric Jen, founder and CEO of Ren Energy, built a corporate renewable energy program at Nike that was co-ranked #1 in the world with Apple, Inc. These accolades highlighted his forward-looking approach to Scope 3 emissions in the supply chain in addition to traditional Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Ren is a Google supported sustainability fulfillment platform that transitions corporations to carbon neutral by aggregating energy demand and sourcing the most renewable solutions. To address the climate crisis, businesses need to start looking at each other and working together. If they don’t, then we will all be working independently, going about our business in uncoordinated chaos, individually trying to accomplish our carbon reduction goals. This doesn’t work, and it’s not getting us where we need to be.Watch the full recording of the session below:  Looking for more events like this? Join C2C Connect: UK & Ireland again on March 17, 2022 for this event with Cloud Developer Advocate Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine: 

Categories:Industry SolutionsSustainabilitySession Recording

FinTech, Banking-as-a-Service, and the "DeFi Mullet": C2C's Deep Dive with Simon Taylor of 11:FS

Between electronic payments emerging as a default option for digital native and traditional businesses alike and blockchain technology going mainstream in the private and public sectors, FinTech is quickly becoming a solution no startup can afford to undervalue. As Simon Taylor of 11:FS put it in the C2C Deep Dive he hosted on Feb. 10, 2022, “Every company is becoming a FinTech company.”For any who weren’t able to make this live session, the full recording is worth a watch. In a concise but rapid half-hour session, Taylor offers a complete functional overview of the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, covering every operational consideration from customer experience to go-to-market strategy.The real benefit of connecting live with a guest like Taylor, however, is the opportunity to ask him direct questions and get an immediate response. For those who want to dive straight into the issues this presentation brought up for discussion, below are some of Taylor’s answers to questions from C2C community members.First, a question about consolidation of the BaaS space in a post-integration market prompted Taylor to walk through a series of real and hypothetical acquisitions at major FinTech companies, including FiServ, Synapse, and Unit:  Later, a question about cryptocurrency in the digital payment space prodded Taylor to amend his previous statement about FinTech to “Every company is becoming a crypto company.” He also introduced the concept of the “DeFi” mullet, a “business up front, party at the back” model for FinServ companies which puts “FinTech at the front, Decentralized finance or crypto at the back”:  Taylor was also more than willing to point attendees to a host of resources 11:FS has made available for specialists looking to dive even deeper into BaaS:  Is your company a FinTech or crypto company, or becoming one? What do Taylor’s points imply for your company’s financial future? Post on one of our community pages and let us know what you think! Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube Plus, don’t miss the next event hosted by our startups community:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsGoogle Cloud StartupsFinancial ServicesSession Recording

The Journey to the Digital Enterprise - Event Takeaway

On Jan. 13, 2022, The C2C Connect: DACH group invited Michel Lovis of TX Group to their community gathering to give a presentation about TX Group’s migration from Microsoft Suite to Google Workspace. After an introduction from co-host and DACH team lead Chanel Greco (@chanelgreco), Michel analyzed the digitization process, the challenges TX Group faced, and the measures they took to ensure that the effort would succeed. Below are summaries of some of the key points covered during the session: 1. TX group has evolved from being a newspaper-only company in 1893 to becoming an internationally recognized network of media and platforms. 2. TX Group has become the largest private digital network platform in Switzerland, reaching over 80% of the population, with 3,700 employees, around 500 technology experts, and 800 journalists from over 50 nations, and their digital revenue share is 53%. 3. TX Group today consists of Tamedia (paid media), 20 Minuten (free media), Goldbach (advertising), and TX Markets AG (market places), all of which are using scalable technology architecture in a federated organizational setup (cloud first/only, with strong push for agility & speed). 4. In 2015, the company shifted workspace operations from Microsoft to Google. The goal of the project was to get all users to adopt most of the Google Workspace applications, including Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Meet, thus making a big change toward the digital environment they have today.  5. Vision vs. reality: close customer care is key! The challenge of migrations is that it takes time for people to lose their original workspace and get used to change. Today TX Group retains many Microsoft installations, and will retain them long-term in some areas, departments, and Teams.  6. TX Group introduced the following measures and resources after launching Workspace: An internal Google CC with Google Experts Business proximity concept implementation Welcome info for new employees Knowledge-sharing and other help offerings Roadshow coffees  Inviting people to express questions via management care and a satisfaction survey Specific courses including transformation lab 7. The second bigger change was the implementation of Goldbach. The bigger challenges here included the employees integrating a new company, which required a complete change of their working environment. 8. TX Group identifies six main different measures that were taken in order to make the process easier. 9. At the end of the session, the guests shared the benefits from their Google journey and the areas that would need a closer look.  10. Key takeaways from the session included: act faster, become more open, try something new, and "Pull faster than your shadow IT".   Watch a full recording of the event below:  

Categories:Google WorkspaceIndustry SolutionsCloud MigrationMedia, Entertainment, and GamingSession Recording