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IT Linux, Cisco expert talks technology in the wake of IBM news

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On June 13 the top tech news stories were all about IBM, with ZDNet reporting that Jeff Smith was quitting his job as Suncorp tech head and going to work for the global tech giant and eWeek reporting that IBM is making cities smarter by helping them better manage infrastructure through tools and resources they provide.

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The Atlanta Top News Examiner decided it was the perfect time to chat with a top IT expert and business owner in Atlanta in order to provide readers with information about how they can stay abreast of the changing technologies and tech services currently on the market, too. And what better person to talk to than someone who lists IBM as one of their clients?

SteelPivot owner and CEO Richard Campbell boasts a lot of big name clients in addition to IBM, like AT&T, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Army, to name a few. But this consulting, training and staffing company also offers the same services to many other corporations and government agencies in regards to Linux, Cisco and other computer technology needs.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. at the Peachtree Center's South Tower, the 19th floor offices offer an expansive view of downtown Atlanta while Linux and Cisco Network Engineers help clients and training attendees meet technology career and business goals in a production environment. And this was where this Examiner first met Richard Campbell.

I see that IBM is a client of yours, Richard. They were mentioned in Forbes on June 11 for rolling out a federal government cloud infrastructure. Is SteelPivot playing a role in that rollout in any way?

"No. IBM hired us to do training for their Linux engineers working out of Missouri. We were not part of the project recently announced."

In that case, Richard, can you give readers an idea of what tech work goes on at Steel Pivot?

"We have been very successful by focusing on the design, implementation, training and long term support of Linux, Open Source and Cisco technologies for the past five years. However, the pending release of our Network Infrastructure Cloud (NIC) platform is going to be a game changer by revolutionizing the provisioning, management and troubleshooting of branch and retail networks."

What do you mean when you say branch and retail networks?

"I mean remote locations that are part of the same company or group. For example, someone might own five Subway sandwich shops and needs them to be connected together and provide services (telephone, internet, connecting the POS--Point of Sale/Cash Registers) systems together. Or, maybe an insurance agent might have five local State Farm offices that need to be connected together so they can operate seamlessly."

You said that your NIC platform utilizes broadband Internet connectivity to securely connect remote sites, reduce operating costs, provide advance telephony services and enable zero-touch deployment. Will the NIC platform also be utilized for all types of customers, like government entities (e.g. colleges in Georgia)?

"Yes, it is designed to scale from a small operation of say 3-5 locations to over 5,000. The largest client using it today has 1,500 locations across the US and EU. Our market includes government, corporate and non-profits."

I want to make sure I am on the same page with you regarding tech terms like telephony services, so please tell me what advanced telephony services your NIC platform will offer.

"Telephony services is essentially what you get from the phone company, but with much more advanced capabilities. Typically, companies have to install expensive "PBX" systems to get advance capabilities in their offices. Things like an auto attendant (the automated voice that answers the phone -- press 1 for sales, 2 for support, 3 for directions, etc.), call transfers, phone extensions and such. Also, if they want to integrate these services into their existing business software it is typically too expensive to do."

So your NIC platform would provide these same services, but at a less expensive cost to clients, then. But is there more to telephony services?

"Yes. They may want to be able to click a phone number in their browser and call the client automatically, or have the client record pop up in the insurance office when they call in. Our system provides all of these advanced telephony services in a simple, easy to install and manage system that requires no complex configuration."

What about the "zero-touch deployment" you mention regarding the NIC platform?

"Zero-touch deployments basically means you can ship the device to a remote location and have the local staff install it without requiring any pre-configuration by your IT staff. This drastically reduces the amount of time to setup a location and all but eliminates the mistakes that come from mis-configuration."

SteelPivot CEO Richard Campbell appears to know exactly what the IT community is looking for as evidenced by his last comment, as what employee in that field hasn't felt the burden of meeting an already potentially unrealistic time objective by having to configure or re-configure a new product for implementation into their own system?

And it also appears that SteelPivot's client IBM is also remaining on the cutting edge of technology, as evidenced by their recent announcement reported in CIO Today about Big Blue claiming their new Power Systems can operate at "industry leading" levels now.

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