May 19, 2020

Does Google’s cloud pedigree bode well for Stadia?

disney
Apple
Google
streaming
david hill
2 min
Does Google’s cloud pedigree bode well for Stadia?

Another day, another streaming service. Today it’s Google’s turn to launch cloud gaming service Stadia.

While the move can certainly be seen as being of a kind with Apple and Disney’s recent launches, there are a number of key differences. Most obviously, this is a platform for video games instead of movies and TV shows. A $9.99 subscription will entitle the user to some free games, but others must be bought.

Then there’s the question of scale. Google Cloud is undoubtedly one of the kings of cloud computing, alongside Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, and it is intending to leverage that infrastructure to deliver the altogether more complicated proposition of games compared to video content.

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The service’s aim, according to Google, is for games to be instantly available on any screen, without download, thanks to streaming from the cloud. Google says the custom hardware running games on their end will be periodically upgraded to maintain performance, while software-wise it runs open source operating system Linux and graphics API Vulkan. Such an approach sidesteps the necessity of a home console, and removes the inherent limitations of locked-down hardware. The major sticking point will be the strength of the user’s internet connection, however, despite Google’s so-called ‘negative latency’.

Stadia is launching with 22 titles, thanks to a late flurry of announcements. A mix of new and old, with a number of heavy hitters such as Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the only title exclusive to the platform is the relatively small-scale Gylt by Tequila Works. Codemasters’ Grid racing game also features Stadia-exclusive content in the form of multiplayer races with 40 people playing concurrently. Google has also announced the arrival of four more games by the end of the year.

Taking a leaf out of Apple’s book rather than Disney’s, the service is launching in all regions in which it available simultaneously, with non-subscription access coming next year.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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