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Here’s how the government shutdown could affect JEDI cloud contract

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Three weeks have already passed since the government shutdown began, tying it for the longest shutdown in history. While Congress tries to settle the standoff, there’s one thing that cloud giants may have to worry about.

There’s a race for a $10 billion cloud contract with the Pentagon called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, and it’s a winner-take-all competition between Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. An award is expected in April, and the shutdown could potentially affect this match some analysts say.

The good news is, the government shutdown has no direct impact on the race. That’s because the shutdown applies to agencies and functions outside the Department of Defense. The Defense Department was not closed as a result of the shutdown.

Still, there could potentially be an indirect impact, although analysts disagree to what extent. Government cybersecurity is already weakening, as nearly 45% of employees at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have already been furloughed during the shutdown, according to a Duo Security report.

Renee Murphy, a principal analyst at Forrester, says that although the Department of Defense itself isn’t shut down, the agencies it works with are shutdown, and this could lead to a delay.

“I don’t think for a second they would make a move on JEDI without having an office and budget there,” Murphy told Business Insider. “They can’t keep going. They’re going to end up with a longer timeline. It’s just going to take longer to get it down.”

Right now, Amazon is the only company in the race with the highest security authorization to handle government data — a major reason why it’s the favorite to win the contract. If the other contenders want to catch up, they could face delays in getting the necessary certifications. After all, in the midst of the shutdown, this isn’t a top priority.

Read more:As bidding closes, Amazon’s cloud is the favorite to win a $10 billion defense deal. Here’s why everybody else is so mad about it

Potentially, the situation could take a turn if the scope of the shutdown widens or if President Donald Trump decides he wants to use funds from the Department of Defense for the border wall, says Pund-IT Principal Analyst Charles King, but the chances are slim.

“The chances of that happening seem remote since it would require the President removing JEDI funds and would also be challenged in court,” King told Business Insider. “But with this administration, you should never say ‘Never.'”

Still, the shutdown itself will likely have minimal impact on JEDI. There are bigger fish to fry — members of Congress have requested an investigation of the bidding process, and Oracle filed a formal complaint protesting the winner-take-all bidding process. These are more likely to delay JEDI than the shutdown itself, King says.

In the past few months, the contest for the JEDI contract has had its fill of turmoil, including Google dropping out of the race, an Amazon smear campaign circulating in Washington, and both IBM and Oracle filing official protests.

“A government shutdown just adds a little more uncertainty from a timing perspective to when the deal could be announced,” Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told Business Insider.

Already, as a result of the shutdown, national parks are closed, federal workers aren’t getting paid, food programs are losing funding, and airplane lines are growing longer.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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