Enter The Robots (A Different Kind)

Last week, I had the opportunity to do some work and part of the engagement there was to integrate some data. Easy right? It’s not that hard especially with the technology and standards we have these days. However, what was not apparent upfront until after some digging (ie research), an email and a phone call that there were no APIs to be found. “Ha ha ha … we’ve got you … there is no way you can do it now” So the challenge was accepted and instead of time travelling into the future to find a new way of doing things, I went totally retro. And hence the title “Enter The Robots“. I didn’t go and create new versions of robots or AI. I don’t create a new quantum computing paradigm. What I did do was classically known as screen-scraping. “ick“, I hear from the crowd. “How dare you?“, someone else yells out. But I say this honestly, if there is no other way to integrate and capture data, then I rather do it knowing that it is a last resort.

In this article, I walk through a few of the tips and tricks with what’s currently available to help out in this situation.

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Why we must cede to our robot overlords (to do the dull stuff)

Can I get a show of hands – whose spine shudders at the sound of their own phone ringing? If your hand is up, chances are a component of your role (or role in days gone by… the scarring can be permanent) involves operations. Day or night, it’s that dread associated with wondering “What now?”. A few years back, enterprise started outsourcing the problem of supporting key business systems to 3rd party services, and while this reduced the quantityof calls, it only served to increase the quality – now when the phone rings at 3am, you know things are bad. Real bad.

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Getting started with OCI Traffic Management

Over the past week, Oracle has soft-launched a range of new services that leverage the capabilities of our Dyn investment to offer a significant enhancement to the native Edge management capabilities of our second generation cloud. These services include:

  • Traffic Management Steering Policies
  • Health Checks (Edge)
  • Web Application Firewall

I’ll reserve my discussion on the Web Application Firewall for a later post, but what I’d like to discuss today is Traffic Management, and how it can be leveraged to deploy, control and optimise globally dispersed application services for your Enterprise.

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License Plate Recognition Mobile App using Oracle Cloud Stack

Here is a quick cheat sheet if you ever wanted to build a mobile app that can take advantage of the camera built into the device, capture the vehicle or vehicles nameplate(s) in a frame and process that image and send it on API that can analyze the image and relay back the information it just scanned. This app can be extended to fulfil requirements like checking if the vehicle registration is up to date or insurance renewal is overdue etc. provided if there are APIs already available that can deliver this information.

So what is the tech involved in building this app?

  1. To build a mobile app that can be deployed on iOS or Android, I used the Visual Builder service from the Oracle Cloud stack. This service provides the capability to build Web as well as Mobile applications through a declarative approach with the ability to introduce code for any complex requirements.
  2. To store the captured image and use the image for downstream application purposes I used the Oracle Content & Experience service that comes with a rich set of APIs for content ingestion, public document link generation etc. From an enterprise architecture viewpoint, it makes sense to store the images with metadata in a content store, so I decided to archive the image using this service as part of the mobile app build process.
  3. The most significant bit is to use a library / API that can process the image or OCR and send back the information we are interested n. For these purposes, I used the open source ALPR library. There are API’s available already if you want to fast track your app.
  4. This one is optional. If you want to validate the information captured, we can set up a few API’s using the Oracle Autonomous Database with some data to complete the validation flow in the app.

This is what the Architecture would look like :

License Plate Recognition App Architecture.

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Finding The Common Ground …

As with any relationship, it is all about the common ground. Whether you call it negotiating, selling, buying, contracting, settling, approving, endorsing, liking, commenting or something else (similar), it is all about the common ground.

I had the chance to sit down with Ben Hallett — Co-Founder and Director of Vygo (https://www.vygoapp.com/) to talk through a few different things in the education sector and being there at Level 1 of #ThePrecinct in the space with others in #EduTech including Croomo and Go1 — well … it had a good feeling.

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Integrating with Developer Cloud Service – Importing Issues from Excel via APIs

Last week, I had a question about a customer wanting to migrate their issue management to Oracle Developer Cloud (https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/developer_service). They had hundreds of issues to migrate and saw that it was a big task to re-enter all of the detail. Also, it was all in Excel. This article is about the experiences and steps that we took to import the issues from Excel. And as the title of the article eludes to, we used the APIs available.

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Oracle Cloud Infrastructure OCI Gen-2 Cloud Security – Part V (Edge Security Services)

So far, I have discussed generic concepts, IAM, Networking and Key Management pertaining to OCI Gen-2 Cloud. In this part I am going to discuss the Edge Security Service that is available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure OCI Gen-2 Cloud. OCI Edge Dyn Security services protect Applications and APIs in the multi-cloud environments.

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