Why the VW Scandal Should Give All Managers Sleepless Nights

Summary Bullets:
• You can’t believe the machine
• You have to secure the whole product chain

Just when the automotive industry thought things couldn’t get worse, they did: weeks after a Jeep Cherokee was hacked, Volkswagen admitted to installing software to defraud regulators. The two incidents have put security on the agenda – big time – for every manager who thought automation was the answer.
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SD-WAN and IoT: A Long Road Ahead

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

•SD-WAN products are well suited to address the complexity and scale of IoTAs diversity in IoT grows.

• SD-WAN vendors will be challenged to address the specific needs of new and increasingly specialized IoT products.

Commercial IoT networking in the short term is more about connecting and protecting IoT devices and gateways that are already deployed, or will be soon, rather than having to support a raft of new, IP addressable devices. The IoT name has been equally applied to what otherwise are called sensor networks, command networks, industrial Ethernet, and other network-attached devices. SCADA devices certainly fall into this realm. The difference being that these devices are being connected—on purpose or inadvertently—to public networks and exposing them to the potential for additional attacks.
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Application Integration Is Key to Delivering Effective Collaboration

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Integration with a range of business applications and the ability for solutions to work outside the organisation are key features for valuable UCC solutions.
  • Enterprises should tell vendors what they want from systems integration offers.

This week, BroadSoft announced its plans for its new Project Tempo initiative to deliver integrated unified communications and collaboration (UCC) services based on the vendor’s UC-One platform. The initiative will begin in January 2016 with beta trials of ‘UC-One Hub,’ a cloud service designed to integrate real-time communication services (e.g., IP voice, IM and e-mail) with third-party hosted/cloud-based applications. BroadSoft states that UC-One Hub will also provide ‘contextual intelligence’ for users. Read more of this post

HP Dims the Lights on Its Helion Public Cloud

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • HP’s fits and starts in the cloud continued this week with its disclosure in a blog that the company will sunset its Helion public cloud offer in January.
  • Unable to compete against the hyperscale tier cloud providers, HP is choosing to redouble its efforts in private cloud – and in selling hardware and software to IaaS providers across the public/private spectrum.

HP is making a fast exit from the public cloud sphere. Outmaneuvered by cloud behemoths like AWS and Microsoft which can outcompete HP consistently on price and agility in the IaaS realm, HP has decided to take its Helion public cloud solution off the market in January 2016. In a blog post this week, Bill Hiff, Senior Vice President and General Manager for HP Cloud, said that while HP is committed to helping customers manage their infrastructures across the traditional IT and private and public cloud spectrums, it was time to make a change. Read more of this post

EU Puts Global Businesses on Notice as Safe Harbour is Struck Down

John Marcus

John Marcus

Summary bullets:
• The 15-year old Safe Harbour agreement between the EU and US was effectively thrown out by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).
• US companies (and all MNCs) are now vulnerable to litigation and loss of customers over privacy concerns.
• While authorities have been tasked with coming up with an alternative by January, that is highly unlikely. Enterprises may need managed security and cloud providers to secure customer data in specific jurisdictions.

October 6 Decision

The CJEU, which interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, ruled that the Safe Harbour agreement in place for the last 15 years between the European Commission and US authorities did not offer the necessary legal guarantees that it was supposed to have. This ruling erased the quasi-legal framework under which US companies have been handling their EU customers’ data, potentially creating a legal minefield. Read more of this post

EMM/IoT Management Convergence: Are We Making Progress?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators, OEMs, and service/application platform vendors keep hinting about converged services and platforms to manage both traditional enterprise mobility and IoT functions
  • Has the ecosystem made much progress in these efforts; does it need to make more?

Service delivery and management platforms for EMM and M2M/IoT have some similarities; EMM manages mobile devices used by people, by managing, securing and containerizing devices and the applications residing on them or accessed by them. IoT platforms for connected devices/machines are a bit different and tend to be divided into service delivery management, and application enablement, with device management sometimes added in and other times missing in action. The vendors that talk the most about bringing these two separate worlds together have been the mobile app platform vendors – if SAP, Oracle, IBM, HP, and Microsoft can help businesses develop mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, developing an app that collects and integrates data with back-end databases from wirelessly connected machines, vehicles, or sensors is a natural next step. EMM vendors such as Vmware/AirWatch. MobileIron, Blackberry, and Good include IoT routinely in their discussions of the future of the “digital workspace” but it’s not clear that many customers are using their platforms to managed connected IoT devices. Jasper and VMware have achieved some level of service delivery and EMM platform integration, adding the key element of device management element to Jasper’s IoT solution. Read more of this post

SDN and OpenFlow World Congress: Let’s Kick Some Puppies, or Why Open Source Poses a Business Risk

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Open source seems great on the surface, but vendors commit more than time and code to a project, and that can be risky.
  • Customers need to understand how vendors will address shortcomings in products based on open source.

At the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, I chaired a debate called “Building the Ecosystem for NFV, Impact of Open Source” with Brian Aherne, Director of Intel’s Network Computing Division EMEA; Ari Banerjee, Senior Director of Strategy at NEC/NetCracker; Valérie Noto, Director of the CloudBand Ecosystem, Alcatel-Lucent; Recep Ozdag, Senior Director at Ciena; Prodip Sen, Director/CTO, Network Functions Virtualization at HP; and Walter Zielinski, Senior Director, Core Network at Huawei. It was a lively debate, with everyone in agreement (despite my poking and prodding) that open source is good, everyone collaborates, and lets all hug – until Recep Ozdag, and then Ari Banerjee, made a comment at the very end to the effect that open source development doesn’t automatically mean faster or better development. A colleague pointed out they may as well have kicked a puppy. Read more of this post

Let Me Tell You a Story About Watson Analytics and Expert Storybooks

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• IBM’s recent ads for Watson paint a picture of an analytics system that behaves more like a person than a machine. But, is this truly how Watson works?

• The answer is that Watson and its associated products like Watson Analytics are part man and part machine, blending human heuristics and domain expertise with AI and machine learning.

Over the past week, IBM has been blasting out a series of intriguing but puzzling commercials featuring its non-human, cognitive computing mastermind (literally), IBM Watson, hosting some intimate chit-chat sessions with Bob Dylan and Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy master himself), among others. Within these short question-and-answer exchanges, Watson expounds upon the meaning of life, recognizing faces, cancer treatments, and whether or not machines can understand sarcasm. Spoiler alert: According to Bob Dylan as interpreted by Watson, time passes and love fades.

That sobering thought aside, I was a bit frustrated by these ads, because they portrayed Watson as a truly sentient AI, something akin to the fictional smart machines of my youth, such as Star Trek’s M-5 or Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000. I do think that if plopped down into the fictional world inhabited by those machines, Watson would actually do pretty well. That is most evident when you consider one of Watson’s associated products, Watson Analytics (a cloud-based data discovery and visualization tool). With IBM’s growing IoT capabilities and its impending addition of time-series predictions to Watson Analytics, I do believe Watson could predict the failure of an AE-35 unit. But, it wouldn’t initiate an interesting conversation; and it certainly wouldn’t try to kill we humans (thankfully).

Rather, what Watson and Watson Analytics do is answer questions using natural language. ‘How’d our sales team do this quarter?’ It can recommend the best way to view that data. And it can even suggest potentially interesting correlations and previously hidden data points based not just upon raw statistical models, but instead using domain expertise ‘ human domain expertise. That is Watson Analytics’ secret sauce. And that is what I like about IBM’s newly introduced Watson Analytics Expert Storybooks service.

Expert Storybooks is slated for release early next year and built not for end users, but instead for partners, those well versed in their own domains like Deloitte, the Weather Service, or Twitter. The new service promises to embody human expertise within a data-driven narrative and empower those partners to sell that expertise.

My favorite example of this comes from IBM partner AriBall, which is building Expert Storybooks using the massive realm of data known as professional baseball. Led by the fellow who practically invented sabermetrics, which is widely used to evaluate pitchers, AriBall’s Expert Storybooks will help fantasy league participants, for example, see what’s changed recently with a given pitcher. Did his velocity drop the last few games? If so, why? Maybe he’s getting fatigued. Maybe he’s changed his approach for a given rival team. Or maybe cooler weather is the cause. How can a machine know?

Being able to pick out meaningful patterns and correlations like this takes a human with the ability to see the difference between those supposed reasons for the velocity drop. We humans are after all heuristic machines. When those heuristics and domain expertise are then coupled with AI and machine learning, the outcome might actually look a bit like a sentient machine. That’s the idea with Watson Analytics. Just don’t ask it how it’s feeling or to sing its favorite song. That’s the stuff of fiction and commercials

 

 

APIs Continue to Shore Up Mobile, Cloud Offerings

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • API services have become the key component of today’s mobile and cloud offerings.
  • Two significant integration platform announcements by IBM and Software AG (respectively) are shored up by API services.

API services remain one of the key pillars of today’s cloud-based and mobile app development technologies. Behind many of the recent integration, mobile, and PaaS announcements is a strong API story, because a key requirement of developers’ integration efforts is ensuring connection between new apps and accessing data routines. Furthermore, a key requirement of IT/DevOps’ involvement in the management of app development/deployment is in ensuring APIs can be accessed and exposed for maximum use and efficiency.

Take two integration platform leaders, IBM and Software AG, both having API-related announcements in the past week. Read more of this post