For Huawei, AI Development is a Job That Doesn’t End with the Final Product

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• At its annual Connect conference in Shanghai, Huawei formally rolled out a new AI portfolio aptly marketed as a full-stack, all-scenario proposition that spans the physical and virtual AI solution set, covering everything from chip to solution.

• Somewhat lost in the sheer size of this portfolio, however, is a hidden gem that seeks to solve one of the biggest challenges facing AI practitioners, namely how to manage the lifecycle of AI apps themselves.

When Huawei sets its sights on a new market opportunity, rarely does the vendor tentatively dip its toes into unknown waters. As has become customary for the globally ambitious technology Chinese provider, new challenges are met all at once with an all-encompassing, all-inclusive portfolio of products that emphasizes immediate availability over future roadmap potentiality. And so it was this week when Huawei introduced its hyphen-heavy full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, that begins with the company’s new round of AI Ascend chips and ends with pre-integrated industry solutions.

An attempt to boil the entire stack down into something reasonably suited to general discussion, there are four basic layers to consider here, running from bottom to top: Continue reading “For Huawei, AI Development is a Job That Doesn’t End with the Final Product”

As Above, So Below: What Can We Learn From Inspur’s Joint Design and Manufacturing Philosophy?

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• What can we learn from global server powerhouse Inspur about customizing servers in order to optimize demanding AI workloads?

• Using Inspur’s joint design and manufacturing (JDM) business model as a guide, it seems current server hardware and software architectures are leaning heavily in the direction of extreme customization, scale and agility.

A long time ago (shortly before 475 BC), the Greek philosopher Heraclitus commented on the ephemeral nature of human perception and experience, noting that “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” To be sure, this is a fun notion to entertain while standing in line for coffee for the Nth time on the Nth commute to the same old office. But for hyperscale hardware manufacturer Inspur, it’s much more than a philosophical distraction. Continue reading “As Above, So Below: What Can We Learn From Inspur’s Joint Design and Manufacturing Philosophy?”

How to Succeed in AI by Really, Really Trying

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Just as the promise of AI is very real and likely to significantly alter the way all markets do business, so too is the danger that the decisions we make based upon AI may be flawed, filled with unseen bias, or just plain wrong.
  • Recent, diverging solutions from IBM and Google to the problem of building trust in AI reveal the sheer magnitude of this multifaceted problem and point to a multi-pronged solution that starts on the drawing board and ends in practice.

Without a doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) has already changed the way consumers interact with technology and the way businesses think about big challenges like digital transformation. In fact, GlobalData research shows that approximately 50% of IT buyers have already prioritized the adoption of AI technologies. And that number is expected to jump to more than 67% over the next two years. Continue reading “How to Succeed in AI by Really, Really Trying”

Comcast Business Asks the Age Old Question, “What’s Beyond Fast?”

 

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • During its 4th annual analyst conference in Philadelphia, Comcast Business unveiled a new and decidedly inscrutable go-to-market campaign entitled “Beyond Fast.”
  • Plying its ActiveCore platform and virtualized network functions (VNFs), Comcast Business hopes to move beyond basic network functions and reach actual business outcomes not just for big business but also for its core SMB broadband customers.

 

When it comes to delivering connectivity to enterprise customers, Comcast Business doesn’t work (or think) like your typical telecom operator — or cable provider for that matter. For Comcast Business it isn’t about scaling up but rather scaling outward; it’s about delivering managed enterprise networking services the same way Comcast the cable provider delivers entertainment. That means standing up a huge number of endpoints in rapid succession. The company’s goal is to provision a new Ethernet customer every three minutes and add a new cable customer every 17 seconds.

Continue reading “Comcast Business Asks the Age Old Question, “What’s Beyond Fast?””

Enterprise Data and Analytics Cloud Migration Priorities: Part Two

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • When it comes to enterprise data and analytics investments among enterprise IT buyers, recent GlobalData research points to a future dominated by all things cloudy.
  • But, how are enterprise buyers prioritizing a move to the cloud based on their current stance on cloud vs. premises prioritization? We dive into a new survey of more than 3,000 IT practitioners to find out.

In last week’s blog post on the topic of cloud migration priorities among IT buyers, we dipped a figurative toe into our newly concluded survey of more than 3,000 global IT professionals and discovered that when it comes to big data and artificial intelligence (AI), the cloud reigns supreme. As an example, we found that big data platforms on their own saw a massive 19% increase in spending over the past year, with 69% of IT budget holders setting ‘cloud’ money aside for data at scale across the enterprise. Across the board, we expect a 13% increase in investments among those currently leveraging the cloud.

But, how does that compare to those not currently leveraging the cloud? Let’s find out. Continue reading “Enterprise Data and Analytics Cloud Migration Priorities: Part Two”

Enterprise Data and Analytics Cloud Migration Priorities: Part One

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • When it comes to enterprise data and analytics investments among enterprise IT buyers, recent GlobalData research points to a future dominated by all things cloudy.
  • But how are buyers prioritizing specific areas of investment such as workloads, including BI, data warehousing, and AI? We dive into a new survey of more than 3,000 IT practitioners to find out.

As an industry analyst, when a new survey arrives at your doorstep, you greet it as you would the arrival of an old friend who’s been oversees exploring other cultures and climes. After the customary hugs and hellos, it’s instantly down to business. Where did you go? What did you see and learn? And so it was with our newly returned 2018 Global IT Customer Insight survey. Now in its sixth iteration, this annual survey plumbs the international depths of the IT buyer landscape to discover current and future buying priorities across a wide array of investment areas. Continue reading “Enterprise Data and Analytics Cloud Migration Priorities: Part One”

Megadeal Between Microsoft and Walmart Speaks More About Fast AI Than Global Scale

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Walmart’s announcement that it would use Microsoft’s cloud platform and desktop apps across its entire business looks to be a direct shot across the bow of Amazon, a direct counterpoint to Amazon’s own ‘All In’ marketing mantra.
  • Instead, this partnership speaks more to the operationalization and unification of synergistic technologies – AI, IoT, big data – as a means of speeding time to market for Walmart’s numerous customer engagement projects.

At first blush, Walmart’s announcement that it would use Microsoft’s cloud platform and desktop apps across its entire business looks to be a direct shot across the bow of Amazon the retailer and Amazon the provider of public cloud services with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Continue reading “Megadeal Between Microsoft and Walmart Speaks More About Fast AI Than Global Scale”

Google I/O 2018: Did Google AI Just Pass the Turing Test?

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • At Google I/O this week, Sundar Pichai walked attendees through a number of impressive implementations of AI, one of which showed how Google Assistant could book a haircut and make a dinner reservation via an unnervingly convincing conversation between human and machine.
  • What happens, then, if that assistant eventually learns how to pass itself off as you?

You know it’s spring when the cherry blossoms appear in force, the birds start singing in unison, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai takes the stage at Google I/O and nonchalantly demonstrates some new bit of technology that simultaneously manages to amaze and terrify. I’m talking about Google Duplex, an interesting blend of natural language understanding (NLU), deep learning (DL), and text-to-speech technology designed to do one thing: use AI to emulate at least one half of an actual human conversation. Continue reading “Google I/O 2018: Did Google AI Just Pass the Turing Test?”

It’s Time to Orchestrate AI Hardware for Maximum Effect

B. Shimmin
B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • There are many AI-savvy chipsets on the market right now, each fine-tuned to support specific AI workloads, development frameworks, or vendor platforms.
  • But, what if developers could flexibly combine AI-specific hardware resource pools on the fly, on-premises as well as online?

There’s certainly enough buzz in the industry right now about artificial intelligence (AI). If you look beyond the doomsday predictions of a machine uprising, the prevailing view is that AI is a literal Swiss Army knife of circumstance, able to cut through any and all problems, ready to assemble opportunity out of nothing more than data. It seems that every vendor has one or two machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) frameworks lying about. It’s no wonder. There’s TensorFlow, Caffe, Theano, Torch, and many, many more to choose from, most of which open source and are quite accessible to the broader developer community. Continue reading “It’s Time to Orchestrate AI Hardware for Maximum Effect”

Atos Has a Secret Weapon, and It Rhymes with Awesome Computing

Brad Shimmin – Research Director, Business Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• There’s a race right now in high tech to build the first general purpose quantum computer, with industry leaders IBM, Google, D-Wave Technologies, and Intel each building out very different implementations of a single, revolutionary idea — the use of qubits instead of plain old bits.

• But unlike most races, this one has no clear finish line as we’re still figuring out the best approach to quantum computing or to building software for them. Enter IT services powerhouse Atos, which is backing a pure but as yet simulated idea of quantum computing in an effort to garner what matters most, namely the hearts and minds of future quantum developers.

There’s an awful lot of noise in the technology industry right now regarding the promise of quantum computing. A sizable number of dissimilar technology and platform players, ranging from Intel to Google to Atom Computing (a 2018 startup) are all busy building increasingly capable computers that push and pull qubits rather than bits. And as you might expect from such a diverse cast, there are a lot of differing views on how to build such a beast and how to best put it to use.
Continue reading “Atos Has a Secret Weapon, and It Rhymes with Awesome Computing”