COVID-19: In Uncertain Times, IT Can Help Foster a Collaborative Response

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • As China’s IT industry returns to work, new geopolitical tensions compound economic uncertainties which, if not addressed, could threaten public health and economic recovery.
  • Global IT companies can help to find collaborative solutions that encourage a change of attitude and which emphasize international cooperation and resource sharing.

In recent days, the world has watched optimistically as travel and other restrictions in China’s Hubei province, where the global COVID-19 pandemic started, have been slowly relaxed and as manufacturing in China progressively returns to normal. This optimism also extends to China’s IT manufacturing sector, with Inspur, Lenovo, Huawei, and other IT vendors all reporting a return to normal production. Continue reading “COVID-19: In Uncertain Times, IT Can Help Foster a Collaborative Response”

COVID-19: What Does the Crisis Mean for IT Infrastructure?

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • The COVID-19 crisis poses several challenges for IT infrastructure vendors and customers, including the initial disruptions created by the crisis and those related to longer-term economic slowdown.
  • But it is not all bad news, and in various ways, the IT infrastructure sector is showing resilience, increased demand, and the potential to push through this crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis poses several challenges for IT infrastructure vendors and their customers. Some of these relate to the disruptions created by the onset of the crisis; others will stem from the slowdown in economic activity that is expected to accompany it. Economic slowdown will halt or delay IT purchasing and projects and make enterprise customers less likely to take chances with new technology investments. Project delays – whether due to supply chain issues, customer slowdowns, or illness among key personnel – will damage vendor bottom lines, while small vendors with low cash reserves may be severely impacted. The stresses being endured by people across the IT industry are very real and will also cause a loss of productivity and project delays. Continue reading “COVID-19: What Does the Crisis Mean for IT Infrastructure?”

COVID-19: UK’s National Health Service Enlists Big Data, AI, and Cloud to Fight the Virus

Summary Bullets:

• The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) plans to harness the power of big data, AI, and cloud computing to manage and help contain the health crisis created by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

• Technology partners supporting this big data-based initiative include Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.

The UK’s NHS has unveiled a government-initiated plan to harness the power of big data, AI, and cloud computing to manage and help contain the health crisis created by COVID-19. Specifically, the UK government has commissioned NHS England, NHS Improvement, which oversees the local NHS trusts, and NHSX, which is responsible for NHS digital innovation, to construct a big data platform to help those responsible for coordinating the response to the crisis – including government and health service officials. Continue reading “COVID-19: UK’s National Health Service Enlists Big Data, AI, and Cloud to Fight the Virus”

COVID-19: South Korea Shows How IT can be Effective When Combined with Rigorous Testing

Summary Bullets:

• South Korea’s strategy to combat COVID-19 has relied on a combination of extensive testing and the use of IT to enforce widespread tracing, monitoring, and quarantine.

• Government-initiated mobile phone applications have helped local authorities with limited personnel to manage large numbers of quarantined people.

Although South Korea was one of the earliest countries to experience a major outbreak of COVID-19, the country has recently seen a significant daily decline in the number of new cases. Meanwhile, although the number of deaths attributed to the virus recently saw a slight rise, this followed a long period during which there had been no increase. Other countries are now looking at South Korea to understand what they can learn from its COVID-19 experience. Continue reading “COVID-19: South Korea Shows How IT can be Effective When Combined with Rigorous Testing”

China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions

Summary Bullets:

• China has become a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus.

• The widespread use of technologies like AI, big data, robotics, and blockchain raises questions about wider applicability, and concerns about longer-term governance.

Recent weeks have seen China emerge as a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus. As of 11th March, China had almost 80,800 confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, which had killed over 3,000 people. The economic impact of the virus has also been widely documented and includes disruptions to supply chains and lost business for countless shops, bars, and restaurants.

But China has also seen several applications of IT to help combat and manage impact of the virus. Examples include the use of workplace collaboration tools such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat, and ByteDance’s Feishu by businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities. These platforms enable various remote working arrangements, as well as the use of online classrooms, which support distance learning. Others include the provision of digital mapping tools. Baidu has created an epidemic map feature on the Baidu Map App that offers real-time location information about confirmed and suspected cases of the virus, as well as travel disruptions caused by enforced quarantines. Meanwhile, Tencent provides a self-examination tool on its WeChat platform to help users experiencing symptoms such as a fever or cough self-evaluate their condition and make any necessary arrangements. Tencent also maintains a map depicting clinics and hospitals that treat coronavirus patients. Continue reading “China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions”

Apple Will Use Xnor.ai’s AI Chip Technology to Strengthen its Competitive Edge vis-à-vis Amazon, Microsoft, and Google

Summary Bullets:

• Apple will use the recently acquired Xnor.ai’s technology to enhance the AI and data processing capabilities of a range of products, including its cameras and HomeKit smart home system.

• To succeed against rivals such as Google, Apple will need to develop AI device capabilities that deliver additional functionality and value for its customers.

Apple’s recent US$200 million acquisition of Seattle-based Xnor.ai makes it the latest in a growing number of companies that are targeting the opportunities associated with AI and edge computing. Apple’s acquisition of Xnor.ai will potentially help it challenge the hyperscale cloud providers, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, all of which are focused on harnessing the benefits of AI and edge computing, and which compete against Apple in several product and service segments – including streaming media, virtual assistants, smart speakers, and tablets. Continue reading “Apple Will Use Xnor.ai’s AI Chip Technology to Strengthen its Competitive Edge vis-à-vis Amazon, Microsoft, and Google”

Cloud Computing Giants Expand Environmentally Sustainable IT Battleground

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Demonstrating a genuine and broad commitment to environmentally sustainable IT has become a major new competitive battleground for cloud computing giants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services.
  • Some cloud providers, notably Microsoft, are now extending existing commitments to new areas, including helping customers with their own environmental sustainability objectives.

Demonstrating a genuine and broad commitment to environmentally sustainable IT has become a major new competitive battleground for cloud computing giants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). All three companies are already committed to improved energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy within their international network of data centers – even if those goals have not yet been fully realized. However, that commitment is now being extended to new areas, including the ability to help customers with their own sustainability objectives. This will open up a whole new competitive battleground between these leading cloud companies. Continue reading “Cloud Computing Giants Expand Environmentally Sustainable IT Battleground”

Edge Computing’s New Ecosystem Will Mature, Expand, and Diversify in 2020

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Edge computing solutions will become more diverse and sophisticated in 2020, giving enterprise buyers greater choice but also complicating procurement decisions.
  • Hyperscale clouds will deepen their engagement with emerging edge computing ecosystems in 2020, expanding relationships with existing partners and forging new ones.

Edge computing commanded increased attention in 2019, amid growing recognition that IT architectures need to evolve in order to support new low-latency, data-rich digital services and applications. Edge computing involves the use of computer processing, data storage, and analytics capabilities close to the places where data is collected and where digital content and applications are consumed. Benefits include the higher performance that can be achieved when powering applications closer to points of consumption. They also include being able to make faster decisions about data collected from Internet-connected sensors on factory floors and transportation networks and in retail outlets and other locations. Continue reading “Edge Computing’s New Ecosystem Will Mature, Expand, and Diversify in 2020”

5G Networks Bring Cloud Computing to the Edge, Enabling New Service Development and Delivery

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • New partnership initiatives involving AT&T, Microsoft, Verizon, and Amazon Web Services highlight the extent to which 5G and edge computing innovations are starting to take shape.
  • Initiatives aim to combine cloud resources with 5G network infrastructure in physical locations close to where low-latency and high-performance apps will be developed and consumed.

Two important announcements from the past couple of weeks illustrate how quickly 5G and edge computing may be starting to become a reality.

First, AT&T and Microsoft announced an initiative that will see Microsoft make its Azure-branded cloud services available within so-called ‘edge locations’ on AT&T’s newly deployed 5G network. This will ensure that Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure can be used to support the development and delivery of new digital services at locations that are geographically closer to consumer and business devices, including Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints. Traditionally that infrastructure had to be accessed from one of Microsoft’s regionally distributed cloud data centers. However, making Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure available at the edge of 5G networks means that data generated by IoT sensors can be processed at higher speeds and new services like autonomous cars, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)-enabled immersive experiences, and cloud-based gaming can be offered with higher levels of performance. Continue reading “5G Networks Bring Cloud Computing to the Edge, Enabling New Service Development and Delivery”

NVIDIA is Poised to Dominate the Edge with its GPU Strengths and Partnership Strategy

Summary Bullets:

• NVIDIA recently unveiled a broad swath of initiatives that will help establish it as a leading player in the emerging market for edge computing technologies.

• New partnerships with Ericsson and Red Hat are specifically designed to help 5G network operators exploit the potential of NVIDIA’s graphics processing units (GPUs) at the edge.

Edge computing is fast becoming one of IT’s hottest new growth areas and is widely seen as one of the technologies that will usher in a new era of digital services for businesses and consumers. Many IT companies are targeting emerging opportunities to deliver edge computing, including NVIDIA, a specialist provider of GPUs for the gaming industry.

At the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Los Angeles, NVIDIA unveiled a broad swath of initiatives that will help to establish it as a leading player in this increasingly important market. Continue reading “NVIDIA is Poised to Dominate the Edge with its GPU Strengths and Partnership Strategy”