IBM Advocates Open, Hybrid, and Multi-Cloud in Helping Customers Transform their IT

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• IBM is poised to grow its cloud services business by helping customers to accelerate their migration of mission-critical applications to the cloud.

• IBM brings a lot of value by helping customers remove complexities in their cloud migration; and avoiding vendor lock-in through an open source, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategy.

IBM held its annual analyst event – IBM Asia-Pacific 2019 Analyst Insights – in August 2019. The event was held in Singapore and coincided with THINK Singapore 2019, which was the first THINK event in the country. The THINK event helped IBM showcase its capabilities to customers in the country as it starts to ramp up customer engagement. Over the past few years, companies have experimented with AI and moved non-critical workloads to the cloud. IBM now advocates moving from experimentation to more substantial transformation to gain speed and scale. This will involve moving mission-critical applications (80% are still kept on-premises) to the cloud for scalability and agility. While this is ideal, to benefit from cloud-native features, enterprises need to deal with many layers of complexity ranging from regulations and compliance through to re-architecting legacy systems, security considerations, underlying infrastructure, and change management (people and processes). Continue reading “IBM Advocates Open, Hybrid, and Multi-Cloud in Helping Customers Transform their IT”

Huawei’s Ascend 910 Chip and MindSpore Framework Underscore its Ability to Forge Ahead with AI, Despite Escalating Tensions with the U.S.

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei announced the commercial launch of the Ascend 910, an AI chip optimized for model training, as well as MindSpore, a training and inference framework.

• The announcements come during escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, underscoring that Huawei will forge ahead in emerging technologies, with or without the U.S.

In the realm of AI, Huawei is readying itself to go head to head with global leaders, including Google and Amazon. The company’s recent commercial launches of an AI chip optimized for model training, as well as a training and inference framework, come hot on the heels of the unveiling of its internally developed operating system for mobile devices. The timing of the announcements is opportune; they come during a period of escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, serving to underscore that Huawei will forge ahead in emerging technologies, with or without the U.S. Continue reading “Huawei’s Ascend 910 Chip and MindSpore Framework Underscore its Ability to Forge Ahead with AI, Despite Escalating Tensions with the U.S.”

HPE’s Acquisition of MapR Underscores That AI is All About Data

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• HPE announced plans to acquire MapR, augmenting its data analytics portfolio with proprietary file system technology.

• HPE’s purchase reinforces the message that to derive true value from an artificial intelligence (AI) implementation, enterprises need to master the basics of data management.

Life isn’t always as it seems, and the same can be said of AI. Sure, the sexy parts of AI are the platforms, the algorithms, the APIs, and the use cases. We are enamored with the natural language processing capabilities, the predictive maintenance, the improved decision making, and the ability to provide a more personalized customer experience. But there is also the intrigue. The seedy underbelly of AI is comprised of the ethical concerns that reveal the potential dark sides of the technology. What if models result in unfair bias against a specific gender or race? What about privacy concerns? What if it’s used for destructive rather than constructive purposes? Continue reading “HPE’s Acquisition of MapR Underscores That AI is All About Data”

Making Money from AI: Use Cases and Experimentation

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprises should be prepared to be ‘guinea pigs’ for large tech companies seeking to develop replicable AI solutions.
  • Off-the-shelf AI solutions for vertical and horizontal use cases are being offered by a growing number of providers.

One of the biggest challenges to adopting AI is knowing where to start. In theory, AI can be applied to any and all aspects of an organization’s day-to-day operations. Furthermore, even if AI enhances a particular part of a business’s operations, it does not necessarily mean that the value returned will be worth the investment. One of the biggest beasts in the telecoms technology world, Cisco, has acknowledged that it has not brought as many AI-enhanced solutions to the market as it anticipated because it is still developing the use cases for AI. Continue reading “Making Money from AI: Use Cases and Experimentation”

At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Starting on September 1, 2019, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 users directly into Microsoft Teams, in essence removing the option for customers to run both Teams and the soon-to-be-retired Skype for Business Online.
  • Though somewhat extreme, this migration plan has been coming on for some time now, frankly ever since Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017.

Via blog post earlier this week, Microsoft made the wholly unsurprising announcement that it would officially retire its long-term messaging solution, Skype for Business Online, on July 31st, 2021. Unlike many similar migration plans, where rival products can linger for years after closure, Microsoft does not intend to let Skype for Business Online slowly fade away. Continue reading “At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online”

Humanizing AI: How to Automate in a Sympathetic Way

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Whilst AI can replace humans, it often works best when used to enhance what humans are doing.

• AI can deliver significant business benefits, but if implemented unsympathetically it can also cause disruption.

GlobalData’s research indicates that businesses understand that AI offers significant potential benefits in areas such as efficiency, R&D, and staff training, recruitment, and retention. The same research finds that enterprises also see potential pitfalls. Whilst the 5% of respondents in GlobalData’s survey who stated that AI is the ‘beginning of the end of the world’ may have had their tongues in their cheeks, a level of concern is not uncommon. Indeed, KPMG has referred to the concept of ‘Robocalypse Now’. It is also not unreasonable for employees to be worried that AI driven automation technologies will mean job losses because the adoption of those solutions usually does lead to headcount reductions. Continue reading “Humanizing AI: How to Automate in a Sympathetic Way”

Forget Flashy Consumer 5G Potentialities; For Manufacturers Like Samsung, the Need is Real and Right Now

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• Late last week AT&T and Samsung together cut the ribbon on a co-developed 5G Innovation Zone that had nothing at all to do with consumer 5G future opportunities.

• Rather, the new facility, housed within Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s Austin Texas fabrication plant, showcased several ways high speed cellular can both modernize and optimize manufacturing processes.

If you travel a few miles northeast of Austin, Texas, you’ll find among the gentle rolling hills an undistinguished 300-acre facility dedicated to the fabrication of semiconductors (aka computer chips) for networking, high performance computing, IoT, and of course mobile devices. And if you look carefully within the foyer of this 20+ year old foundry, you’ll find a somewhat unassuming highly rectangular room peppered with Ikea-styled demonstration tables and plain black monitors that when considered together scream out in all caps: “5G IS VERY REAL, RIGHT NOW!”

But not as you’d think.
Continue reading “Forget Flashy Consumer 5G Potentialities; For Manufacturers Like Samsung, the Need is Real and Right Now”

It’s All About ‘Me’

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

  • Consumers are becoming aware that their personal data is being mined and misused. They will demand changes and control.
  • Companies, starting with IT departments, need to get in front of this trend and become more customer-conscious about personal data and privacy by giving customers control and choice about how their data is used before laws and regulations make it no choice at all.

The definition of ‘me’ is expanding. ‘Me’ used to be about personal identity and one’s physical person, perhaps even extending to the immediate family around you. ‘Me’ is getting bigger, though, and extends to a lot more things. ‘Me’ is now also anything about ‘me’ including metadata about me. ‘Me’ is the data I generate from just living, the things I do, the products I buy, the music I like to listen to, and the entertainment I enjoy. ‘Me’ is browsing habits, daily habits, the places I go, the things I stop and look at in stores; my preferences for temperature, color, and foods; even my face, my eyes, my fingerprints, the patterns of veins in my hands. Continue reading “It’s All About ‘Me’”

Research Finds Facebook Posts Could Help Doctors Diagnose Medical Conditions

A. DeCarlo
A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Newly published research shows language in Facebook posts can be a more accurate tool than demographic data for helping medical professionals make a diagnosis.
  • The Facebook data is particularly effective in shedding light on certain health issues including diabetes and mental illness.

Facebook has been under fire for years for everything from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the platform’s part in aiding the dissemination of false information about the Rohingya Muslims that led to the deaths of thousands in Myanmar. Though it is sometimes derided as a tool that does more to isolate than connect, newly published findings by researchers from Penn Medicine and Stony Brook University show Facebook posts can provide important clues to puzzle out a number of medical conditions including diabetes, depression, and psychosis. Continue reading “Research Finds Facebook Posts Could Help Doctors Diagnose Medical Conditions”

Salesforce.com Asks AI-Curious Customers to First Invest in an Ethical Groundwork

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• There has been a significant rush among technology providers to make artificial intelligence (AI) a self-service endeavor, to make it available to the broadest possible swath of business users.

• But in so doing, companies are creating unanticipated legal exposure for AI practitioners unprepared to protect AI from human bias.

Salesforce.com has added a new AI learning module to its Trailhead developer education platform with an interesting twist. Rather than teach developers how to build AI outcomes most efficiently, the company’s newest educational module asks that practitioners slow down and focus on creating ethically informed AI solutions.

The new Trailhead educational module entitled, “Responsible Creation of Artificial Intelligence,” calls attention to an often overlooked threat from AI, namely unwitting human biases and intentional human prejudices.

Within these new training materials, Salesforce.com calls on Salesforce.com Einstein developers to adopt its own set of core values of “trust, customer success, innovation, and equality.” The company goes so far as to suggest that developers who fail to adhere to these standards in creating AI algorithms may find themselves in breach of its acceptable use policy.

Why is Salesforce.com referencing an acceptable use policy in conjunction with the ethical use of AI? Surely companies not engaged in outright nefarious endeavors would steer clear of anything overtly illegal in building AI outcomes. Certainly legislative controls such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are very clear about what constitutes an unlawful use of consumer data. Companies need only adhere to such policies to avoid potential litigation or censure, right?

Not necessarily, because human biases and prejudices can find their way into any AI-informed solution without detection. Throughout the lifecycle of a given AI solution, from data collection to ongoing maintenance, subtle but hugely impactful notions of partiality can find their way in, thereafter altering the decisions made by both humans and AI automated routines.
Continue reading “Salesforce.com Asks AI-Curious Customers to First Invest in an Ethical Groundwork”