Digital Acceleration – For When Digital Transformation Is Too Slow

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:          

  • Digital acceleration implements short-term tactical changes over longer-term strategic projects.
  • Digital acceleration is a response to changing customer demands, not just COVID-19.

Digital transformation has been an industry catchphrase for some time now.  Its definition is both vague and changeable, but it speaks to using technology to improve internal processes within an enterprise to deliver cost savings and/or improved performance.  It encompasses a wide range of technologies including cloud, SD-WAN, collaboration, IoT, 5G, blockchain, AI, and SaaS. 

However, there is a new buzz phrase on the block: digital acceleration.  So, is there a difference between digital transformation and digital acceleration?  The ‘helpful’ answer to that is ‘yes and no.’  The intentions of both digital transformation and digital acceleration are the same, as are the technologies involved.  The big difference is in methodology. Continue reading “Digital Acceleration – For When Digital Transformation Is Too Slow”

After a Fire Isn’t the Time to Buy Extinguishers

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Enterprises and organizations have long ignored business continuity / disaster recovery (BC/DR)

• BC/DR is a fundamental business duty like insurance, not an optional expense

Yesterday, French cloud provider OVH suffered a fire in one of its data center complexes in Strasbourg, France. It entirely destroyed one unit, damaged another and caused the shutdown of the rest of the units on site. Thankfully, no one was hurt and OVH is working on restoring service. But an entire data center is gone, along with parts of another. Not down, burned. Gone. Fried. No realistic chance of recovery, not anytime soon if at all. The fire was so hot the metal walls of the building deformed. Continue reading “After a Fire Isn’t the Time to Buy Extinguishers”

Microsoft’s Voice Mimicking Achievement Takes Natural Language Generation to New Levels, Albeit Controversial

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Custom Neural Voice can be trained to generate natural language that sounds like a specific person.

• Microsoft has considered the implications of Custom Neural Voice and prioritizes responsible use of the technology but the solution underscores the urgency for discussions related to Responsible AI.

Microsoft recently announced general availability, in limited access (use cases subject to Microsoft approval) of Custom Neural Voice, a service that uses artificial intelligence to generate natural language (enabling computers to ‘speak’). The achievement is quite impressive because of the level of customization it offers. Enabling computers to talk isn’t new, but what does raise eyebrows is that Custom Neural Voice can be trained to generate natural sounding speech that mimics a person. And not just a fictional person – but a specific individual. Continue reading “Microsoft’s Voice Mimicking Achievement Takes Natural Language Generation to New Levels, Albeit Controversial”

Already Over the Edge (Computing)

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

  • Edge computing is a real thing, but distorted and extended beyond reasonable use cases by FOMO.
  • Smart edge computing plays are not generalized, but specialized, and they do not play on hype.

The first conversations around the concept of edge computing were both interesting and enlightening. The basic idea was that compute resources needed to be closer to the actual workload in situations where real-time or very near-real time decisions need to be made. Latency could not be tolerated, so cloud or even corporate data centers were out of the question. Examples given were automated materials handling, manufacturing, and – of course, technology marketers’ favorite old trope – self-driving/automated vehicles. All but the last example sounded perfectly reasonable and lined up with customer needs, both today and tomorrow. Continue reading “Already Over the Edge (Computing)”

Microsoft and HPE Bring Advanced Data Processing and Cloud Computing to Space Station

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • HPE’s SBC-2 computer system on the International Space Station will enable advanced data processing in support of space-based research, while connecting to Microsoft’s Azure cloud on Earth.
  • Despite SBC-2’s potential, the new computer system will be vulnerable to the same environmental challenges as its predecessor.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft have joined forces to combine the potential of HPE’s edge computing technology and Microsoft’s cloud computing capabilities in outer space. HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2) system – soon to be deployed on the International Space Station (ISS) – will enable many new activities on the space station that require advanced data processing. It will also connect via satellite to Microsoft’s cloud data centers on Earth for more demanding requirements. However, despite the potential offered by SBC-2, the new computer system will be vulnerable to the same environmental challenges as its predecessor. Continue reading “Microsoft and HPE Bring Advanced Data Processing and Cloud Computing to Space Station”

Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL): Key Takeaways for the Local Enterprise ICT Market

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, MyDIGITAL, addresses key gaps across different key technology stacks such as cloud, 5G, and cybersecurity.
  • The initiative will accelerate digital transformation in the country; promote wider collaborations between vendors, service providers, and enterprises; and drive the enterprise ICT market.

The Malaysian government launched the country’s digital economy blueprint, called MyDIGITAL, which provides a comprehensive 104-page plan to accelerate the usage and adoption of technologies across the public sector, enterprises, SMBs, and consumers. While there are several other digital initiatives in the country (e.g., Jendela, National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan [NFCP], National Policy on Industry 4.0, National 5G Taskforce, Public Sector ICT Strategic Plan, and many more), MyDIGITAL outlines thorough plans with timelines and expected outcomes that glue all the other initiatives to drive the country’s economy through digital technologies. The next section discusses several key takeaways for the local enterprise ICT market. Continue reading “Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL): Key Takeaways for the Local Enterprise ICT Market”

Microsoft Opens Azure Quantum Cloud Service for Public Preview

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Microsoft has placed its Azure Quantum service into public preview

• Learning and software development are the first step in a long quantum computing journey

In a blog post, Microsoft has announced public availability of the Azure Quantum cloud service, which has been in closed beta testing for a while. All three of the biggest cloud providers, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud (with IBM), and Amazon Braket, now offer some form of quantum cloud computing. The original vision of quantum computing was much more centered on the idea that enterprises would buy quantum computers. But the operational and facility requirements for the current generation of quantum computers are too steep. Cloud computing is the natural choice for quantum computing, outside of the biggest research institutions and nation-states. Continue reading “Microsoft Opens Azure Quantum Cloud Service for Public Preview”

Telco Edge Computing in ASEAN

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Edge computing is still new in the ASEAN region, with very limited initiatives by providers and enterprises.
  • Providers and enterprises should start exploring the opportunity to gain a first-mover advantage.

The edge computing market is still new, but the ecosystem is developing fast with various initiatives and collaborations announced by key players in the last 12 months. This includes SK Telecom’s recent partnerships with VMware and Dell to offer edge computing in private 5G networking solutions (January 2021), AWS and Vodafone’s collaboration to roll out distributed multi-access edge computing (MEC) services in the UK (December 2020), Ericsson and Telstra’s initiative to develop enterprise use cases in verticals such as agriculture and smart cities in Australia, and many more. Edge computing has become a key focus for every provider across the technology stacks, including hardware vendors, cloud providers, telcos, and device manufacturers. Continue reading “Telco Edge Computing in ASEAN”

Enterprises Require Tools That Explain AI Findings

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Only slightly more than half of the respondents to GlobalData’s recent survey on emerging technologies felt that they fully understood artificial intelligence.
  • Before decision-makers act on the insights revealed by artificial intelligence, they need to have confidence in its findings, which requires an understanding of how they are obtained.

There is a widely accepted belief that artificial intelligence (AI) holds the potential to significantly alter the way organizations operate, vastly improving business outcomes. Businesses conceptually grasp that the technology’s benefits range from increasing efficiency and productivity to enhancing the customer experience. Yet, AI is still often viewed as a mysterious black box that yields little insight into how its findings are obtained. Without understanding what is happening under the covers, line-of-business leaders can be reluctant to act on the findings. Continue reading “Enterprises Require Tools That Explain AI Findings”

Virtual Desktops Still Don’t Cut It for Most Organizations

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

  • VDI is getting attention again with work from home here to stay.
  • VDI is great on paper, but in reality is only practical in certain niche use cases.

One of the joys of technology is the sheer inventiveness.  New concepts, new technology, even old technology used in new ways; every time something new appears, the industry speculates endlessly about possible applications.  But sometimes good ideas end up not being the world-changing solutions that their inventors and cheerleaders had thought.  Usually this doesn’t mean the technology goes away, just that it is most suited for niche applications.  But the bigger the initial hype, the longer it takes.  The best example of that is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  It’s a concept that’s been around for decades now.  While this is an over-simplification, VDI allows companies to host desktop operating systems (primarily Microsoft Windows) in their own data center and project them virtually to an endpoint, which is a piece of software installed locally on another computer.  To the end user, once they’ve started a VDI session, they see a standard corporate desktop, regardless of what they have installed locally.  This can also be done with individual software instead of the entire desktop. Continue reading “Virtual Desktops Still Don’t Cut It for Most Organizations”