IT Leader provides insight and guidance on issues impacting information technology and telecommunications professionals, focusing on overall market trends, strategic issues, and advice on supplier activities.
Cisco’s virtual IoT summit (held on June 18 as a special adjunct to Cisco Live) helped illustrate how its IoT products and those of its partners work together to provide end-to-end solutions to businesses in diverse industrial verticals and help bring together IT and OT constituencies.
Recent additions to the IoT portfolio include high-capacity and ruggedized networking equipment to meet industrial requirements, while Cisco’s intended acquisition of Fluidmesh and a variety of partner solutions add differentiated capabilities.
Cisco acknowledges that the customer’s need for visibility and security, IT/OT collaboration, and expanded connectivity is driving its IoT solution mix. It is optimistic about the road ahead for IoT, seeing new opportunities in smart cities, railways, utilities, public safety, manufacturing, oil & gas, ports, and mining. As organizations are converging to all-IP networks, they are also experimenting with use cases such as real-time traffic updates, automated power distribution, predictive maintenance, and wireless backhaul for fast-moving assets. This need for higher performance and bandwidth plays into Cisco’s core routing and switching product portfolio, so it is no surprise that two new products noted at the Summit were for network connectivity equipment. However, beyond routers and switches, the vendor also has products and platforms for IoT connectivity management, data control and exchange, edge computing, and cybersecurity as well as a lot of interesting partner solutions that add to its IoT opportunities. With these building blocks, in Cisco’s words, it can help “build a robust network, identify and secure devices, expand connectivity everywhere, extract data, and drive outcomes.” Continue reading “Cisco Fleshes Out Its IoT Vision at Virtual Summit”→
As more countries roll out contact tracing apps to notify citizens when they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, concerns are emerging about how this data could be used.
Human rights organization Amnesty International called out the apps from Bahrain, Norway, and Kuwait for not anonymizing end-user data.
Amnesty International is issuing a warning that some of the new COVID-19 contact tracing apps may not just be an invasion of privacy but potentially put lives at risk. Contact tracing – the process of finding and notifying people who have interacted with an infected person so they can be tested and quarantine – is vital to allowing businesses, educational institutions, and governments to resume operations that are closer to normal even as the virus continues to spread. Continue reading “COVID-19: Some Countries Come Under Fire for the Potential Misuse of Contact Tracing Apps”→
Tech companies must take ethical action when society and the law are unready.
Customers are increasingly demanding that companies use suppliers that are ethically sound.
The technology industry moves fast. Often it outpaces the society it serves from a social and legal standpoint. In this gap, it ethically falls to the tech industry not only to restrain itself, but also to set examples and to educate until the social and legal parts of society catch up. The latest example of this is facial recognition technology. Continue reading “Lead with Ethical Behavior or Your Customers Will Leave You Behind”→
• AI was featured prominently during Microsoft Build 2020, with a tagline of ‘Putting AI Into Action’ and a goal of bringing state of the art AI to all developers.
• Microsoft made several announcements that supported this vision, including updates on Microsoft Project Turing model, investments in infrastructure for AI processing, and the preview of Project Bonsai.
Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Microsoft Build 2020, was held as a virtual event on May 19 and 20, with more than 200,000 people registered. When kicking off Microsoft Build 2020, CEO Satya Nadella noted that the technology industry is being called upon to address the world’s most acute needs, and that developers are now more important than ever. He pointed out that organizations need the ability to remote everything at a moment’s notice, and to simulate and automate everywhere to enable more agile responses. Continue reading “Build 2020: Microsoft ‘Goes Big’ on AI and Demonstrates Thought Leadership”→
• There has been widespread evidence of layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs at IT vendors, partners, and their customers and more economic pain on the horizon
• Individuals can help each other, paying forward with job introductions, recommendations, and encouragement
Times are tough for enterprise IT vendors. The economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them hard. Some IT vendors, particularly the ones involved in cloud or collaboration have of course seen great increases in business, but the traditional vendors and of course startups are taking a beating.
In mid-May, AWS highlighted its portfolio of AI tools and solutions during its AWS Summit Online for the Americas region and announced the general availability of Amazon Kendra for enterprises.
Tools that support AI model development and management and pre-built solutions that can be easily deployed by developers who aren’t AI experts help streamline AI adoption.
AWS understands the challenges enterprises face when building their own machine learning models. The company notes that when scaling AI adoption, enterprises face wide-ranging complexities that can start as early as the data collection stage and continue throughout the model management lifecycle. At the beginning of a project, organizations face challenges related to data identification, storage, and curation as they pull together disparate data sources. Later, while building and training models, they need to manage numerous other complexities, such as sharing notebooks and pre-trained models. They need to ensure effective collaboration among what can be a growing number of individuals or teams, each with their own specializations. And, since machine learning models aren’t usually perfect the first time, team members need to communicate during the process of model tuning and optimization. They need to manage multiple versions of models, run experimental models in real time, and compare results. Even after deployment, machine learning algorithms need to be managed and monitored for concerns such as data drift, with newer versions deployed as additional data is collected or the factors that impact model results change. Managing these tasks can be challenging, and as AWS rightly points out, tools that help manage the complexities do much to streamline and speed AI deployments. Continue reading “AWS Aims to Make AI More Accessible for Both AI Specialists and Non-AI Experts”→
• 5G and the ecosystem around it will be a major contributor to the economy and facilitate economic recovery post-COVID.
• Regulators need to provide greater certainty on spectrum availability to allow operators to plan their investment and activities to get new 5G services to the market in a timely manner.
2020 is expected to be the year of 5G. With leading carriers already launched 5G in 2019, the rollout of 5G was ramping up and new 5G-ready devices were in the product pipelines of major manufacturers. However, 5G’s momentum, like many other segments of the economy, has been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key challenges for mobile operators is the availability of 5G spectrum. Mobile operators’ 5G rollout plans are often closely linked to the spectrum availability made by regulators. Unfortunately, the virus outbreak has led to some regulators putting planned spectrum allocations/auctions on hold due to health and financial reasons. Meantime, operators are also seeing a significant spike in mobile data services over the last two months. For example, in Spain, the telecom operators saw a 40 percent increase in IP traffic, a 25 percent increase in mobile data, and a five-fold increase in OTT messaging traffic (e.g., WhatsApp). Continue reading “5G Will Play a Key Role in Economic Recovery but Spectrum Availability is Key”→
• GlobalData predicts that sales of edge computing infrastructure and services will grow by almost 14% in 2020, and will experience accelerated growth in the 2021-2024 period.
• As with 5G, edge computing can help with post-crisis economic stimulus efforts, creating new opportunities for businesses, while helping them operate in more efficient and adaptable ways.
Prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19, edge computing was widely perceived to be one of IT’s hottest new trends. However, the COVID-19 crisis has thrown industries and economies around the world into upheaval, with many businesses being forced to re-evaluate previous IT investment plans – including those that involve edge computing. Despite this, investments in edge computing technologies are expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2020, before picking up in 2021. This is because of the benefits edge computing enables, and the broad range of use cases edge computing technologies support. Together with 5G wireless networking and artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing can also help governments and businesses strengthen their digital infrastructures and support post-crisis economic recovery. Continue reading “COVID-19: Edge Computing Can Help with Post-Crisis Recovery”→
The current pandemic has provided the opportunity to broaden the definition of corporate social responsibility (CSDR) and for technology providers to take even greater action.
A key question is whether these initiatives will pay off in the long run; the answer is likely ‘yes,’ but much will depend on a company’s track record prior to COVID-19.
The move toward greater corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been taking place for quite some time. Traditional activities that fall into this category are broad, including educational programs, investments in local or underprivileged communities, increased hiring of minorities, and initiatives to reduce carbon footprints or to support environmentally friendly projects. And the list goes on. The current pandemic has provided the opportunity for technology providers to take even greater action and possibly broaden what should be included in the definition of CSR. Continue reading “COVID-19: Tech Providers Demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership Now More Than Ever”→