Archive for the ‘announcements’ Category
IBM made a significant announcement earlier today concerning new technologies designed to help companies and governments tackle Big Data by making it simpler, faster and more economical to analyze massive amounts of data. The new data acceleration innovation results in as much as 25 times faster reporting and analytics.
Today’s announcement, which represents the work of hundreds of IBM developers and researchers in labs around the world, includes an industry-first innovation called “BLU Acceleration,” which combines a number of techniques to dramatically improve analytical performance and simplify administration.
Also announced was the new IBM PureData System for Hadoop, designed to make it easier and faster to deploy Hadoop in the enterprise. Hadoop is the game-changing open-source software used to organize and analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, online transaction records, and cell phone location data.
The new system can reduce from weeks to minutes the ramp-up time organizations need to adopt enterprise-class Hadoop technology with powerful, easy-to-use analytic tools and visualization for both business analysts and data scientists.
In addition, it provides enhanced Big Data tools for monitoring, development and integration with many more enterprise systems.
IBM Big Data Innovations: More Accessible, Enterprise-ready
As organizations grapple with a flood of structured and unstructured data generated by computers, mobile devices, sensors and social networks, they’re under unprecedented pressure to analyze much more data at faster speeds and at lower costs to help deepen customer relationships, prevent threat and fraud, and identify new revenue opportunities.
BLU Acceleration enables users to have much faster access to key information, leading to better decision-making. The software extends the capabilities of traditional in-memory systems — which allows data to be loaded into Random Access Memory instead of hard disks for faster performance — by providing in-memory performance even when data sets exceed the size of the memory.
During testing, some queries in a typical analytics workload were more than 1000 times faster when using the combined innovations of BLU Acceleration.
Innovations in BLU Acceleration include “data skipping,” which allows the ability to skip over data that doesn’t need to be analyzed, such as duplicate information; the ability to analyze data in parallel across different processors; and greater ability to analyze data transparently to the application, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modeling.
Another industry-first advance in BLU Acceleration is called “actionable compression,” where data no longer has to be decompressed to be analyzed.
Not IBM’s First Big Data Rodeo
The new offerings expand what is already the industry’s deepest portfolio of Big Data technologies and solutions, spanning software, services, research and hardware. The IBM Big Data platform combines traditional data warehouse technologies with new Big Data techniques, such as Hadoop, stream computing, data exploration, analytics and enterprise integration, to create an integrated solution to address these critical needs.
IBM PureData System for Hadoop is the next step forward in IBM’s overall strategy to deliver a family of systems with built-in expertise that leverages its decades of experience reducing the cost and complexity associated with information technology.
This new system integrates IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, which allows companies of all sizes to cost-effectively manage and analyze data and add administrative, workflow, provisioning and security features, along with best-in-class analytical capabilities from IBM Research.
Today’s announcement also includes the following new versions of IBMs Big Data solutions:
- A new version of InfoSphere BigInsights, IBM’s enterprise-ready Hadoop offering, which makes it simpler to develop applications using existing SQL skills, compliance security and high availability features vital for enterprise applications. BigInsights offers three entry points: free download, enterprise software and now an expert integrated system, IBM PureData System for Hadoop.
- A new version of InfoSphere Streams, unique “stream computing” software that enables massive amounts of data in motion to be analyzed in real-time, with performance improvements, and simplified application development and deployment.
- A new version of Informix including TimeSeries Acceleration for operational reporting and analytics on smart meter and sensor data.
Pricing and Availability
All offerings are available in Q2, except the PureData System for Hadoop, which will start shipping to customers in the second half 2013. Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages with no up-front payments for the software and systems that deliver a new generation of data analytics.
IBM Global Financing offers attractive leasing programs with 90-day payment deferrals for the PureData System for Hadoop, as well as zero percent loans for the broader portfolio of IBM big data solutions.
Anybody watch that Samsung Galaxy S4 launch last night on the Webcast from Radio City Music Hall in New York City?
Well, the latest episode of Smash it certainly was not. I think the entire show could probably have used a dramaturg, but hey, what do I know? The last show I saw at Radio City Music Hall was Iron Maiden sometime around 1985.
But, if Samsung doesn’t exactly have a handle on the number of the thespian beast, they certainly do seem to have learned how to make smartphones.
Once I got past all the drama last night, I was ready to shell out a few hundred bucks to move back into the smartphone camp (I’m currently carrying an LG feature phone from Verizon, because unlike most people, I actually still use my cell phone to TALK to OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.) I currently depend on an iPod Touch 5th gen for most of my tablet computing (news consumption, email, calendaring, shooter games, travel, etc.)
But at some point, I’m going to create my own harmonic computing convergence and try to come back to one device.
Of course, the price point for an unlocked Galaxy S4 will likely require a second mortage, and that’s if you can even find one.
So I’m also keeping an eye on the downmarket players like BLU Products, a little known player from whom I recently ordered an unlocked feature phone for $35 that I now use as my bat phone.
BLU is introducing a whole slate of new smartphones in April, entitled “Live View,” “Life One,” and “Life Play,” all of which will allegedly be sold unlocked on Amazon and range between $229 and $299.
The Life View model will include a 5.7-inch display (bigger than the Galaxy 5 at 5 inches), a 12-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front camera, 1GB RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and also a 2,600Ah battery for those lonnngg plane rides to Bangalore.
I imagine that phone will be “good enough,” and you can learn more here on Engadget.
What’s apparently not good enough for Google is having an RSS reader. It was just announced that Google Reader was going to be taken out back to the Google woodshed and shot, as of July 1 of this year, a resultant casualty of Google’s annual “Spring Cleaning.”
To whit I ask, couldn’t they have found something less useful to “clean?”
Not to pile on, but this is a really dumb move for Google, if not for the bad PR value alone (and there’s been plenty of that). Google Reader was a beloved product, if only by the niche social digerati — you know, all those massive influencers with a big social media megaphone.
For my money, it’s a jaded move — Google’s not making any money off Reader, and RSS feeds are notoriously difficult to measure, so why not bury it in the Mountain View backyard? On the other hand, it would be nice for them to keep a useful tool that helps we bloggers keep our blogging sanity, and Reader does/did? just that.
C’est la Google vie…I’ve turned to Feedly online and on the iPod, and Reeder on the Mac, to assuage my soon-to-be Google Readerless existence. So far, I’m digging the newspaper-ish like layout. I just hope I can learn how to add and subtract feeds as easily as I was able to on the Google Reader cloud.
As for my post-SXSW-partum depression, the sun’s shining in Austin and I plan to get out and play some golf this weekend. But I’ll just say this: For me, Best SouthBy ever. I saw a lot of great speakers and sessions, talked to a lot of cool and interesting people, consumed some of my native city’s great food and drink, and enjoyed myself all the way around.
And for those of you who made it to the IBM party at Haven Saturday night, well how about that? Definitely NOT your father’s IBM.
The bar she has been raised.
I’m not in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress which kicked off there today, but it seems like just about everyone else is.
Please, give my regards to Gaudi, have a few tapas and sangria, and I’ll aspire to visit the fair city another day.
Of course, when I say everybody else, I’m including some of my IBM colleagues, all of whom will be front-benching IBM’s recently-introduced “MobileFirst” strategy at MWC.
As I indicated in a prior post, IBM is putting some big bucks in mobile, and rightly so. And one announcement from earlier today in Barcelona demonstrates the ramping up of that commitment.
In partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks, IBM announced a collaboration to deliver the world’s first mobile edge computing platform that can run applications directly within a mobile base station.
This new platform allows mobile operators to create a truly unique mobile experience, relieve the ever increasing strain on network infrastructure and bring completely new solutions to market.
The new platform can accelerate the delivery of media-rich services by delivering content directly from the base station, ensuring enhanced quality of experience for consumers in the face of ever increasing data traffic growth.
The platform also enables a new generation of low-latency services with device presence to be delivered to consumers, creating new possibilities for mobile gaming, augmented reality, smarter traffic and public safety offerings, and more.
Improved latency can enable high-value vertical solutions that rely on big data-driven analytics to work on very large amounts of information in real time.
For example, IBM’s City in Motion solution can analyze radio information to estimate how people are moving through a city, identify their mode of transport, and configure a cities transport network in real time to ensure optimum performance.
If you’re in Barcelona for MWC, to see a demonstration at Mobile World Congress, visit IBM (Hall 3, booth 3B86) or Nokia Siemens Networks (Hall 3, booth 3B14) at the show.
For more information on Nokia Siemens Networks’ mobile broadband capabilities, including a video overview, follow this link.
And go here to learn more about IBM‘s communications industry solutions.
To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion on Twitter using #MWC13 and #ibmmobile.
IBM is going big on mobile.
Today, the company unveiled “IBM MobileFirst,” a comprehensive mobile strategy that combines security, analytics, and application development software, with cloud-based services and deep mobile expertise.
Using IBM MobileFirst solutions, businesses can now streamline everything from the management of employee mobile devices, to the creation of a new mobile commerce app that will transform their entire business model.
Today’s move by IBM builds off of its experience helping nearly 1,000 customers become mobile enterprises, and takes advantage of its thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations.
IBM has made 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years alone.
IBM also announced an expanded relationship with AT&T to provide developers with tools to create faster, richer mobile apps and services for customers. For instance, organizations can now quickly incorporate payment and messages into their apps.
With this expanded partnership, the AT&T API Platform, featuring IBM Worklight Adapters, will enable the more than 31,000 members of the AT&T Developer Program to quickly create and securely deploy enterprise apps that improve subscriber engagement and customer loyalty.
With these adapters that support AT&T’s ecosystem of APIs including those for speech, SMS, device capabilities, notary management and payment, developers can quickly and securely create rich, business-ready apps across a variety of platforms including iOS, Android and Windows.
Through IBM MobileFirst, IBM is providing companies with the essential tools to take advantage of new business opportunities being enabled by mobile.
A Broad Portfolio of Mobile Solutions
To be successful in embracing mobile for driving revenue growth, clients must have an integrated strategy for mobile, cloud, big data, social business and security. Today’s announcements from IBM help clients harness these complex technologies to drive innovation and growth.
IBM’s mobile solutions portfolio provides the key elements of an application and data platform with the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for the enterprise.
In addition to meeting mobile-specific requirements, the portfolio provides for rapid integration between social and cloud services as well as back-end technologies that help secure and manage strategic business processes. Key aspects include:
- IBM MobileFirst Platform – New updates include expanded capabilities of IBM Worklight to simplify deployment. It also features single sign-on capabilities for multiple applications. A new beta of the Rational Test Workbench for mobile helps to improve the quality and reliability of mobile apps.
- IBM MobileFirst Security – IBM extends its context-based mobile access control solutions and expands mobile application vulnerability testing with support for Apple iOS apps with the latest release of AppScan.
- IBM MobileFirst Management – New updates to IBM Endpoint Manager include enhanced support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and increased security standards that are critical to governments and regulated environments.
- IBM MobileFirst Analytics – IBM is expanding its Tealeaf CX Mobile solution to give enterprises more visual insight into mobile behaviors so they can better understand where improvements are needed and create exceptional and consistent consumer experiences across mobile devices.
To provide organizations with maximum flexibility and accelerate their adoption of mobile computing, these solutions can also be delivered through cloud and managed services.
A Deep Set of Mobile Services for Clients
Enterprises are embracing the mobile revolution at a rapid pace. IBM has thousands of mobile experts to help clients understand how industries will be transformed in a mobile world, based on client engagements across more than a dozen industries.
The IBM MobileFirst portfolio features several services to help clients establish mobile strategies, design and implement mobile projects. These include:
- IBM MobileFirst Strategy and Design Services – Clients can tap into IBM expertise to map out a mobile strategy for employees and customers, and key experience design skills from IBM Interactive to build compelling mobile experiences. IBM’s new Mobile Maturity Model can assess how a business is progressing towards becoming a mobile enterprise, while new Mobile Workshops help clients develop applications, architect infrastructure and accelerate their mobile progress.
- IBM MobileFirst Development and Integration Services – IBM offers services that help organizations roll out a mobile infrastructure and manage mobile application portfolios and BYOD environments. Enhanced Network Infrastructure Services for Mobile provide IT network strategy, optimization, integration and management. Mobile Enterprise Services for Managed Mobility help manage and secure smartphones, tablets and devices across a business. Mobile Application Platform Management helps speed deployment of mobile infrastructure to develop mobile applications more easily and quickly.
An Expansive Set of Mobile Resources and Programs for Business Partners, Developers and Academics
According to IBM’s recent Tech Trends Report, only one in 10 organizations has the skills needed to effectively apply advanced technologies such as mobile computing.
To help overcome this skills gap, IBM is rolling out a series of resources to help its ecosystem of developers, partners and academics tap into the mobile opportunity and augment existing skills or develop new ones.
- Developers – IBM today is announcing a relationship with AT&T that will enable developers to enhance mobile apps by using IBM Worklight to access AT&T’s APIs in the cloud. Now, developers have another tool with AT&T to quickly and easily create apps with rich features such as speech recognition and rapid payment. IBM is also rolling out new technical assets on developerWorks and CodeRally, a developer game community.
- Business Partners – With Ready for IBM MobileFirst, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can also embed mobile technologies into their solutions and Software Value Plus now provides mobile certifications, workshops and incentives for resellers and systems integrators.
- Academics – To help train the next generation of mobile developers, IBM is offering new faculty grants for curricula development. IBM is also making IBM Worklight available, free of charge, for the classroom and via online training to teach both students and faculty to develop for mobile environments.
IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing arm of IBM, can also help companies affordably transform into mobile enterprises.
Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the IBM MobileFirst portfolio — some starting at as low as 0% for 12 months with no up-front costs — allowing businesses to acquire essential technology and services while managing cash flow more effectively.
To learn more, visit the IBM MobileFirst site. You can also follow @ibmmobile, #ibmmobile on Twitter, and see IBM MobileFirst on YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.
Also, watch the video below (3:46), for it paints a broad, comprehensive, and gorgeous “picture” of the enterprise mobile opportunity and challenges.
IBM MobileFirst Announcement Coverage:
Well, the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 OS has come and gone, Research In Motion renamed itself as “BlackBerry,” the new company announced two new products, and the market mostly yawned.
Then again, many in the market seemed to find something to love about either the new interface and/or the new devices. David Pogue, the New York Time’s technology columnist (who typically leans towards being a Machead), wrote a surprisingly favorable review . Then again today, he opined again in a post entitled “More Things To Love About The BlackBerry 10.”
With that kind of ink, don’t vote the tribe from Ottawa off of the island just yet!
As I pondered the fate of the BlackBerry milieu, it struck me I hadn’t spilled any ink lately myself about IBM’s Watson, who’s been studying up on several industries since beating the best humans in the world two years ago at “Jeopardy!”
Turns out, Watson’s also been looking to apply to college, most notably, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Yesterday, IBM announced it would be providing a modified version of an IBM Watson system to RPI, making it the first university to receive such a system.
The arrival of Watson will enable RPI students and faculty an opportunity to find new users for Watson and deepen the systems’ cognitive computing capabilities. The firsthand experience of working on the system will also better position RPI students as future leaders in the Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing realms.
Watson has a unique ability to understand the subtle nuances of human language, sift through vast amounts of data, and provide evidence-based answers to its human users’ questions.
Currently, Watson’s fact-finding prowess is being applied to crucial fields, such as healthcare, where IBM is collaborating with medical providers, hospitals and physicians to help doctors analyze a patient’s history, symptoms and the latest news and medical literature to help physicians make faster, more accurate diagnoses. IBM is also working with financial institutions to help improve and simplify the banking experience.
Rensselaer faculty and students will seek to further sharpen Watson’s reasoning and cognitive abilities, while broadening the volume, types, and sources of data Watson can draw upon to answer questions. Additionally, Rensselaer researchers will look for ways to harness the power of Watson for driving new innovations in finance, information technology, business analytics, and other areas.
With 15 terabytes of hard disk storage, the Watson system at Rensselaer will store roughly the same amount of information as its Jeopardy! predecessor and will allow 20 users to access the system at once — creating an innovation hub for the institutes’ New York campus. Along with faculty researchers and graduate students, undergraduate students at Rensselaer will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system.This experience will help prepare Rensselaer students for future high-impact, high-value careers in analytics, cognitive computing, and related fields.
Underscoring the value of the partnership between IBM and Rensselaer, Gartner, Inc. estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.
This workforce — which is in high demand today — will require professionals who understand how to develop and harness data-crunching technologies such as Watson, and put them to use for solving the most pressing of business and societal needs.
As part of a Shared University Research (SUR) Award granted by IBM Research, IBM will provide Rensselaer with Watson hardware, software and training.The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous potential to help improve decision making across a variety of industries from health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.
IBM and Rensselaer: A History of Collaboration
Originally developed at the company’s Yorktown Heights, N.Y. research facility, IBM’s Watson has deep connections to the Rensselaer community. Several key members of IBM’s Watson project team are graduates of Rensselaer, the oldest technological university in the United States.
Leading up to Watson’s victory on Jeopardy!, Rensselaer was one of eight universities that worked with IBM in 2011 on the development of open architecture that enabled researchers to collaborate on the underlying QA capabilities that help to power Watson.
Watson is the latest collaboration between IBM and Rensselaer, which have worked together for decades to advance the frontiers of high-performance computing, nanoelectronics, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and other areas. IBM is a key partner of the Rensselaer supercomputing center, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, where the Watson hardware will be located.
Flanked by the avatar of IBM’s Watson computer, IBM Research Scientist Dr. Chris Welty (left) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Naveen Sundar discuss potential new ways the famous computer could be used, Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Troy, NY. IBM donated a version of its Watson system to Rensselaer, making it the first university in the world to receive such a system. Rensselaer students and faculty will explore new uses for Watson and ways to deepen its cognitive computing capabilities. (Philip Kamrass/Feature Photo Service for IBM)
This is a big day for announcements.
First, IBM announced a record 6,478 patents in 2012, patents for inventions that will enable fundamental advancements across key domains that includes analytics, big data, cybersecurity, cloud, mobile, social networking, as well as industry solutions like retail, banking, healthcare, and transportations.
These patented inventions also will advance a major shift in computing, known as the era of cognitive systems.
This is the 20th consecutive year that IBM topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients.
Ginny Rometty, IBM’s chairman and CEO, had this to say about the milestone:
“We are proud of this new benchmark in technological and scientific creativity, which grows out of IBM’s century-long commitment to research and development. Most concretely, our 2012 patent record and the two decades of leadership it extends are a testament to thousands of brilliant IBM inventors — the living embodiments of our devotion to innovation that matters, for our clients, for our company and for the world.”
IBM’s record-setting 2012 patent tally was made possible by more than 8,000 IBM inventors residing in 46 different U.S. states and 35 countries. IBM inventors residing outside the U.S. contributed to nearly 30% of the company’s 2012 U.S. patent output.
There was also an early morning announcement from Los Angeles, this year’s Academy Award nominees.
There was another long slate of Best Film nominees, including Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.
I’ve seen five of the nine, which puts me well ahead of where I am most years in terms of what films I have and haven’t seen.
Best Actor nominations were led by Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln and Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook. If you’ve seen Lincoln, it’s hard to see how the Best Actor Oscar doesn’t go do DDL.
On the Best Actress front, the nominations were led by Juillard-trained Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. But don’t rule out Emmanualle Riva for Amour, or the chamelon-like Naomi Watts in The Impossible. In a crazy year, Quvenzhane Wallis could even walk away with the Oscar for her crazy good performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of the most unique, imaginative films I’ve seen in years.
Quentin Tarantino got a nomination for Django Unchained in the Best Original Screenplay category, but I think that one is there for the taking by Mark Boal, screenwriter for Zero Dark Thirty.
Congrats to all this year’s nominees. As a big movie fan myself, looking at that slate of Best Pic nominees, you realize what a strong movie year it’s been.
Finally, on the topic of movies, if you’re a big movie fan, check out Stephen Rodrick’s piece in The New York Times magazine about the trials and tribulations renowned screenwriter-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Affliction, et al.) had financing and making his new film, The Canyons, which stars that ever-intemperate actress Lindsay Lohan.
Meanwhile, below I’ve included a nice video clip summarizing IBM’s 20 successive years of patent leadership, and you can learn more about IBM’s patent efforts on our Tumblr site.
I explained earlier in the week that I’d never been to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
But that didn’t preclude me from taking in some of the Vegas geek chic tidings from afar, and last evening, take in some, I did.
For the last many years as people can count, Microsoft has been the keynoter that opened the show. But this year, Microsoft decided they had better places to show their wares, so Qualcomm was offered the opening keynote spot.
Qualcomm, yes, the mobile wireless chip manufacturer.
That’s where things got weird.
And it’s also where the Internet memes started going wildly out of control. I saw some early coverage coming from CNET and the Verge that suggested Qualcomm’s event was going off the rails. Smelling blood on the prosceneum, I ran as quick as I could to the scene of the crime.
When I saw that Qualcomm had posted the full webcast (even before the full event could have been over), I decided to go and watch for myself.
Now, mind you, I’ve seen a lot of keynotes and speeches in my time, and even participated in content development for some, and so I have a lot of respect and admiration for those who effectively pull off such techno theatre.
And after watching the Qualcomm webcast end-to-end, there’s no question there was quite a bit of the theatre of the absurd.
It was a Daliesque technology dog’s keynote breakfast.
From the “Born Mobile” theme that spawned some semi-talented Generation M-sters spouting how they’d die if they lost their mobile oxygen, to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer apparently changing his mind and returning to CES long enough to hijack the Qualcomm stage to tell everyone how wonderful Windows8 mobile devices were, to some Sesame Street Theatre and kid’s mobile apps to help them learn how to read (where were those when *I* was a kid?!), to director Guillermo del Toro demonstrating how Qualcomm technology had helped make his movies come across even more brilliantly using Ultra HD, to NASCAR to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Maroon 5 (the rights for whom someone failed to get for the online audience…DOH!)…oy vey, I’d like to have seen some of IBM’s keynote handlers unleashed on this one.
But let’s not forget, this wasn’t theatre intended to have some Shakespearean denouement with a three-act structure and staged fight scenes. You want a fancy, well-produced show, head down the Strip and take in a Cirques du Soleil show or David Copperfield’s illusions at the MGM.
If you were just interested in learning what one of the leading mobile wireless manufacturers had to offer in its latest products in the marketplace, well, you could actually learn a few things. I did.
In fact, as something of a mobile aficionado, I was surprised to learn how much I didn’t know about this key player in the mobile sector, and the Qualcomm keynote, despite some if its failings, I think delivered on the most important, bottom line component of a major tech keynote: to inform and educate me about its products and capabilities, and to set a strategic vision and tone for who they are and where they’re going.
Though “the vision thing” may have been made more murky by the Heinz 57 cast of characters, at the end of the 80 minutes, that itself was a statement, that their mobile technology was impacting all kinds of various and sundry lives and industries.
The information in the keynote also spurred me to want to go read more about SnapDragon and some of the virtual reality technologies Qualcomm’s been working on.
Because though at some points you may very well cringe, and though may not be nobly entertained, you will also learn a few things about Qualcomm’s recent chip and related technology breakthroughs — none of the details of which seems to have found its way into the Verge’s keynote coverage.
If it’s Monday, it must be time for a Hurricane.
And I’m not referring to the cocktail emanating from Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans.
Hurricane Sandy is drifting up the Atlantic coast and is expected to make landfall later this afternoon, probably somewhere in New Jersey.
But as of 8:52 CST this morning, she’s already having an impact well in to New York City. I’ve already seen Twitpics of Battery Park City starting to surrender to the surge, which is truly frightening considering how much of the storm is still yet to come.
As an FYI, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have eliminated their paywalls and are making their content free, if you’re looking for up-to-the-minute updates on the storm.
YouTube is also streaming The Weather Channel (where NBC’s Al Roker was just seen trying to stay vertical at Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey).
I spoke with a good friend of mine who lives on the edge of Cobble Hill (in Brooklyn), and he indicated the water had not yet lapped over the piers there, but that it was likely only a matter of time. Forecasters are expecting a 6-to-11 surge when high tide strikes around 8 tonight.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo just held a press conference and announced the closing of both the Holland and Brooklyn Battery tunnels at 2 P.M. EST.
On Twitter, the National Hurricane Center is offering facts and tips at @NHC_Atlantic, and the Weather Channel can be followed at @weatherchannel.
I was living in NYC in 1985 during Hurricane Gloria, and that storm paled by comparison. So, please, be safe out there, stay away from the ocean, stay inside, and ride this sucker out as safely as you can!
UPDATE: I just built this Turbo Sandy Twitter list, with a list of followees from a variety of media and government sources, including the Weather Channel, NASA, FEMA, and a variety of others.
It’s a big day in tech, all the way around.
We’ll continue our mission to “Think Big” here in Las Vegas at the IBM Information On Demand 2012 event.
We’ll also get a glimpse into how big the mobile market is becoming as Facebook announces its earnings after the bell later today.
But of course, one of the biggest stories of the day has to do with the downsizing of one of our favorite tablets, the Apple iPad.
Rumors abound about the new iPad “Mini,” which I very look forward to referring to as my “MiniMePad.”
If you’re using an Apple device (including an AppleTV), you should be able to tune in to watch the announcement live starting at 10 AM PST.
If not, there will be shortage of bloggers out there giving you the blow-by-blow.
Why am I so interested in the Mini iPad?
First, Apple set the bar for tablets with the original iPad, which I still use to this day.
Second, the smaller form factor is raising a lot of questions about price. Can Apple afford to take down the price from $499 to the $200 range, especially when their iPod Touch is still priced at $299 (the last time I looked…I can’t look this morning, as the Apple store is down getting busy for the Mini introduction).
I’d say the question more is, can they afford not to? Like the early browser wars, this is a market AND mindshare battle. iOS and Android are lined up for a full cage death match, and if Apple’s to maintain its market share lead of 69.6% (as of Q2 2012), they’re going to have to compete aggressively on price.
The new Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs are coming in at under $200, and while I doubt that’s a price Apple can match, they’re going to have to strive to stay somewhat price competitive, figuring the Apple premium could be worth $100 per unit or so.
Third, the original iPad was the starting line of the shift away from desktop-centric technology, and as Microsoft attempts to come into this market with its Surface tablet, a key question emerges: Can Apple continue to entice productivity hounds away from the Microsoft ecosystem, despite the advent of the Surface, and stay price competitive in a burgeoning competitive market?
As for me, you might ask, will I buy one? I’ll never say never. The iPad has become a full-on personal entertainment and productivity workhorse for me, an elegant blended use case of both the personal and the professional.
I watch movies on the thing, I use it for blogging and broadcasting, I play games, I do email, I read books, I hold conference calls. There’s not a lot I can’t do on it.
So, I can easily justify the upgrade, and I’d love to get a faster iPad, but like with the original, I may wait for an initial software upgrade so Apple has the opportunity to work some of the kinks out.
Then again, I may not.
The news dam has begun to break at the IBM Information On Demand And Business Analytics Forum here in Vegas.
One of the highlights of today’s announcement was IBM’s unveiling of a new digital marketing system and big data software designed to help organizations gain actionable insights.
These tackle the most pressing big data challenges facing organizations today — accessing and gaining intelligence into an enormous stream of data generated from mobile, social and digital networks.
Big Data for Chief Marketing Officers
The emergence of big data technologies is driving the transformation of marketing for every channel. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are now responsible for analyzing consumer demands from social media, mobile devices, and traditional channels and align these demands with product development and sales.
The new IBM Digital Analytics Accelerator helps CMOs tap into consumer sentiment to create targeted advertising and promotions, avoid customer churn, and perform advanced Web analytics that predict customer needs.
Now, CMOs can bring advanced analytics to all their social media, web traffic, and customer communication behind their own firewall.
The industry’s first big data solution in the digital marketing arena is powered by Netezza and Unica technologies. With this integrated offering that includes the recently announced PureData System for Analytics, clients can run complex analytics on petabytes of data in minutes, and arm marketing professionals with instant insights.
CMOs can use new insights to accelerate marketing campaigns and better meet consumer needs based on the broadest range of data.
Trident Marketing: Gaining Visibility Into Consumer Behaviors
For Trident Marketing, a direct response marketing and sales firm for leading brands such as DIRECTV, ADT and Travel Resorts of America, performing analytics on big data has helped the company gain unprecedented visibility into consumers — from predicting the precise moment in which to engage with customers to anticipating the likelihood a customer will cancel service.
Working with IBM and partner Fuzzy Logix, the company has realized massive growth including a tenfold increase in revenue in just four years, a ten percent increase in sales in the first 60 days, and decreased customer churn by 50 percent.