Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘cloud computing’ Category

IBM Acquires UrbanCode For Rapid Delivery Of Mobile, Cloud, Big Data & Social Software

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IBM today announced it has acquired UrbanCode Inc.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, cloud applications.

Mobile, social, big data and cloud technologies are driving demand for new, faster and more frequent approaches to software delivery. Waiting days or even months to get an update to clients is no longer acceptable.

With UrbanCode’s technology, businesses can reduce the cycle time it takes to get updates or new applications into market, from months to minutes. This approach is designed to help reduce cost and risk, while helping address changing client needs by enabling a company to rapidly incorporate feedback into and improve the overall quality of their applications and services.

Software Development As Competitive Advantage

A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value uncovered that almost 70 percent of companies using software development for competitive advantage outperform their peers in profitability. As innovation in software becomes more and more critical to success, businesses need a collaborative, intuitive and continual approach to development, testing and delivery.

More than half of surveyed companies agree effective software development is crucial to competitive advantage. Yet, only a quarter of companies feel they have effective methods. UrbanCode’s capabilities will help solve this execution gap with the ability to accelerate software delivery.

IBM plans to continue to support UrbanCode clients and enhance their technologies while allowing these organizations to take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio.

UrbanCode’s software is a natural extension of IBM’s DevOps strategy, designed to simplify and speed the entire software development and delivery process for businesses.

The new capabilities also enhance IBM SmartCloud and IBM MobileFirst initiatives by making it easier and faster for clients to deliver software through those channels. For example, by combining UrbanCode software with the IBM MobileFirst Worklight technology, businesses can now author and deploy an application for any mobile device in hours, versus a previous multi-day timeline.

The UrbanCode solution also works with traditional applications including middleware, databases and business intelligence.

“Companies that master effective software development and delivery in rapidly changing environments such as cloud, mobile and social will have a significant competitive advantage,” said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager, IBM Rational Software. “With the acquisition of UrbanCode, IBM is uniquely positioned to help businesses from every industry accelerate delivery of their products and services to better meet client demands.”  

“Together UrbanCode and IBM technology will be unmatched in the industry, providing businesses a continuous process for developing, testing, and delivering new and updated software,” said Maciej Zawadzki, chief executive officer, UrbanCode. “By removing the bottlenecks that traditionally exist between development teams and production systems, businesses can drive rapid innovation.”

For more information visit the IBM Rational site.

Winning In Europe And Oklahoma

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IBM announced a couple of nice wins these past few days.

One, a partnership agreement between IBM and Itella, a leading provider of business services in Europe and Russia.

It’s a seven-year cloud computing agreement to help Itella streamline its business operations and improve its flexibility and time-to-market, and allowing them to focus on their core business and develop new services for their clients.

Itella provides postal, logistics and financial transaction process services in Northern and Central Europe, as well as Russia.

Specifically, IBM will build a private cloud to provide hosting as well as application management and development services to Itella. With the cloud, IBM will automate basic production of technology services as well as improve the quality and management of those services.

“Through this operating model renewal, we can adopt a flexible service delivery to increase automation and introduce best practices, utilizing IBM’s world-class competence,” said Jukka Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Itella Mail Communications. “Through the partnership, we can make our operations more efficient and cut costs, without compromising our high-quality service.”

And nearly halfway around the globe and just north of here, the great state of Oklahoma is partnering with IBM to save $15 million over the next five years and to help improve services to state residents there.

As governments institute structural changes in the way agencies measure performance and deliver services, data analytics and new delivery models can help lead the way for transformations that realize a measurable return on investment and improved quality of life.

By analyzing business processes and consolidating IT projects, IBM will help the state gain significant savings in software licensing and technology maintenance costs— resulting in an expected IT budget recovery of 30 percent.

“At a time when we all have to learn to do more with less money, IBM has been instrumental in identifying and prioritizing IT consolidation projects for the state of Oklahoma, at the same time allowing us to invest in new services for our residents,” said Alex Pettit, chief information officer, state of Oklahoma.

“IBM brought not only its extensive public sector services experience to help create the initial business case for this project, but also worked with participating agencies to verify that the new technology environment would improve mainframe service and reduce costs.”

IBM helped the state to understand the challenges of providing IT services to various agencies with diverse requirements for data management and federal reporting.

The new IT infrastructure established a model for IT compliance with federal guidelines on program data and processes, using an IBM System z mainframe. IBM also helped the state meet project funding requirements—bridging the financial gap between the initiation of the project and the cost savings.

The agreement helps ensure that the delivery of technology services is more effective and more consistent. In addition, the new infrastructure gives each agency more control over the quality, performance, and support of their technology environment.

Ultimately, the consolidation of five mainframe platforms also yielded significant savings in costs and lower lease costs. The recommended options projected an 18-30 month payback period that would save 25–30 percent of the state’s combined annual IT budget.

IBM worked with the state on a detailed analysis of the IT infrastructure and opportunities to consolidate computing capacity, storage, network, backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

The plan included development of a target architecture, establishment of a high-level roadmap, and development of a services delivery schedule between the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), responsible for operating the consolidated environments, and each state agency.  

You can learn more about other of IBM’s smarter government initiatives here, and about IBM’s cloud computing offerings the likes of which it’s building for Itella here.

Building A Bigger, Better Cloud In Ohio

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The cloud, she is getting bigger, particularly in the great State of Ohio.

For Ohio has selected IBM for a $267-million 10 year modernization of the State of Ohio Computing Center (SOCC) through the development of a private cloud computing environment and the use of other hardware, software and services from IBM.

The SOCC includes four floors and more than 350,000 square feet of space, and houses infrastructure for several state agencies that support more than 1,400 applications executing on over 2,700 servers.

By working with IBM, the State will be able to focus on meeting application demands that underpin the services it provides to the citizens of Ohio.

The program will also lay the groundwork for future opportunities including the State’s drive toward private, secure cloud computing.

Highlights of the work with IBM include:

  • Remediating power and cooling capabilities in the State’s facility in Columbus
  • Migrating agency related infrastructure and application workloads within the facility
  • Implementing operating model improvements to deploy ITIL-based service management
  • Ongoing services in a co-managed arrangement with State staff

“We are working with IBM to significantly reduce the complexity of our infrastructure, improve data center operations and increase service delivery for state agencies and the constituents they serve,” Stu Davis, State of Ohio’s Chief Information Officer said. “This is a foundational component of Ohio’s IT Optimization efforts that will result in savings and culminate in the consolidation of the state’s IT assets into a primary state data center. This provides agencies with services they require and ensures we are spending taxpayers’ dollars once.”

The State’s cloud computing environment will be designed to provide a secure, high-performance and dependable foundation for computing, while costing the State less than its current infrastructure.

The goal of the State’s IT consolidation is to substantially reduce IT infrastructure services spend, and reallocate those funds to applications and services that support the citizens and businesses of Ohio.

You can learn more about IBM Smarter Government solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

March 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Live @ IBM Pulse 2013: A Cloud Computing Security Roundtable

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At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

If you’ve followed the headlines recently, you can’t help but notice the constant barrage of news concerning security break-ins at some of the most public cloud sites on the planet: Facebook, Google, Evernote…the list goes on and on.

Yet in spite of the looming cloud security concerns, enterprises and organizations continue to ramp up their investments in both public and private cloud infrastructure as a cost-effective, dynamic way to scale up their IT capacity.

At the IBM Cloud Security roundtable here at IBM Pulse 2013 yesterday in Las Vegas, several IBM security experts came together to discuss some of the challenges, best practices, and solutions to protect against threats and provide security-rich cloud computing environments.

Jack Danahy, director of security for IBM North America, hosted the panel before the gathered industry press, and offered up some prefacing comments to set the stage for the security discussion.

Jack began by stating that 9 out of 10 global CEOs say that cloud computing is critical to their business plans and “a way to increase their organizational productivity, but all also admit security is a lingering concern.”

Brendan Hannigan, the general manager for the IBM Security Division, explained that there are some key basic security concerns around cloud, including the safety of enterprise data, and whether or not it can be compromised or lost.

Hannigan explained: “Cloud is simply another computer upon which we can deploy capabilities for our customers, and we should be able to look at cloud security the same way we do across other domains.”  That includes giving organizations a single view of identity across their cloud environments.

Kris Lovejoy, general manager for IBM Security Systems, discussed some of the key inhibitors to organizations providing more effective cloud security measures, and explained that the cloud is actually inherently more securable than traditional IT infrastructure because of they way it’s designed and the manner by which you can replicate security controls.

So if the cloud is inherently more securable, why the seeming contradiction that nobody seems to be able to effectively secure it?

Because, Lovejoy explained, when you buy public cloud capability you typically have to buy the security features as an added extra, and may customers don’t do so.

“Think about the provider as being a hotel,” Lovejoy explained, “and in each hotel room they have a series of diseases. The provider must provide you good housekeeping to protect you from diseases in the other rooms, and yet so many cloud computing tenants don’t make that obvious investment to protect their cloud applications and data.”

When Danahy asked the panel about what can be done to make executives more comfortable with the idea of security investments in the cloud space, Hannigan chimed in, and explained the rationale comes down to a distinction in the type of data you’re working with, and delineating between the information that is critical and that which is less sensitive.

“When you have a specific application or data set,” Hannigan explained, “there are wonderful opportunities afforded by the cloud because in security, one of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between locking the infrastructure down and providing free and unfettered access to the that information customers and employees need.”

Lovejoy explained it was not dissimilar from the crazy notion of automakers selling cars without seatbelts or brakes. “You don’t want to suddenly discover you don’t have these features going 60 miles per hour down the interstate.”

Kevin Skapintez, program director of product strategy for IBM Security, said that the need for more cloud security standards reminded him of the late 1800s, when fire hydrants had different nozel sizes that required varying widths of connectors for the hoses.

“You have to have standards related to identity,” Kevin explained, “so you don’t have to build different registries per cloud!”

“More organizations needed to also heighten their log management regimes,” he explained, “so that they have improved visibility to see if they have the right controls in place and where incidents are occuring.”

Lovejoy explained that “most organizations have a pretty defined pathway to cloud success.” Many are using develop and test environments and are moving to non-core workloads, allowing a lot of applications to emerge and consolidate on the cloud.

At the same time, she explained, most companies are planning a security operations optimization and that the cloud is a remarkable opportunity. “As we consolidate,” she explained, “things get simpler. Companies need to think about this in the context of business transformation. You need to adopt the cloud in a safe and reliable manner while managing the risk.”

During the Q&A, I asked the panel whether or not all these very public public cloud security incidences we’ve seen in the headlines were driving any real productive conversation in terms of making cloud security more of a priority.

Lovejoy explained the scenario typically went something like this: A CEO would call up their provider, ask for an assessment, give them a threat briefing, then go to a third party standard to see if they matched the security checklist.

But that not enough of them were what she termed “security aware.”

Hannigan concluded, “It’s a classic dilemma with security spending. Security concerns are not specific just to the cloud, and clients are working about losing data, period. The question is, can they invest all the money necessary to adequately secure those environments?”

To date, the answer seems to largely be “no.”

Live From IBM Pulse 2013: Day 2 General Session — IBM Tivoli Customers Share Their Best Practices

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Several prominent IBM Tivoli clients joined IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc at the IBM Pulse 2013 day two general session to discuss their asset and infrastructure management best practices on the MGM Grand Arena stage.

Several prominent IBM Tivoli clients joined IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc at the IBM Pulse 2013 day two general session to discuss their asset and infrastructure management best practices on the MGM Grand Arena stage.

If you missed Carrie Underwood last evening in the MGM Grand Arena, well…I’m sorry.

Actually, I’d find it difficult to believe anyone from IBM Pulse missed Carrie Underwood, as the place was packed to the rafters, and Carrie did not disappoint.

In fact, quite the opposite…and judging from the line waiting to get in that stretched all the way back to the MGM hotel elevators, well, let’s just say expectations were high.

And as we move into Pulse 2013 Day Two, we should maintain those high expectations, because it was clear from this morning’s keynote customer interview led by IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc that today’s focus would be on highlighting best practices in building and maintaining smart infrastructures.

IBM vice president Scott Hebner first kicked the session off, explaining IBM’s continued commitment to open standards (see yesterday’s announcement about IBM’s commitment to using OpenStack), explaining that “Just as standards helped us realize the promise of e-business over the last decade, I think the same is going to occur with respect to cloud computing.”

Scott also encountered an amusing “blue screen of cloud death” moment, where all systems failed, spinning umbrellas appeared on screen (and in the audience), and colorful chaos people appeared from offstage.

An amusing moment, but one with an underlined headline of warning: Thou who doth go too far forward building on proprietary platforms may findeth one’s business in cloud computing chaos!

Scott next handed the baton to Robert Leblanc, and it was time now for Robert to introduce a range of IBM Tivoli clients operating in a garden variety of industries: Steve Caniano, Vice President, Hosting, Applications, and Cloud Computing with AT&T; Robert Pierce, Assistant Vice President, Information Services, Carolina Healthcare; Eduardo Bustamante, Director of Systems and Telecommunications, Port of Cartagena; and Tony Spinelli, Chief Security Officer, Equifax.

First, he cleared the decks and set up the big picture: Technology is now the number one issue for CEOs, as they recognize it could make or break their success. Big data, mobile, and cloud loom over the horizon as competitive differentiating technologies, and, increasingly, are table stakes.

Security is more of a risk, but going on the offensive beats succumbing to the nastiness of the defensive (read the cyber security headlines lately?).

And yet…and here was the key point of the best practices session…only one in five CEOs feel they have a highly efficient IT infrastructure, one that’s versatile and dynamic and can adapt to the ever-changing whims of an admittedly volatile marketplace.

And Robert delivered more bad news (admittedly, he did so with a smile): 70 percent of CIOs lack proper visibility into their cloud systems, 78 percent are NOT using mobile device management, and 53 percent lack the proper automation of securing their assets.

Oh, and only one in ten feel they have the skills and capabilities they require.

Robert asked each of the IT executives about their respective environments and challenges.

Steve from AT&T observed that “cloud computing is a team game” but that “hybrid types of solutions needed to be deployed,” and he explained AT&T’s partnership with IBM had been key in this regard.

Robert with Carolina Healthcare explained in the field of medicine that “mobility has become a key differentiator” and that the new doctors coming up “expect robust information technology services” or else they’ll find someone else’s hospital to work at.

He went on to explain that Carolina had begun to use IBM’s Endpoint Manager to manage some 38,000 desktops, laptops, iPads and iPhones.

Eduardo had a different set of challenges, operating in a much more “physical” realm in using IT services to better orchestrate the cacophony of trains, cranes, and other moveable assets.  He indicated the Port of Cartagena is implementing RFID in concert with IBM Maximo technologies to better manage and move those assets efficiently around the port, and in the process, adding a layer of analytics to allow for continuous improvement of that physical instrumentation.

And Tony with Equifax got a laugh from the audience when he started by stating that “Everyone in this audience wants me to do a great job,” acknowledging the company has and must protect the information of individuals and businesses around the globe.

He suggested companies need to move beyond simply “naming the bad actors” in the security intrusion front, and instead move to “better understand those bad actor’s strategies and tactics” so they can better prioritize, respond to, and yes, even prevent those incidences from occurring in the first place, something Equifax is doing through the implementation of improved security intelligence using IBM QRadar technology.

“By having better security intelligence on the battlefield,” Tony explained, “you’re better prepared.”

“Not all assets are created equally,” he explained, speaking, of course, for Equifax, but acknowledging a much broader theme and challenge to the gathered IBM Pulse crowd.

Captcha Gotcha!

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Houston, we have a problem.

And I want to hear from anyone else out there who has had this problem. Because I fear it may be an increasingly prominent one in our always-connected, increasingly cloud-based cyber existence.

I was in meetings last week in NYC…you know, with actual people…and I was trying to look someone up on Twitter.

You know, on the actual Twitter web site, not a Twitter application.

Only to discover I apparently no longer knew my password.

So I set about trying to recover my password from Twitter.

But my account had been blocked, because apparently I tried to get
into it too many times.

Shame on me. Trying to get into my own Twitter account! What kind of psychopath, am I?

So then I tried to have Twitter send some info to my email and/or phone number.

Nothing ever showed on my cell phone, a number I’ve had for years.

And I assumed the account was set up so long ago, that I probably included my Hotmail email address.

So now I went to Hotmail to login.

And guess what happened?

Of course. I know no longer knew the password.

So I tried to recover the password.

And that’s when the Captchas stormed the castle.

You know, those cute little boxes where you enter characters that no mere mortal can read, much less interpret, so you can try and access what you assumed to be your account?

The person who invented those? They’re now officially on my most wanted list. Right up there near number one and closing fast.

So then I thought, perhaps my Hotmail address became a Live.com address.

So I tried that.

More captchas. No success.

I refused to throw down my sword, I was going down fighting.

Especially considering this was Microsoft!

So I tried to sign up for a new Outlook cloud account. I would simply start over, begin anew, smell the spring roses of the azure fields.

It wouldn’t likely help me in the pursuit of reclaiming my Twitter ID, which I’m pretty much has been hacked and is now manned by some pimply-faced 14 year-old Twerp somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Now I’m starting to get paranoid, thinking perhaps Microsoft has me on their hit list.

Because when I tried to submit the new Outlook account request, it was kind of like the Internet equivalent of the Windows hourglass.

And people laugh wondering why in the world I said earlier in the year I was going to break out my Underwood manual typewriter!

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Taking The Pulse On Mobile

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IBM Pulse on Vivastream

IBM Pulse 2013 is introducing a new social networking feature called “Pulse on Vivastream,” where you can connect and interact with other attendees and speakers to find people with similar interests and skills, share agendas, discuss hot and trending topics, and network with your peers. So, sign up now so you can make the most of IBM Pulse 2013 — before, during, and after the event.

First it was Ubuntu Linux on phones, and now it looks like it’s going to be Ubuntu Linux on Tablets.

TechCrunch posts that on Thursday, developers will be able to start “playing with” the new code, citing Ubuntu founder and VP Products Mark Shuttleworth saying that the strategy is “One Ubuntu” that contains the same codebase but works across multiple platforms, including desktops, phones, and tablets.

But, that each platform “uses a Linux kernel” that’s tailored for the specifics of the target hardware.

This in juxtaposition with iOS and Android, which don’t work as well beyond the handset form factor.

For the record, I currently run Ubuntu on several of my older machines, and save for some VPN woes, I’m a (mostly) happy Ubuntu user.

But what’s more interesting to me about this announcement is the timing. The global mobile confab, Mobile World Congress, is set to launch next week in Barcelona (one of my favorite cities on the planet!).

And speaking of mobile, just last week, IBM announced that Forrester Research, Inc. has recognized IBM as a leader in enterprise mobility services in its recent Forrester Wave report “Enterprise Mobility Services, Q1 2013.”

The report gave IBM the highest score possible on its current offering, writing that IBM “brings clients a world-class design agency (IBM Interactive) combined with breadth and depth of enterprise mobility consulting in terms of technology and global presence.”

I expect you’ll hear more about IBM’s mobile strategy in Barcelona, and shortly thereafter at the IBM Pulse event in Las Vegas, which I’ll be covering for Big Blue.

If you’re planning on attending IBM Pulse, I would highly recommend you start preparing your schedule now.  Already-registered attendees simply need go to the Pulse SmartSite to start checking out this year’s fare.

But wait, there’s more!

This year, IBM has introduced an exciting new social feature in the form of Pulse on Vivastream, a unique social networking platform where you can connect and interact with other attendees and speakers in advance of, during, and after the event to find people with similar interests and skills, share agendas, discuss hot and trending topics, and network with other attendees before you ever land in the land of what happens there stays there.

I’m already registered on “Pulse on Vivastream” myself, so feel free to drop by and introduce yourself.

This year, IBM Pulse guest speakers and performers include 4-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning and 6-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood.

You’ll also have the opportunity to mix it up with 8,000+ of your peers and hear from IBM business partners and top industry analysts on the latest trends and hottest IT topics…including, yes, mobile.

You can go here to learn more about IBM Pulse 2013, which goes from March 3-6.

I’ll be bringing you more insights and coverage leading up to and during the event right here in the Turbo blog, and will once again be broadcasting via the Interwebs from the show floor, speaking with a variety of IBM executives, industry analysts, and other thought leaders that help make the IBM Tivoli world go round.

Dr. Watson Finds Bedside Manner

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Back in September of 2011 I mentioned in this blog post that one of Watson’s first jobs outside of playing Jeopardy! was going to be in the healthcare industry.

Well, earlier today WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today unveiled the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.

These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine.

Check out this short video to learn more about how physicians and other medical professionals are able to use IBM’s Watson technology to help them with their medical diagnostic tasks.

The American Cancer Society projects that 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone.  Studies suggest that the complexities associated with healthcare have caused one in five health care patients to receive a wrong or incomplete diagnosis.

These statistics, coupled with a data explosion of medical information that is doubling every five years, represents an unprecedented opportunity for the health care industry and next generation cognitive computing systems, to combine forces in new ways to improve how medicine is taught, practiced and paid for.

For more than a year now, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to train Watson in the areas of oncology and utilization management.

During this time, clinicians and technology experts spent thousands of hours “teaching” Watson how to process, analyze and interpret the meaning of complex clinical information using natural language processing, all with the goal of helping to improve health care quality and efficiency.

“IBM’s work with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents a landmark collaboration in how technology and evidence based medicine can transform the way in which health care is practiced,” said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions (see my interview with Manoj at last fall’s InterConnect event in Singapore further down in the post).

“These breakthrough capabilities bring forward the first in a series of Watson-based technologies, which exemplifies the value of applying big data and analytics and cognitive computing to tackle the industries most pressing challenges.”

Evidence Based Medicine: Addressing Oncology Issues By Quickly Assimilating Massive Amounts Of Medical Information

To date, Watson has ingested more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research.

Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

In less than a year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has immersed Watson in the complexities of cancer and the explosion of genetic research which has set the stage for changing care practices for many cancer patients with highly specialized treatments based on their personal genetic tumor type.

Starting with 1,500 lung cancer cases, Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians and analysts are training Watson to extract and interpret physician notes, lab results and clinical research, while sharing its profound expertise and experiences in treating hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer.

“It can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings. The combination of transformational technologies found in Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer in communities across the country and around the world,” said Craig B.Thompson, M.D., President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Ultimately, we expect this comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace.”

The Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and WESTMED Medical Group are the first two early adopters of the capability. Their oncologists will begin testing the product and providing feedback to WellPoint, IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to improve usability.

Speeding Patient Care Through WellPoint’s Utilization Management Pilot

Throughout WellPoint’s utilization management pilot, Watson absorbed more than 25,000 test case scenarios and 1,500 real-life cases, and gained the ability to interpret the meaning and analyze queries in the context of complex medical data and human and natural language, including doctors notes, patient records, medical annotations and clinical feedback.

In addition, more than 14,700 hours of hands-on training was spent by nurses who meticulously trained Watson. Watson continues to learn while on the job, much like a medical resident, while working with the WellPoint nurses who originally conducted its training.

Watson started processing common, medical procedure requests by providers for members in WellPoint affiliated health plans in December, and was expanded to include five provider offices in the Midwest. Watson will serve as a powerful tool to accelerate the review process between a patient’s physician and their health plan.

“The health care industry must drive transformation through innovation, including harnessing the latest technology that will ultimately benefit the health care consumer,” said Lori Beer, WellPoint’s executive vice president of Specialty Businesses and Information Technology. “We believe that WellPoint’s data, knowledge and extensive provider network, combined with the IBM Watson technology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s oncological expertise can drive this transformation.”

Watson-Powered Health Innovations

As a result, IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint are introducing the first commercially based products based on Watson. These innovations represent a breakthrough in how medical professionals can apply advances in analytics and natural language processing to “big data,” combined with the clinical knowledge base, including genomic data, in order to create evidence based decision support systems.

These Watson-based systems are designed to assist doctors, researchers, medical centers, and insurance carriers, and ultimately enhance the quality and speed of care.  The new products include the Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, powered by Watson, in collaboration with IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint.

The WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer, powered by Watson, designed for utilization management in collaboration with WellPoint and IBM.

New Interactive Care Insights for Oncology  

  • The cognitive systems use insights gleaned from the deep experience of Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians to provide individualized treatment options based on patient’s medical information and the synthesis of a vast array of updated and vetted treatment guidelines, and published research.
  • A first of-its-kind Watson-based advisor, available through the cloud, that is expected to assist medical professionals and researchers by helping to identify individualized treatment options for patients with cancer, starting with lung cancer.
  • Provides users with a detailed record of the data and information used to reach the treatment options. Oncologists located anywhere can remotely access detailed treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.

New WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer 

  • Delivers the first Watson-based cognitive computing system anticipated to streamline the review processes between a patient’s physician and their health plan, potentially speeding approvals from utilization management professionals, reducing waste and helping ensure evidence-based care is provided.
  • Expected to accelerate accepted testing and treatment by shortening pre-authorization approval time, which means that patients are moving forward with the first crucial step toward treatment more quickly.
  • Analyzes treatment requests and matches them to WellPoint’s medical policies and clinical guidelines to present consistent, evidence-based responses for clinical staff to review, in the anticipation of providing faster, better informed decisions about a patient’s care.
  • WellPoint has deployed Interactive Care Reviewer to a select number of providers in the Midwest, and believes more than 1,600 providers will be using the product by the end of the year.

Watson: Then and Now

The IBM Watson system gained fame by beating human contestants on the television quiz show Jeopardy! almost two years ago. Since that time, Watson has evolved from a first-of-a-kind status,  to a commercial cognitive computing system gaining a 240 percent improvement in system performance,  and a reduction in the system’s physical requirements by 75 percent and can now be run on a single Power 750 server.

The transformational technology, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was developed in IBM’s Research Labs. Using advances in natural language processing and analytics, the Watson technology can process information similar to the way people think, representing a significant shift in the ability for organizations to quickly analyze, understand and respond to vast amounts of Big Data.

The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous potential to improve decision making across a variety of industries from health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit www.ibmwatson.com.

You can also follow Watson on Facebook here, and via Twitter at hashtag #IBMWatson.

And below, you can see the aforementioned video where I interviewed IBM Watson general manager Manoj Saxena about Watson’s future at last year’s IBM InterConnect event.

Turbo’s New Hammer

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Turbo’s new “hammer,” a Samsung Chromebook that he loyally bought from IBM client Best Buy when he was supposed to be out just grabbing lunch. Read the full post to determine whether Todd will keep his new hammer and whether or not it’s worthy of a life lived mostly in the cloud.

I’ve not written a personal technology post in a couple of weeks, but I had occasion to acquire some new technology recently, and I decided that must change.

First things first: Never let me loose in a Best Buy with a credit card.  It’s not a pretty sight.

Which is precisely where I found myself last week during a lunch break, when I allegedly stepped out to get some food.

Of course, the place where I was getting the food was also close to where the Best Buy is located.  So, one thing led to another…

And to be fair, if not to myself, then to the telling of the tale, I didn’t wander into the Best Buy without having in my mind’s eye a certain technology I wanted to check out.

Mind you, I never had children, much to my mother’s chagrin, so my indulgence IS the acquisition of new technologies, of all varieties.  I could open a museum dedicated to the long dormant carcasses of technologies past.

Some of them I could make a good argument at the time I needed them, others I would have a difficult time in making that case to a mock court filled with sympathetic nerds.

But regardless, it is my passion and weakness (that, and golf).

Now for my juicy rationalization on this particular lunch break: Though I didn’t need a new computer, I wanted to try something new.

That’s as rational as it’s going to get.

Hey, it’s better than going out and buying a Porsche on a lark, right? Or a motorcycle of some kind, which would surely get me killed!  At least this Chromebook won’t kill me, I thought as I walked through Best Buy the parking lot.

So I walked into the Best Buy and *specifically* wanted to check out the Chromebooks.  That would help me limit the damage.

I already told you, this wasn’t an entirely rational act, although there was plenty of rationalizing as I went through the door.

Also, how’s this: Best Buy is an IBM client! When I buy stuff from Best Buy, I’m helping support a customer who helps support me because they buy our stuff!

That’s pretty good, you must admit.  I was about to close the deal with myself and I hadn’t even yet seen the Chromebook.

By now, I’ve walked past the mobile phone section of Best Buy, which for me is like a person who has a gambling problem having the willpower to walk through Caesar’s Palace without stopping at a blackjack table.

But I did it. And I kept on walking…past the 3D TVs, the Internet-enabled fridges, past the camera section (Wait, I’ve not bought a camera at least in a year!), and on into the computer section.

I asked the friendly sales guy if they had any Chromebooks on display, and he said, in fact, they did. Two models, one from Samsung, and one from Acer.

The Samsung had a 16GB hard drive, and the Acer, I think, a 128GB drive.

Of course, you’re missing the point with a Chromebook if you’re thinking about how much hard drive space there is.

The whole point of a Chromebook is to live almost entirely in the cloud.

And this was my goal. To see what it was like to live in the cloud.  Another rationalization. “I have to go live in the cloud, because…I must know what THAT’S like!”

That and to support one of IBM’s great clients, Best Buy, by buying more stuff from them.  Our client.  Who buys our stuff.

I know, I have a problem. I just want you to know how my mind works.

The nice sales guy answered a bunch of questions I had, machine gun fashion, Amy Poehler style, and then mentioned they had an “open box” of the Samsung, a return.

“Why’d they return it?” I asked him.

“Because, I don’t think they realized what they were getting into buying a Chromebook.”

Then, I saw the price. $216!!!  Aha, even better, I was going to benefit from the misery of another customer who had returned the thing because they didn’t understand they were going to have to live in the cloud.

I could feel my credit card literally melting in my back pocket. Like it was oozing between the seams and burning down my leg like hot wax.

“And can I bring it back if I don’t like it?”

“Thirty days,” he smiled.  Well there you go!  If I don’t like the thing, I’ll bring it back (Fat chance that was gonna happen, but it gave me an out).

The sales guy left me there to play with the Samsung Chromebook some more, but it was a no brainer!

$216 for an item that was listed at $249 and for which I’d seen folks charging close to $300.

So I bought it, the endorphin rush carrying me out the door back to my car.

It was supposed to come with 100 GB of free storage from Google for two years, but because it was an open box, the doofus who bought the thing and returned it, had cashed in the free storage and I was left to buy my own.

That’s okay, because as it turns out, I don’t need a lot of storage. I’m mostly saving small text docs.

And now, let me explain my net summary of the Chromebook experience thus far.

First, I’m a writer, first and foremost. So I like writing on something I like to write on.

Whether a typewriter, in a specific word processing app, or on a keyboard that has just the right feel…well, that’s the point: You know it when you feel it.

The Samsung Chromebook has the right feel, for me.

Second, less is more. For basic productivity, so long as you have a good Internet connection, most everything you need is in the Chrome cloud.

Writing apps, presentation apps, spreadsheets, games, music (Pandora, etc.)…

IF you need anything else that’s specifically hidebound to Mac OS or Windows or even Linux, the SAMSUNG CHROMEBOOK IS NOT FOR YOU!

Third, I haven’t had to try and use it offline yet. Though I’m told a number of the Google apps work great offline, I haven’t yet gone there. So, stay tuned for more on that.

The ONLY thing that doesn’t yet work that I want to work is Netflix…and, I’m told, Google’s working on it (they’re having to do some recoding due to the ARM processor used in the Chromebook).

Everything else has been great, including, as mentioned, job one, the ability to write.

I found an application in Chromebook called “Writer” that’s free and that’s where I’m writing this post. My post saves every few seconds to the cloud, autosave extraordinaire, voila…no lost posts, no local OS or app crashes.

And the Chromebook display is gorgeous.  The multitasking is no problemo, due to the light footprint for Chrome.

And you know something else, I think one of the things I like most about it is its simplicity.  It just works!  The operating system doesn’t get in the way, as it so often does when I’m using Windows or Mac OS or even Linux.

The footprint is SO light there’s really not much there to crash!  And after twenty years of fighting operating systems, I have to say, this is one helluva breath of fresh air.

This is the network computer as it was being banted about in 1998, that’s actually come to fruition because the bandwidth has matched the application capacity.

Ultimately, it’s pushing technology the hell out of my way so I can get real work done.  What a concept!

And yes, this is mainly a “second” computer for me, but it’s a powerful second computer, and because so much of my life is now spent in the cloud, and considering that a computer is for me like a hammer is to a carpenter — well, that’s how I ultimately justified the purchase: I got myself a new hammer for only $216, and I’m out there just hammering away nails like it’s nobody’s business.

So before you go spending $800+ on that 128GB iPad, make sure it’s going to do what you need to do…that can’t be done on a $216 Chromebook!

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Big Data, Big Security, Big Boxes

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There’s been some substantial “Big Data” announcements over the past week from Big Blue.

Late last week, on the heels of the public disclosure of security breaches at a number of major media organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, IBM announced its new “IBM Security Intelligence With Big Data” offering, which combines leading security intellignece with big data analytics capabilities for both external cyber security threats and internal risk detection and protection.

You can learn more about that offering here.

IBM is also working to make it easier for organizations to quickly adopt and deploy big data and cloud computing solutions.

Today, the company announced major advances to its PureSystems family of expert integrated systems.

Now, organizations challenged by limited IT skills and resources can quickly comb through massive volumes of data and uncover critical trends that can dramatically impact their business.

The new PureSystems models also help to remove the complexity of developing cloud-based services by making it easier to provision, deploy and manage a secure cloud environment.

Together, these moves by IBM further extend its leadership in big data and next generation computing environments such as cloud computing, while opening up new opportunities within growth markets and with organizations such as managed service providers (MSPs).

Big Data Only Getting Bigger

Across all industries and geographies, organizations of various sizes are being challenged to find simpler and faster ways to analyze massive amounts of data and better meet client needs.

According to IDC, the market for big data technology and services will reach $16.9 billion by 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010.1

At the same time, an IBM study found that almost three-fourths of leaders surveyed indicated their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations — and 90 percent expect to have done so in three years. While the demand is high, many organizations do not have the resources or skills to embrace it.

Today’s news includes PureData System for Analytics to capitalize on big data opportunities; a smaller PureApplication System to accelerate cloud deployments for a broader range of organizations; PureApplication System on POWER7+ to ease management of transaction and analytics applications in the cloud; additional options for MSPs across the PureSystems family including flexible financing options and specific MSP Editions to support new services models; and SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure to ease management of virtual desktop solutions.

New Systems Tuned for Big Data

The new IBM PureData System for Analytics, powered by Netezza technology, features 50 percent greater data capacity per rack3 and is able to crunch data 3x faster4, making this system a top performer, while also addressing the challenges of big data.

The IBM PureData System for Analytics is designed to assist organizations with managing more data while maintaining efficiency in the data center – a major concern for clients of all sizes.

With IBM PureData System for Analytics, physicians can analyze patient information faster and retailers can better gain insight into customer behavior. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) relies on PureData System for Analytics to handle an enormous volume of data in its trading systems and identify and investigate trading anomalies faster and easier.

You can learn more about these and other new PureSystems capabilities here.

To aid in the detection of stealthy threats that can hide in the increasing mounds of data, IBM recently announced IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data, combining leading security intelligence with big data analytics capabilities for both external cyber security threats and internal risk detection and prevention. IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data provides a comprehensive approach that allows security analysts to extend their analysis well beyond typical security data and to hunt for malicious cyber activity.

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