Turbotodd

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

New Androids, Big Brains

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SXSW has barely ended and Austin’s about to host another world class event, this time for golf fans.

The World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies match play tournament commences with its first round today at Austin Country Club. PGA golfers from around the world, welcome to Austin, and good luck!

In the meantime, things in the tech world certainly aren’t slowing down.

The Verge reports that for the second year in a row, Google is making a developer preview for the next version of Android available in March. There are said to be improvements to battery life and some changes in notifications, and Google is “aiming to improve sound quality with wireless headphones with ‘high-quality Bluetooth audio codes.’”

LInkedIn is also introducing some changes today, writes Recode:

On Wednesday, the professional network is rolling out a “Trending” topics feed, a new section of the app where users can find a collection of recent news stories and accompanying user posts that are personalized based on their interests and profession. LinkedIn LinkedIn will use a combination of human editors and computer algorithms to detect important storylines, then collect articles and posts related to those storylines and put them into individual feeds. The product looks very similar to what Facebook does with its own trending topics section, and is somewhat similar to Twitter’s Moments feature.
– via Recode

It’s LinkedIn, only, like Facebook. Got that?

And hiring human editors with big brains? I thought the machine overlords were taking over those mundane tasks so we humans could sit on the beach and sip from rummy yummy drinks with cute little umbrellas???

Speaking of big brains, Chinese search giant Baidu lost a big one yesterday when the company’s AI chief, Andrew Ng, announced he would be resigning.

Wrote Ng in his announcement blog post:

 

Just as electricity transformed many industries roughly 100 years ago, AI will also now change nearly every major industry — healthcare, transportation, entertainment, manufacturing — enriching the lives of countless people. I am more excited than ever about where AI can take us.
– via Medium

Clearly, just not at Baidu.

Written by turbotodd

March 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

Apple’s Augmented Reality

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We’re well into March Madness and it sounds like there have been some major bracket busting upsets.

I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so I’ll keep my observations to myself.

The SXSW circus is over and the tent’s (and corporate takeovers) are quickly being demolished.

Thanks, Garth Brooks, for coming to Austin to close out the show. Here’s hoping you found some friends in low places.

Looking forward, Bloomberg has a piece out today on Apple’s next big thing, augmented reality:

As previously reported by Bloomberg, Apple is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner.
– via Bloomberg.com

Investors impatient for Apple’s next breakthrough will be happy to know that Cook is very serious about AR. People with knowledge of the company’s plans say Apple has embarked on an ambitious bid to bring the technology to the masses—an effort Cook and his team see as the best way for the company to dominate the next generation of gadgetry and keep people wedded to its ecosystem.
– via Bloomberg.com

Bloomberg observes the global market for AR will “surge 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024.”

Them’s a lot of Pokemon.

Written by turbotodd

March 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

IDx and IBM Watson Health Forge Alliance for Eye Health

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IBM Watson Health and IDx,LLC today announced a five-year strategic alliance to advance eye health through cognitive computing applications. 

The alliance aims to help primary care providers, hospitals, health systems, and integrated delivery networks deliver value-based care to patients with diabetic retinopathy and other serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. 

The alliance expands IBM Watson Health’s focus on eye health.

The alliance leverages more than a decade of IDx’s ophthalmic image analysis work and IBM’s cognitive healthcare offerings and global reach. As part of the alliance, IBM Watson Health has the option to distribute IDx offerings. Initially, IBM Watson Health intends to distribute IDx-DR — an automated solution for diabetic retinopathy screening currently available in the 31 countries that comprise the European Economic Area.

IBM Watson Health may expand its distribution of IDx-DR to Australia, Canada, and the United States upon regulatory approvals of the product.

There are 415 million adults with diabetes across the world today, with the number expected to grow by 50% to over 600 million by 2040. Each of these individuals is at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in working age adults.

Most people that develop diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms until irreversible vision loss had occurred, making early disease detection critical to prevent blindness.

“Over the past decades, productivity in healthcare has not kept pace with other sectors.  Patients and providers worldwide are paying the price. Our mission at IDx has always been to transform the quality, accessibility, and affordability of global healthcare through the automation of medical screening to support physicians’ diagnoses. We are incredibly pleased to partner with IBM Watson Health, which shares this vision, and believe they will help us scale the IDx mission to its fullest potential,” said Dr. Michael Abramoff, Founder and President of IDx.

This announcement comes shortly after IBM announced that IDx joined the global IBM Watson medical imaging collaborative, which includes 24 members worldwide.

The collaborative has a working group on eye health which aims to accelerate Watson’s understanding of a range of high-impact diseases — such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cardiovascular disease — using various imaging modalities including fundus and optical coherence tomography (OCT).

IDx-DR version 2.0 has CE marking as a Class IIa Medical Device for sale in the European Union. IDx products have not yet been cleared by the FDA and are not currently for sale in the United States. IDx is currently conducting a U.S.-based clinical trial of IDx-DR scheduled for completion this summer. 

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

Singapore Fintech Startup INVICTUS To Use IBM Blockchain and Bluemix

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The IBM blockchain momentum continues to build.

IBM has announced that Singapore fintech startup, INVICTUS, is collaborating with the company to leverage IBM Cloud and blockchain technologies for their Order, Logistic & Payment (OLP) platform.

The platform aims to help business reduce waste, redundancy, and cash-flow issues in their transaction processes by disrupting the supply chain management cycle with blockchain smart contract technology.

As part of this collaboration, INVICTUS is also working with the IBM Bluemix Garage in Singapore to design a distributed ledger platform prototype on the Hyperledger Fabric, aimed at managing transactions between small and medium enterprises, suppliers, banks and other liquidity providers.

“INVICTUS offers more than an e-procurement platform. We focus on taking the chronic pain out of the last mile of a transaction by expanding access to financing from third party liquidity providers, in addition to banks. Through our blockchain smart contract technologies and working collaboratively with IBM, we hope to disrupt this last mile by enabling secure and cashless financing as early as the PO stage,” said Mr Lim Soon Hock, Chairman of INVICTUS.

“Being a start-up ourselves, we know running an enterprise with limited resources can be challenging. Working with the IBM Bluemix Garage team has been an eye-opening experience in showing us how companies can benefit from technologies such as blockchain which has the capabilities to improve operational efficiency and reduce transaction risks. We are very excited to see how our offerings will help SMEs become more productive and competitive,” said Jeffrey Lam, Chief Operating Officer & Vice-President of Sales of INVICTUS.

Blockchain is one of the advanced services available to developers on Bluemix, on which more than 120,000 apps are launched every month. IBM Bluemix has rapidly grown to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world.

Based on open standards, it features over 150 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, cognitive computing, analytics, security, blockchain and Internet of Things.

You can learn more about IBM blockchain solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

Kenya’s Sidian Bank Will Use IBM Cloud, Cognitive to Accelerate Digital Transformation

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IBM has announced that Sidian Bank has turned to IBM Cloud and Cognitive solutions to fuel its digital transformation. This helps the bank provide its growing customer base of small and medium-sized businesses with faster access to existing services like debit and credit card processing, bank account opening, teller services and wealth management.

Sidian Bank, founded in 1984, was launched as a micro-finance bank before upgrading and becoming a commercial bank.

The bank needed a core banking system that would provide a competitive edge as it enhanced its services to better target the entrepreneur market segment. It was also looking to reduce unplanned system outages and to improve its core banking system performance.

Prior to engaging IBM, about 40 percent of a typical business day’s working hours at the bank was spent on problem isolation. Today, however, through infrastructure as a service and cognitive management, the system can learn from past incidents and resolve 56 percent of any difficulties with minimum human intervention.

This has enabled the bank realize 34 percent savings in capital expenses and a 60 percent improvement in transactional times across all ATMs and teller counters.

Also, the bank faced significant challenges with hardware capacity for memory, processing and storage which had a direct impact on applications availability. The core banking services ran on legacy hardware.

All applications were migrated to IBM infrastructure through a hybrid cloud model which is live and fully operational. Also, with the infrastructure managed services on IBM systems the availability, speed of access and expansion for applications has improved to 99 percent from an average of 84 percent on a given week.

“This is the first collaboration of its kind in this market. It not only cements our partnership with the IBM, but also creates new and unique partnerships that support our institution’s growth strategy and enhances the efficiency of our entire banking infrastructure.” said Titus Karanja, CEO, Sidian Bank.

With the IBM cognitive capabilities, the bank continues to drive fast response times to customer needs which are key to supporting its mostly small and medium-sized tier entrepreneurs. It additionally enables the bank to improve IT staff productivity by 30 percent, freeing its technology team to focus on their core business.

You can learn more about IBM Cloud solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

IBM QRadar Named as a Leader in Security Analytics Platforms

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IBM Security has announced IBM QRadar, the company’s security intelligence platform, has been named a “Leader” and received the highest scores in the three categories – current offering, strategy, and market presence – of all evaluated solutions in the March 2017 report, “The Forrester Wave™: Security Analytics Platforms, Q1 2017,” by Forrester Research, Inc.

For this report, Forrester evaluates companies based on a number of criteria, including deployment options, detection capabilities, risk prioritization, log management, threat intelligence, dashboards and reporting, security automation, end user experience, and customer satisfaction.

Forrester surveys indicate that 74% of global enterprise security technology decision makers rate improving security monitoring as a high or critical priority.

According to the report, IBM Security “has an ambitious strategy for security analytics that includes cognitive security capabilities from its Watson initiative and security automation from its Resilient Systems acquisition.”

Forrester also notes IBM’s investments in security with its QRadar Security Intelligence Platform emerging as “one of the key pieces of its portfolio.” The analyst firm also notes that “those looking for advanced capabilities and a flexible deployment model should consider IBM.”

Written by turbotodd

March 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

A Messenger Day

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Let the SnapChat clones begin.

Today Facebook announced it was globally launching Messenger Day.

This new app will roll out on top of Facebook’s chat app on both iOS and Android, plus in Facebook desktop Messenger. The new feature will let you share with the public or a custom friend decorated photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

That is, of course, unless the CIA has already broken into your iOS or Android phone, in which case all bets are off.

All joking aside, I don’t think we can laugh this thing away out of the gate.

As TechCrunch observed, 1 billion people a day use Facebook Messenger, and Facebook is not afraid to copy great ideas. Why should somebody step out of Facebook and go over to Snapchat if they can just do what they need to on Facebook?

To whit, Snap Inc. chat is settling into the $22 range this afternoon, now that the news has sunk in. It appears that its messages aren’t the only thing disappearing at SnapChat.

Here’s what Facebook’s blog post introducing the feature explained the new Facebook Messenger Day capability:

Here’s how Messenger Day works: First make sure you’ve updated your Messenger app so you have the latest version. Open Messenger, and tap on the camera highlighted with a sun to celebrate this launch. Doing so drops you right into the full-screen camera. Or, tap the “Add to your day” button at the top of your inbox to get started. Snap a quick selfie or take a photo or video of what’s around you. To add art and effects, tap the smiley face icon in the top right and then tap to add to your photo or video. You can also add text over your images by tapping the “Aa” icon, and you can overlay a drawing by tapping the squiggly line in the top right corner. Once you have your photo or video the way you want it, tap the arrow in the bottom right corner. You can then add directly to your day, save it to your phone’s camera roll, and/or you can choose to send it to a specific person or group of people. The photo or video that you add to your day will be viewable for 24 hours.
– via newsroom.fb.com

Written by turbotodd

March 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm

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