Turbotodd

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

Chase the Total Solar Eclipse

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Millions of consumers depend on The Weather Channel and weather.com for their daily forecasts, breaking weather news, and the latest in health and travel. And, on August 21, they will be able to experience a solar eclipse like never before.

The Weather Channel digital properties and Twitter have teamed up for a live stream of this once-in-a lifetime celestial event, which will allow consumers to chase the total solar eclipse in real time as it moves from coast-to-coast.

“This eclipse is a once-in-a-hundred-year event, and we’re going to party like it’s New Year’s Eve,’” said Neil Katz, head of global content and editor-in-chief, The Weather Company, an IBM Business. “This eclipse is a celestial phenomenon and cultural moment that can’t be missed, and we couldn’t imagine a better partner than Twitter to celebrate this with.”

“Chasing Eclipse 2017” Live Stream

The interactive live coverage for “Chasing Eclipse 2017” kicks off at noon ET on August 21. The Weather Channel digital coverage will immerse viewers in totalities from 10 locations along the eclipse path – from the ground and from space – and join the fun celebrations taking place across the country.

Live locations include: Stanley, ID; Carbondale, IL; St. Joseph’s, MO; Alliance, NE; Hopkinsville, KY; McMinnville, OR; Belton, SC; Nashville, TN; and Casper, WY.

Hosted in-studio by meteorologists Ari Sarsalari and Domenica Davis, “Chasing Eclipse 2017” will feature:

  • High-resolution and aerial drone footage from Weather’s network of storm trackers as the eclipse moves along the path of totality
  • User-generated content from Twitter
  • Live updates from eclipse viewing parties with weather.com field reporters
  • Special hyperlocal eclipse footage from TEGNA partner stations in Portland, OR; Boise, ID; Denver, CO; St. Louis, MO; Knoxville, TN; and Columbia, SC
  • Red Bull Cliff Diving event featuring athletes diving under the shadows of the eclipse. Surface mirrors will reflect stunning images of the divers and the eclipse.
  • Real-time eclipse footage from NASA
  • “Fact Off” game show featuring the hosts from “Part-Time Genius” podcast
  • Interactive social segments
  • Live coverage of an #Eclipse2017 joint wedding
  • IP-based broadcast production technology and support supplied by NewTek

“We are thrilled to partner with The Weather Channel and their award-winning digital editorial team for coverage of this momentous occasion,” Anthony Noto, COO, Twitter. “The ‘Chasing Eclipse 2017’ live stream allows people around the world to watch and join the #Eclipse2017 conversation as it unfolds live on Twitter.”

“Chasing Eclipse 2017” will be available via The Weather Channel app, weather.com, and Twitter. The live stream will be available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on Twitter as well as connected devices globally.

Viewers will be able to access the live stream at http://eclipse2017.twitter.com or via @weatherchannel. To join the conversation and submit content for “Chasing Eclipse 2017,” tweet with #Eclipse2017.

For more information, visit http://features.weather.com/eclipse. The Weather Channel (weather.com) is part of The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

The Weather Company, an IBM Business

The Weather Company helps people take action in the face of weather. As part of IBM’s Watson Content & IoT Platform, it powers new possibilities of decision making, informed by billions of data inputs and enabled by leading cognitive technology.

The company offers personalized insights and the most accurate forecasts globally to millions of consumers and thousands of marketers and businesses through its business solutions division and its own digital products from The Weather Channel and Weather Underground.

The company delivers around 25 billion forecasts daily. Its products include the world’s most downloaded weather app, a network of 250,000 personal weather stations, a top-20 U.S. website, one of the world’s largest IoT data platforms, and industry-leading business solutions. Weather Means Business — the world’s biggest brands in aviation, energy, insurance, media and government rely on The Weather Company for data, technology platforms and services to help improve decision-making and respond to weather’s impact on business. For more, visit theweathercompany.com.

Written by turbotodd

August 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

Posted in ibm, internet of things, space, weather

Tagged with ,

HSBC and IBM Develop Cognitive Intelligence Solution to Digitize Global Trade

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HSBC, the world’s leading trade finance bank, is working with IBM to develop a cognitive intelligence solution combining optical character recognition with advanced robotics to make global trade safer and more efficient for thousands of businesses.

HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) team facilitates over U.S. $500 billion of documentary trade for customers every year, and in doing so must manually review and process up to 100 million pages of documents, ranging from invoices to packing lists and insurance certificates.

The new solution uses IBM’s advanced analytics technology, including intelligent segmentation and text analytics, to identify, digitise and extract key data within these documents before feeding it into the bank’s transaction processing systems; boosting accuracy whilst freeing up staff for more value-adding activities.

“The average trade transaction requires 65 data fields to be extracted from 15 different documents, with 40 pages to be reviewed,” said Natalie Blyth, HSBC’s Global Head of GTRF. “By digitising this process we will make transactions quicker and safer for both buyers and suppliers, leading our industry forwards, and we will reduce compliance risks through an enhanced ability to manage huge volumes of data.”

“The problem is how to capture semi-structured documents with highly variant content through an analogue process, and no-one has the perfect answer,” said Roger Welch, Industry (Financial) Expert and Solution Architect for IBM Analytics ECM practice. “In our experience, no trade finance solution has come as far or done as much as this new solution.”

HSBC is currently using the technology to analyse English-language import and export bills in several markets in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the MENA region. The team aims to enhance the solution so it can read a wider range of documents and languages including French, Spanish and Chinese.

“We are continuously investing in technologies that will improve the way we work for the benefit of our customers and our people,” said Natalie Blyth. “HSBC wants to be the leading bank for innovation, and initiatives like this one are key to achieving our goal.”

You can learn more about IBM Watson Financial Services here.

Written by turbotodd

August 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

Sony and Sony Global Education Develop a New System on IBM Blockchain to Manage Students’ Learning Data

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IBM Japan today announced that Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education, a subsidiary of Sony that works to provide global educational services, have developed a new blockchain-based student education records platform.

With the solution, school administrators can consolidate and manage students’ educational data from several schools, as well as record and refer their learning history and digital academic transcripts with more certainty. The new platform, developed using IBM Blockchain, uses blockchain technology running on the IBM Cloud to track students’ learning progress, as well as establish transparency and accountability of scholastic achievements between students and schools.

The new system can record student data, sharing it with the network of need-to-know parties including school administrators and prospective employers. Using IBM Blockchain, student educational data on the platform is verified.

Educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities can use it to share data to help teachers more easily determine and implement unique teaching methods for each student, as well as help vendors target offerings based on verified needs. In addition, the platform can help manage a variety of student services offered by different parties and consolidate them in a single repository of information. It also enables parties to reliably share digital transcripts with one another.

Blockchain technology can help bring transparency and help build trust to transactions. It enables users to create networks that are permissioned and immutable; meaning they cannot be changed or altered by any one party. When a transaction takes place on the blockchain, all members of the network can see it, therefore operating from a common truth.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact systems in a wide variety of industries, and the educational sphere is no exception when educational data is securely stored on the blockchain and shared among permissioned users. We are pleased that we have worked together with IBM to build a new system which can help effect real change in the education sector,” said Masaaki Isozu, President of Sony Global Education.

The platform is built on IBM Blockchain, which is delivered via the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Sony Global Education is working with various educational institutions with the intent to launch the blockchain-based service in 2018. Beyond the education sector, blockchain can be used in a wide range of fields, including supply chain and logistics. As Sony Group, which owns a variety of business domains, continues to evaluate and develop the system, it is considering how to apply blockchain to additional products and services.

IBM is the leader in open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, IBM is dedicated to supporting the development of openly-governed blockchains. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications. For more information about IBM Blockchain, visit www.ibm.com/blockchain.

Todd "Turbo" Watson
Twitter:@turbotodd
Blog: www.turbotodd.com
Email: toddhttp://about.me/toddwatson

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

Game of Hacks

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I’ve been following this HBO hack with great fascination.

One, because I’ve always had an interest in cybersecurity matters (although I’m not a hacker, nor do I play one on the Internets).

Two, because it’s HBO, whom I’m also a big fan of, and I still remember the reverberations of the Sony hack in late 2014, one which led to the downfall of its dear leader, Amy Pascal.

The Guardian has a new story out this morning on the HBO hack, alleging that the HBO hackers have "released personal phone numbers of Game of Thrones actors, emails and scripts in the latest dump of data stolen from the company," and, that they "are demanding a multimillion-dollar ransom to prevent the release of whole TV shows and further emails."

Where’s Daenerys Targaryen and those flying, fire-breathing dragons when you need them?

And is it just me, or do I find it completely serendipitous that this hack comes about around the time of probably one of the peak episodes of the entire GOT franchise…SPOILER ALERT…you know, the one where Daenerys finally unleashes the wrath of those damned dragons and Dothraki scythes on Jaime Lannister and his woefully unprepared army.

While GOT players will settle for bags of gold, the HBO hacker, now someone calling themselves "Mr. Smith." (You can’t make this $%#$ up!), has apparently told HBO chief executive Richard Plepler in a 5-minute video letter to pay the ransom within three days or they would put the HBO shows and confidential corporate data online.

Continues the Guardian report: "The hackers claim to have taken 1.5TB of data — the equivalent to several TV series box sets or millions of documents — but HBO said that it doesn’t believe its email system as a whole has been compromised."

Along with the video letter, the hackers have gone ahead and released 3.4GB of files, including technical data about the HBO internal network and admin passwords, draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, and a month’s worth of email’s from HBO’s VP for film programming, Leslie Cohen.

The whole episode sounds as though it could have been derived from a script from Mr. Robot, but so far as I know, USA Network has, thus far, been immune from hacktivists.

HBO’s response, according to The Hacker News, is that the company’s "forensic review is ongoing."

But one has to wonder whether, somewhere on some back lot in Hollywood, that HBO’s brass is filling the gas tanks on a few dragons of its own.

For the audience, it may all just be pure entertainment.

But HBO is running a business, and they, nor any other going concern, should ever have to be held hostage by somebody calling themselves something as unimaginative as "Mr. Smith."

Especially not in Hollywood.

Written by turbotodd

August 8, 2017 at 10:28 am

Codify Academy Users IBM Cloud, Watson to Design Cognitive Chatbot

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IBM recently announced that Codify Academy, a San Francisco-based developer education startup, tapped into IBM Cloud’s cognitive services to create an interactive cognitive chatbot, Bobbot, that is improving student experiences and increasing enrollment.

Using the IBM Watson Conversation Service, Bobbot fields questions from prospective and current students in natural language via the company’s website.

Since implementing the chatbot, Codify Academy has engaged thousands of potential leads through live conversation between the bot and site visitors, leading to a 10 percent increase in converting these visitors into students.

IBM Cloud with Watson provided Codify Academy with the speed and scale needed to immediately start building with cognitive intelligence. Bobbot can answer more than 200 common questions about enrollment, course and program details, tuition, and prerequisites, in turn enabling Codify Academy staff to focus on deeper, more meaningful exchanges.

For example, students can ask questions such as “What kind of job will I be able to find after I complete the program?” or “How do I apply, and what are tuition rates?”

“We saw a huge spike in interest from potential students in the early days of our company, which is a fortunate problem to have, but made us realize we needed to quickly build a solution to help us scale,” said Matt Brody at Codify Academy. “IBM Cloud gave us the infrastructure and access to cognitive services, including Watson, that we needed to quickly build and deploy an intelligent and intuitive bot – in turn helping us to field all inquiries and significantly increase enrollment.”

Codify Academy runs on the IBM Cloud platform, which has become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. It features more than 150 tools and services, spanning categories of cognitive intelligence, blockchain, security, Internet of Things, quantum computing and DevOps.

“We have designed our cloud platform to serve as the best possible engine for cognitive apps such as chatbots," said Adam Gunther, Director, IBM Cloud. "This enables companies to harness and fine tune incoming data quickly to create highly tailored user experiences.”

To learn more about Codify Academy, visit http://codifyacademy.com/.

Written by turbotodd

August 4, 2017 at 1:42 pm

It’s a Snap

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CNBC Headline this AM: “Snap is now alienating the very people it needs to survive, say ad agencies.

Subhead: Several agencies said advertiser interest in Snapchat is flat to dwindling, as many opt to move toward Instagram.

Second Subhead: Issues with Snap include continued issues over measurement, difficulty in finding content, influencers moving to other platforms and lack of outreach to agencies and brands from Snap.

Oh, Snap, indeed, do we need read any more?

Snap’s post-IPO high reached it the high $20s, but as of this AM was languishing around $12.18.

But wait a minute, I thought conventional wisdom indicated Snap was going to save the advertising industry and send brand managers everywhere running into the streets in celebration.
So wha’ happen?

See the heads and subheads above. They’re getting outplayed by Instagram, and there also seems to be a big issue with discoverability:

“Instagram is built for finding what you don’t follow easily, Snapchat isn’t. If Snapchat can figure that out, that will help, because why make content people can’t find?”
– via CNBC

If you can’t get influencers, it’s hard to build an audience, and without an audience, it’s hard to attract a brand.

They’d better snap out of it and soon.

Written by turbotodd

August 3, 2017 at 9:22 am

Posted in 2017, advertising, snapchat

Bot to Bot

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Facebook’s been in the news a fair amount this week.

Pivotal Research lowered its rating on Facebook to “sell” from “hold,” according to a report from CNBC, explaining it is “facing digital ad saturation risk as large companies are ‘scrutizing’ their marketing budgets.”

This despite the fact that Facebook has been one of the best-performing large-cap stocks in the market, growing nearly 50 percent year to date.

Earlier today, Fortune reported that Facebook is amping up its artificial intelligence capabilities, buying Ozlo, a small bot specialist based in Palo Alto.

Ozlo focuses on “conversational” bots that talk to users, and most of the company’s employees will join Facebook’s Messenger team.

But the story that really seemed to grab the Facebook headlines this week was the one that indicated two of its bots, instead of just talking to humans, were talking to one another and in a language that the chatbots “invented.”

Before you go all “Westworld” on me, let’s separate the fact from the fiction.

In an account from Karissa Bell at Mashable, Bell provided some much needed background to stifle the hype and get to the actual innovation. Bell wrote that “Facebook’s AI researchers published a paper back in June, detailing their efforts to teach chatbots to negotiate like humans. Their intention was to train the bots not just to imitate human interactions, but to actually act like humans.”

Which humans, we’re not yet sure of. The Mooch? Kim Kardashian? Kid Rock (Soon to be Senator Rock, to you!)

Unclear.

But Bell’s observation was that the narrative wasn’t just about the chats coming up with their own language, but instead this: That not only did the bots learn to act like humans, actual humans were apparently unable to discern the difference between bots and humans.

Where the bot chatter went off the rails was in their use of the English language, the grammar and syntax rules for which the bots were not instructed to use. Hence, some of the shortcut phrases like “I can can I I everything else.”

In the meantime, Elon Musk has cried AI Chicken Little once again, suggesting all this neural networking could be the end of humankind once and for all and that Zuck doesn’t “fully understand” the potential danger posed by AI.

The truth probably rests somewhere in the vast middle ground between the two, a truth I imagine the bots are having a good chuckle over as they create the new digital Esperanto they’ll need to take over the world.

Written by turbotodd

August 1, 2017 at 10:59 am

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