Turbotodd

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

Archive for December 2012

From Lab To Fab: Silicon Nanophotonics Arrives In A Nanosecond

leave a comment »

Angled view of a portion of an IBM chip showing blue optical waveguides transmitting high-speed optical signals and yellow copper wires carrying high-speed electrical signals. IBM Silicon Nanophotonics technology is capable of integrating optical and electrical circuits side-by-side on the same chip.

Angled view of a portion of an IBM chip showing blue optical waveguides transmitting high-speed optical signals and yellow copper wires carrying high-speed electrical signals. IBM Silicon Nanophotonics technology is capable of integrating optical and electrical circuits side-by-side on the same chip.

It’s Monday, and here in Austin, Texas, it officially got cold overnight.

Yesterday, it was partly cloudy and almost steamy warm. And this morning, it’s like I was transplanted back to IBM’s Somers, New York, location, where the wind streams across the Westchester landscape and chills native Texans like me to their core.

But enough talk about the weather. I want to get to the topic of the day: Making little things that move information faster.

Earlier today, IBM announced a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing.

The breakthrough technology — called “silicon nanophotonics” — allows the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using, for the first time, sub-100nm semiconductor technology.

Silicon nanophotonics takes advantage of pulses of light for communication and provides a super highway for large volumes of data to move at rapid speeds between computer chips in servers, large data centers, and supercomputers, thus alleviating the limitations of congested data traffic and high-cost traditional interconnects.

Big Light, Bigger Data

The amount of data being created and transmitted over enterprise networks continues to grow due to an explosion of new applications and services.

Silicon nanophotonics, now primed for commercial development, can enable the industry to keep pace with increasing demands in chip performance and computing power. Businesses are entering a new era of computing that requires systems to process and analyze, in real-time, huge volumes of information known as “big data.”

Silicon nanophotonics technology provides answers to big data challenges by seamlessly connecting various parts of large systems, whether few centimeters or few kilometers apart from each other, and move terabytes of data via pulses of light through optical fibers.

Building Proof Beyond Concept

Building on its initial proof of concept in 2010, IBM has solved the key challenges of transferring the silicon nanophotonics technology into the commercial foundry.

By adding a few processing modules into a high-performance 90nm CMOS fabrication line, a variety of silicon nanophotonics components such as wavelength division multiplexers (WDM), modulators, and detectors are integrated side-by-side with a CMOS electrical circuitry.

As a result, single-chip optical communications transceivers can be manufactured in a conventional semiconductor foundry, providing significant cost reduction over traditional approaches.

IBM’s CMOS nanophotonics technology demonstrates transceivers to exceed the data rate of 25Gbps per channel. In addition, the technology is capable of feeding a number of parallel optical data streams into a single fiber by utilizing compact on-chip wavelength-division multiplexing devices.

Learning More About Nanophotonics

The ability to multiplex large data streams at high data rates will allow future scaling of optical communications capable of delivering terabytes of data between distant parts of computer systems.

“This technology breakthrough is a result of more than a decade of pioneering research at IBM,” said Dr. John E. Kelly, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research. “This allows us to move silicon nanophotonics technology into a real-world manufacturing environment that will have impact across a range of applications.”

Further details will be presented this week by Dr. Solomon Assefa at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in the talk titled, “A 90nm CMOS Integrated Nano-Photonics Technology for 25Gbps WDM Optical Communications Applications.”

You can learn more about IBM silicon integrated nanophotonics technology here.

Written by turbotodd

December 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities With New Cloud, Mobile Advances

leave a comment »

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

Some new news from IBM on the social business front today.

IBM announced new social business software to help clients collaborate securely in the cloud using a broad range of mobile devices.

The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking feaures and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based productivity suite that lets users simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

I saw this capability demoed at Lotusphere earlier this year and exclaimed that I wanted it and fast. Being as virtual as we are at IBM, I find all kinds of use cases to be able to do this real-time productivity app collaboration.

Nothing like writing a presentation by committee!

The Market Is Growing

Forrester Research estimates cloud computing is going to grow from a $41 billion business in 2010, to $241 billion in 2020. And social enterprise apps market is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion. So clearly, there’s ample and broad market demand for this type of computing capability.

While many firms have adopted cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.

To help organizations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organization and externally with partners, clients or suppliers.

For example, when working on a document in the cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is online and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar in the cloud.

Clients Getting Social in the Cloud

IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.

At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus.

The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their email in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging “version control” process for collaborative documents.

UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.

“Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit,” said Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. “Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, email was the default way of communicating. Now I don’t have to manage a lot of emails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We’re using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university.”

New Services Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready

The following provides a breakdown of these new social enterprise capabilities in more detail:

  • Access documents anytime, anywhere — the new IBM SmartCloud Docs cloud-based office productivity suite allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity. IBM Docs authors can store documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time easing the management of multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.
  • Sharing insight and data in real time — the new IBM Connections capabilities in the cloud allow users to embrace business-grade social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share the right insight when needed. New community based blogs, wikis, idea-generation blogs and file viewers will spur creativity and drive innovation across teams.
  • Meet and chat on the fly — the new e-meeting service allows teams to meet on the fly, using instant messaging chats, screen sharing to share information and presentations, and includes a new chat room feature to communicate with colleagues, partners and clients in real time.
  • Unlimited access — chat with guests regardless of their instant messaging platform, share files and invite guests to participate in e-meetings at no additional charge.
  • Improved mobile device management — new software to help business partners organize and secure cloud-based IBM email on mobile devices allowing organizations to extend their current business capabilities to mobile devices, while capitalizing on the new opportunities that mobile devices uniquely provide.

Pricing and Availability

IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.

To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, register here. To hear first hand from clients using social applications in the cloud, register for IBM’s premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect.

For more information, visit ibmcloud.com/social.

Learn more about the IBM SmartCloud Doc capabilities in the video below.

IBM’s 2012 Tech Trends Report: Skills, Skills, And More Skills!

with 3 comments

Across the four technology areas covered in the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report  – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. These shortages are not trivial or isolated. Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

Across the four technology areas covered in the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. These shortages are not trivial or isolated. Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

Okay boys and girls, it’s that time of year.

No, not the time for Saint Nicholas to come shooting down your chimneys to deliver lots of tablets and smartphones for Christmas.

That time will come soon enough.

No, I’m referring to the results from IBM’s third annual Tech Trends Report, where we talk to an extended sample of technology decision makers to find out what’s on their minds.

In 2010, I explained from the results that it was all about mobile and the cloud.

Last year, the headlines centered on IBM’s Watson technology and business analytics.

This year…while we wait for the drum roll, let me first tell provide you with some background about this year’s study.

About the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report Study

The 2012 Tech Trends Report is based on a survey of more than 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions for their organizations (22 percent IT managers, 53 percent IT practitioners, and 25 percent business professionals), and who come from 16 different industries and 13 countries (which span both mature and growth markets).

IBM also surveyed more than 250 academics and 450 students across those same countries in order to better understand how tech trends are impacting future IT professionals.

The Headlines This Year: What’s Old Is New, And What’s New Is An Emerging Skills Gap

According to this year’s survey, what’s old is new. Mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business continue to be emergent key themes. What’s new is this: Though new and exciting business possibilities are emerging from these new capabilities, significant IT skills shortages, combined with lingering security concerns, are threatening adoption and business progress.

By way of example, the survey revealed that only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs, and within each of the four areas previously mentioned, roughly one-quarter of respondents report major skills gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

The skills shortage is more acute in mature markets, with roughly two-thirds of respondents indicating moderate to major shortages versus roughly half in growth markets.

With respect to security concerns, they consistently rank as the most significant barrier to adoption across mobile, cloud computing and social business.

The report observes that IT security is not just a technology concern, however. It’s a broad business issue with far-reaching policy and process implications, and notes that moving into mobile means organizations must address the increased risk of data loss and security breach, device management challenges, and complications introduced by the growing trend toward “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD).

In cloud computing, it calls for policies on employee use of public cloud services, segregation of data within shared or hybrid cloud solutions, and ensuring the right data is in the right place subject to the right controls.

In social business, organizations need to consider customer privacy expectations, regulatory compliance, and employee guidelines on confidentiality, acceptable use, and protecting the corporate brand.

Pay Attention To The Pacesetters

So with all this in mind, which organizations are better positioned to create competitive advantage? Early adopters or late arrivers? Those focused on strategic impact or tactical implementations?

The data suggest it’s those companies forging ahead faster (in spite of adoption hurdles) and using mobile, analytics, cloud, and social technologies in more strategic ways.

The so-called “pacesetters” believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating/business models.

They’re also adoption ahead of their competition.

What sets them apart from the “followers” and “dabblers” are three key factors: They’re more market driven, they’re more analytical, and they’re more willing to experiment.

And where they say they’re headed next also provides a learning opportunity.

More than 75 percent of pacesetters are increasing investments in mobile and cloud computing over the next two years, and they’re betting heavily on business analytics and social business (two to three times as many pacesetters are raising those investments by 10 percent or more).

With respect to skills, 70 percent of pacesetters are building capabilities in mobile integration, security, privacy, and mobile application architecture, design and development.

Twenty-eight percent have already developed business analytics expertise in probability, statistics and mathematical modeling (and another 60 percent are eagerly developing those capabilities).

In cloud computing, more than 70 percent are developing skills in cloud security, administration, and architecture.

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report data suggests an opportunity for organizations everywhere to help close the large and expanding technology skills gap. Is your organization prepared to take these important and often necessary actions?

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report data suggests an opportunity for organizations everywhere to help close the large and expanding technology skills gap. Is your organization prepared to take these important and often necessary actions?

And nearly one-quarter of them have already built the expertise needed to extend social business solutions to mobile and to perform social analytics.

Their intent to combined technologies — mobile and social, social and analytics, etc. — are helping drive even greater business value for their organizations.

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Upshot?

CEOs understand the external factors impacting their organizations most: Technology and skills.

But one without the other is a recipe for innovative decline, and to effectively address these interconnected imperatives, business and IT executives need new approaches for bridging skills gaps and helping their organizations capitalize on the strategic potential of emerging technologies.

The figure to the right demonstrates specific actions that can help you as a leader move your organization into a pacesetting position.  And IBM is also stepping up and offering some new skills-building initiatives as well.

Bridging The Skills Gap

On the heels of this study, IBM has announced an array of programs and resources to help students and IT professionals develop new technology skills and prepare for jobs of the future.

The initiatives include new training courses and resources for IT professionals, technology and curriculum materials for educators and expanded programs to directly engage students with real-world business challenges.  You can learn more about those here.

Big Commerce In China

leave a comment »

China's Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world's single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao's parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

China’s Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world’s single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao’s parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

You read in my last post about last Monday’s “Cyber Monday” tidings according to the IBM Digital Benchmark.

Well, TechCrunch is reporting from comScore data that the holiday shopping juggernaut continues well beyond Cyber Monday.

comScore’s data found that e-commerce spending for the first 30 days of this November-December 2012 holiday season has amounted to a respectable $20.4 billion, a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year.

During the past week alone, comScore reported three individual days surpassing $1 billion in spending, according to the TechCrunch post by Leena Rao, with the peak, of course, coming on Cyber Monday at $1.46 billion.

Of course, all that might seem like chump change when you hold it up against some e-commerce numbers coming out of China, via a post on VentureBeat.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba alone has sold an estimated $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume this year, which VentureBeat observes surpasses Amazon and eBay combined.

In fact, Alibaba is believed to have garnered a $3 billion single sales day earlier this year.

But the real story here may be Jack Ma’s “Alipay,” Alibaba’s payments processing unit, which now has over 700 million registered users.

According to a recent report from the folks at eMarketer, China’s antiquated banking system and low usage by consumers of credit cards is benefiting the e-commerce industry there.

Alipay, now China’s largest third-party online payment solution, essentially provides escrow payment services that not only facilitate e-commerce transactions in China, but also reduces risk to consumers, because with Alipay, they have the ability to verify whether or not they are satisfied with their purchases before releasing funds to the seller.

And Alipay isn’t just limited to the Chinese marketplace. It now handles transactions in 12 foreign currencies, including in U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, and the euro.

According to the eMarketer report, Alibaba is also upgrading its COD payment infrastructure, investing some $79 million U.S. in a portable device that Alibaba says will consolidate logistics records with credit/debit card payment information in a single terminal.

It’s Alipay’s intent to install thousands such devices across China’s first- and second-tier cities (think Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) by the end of this year, which will help with China’s broader goals of fomenting increased internal consumer consumption.

Of course, if you’re News Corporation, and you’re in the iPad publishing business, no amount of Chinese e-commerce facilitatin’ payment devices are going to help a fledgling business model.

Earlier today, News Corp. finally bifurcated its publishing and entertainment businesses, and seemingly as a minor sidebar, also conceded defeat of its The Daily iPad app effective December 15.

The Daily had been News Corp’s digital pride and joy, a valiant attempt at delivering a daily news publication via the iPad only 100,000 people wanted.

At 99 cents a week, that apparently was not revenue enough even close to maintaining a viable business, so The Daily will now be put to bed.

Ever-reliable media critic website Poynter noted The Daily had two key lessons of failure from which we could all learn.  One, they had no clarity on its intended audience (I thought that was supposed to be iPad users!), and two, one platform, the iPad, just wasn’t enough in a multi-device world.

Perhaps they should have instigated a Chinese edition? Surely they could have drummed up a few more hundred thousand from a population of 1.3 billion!

Written by turbotodd

December 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm

%d bloggers like this: