Turbotodd

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

Archive for February 2017

Another Blockchain

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The New York Times reported late yesterday that some 30 companies, including Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase, are “joining forces to create a new kind of computing system based on the virtual currency network Ethereum.”

The new organization, a nonprofit, is part of a broader movement to harness the technological concept known as the “blockchain.”

Blockchains are distributed databases that maintain a continuously growing list of ordered records, called blocks. They offer a means for unrelated computers and companies to simultaneously collect and store information without relying on a central authority.

IBM has, in a separate effort, made a big push into the blockchain business, writes the Times, as well as leading a separate collaborative project known as the Hyperledger Foundation.

The Hyperledger project is an open-source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

You can learn more about IBM’s blockchain efforts here.

Written by turbotodd

February 28, 2017 at 9:28 am

Posted in 2017, blockchain, ethereum, ibm

Santander Boosts Client Experience with Enterprise iOS Apps

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Santander and IBM have announced a collaboration to design and develop a suite of IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps to support the banking group’s digital transformation and give employees the tools to create deeper engagements with their customers.

These custom-built, native apps made for iOS will be rolled out across more than 11,000 iOS devices, changing how Santander’s commercial network employees, including those supporting Corporate, SME, Private and Retail Banking, approach their day-to-day activities and boost productivity.

Using iPhone, Santander employees can expect to have immediate access to up-to-date information on products, services, and clients, allowing them to make better recommendations to customers on bank products such as Santander’s 1|2|3 account for SMEs, an account that provides cash back incentives for customers, rewards through Santander shares and offers a high profitability among other financial advantages.

These iOS apps will be designed with a user-centric approach and be specifically tailored for employees working in Santander’s central offices and the banking network.

“Innovation is one of Banco Santander’s identity signs. Collaborating with IBM will help us accelerate our digital transformation and improve the client experience to anticipate customer needs,” said Javier Cuenca, ‎Managing Director T&O Area Banco Santander.

IBM will work with Santander to quickly and efficiently design, develop and deploy multiple native iOS apps using Apple’s modern programming language, Swift.

Every app will be seamlessly integrated with Santander’s enterprise systems, putting real-time data at the fingertips of employees. Santander is leveraging IBM’s app design and development model – Mobile at Scale – that will support the rapid development and deployment of these apps the first set of which are planned for release in April, and new apps will continue being developed during the next two years.  

Go here for more information regarding IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps and services.

Written by turbotodd

February 27, 2017 at 10:13 am

Posted in 2017, iOS, mobile

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Grand Theft AI-Auto

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Let the self-driving lawsuit wars begin!

Recode’s reporting that Google’s former self-driving car unit Waymo is suiing self-driving trucking company Otto for allegedly stealing the company’s proprietary laser-based radar system.

According to Waymo, before Levandowski left what was then a part of Google’s moonshot labs, he downloaded 14,000 “highly confidential” files to an external hard drive, including the design for the company’s lidar circuit board.
– via Recode

“The Replicated Board reflects Waymo’s highly confidential proprietary LiDAR technology and Waymo trade secrets,” the complaint reads. “Moreover, the Replicated Board is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with many other Waymo trade secrets and in the context of overall LiDAR systems covered by Waymo patents.”
– via Recode

Written by turbotodd

February 24, 2017 at 9:26 am

IBM Watson Training To Scan For Retina Abnormalities

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IBM Research has announced new research developments in IBM Watson’s ability to detect abnormalities of the eye’s retina.

The Melbourne based IBM researchers have trained a research version of Watson to recognize abnormalities in retina images, which could in the future offer doctors greater insights and speed in their early identification of patients who may be at risk of eye diseases – such as glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the developed world.

The research began in 2015 and the latest work has focused on streamlining some of the manual processes experienced by doctors today. This includes distinguishing between left and right eye images, evaluating the quality of retina scans, as well as ranking possible indicators of glaucoma.

Glaucoma has been named “the silent thief of sight” as many patients remain undiagnosed until irreversible vision loss occurs. Glaucoma can be treated but early detection is critical, with doctors currently relying on regular eye examination screening programs.

The researchers applied deep learning techniques and image analytics technology to 88,000 de-identified retina images accessed through EyePACS®, to analyze key anomalies of the eye.

The research results demonstrate Watson’s ability to accurately measure the ratio of the optic cup to disc – which is a key sign of glaucoma – with statistical performance as high as 95 percent. The technology has also been trained to distinguish between left and right eye images (with up to 94 percent confidence), which are important for downstream analysis and for the development effective treatment programs.

The research is expected to continue to improve over time as the research technology expands to detect features of other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

You can learn more about IBM Research efforts here.

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

The Snapchat Story

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If you haven’t been following the evolution of Snapchat, then you probably don’t realize that it’s a mobile app that allows one to send videos and pictures that “self destruct” a few seconds after someone views them.

Kind of like those “Mission Impossible” messages that blow up after Ethan Hunt reads/views them. Only less dramatic.

What’s not disappearing anytime soon is Snapchat itself. It’s currently about to embark on an investor roadshow and is expected to have up to an $18.5 billion market value when it goes public.

Snap Inc. is about to offer 200 million shares for $14 to $16 apiece, far lower than valuations as recently as last November, which had the company then valued at between $20 and $25 billion.

A recently BloombergTechnology story suggested that even at $18.5B, Snapchat was at the high end of its range compared to its peers when they went public, 19.7 times forward 12-months advertising sales. Facebook was at 19.4 around the time of its IPO, and Twitter was at 13.

What slowed the momentum?

First, average daily active user growth fell below 50 percent in the fourth quarter. And, Snap posted a net lost of $514.6M in 2016.

TechCrunch recently reported that the competitive landscape for Snapchat is heating up, with the heat coming mainly from Instagram stories, but also now from new features introduced on WhatsApp.

Snapchat Stories is expected to have declined from 15 to 40 percent since Instagram Stories was introduced last August, which has now reached 150 million daily users.

Still and all, this is expected to be one of the largest tech IPOs since 2007, writes Bloomberg, trailing only Alibaba and Facebook.

So do you think some of Snapchat’s $18.5 billion valuation will disappear into the ether like its photos, or does it have legs (and enough of a moat) to fend off the competition??

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2017 at 9:06 am

IBM Debuts Watson Clinical Imaging Review

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IBM today introduced IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review — the first cognitive imaging offering from Watson Health.

It also announced the expansion of the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative to 24 organizations worldwide, adding clinical and industry expertise for the worldwide initiative already tackling eye, brain, breast, heart and related conditions.

The Watson Health medical imaging collaborative is an initiative comprised of leading health systems, academic medical centers, private radiology practices, ambulatory radiology providers, and imaging technology companies that are finding ways to use medical imaging to identify and predict the risk of cancer, diabetes, and diseases of the eye, brain and heart and related conditions.

Watson Health will debut Watson Clinical Imaging Review, the first cognitive imaging offering from IBM. The offering reviews medical data including images to help healthcare providers identify the most critical cases that require attention.

The first application for the offering is cardiovascular disease, starting with a common condition called aortic stenosis (AS). AS, which affects 1.5 million Americans, occurs when the aortic valve in the heart is narrowed, impeding blood flow to the rest of the body and causing shortness of breath, tiredness, and chest pain.

A pilot study found that Watson Clinical Imaging Review was able to help hospital personnel identify potential AS patients who had not been previously flagged for follow up cardiovascular care.

Using Watson Imaging Clinical Review, hospital administrators may identify cases where follow up care is warranted and assure EMR information is complete. It uses cognitive text analytics to read structured and unstructured information in a cardiologist’s medical report, combines that with a variety of data from other sources (e.g. EMR problem list), and extracts relevant information to verify key data, including the diagnosis, is accurately reflected throughout the health record.

“Watson Imaging Clinical Review is the type of targeted AI-driven tool that providers could put to use to help them standardize care delivered across their organization, and gradually build a critical mass of reproducible results from their patient population. In doing so, it can support a population health-driven approach to personalized care,” said Nadim Michel Daher, a medical imaging and informatics analyst for Frost & Sullivan.

“Out of the gate, this type of cognitive tool may provide big benefits to hospitals and doctors, providing insights we don’t currently have and doing so in a way that fits how we work,” said Ricardo C. Cury, M.D., director of Cardiac Imaging at Baptist Health of South Florida and chairman and CEO of Radiology Associates of South Florida.

IBM plans to supplement the release of this offering with nine additional cardiovascular conditions, such as myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), valve disorders, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), and deep vein thrombosis.

You can learn more about Watson Health here.

Written by turbotodd

February 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

Building iPhones in Bangalore

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More Apple news overnight…

The company will soon start to manufacture its iPhone SE model in Bangalore through its subcontractor, Wistron.

This would be Apple’s first move to assemble its iPhones in India. However, as the Economic Times of India observes, “the biggest hurdle preventing Apple from cornering a larger slice of the Indian smartphone pie” is its price points. A new model iPhone in India starts at upwards of Rs 50,000 (roughly $745 U.S.).

MacRumors explains that Apple had been in talks with the Indian federal government to garner possible tax concessions if the company agreed to manufacture its phones locally, but that apparently the “initial manufacturing of the iPhone SE is not contingent on any such concessions.”

It goes on to explain that this move into India “looks to offset slowing growth in China by boosting its share of the Indian phone market.”

The iPhone is expected to come in at around Rs 28,460 (roughly $424).

Note: I’m a proud iPhone SE owner my own self. I opted to get the four-inch model because I like the smaller form factor than the 6/7, and with a Mophie case lasts a full day burning up the AC/DC. I also like the fact when I’m riding the bus to work I can hold and operate it with a single hand and thumb. The tradeoff is definitely smaller screen size, but for me the SE strikes the right balance.

Written by turbotodd

February 17, 2017 at 8:17 am

Posted in 2017, apple, iPhone

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