Archive for the ‘2017’ Category
IBM today announced that it has identified three key elements of enterprise blockchain adoption for c-suite leaders to consider when evaluating the technology for business use.
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is quickly making its way into the enterprise, potentially becoming as revolutionary a technology for business transactions as the internet was for communications in the late 1990s.
In the supply chain and logistics industry alone, the technology could potentially help save billions of dollars annually and significantly reduce delays and spoilage. Its potential impacts are far-reaching; according to the World Economic Forum, reducing barriers within the international supply chain could increase worldwide GDP by almost five percent and total trade volume by 15 percent.
To best derive value from blockchain technology, IBM recommends that enterprise adopters across supply chains and other key industries including financial services, retail, energy and others develop a close understanding of five key elements of the technology:
- Blockchain has the potential to transform trade, transactions and business processes. The two concepts underpinning blockchain are “business network” and “ledger.” Taken together, these are what make blockchain a smart, tamper-resistant way to conduct trade, transactions and business processes. Network members exchange assets through a ledger that all members share access to. The ledger is synced across the network with all members needing to confirm a transaction of tangible or intangible assets before it is approved and stored on the blockchain. This shared view helps establish legitimacy and transparency, even when parties are not familiar with one another.
- The value is in the ecosystem as the blockchain network grows. As a business network, blockchain can include several different types of participants. Depending on the number of participants in a blockchain network, the value of assets being exchanged and the need to authorize members with varying credentials, adopters should observe the difference between “permissioned” and “permissionless” blockchain networks. The real value for blockchain is achieved when these business networks grow. With a strong ecosystem, business networks can more easily reach critical mass allowing the users to build new business models and reinvent the transaction process.
- Blockchain can significantly improve visibility and trust across business. Blockchains can reduce transaction settlement times from days or weeks to seconds by providing visibility to all the participants. The technology can also be used to cut excess costs by removing intermediary third-parties typically required to verify transactions. Because blockchain is built on the concept of trust, it can help reduce risks of illicit practices carried out over payment networks, helping to mitigate fraud and cybercrimes.
Speed, cost efficiency and transparency are among blockchain’s most significant benefits in the enterprise and within ecosystems of companies conducting trade.
IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University, for example, are exploring the use of blockchain to help address the challenges surrounding food safety. By allowing members within the supply chain to see the same records, blockchain helps narrow down the source of a contamination.
Blockchain is being rapidly explored today
Real-world use of blockchain is underway. Everledger, a company that tracks and protects diamonds and other valuables via the blockchain, has started building a digital business network using IBM Blockchain to power its global certification system.
When combined with a highly secure cloud environment, blockchain technology can be used to help protect suppliers, buyers and shippers against theft, counterfeiting and other forms of corruption, while simultaneously demonstrating the origin of high-value goods for essential parties.
IBM is also working with multiple stock exchanges to test trading over blockchain in low-liquidity markets. A case study that supports findings from ‘Leading the pack in blockchain banking’ and ‘Blockchain rewires financial markets’ predicts that 15 percent of banks and 14 percent of broader financial markets institutions expect to have blockchain in-production at commercial scale this year, and 53 percent of banks believe they will move to a live blockchain network over the next two years.
You can learn more about IBM Blockchain solutions here.
Crédit Mutuel and IBM announced today that following a successful pilot, the use of Watson technologies is extended to 20,000 employees across 5,000 branches to continue to strengthen customer relationships.
This marks the first commercial use of Watson by a financial institution in France to assist its professionals.
The bank’s customer advisors have been using Watson services in French for the past year, integrated in their business applications, as Crédit Mutuel and IBM have partnered to train and improve Watson’s French language capabilities.
By mid-June, Watson-based solutions will be deployed to client advisors across the 15 federations of Crédit Mutuel throughout France:
- The Email Analyzer will help the advisors of these branches to manage the more than 350,000 customer e-mails they receive each day. The solution allows the Bank to identify the most frequent requests, determine the level of request urgency and help its client advisors execute faster or delegate associated tasks, allowing them to accelerate and enhance responses provided to their customers.
- Two Virtual Assistant applications will use Watson technology to help the advisors rapidly provide customers with information on a comprehensive set of offerings, starting with complex domains such as car and housing insurances, and the whole range of savings and investments products.
After one year of intensive training with the business experts of the bank, and after a successful pilot with 150 client advisors in 20 branches, both solutions were strongly endorsed by the pilot’s users.
Working with Watson-based solutions trained with internal business knowledge has helped them free up time; improve the speed, relevance and accuracy of responses to queries; and ultimately reinforce relationships with their customers, providing more personalized attention.
According to an internal survey of participants, 94 percent of the respondents would recommend the Virtual Assistant to colleagues and 87 percent would recommend the Email Analyzer.
The pilot also demonstrated that client advisors were able to find the right answers to most of their customer questions more than 60 percent faster using the Watson-based Virtual Assistant.
“As a mutual bank with a strong local presence all over the country, we continue to invest in our branches to help advisors deliver more personal relationships with our clients, whether face to face, by phone, or digital. In this context, Watson is a perfect working partner to assist our professionals, augment their service quality and help them bring more value to clients,” said Nicolas Thery, chairman at Crédit Mutuel. “We are evolving our banking business to deliver a growing number of diversified and valuable services to clients, and we recognize how important it is for our professionals to be central to our client relationships.”
Crédit Mutuel will extend the use of Watson technologies to additional use cases later this year, for health, personal risk insurance, car credit insurance, and bank credit services.
File this one in the “Cutting Your Own Throat” folder.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its Chrome web browser.
No, I’m serious. And it gets better.
The feature could be switched on by default within Chrome. So the default could be that users get no ads.
The upside for users: No ads, of course. And the ability to “filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web.”
The Journal explained that “Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan.”
A browser that blocks ads.
From a company that makes most of its money from ads.
Have they talked to any of their advertisers about this?
Am I missing something?
Human and machine collaboration has inspired some of society’s most important innovations, and it has long been a source of fascination in media and entertainment.
But it’s no longer just the subject of movie or videogame story lines; it’s also helping to inspire their very creation. Today the Tribeca Film Festival and IBM announced “Tribeca Presents Storytellers with Watson: A Tribeca Film Festival competition for Innovation sponsored by IBM.” The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will be taking place from April 19-30 in New York City.
Starting today, participants in the U.S. can submit ideas on how they would apply Watson to any storytelling medium, such as film and video, web content, gaming, augmented reality and virtual reality.
IBM has worked with Tribeca to develop five use-case categories that can help guide the ideation process for submissions, including examples of cognitive solutions and how Watson APIs can be applied to their creation. Guiding categories include development, pre-production, production and post-production, audience experience and interaction, and marketing and distribution.
The aim is to encourage new thinking on the challenges that exist in creativity or productivity and how Watson can be applied to improving this experience.
The competition is open to the public and will also tap into Tribeca’s alumni network of thousands of media industry influencers, digital producers and creative firms to utilize the Watson platform to create original stories.
Over the past 16 years since the Tribeca Film Festival’s inception, this alumni community has submitted entries to the Festival and are actively involved in creating films, TV programming, online content and other forms of interactive digital media.
“The Tribeca Film Festival has always been a celebration of innovation and cutting-edge ideas,” said Andrew Essex, CEO at Tribeca Film Festival. “Since IBM Watson has been a big influence across many industries, we’re eager to see how our creative community will apply this technology to inspiring their own creative potential. Our collaboration with IBM is important to our mission because it spurs our community to push the limits of what they think is possible and find new inspiration that can redefine their approaches to art and storytelling.”
Watson helps professionals across industries discover new insights from massive amounts of data to solve problems and inspire creativity. The same cognitive technology that is being used to inspire new ideas and thinking among the Tribeca Film Festival community is also being applied in fields such as healthcare, education, retail, law, insurance, and more.
Within the media and entertainment industries, Watson is already helping professionals design and innovate, such as in fashion (with Marchesato create the “cognitive dress”), film (with 20th Century FOX to create the movie trailer for “Morgan”), cuisine (with Chef Watson to create new culinary combinations), music (via Watson Beat and Grammy award-winning producer Alex Da Kid), and architecture (with SOFTlab to create a sculpture inspired by Antoni Gaudi and the history of Barcelona).
The Storytellers with Watson competition submissions will be accepted through May 18, 2017. Ideas can be submitted via the contest’s online form and should include general information about the idea and a short video.
A group of IBM volunteers along with representatives from the Tribeca Film Festival will review the submissions and rate them for creativity, impact potential, and technical feasibility. Submissions will be narrowed down to five finalists who will compete for the winning position. The winner will receive a trip for two to the 2018 Tribeca Film Fest which includes airfare for two within the U.S, a hotel room, and two passes to the Festival.
For more details on the competition and submission process, please visit the “Storytelling with Watson” landing page.
The IBM Security App Exchange has now grown to over 90 custom applications from IBM and Business Partners.
Over 30,000 apps, content packs and tools have been downloaded since the launch of the App Exchange, allowing users to extend the capabilities of IBM’s Security technologies with custom apps and integrations.
Launched in December 2015, the IBM Security App Exchange is a community marketplace for customers, Business Partners and other developers to build and share applications which build upon and integrate with IBM Security products.
The IBM Security App Exchange has been populated with new applications from more than 30 Business Partners, including Trend Micro, Recorded Future, BluVector and Ziften.
Through this collaboration, customers now have access to new solutions which can help them streamline their security operations, potentially saving valuable resources and allowing their security teams to remain focused on the latest threats rather than technology management and integration.
Combining these partner applications with innovative new security apps developed within IBM Security, the App Exchange is now home to 92 applications which extend across the IBM Security portfolio, including IBM QRadar security intelligence platform,BigFix endpoint management, Guardium data protection, MaaS360 mobile device management, Resilient incident response platform, and IBM’s open source threat intelligence platform, X-Force Exchange.
“As threats are evolving faster than ever, collaborative development amongst the security community will help organizations adapt quickly and speed innovation in the fight against cybercrime,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, Marketing Manager, IBM Security. “The rapid growth of the IBM Security App Exchange shows the value that this collaboration is providing to partners and customers.”
You can visit the IBM Security App Exchange here.
IBM today announced first-quarter earnings results for 2017.
- Diluted EPS from continuing operations: GAAP of $1.85; Operating (non-GAAP) of $2.38
- Revenue from continuing operations of $18.2 billion
- Strategic imperatives revenue of $7.8 billion in the quarter, up 12 percent (up 13 percent adjusting for currency)
- Strategic imperatives revenue of $33.6 billion over the last 12 months represents 42 percent of IBM revenue
- Cloud revenue of $14.6 billion over the last 12 months
- Cloud as-a-Service annual exit run rate of $8.6 billion in the quarter, up 59 percent year to year (up 61 percent adjusting for currency)
- Maintains full-year EPS and free cash flow expectations.
“In the first quarter, both the IBM Cloud and our cognitive solutions again grew strongly, which fueled robust performance in our strategic imperatives,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. “In addition, we are developing and bringing to market emerging technologies such as blockchain and quantum, revolutionizing how enterprises will tackle complex business problems in the years ahead.”
You can see the full announcement here.
IBM announced today that it is working with Continuum Analytics to offer Anaconda, a leading Open Data Science platform, on IBM Cognitive Systems. Anaconda will also integrate with the PowerAI software distribution for machine learning and deep learning that makes it simple and fast to take advantage of Power performance and GPU optimization for data intensive cognitive workloads.
As one of the fastest growing fields of machine learning, deep learning makes it possible to process enormous datasets with millions or even billions of elements and extract useful predictive models. Deep learning is transforming the businesses of leading consumer Web and mobile application companies, and it is quickly being adopted by more traditional business enterprises as well.
IBM developed PowerAI to accelerate enterprise adoption of open-source machine and deep learning frameworks used to build cognitive applications.
PowerAI reduces the complexity and risk of deploying these open source frameworks for enterprises on the Power architecture and is tuned for high performance. With PowerAI, clients can realize the benefit of enterprise support on IBM Cognitive Systems HPC platforms used in the most demanding commercial, academic and hyperscale environments.
These Cognitive Systems are built with IBM’s POWER8 leveraging NVIDIA’s high-speed NVLink interface to NVIDIA’s Tesla Pascal P100 GPU accelerators. The CPU to GPU and GPU to GPU NVLink high bandwidth connections give a performance boost to deep learning and analytics applications. The CPU to GPU NVLink interface is only available on POWER8 CPUs.
“Anaconda is an important capability for developers building cognitive solutions, and now it’s available on IBM’s high performance deep learning platform,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of Cognitive Systems. “Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems empowers developers and data scientists to build and deploy deep learning applications that are ready to scale.”
The Anaconda platform brings powerful capabilities for large-scale data processing, predictive analytics, and scientific computing to simplify package management and deployment. Developers using open source ML/DL components will now be able to use Power as the deployment platform and take advantage of Power optimization & GPU differentiation for NVIDIA.