Archive for the ‘2017’ Category
Happy Thursday… Much as with March Madness, there were some significant upsets yesterday in the Dell World Golf Championships here in Austin Texas… Most tragic was last year’s winner, Jason Day, announcing his withdrawal from the tournament after six holes due to his mother’s terminal cancer. He held a gutwrenching press conference, but the former world number one golfer clearly has his priorities in the right place.
Jason, here’s wishing you and your entire family all the best as your mom fights for her life. For those of us familiar with your backstory, we know how much of a fighter she is and how much she helped you get to where you are today.
Now, back to the technology news of the day: Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow, a tool that lets you put together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks.
TechCrunch reported the news, but was unable to get financial details for the deal. As they write:
Workflow has been around for a couple of years and we’ve covered it and its updates. It shares some similarity with the service IFTTT, in that it allows people to group together a bunch of actions that can allow them to perform complicated tasks with one tap. It had built up a sizeable number of users and downloads over the past few years.
– via TechCrunch
They also report that the Workflow app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today.
Which makes all you people who bought the app in the last week suckers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”