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

Archive for the ‘2017’ Category

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

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

True West — Sam Shepard, RIP

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Just out of the blue hearing the news that renowned actor, playwright, and author Sam Shepard is dead from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 73…well, that was a sucker punch I didn’t see coming.

For those of us who were avid thespians or who studied or were fans of playwriting, that’s up there with saying one of our generations’ Shakespeare’s has exited the typewriter.

For those who reveled in Shephard’s onscreen performances, from his magical turn as the Farmer in “Days of Heaven,” to his boundless Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff,” to his most recent appearance as the family patriarch, Robert Rayburn, on Netflix’s “Bloodline” — never mind all the various and sundry other character parts where his quiet hugeness absolutely filled up the screen — well hell, I don’t even know where to begin.

Shephard’s work painted on a vast, scrambled, and messy canvas of Americana — and not just the good parts, either. Shephard’s work, while celebrating the epic grandeur of the American West, also dug into the seamy underbelly of the American family, the complexity and psychology and contradictions beneath were far from “Leave it to Beaver”-like.

In fact, in his plays especially, it was typically quite the opposite. The so-called great American family was often one convoluted fireball of dysfunction, often held together only by thin seams of necessity and desperation.

And yet, with his words and his performances, he tried to explain it as best he could when we often didn’t even know what to think about it all ourselves.

It’s an open question as to who might continue to take on such giant questions, particularly in the tumultuous times in which we now find ourselves.

From “True West”: This isn’t champagne anymore. We went through the champagne a long time ago. This is serious stuff. The days of champagne are long gone.

Goodbye and Godspeed, Sam Shepard.

There may not be any champagne left, but you still sure left one hell of an impression.

Written by turbotodd

July 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm

No More Nano

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Happy Friday.

Here in Austin, weekend highs of 107 F are expected — another nice, cool Austin summer weekend!

Austin’s not the only thing heating up. The U.S. Commerce Department just announced earlier today that U.S. GDP quickened to 2.6 percent in 2Q, a pace over twice that of 1Q’s 1.2 percent.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “both consumers and businesses helped propel growth in the second quarter.”

If the economy keeps heating up like this, competition for top talent could follow. But don’t expect HPE CEO Meg Whitman to take that top job at Uber. According to a report from TechCrunch “she’s not going anywhere.”

However, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is apparently on a shortlist for the Uber CEO job, a list that Bloomberg suggests is less than six names.

Immelt was already set to step down as chairman and CEO of GEO next month, so, yeah, he might have some time to take the Uber gig.

While that’s still a developing story, there’s a story about developers also unfolding.

Microsoft just announced that it has opened up Windows 10 S to developers and education customers, but not for testing to consumers.

According to a report from Thurrott, “The Home for Tech Enthusiasts: News, Reviews & Analysis”:

“We’re releasing [Windows 10 S] today to developers because we want to be sure they are testing Windows 10 S,” a Microsoft statement notes. “We especially want EDU-focused developers to continue to innovate and make apps that teachers and students would use from the Windows Store…This is very much meant only for developers and IT pros, not consumers to broadly download/switch to Windows 10 S.”
– via Thurrott.com

And finally, in the “We don’t sell that anymore” category, Apple confimed yesterday it has discontinued the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. 

What happened, you ask?

In short, first the iPhone, and later the Apple Watch, killed the iPod Nano and Shuffle radio star.

I loved me some iPod Shuffle, but at some point we all just gonna have to move on…

Written by turbotodd

July 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

Posted in 2017, apple, GDP, ipod, uber

Back in a Flash

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Head ups. Adobe has announced it will stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020.

You’ve been given ample warning.

TechCrunch is reporting that until then, Adobe will still partner with the likes of Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers and support new versions of them, but beyond that, it’s no frills Flash, all the time.

HTML5 has won the day.


U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., but didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

Do these new Apple plants get build before the Wall on the U.S./Mexico border, or after?

Sorry, I NAFTA hafta ask!


AI neuroscience startup Vicarious announced that it has raised $50M in a round led by Khosla Ventures, according to VentureBeat.

The company is said to be using computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models that help robots address a wide variety of tasks. They focus on the neocortex, a part of the brain concerned with sight and hearing.

Does that mean Alexa will soon be able to fetch me a beer from the fridge??!

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

IBM X-Force’s New Services for Automotive and IoT

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The Black Hat 2017 security conference kicks off this week in Viva Las Vegas, Nevada (actually, the happening unofficially started over the weekend).

So it’s no surprise that IBM Security earlier today announced the launch of two new security testing practice areas focused on automotive security and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The new services will be delivered via an elite team of IBM X-Force Red researchers focused on testing backend processes, apps and physical hardware used to control access and management of smart systems.

The new IoT services will be delivered alongside the Watson IoT Platform to provide security services by design to organizations developing IoT solutions for all industries. The Watson IoT Platform provides configuration and management of IoT environments, and the IBM X-Force Red services bring an added layer of security and penetration testing.

IBM X-Force Red marked its first-year anniversary with the addition of security specialists such as Cris Thomas (aka Space Rogue) and Dustin Heywood (aka Evil_Mog with Team Hashcat), who add to the team’s impressive roster of talent globally. To further optimize their engagements, IBM X-Force Red has also built a password cracker called “Cracken” designed to help clients improve password hygiene.

IBM X-Force Red at Black Hat 2017 and DEF CON 2017

Charles Henderson, Global Head of IBM X-Force Red, will present his discussion of real-life penetration testing, “Better Than Mr. Robot at Black Hat USA 2017. The session will be held in Business Hall Theater B, Mandalay Bay on Thursday, July 27 from 11:00-11:50 a.m. PT.

Chris Thompson, Red Team Ops Lead, IBM X-Force Red, will present his demonstration of advanced Red Team tactics, “MS Just Gave the Blue Team Tactical Nukes (and How Red Teams Need to Adapt)” at DEF CON 25. The demo will be held in the 101 Track on Saturday, July 30 from 3:00-3:45 p.m. PT.

X-Force Red and other IBM Security experts will demonstrate the latest offerings at Booth #616, Level 1 Business Hall, Mandalay Bay on July 26 & 27.

You can learn more about IBM Security solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

July 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

Alexa, Buy Graphiq

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Amazon’s doing some shopping of its own, this week acquiring Santa Barbara-based data analytics and search engine startup Graphiq for an estimated $50M.

According to Crunchbase, Graphiq positioned itself as a data aggregation and visualization company focused on turning cmoplicated data into contextually-rich presentations of the world’s knowledge.

The company was founded in 2009 as “FindTheBest,” according to the LA Times, and was co-founded with former DoubleClick CEO and Founder, Kevin O’Connor.

How will Graphiq’s technology possibly be used in the Amazon?

The technology Graphiq has developed to connect the dots between billions of pieces of information could be valuable to Amazon as it tries to make Alexa smarter. Akin to Siri on the iPhone, Alexa answers queries about the weather, sports and other topics on devices such as Amazon’s Echo speaker. Last year, Graphiq produced a now-unavilable Alexa app that aimed to answer questions such as “What is the fastest 2016 sedan?” according to app aggregation website ChatBottle. Amazon also gave Graphiq access to a database about books to put its technology to the test, according to a source.
– via latimes.com

Written by turbotodd

July 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

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