Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘smart infrastructure’ Category

TurboTech: A Humorous Look At 2011 Technology Trends In Review

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It’s not many people who have the opportunity to be able to say that they’ve worked with a true broadcasting professional like Scott Laningham.

Blogger's Note: No dolphins were harmed during the making of this video. Green pigs who stole bird's eggs, well, that's a whole other story!

It’s even less people who would take the opportunity to actually come clean and admit to having done so, especially on more than one occasion.

Because I’m neither a true professional nor someone who likes to allow the skeletons in his closet to begin to accumulate, instead of facing as many of them as I can take head on like some egregious out-of-control episode of “Walking Dead,” or, worse, a full-on “Angry Birds” like assault come to life (but only if it’s the ad-supported version, as we’re too cheap to actually buy a copy), it is with great pleasure that I feature for you my readers the latest episode of “TurboTech,” another fine example supporting the postulation by Gartner and others that broadband video is here to stay…even if Scott and I are not destined to be ourselves.

The following is video documentary evidence of what happens when nature cannot simply abhor a vacuum, but instead must attempt to fill it with technology forecasting tripe at the end of another grand year of massive technological disruption.  In our case, the year 2011, which was filled with much technological wonder and wonderment, not the least of which included fabric-based computing.

It shall also not go unnoticed by somewhat regular (assuming there are any of you) viewers that Scott continues to look and sound much, much better than me in these episodes, indicating once again that Scott continues to have better technology than me.

This, too, must change.

Healthier Hong Kong

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I’ve been too busy to keep an eye out for Norad Santa this year, but for those of you with children out there, you’ll be happy to know you can now track Santa via the NORAD Tracks Santa app, available for both Android and the iPhone.

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

It’s good to know that Santa’s multi-platform!

If, on the other hand, you’re all about tracking leading healthcare providers, look now towards Hong Kong-based Quality HealthCare Medical Services (QMHS), which partnered today with IBM to build a virtualized infrastructure for its practice.

The project involves the consolidation of more than 100 servers into a cloud environment that hosts QHMS’ mission critical systems that serve over 600 medical centers in Hong Kong and Macau.

The optimized infrastructure will enable QHMS to reduce IT maintenance and disaster recovery costs, ensure production system maintainability and performance, and achieve energy-savings.

By reducing the number of physical servers from over 100 to eight IBM System x3650 servers and centralizing storage, QHMS is expected to reduce IT operational costs by 25 percent and software license and related maintenance costs by 23 percent.

The new and highly redundant server infrastructure also includes an automated centralized back-up system of IBM System Storage DS3500 Express that enables fast, secure and cost-effective storage management, back up and recovery.

“We are always looking for ways to further improve the patient experience. Our new cloud allows us to deliver information to our doctors faster and in a more reliable way,” said Elaine Chu, Chief Operating Officer of QHMS. “As a result, we will be able to serve our patients more effectively and with higher levels of care. It is very exciting to see how we can make a difference to our patients with the help of technology.”

Additionally, the deployment of the IBM Cognos Business Intelligence solution provides financial key performance indicator (KPI) and analysis, creating the opportunity to gain more timely business information for better business performance management and smarter decision-making.

QHMS aims to monitor business performance in over 600 medical centers. With IBM Cognos BI, QHMS can build a standardized and centralized information delivery platform that enables QHMS to monitor the performance of a wide range of services running on different systems.

QHMS’ management team can now access timely business information with just a few mouse clicks, speeding response times to business needs and patient demands.

About Quality HealthCare
Quality HealthCare Medical Services Limited is a physician led provider group offering an integrated range of healthcare services including facilities management, third party plan administration and paramedical support. The Group provides care for private and corporate contract patients through a network of more than 580 Western and Chinese medical centers, and 47 dental and physiotherapy centers.

In 2010, its network recorded more than 2.8 million healthcare visits. It also operates Hong Kong’s longest-established nursing agency and one of its medical practices has been serving Hong Kong people for over 140 years.

Flying Through Your Data Center

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After my recent visit to the Bahamas, and my first ever flight in a small aircraft, I decided I was going to take up flying.  Well, virtually, anyhow.

My buddy Steve recommended I buy a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, along with a remote USB yoke and throttle control, to do some initial simulation and learn some of the basic flying requirements on the safety of my computer.

Click to expand image. The IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator is designed to give busy chief information officers a fast and easy way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through the lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies. I was able to create this simulation in less than a minute!

I’m all about simulating while I learn the basics of flying.  I figure it’s much safer for me on the ground than in the air!

But simulations are no longer limited simply to learning how to fly.

Sometimes, the best way to demonstrate the benefits of new technology is, actually, through more technology.

Like an online simulator for IT data center ROI, for example.

The kind of tool that allows people to punch in information and variables and receive instant feedback on possible alternatives.

So, enter the new IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator.

This new online simulation tool is designed to give busy CIOs a fast and easy to way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies.

If you’re not familiar with IBM’s Smarter Computing approach to IT earlier this year, IBM introduced it as a way for organizations to realize greater efficiencies, improved reliability, and better performance, and all at lower costs.

The strategy centers around three fundamental aspects:

  • Leveraging analytics to exploit vast amounts of data for business goals
  • Utilizing optimized systems that are designed for specific tasks
  • Managing as much of the IT as possible with cloud-computing technologies.

The new simulator, then, starts by asking the visitor to select either IBM Power Systems or IBM System z to compare to their own IT infrastructure.

It then asks for the type of industry they’re in, the type of workload to be compared, and the number and types of systems to compare – including those based on Intel Itanium, Intel x86, and/or Sun SPARC.

As the systems are identified, graphical images of servers begin to populate a simulated data center floor.

When the visitor finishes and hits the “Next” button, an alternative data center floor immediately pops up and populates with IBM systems and a breakdown of estimated costs and savings.

Visitors can drill down for charts and analysis on operating and strategic costs of their infrastructures, and the potential costs and savings of the IBM alternative.

For even greater analysis, visitors can click on the IBM System Consolidation and Evaluation Tool at the end of the simulation that provides a more comprehensive and detailed comparison.

IBM will expand the tool, which went live in mid-October, to include support for System x in the first half of 2012.

You can check out the IBM Smarter Computing Workload simulator here.

IBM To Acquire Cúram Software

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IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cúram Software Ltd. to help governments improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of social programs for smarter cities.

Today, IBM acquired Curam Software, a leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cúram Software is used in more than 80 government agency projects around the world to provide the most appropriate social programs to citizens and their families in a timely manner, deliver services more effectively, and continuously monitor progress toward achieving people’s social and economic potential.

Who Is Cúram Software?

Cúram Software is the leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Using Cúram’s solutions, agencies can immediately reap the benefits of client-centric business processes and an outcomes-driven integrated service delivery model Cúram’s solutions, underpinned by the Cúram Social Industry Platform, combines the advantages of software built specifically for social programs, an enterprise platform and service-oriented architecture with the business and technical flexibility required to allow agencies to implement solutions to meet their strategic objectives.

Cúram, which means “care and protection” in Irish, was founded in 1990 and is based in Dublin, Ireland, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and India.  One of the company’s investors was Enterprise Ireland, which helps Irish companies achieve global success.

How Is Cúram Software Used?

Cúram social managment software is used by health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations around the world to deliver welfare, social insurance and both individual and employer based social programs.

It allows cities and governments to provide a single view of benefits and services available across agencies, levels of government and private and not-for-profit organizations.

The Social Industry Platform includes processes to deliver all types of programs and offers the flexibility needed to quickly update them as policy makers react to different economic times.

Cúram Software’s Platform also allows government and providers to focus on lowering overall program costs by ensuring that the benefits and services provided address core issues and that people become more self-sufficient.

Cúram And IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative

Through its Smarter Cities initiative, IBM helps cities and governments serve citizens better by adopting more intelligent and efficient ways to analyze data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources.   IBM has led more than 2,000 projects to achieve these goals and through its acquisition of Cúram Software, IBM expects to extend its leadership in this area.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.

Today’s news also builds on IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives in Ireland.  Last year the company opened its first Smarter Cities Technology Center in Dublin at IBM’s R&D Lab,  where IBM works with city authorities, universities, small and large businesses to research, develop and commercialize new ways of making city systems more connected, sustainable and intelligent.

With the addition of the Cúram Research Institute — which is working to develop and deploy new business models for managing social programs — IBM will enhance its ability to help clients increase the social and economic potential of people and their families.“

We are working to help cities and governments at all levels transform the way they interact with citizens while improving efficiency,” said Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM Industry Solutions.  “We all have stories to tell about standing in long lines or making countless phone calls to gain access to government services, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Together with Cúram, IBM can transform the way citizens do business with government in a way that benefits everyone.”

Since 1999, IBM and Cúram have collaborated on federal, state, local, and provincial-level social program solutions around the world.  More than 90 percent of Cúram’s clients use IBM WebSphere middleware and nearly 70 percent of its clients use IBM hardware.  Cúram’s software is certified for use with the IBM Government Industry Framework and has been part of IBM Global Business Services’ Integrated Case Management solution since 2001.

“After 13 years of experience working with IBM, we know our companies are an excellent fit”, said John Hearne, CEO, Cúram Software.  “Many of our clients already use IBM technologies and services, and they will benefit from working with Cúram and IBM as one.  Through IBM’s global reach, we can grow our client base by bringing the benefits of Cúram’s Social Industry Platform to citizens around the world.”

IBM’s announcement of its plan to acquire of Cúram Software follows a series of moves IBM made this year to enhance its offerings for cities and governments.   In June, the company introduced the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, which provides a unified view of all city agencies so officials can predict events and quickly respond.  Shortly thereafter, IBM announced it planned to acquire i2, a leading provider of intelligence analytics for crime and fraud prevention.  The acquisition was completed in October.

After the acquisition is completed, Cúram Software will be integrated into IBM’s Software Group, which is a key driver of growth and profitability for the company.  Cúram has approximately 700 employees.

In addition to its headquarters in Dublin, the company has offices in Herndon, VA.; Toronto; Frankfurt, Germany; Canberra, Australia and Bangalore, India.  The acquisition is anticipated to close by the end of December subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

To learn more visit www.cúramsoftware.com.

Back To School

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It’s back to school for Big Blue.

Earlier today, we announced how students at universities around the globe are going to be collaborating on projects to improve cities, transportation, and healthcare — with a little help from IBM.

Fifty professors from 40 universities in 14 countries have been recognized with a Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation award.

IBM created the $10,000 awards to help universities develop innovative new curricula that address the global challenges of infrastructure and services such as education and transportation, with the solutions being implemented in each city for evaluation and improvement.

The idea being, of course, to have these new curricula prepare students for future leadership in a variety of industries by exposing them to Watson-like technologies in the classroom, cultivating collaboration skills and new approaches to innovation.

A couple of examples from this year’s winners:

  • SUNY Buffalo’s project will analyze U.S. Border control data to learn how technology solutions may help improve the sustainability of transportation systems (Each year, American drivers waste an estimated 3.7 billion hours sitting in traffic!)
  • RMIT University in Australia, halfway around the planet, will explore how advanced technology and sensors can help build smarter, interconnected cities.

All the new courses will be taught in the 2011-2012 school year.

Visit here to read more about the winners.

Better yet, check out some of these videos explaining the program and highlighting some of the winners’ efforts.

And go here if you’re interested in learning how to provide submissions for your university for the fall 2011 Smarter Planet Innovation Awards.  Nominations will open the week of May 16th!

Written by turbotodd

May 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Live From Impact 2011: IBM Software’s Steve Mills On Business Agility

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Katie Linendoll, the “chic geek” technojournalist for both CNN and CBS, spiritedly kicked off today’s Impact 2011 morning keynote.

Scott and I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie yesterday afternoon for Impact TV, whereupon Katie went out of her way to give Scott a hard time about his pad and paper “Think” pad (Us cool kids both had iPads, albeit mine, a 1st generation, Katie’s the iPad 2).

Katie explained that for today’s session, we were going to focus on the how of building towards business agility, and then promptly introduced IBM Senior VP, Software and Systems, Steve Mills.

Steve had also joined us for an Impact TV interview, on Sunday, and continued to relay to the gathered 8,000+ member audience some of the key messages he had communicated during our interview.

In his comments, Steve pointed out for the audience how well received the IBM customer participation in both keynotes and breakouts has been, and he highlighted several in his talk: Caterpillar, NY State Tax Authority, Isbank (in Turkey), all of whom have realized great efficiencies and agility via business process management.

Mills explained that over the past decade, we’ve collectively been on a journey with SOA to build towards business agility, seizing the opportunity to leverage open standards and start to build more horizontal business processes that were no longer isolated to vertical applications.

SOA, Mills explained, has been about trying to unlock those applications and assets which define your business and the particular processes that make your business run, but that you can’t get there without unlocking your own data and assets.

But Mills also pointed out that there’s not a lot of new things in IT.  Watson, for example, the computer system that recently took on and beat “Jeopardy!” world champions, is not 4 years old. “There’s over 40 years of IT science behind Watson.”

Applause from the Impact audience. Mills continued: “The last four years were really fun. The past 40 were really hard.”

Business agility requires a robust SOA infrastructure, Mills explained, and we at IBM have worked on helping build a complete infrastructure because we understood our customers wanted to tie a lot of services together and to have flexible, high-performing infrastructures.

This, in turn, could help organizations build less, reuse more, and realize significant economic benefit by bringing down the cost of execution (Most businesses today spend 70-80% of their resources managing the runtime of thousands of programs).

Mills comments about the backstory of SOA served as a perfect segueway to the customer story video Katie introduced about how the City of Madrid built a coordinated emergency management response system after the horrible 2004 bombings there, and is now realizing a 25% faster response time for emergencies (and improving all the time).

And, to Phil Gilbert, IBM VP BPM, and his demo of the new IBM Business Process Manager.  Gilbert observed that there are $1T in losses in process inefficiencies every year, and yet both good and bad events have increased in both severity and frequency.

Citing Alfred Sloan, former CEO of General Motors and process improvement guru, he explained that “good management rests on decentralization with coordinated control.”

IBM’s approach to BPM can deliver such coordination.

Written by turbotodd

April 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Live from Impact 2011: Q&A With Steve Mills

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Greetings from The Venetian Hotel and Casino in lovely Las Vegas, Nevada.

I’m writing you from a breakfast of thousands (well, it’s so early, it’s only hundreds, but give it time), which means I had to hoof it to the far nether regions of the Venetian’s inner conference sanctum to grab my imitation Egg McMuffin (which was actually pretty good).

I arrived yesterday afternoon via Southwest Airlines. Fortunately, my flight wasn’t a convertible, but it was a couple of hours late. Which, of course, meant that I wasn’t going to arrive in Vegas in time to see the end of the Masters.

Which, of course, proved to have an incredibly dramatic finish. Thank Heavens for the Masters Web site (which IBM helped produce). I was able to get updated scores from the leaderboard on the ground in Phoenix between flights.

When I arrived at McCarran airport, the cab stand line was so long, I thought they might be giving away free rides or something. Needing to be at the Venetian for our opening Webcast by 5:30, I considered walking to my hotel, but figured I might not survive the trek.

So, it was on to a local shuttle which, of course, dropped me off next to last. I was starting to think I wasn’t destined to make it to Impact.

But I finally arrived, successfully, and the rooms at the Venetian were large enough to build our own personal Webcasting studio (if I could just figure out how to raise the blinds!)

Scott Laningham and I met with our IBM media team to prepare for the evening’s Webcasting, a Q&A with IBM Vice President and Group Executive Software and Systems, Steve Mills.

Steve helped set up the big picture for Impact 2011 (he’ll be keynoting tomorrow, Tuesday), discussing everything from SOA to cloud computing to the possibilities presented by the IBM Deep Q&A technology, Watson. You can see our interview with Steve and all the Impact videos here. We’ll be talking to many more IBM execs, partners, and experts over the next three days.

For now, I’m off to catch today’s opening general session, which the calendar handout at breakfast indicates will provide a key SOA announcement from Marie Wieck, the general manager of IBM Software’s Application and Integration Middleware (AIM) organization.

Stay tuned for more from Impact!

Written by turbotodd

April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

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