Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘wall street’ Category

IBM and NUS Partner On FinTech and Blockchain Training in Singapore

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FinTech Week NYC may have swung into full hyperledger mode, but IBM continues to forge new blockchain initiatives and partnerships around the world.

Most recently, the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing and the IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation (ICBI), a part of IBM Research, have announced a collaboration to jointly develop a module on financial technology, to better equip students with essential knowledge and skill sets in this area.

Blockchain is a fast growing area across the globe, with banking, healthcare and the government leading the way in terms of adoption. According to studies by IBM’s Institute of Business Value, these three industries are investing heavily in blockchain and commercial solutions are expected to be in place in the next few years.

  • Leading the pack in blockchain banking: Trailblazers set the pace: Fifteen percent of banks and 14 percent of financial market institutions interviewed by IBM intend to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain solutions in 2017. 65 percent of banks are expecting to have blockchain solutions in production in the next three years.
  • Healthcare rallies for blockchains: Keeping patients at the center: Healthcare institutions are going all-in – investing heavily in blockchain pilots, with nine in ten respondents planning to invest by 2018 across all business areas IBM surveyed them about.
  • Building trust in government: Nine in ten government organizations surveyed plan to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018.

The Singapore government’s strategic goal to become a Smart Financial Centre has put focus on blockchain for Singapore. Through its Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has committed S$225 million (US$157 million) over a five-year period to provide support for the creation of a vibrant fintech ecosystem.

Among the projects that have been backed by the scheme is a decentralized record-keeping system based on blockchain technology aimed at preventing duplicate invoicing in trade finance.

The new module on financial technology is expected to be introduced in January 2018, and will focus on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. It seeks to equip students with an understanding of the fundamentals of the technology behind distributed ledgers, and its diverse use cases, from banking to digital currencies to supply chain management. 

NUS faculty members will co-develop the curriculum of the new module with IBM researchers at ICBI to enable students to learn about the latest developments in blockchain technology, and encourage them to contribute to developing the technology further. 

The module will be co-taught by NUS academic staff and ICBI staff who will use financial technology software such as Hyperledger Fabric, one of the five projects under the Hyperledger umbrella, to deliver the course content. Hyperledger Fabric was initially contributed by IBM. Such software will also be made available to NUS researchers for research purposes.  Such software will also be made available to NUS researchers for research purposes. 

Under the collaboration, ICBI will provide technology support in the form of access via the IBM Cloud to the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework. IBM is an early contributor Hyperledger, a Linux Foundation project, which now contains more than 129 member organizations.

You can learn more about IBM Blockchain initiatives here.

Written by turbotodd

April 25, 2017 at 9:15 am

Three Essential Blockchain Adoption Principles

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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.

Written by turbotodd

April 24, 2017 at 9:02 am

IBM Reports 1Q2017 Financial Results

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IBM today announced first-quarter earnings results for 2017.

Highlights included:

  • 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.

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm

A Stock Picking Machine

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If you’re looking for a little AI-related news, yesterday didn’t disappoint.

The New York Times reported that the largest fund company in the world, BlackRock, will be throwing a counterpunch against all those little pesky computer-driven funds that have sprouted up over the past several years.

Founder Laurence D. Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock, “has cast his lot with the machines,” wrote the Times.

Meaning what, exactly?

BlackRock has laid out a plan to consolidate a large number of actively managed (read: by humans) mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks.

“The democratization of information has made it much harder for active management,” Mr. Fink said in an interview. “We have to change the ecosystem — that means relying more on big data, artificial intelligence, factors and models within quant and traditional investment strategies.”
– via www.nytimes.com

 

With Paul Bunyan, it was Man v. Machine…with the stock pickers, it’s the “quants” vs. the bots.

And oh, the sweet, sweet irony, to re-visit now last week’s comments from former Goldman Sachs banker and now Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who, when asked about the arrival of impactful artificial intelligence, suggested it was 50 to 100 years out.

Uh, how about next week, Mr. Secretary??

Oh yeah, if you want a great read about the looming possibilities and threats of AI, look no further than Vanity Fair.

None other than Maureen Down goes deep into the AI Matrix with Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, and a host of other tech thought leaders to try and ascertain how far and how fast humanity should build out AI capabilities, and the consequences of going both too slow and too quickly.

A conundrum? Sure, but one the machines will be able to figure out in no time…if we let them.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

A Public Snap

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Tech earnings season kicked into high gear this week. A few synthesized highlights…

Apple reported $78.4B in Q1 2017 revenue, with 78.3M iPhones sold and a 19% decline in iPad sales. Apple said developers earned $20B from the App Store in 2016, a 40% increase.

Microsoft reported Q2 revenue of $26.1B, indicating Office 365 revenue grew 10% for the quarter. Microsoft indicated its Azure revenue increased 116% in the most recent quarter, “doubling usage.” Surface was down 2% YOY, Phone revenue down 81%.

Facebook reported Q4 revenue of $8.81B, indicating its mobile ad revenue was on a trajectory of bringing in 84% of all ad revenue. Their Monthly Active Users was 1.86B, up 3.91% for the quarter, and last quarter the company said it’s expecting to run out of ad space in mid-2017. It’s not clear whether this sent digital media buyers everywhere scurrying or not.

Amazon reported Q4 revenue of $43.7B, up 22% YOY, and AWS continued to chug forward growing at 47% and delivering revenue of $3.53B. AWS noted it had migrated more than 18K databases using the company’s service in 2016. Echo sales were up 9X compared to last holiday season. “Alexa, crank up the volume.”

And finally, there’s Snap (formerly known as Snapchat). TechCrunch reported their official IPO filing has their revenues at $404M in 2016 with some 158M daily users. That was 500% YOY growth, according to its S-1, but that also incurred a $513M net loss. But Snap has asserted it has a very aggressive “time spent per user” and has strong international growth in Western Europe and Australia. It also recently introduced its Ads API to widen the aperture on its advertising efforts. Its IPO is expected to be the largest tech float since Alibaba in 2014.

Written by turbotodd

February 3, 2017 at 9:16 am

IBM Announces 4Q16, Full Year 2016 Financial Results

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IBM announced its full year 2016 and 4Q2016 earnings this afternoon.

The topline:

  • Diluted EPS from continuing operations: GAAP of $4.73; Operating (non-GAAP) of $5.01
  • Revenue from continuing operations of $21.8 billion
  • Strategic imperatives revenue for full-year 2016 of $32.8 billion up 13 percent (up 14 percent adjusting for currency) represents 41 percent of IBM revenue
  • Cloud revenue of $13.7 billion for full-year 2016, up 35 percent
    • — Cloud as-a-service annual exit run rate of $8.6 billion at year end, up 61 percent year to year (up 63 percent adjusting for currency)
  • 2017 EPS Expectations: GAAP of at least $11.95; Operating (non-GAAP) of at least $13.80

IBM CEO and Chairman Ginni Rometty had this to say about the quarter and years’ results:

“In 2016, our strategic imperatives grew to represent more than 40 percent of our total revenue and we have established ourselves as the industry’s leading cognitive solutions and cloud platform company,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “IBM Watson is the world’s leading AI platform for business, and emerging solutions such as IBM Blockchain are enabling new levels of trust in transactions of every kind.  More and more clients are choosing the IBM Cloud because of its differentiated capabilities, which are helping to transform industries, such as financial services, airlines and retail.”

You can see the full details here.

Written by turbotodd

January 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm

IBM Announces 3Q 2012 Earnings

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IBM’s 3Q 2012 earnings were just announced, with diluted earnings of $3.33 per share, a year-to-year increase of 4 percent, or $3.44 per share, up 8 percent excluding the impact of UK pension-related charges.

Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings were $3.62 per share, compared with operating diluted earnings of $3.28 per share in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 10 percent.

Total revenues for the third quarter of 2012 of $24.7 billion were down 5 percent (down 2 percent, adjusting for currency) from the third quarter of 2011. Currency negatively impacted revenue growth by nearly $1 billion.

IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginny Rometty had this to say about the quarter’s financial performance: “In the third quarter, we continued to drive margin, profit, and earnings growth through our focus on higher-value businesses, strategic growth initiatives, and productivity.

“Looking ahead, we see good opportunity with a strong product lineup heading into this quarter and annuity businesses that provide a solid base of revenue, profit, and cash. We are reiterating our full-year 2012 operating earnings per share expectation of at least $15.10.”

Following are further highlights from the quarter:

Diluted EPS:

  • GAAP: $3.33, up 4 percent; $3.44, up 8 percent excluding UK pension-related charges;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): $3.62, up 10 percent;

Net income:

  • GAAP: $3.8 billion, flat; $3.9 billion, up 3 percent excluding UK pension-related charges;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): $4.2 billion, up 5 percent;

Gross profit margin:

  • GAAP: 47.4 percent, up 0.9 points;
  • Operating (non-GAAP): 48.1 percent, up 1.2 points;

Revenue: $24.7 billion, down 5 percent, down 2 percent adjusting for currency;

  • Negative currency impact of nearly $1 billion;
  • Divestiture of Retail Store Solutions (RSS) reduced revenue by 1 percent;

Software revenue down 1 percent, up 3 percent adjusting for currency;

Services revenue down 5 percent, flat adjusting for currency;

Services backlog of $138 billion, up 1 percent;

Systems and Technology revenue down 13 percent, down 12 percent adjusting for currency;

Growth markets revenue down 1 percent, up 4 percent adjusting for currency;

  • BRIC countries up 4 percent, up 11 percent adjusting for currency;

Business analytics revenue up 14 percent year to date;

Smarter Planet revenue up more than 20 percent year to date

Cloud revenue year to date has exceeded full-year 2011 revenue;

Reiterating full-year 2012 operating (non-GAAP) EPS expectation of at least $15.10.

Written by turbotodd

October 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

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