Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘2017

IBM, Banks Collaborate to Advance an Open, Blockchain-based Trade Finance Platform

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Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group have joined an initiative launched by UBS and IBM in 2016 to build a new global trade platform based on blockchain technology.

This new platform, called Batavia, is built to be openly accessed by organizations of all sizes anywhere in the world, and can support trade finance for transactions across all modes of trade, whether goods are being transported by air, land or sea.

Batavia advances the work initiated by UBS and IBM to develop a trade finance platform built on the IBM Blockchain Platform powered by the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain framework.

The development work is being done collaboratively by the five banks and IBM in consultation with transportation industry experts as well as the banks’ customers to ensure that the platform is flexible and intuitive for customers and can be commercialized.

Batavia is targeting pilot transactions with customers on the network in early 2018 to test and refine the platform.

Designed to support more efficient, transparent and cost-effective transactions, the new global trade financing platform will help organizations more easily build multi-party, cross-border trading networks worldwide.

Batavia will allow transacting parties to view the progress of a shipment as it leaves the warehouse, is loaded onto a plane, truck or boat and arrives at the receiving port, automatically releasing payments incrementally along each step of the process.

The platform will help connect participants in a trading network, delivering the potential to transform global trade. The open nature of the platform, which encourages broad participation by many banks, vendors and regulators, will also help open new trade corridors, bring new players into the market and expedite processes that before were prohibitively time-consuming and expensive.

Traditionally, trading partners, including buyers, sellers, their banks, transporters, inspectors and regulators have relied on large volumes of paper-based documentation to securely conduct trade transactions. This process can take up to weeks, incurring costs, making data vulnerable to errors due to repeated manual reprocessing and tying up capital.

Delays and lack of transparency in trade can make it difficult for companies to access financing, limiting their ability to trade across borders and grow revenues. The Batavia platform will eliminate the necessity to handle and compare documents, allowing buyers, sellers and their banks to execute transactions with a high degree of efficiency and transparency.

Blockchain enables greater transparency by digitizing agreements entered into a permanent, immutable ledger that all involved parties in a trade transaction can view. The status of a contract until its fulfillment is updated automatically through IoT sensor data or user input.

Batavia will save users time and reduce costs by ensuring the integrity of data as it changes hands, reducing third-party verification processes and minimising the potential for errors, tampering or disputes. When all participants in a transaction can access a shared version of the truth, they can interact with greater trust, build larger and more distributed networks, and in turn, grow revenue.

You can learn more about the IBM Blockchain Platform here.

Written by turbotodd

October 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

Worried About Equifax Breach? Put a Security Freeze on Your Credit Files!

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After blowing my top when learning about this latest data breach at Equifax, where roughly 44 percent of Americans’ personal information — including Social Security, driver’s license, and credit card numbers were put at risk — well, I decided I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Rather than spend a monthly fee paying one of these credit companies a fee to protect the very information they traffic in, I went one better: I put a security freeze on my credit file with each of the four major credit vendors in the U.S.: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and Innovis.

So what did this involve?

It was much easier than people might have you think, and for the full details, we have Krebs on Security to thank for the full instructions.

Here’s the bottom line:

A security credit freeze basically blocks any potential creditors from able to view or "pull" your credit file, unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file first. So, if you need to have a credit line inquiry anytime soon, this option’s not for you.

On the other hand, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired worrying about these data breaches, this is the option for you.

Depending on your state, it’s a modest fee to put a security freeze on your credit file for each of the previously mentioned vendors. (In Texas, each freeze costs $10, although for some reason Innovis was free.)

What does this freeze do?

First, ID thieves can still apply for credit in your name, but they won’t succeed in getting new lines of credit because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge your risk worthiness.

Also, the freeze can help protect your credit score, because as you’ve probably heard, every credit inquiry made by a creditor can negatively impact your credit score.

How do you do all this? It’s easier than it looks.

Go to each of the websites (www.experian.com, etc.) and search for "security freeze." You then should be able to find each vendor’s direct link with directions on how to impose the freeze.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of identity theft, you well know that $30-50 is a small price to pay to gain some piece of mind and to frustrate the hackers looking to benefit from your prior naivete.

Take your personal info and credit back into your own hands.

Do it, and do it now!

Written by turbotodd

September 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm

IBM and MIT to Pursue Joint Research in Artificial Intelligence

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IBM and MIT today announced that IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI.

The collaboration aims to advance AI hardware, software and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas, increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity, and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society. IBM’s $240 million investment in the lab will support research by IBM and MIT scientists.

The new lab will be one of the largest long-term university-industry AI collaborations to date, mobilizing the talent of more than 100 AI scientists, professors, and students to pursue joint research at IBM’s Research Lab in Cambridge — co-located with the IBM Watson Health and IBM Security headquarters in Kendall Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts — and on the neighboring MIT campus.

The lab will be co-chaired by IBM Research VP of AI and IBM Q, Dario Gil, and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering. IBM and MIT plan to issue a call for proposals to MIT researchers and IBM scientists to submit their ideas for joint research to push the boundaries in AI science and technology in several areas, including:

  • AI algorithms: Developing advanced algorithms to expand capabilities in machine learning and reasoning. Researchers will create AI systems that move beyond specialized tasks to tackle more complex problems, and benefit from robust, continuous learning. Researchers will invent new algorithms that can not only leverage big data when available, but also learn from limited data to augment human intelligence.
  • Physics of AI: Investigating new AI hardware materials, devices, and architectures that will support future analog computational approaches to AI model training and deployment, as well as the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. The latter involves using AI to help characterize and improve quantum devices, and also researching the use of quantum computing to optimize and speed up machine-learning algorithms and other AI applications.
  • Application of AI to industries: Given its location in IBM Watson Health and IBM Security headquarters and Kendall Square, a global hub of biomedical innovation, the lab will develop new applications of AI for professional use, including fields such as health care and cybersecurity. The collaboration will explore the use of AI in areas such as the security and privacy of medical data, personalization of healthcare, image analysis, and the optimum treatment paths for specific patients.
  • Advancing shared prosperity through AI: The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab will explore how AI can deliver economic and societal benefits to a broader range of people, nations, and enterprises. The lab will study the economic implications of AI and investigate how AI can improve prosperity and help individuals achieve more in their lives.

In addition to IBM’s plan to produce innovations that advance the frontiers of AI, a distinct objective of the new lab is to encourage MIT faculty and students to launch companies that will focus on commercializing AI inventions and technologies that are developed at the lab. The lab’s scientists also will publish their work, contribute to the release of open source material, and foster an adherence to the ethical application of AI.

Both MIT and IBM have been pioneers in artificial intelligence research, and the new AI lab builds on a decades-long research relationship between the two. In 2016, IBM Research announced a multi-year collaboration with MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences to advance the scientific field of machine vision, a core aspect of artificial intelligence.

The collaboration has brought together leading brain, cognitive, and computer scientists to conduct research in the field of unsupervised machine understanding of audio-visual streams of data, using insights from next-generation models of the brain to inform advances in machine vision. In addition, IBM and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have established a five-year, $50 million research collaboration on AI and Genomics.

For more information, visit MITIBMWatsonAILab.mit.edu.

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

Army Re-Ups with IBM for $135 Million in Cloud Services

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IBM announced today that the U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) awarded IBM a contract to continue providing cloud services, software development and cognitive computing, constituting the technical infrastructure for one of the U.S. federal government’s biggest logistics systems.

The 33-month, $135 million contract represents a successful re-compete of work that LOGSA signed with IBM in September 2012. Under that managed services agreement, the Army pays only for cloud services that it actually consumes.

The efficiencies created by this arrangement have enabled the Army to avoid about $15 million per year in operational costs – a significant yield for the Army and taxpayers.

In addition to continuing to provide managed services as part of this new contract, IBM also will help the Army focus on:

improving cybersecurity by applying the risk management framework (RMF) security controls to LOGSA’s IT enterprise. RMF is the unified information security framework for the entire U.S. federal government; it replaces legacy IT security standards; incorporating cognitive computing that enhances readiness by anticipating needs, and speeding application modernization. As part of this new contract, IBM also will help the Army predict vehicle maintenance failures from more than 5 billion data points of on-board sensors that will be stored within this environment.

In addition, the Army is adopting Watson IoT services and a new Watson IoT Equipment Advisor solution that analyzes unstructured, structured and sensor data directly from military assets.

The solution, part of the IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing and Industrial Products product suite, includes IBM Predictive Maintenance and Quality System, an integrated solution that monitors, analyzes, and reports on information gathered from devices and equipment and recommends maintenance procedures.

It also includes Watson Explorer, a cognitive exploration and content analysis platform that enables users to securely capture and analyze both structured and unstructured data. With the platform, the Army will look to extract enhanced insights from its vehicle data and recommend optimal repair methods and procedures. By combining tactical vehicle sensor and maintenance data, the Army better understands the health of its vehicles and can take proactive repair measures.

IBM recently completed a proof of concept that demonstrated the effectiveness of Watson cognitive computing for 10 percent of the Army’s Stryker vehicle fleet. Under this new contract, LOGSA will increase its ability to provide that predictive and prescriptive maintenance information to the Army.

In addition to private cloud deployments, IBM manages five dedicated federal cloud data centers, including a cloud environment accredited up to impact* level 5 (IL-5). These were built to meet Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements for government workloads.

Written by turbotodd

September 6, 2017 at 8:56 am

IBM QRadar Named as a Leader in Security Analytics Platforms

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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.”

Written by turbotodd

March 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

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