Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘business travel

More From Bangalore

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I’ve had a few days now in Bangalore, and I promised some more first impressions.

My friend Michael commented in the previous post enough about all the work stuff, what about the important stuff like beer and food?

Well, I can assure you, Michael, that India represents well on both fronts.  I’ve had cuisine from both north and south India – both are delicious, though quite different. 

The south Indian cuisine focuses more on rice as a staple (which makes sense…it’s in the south!), and emerges largely from the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka (where Bangalore is situated), Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.  I’ve especially enjoyed the dosa.

From the north, you get the more spicy, meat-oriented dishes (your curries, kebabs, etc.). 

I pretty much like it all, and prefer to wash it all down with a nice, big Kingfisher beer, particularly at the end of a long day of training and workshops, which is predominantly what I’m here for.

As to the traffic, I’m getting better at playing Bangalore Frogger. 

The last few days we’ve gone out to lunch just across the street from the IBM Commerce@Mantri location and we’ve had to run a gauntlet of tuk-tuks, taxis, trucks, vans, motorcycles, scooters, and people to get across the street.

Once upon a time, I was a New York City bike messenger, and I think crossing the street in Bangalore may, in fact, be even more dangerous than that.  It comes down to timing the crossing just perfectly.  So far, so good.

As for work, this is my first time meeting our team in Bangalore face-to-face.  Our team here is whip smart and highly motivated.  I’m looking forward to learning more from them over the next 10 days and to also learning more about their country and diverse culture.

In the meantime, enjoy this first person video of traffic in Bangalore (this was light traffic, as it was taken on a Sunday!)

 

Turbo Goes For A Sunday Drive in Bangalore

Written by turbotodd

June 23, 2010 at 9:25 am

Side Saddle Sari

with 2 comments

Good morning from Bangalore.  Or Bengaluru, as it was officially renamed in 2005.

Better known as the “Silicon Valley” of India, it’s hard to believe I’ve not found myself visiting here before. 

I’ll share more impressions as I soak up the ambience of Karnataka state, but my initial impressions is “Wow” and “Holy traffic jam, Batman!”

I’ve traveled around the globe with IBM, but I have to say, nothing can quite prepare one for that first cab ride through Bangalore traffic on a Monday morning. 

Most amusing to me were the odd signs that suggest folks stay in their lanes.  To which, I asked myself, what lanes?

Bangalore traffic is like one big neverending Frogger game, although I’d take Frogger any day of the week – it has lanes! 

The vehicles are as great in their diversity as the languages and cultures are of the India sub-continent.  I especially like the little ‘”Tut tuts” (that’s what our cab driver called them), which remind me of the little vehicles meter maids in the U.S. used to drive. 

Only with much louder exhausts.

image

Another day in Bangalore traffic…please yield to the cows.

 

Then there’s all the guys riding their scooters and motorcycles, many with their ladies riding side saddle in their colorful saris. 

Talk about balance.  Which is a good thing, because it seems most of the helmets are worn by the men!

I’ll share some other impressions about my India experience as the next two weeks wears on, but in the meantime I thought I’d set the stage for my extended visit here by providing some background about IBM in India.

India in general, and Bangalore in particular, has become a critically important hub for information technology around the globe. 

So, a little history: IBM has been present in India since it’s re-entry into the country in 1992, and since that time has expanded its operations considerably.

We now have regional headquarters in Bangalore and offices in 14 cities, including regional offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.

In 2005, IBM announced the acquisition of Network Solutions Ltd., a leading infrastructure services company in India.  This strategic investment has helped IBM augment its networking and managed services portfolio of offerings in India and broaden it’s reach across the country.

Some other key investments that IBM has made in India that are worthy of note:

IBM Innovation Center for Business Partners: (One among 10 facilities worldwide) Independent Software Vendors are encouraged to port their solutions on IBM platforms at this Center and develop Web based applications for Indian customers.

Linux Solution Center, Bangalore: (One among 7 facilities worldwide) The center supports Business Partners and Independent Service vendors across the ASEAN / South Asia region.

IBM Linux Competency Center, Bangalore: (One among only 4 facilities in Asia) This center develops standards and embedded software for open source, undertaking high-end research in the area for IBM Worldwide.

Software Innovation Center, Gurgaon: This state-of-the-art center combines IBM’s global experience and technology expertise to deliver smarter IT solutions for Indian organizations and also the government through the e-Governance Centre.

India Software Lab at Bangalore and Pune: The Software Lab in India develops, enhances and supports key IBM Software products & technologies in collaboration with other IBM labs world wide.  The Center for Advanced Studies at Bangalore was established at the India Software Labs to allow universities access to IBM’s leading-edge product development and the supporting infrastructure, while IBM has the opportunity to work with academic leaders and researchers on research projects.

High Performance On Demand Lab in India, Bangalore – This specialized software and services lab in India to drive automation and virtualization into the increasingly complex IT infrastructures supporting the emerging economy of India. This is the first of its kind lab for IBM in India, bringing specific high-value skills to help clients in India and the surrounding region to enhance and optimise their IT resources to support the growth of their businesses.

Engineering & Technology Services Center, Bangalore: This center provides technology design services for advanced chips, cards and systems to companies in India and across Asia.

India Research Laboratory, Delhi: (One among 8 facilities worldwide) IBM’s India Research Laboratory (IRL) focuses on areas critical to expanding the country’s technological infrastructure. It also has significant initiatives in Services and Sciences, Information Management, User Interaction Technologies, e-Commerce, Life Sciences, Distributed Computing and Software Engineering.

Currently, IRL researchers are working on several projects like bioinformatics, text mining, speech recognition for Indian languages, natural language processing, grid computing, and autonomic computing, among others.

Services Innovation and Research Center, Bangalore: will be an extended arm of IBM’s India Research Lab (IRL), headquartered in New Delhi. The Services Innovation and Research Center (SIRC) was launched as an initiative that will work in close collaboration with IBM’s Global Services group to develop innovative technologies and solutions that improve operational and delivery capabilities.

Global Delivery Centers at Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon and Kolkata. These centers deliver "best-of-breed" technology solutions to IBM customers worldwide covering middleware, enterprise and web technologies, data warehousing across functional and industry areas.

Global Business Solution Center in Bangalore — IBM further expanded its global consulting delivery capabilities with the establishment of this first-of-a-kind center, which will allow IBM’s more than 60,000 consultants to collaborate and deploy reusable tools and assets in 55 key business areas.

Business Transformation Outsourcing Centers at Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. These centers handles business transformation outsourcing needs of IBM customers worldwide. Some key areas of competence of this center are Customer Contact Centers, Receivables Management, Telemarketing, Transaction Processing and Finance and Accounting.

That’s it for now from the IBM Mantri location here in Bangalore. 

More soon as my jetlag recedes…

Written by turbotodd

June 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

Up and Down

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It’s great to be back on American soil, but hard to leave the Asia Pacific region, as always.  So much going on there, and so little time to take it all in.

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to see a little more of Sydney before heading back east, including the Sydney Taronga Zoo (best zoo I’ve ever experienced!) and an Australian Rules Football match between the Sydney Swans and the Brisbane Lions at the Sydney Cricket Stadium.

As a clueless American, I wasn’t sure what was going on on the field when the game first started, but by halftime I’d figured out the scoring, which is always a good sign, and the Swans took the Lions 107-87, with former Lions player Daniel Bradshaw booting six goals on the win.

That dude could kick some Australian football.

As for the ride home, it was a lot shorter coming this way…20 hours, no problemo! 

And I arrived just in time to catch the initial flow of news emerging from IBM’s Impact event in Las Vegas this week, where I’m told there are already over 6,000 IBM customer, partners, and other vested constituents on the ground ready for action.

This morning’s Impact keynote will be streamed live here, and you’ll be able to follow all the key announcements here.

You can also see a continuing stream of information from Impact at the new Impact social media aggregator.

If you’re following along on Twitter, the conference hashtag is #ibmimpact

Written by turbotodd

May 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Can We Meet?

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I’ve made it through the most difficult part of my journey.  Getting safely from Austin to Dallas.

You’d be surprised at how many things can go wrong between the Austin and Dallas airports.

DFW to Tokyo Narita, no problemo.  Beijing, piece of cake.  Austin to Dallas, or vice versa, God rest your weary traveling soul, anything can and often does go wrong.

You may remember the time I was coming back from somewhere (Las Vegas, I think it was) and ended up spending what should have been an unnecessary night at the DFW Hilton.

Then there was the time it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to fly from Dallas to Austin, typically a 35-45 minute flight (although to be fair, on that particular voyage, the weather was exceptionally bad).

It’s enough to make somebody want to have better scheduling software with their messaging systems.

So the timing is perfect for the announcement IBM and Tungle made just yesterday, whereby Tungle announced the availability of its Tungle.me software for Lotus Notes.

Already, more than 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using Tungle.me to save time scheduling meetings, and more than half of the largest global 100 corporations use IBM’s flagship collaboration offerings, Lotus Notes and Domino.

Tungle.me makes it much simpler for people to schedule meetings across organizations, calendar systems and time zones by eliminating costly double bookings and the endless back and forth of finding a time to meet.

As Tungle CEO Marc Gingras explained, “With the introduction of Tungle.me for Lotus Notes, many millions of additional business people around the world can spend more time being productive and less time playing scheduling ping-pong.”

I like ping-pong.  The real kind.  But not the how-in-the-world-are-we-going-to-find-a-good-time-to-meet kind.

The addition of Lotus Notes means that Tungle now works with all major business- and consumer-oriented electronic calendar environments, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Entourage, and is also available on the iPhone and BlackBerry.

With Tungle.me for Lotus Notes you can set custom availability and synchronize it with your Lotus Notes calendar. Once meetings are scheduled, they are automatically updated in the background.

Check out the video demonstration below to see Tungle and Lotus Notes in action:

Me, I’m off to crank up on the caffeine for my short flight to Tokyo.

See you from Singapore.

Written by turbotodd

April 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Air Stream

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On any given day, nearly 90,000 commercial, private and cargo planes take off and land in the United States.

More than 700 million passengers pass through some of the busiest airports in the world – Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson, Chicago’s O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles International and others – each year.

In these crowded skies, the consequences of a cyber attack could jeopardize lives.

That’s why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking steps to protect the critical computer networks that support the nation’s air traffic centers, control towers and other aviation facilities.

IBM and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration have announced they’ll be working together on an R&D project to better protect the nation’s civilian aviation system from the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks.

This project will introduce first-of-a-kind security analytics technologies and entirely new approaches to protecting large digital and physical infrastructures from hacking, botnets, malware and other forms of cyber attacks.

The prototype system will go beyond traditional security approaches of encryption, firewalls, intrusion-detection devices and anti-virus software.

Not only will the flexible model be designed to look retrospectively at event occurrences and system compromises, it will be able to correlate historical traffic patterns with dynamic data from monitors, sensors and other devices capturing information about network traffic and user activity in real time.

Streaming analytics will be a key design component of the FAA prototype system. This advanced technology will enable the FAA to continually analyze the massive amounts of data flowing through its networks in real time and get fast and accurate insights about possible threats and system compromises — in time to take action.

The FAA will also be able to store real-time results in a data warehouse for later analysis and supervised learning.

In the design, customized executive-level dashboards will be used to deliver up-to-the-second information on the security posture of the FAA networks.  These dashboards will give FAA officials visual representations of network workloads, tickets for found malware, and historical trends to facilitate decision making and early action in the event of network anomalies suggesting a possible attack.

“Cyber attacks have become a global pandemic and no system is immune,” said Todd Ramsey, general manager, U.S. Federal, IBM.  “Through this collaboration with the FAA, as well as others underway in government and the private sector, we hope to develop comprehensive solutions for protecting the digital and physical infrastructures of critical national networks and enterprise systems.”

The pilot project is part of IBM’s First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) program, which engages scientists from IBM Research with clients to explore and pilot emerging technologies that address real world problems.

IBM has also established the IBM Institute for Advanced Security, in Washington, D.C., to help government agencies and other institutions gain access to tools, resources and expertise to address cyber security issues.

For more details and information visit the IBM Institute for Advanced Security website.

Written by turbotodd

March 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

A Well Dressed (and Jet Lagged) Man

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NOTE: This post was written while still in Milan, but published after arriving yesterday early evening in Las Vegas.  British Airways did not provide wifi access on the Milan-to-Vegas flight.

Greetings from the Milan Linate airport.

My short week in Europe has come to a fast end, but not before I had the opportunity to get out and see the Duomo in downtown Milan.

On my last trip here, I arrived in Milan on a Sunday evening, and had to immediately leave the IBM site to drive straight to Nice, so I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the city center.

There’s but no question the Duomo is worth visiting. The church is spectacular, having been built in the early Renaissance and simply breathtaking in its beauty.

As to the food in Milan, it’s like anywhere else I’ve ever been in Italy – scrumptious. The Italians can take a simple plate of penne pasta and turn it into magic in your mouth. Mmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Before dinner last evening, my IBM amigo Michael and I took in a little Milano fashion expedition. After joking about my poor fashion sense in previous blog posts, I decided I couldn’t leave one of the fashion capitals of the world without at least trying on some fine Italian threads.

I ended up walking out of the store with a very nice Italian sport coat and a couple of gorgeous shorts, my wallet hardly the worse for the wear. Austin will never know what hit ’em (although it’ll probably take a funeral or a wedding for me to pull them out of the closet…Austin’s pretty laid back when it comes to dress, even for bidness).

But, before I get to head back to Austin, I have one last stop to make, that mentioned pit stop in Las Vegas. For anyone glorifying the jetsetting lifestyle, know that my Saturday goes something like this:

Arrive at the Milan airport around 11:30 AM local time. Sit in the BA lounge until boarding my flight, which leaves for London around 1:40. Arrive in London a couple of hours later, sit around the airport there for a couple of hours, then board the flight to Vegas which is 10 ½ hours (in economy class, of course).

That means I’ll have arrived in Vegas sometime around 4:30 am Milano time Sunday morning.

But in all my jetlagged weariness, I’ll have some fond memories of meeting some new IBM colleagues in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Milan, and hopefully of my team and I having helped them continue to improve their Web marketing efforts.

More from Vegas and the IBM Pulse 2010 event soon.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

South to North

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I’m back in the Estados Unidos after a productive and enjoyable trip to Argentina.

What did I learn while I was there?

One, the sun is very powerful in South America.  I spent my last afternoon there to take a quick tour on one of those turistico buses (highly recommend, especially if you’re short on time).

You know, the kind with no tops on them, where the sun can shine right down on your head and forehead?

Yeah.  Estupido turista.

Two, I learned that while the social media is alive and well in Latin America, I would suggest based on my observations and discussions with our teams there that its use is a little more tepid and cautious in Latin America, particularly within business.

Personally, particularly with sites like Orkut and Twitter, there’s substantial and widespread use, but the business uptake is slower than other parts of the world.

Three, the Internet communications and marketing opportunity is much more substantial in the mobile space than in the land-line Internet (that is, if you’re interested in raw numbers).

By way of example, EMarketer’s “Digital Atlas,” which I consulted before I headed south, reveals that Internet users in Brazil last numbered around 67M, while mobile phone users were in the range of 150M.

Similar disparities between mobile and landline access exist in other countries in Latin America as well, including Mexico and Argentina.

Four, I reaffirmed how much it sucks to get sick while traveling abroad.  But, as mentioned in this blog, I was fortunate to be able to head over to Dr. IBM right there on the site to get some medicine to stave off the nastiness.

Here I am, a week later, still illin’, but I was very thankful to stave off the illness while on the ground there.

Five, I learned that it is possible to get a full night’s sleep in economy class, particularly with the help of some other medicine (in my case, doctor-prescribed sleeping pills).

In fact, such sleep can make all the difference in the world (although admittedly, it’s easier when you’re not jumping so many time zones).

Personally, I don’t mind so much the long flights, but in coach they can be quite painful if you have legs longer than 2 feet, so the ability to totally sack out can help put about 70% of the time on the plane into unconsciousness, which is the perfect way to shorten the plane ride.

(As for you people who stay awake for the duration of 10-13 hour flights, you may want to check to see if you’re related to some of the characters on “True Blood” [vampires].  I don’t know how you do it.)

Six, I can’t or don’t keep up with what’s going on in the world very well when I’m on the road.

Despite having a BlackBerry that lives up to its promise as a “world phone” (Since I got it in January, it HAS worked in every city I’ve been to around the globe), one simply doesn’t have much free time to check in and keep up when you’re bouncing from one meeting or dinner to another.

The whole point of making these trips is to meet one’s colleagues on the ground and spend quality time, so that’s the priority.

So, I’m still playing catch up on the news flow (email and otherwise).

Seven, I still love my Nikon CoolPix camera and my FlipVideo camera…both allowed me to easily (and very portably) capture sights and sounds from the journey without having to lug around a lot of equipment.

Eight, I can’t wait for the World Cup next summer.  I really enjoyed being around a bunch of honest-to-God futbol fans, and my excursion to see the Boca Juniors play Arsenal was a highlight of my trip.

If anybody needs a blogger to cover next summer’s World Cup, I’m so on that plane to Johannesburg…business, coach, or even luggage class.

And nine, regarding my iPod Touch: I don’t leave the country without it.

Since I got the “touch,” it has become my best friend while traveling.  I now download books, games, music, podcasts, and even movies to carry with me on the road and to help pass the time, to Tweet, to read, to chill…it’s one of the first things I pack just to make sure I don’t forget it.

All that said, it’s nice to be back in Austin in time for the Thanksgiving holiday and a whole meal of American football.

Written by turbotodd

November 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

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