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Industry & Technology

IDG Contributor Network: Are we living in an AI golden age?

CIO.com - IT industry - May 18, 2017 - 3:00pm

At a recent Internet Association Gala, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, intimated that we are currently living the “golden age” of artificial intelligence. With product development and artificial intelligence (AI) applications on a seemingly rapid upward trajectory, Bezos might not be wrong.

Open source software and the emergence of edge computing have allowed widespread AI development. Due to standardized operating frameworks and interconnectivity of technology, it’s never been easier to develop AI products.  

Skeptics, such as Tim Berners-Lee and Stephen Hawking, however, argue that an AI renaissance will likely herald the end of mankind. It will become so efficient, that it will effectively render humans obsolete.

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Why companies struggle to cultivate digital strategies

CIO.com - IT industry - May 17, 2017 - 4:54pm

Companies cultivating digital strategies are struggling to facilitate transformations because most CIOs are simply not equipped to be digital leaders. While enterprise CIOs can create functional technology systems, many lack the visionary skills required to be a change agent in the digital age, according to Shawn Banerji, managing partner of the technology, digital and data leaders practice at Caldwell Partners.

Caldwell Partners

Shawn Banerji, Caldwell Partners

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IOTA launches $2 million fund for IoT-focused blockchain derivative

CIO.com - IT industry - May 16, 2017 - 10:02pm

Open source non-profit IOTA this week launched a $2 million fund intended to foster growth of its distributed ledger technology, a derivative of blockchain technology aimed at the internet of things.

Dubbed the IOTA Ecosystem Fund, the idea is to incentivize expanding and shaping the IOTA ecosystem through use cases, libraries, tools and hackathons.

[ Your guide to top tech conferences 2017 ]

"Every great open source project has a great ecosystem surrounding it, in many ways it is the defining characteristic that separates a mediocre project from a great one," David Sonstebo, founder at IOTA, said in a statement Monday. "A thriving ecosystem is a prerequisite for long-term success. The IOTA Ecosystem Fund is backed by over $2 million to open up a world of possibilities for developers and researchers to take the IOTA ecosystem even further."

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IDG Contributor Network: A fundamental flaw in approaching digital transformation

CIO.com - IT industry - May 16, 2017 - 4:25pm

What makes digital technologies so different and disruptive is their potential to enable very substantial business benefits. “Enable” is the key word. Too often, executives see the power of a technology and reason to themselves, “This technology will create significant benefits, so we need to implement it and learn how to use it to our advantage.” The problem is this is a fundamental flaw in approach that almost always ends up in a digital transformation failure.

Technology does not drive change; creating substantial business value requires changing the business model. And a business model change requires many changes in operations, not just new technology. Yes, those changes are cross-functional, usually end to end, and always disruptive. But without changing other operational aspects than technology, the transformation initiative will fail to deliver the anticipated outcome.

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CERN upgrades Wi-Fi infrastructure to support researchers on the move

CIO.com - Infrastructure - May 16, 2017 - 4:16pm

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is upgrading its wireless broadband network in order to support thousands of researchers using mobile devices while moving around its campus buildings.

There are more than 12,000 staff, visiting researchers and contract workers onsite at CERN's physics laboratory in Geneva each day, supporting projects such as the Large Hadron Collider. Around 20,000 mobile devices are used, requiring reliable wifi connectivity.

Having experienced problems with its independent wireless access points in the past, CERN decided to upgrade its network in 2015. "[The aim is to] enable seamless roaming in buildings across the campus and to get people in offices to give up their wired connections and be happy with wifi," says Dr. Tony Cass, who leads CERN's Communications Systems Group Information Technology Department.

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CERN upgrades Wi-Fi infrastructure to support researchers on the move

CIO.com - Infrastructure - May 16, 2017 - 4:16pm

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is upgrading its wireless broadband network in order to support thousands of researchers using mobile devices while moving around its campus buildings.

There are more than 12,000 staff, visiting researchers and contract workers onsite at CERN's physics laboratory in Geneva each day, supporting projects such as the Large Hadron Collider. Around 20,000 mobile devices are used, requiring reliable wifi connectivity.

Having experienced problems with its independent wireless access points in the past, CERN decided to upgrade its network in 2015. "[The aim is to] enable seamless roaming in buildings across the campus and to get people in offices to give up their wired connections and be happy with wifi," says Dr. Tony Cass, who leads CERN's Communications Systems Group Information Technology Department.

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IDG Contributor Network: Funding your startup with the ICO and token crowdsales explosion

CIO.com - IT industry - May 16, 2017 - 2:00pm

Investors are allocating substantial sums to cryptocurrencies. Entrepreneurs would be wise to make themselves aware of the billions being raised in the global ICO (initial coin offering) markets.

An ICO is an unregulated means by which a new cryptocurrency venture monetizes its investment. ICOs use dynamic pricing based on real-time supply and demand. The time-based pricing strategy means that no central authority or government sets the price; rather, the price of the token is based on current market demands.

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IDG Contributor Network: How IT leaders can stop the blame game

CIO.com - IT industry - May 16, 2017 - 11:30am

This article is part of a series highlighting key takeaways from my recently published book, Truth From the Trenches: A Practical Guide to the Art of IT ManagementAs a seven-time CIO I’ve had an opportunity to observe the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of IT management up close and personal. Truth From the Trenches is my attempt to share my experiences with emerging IT leaders to help them avoid the chronic problems that afflict so many IT organizations.

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A smart exoskeleton can keep the elderly safe

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 7:07pm

A team of Italian and Swiss researchers has developed a prototype exoskeleton that can prevent elderly people from falling. The device is wearable from the waist down and made of carbon fiber braces. These can be easily adjusted to the wearer by tightening a few nuts and bolts. 

Hillary Sanctuary / EPFL

A prototype of the exoskeleton at a rehabilitation center in Florence, Italy. 

Once the exoskeleton is fitted, it must first learn the specific walking patterns of the user, known as gait. The exoskeleton then uses an algorithm to detect deviations from the user's regular movement and recognize the onset of a fall.

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This smart exoskeleton will keep you on your feet

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 6:58pm
The exoskeleton can detect when the wearer's gait changes, and, using a set of motors, can help the person regain their footing.

IDG Contributor Network: Picking at the word salad of Dell EMC World

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 6:00pm

The word salad at Dell EMC World in Las Vegas last week included many of the likely suspects: hyperconvergence, infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), digital transformation (with variants like IT and business transformation), cloud and its variants (public, private, hybrid, native), security and its variants (data, network, at rest, in flight), appliance, and, of course, the all-weather “solutions,” good for any season.

Ready to repair for the evening, perhaps to try to digest the first day’s lectures, we were all about to get up to leave. The mistress of ceremonies had just half-excused the room, and many people jumped at the chance. I was rather slow getting about it and so happened to be there still when, tacked on at the end, was the best act of the day: OTTO Motors. OTTO was featured as a Customer Spotlight with a sorry slot right at cocktail hour. Their head of IT, Greg Jacobs, battled on nobly. And we lingerers got to hear.

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MP3 audio quietly fades into history

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 4:27pm

Neil Young and opinionated sound engineers everywhere have a reason to smile: The organization responsible for the MP3 audio format is closing the doors on its licensing program.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits recently announced that it and Technicolor would no longer license “patents and software” for the MP3 format. The licensing program officially ended on April 23.

“We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades,” the Fraunhofer Institute said. “Most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as AAC and MPEG-H...those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.”

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How QVC uses streaming analytics to drive revenue

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 3:59pm

The idea of selling goods directly to consumers on television may seem quaint in the age of ecommerce, but not to QVC, which today provides televised home shopping to more than 350 million households in seven different countries. It may seem quaint, but it is in fact a sophisticated data-driven operation that leverages real-time streaming analytics to help it make decisions that it can act upon within moments.

Since 1986, QVC has been a fixture on American cable, broadcast TV and satellite TV networks, competing with rival Home Shopping Network to sell goods via television. It found its home on the internet with QVC.com in 1996, just two years after the launch of Amazon.com. The company has always been driven by real-time data.

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IDG Contributor Network: 5 machine learning trends that will define 2017

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 12:29pm

Machine learning has been quietly working in the background for years, powering mobile applications and search engines. But recently it has become a more widely circulated buzzword, with virtually all recent technological advancements involving some aspect of machine learning. An impressive rise in data and computing capabilities has made this exponential progress possible. 

The remarkable growth in sophistication and applications of machine learning will define the technological trends of 2017. Their effects will depend on whether the application adds value and benefits to society as a whole and whether it has the potential to solve real world problems. Here are the five major trends that will define machine learning in 2017.

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U.S. law allows low H-1B wages; just look at Apple

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 11:00am

If you work at Apple's One Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino as a computer programmer on an H-1B visa, you can can be paid as little as $52,229. That's peanuts in Silicon Valley. Average wages for a programmer in Santa Clara County are more than $93,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, the U.S. government will approve visa applications for Silicon Valley programmers at $52,229 -- and, in fact, did so for hundreds of potential visa holders at Apple alone.

To be clear, this doesn't mean there are hundreds of programmers at Apple working for that paltry sum. Apple submitted a form to the U.S. saying it was planning on hiring 150 computer programmers beginning June 14 at this wage. But it's not doing that.

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How Airbnb rebuilt its employee-facing data resource portal on top of a graph database

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 7:38am

Airbnb has completely rebuilt its employee-facing data resource portal in an attempt to democratise reports and dashboards and to encourage a data-driven approach across the organisation.

The portal provides access to information such as sales data, user metrics or app performance and is now accessible to all Airbnb staff, be it a data scientists, software engineer or customer service agent.

Speaking at graph database vendor Neo4j's annual GraphConnect conference in London yesterday software engineer John Bodley and Airbnb data visualisation engineer, Chris Williams, explained how they rebuilt the back and front-ends of its employee-facing data portal.

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Western Digital dispute with Toshiba heads for arbitration

CIO.com - IT industry - May 15, 2017 - 6:03am

Western Digital is seeking arbitration, demanding that its consent has to be taken before Toshiba can go ahead with plans to sell a stake in its memory business to raise funds.

The storage technology company acquired SanDisk last year and has been rumored to be a bidder for a stake in the Toshiba memory business, which has reportedly attracted a large number of other bidders including Apple and Foxconn Technology. SanDisk has been a long-term partner of Toshiba, with the two companies collaborating in the fabrication of nonvolatile memories, but is not seen as a front-runner in the auction.

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How a logistics firm leverages SD-WAN for competitive advantage

CIO.com - Infrastructure - May 12, 2017 - 7:01pm

A gamble on a relatively unknown technology four years ago is paying off for a logistics company, which is using the software to shave millions of dollars off its bandwidth connectivity costs. Today freight forwarding company JAS Global is leveraging a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to run cloud applications, according to JAS CIO Mark Baker. Eventually, Baker hopes to use the SD-WAN as the backbone of a predictive analytics strategy to grow the business.

SD-WANs allow companies to set up and manage networking functionality, including VPNs, WAN optimization, VoIP and firewalls, using software to program traffic routing typically conducted by routers and switches. Just as virtualization software disrupted the server market, SD-WANs are shaking the networking equipment market.

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How a logistics firm leverages SD-WAN for competitive advantage

CIO.com - IT industry - May 12, 2017 - 7:01pm

A gamble on a relatively unknown technology four years ago is paying off for a logistics company, which is using the software to shave millions of dollars off its bandwidth connectivity costs. Today freight forwarding company JAS Global is leveraging a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to run cloud applications, according to JAS CIO Mark Baker. Eventually, Baker hopes to use the SD-WAN as the backbone of a predictive analytics strategy to grow the business.

SD-WANs allow companies to set up and manage networking functionality, including VPNs, WAN optimization, VoIP and firewalls, using software to program traffic routing typically conducted by routers and switches. Just as virtualization software disrupted the server market, SD-WANs are shaking the networking equipment market.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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