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EDF wants AI to optimize its nuclear power stations and the smart home - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 6:12pm

EDF Energy is looking to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help make its nuclear power stations more efficient and to reduce customer's home energy consumption.

Speaking at the AI Summit in London this week, David Ferguson, head of digital innovation at EDF joked that the tech sector mantra -- originating with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook -- to "move fast and break things" doesn't really work when the environment you work in includes nuclear power stations.

Despite working in a "historically cautious industry" Ferguson said that there is plenty of room for digital innovation in energy, especially in improving the mostly manual, paper-based processes currently in place.

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How Uber for Business helps the ridesharing company grow - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 4:57pm

Uber, like the smartphones and wireless networks that enable it, entered the enterprise market uninvited or at least unbeknownst to most levels of management. However, since late 2014 Uber has been developing more direct relationships through a specialized service for enterprises that assists companies with billing, reporting and management.

The 8-year-old company is now the most expensed line item for business travel -- ahead of Starbucks -- and ground transportation accounts for half of all business expense line items overall, says Travis Bogard, Uber’s global head of enterprise. “Companies started using Uber a lot because employees started using Uber a lot,” he tells

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DHS 'likely' to expand laptop ban on flights - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 4:48pm

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding existing bans on laptops and other large electronic devices on flights, a situation that could pose a nightmare for many business travelers.

DHS spokesman David Lapan said via email early Thursday that "no decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however it is under consideration."

He added that there was no announcement of any expansion on Thursday, contrary to some reports, saying, "When there are changes, we'll announce that. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe," Lapan added.

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Why digital disruption leaves no room for bimodal IT - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 4:20pm

Saying bimodal IT is dead may be a tad premature. But as digital disruption continues to sweep across sectors -- driven by companies such as, Uber and Airbnb -- two-speed IT is beginning to look and feel antiquated. Some CIOs and consultants argue that the operating model hinders innovation at a time when companies must accelerate their digital initiatives.

Introduced by Gartner in 2014, bimodal IT splits technology departments into two groups: a stable mode (Mode 1) where the bulk of technology is carefully cultivated and refined and a second mode (Mode 2) that espouses experimentation, free-thinking and agility. Forking IT into separate tracks made sense a few years ago, as many CIOs worked to plug gaps in talent, process and technology, Forrester Research analyst Matthew Guarini tells

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Every day should be Bring Your Child to Work day - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 12:01pm

My 6-year-old was sick a few weeks ago. It started with the normal whine I'm sure most parents are used to hearing on a school day: "I don't feeeeel goooood."

I immediately suspected he was faking. He'd been fine the night before. He got a decent night's sleep. He didn't look sick -- but just as I was about to roll my eyes and tell him, "Too bad, you're going to school," he pushed past me and threw up all over the bathroom floor.

OK. Guess he was serious.

I cleaned him up, mopped the floor, got him settled on the couch with cartoons, Saltines and some ginger ale, called the school and got ready to go to work. In this regard, I'm especially lucky. I have the freedom to work from home and I have a great boss-slash-editor who gets it. But I realize not everyone is so lucky.

All I had to do was dash off a quick message: "Hey, my son is sick, so I'm keeping him home from school with me today," and I was good to go. I don't have to change much to make this work, aside from moving my laptop to the kitchen table instead of my home office and locking the door if I have to do an interview. My editor and I had a good laugh when I realized it was "Take Your Child to Work Day." The thing is, all working parents should be that lucky; if we're going to improve diversity in tech -- and that includes increasing the number of women -- we have to accommodate working parents. One way to do that is normalizing kids in the workplace.

Sabrina Parsons, who's been the CEO of Palo Alto Software for 10 years, is a huge advocate of this idea, and she's been putting it into practice for quite some time. Her three kids have accompanied her to the office and even on business trips, and it's been of great benefit for her personally, but also her company and her kids.

"The whole concept of 'Take your child to work day' is so indicative of how corporate America is still stuck in this post-World War II, Mad Men-type idea of the workplace. That's so not the reality for the majority of working parents, especially working moms. And there's a huge number of single working moms -- and dads for that matter -- who are left out of the conversation altogether. Companies need to have a realistic view of their employees as complete, whole people with lives and families, and help them balance and juggle all of these elements," Parsons says.

As a CEO, she's empowered to make child- and family-friendly policies available and accessible to her workforce, because she understands that without them, people would have to make an impossible choice.

"If you have a family member who needs you -- whether it's a sick child, or a parent or a spouse -- and you're not 'allowed' to take the time to help them, well, that's just not right. No one in the world wants to put their company before their family, and if you are a company forcing your employees to make that choice? You're going to lose, every time, and in every meaningful way," Parsons says.

You might be able to get away with it for a while, but as soon as a better opportunity comes up, you'd better believe those employees you penalized for taking care of their families are going to walk out the door and never look back. And they'll tell their friends, their families, their new co-workers -- seriously, it's just the wrong way to do business, Parsons says.

Policies that allow workers to bring their kids with them aren't as impossible or as disruptive as they sound, either. Older kids can do homework, read, draw or play games on an iPad or a laptop. Parsons and I agreed that the toddler ages, from about 1 to 3, might not work as well, but younger kids and babies sleep a lot -- and really, who wouldn't love to hold a cute baby at work?

Marissa Mayer famously took a whole lot of crap for having a nursery installed next to her office when she took over at Yahoo, but it's actually a pretty smart idea. If only every working mom had that luxury -- and if only the rest of Yahoo's workforce was able to do that. But, I digress.

It's also great for the kids. Parsons' kids have a unique understanding of the inner workings of a software company, and they're exposed to a lot of different people and experiences, and a completely different side of their mom.

"My kids know how marketing works. They know what the role of software developers is. They've put together business plans and come up with their own ideas for products and projects -- it's important for them to be exposed to all this. I think we do our kids a major disservice if we're not showing them these sides of ourselves, and seeing how you can manage work and life and family at the same time," Parsons says.

While my own son doesn't get to come with me to an actual office, he loves talking to me about what I'm working on and who I spoke with on any particular day. On a personal level, he's learning by watching me multitask, plan, schedule and manage my workload both at home and on the job. He's also one of my biggest cheerleaders. One day, he informed a woman at the grocery store that his mom is a "famous" magazine writer who "talks to important people and writes stories about technology." OK, so maybe he inherited my tendency for exaggeration. I also think it's important for him to grow up seeing women in all of our roles -- not just as a mother -- because it normalizes it. And we all know Silicon Valley could do with a lot fewer stereotypes and discrimination and lot more women and inclusion.

"It's going to take all of us talking about these issues and pushing them to the forefront of workplace conversations until it's just a normal, everyday thing," Parsons says, and I absolutely agree. "Bring Your Child to Work Day" should be every day.

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GE Power's Ganesh Bell: How not to fail at digital transformation - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 11:00am
Chief Digital Officer Ganesh Bell shares the three keys to a successful digital transformation and explains how GE Power turned "digital exhaust" to $4 billion in new business.

AGENDA17 mainstage presentation: GE Power's digital transformation - IT industry - May 11, 2017 - 11:00am
Chief Digital Officer Ganesh Bell describes how GE Power followed the "digital exhaust" of its customers to capture $4 billion in new business. Exclusive 40-minute session.

Kaiser CIO shares IT lessons for the future of healthcare - IT industry - May 10, 2017 - 5:58pm

SAN MATEO, CALIF - Kaiser Permanente crossed an important threshold last year when 52 percent of its patient interactions were digital. That’s a dramatic change from the traditional in-person doctor or nurse visits, but Kaiser CIO Dick Daniels said it was inevitable.

“The consumer is in the driver’s seat. On-demand everything is a resounding drumbeat where people expect services 24 x 7 and pay for what they use,” Daniels said during his keynote address at the CIO Perspectives conference here.

[ 30 CIOs share their strategic focus ]

Kaiser’s transition to digital is not done. Even with more patients than ever using the healthcare organization's website and mobile app there were still over 40 million in-person doctor visits last year and of course patients needing direct care can’t do that online. Daniels said that’s part of the challenge of striving to be consumer-friendly while also addressing all the patients who don’t want to use online services. Kaiser is also experimenting with giving low-cost Tracfones that are Wi-fi-only for patients who can’t afford smartphones.

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Why Amazon is putting Alexa everywhere - IT industry - May 10, 2017 - 3:32pm

NEW ORLEANS -- Amazon has quickly built a commanding lead on voice-enabled digital assistants, but the company’s vision for bringing Alexa to connected devices as diverse as light switches, automobiles and household appliances is just getting underway. Amazon’s plans for Alexa are more widespread than any device category or the constraints of Amazon’s own hardware aspirations, Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, said at last week’s Collision conference.

“We have this vision of Alexa everywhere,” he said. “We can’t do it all ourselves. There’s no way we’re going to build every smart home device and every wearable… so we opened that up.” Voice-controlled technology is a “significant new interface that humans will use. It’s very convenient and it makes hard things simple.”

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This mini drone can be a soldier's eyes - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 8:35pm
The lightweight drone can be easily deployed to scope out a potentially hostile environment without putting soldiers in danger.

CIO finds storytelling challenging but crucial - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 8:31pm

Dave Smoley recently wrapped up a three-year digital transformation. While most CIOs might be popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, the AstraZeneca IT leader has turned his focus to growth and innovation. Smoley is educating executives on disruptive technologies that may generate more revenues and efficiencies for the U.K.-based pharmaceutical company.


AstraZeneca’s CIO Dave Smoley.

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IDG Contributor Network: How to recognize what tech your company needs - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 8:29pm

The advancements in technology have greatly helped small business owners to realize increased productivity and lower cost structure in all sectors. If you want to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your profits, consider investing in the aspect of technology to boost your investments. Here are some aspects of technology you can use to recognize what Tech your company needs: 


Speed and time are very integral parts of any business enterprise, and hence you should compete with larger corporations by being swift or agile. You can utilize numerous modernized communication options such as email, live chats, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and mobile forms in communicating with your employees or suppliers instantaneously. Efficient means of communication will reduce risks of experiencing downtime in the execution of various tasks in your business.

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Why smart contracts can't be fully automated - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 3:59pm

Blockchain technology has been generating excitement in the public and private sectors for the past several years for many reasons — a prominent one being support for self-executing contracts commonly referred to as smart contracts. But while smart contracts have the potential to streamline many business processes, full automation isn't likely anytime in the foreseeable future.

"Smart contracts are a combination of some certain binary actions that can be translated into code and some reference to plain language like we have today that is open to litigation if you mess up," says Antonis Papatsaras, CTO of enterprise content management company SpringCM, which specializes in contract workflow automation. "I think it's going to take forever."

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Leadership for the IT revolution - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 12:00pm

Leadership in some form or fashion is taught in every college and university on the planet and has been practiced in every organization that ever existed. Despite that omnipresence, as well as society’s fascination with leadership and ample journalistic treatment of what appears to be a perennial “leadership crisis,” many executives lack a framework to evaluate and improve their own leadership. “Good” and “bad” leadership remains for the most part a subjective, bordering-on-mood-based assessment.

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(Insider Story)

A solar plane like this may one day take you to the stratosphere - IT industry - May 9, 2017 - 12:20am

Everyone has a preference when it comes to travel wear, but one company is hoping someday passengers will sport spacesuits on its craft. That company is SolarStratos, and it has built what it calls the world's first solar stratospheric plane. 

A two-seat prototype with 22 square meters of solar cells had its maiden flight on May 5 in Payerne, Switzerland. The flight only lasted seven minutes, with the plane ascending to just 300 meters. But the goal is to eventually take a solar plane on a five-hour flight to an altitude of more than 24,000 meters, which will put travelers in the stratosphere.

The project presents some unique challenges. First, passengers will have to wear a spacesuit, since the plane's cabin will not be pressurized. And in the case of an emergency, parachutes will not be an option in the -70 degree Celsius atmosphere. 

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This solar plane has its sights set on the stratosphere - IT industry - May 8, 2017 - 10:16pm
The first test of the prototype plane only lasted seven minutes, but the SolarStratos team hopes that one day, the solar aircraft will carry people to the edge of space.

HP to scale up its 3D printer business for use in mass manufacturing - IT industry - May 8, 2017 - 1:01pm

After announcing its first revenue from sales, HP Inc. today said it is now focused on scaling up its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing business that it believes will rival standard manufacturing technologies, such as injection molding.

While HP is planning some direct sales of its new Jet Fusion printer lineup, the vast majority of the machines will be sold through about 30 resellers in North America and Europe, where the company is focusing its attention.


What's interesting "is 80% of these channel partners are new for HP," Steven Nigro, president of HP's 3D Printing business, said during a press and analyst briefing on Friday.

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Why one CIO chose ‘speed over elegance’ in corporate split - IT industry - May 5, 2017 - 7:41pm

It isn’t often CIOs can make like the pros and draft “players” for their IT team but in early 2015 that’s exactly the scenario Tony Bender found himself in after he agreed to help Edgewell Personal Care peel off its Energizer brand as a separate company. Bender recalls meeting with Mike Aufdembrink, who Energizer hired as its CIO in December 2014, so they could fill out each of their IT teams.

"Early in the year we sat down and had what was akin to a draft," Bender recalls. "It was, 'OK, I want this person and if you get this person, I want this person. We had to divide the team up and make an offer to each person."

Edgewell Personal Care

Tony Bender, CIO of Edgewell Personal Care.

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Facebook nears 2 billion users, warns ad growth will slow - IT industry - May 5, 2017 - 3:21pm

Facebook is on track to surpass 2 billion monthly active users (MAU) before the end of this summer. The company ended the first quarter of 2017 with 1.94 billion MAUs and 1.28 billion people using the social network every day.

While the monthly user base grew 17 percent year-over-year, daily usage jumped at a slightly higher rate of 18 percent during the same period. Overall growth remains steady, which is unique for a company with such a massive global user base. Facebook reported identical growth rates on a percentage basis in the previous quarter.

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Top tips for finding the right cybersecurity products - IT industry - May 5, 2017 - 12:00pm

Having trouble finding the right security products for your business? You’re not the only one.

Today’s market is filled with hundreds of vendors and plenty of marketing hype. But figuring out which solutions are worthwhile can be a challenge, especially for businesses with little experience in cybersecurity.  

So we asked actual buyers of enterprise security products for tips, and here’s what they said.  

Damian Finol, security technical program manager at a major internet firm

Businesses have to do their research. That means looking at customer recommendations instead of relying on what vendors say. Testing the security products in house is also highly advised.

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