Congressional Celebration of ‘Diwali’ – Festival of Lights – the First ever on October 29, 2013 signifies a strong cementing force between India and U.S.A. reinforcing the compassion, endurance and patience of the people of the two great democracies in the world. I pick the following 5 key October events that will have Global significance in their respective sectors:
1. “Business” : ‘Twitter sets the price for IPO’
The acushla of Social Media, Twitter, disclosed its plan to sell 70 million shares at $17 to $20 each. Expected to raise about $ 1.3 billion. Twitter is expected to be valued at $10 billion excluding options. Include that, and it will be valued at $ 12 billion. This will put Twitter more than three times as big as one of the first Internet giants AOL, but only a fraction of Facebook, the last big Internet IPO, which has a market value of $127 billion.
(a) Is pricing it low (though several reasons are adduced) a prudent measure OR being too cautious?
(b) Will its decline in growth of numbers, specially this year compared to 2011-2012 , affect its performance?
(c) Will Twitter change the pricing gauging the response to its road shows? Will Twitter change the pace of competition and growth strategies of Internet players?
2. “Education” : ‘Education & Career Prospects in U.S.A.’
Global Research Company, Yougov, has released its latest finding how applicants and their parents choose Colleges. The majority of the Nation (54%) says a College Degree is Beneficial but not Essential to succeeding later in life – while just 12% say a degree is not essential to a successful career. Only 51% of nation says ‘only certain subjects’ justify the expense of a college education. Out of these 84% say that Engg & Tech degrees are more valuable. Art & Design degrees were seen as worth by only 8%. About 38% of college graduates are not in “Bachelor’s degree” jobs in reality. Cost trumps education.
(a) Will this scenario have a serious impact on Innovation, Creativity & Progress of the Nation known for its path-breaking innovation and as a consequence impact the prosperity of the world?
(b) Which level of degree be optimal for a decent job and quality of life in future?
(c) What will be the changing role of Technology in influencing careers ?
3. “General” : ‘Happy Birthday UN – Ted Turner marks UN Day’
On United nation’s Day (24 Oct 2013), United Nations Foundation Founder & Chairman Ted Turner released a statement to commemorate “United Nations Day” which marks the 68th Anniversary of when the UN Charter went in to effect. ” The United Nations is the world’s platform for peace & progress. Today’s toughest issues know no borders … Strong US engagement at the UN is essential to advancing America’s ideals & interests and to promoting Global peace and security. ..” More than 100 events were hosted in Communities around the country.
(a) Ponder why UN is really Great ?
(b) What every citizen can do to support UN’s Goals?
(c) World remembering Woodrow Wilson’s World Vision. Pulitzer Prize writing author A Scott Berg : new book “Wilson”
4. “Central Bank” : ‘Janet Yellen to be the next Fed Chairman’
President Barack Obama will nominate Janet Yellen ( Vice Chairman of the Fed since 2010 ) as Chairman of the Federal reserve which will put the most powerful Central Bank in the hands of the First female Leader in its 100 year history. Yellen, 67, would succeed Ben Bernanke whose term expires on January 31, 2014.
(a) Will Janet Yellen taper the QE or make different changes for better ?
(b) Will she say anything different to the people of America about Monetary policy and how that can impact Global economy?
(c) Will she take the pride of America to a new level ?
5. “Government” : ‘Debt Ceiling resolved’
President Barack Obama signed the Bill passed on 16th October ’13 by Congress to end Government Shutdown and raise the Debt Limit. Government employees returned to work on Thursday ( Oct 17, 2013) morning. The deal will finance the Government through January 15, 2014, and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014.
(a) Will there be another deadlock and will the Government be undermined?
(b) Has Obama’s Leadership Skills prevailed under the circumstances ?
(c) What is the fate awaiting the Affordable Care Act OR Cuts in spending and how it will impact the citizenry in the next round of budget talks ?
“Dieu avec nous”
October 28, 2013 – Monday – 3.45 p.m. (IST)
Autonomous cars and flying cars are still oneiric with no reality in sight. But the expectations and aspirations of today’s connected genre (fb connections apart) demand conveniences that limit the possibilities of imaginations and increase the challenges of the manufacturers and the app developers manifold. Yes, I am referring to the generational growth of Infotainment and Connected abilities of the CARS that have become an integrated part of our lives, specially in Cities. A survey shows that about 50% of the world’s population lives in cities and it is set to grow to 75% by 2050. City infrastructure in every country struggles to keep pace with Population Growth. Also, Car is no longer a ‘status symbol’ (it used to be in the 50s & 60s here in India) for city dwellers but a provider of a ‘timely service’ enabling an individual’s commuting conditions. Infotainment is an added value. Cars will get connected too in future playing a greater role in collecting, processing, and delivering enormous data (say about location just to cite one parameter) to handle the issues. Computer scientists of companies – like those in Big Data – will need to have their sleeves rolled up to bring grist to the mill. Apps developers can have their fertile imagination move forwards & backwards; sidewards; replicating the possible movement of the present day cars. Up and down only when flying cars become a reality !
“Volvo” has taken the first step Towards the new tech christened “Sensus Connected Touch” which turns the 7″ display in the dash in to a state-of -the-art Infrared, beam-scanned touch screen one can use even when wearing gloves – a World First in Companies. It allows drivers to be able to stream music with a 3G/4G dongle or via the driver’s mobile phone connection through their dashboard. This NEW TECH responds to demand from drivers for consumption of music on road combined with Volvo’s safety Value. The tech also includes access to 1000s of radio stations from all over the world. System is based on android tech. Other apps available via Sensus Connected Touch include Google maps, TuneIn, iGO navigation, and an app store for new functions and updates. Internet data can also be transferred via WiFi between the mobile phone and Sensus Connected Touch & WiFi network can be shared with everyone in the car when using a dongle.
This went on sale as recently as May 2013 and can be fitted in all Volvos. ( V40; V40 Cross Country; V60; V70; XC60; XC70; S60 & S80). Haken Hellman, Product Manager says : “The intuitive user interface, a very rapid browser response, and the wide choice of around 20 functions and apps are benefits that makes Sensus Connected Touch outstanding compared with our main competitors.”
An exciting EVOLUTION in store for Consumers, Car Manufacturers & Mobile field operators. Even more exciting will be for the discerning graduates whose thought processes the tech can accend.
Tech has always enthralled me and I view tech as not just a means to enhance the quality of life of the human being; but to arouse the grey matter to explore further. True merit and value of a brief outline of a new tech like this lies in adding value in terms of substance/impact OR possible aspects of future diagnosis/exploration(s). That is the take-away for the gourmand in terms of intellectual food. I stick to this rigid rule in all my pieces (either embedded in the text itself for the reader to discern and discept or stated explicitly in the opening or concluding part) to make it meaningful, relevant and useful. In this context I provide the three following aspects for detailed scrutiny and investigation(s) :
1. What Business Models will create value in Connectivity to Customers ?
2. What compelling Infotainment that the users will be willing to pay for ?
3. Can the ‘Cloud’ enable the delivery of in-car-services and if so how ?
“Dieu avec nous”
October 26, 2013. (Saturday) 3.15 p.m. (IST)
Central Nervous System has been our Communication center for ages. Smartphones (mobile devices) will soon be taking that place in our lives. Can you imagine a smartphone which can see, hear and detect movement like an individual ? How will it be if it can mimic perception, cognition, emotion, visual processing, recognition, orientation, memory, higher information processing, reasoning, … ? A new class of Processors mimicking Human Perception and Cognition called Neural Processing Units (NPUs) is set to revolutionize and alter the landscape of Computing with ‘serial architecture’ advancing to ‘parallel architecture’ with unlimited possibilities. The Company in the center of focus is “QUALCOMM” which is on course to make Computer chips with a new processor design “mimicking the human Brain and the Nervous System.”
That nimble robots engaged in some basic human activities is just a portent. Use of processors/chips to aid several activities is also known. Scientists have also been attempting to build artificial neural networks which seek to mimic brain processes since the 1940s when Donald Hebb articulated the Hebbian Learning Process. It is becoming a reality now.
The NPUs are branded “Zeroth” after the Zeroth law from Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels. It will enable applications ranging from Artificial Vision sensors to Robot Controllers and even Brain Implants – Qualcomm Chief Technology Officer Matt Grobb said in a talk during MIT Tech Review’s EmTech Conference 10 – 12 days ago. The ‘neuromorphic’ hardware is biologically inspired – a completely different architecture – and can solve a different class of problems that conventional architecture cannot. It really uses physical structures derived from neurons – parallel and distributed – Grobb said. What is new is the ability to drop down large numbers of these structures on silicon. It is teaching by means of dopaminer based learning a.k.a. positive reinforcement – not by programming lines of code. The processor will characterize neuron behavior while they send, receive, or process information. It will also replicate the efficiency with which our senses and brain communicate information, assez bien.
A version has been already built in to a robotic platform that learns by being encouraged & not by programming. It already built a version of chip in to a small wheeled robot that the company trained to move around a playfield stopping at some squares along the way. Parallel processors are the Future enabling work on a multitude of tasks at once. Qualcomm sees this new ‘Zeroth’ sitting aside the ‘Snapdragon’ processing what our eyes, ears, skin, nose and mouth all produce giving the real sensory experience of the Brain enabled one in us. Human brain uses neurons to to pass information. Zeroth, they claim is scalable to 10 million neurons at present. It passes data in the form of small ‘spikes’ – akin to neurons sending electrical impulses in brain – and when they run in parallel (parallel processing as opposed to serial processing) it becomes a large amount of information.
Qualcomm Director of Business Development, Samir Kumar said that they will “define and standardize” an NPU architecture which could be used in stand-alone devices or in conjunction with traditional microprocessors and even live side-by-side in future system-on-chips. They vouch that the model can be used to ‘train’ a future cellphone. A cellphone is a kind of robotic device but only it lacks arms and legs, they also claim.
Will this give a leg up to Qualcomm in their race with other mobile chip makers ? IBM and research partners Cornell University and iniLabs have now completed the second phase of their $53 million systems of ‘Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project. With $12 million in new funding from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) IBM said work was set to commence on Phase 3 which involves developing intelligent sensor networks built on a “brain-inspired chip architecture” using a scalable interconnected, configurable network of “neurosynaptic cores.” Also refer : ” IBM scientists show Blueprint for Brainlike Computing.” Aug 8, 2013; Computing News.
Intel is also developing similar technologies. Also refer : ” Intel reveals Neuromorphic Chip Design.” – Computing News, June 2012.
I always remain captivated by Technological advances and I am a fan of Qualcomm too. Will the ‘zeroth’ chip narrow the gap between human brain and computer in the race to supremacy? Will ‘zeroth’ take the consumers’ admiration to a new high? Will the reviewers, journalists, and users be impressed? These are what many will be eagerly looking forward to in the coming months.
I’ll keep a watch and follow it with interest to post further.
“Dieu avec nous”
October 25, 2013 ; Friday; 4.20 p.m. (IST)
Just a couple of days ago (on 22nd Oct) in my post on this topic at the end, I promised to sketch a brief outline of Microsoft’s robust tools driving the Big Data forward separately.
Here it is for you :
In the present social world we live in now, things go viral in a hurry and when they do, they need computation that will scale elastically with it. “Big Data = fb … + mobile devices + Cloud.” Hence, the importance and primacy of Big Data today. A survey showed that Companies view growing data volumes as an important business asset. Approximately 62% of respondents currently store at least 100 terabytes of data. That is really huge – a goldmine – if collected, analysed and inferred can be of enormous benefit(s) to enterprises.
Not long ago Big Data has been the asthore of the Technology Reviews and publications. It has now graduated to the hub of Business groups/meets/conferences. With it, a new vista of opportunity combining research, investigation and application has opened up with enterprises leaping into the band wagon (rightly so) in an effort to realize its full potential. MICROSOFT has been quick to ramp up its strategy to enhance and optimize businesses with New Tools of Big Data Analytics.
1. Early in June this year, Microsoft ( one of the first to dwell deep into this) proposed Integrated Solutions addressing the changing operational and business requirements of , specially, the Oil & Gas Industry. The scenario was quite opportune. Surging Oil demand has been accompanied by a shortage of skilled manpower in Exploration and Production. Microsoft enabled the organizations/enterprises involved to achieve an excellent depth of Decision-Making by its skillful handling of the humongous data reliably and securely to provide a sort of an elixir to them. Better Cost Control, Faster time to market from exploration & production, refining, and retail, while establishing an efficient Product Life cycle Management (PLM) in a sustainable fashion are the fruits.
2. Microsoft has also made the effective use of “Visualization Technologies” to give Enterprises a better insight into their manufacturing and marketing operations. It supports timely and profitable outcomes. ( Refer : penaenergy.com for web cast viewing via tablets and smartphones )
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Microsoft’s emerging technologies in this frontier area. I am no expert to make any observations except admitting my interest and attempt to study profoundly on the topic; Collected information is culled. The singular effort I make is to relate the information to my thoughts. And that in effect is my labor and thought. “BIG DATA” is the “BIG GAME” being played out in this extremely competitive world and the stake for enterprises not just to step ahead but even to stay afloat is critical and vital.
“Dieu avec nous”
October 24, 2013 (Thursday) 3. 35 p.m. (IST)
Data explosion is the order of the day. Companies are waking up to the reality of more data within and outside them. Companies today are functioning in a ‘Web World’ where a single customer complaint is more dangerous to their REPUTATION than even the best efforts of Marketing or Public relations. Changing business environment needs changing business strategies. It is in this context that Pega Developers’ Conference next week intends to make a difference.
Hyderabad (India), the gemmy city and home to many avant-gardiste IT/ITES companies with modern infrastructure/exclusive inhabitation centers is set to host a key “CHANGE” centered Conference – 27 & 28 October 2013 – focusing on Business Process Management (BPM) and Customer relationship Management (CRM) with improvements in Productivity and Customer Loyalty. Organised by “Pegasystems”, a renowned software producer in the above areas based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., with offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the conference is expected to showcase “Pega 7” the latest ‘Build for Change Platform’ . About 45 Tech sessions, 1700 delegates, Training on latest versions of the systems, and a Tech Pavilion with live insights and demonstrations to make everyone ‘Pega ready’ are the major benefits – says John Berone, Vice-President, Strategic Alliances for Pegasystems. Gartner provisions Pega as a Leader in 2013 for the CRM Customer Engagement Center.
The conference participation and deliberations will be a boon to a wider cross section of companies in various sectors as “Financial Services; Insurance; Health Care; Communications; Media; Life sciences and Public sector.”
“Customer is the Real King in the Web World” – says CEO Alan Trefler. Echoed also by the CFO, Craig Dynes. Pegasystems is known for doing things in varying ways going through various permutations to bring the ‘best-in-class’ product(s) to the market. Pega “Automates work; Adapts in real Time; Adds Actionable Insights”. It eliminates operational silos to bring new end-to-end process efficiency to every Organization. Pega is simple; delivers ideal customer experience while maximizing customer relationship. “Pega software boosts Productivity; Unification is better than Integration; Improves Productivity and increases Customer Loyalty.” says the CEO.
Gold dust in store for all participants and delegates. An opportunity to take back more than what anyone will give. Knowledge, Application and Profits in ‘one package’ is the rare gift. A fitting possibility for those wanting to “CHANGE COMPANIES BIG.” What more can I say here ?
“Be Different; Do Different; and Make Different” – Your ultimate Gain without any Pain. What more can the Conference offer ?
“Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, October 23, 2013; 6. 10 p.m. (IST)
Resuming my interest in Big Data (how long I’ll sustain is anybody’s guess), and as a sequel to what I put up regarding the international Conference in Bangalore (this week) in my previous part, my search and interaction(s) revealed interesting and valuable knowledge driving the accelerated pace of growth of Big Data.
A very significant name that emerged is that of Dr Satwant Kaur who has a remarkable history in IT. She is also the author of INTEL’s “Transitioning Embedded Systems to Intelligent Environments.” Her achievements earned her the nickname “The First Lady of Emerging Technologies” in sportive familiarity as she is known in Silicon Valley. Dr Kaur has 4 patents while at “Intel” , 20 distinguished awards, over 50 papers and publications and several keynote conference speeches. She is currently the Master Solutions Architect at HP. She is in California.
She cited the following 10 Emerging Technologies as chief drivers of Big Data :
1. Column-oriented databases; 2. Schema-less databases or NoSQL databases; 3. MapReduce; 4. Hadoop; 5. Hive; 6. PIG; 7. WibiData; 8. PLATFORA; 9. Storage Technologies; & 10. Sky Tree.
(Refer : 10 Emerging Technologies for Big Data by Thoron Rodrigues – Big Data Analytics Dec 4, 2012 )
Dr Kaur also put forth the idea of “Smart Cloud”. Every Computer scientist/specialist will be aware that Big Data and Cloud Computing go heads and thraws. Smart Cloud tech is emerging and businesses are beginning to adopt. The model, however, is special. In the emrging model – “Computers are mobile; Devices are connected; Applications are interactive; Development is collaborative; and Service delivery needs to be IMMEDIATE.” She emphasizes that, “Cloud computing can enable all the capabilities for Businesses while optimizing costs and resource usage since infrastructure (IaaS); Platforms (PaaS); and Software Applications (SaaS) can be delivered on a Usage-based Service Model.” Despite the rapid pace of developments there still are some gaps that need to be filled. The Conference, it is hoped, will throw more light on that too. I also feel that as society gets networked the information and data available to be mined will also increase exponentially raising the challenges further.
Technological marvels are known to bring with them certain associated evils camouflaged in a benign or baneful way and Big Data is no exception, despite the benefits outweighing shortcomings by a long head. Big Data also seems to make our ‘privacy’ a thing of the past. ( Not in Surveillance or Snowden mode ! huh! ) Predictive analytics seems to have made it too easy to piece together information about individuals regardless of the law. With more Tech and Best Practices emerging by each passing day it will not be long before this skepticism is submerged.
Incidentally, Microsoft also offers some robust tools to manage and drive the growth of Big Data about which I will deal separately soon. Stay tuned.
Good Luck and God Bless,
October 22, 2013 – 10.30 p.m. (IST)
Great and rapid increase in Business Data information is set to grow more than 40 times to 35 Zettabytes ( 1 zettabyte = 1, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes ) by 2020, reports IDC. Add to that the surfeit of data from us, Consumers, (data, messaging, chat etc) and the digital information that we generate & use is mind boggling. It is here that, a new discipline, ‘Big Data Analytics’, promises to deal with the challenges & opportunities even while altering the landscape of Future Business in Real Time. Yes; FUTURE BUSINESS IS REAL TIME. A new star is born.
The scenario we face now is : ” Growing Volume of Data; Collection of Real Time Information from IT Systems; Delivering better insight to Decision makers; Affording a better chance of thriving through the Difficult Economy.” It boils down to “Real Time Data, Real Time Decision Making, & Real Time Business”, according to Dave Loughrey, CIO, of Open Group Systems. Big Data will become part of wider management strategy of companies in future – says Suranjan Som, Head of BI, Management Group. Gaining Competitive advantage; Increasing Revenue; Demonstrating Tangible value will become the norms for what one does with Big Data in the next FIVE Years.
Bangalore, India, is set to witness an INTERNATIONAL MEET under the auspices of IT.biz next week. The Meet could not have at a more appropriate time than this when Business challenges force companies to look for Newer approaches to stay afloat. The meet will discuss the hidden values to be unearthed through cohesive and coherent approach to Information Management. ‘Big Data’ is one of the Top Three IT priorities for Enterprises. A key session in this meet will discuss how to mine and monetize this Big Data. Any discerning Computer Scientist/specialist knows all too well that Traditional Tools like basic Database & Warehouse Management tools cannot process this Voluminous and Complex data. The Session will discuss the NEWER approaches to understanding the Complexity and Making Valuable decisions with New Tools to capture markets. Computer Scientists/specialists are also conscious of the fact that ‘Volume, Variety (structured along with variably structured data), & Velocity’ are the three “V”s of Big Data. The session is expected to focus on the Fourth “V”, i.e the VALUE added.
2013 is the year of experimentation and early adoption for Big Data, says Research V.P. at Gartner, Frank Buytendijk. 92% of companies in a study of 720 Organizations have not taken the initiatives beyond the Planning Stage. Less than 8% of the Organizations studied actually deployed Big Data Technologies.
India deserves to pat itself on its back for being the Early Bird Adopter in Asia of this new discipline/technology. “A study of 430 mid market companies by Forrester Research reveals that 35% plan to invest in the next two years. But only 8% of companies planning have a projected or proven Return on Investment (ROI). Reducing costs is the main focus for 30% while Asset Utilization is 25%.” This is just a straw in the wind. However, clarity regarding the Real Benefits, ROI information, Various approaches to Adoption, & Outcome Ideas – are still lacking in their planning.
Have they yielded too early to the hype surrounding the Big Data? Not many analysts think so; a morale booster for India. The session will, hopefully, deliberate this aspect too. The meet is also expected to discuss Digital Analytics; Cloud Storage; Mobility; R&D; Consumer Electronics; and Industrial Electronics.
Will the deliberations of the Meet be the ‘Goose that will lay Golden eggs’ for all those in the forefront of competition in Business? The session will, sure, lay a course – many believe. I am not au fait with Computer Science but certainly an avid follower of events in this field. Stay tuned for more on this in the days / weeks to come !
20 Oct 2013; 4.45 pm (IST)