Issue 5 | June â€™19
Solving data challenges
World Wide Technology
HENKEL TRANSFORMATION AT SCALE
Exclusive interview // Dr. Dirk Holbach, Managing Director, Global Supply Chain
HPE to buy supercomputer firm Cray for $1.3 billion
HPE is buying supercomputer company Cray in a deal worth $1.3 billion. HPE said the explosion of data from AI, ML, and big data analytics and evolving customer needs for data-intensive workloads are driving a significant expansion in performance computing. Crayâ€™s supercomputing systems have the ability to handle massive data sets, converged modeling, simulation, AI, and analytics workloads. (17/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read.
A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals. DIGITAL BULLETIN
It’s not often you have your breath taken away by an office building. They are usually functional, but ultimately dull affairs. But the Edge building in Amsterdam is a different proposition entirely. Considered the greenest workspace in the world, it is a truly smart building that is fit for today’s digital age, integrating technologies throughout to achieve a connected and intelligent facility. It is a destination that Digital Bulletin was thrilled to be invited to in early May, and a worthy spot to discuss Henkel’s digitalisation and transformation initiative. As our front cover suggests, Henkel is a company that operates at genuine scale, with tens of thousands of employees working globally around the world, and the business achieving profits running into billions of dollars annually. So, it stands to reason that any digitalisation programme is a large undertaking, requiring strategic leadership, employee buy-in and a hefty budget, to boot. Our focus was the company’s Laundry and Home Care division, which is home to some of the industry’s leading brands such as Persil, Bref and All. Digital Bulletin spoke with the man leading the charge, Dr. Dirk Holbach and a number of his digitalisation team about what it takes to modernise, digitalise and technologically transform a company division that turned over more than $6 billion last year. We also spent the day speaking with a number of Henkel’s key partners that have played a part in the story. You can begin reading our deep dive into Henkel’s transformation on page 8. It really is one you won’t want to miss. In addition, we have a number of other eye-opening features this month, including a chat with best-selling author Amy Webb on potential futures driven by AI, and Cuddle.ai’s CEO, Natwar Mall, who told us how employees can find value using company data. Enjoy the issue.
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TA L K T O U S
PU B LI S H I N G
M E D I A PRO D U CT I O N
D I G I TA L M A R K E T I N G
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Behind the scenes with Henkel. The industrial giant operates out of Amsterdamâ€™s The Edge building, an innovative working space powered by sustainable technologies
The path to digital transformation
Insights on industrial IoT
Delivering data insights on demand 54
AIâ€™s industry pathway
34 Data & Security
Hybrid data management for all
An API-first approach to commerce
Engaging employees in combating cyberattacks
82 Events The biggest and best technology events for your diary
90 The Closing Bulletin
An exclusive column from Samsungâ€™s Kate Beaumont
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TRANSFORMATION AT SCALE
HENKEL Henkelâ€™s Laundry & Home Care Division is in the midst of a truly large-scale transformation project. Digital Bulletin speaks to some of the main players who are driving change, including Dr. Dirk Holbach, Managing Director, Global Supply Chain
AUTHOR: JAMES HENDERSON PRODUCED BY: RICHARD DURRANT PHOTOGRAPHY: SIMON TREL VIDEOGRAPHY: MATTHEW TRETT 9 Issue 5
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he Edge in Amsterdam is no normal workplace. It is generally considered to be one of the greenest and most sustainable offices on the planet, a truly smart building teeming with technology that is fit for the digital age. And within this inspirational structure, an inspiring transformation project is bearing fruit. By any measure, Henkel is a multinational powerhouse with a significant presence in both the consumer and industrial sectors. The numbers speak for themselves: the company achieved profits of more than €3.1 billion against sales of a shade under €20 billion in 2018; it employs more than 53,000 people working across almost 200 Henkel sites around the world, with more than 85% of its employees working outside its home country, Germany. In short, it is a manufacturing giant. Henkel’s interests are spread across three globally operating business units: Adhesive Technologies, Beauty Care, and Laundry & Home Care. Its Adhesive Technologies business manufactures adhesives, sealants and functional coatings for consumers, craftsmen and industrial applications, while its Beauty Care division produces brand-name products in the fields of hair colorants, hair styling, hair care, toiletries, skin care and oral hygiene. Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care
business unit is one that holds a special place in the history of the company; when Fritz Henkel, at just 28 years of age, founded the company in 1876, it was to launch “Universalwaschmittel”, a universal detergent based on silicate. Today, you have almost certainly used one of Henkel’s laundry or cleaning brands, be it a detergent, dishwashing product, household cleaner, or toilet article. With well-known brands such as Purex, Bref, or all, the company holds leading positions worldwide. Because of the company’s reach, Henkel operates a formidable supply chain, made up of millions of simultaneously moving parts. Responsible for the global supply chain operations of Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care business is Dr Dirk Holbach, Corporate Senior Vice President. Over the years, Holbach and his team – most of them based in the Dutch capital’s gleaming Edge building – have spearheaded an effort to streamline, standardise and digitalise the supply chain as part of the company’s growth strategy and wider digital transformation initiative. Speaking to Digital Bulletin, Holbach says: “When it comes to Laundry & Home Care, we have transformed our supply chain over several years in various phases and in the current phase we are really digging deep into digital. We stand humbly, like a lot of other companies, at the beginning of a large and long transformation journey.” The path to digital transformation is
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We stand humbly, like There’s going to be a lot of change in a lot of other the landscape, butcompanies, my sense is that Lenovo be a $100 billion company at thewill beginning of a that really is going to be on the large and of long cutting-edge technology” transformation journey” Dr. Dirk Holbach
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a key component of a company-wide strategy, known as ‘Henkel 2020+’, which comprises four strategic priorities: drive growth, increase agility, fund growth, and accelerate digitalisation. “Digitalisation is a key element of our 2020+ initiative, and everything we do in supply chain is embedded into that strategy,” says Holbach, who adds that the company’s technology, people and data capabilities must all work in tandem to ensure the transformation is a successful one. “A broad approach means we try to combine new technology with the development and the upskilling of people. It is essential for us that those two elements go together to help us mature as an organisation. When we speak about it being a broad approach, it is about both top-down and bottomup,” he explains. “We have to try to combine investments into technology to raise the capabilities of our teams,” Holbach reiterates. “That is a very important aspect to making the digital transformation sustainable, so that you’re not just offering technology but you’re training people who know how to use them.” “On the one hand, we look at certain areas of technology where we really want to invest, so that is top-down. But we also set up pilots and test out technologies from a bottom-up perspective by deploying in different sites and testing them, which we can roll
Dirk Holbach at Henkel’s Amsterdam offices out once we establish proof of concept and leverage technologies on a global scale.” “I would also describe our approach as vertical, so we really look into specific applications. We’re not trying to find a perfect solution for everything, but rather leveraging technology to improve our processes and generating benefits in the shorter term to help drive the digital transformation of the business.” One of the central pillars of digitalising the Laundry & Home Care global production network is a piece of infrastructure known as the ‘Digital Backbone’, which acts as the division’s global manufacturing data repository. It has been integral to the transformation efforts, says Johannes Holtbruegge, Senior Manager of Digital Transformation at Henkel Laundry & Home Care. “The Digital Backbone is connected to all of our global sites, so that’s 33 factories globally, all of which are connected in real-time,” he explains. “We are accessing data from the sites, which we are storing and visualising.
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That enables us to benchmark the sites, find room for improvement, become more efficient, reduce our costs and thus improve our supply chain KPIs. “With the Digital Backbone system, we also measure in real-time our energy and utility consumption to see if we are on track with our sustainability targets. All the new technologies that we roll out as part of our digital transformation strategy are being connected to the Digital Backbone, which offers all our managers instant visibility. This tool is available globally in our sites and supply chain hubs, has 1,500 users and is a daily steering tool for us.” By investing in different start-ups and new technologies, Henkel can stay agile and continuously evolve its supply chain to best suit the needs of providers, customers and consumers. One such partner that supports the Digital Backbone through its software is AVEVA. Holtbruegge comments: “AVEVA is an important partner for us when it comes to automation equipment, energy meters and delivering automation equipment for machines. In addition, the entire supply chain steering based on the Digital Backbone was centred initially on the software solution we purchased from AVEVA, which we have further developed with them. It has been a collaborative effort.” Another cooperation partner is MicroBiolytics – a company that provides data analytics to the supply chain in
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real time: It owns a programme that Henkel calls “unique”, which analyses raw materials, semi-finished goods and finished products. The programme enables Henkel to identify ingredients – as well as their concentration in a liquid sample – with an accuracy that wasn’t previously attainable.” “This helps us better steer our mixing processes and raw material consumption, avoid dosage deviations of particular ingredients, and support to further improve product quality,” says Wolfgang Weber, Head of International Engineering and Digital Transformation. “We are rolling out this app-based analysis tool across our whole network and leverage our standardised global formula setup. This data availability allows us to identify deviations from the plan immediately and take corrective measures faster than ever before – resulting in greater agility, better product quality and overall improved supply chain KPIs and steering.” An additional critical pillar is the end-to-end transparency of its data, which it is leveraging to reduce costs, drive efficiencies and make informed decisions on critical factors such as inventory, costs and cash flow. Tarun Rana, Senior Manager of Digital Transformation, explains why end-toend transparency is so important for the Laundry & Home Care business unit. “We have our production and planning processes to support the
Holbach with Gideon Brothers’ Milan Račić (right). “These guys are using a unique vision-perception technology within their autonomy stack” Issue 5
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supply chain triangle of inventory, cash and cost. All of these processes including make-to-stock, order-tocash and purchase-to-pay have their own KPIs and their own steering models, but they don’t have a universal optimisation algorithm, which helps determine the global minima of the cost that you can achieve. That’s where end-to-end transparency comes in,” he states. “If you want to increase the service level, you can do so by increasing inventory, but by increasing the inventory, you are holding more cash with you, which increases your networking capital. These are factors that can only be leveraged once you have end-to-end transparency over the entire value chain. With this, our team can utilise analytics along the value chain and try to reach that global minima of the cost.” As part of its digital innovation strategy, Henkel plans to become
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paperless by 2020. To help achieve this business objective, it is developing digital quality-assurance and plant management applications that standardise production and logistics, optimise workflows and benefit sustainability. By replacing manual processes and digitalising them, Henkel can quickly capture data, identify trends and enhance quality and performance in its manufacturing plants. “What we started with was mapping all the processes that you find typically in a factory or in a warehouse of ours, where lots of paper is filed manually, thus making it difficult to track and trace. Therefore, we first considered how we could simplify the processes in a way that they’re also capable of being coded,” comments Weber. “For that, we chose the right platform and programme - we do this on Tableau, as well as Kony - and then really try to model a previously
Holbach with Intravis’ Markus Juppe (left) and Christian Schreck. “We use Intravis in the production environment to ensure real-time process control” 21 Issue 5
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Holbach addresses colleagues and partners in Amsterdam paper-based process into an app kind of a format. We engage with the people by means of electronic data computing and then also have the possibility to visualise the processes.” Along with its growth strategy, Henkel aims to pioneer new solutions for sustainable development. The approach to maintain a balance between economic success and environmental protection, applies to all operations. “Sustainability is a key topic for us,” says Holbach. Efficient supply chain systems go hand in hand with a better sustainability performance. The idea behind: we want to create more value while reducing our environmental footprint at the same time.” “For all our developments, our people are the key to success. The way of doing business is evolving. Some jobs are disappearing while others are changing because of technology and this is only likely to continue as we
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move forward. Things are changing and change is not always a natural behaviour for humans, so we have to accompany this period of change with numerous measures.” Among the high-potential technologies Henkel has embraced to impact its workforce are robotic process automation (RPA) solutions and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which it has utilised across its warehouses and factories. It’s a change introduced because of the need to keep people safe, says Holbach. “When it comes to safety, any elimination of a manual material movement improves your safety. Autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) and other mobile vehicles can help you as they are so smart that they avoid any kind of bad interaction with humans, so that helps with both efficiency and safety, which is the driver for us to want to be free of material
Jungheinrich’s Ard Ruiter. “Jungheinrich is one of the key players in the area of mobility solutions”
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The Digital Backbone is connected to all of our global sites, so that’s 33 factories globally, all of which are connected in real-time” Johannes Holtbruegge
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movements done and triggered by human beings. It’s not that we believe human beings can’t do it, but there is always a safety risk involved,” Holbach comments. An increasingly important partner to Henkel in this arena is Gideon Brothers, an innovative autonomous mobile robot (AMR) developer established two years ago in Croatia. AMRs differ from AGVs in that they are fully autonomous, requiring no guidance infrastructure. “These guys are using a unique vision-perception technology within their autonomy stack, which is not at all common in the market,” Holbach adds. “It is an interesting combination of people who have the potential to disrupt a part of the industry and products and materials that work in an autonomous way in the operations environment. And as with companies of that size, they are very fast and agile when you’re asking to try it out and where can we do it, so that is a clear advantage.” Holbach says there are clear advantages to linking up with startups, citing the example of Tesla in the automotive industry as a company that has positively disrupted an enterprise sector, introducing new technologies and raising expectations around what is possible. “When we look at our supplier base in the Laundry & Home Care business, we have around 40 to 50 core equipment suppliers, but I would say less than
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20% are digitally ready mentally, so that’s being really proactive about coming to see us to talk through new technologies and new opportunities. That is something we need to find on a broader level and these digitallyready companies are very helpful in waking up the established players.” Another business that has long been a trusted partner for Henkel’s RPA mix is Jungheinrich, a German company specialising in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors. “Jungheinrich is one of our longstanding partners and a key player in the area of mobility solutions in operations,” says Holbach. “Together, we have developed and implemented many new solutions in different areas, including equipment flow and moving pallets from A to B, as well as in the area of warehousing automation solutions. We have developed a close relationship over time, and we are running a number of projects in our different manufacturing locations where we are installing AGVs to eliminate manual movements of material in production and operation.” A hugely important facet of Henkel’s day-to-day operations is visual inspection, which ensures that the thousands of products rolling off the production line every day are properly labelled. It is a crucial part of the effort to ensure that the business runs as efficiently as possible across its
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We want to deliver what we believe a change in There’s going towill be abe lot of the landscape, but my sense sustainable impact tois that Lenovo will be a $100 billion company the whole business” that really is going to be on the Tarun Rana cutting-edge of technology”
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worldwide sites. One major partner that has supported the company, ensuring Henkel products to fully perform against attributive aspects such as correct labelling is Intravis. It has been a trusted visual inspection partner for more than fifteen years, delivering more than 70 I4.0 highspeed applications to different sites at Henkel, for label inspections and cap inspection applications. It is a business area that has changed dramatically over the last decade, with expectations shifting and companies expecting data from production lines to be collated and analysed. “With Intravis technology, we scan every product bottle in real-time and check whether it is the right label, the position is correct, whether there are any wrinkles and so on. It helps us finetune and adjust machine parameters to get the perfect quality result,” says Holbach. “This ensures real-time process control, which is critical to fulfil our high standards for product quality. Intravis in this context helps us make sure that whatever comes out of our production lines is fulfilling the criteria that we set.” Furthermore, Henkel has developed a reputation for embracing future technologies, and, for example, has undertaken a pilot project using digital twins in one of its factories. Rana describes new technologies as being “extremely important” to Henkel.
“In the short-term we have a full bucket of pilot projects that we have successfully tested. Many of them are now ready to roll-out on a wider scale, to make sure not only individual sites benefit from these technologies,” says Rana. “We want to deliver what we believe will be a sustainable impact to the whole business. So, over the next two to three years, we’ll be rolling out technologies that we have identified recently, while also surveying the market to identify new technologies we think could be interesting in three to five years’ time.” Henkel is constantly working on improving its processes, systems, and structures. Identifying new technological developments, testing them over a short period, and then successfully scaling it up. This has been crucial in the company’s transformation and development and will be even more so in the future. By embracing future technology, recognising the importance of data, and empowering its people, Henkel has found a formula to deliver a truly sustainable and lasting transformation in its Laundry & Home Care team that will undoubtedly benefit the organisation as a whole.
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DATA & SECURITY
SOLVING DATA CHALLENG Actian is answering industry’s demand for effective data management in a hybrid world. Emma McGrattan, SVP of Engineering, offers Digital Bulletin the lowdown on its success
AUTHOR: KEVIN DAVIES on’t believe the hype. Across sport, and music, you hear it all of the time. A band come through with a massive buzz, release one decent song and then fade away. A young footballer starts in a blaze of glory, but ends up washed up and forgotten five years later. Hype is no guarantee of success. It’s the same in enterprise technology, and especially true in the everexpanding world of data storage and analysis.
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DATA & SECURITY
Cloud data warehouses promised the world, but have they delivered? The publicity was carefully managed, but reality has got in the way of the hype. The sheer volume of data means pricing has rocketed for businesses. Not only that, but performance has slowed. Simply, organisations are getting less bang for their buck. This is where Actian comes in. The Californian company is a market leader in hybrid data management, cloud integration and analytics solutions, helping thousands of businesses across the globe and industries solve their data challenges. It caused ripples, but very little surprise, when last year HCL Technologies acquired 80% and Sumera Equity Partners took 20% of Actian for $330 million. In short, Actian is living up to the hype. In April, it unveiled Avalanche, the industry’s first 3rd generation cloud data warehouse. Billed as a highperformance hybrid cloud and on-premise data warehouse that delivers a managed service, Avalanche is offered on a pay-as-you-go model, which means no unexpectedly sharp cost increases and, in just 20 minutes, you can create a cluster, load your data and start analysing it. “Avalanche allows our customers to run very large date appliances with large numbers of users – hundreds or even thousands,” says Emma McGrattan, Actian’s SVP of Engineering.
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“For example, in financial services you give somebody a copy of a tool like Power BI and they start building their own dashboards and queries, and Microsoft have made that really easy to do. “But the queries that can be generated behind the scenes can be really quite a beast, because you won’t get people who are well-trained in writing queries doing it. So typically what we’re seeing with Avalanche is that it’s massively appealing when it’s large-scale, where there’s a need to have a large number of users with complex queries hitting large volumes of data. “We also continue to have an on-premise footprint. In those environments where hyper-capability matters, other products can’t manage that. There isn’t an on-premise equivalent, so we think there’s a really large appeal there.” Actian’s portfolio of products is three-part: data integration, which handles data movement of any scale between clouds, between clouds and on-premise, and between on-premise systems; data management technologies, which tend to be traditional products which have been powering business operations for a number of decades; and data analytics products. This is where Avalanche lives. “We are very excited about it,” adds McGrattan. “When we look at market trends on analytics, the days of the massive appliance spenders owning
Avalanche allows our customers to run very large date appliances with large numbers of users – hundreds or even thousands”
the entire footprint are behind us and people are realising they can easily move to the cloud and free up space on the existing appliances.” It is this hybrid approach - marrying on-premise and cloud platforms - that appears to be particularly appealing to businesses. “We’ve got a number of customers where they have traditional business systems that they are reluctant to change, but they’re using the cloud for analytics,” says McGrattan. “We address on-premise and cloud data and find a way to bring that together.
“I also think regulatory compliance is a big driver of the hybrid approach. In Europe, with concerns around GDPR, organisations are making sure there is minimal risk attached to their data. In financial services and healthcare, we’ve seen a reticence to move data to the cloud, because of the compliance requirements and they want to be sure that the regulators can see the steps they should be performing on the data. Avalanche means we can give them an on-premise footprint and a cloud footprint and then we have the ability to write queries which can actually join the
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CrowdStrike files for IPO
Leading cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike is keen to raise $100 million from an IPO. Currently the companyâ€™s spending is bigger than its gross profits, even though revenues have been growing year-on-year. Its cloudbased technology is designed to catch breaches before they happen, greatly reducing any impact. It is sold on a subscription basis to over 2,500 customers. (15/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
data from the on-premise footprint and the cloud footprint seamlessly.” While the approach of most data warehousing companies is to tell businesses to bring all of the data to them in order to process it in a single location, Actian does it differently. “It can get quite expensive doing it like that,” says McGrattan. “Our approach is to tell organisations to leave the data
As SVP of Engineering at Actian, Emma McGrattan leads research and development for Actian’s Hybrid Data Analytics Portfolio. A recognised authority in DBMS and big data technologies, McGrattan is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences. McGrattan has recently celebrated over 25 years in Ingres and Actian Engineering. Educated in Ireland, she holds a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering degree from Dublin City University
wherever it’s being generated and what we’ll do is bring the queries processing power to the data. “So let’s say you want a list of customers who have spent over $1 million in the last quarter because you want to join that with some other data for a report. We’ll just reach out to the Oracle database there to get the answers you need to join with the data you need, instead of having to copy the entire data set. “The idea of putting all data into a massive data lake hasn’t worked, because the volumes are really high and those lakes are really slow. So we decided to go with the approach of leaving the data where it is. Our way means businesses quickly learn where all of the data sources across their organisation are, how they’re being used and the value they’re getting from them.” McGrattan says there are two key trends to what Actian’s clients want from it. The primary one is helping them with real-time decision-making. This is particularly important in the finance, manufacturing and retail sectors, where having immediate access to trends is key to growth and survival. Companies also want help seeing the wood for the trees. To improve hyperpersonalisation interaction with their customers, they need to harness data from multiple sources into one overall view. Actian solves that by bringing all of the different strands of data together.
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DATA & SECURITY
Our way means businesses quickly learn where all of the data sources across their organisation are, how they’re being used and the value they’re getting from them”
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Its approach works across a myriad of industries; some more unlikely than others. “Very understandably a lot of our clients don’t like us talking about the work we do with them but one client in the UK, Oxford University, is keen to publicise it,” says McGrattan. “It has a clinical trials services unit, and it’s trying to identify the causes of preventable deaths, such as heartattacks, diabetes and so on. “It’s doing this by tracking 5,000 data points from 500,000 individuals. So it’s tracking billions of data points every day and trying to identify the causes of heart attacks and cancers so it can eradicate them. It has huge data volumes and needs to be able to react to the data in real time, and be able to package that data up so it can provide it to drug manufacturers and health services. It uses our tech to do all of that. “The Irish Revenue Commission also runs everything it does on our technology. It researched people who weren’t paying taxes and now uses that data to identify people who are following the same steps who might end up avoiding paying their taxes. If our systems go down, then the ports and the airports have to close in Ireland because it can’t process customs and immigrations – so it’s mission critical.” Another client is German airline Lufthansa, which uses Actian’s
technology for flight planning. This covers everything from ensuring the correct number of vegan meals are stocked on each flight, to re-routing thousands of flights in the event of mass disruption. During a major incident, Actian’s appliances work out critical things like how much fuel it will take to re-route every flight and ensuring a runway can cope with the size of an aircraft. From helping to eradicate preventable deaths to ensuring your flight lands safely, the sheer scale of data across every industry can be quite overwhelming. One prospective client Actian is working with wanted to analyse 64 petabytes of data, a number – and word – that was barely conceivable just five years ago. And with the growth of data, so comes the growth of users wanting to analyse it. This relentless upscaling is where McGrattan believes the biggest challenge exists as it continues to look to the future. “While everything is evolving rapidly, we also know trends don’t tend to change as quickly as predicted,” she concludes. “People are predicting the death of data warehousing appliances, but 20 years ago we all thought the mainframe would be dead. “I think these things will still be around for a long time, and trying to figure out how best to do that is the challenge we are constantly addressing.”
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World Wide Technology has extensive experience in implementing large-scale IoT systems for industrial companies. Dave Locke, CTO EMEA, and Paul Robinson, Management Consultant - Digital Transformation, answer Digital Bulletin’s questions on a range of related topics
First of all, can you give us some background on your respective roles and responsibilities at World Wide Technology? Dave Locke: I’m currently the EMEA CTO for World Wide Technology, and I’m responsible for our go-to-market across four core areas: everything to do with modernising infrastructure; security transformation; multi-cloud and digital strategy. Within those four areas, there are a number of different solutions and offerings that we help our customers with. Everything to do with IoT (Internet of Things), analytics, AI (artificial intelligence) etc. falls under the digital strategy area. We have people assigned and aligned into those different areas, from pre-sales and consulting to delivery capabilities and we’re working with a number of customers in different verticals and segments. In terms of my background, I’ve been in data centres and infrastructure, both as a customer originally, then within various vendors and now within a solutions provider. Paul Robinson: I’m a management consultant in World Wide Technology’s digital transformation group. My background and experience is 15 years in technical consultancy, and like Dave I’ve worked across customers and vendors. I support the customer as a trusted advisor at the technology and the business layers, trying to really help
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them understand what they’re trying to achieve and define that into strategic business application solutions. Why you think World Wide Technology stands out in the technology service provider space, and what kind of specialisms does it have, especially around IoT? DL: We’ve always had very deep relationships with all the major technology manufacturers. That gives us access to a huge amount of technology options in terms of services, solutions, software, hardware, and working with customers we are looking to understand what the true business outcome is that they’re looking to achieve. Typically, it’s a form of cost reduction or revenue generation, or helping them go-to-market with their own services or products. We follow a methodology that looks at where the clients want to get to, in terms of that outcome, and what are the parts and pieces that they would require. We use a combination of our technology knowledge and our ability to test and prove those solutions in something we have internally - our ‘Advanced Technology Center’. This centre allows customers to bring their ideas and workloads through, and we can test them with them, using our expertise to get them to a decision point quickly. On IoT specifically, it comes down to having long-term relationships with the IoT providers. It could be on the industrial
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side, with companies like Rockwell or GE Digital, or on the more traditional network side with providers like Cisco, which is one of our key relationships in terms of everything they have on their edge devices and the connectivity to get that information from the edge into the data centre, and then even out into the cloud for analytics. PR: In the industrial space, what we find is that with the IT and the OT players is that they struggle to really understand what they’re trying to achieve. They speak in different languages, they have different terms and they have different needs and wants. From a business perspective, what’s important for the manufacturing plants, or the manufacturing owners, is around uptime and yield, rather than in IT, where their focus is more around innovation and data. What we find is that we can be the glue; the marriage counsellor, as we sometimes like to call it, between those two organisations. We can help them translate the language and ensure that what they’re looking to achieve from a technology perspective is actually going to really impact the business at the industrial level. Do you think those customers are edging towards a much better understanding of what industrial IoT could offer? PR: I think they are. The key here is how it
We follow a methodology that looks at where the clients want to get to and what are the par ts and pieces that they would require” Dave Locke impacts their day-to-day lives. A lot of the operational technology specialists in the manufacturing sector are not big technologists. They understand their part of the world, which is around keeping the manufacturing plant running smoothly. It’s more around the education and its business impact. That’s one of the areas with which the IT teams struggle; being able to map that back to their language and being able to talk about how it’s going to impact the yield or impact the downtime at the plant. It’s really about mapping it back to those business needs. Do you have specific ways that you go about getting that message across? PR: How we do that is something that I’ve been involved with, particularly recently, and it’s about going to those
manufacturing plants. Either we go with technology leadership from the customers, or we go as representation of the technology leadership of the customer. We sit down and we do a mixture of ideation sessions - where we map and understand what their key challenges are at the moment, from a plant perspective - and then we do one-toone interviews with the key people on site to really get that viewpoint from the business side. In terms of the industrial IoT technology itself, who are the main providers that you rely on to help your customers in that field? PR: There are two areas that you can look at from my side. Naturally we look at it from an infrastructure perspective, and this leads on to an
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HIGHLIGHTS Nokia is behind on 5G, admits company chief
Rajeev Suri has admitted that Nokia is behind where it wanted to be with its 5G rollout. CEO Suri said that his companyâ€™s merger with Alcatel-Lucent has been a factor in the delayed commercialisation. Last month Nokia reported a quarterly loss after it failed to supply 5G telecoms equipment in time, but Suri has reassured investors that it will reach its annual financial guidance. (21/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
From a business perspective, what’s impor tant for the manufacturing plants, or the manufacturing owners, is around uptime and yield, rather than in IT, where their focus is more around innovation and data” Paul Robinson interesting conversation around convergence between IT and OT. The old world has always been around physical separation of environments, so it’s about dealing with key hardware vendors in that space - companies like Cisco. Just as important, however, is the security play. One of the biggest fears and concerns at the moment is the impact of cyberattacks within industrial plants. Obviously, when you’re talking around the manufacturing and industrial space, this could not only have a financial impact on a business but it could also have an impact on human life. It’s very much dealing with a comprehensive security overlay as well, and for that we deal with companies like Fortinet, Palo Alto and again Cisco. Once we get down to the industrial layer, it’s about dealing with companies like Rockwell and Siemens.
What do you believe are the primary benefits of an effective IoT system in industry? DL: Paul mentioned the security side and that’s a must at all levels, but if you’re looking at increasing productivity or increasing quality control to then bring down costs for the manufacturer, it’s linked more to the skills of the people working in those environments. There’s a known skills shortage and it’s only going to get worse as people retire out over the next few years. They take knowledge with them. A lot of the reasoning behind doing industrial IoT is to help bridge that skills gap. If you can convert somebody’s experience into an algorithm that can sense how to tune the set-up, and then the AI and analytics can be done against those activities. This helps you diminish that gap, or reduce your costs in terms of the overheads.
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In the shor t-term , it’s going to be about connectivity and having ever y thing talking , which is why the security piece is so critical . It’s vital to get that right now, because doing that in retrospect is going to be hard and almost too late” Dave Locke
by also connecting that back into 3D printers. This enables them to print elements of the manufacturing line where required, so you’re less reliant on holding spares and waiting for parts or elements delivered to sites where necessary.
What about the technology itself? You’ve mentioned AI and the role it plays, for example. How much more can this technology develop in the field of industrial IoT? DL: It’s an interesting question. I was talking to Schneider Electric, which provides a lot of the hardened Additionally, a plant manager will be platforms for installing equipment, paid on quality and the fault rate of especially at the edge, for these types the materials coming out of their area. of environments. Their view is that For them, this is the key reason why there’s going to be a huge upturn in they want to have the AI and analytics the number of devices that will be systems that come with industrial IoT, as deployed. In the short-term, it’s going it improves their throughput and their to be about connectivity and having overall performance. everything talking, which is why the security piece is so critical. It’s vital to PR: One other thing to add is around get that right now, because doing that predictive maintenance. You see in retrospect is going to be hard and that, within a lot of manufacturing almost too late. companies, there is still very much a Beyond that, it’s about what you do manual approach to maintenance of with the data. People will start asking the machinery and the production lines. questions of it and finding out insights The opportunity to have that connected about things that they never thought and actually perform predictive they’d get insights about. maintenance, rather than having to shut the line down or perform manual PR: I think what’s going to be the checks, is vital. interesting part is that businesses I’ve had conversations with customers aren’t even at phase one yet; they’re who are taking it a step further too, in a position where they’re getting to
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connect all the sensors, all the valves, all the information related to the plant. Once they get that data, it’s about what the decisions are that they should make and how can the data be used to make more accurate decisions. WWT advocates what it calls a holistic approach to integrating IoT - can you explain in more detail what is meant by that? DL: If you look at it from an overall reference architecture, our holistic approach goes from everything from the device itself and your edge connectivity, through to the connectivity to push that into your data centre. It’s then about pushing it into the cloud, and being able to apply an analytics platform on top of it and it’s also about being able to provide a consulting services advisory to then get insights from the data. That’s the holistic approach of being able to see the whole process end-to-end, with technology partners at each stage. Our ability to sit in the middle of all those relationships, and have all those partnerships, to then provide an overall solution to the customer, sees us become the full aggregator of the outcome. How do companies unlock the financial clout to implement IoT systems? PR: We’re not seeing customers have concerns with budgets at the moment,
around the IoT space. That’s because if they can link it back to the business benefits, then they can justify it. Also, one of the key points is around the cybersecurity angle again. The value of connecting up the manufacturing plants will very quickly diminish if this is not properly secured. That is why businesses are ensuring that they have an incredibly robust security mechanism around the connected space, because of the wider impact this can have on the business. From a budget perspective, the business recognises the value that these digital technologies can provide while having a very robust, end-toend security footprint. This has meant that the budgets have been freed up because of the importance it has on the overarching business. DL: I would agree and say that it’s about proof of improvement. If you can raise quality by 1% in terms of the material coming out of the factory, then there is a value to that in terms of whatever they’re selling those items for. Likewise, if you can secure it and avoid an outage that takes the plant offline for a day; they will have acute knowledge of the cost of that downtime. As long as what they’re spending is less than either of those two points, they’re going to go for it because they want to improve production and they want to improve downtime. Those are their key metrics.
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POWERING COMMERCE JOURNEYS Elastic Path’s CTO, Sal Visca, tells Digital Bulletin why API-first headless platforms are the future for commerce
AUTHOR: JAMES HENDERSON ccepted wisdom tells us that to be first in the enterprise world is to gain a significant benefit. The ‘first mover advantage’ can allow businesses to establish its brand in the market, take its pick of resources and drive huge profits. In some instances, it can even allow companies to entirely corner a market. When Sal Visca joined Elastic Path in 2011, he saw the opportunity to do just that. “I found a company that
was doing some pretty innovative things, using a lot of open source technology and building some really powerful ecommerce platforms and solutions. We could see a move towards touchpoints and connected devices so we wanted to get ready for that world,” he tells Digital Bulletin. Visca arrived with a stellar background; having spent 12 years at IBM building enterprise technology to help companies link their back-end systems with the likes of SAP and Oracle,
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he joined a company called Business Objects in the analytics space. It was snapped up by SAP in 2008 for $7 billion, after which he remained as CTO, building SAP in-memory systems. “It was a really good way to understand data and how you can extract insights from data. That plays very well into some of the trends and technologies we see now, such as AI. I’ve had a good mix of technologies,” he says. But when Elastic Path went to the market in 2012 with a vision to phase out suites and replace them with commerce solutions that could be embedded into digital experiences, the reaction was lukewarm. “When we went to companies with an API-first, headless commerce platform in 2011 and 2012, people looked at us like we were the strangest thing ever, people couldn’t understand why they would want to do that,” Visca recalls. “But we saw a lot of value, we knew it was the way to go for experiencedriven commerce.” At the time, companies typically used content management systems from providers such as Adobe, Drupal and Wordpress, which could build aesthetically pleasing experiences for web, mobile and eventually apps. But at the point consumers were ready to make a purchase, they would commonly be directed to a checkout template completely at odds with what had gone before.
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Elastic Path powers Carnival Corp’s MedallionClass experience
We wanted to get rid of the feeling that you’d stepped into the ugly checkout process”
Against that backdrop Elastic Path pressed on, confident that its offering would land. “We tried to show the value proposition by separating the frontend from the back-end and deploying purpose-built technologies that let you focus on the user experience and then embed the ecommerce into the user experience without it being jarring. We wanted to get rid of the feeling that you’d stepped into the ugly checkout process,” says Visca.
After a stuttering start, it is an approach that has borne fruit; today Elastic Path provides its ecommerce solutions to a plethora of companies in the B2B and B2C spaces across a number of sectors, including retail, hospitality, travel, telco, industrial and automotive. “Marketing teams love it because it lets them react quickly in the market,” adds Visca. “If a competitor puts out an offer or product, they can follow it
53 Issue 5
VMware targets multi-cloud with Bitnami acquisition
VMware has acquired Bitnami, the software package application company. Bitnamiâ€™s tech enables fast and secure multi-cloud deployments, an area within which VMware is keen to increase its presence. No purchase price was shared but Bitnami has raised over $1 million in outside funding. VMware has recently made its on-prem management tools available through AWS, and will do the same through Azure. (16/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
T-Mobile is a key client of Elastic Path
This is technical agility enabling business agility, and the business users love it, because it allows them to be proactive and get ahead of the market” the next day in the self-service model because the APIs are published and exposed and easily connected into the content management worlds they live in. “Organisations are able to be more agile and develop a flow to what they do. This is technical agility enabling business agility, and the business users love it, because it allows them to be proactive and get ahead of the market. In the past, some of these things
would have taken an IT team a fortnight to get to.” A key client of Elastic Path’s is T-Mobile, which utilises the ecommerce platform to sell handsets, mobile packages and data plans. Its technology, says Visca, satisfies the separation of concerns that exist within the business. “The IT group is able to put out that platform based on Elastic Path and expose the APIs, while the front-end marketing team is able to build the
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experience the way they want and be able to connect into the API that powers the commerce,” he says. “So, you have all of the security and reliability the IT teams take care of but they can get out of the way in terms of how that gets exposed and manifested through the user experience. It lets teams work independently and concentrate on what they do well. It’s been extremely powerful.” Another compelling partnership has been developed with Carnival Corp. It is the world’s largest travel leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 100 vessels across 10 cruise line brands, including Princess Cruises, Cunard, P&O, and Costa. The company offers a customer experience known as MedallionClass, which is powered by Elastic Path. Before on-boarding, travellers are given a wearable device, which can be worn as a watch or a necklace, that links up with thousands of touchpoints across their ship. At each touchpoint, customers can carry out a multitude of tasks, from ordering drinks or making dinner reservations, to viewing their itineraries and booking excursions at their next port of call. “It is something I’m really passionate about and a microcosm of the way I think the world is going to be. It has connectivity at its heart. As a use case, it is helping define what levels of personalisation consumers are comfortable with.
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“For example, if I were due to reach Jamaica tomorrow, it would show me my excursion options and would even tailor them to me. It would know if I have a certification in scuba diving and offer me that option first, and offer me the option to have a beer on the beach ready for me when I’m done, and a bottle of champagne in my room. It can then book you in for the theatre or dinner. “It helps to maximise the time of the customer, so personalisation helps do that. I think about my personal data being currency and on a ship, I’m prepared to spend some of that data getting a better experience and maximising my time. It is fascinating for me because this is not a consumer
There is a confluence of things happening in the market and we think it is the right time for this technology, it is set up beautifully”
having to go to a shop, its commerce coming to them, but it is led by experience and not transaction. It can also help identify trends in terms of popular excursions, so it allows people to be more dynamic in terms of the experiences they offer. It has been amazing.” Elastic Path added to its product offering earlier this year, with the launch of its Commerce Cloud. It is a SaaS version of its solution, accessible via a web browser, which frees customers from setting up the software and managing their data servers or on third-party cloud-based servers. “We have traditionally sold platforms that sit in data centres and more lately in public cloud, so AWS or Azure,” says Visca. “That takes some work with integration, and with ecommerce you typically have many systems to integrate with, up to 15 or 20 sometimes, split between on-prem and cloud. “High-end organisations have the capability to do that in a way that works for them. Other organisations might not want to go through a four or five-month project, maybe they want to start with something small. This offering that lets
them quickly get set up, and someone else can manage it for them and the ongoing maintenance. “The beauty is that those companies may find it is working for them and they want to do a lot more or take it over, which they can do. But if they’re using another product in the market they are never really going to completely own it. It’s a bit like buying an apartment in a large complex, you can change the interior, but you’re not going to be able to blow out walls or extend into your neighbour’s place. Whereas we provide something you can build on top of or extend. It has the ease of renting an apartment with the option of building out.” While Elastic Path may have been early to the party, the company has stuck to its guns. Looking forward, Visca believes that the convergence of new technologies will take its offering to yet another level. “Organisations have so many ways for you to transact with them, and there are clear advantages and cost saving potential for companies with one unified commerce engine. “There is a confluence of things happening in the market and we think it is the right time for this technology, it is set up beautifully. Take 5G for example, and the low latency it offers. It is perfect at all touchpoints, you can effectively have cloud computing at your fingertips with a mobile device. That’s something to be super excited about.”
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A surprisingly large proportion of network break-ins are still put down to human error. Businesses must introduce better employee engagement strategies around cybersecurity, says CyberArkâ€™s Richard Turner
AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER
ombating network breaches is now a consuming task for businesses. Naturally, focus is initially applied to the very latest protection solutions available. As risk levels have increased and networks have grown more complex, security providers have had to transform their tools and services with technology. The cybersecurity marketplace has never been more competitive than it is today. There is no doubt that automation and other technological advancements have transformed security provision, but with cyber attacks still regularly hitting the headlines, itâ€™s also clear that
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Without educated people, I think it’s very hard to maintain a vigilant security posture”
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this almighty game of cat-and-mouse will run and run. Does industry have the answers? Among the sector’s thought leaders, it’s recognised that technology can only assist the mission to a certain level. Stringent internal processes are also critical to the fight, while there’s a third area where the most gains can potentially be made: employee engagement. Human mistakes remain the principle cause of violations, with some studies claiming that as many as 95% of breaches include an element of error from the user. Richard Turner, Senior Vice President, EMEA for CyberArk, is of the view that education around network security will help greatly reduce the likelihood of an organisation being damaged by an attack. “Without educated people, I think it’s very hard to maintain a vigilant security posture,” he explains to Digital Bulletin. “We are reliant on individuals being knowledgeable enough to exhibit good behaviour; to identify and make the business aware of stuff that looks anomalous and to be cautious about what they click on. Even in the 21st century, there’s still a very high clickrate on suspicious or malicious links in email communication, for example.” Turner, who has been in the trade for more than 20 years, is well versed on the lines of communication between businesses and their employees around cybersecurity and he insists
that leadership teams must place a lot more emphasis on improving even basic knowledge of the subject. Recent research from CyberArk, involving UK office workers, revealed that only 46% of the study’s participants read and took action on all security updates from their IT department. “The best security organisations that I’ve seen, and those with the most progressive security strategies, have the security organisation as part of the business and communicating really well,” says Turner. “It tends to share information about risks and vulnerabilities, it uses the incidents that make the news to keep employees vigilant and help them understand that if one company is vulnerable, then their company is vulnerable too. “I think it starts by recognising, or assuming, that the average user is not as savvy as you might like them to be. You have to set a baseline that is probably lower than you’d really like. A lot of complacency comes in when people just assume that their teams are security-savvy, that they do understand the threats. “Another big part of it is engaging
CYBERARK PRIVILEGED SECURITY OVERVIEW
representatives of the user community in developing the strategy and the project plan, trying to make sure that users understand why these extra steps are now necessary, what it does to the business and why they need to comply.” Human error from a security perspective comes in a number of forms, whether it means an individual being tricked by a phishing email, responding to a suspicious message through social media or failing to adopt strong passwords - and rotating them frequently enough - on internal systems. Companies also need to be diligent around the deprovisioning of former employees from their networks. ‘Ghost employees’ are notoriously highrisk, with one in five workers retaining access to their tools or applications following their departure. Turner continues: “Other areas are where people were given access temporarily; they remain an employee of the company, for example, and they were given access to a resource - a piece of infrastructure or data - in order to conduct a particular task, but then after their need to gain access was removed, it wasn’t necessarily revoked in a full nor timely manner. “Research leads awareness, so the kind of research that we publish hopefully tries to raise a flag or put a spotlight on an issue. It is a best practice that is unfortunately not well enough adopted.
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Salesforce makes pledge to train 500,000 Americans
Salesforce had made a commitment to train half a million United States citizens on its ecosystem of technologies. The pledge is part of the country’s ‘White House Pledge to American Workers’ and was signed as part of Salesforce’s inaugural Trailblazer Day. More than 300,000 job postings in the US ask directly for Salesforce skills and offer an average salary of $70,000 per year. (16/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
CYBERARK SPECIALISES IN PRIVILEGED ACCESS MANAGEMENT
“The next area is really how the technology itself helps organisations manage, issue, age and revoke privilege across the information system in a much more manageable way than the disparate systems themselves allow.” CyberArk narrows down on this specific field of security technology; privileged access management. The US-based firm boasts a formidable portfolio of clients that includes 22 of the 25 biggest IT services companies worldwide, 21 of the 25 largest banks and 20 of the top 25 manufacturing businesses. Instead of concentrating its efforts on stopping breaches at the surface, CyberArk’s remit is to prevent the irreversible network takeovers that have dominated cybersecurity coverage in the mainstream media. By focusing on
network policy, hygiene and technology, it aims to ‘minimise the ability of bad guys to move around organisations’ once inside. Its products and solutions stretch across cloud, endpoints and on-prem environments. Turner says this approach is rare in the industry - between 70 and 90% of security spend is on halting access at the top level - but insists it is crucial to preventing hackers getting to the information they crave. He outlines three areas that ensure the successful adoption of CyberArk’s technology within security teams. “Firstly, I think there’s very little point in having a system that’s designed to manage privilege that’s not significantly integrated into the broad set of tools and applications that people might use in order to do their daily jobs,” says Turner.
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Rich Turner is Senior Vice President of Sales for EMEA. He’s responsible for executing strategic sales and channel initiatives to drive growth and expand market opportunities for CyberArk in the region. Turner previously served as president of EMEA at FireEye. Prior, as chief executive at Clearswift Systems, one of the largest security software firms in the UK, Turner drove consecutive years of subscription revenue growth and improved operating margins; led the sale of the company to Lyceum Capital; and earned leadership recognition from SC Magazine. Additionally, he’s held boardlevel roles at technology and investment businesses, and also spent more than 11 years at RSA, the Security Division of EMC, where he held several senior management positions including vice president EMEA, vice president EMEA and Asia Pacific, and vice president worldwide channels.
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“The next area is using artificial intelligence to try to identify behaviour that looks anomalous, even though it may be appropriate, and raise a red flag to the appropriate parts of the organisation. Then the third area is really the breadth of the solution, from basically vaulting passwords - moving passwords away from the vulnerable infrastructures that contain them - right the way through to the technologies that then allow you to leverage capabilities across the network.” This level of integration can place pressure on an organisation’s IT function. As technology has evolved at a rapid pace over recent years, enterprise has had to confront the challenge of filling skilled roles in fields such as cloud, data and networking. The security profession is facing the same issues. Digitalisation is a strategic priority for a majority of forward-thinking companies, but are their own teams keeping up with the pace of change? Turner is adamant that the role of the traditional IT worker is being flipped on its head, with security high on their checklists along with an approach that actively pinpoints areas of risk. “The reality is that, in the 21st century IT organisation, all IT people really need to step up a little bit in order to be more relevant to the journeys that businesses are on and they’re adoption of technology,” he states.
The reality is that, in the 21st century IT organisation, all IT people really need to step up a little bit”
“They should be working across the organisation to help them deliver the outcomes they’re looking for, while reducing risk. It’s not about perfect security; it’s about setting a risk profile for your business based on its appetite to risk, the type of industry its in and the sorts of threats it faces. “Let’s face it; we’ve seen across security applications, we’ve seen across endpoints, we’ve seen across network infrastructure - there will always be vulnerability. That’s interesting, but what we need to think about is what is exploitable, what is realistic and how could that impact us, and where should we invest our time and money as a result. That’s a very different posture to
the historical security posture.” What else does the future holds for those working in security? Turner thinks he can distil the emerging trends into two domains. “Two areas of security are going to become the cornerstone of successful IT security strategies going forward,” he concludes. “There’s the big area of identity: who has access, how do you manage that access, what is that access, how do you deal with changes to that access? And then it’s the data itself. Where is that data, who should have access and what data is the most valuable? You need to protect the things that are the most valuable and the most impactful for you.”
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MEETINGS CO MADE MAGNIFICENT
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How can employees throughout your organisation find value in data? Cuddle’s AI-powered platform brings vital insights clearly into view, as the company’s CEO Natwar Mall explains
AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER
t’s difficult to imagine a world without Google’s search engine in your pocket. Along with a handful of other products of the technological age, it has helped alter human behaviour, becoming part of the fabric of our lives. Google receives 63,000 searches per second, 3.5 billion every day. Its multiplatform functionality and near flawless service have made it an online staple for us all. Over the 21 years since its launch,
Google’s culture of innovation has driven this growth, with its underlying capabilities continually augmented with new layers of technology. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been central to this development, allowing Google to break ground and build the personalised and predictive search engine available at our fingertips today. Deep learning in the form of RankBrain - a vital component of Google’s core algorithm - helps determine the most
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relevant query responses, improving the user experience. Similar strands of AI are now germinating elsewhere in enterprise and Cuddle.ai, an offshoot of AI solutions developer Fractal Analytics, is emergent in this space. The Cuddle platform uses AI to deliver bespoke data insights to an organisation’s employees, all with a functionality that co-founder Natwar Mall says has been modelled on Google. “Our principle motivation was this: how could we reimagine how business users go about making decisions? How can we help more with data, just in the way that, in our own lives, Google helps us?” he explains to Digital Bulletin. Cuddle users are able to input queries and the application’s engine, which processes natural language, responds with instant answers. This, it claims, allows employees to reap the benefits of data usage without being trained as analysts. Mall says the idea was conceived
when Fractal encountered a common problem with its global clients: the majority of their workers were not able to extract anywhere near the amount of potential from the data at their disposal. “We worked with a whole bunch of companies; some of the largest tech companies, some of the largest insurance companies, and lots more,” he says. “Across all of those companies, we had a paradox of sorts; we had companies with CIOs who were investing millions of dollars into data and infrastructure. But at the same time, the business users in departments such as sales or marketing were really struggling to enjoy the benefits of all of that infrastructure.” This is where Cuddle’s Googlelike usability across both desktop and mobile makes it an attractive proposition for organisations looking to give all of its employees access to data. Individuals working in sales teams, for example, can get instant progress
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THE CUDDLE PLATFORM DELIVERS DATA INSIGHTS ON DEMAND
updates on their KPIs, or financial professionals can feed decisionmaking with real-time and relevant analytics on current fiscal data. Cuddle labels its offering as an ‘experiential analytics’ platform. By its own definition, experiential analytics ‘combines experiential learning concepts with business analytics to allow any employee to better utilise information and make more databased decisions’. Mall believes Cuddle stands out as it focuses on the needs
of the user, rather than having been created from an obsession over the data or technology. “At the heart of it, it is about what is the starting point for your business? For us, the starting point is the customer,” he adds. “We have seen loads of platforms before where they were all very datacentric. They’re all about the data and looking at what they can do with that data. Whereas, for us, we have built the product around the user.
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Microsoft and General Assembly partner on AI skills
Microsoft is looking to play its part in closing the AI skills gap. It has partnered with General Assembly to upskill 15,000 workers by 2022. Other areas covered include cloud and data engineering, machine learning and data science. The programme will focus on three areas: setting the standards for AI skills, developing AI training solutions for companies and creating a pool of skilled workers. (17/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
What we have seen with our clients is fundamental behavioural changes which would otherwise be very hard to accomplish” “Sometimes when you start thinking user-first, however, users are not motivated to go to data. That’s just who we are; working with data is a very heavy task and it takes a lot of effort to analyse data. It takes a while to figure it out, so that’s why we appeal to companies.” Cuddle is just one product of the increasing convergence between data analytics and AI. Its own custom-built AI engine works alongside experiential analytics to deepen the service beyond a simple ‘question and answer’ interaction with its user. By ‘learning’ the natural language input over time, Cuddle is able to suggest additional insights - again, similar to how Google predicts a user’s search intentions and how Amazon points to complementary products when a customer makes a purchase. It is also able to offer ‘nudges’ when the AI engine detects potential data anomalies that may be of interest. “What we have seen with our clients
is fundamental behavioural changes which would otherwise be very hard to accomplish,” reveals Mall. “We did an experiment where some people were using Cuddle and some were not, and the difference in targets being achieved was close to 8%. “While the platform is being used, Cuddle is trying to learn what that user is really interested in. That forms the basis to automatically detect anomalies in data and then push the right alerts to the right users. That’s how this whole learning engine works; learn from the users through natural language, build an understanding of the user and then match them with the right insights. “In the last few months we have taken it a step forward too. We can now take somebody who is responsible for a certain region, and then we can reveal trends for that particular region, or patterns which that person might want to look at.” Cuddle.ai was incubated back in 2016 but strategic changes have led to increased adoption of its product over the past 12 months. Initial sales were kept to Fractal’s own clients but now it counts customers across multiple industries in the United States, Europe and Asia. Building the compute power to scale is a present challenge for Mall and his team, alongside the need to integrate Cuddle into the variable workflows developed by different businesses
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With the amount of data businesses have, and with the leaps we have seen in technology and AI, industries will start looking at all of their problems from an AI level”
INSIDE CUDDLE’S AI-BASED BUSINESS ANALYSIS PLATFORM
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NATWAR MALL, CEO AT CUDDLE.AI
across the enterprise. “It is a fairly tricky problem to solve; the AI needs to work on top of enterprise data, and that data will be very different from one company to another, from one industry to another industry,” he admits. “Our expectations from a technology perspective is that it should work like Google, but at the same time for any computation and any task. So how do we scale using cloud technology to deliver the experience which the user expects? That’s a challenge. “We want to be available everywhere. We want to be on Skype for Business, on Slack, or there for any business meeting assistant. If you’re in a meeting, it would be great if you could ask Cuddle any question and it could give answers in the room. That’s the kind of integration we’re after now.” As owners of a bespoke, scalable
solution built on AI, Cuddle is certainly well placed to benefit from the accelerated demand for data intelligence solutions. Mall is adamant we will see even more change in the landscape over the next two years, with natural language processing further coming to the fore. “AI, deep learning, machine learning, and all based on user interaction - that combination can change the way businesses use data for their decisionmaking. We believe that the way this is happening today will be very different to how it will look two years from now; natural language will become a lot more predictive, insights will be pushed to users, learning from users - all of this will happen. “AI has got to be at the centre of these technologies and platforms, and that’s why the landscape will change quite a lot going forward.” Mall also believes that leaders should place AI at the front of their thinking, in terms of both when they’re innovating and problem-solving. He concludes: “One way to think about it is that every problem can be thought of as an AI problem. “With the amount of data businesses have, and with the leaps we have seen in technology and AI, industries will start looking at all of their problems from an AI level. That can create a strong jump in how the solutions will come about and it’s going to be fun seeing how industries can achieve that.”
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CHNOLOGYâ€™S XT FRONTIER Best-selling author Amy Webb tells Digital Bulletin about her new book, why the conversation around AI has to change, and lays out scenarios for an AI-led future
AUTHOR: JAMES HENDERSON any of the conversations that are taking place around artificial intelligence (AI) are forward looking. The narrative is often about what AI will be able to do for us in the future, not what is happening right now.
But Amy Webb, a best-selling author, a professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern School of Business and the Founder of the Future Today Institute, says that AI is the most important technology development in our lifetimes, and major milestones are already being realised. Webb recently launched a new book
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named: THE BIG NINE: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp, which looks at how we can we steer the evolution of AI towards a better future instead of abdicating to geopolitical and market forces. The worldâ€™s largest nine technology companies are hugely powerful, and made up by Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Apple in the United States and Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent in China. We often think about how AI will be
Amazon has to create efficiencies for its AWS platform, so it is one of the reasons it is looking so intently at machine learning”
able to help us as consumers, but Webb says that their first priority is to leverage AI for corporate gain. “I believe that these companies have been developing AI ecosystems to benefit their profits internally,” she comments. “For example, Amazon has to create efficiencies for its AWS platform, so one of the reasons it is looking so intently at machine learning is to make its own internal processes much more effective and to create new revenue. So, in some ways, these
companies are their own biggest customers. I think that is the primary focus for most of them. “I would say beyond that, their goals are to create mutual products and services that customers find incredibly useful. The third reason is that AI is the next era of computing so I would assume that these nine companies want to be at the forefront of what’s next.” In the book, Webb outlines three future scenarios for AI from optimistic,
77 Issue 5
AT&T becomes first US mobile carrier to accept crypto payments
AT&T is now accepting cryptocurrency payments for phone bills. By using BitPay, it has become the first US mobile carrier to take such a step. BitPay, utilised by more than 20,000 businesses, converts cryptocurrencies to fiat currency. Last year, AT&T announced that it was building new blockchain solutions compatible with Microsoft Azure and IBM Blockchain. (24/05/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
In some ways, the big technology companies have as much power as our governments” pragmatic and catastrophic, which will reveal both opportunity and risk as we advance from artificial narrow intelligence, to artificial general intelligence to artificial superintelligence. The most positive scenarios see AI used for public good, but Webb says that even this possibility would not be “utopia”. “It’s about making the best possible decisions that we could. Some of the outcomes include interoperability, so we incentivised the six U.S. companies to collaborate and standardise some of the frameworks and make what they’re doing transparent. “This was done in a way that didn’t compromise IP, but the transparency made it much easier to decide how decisions were being made. One of the big problems currently is that regulators don’t understand how decisions are being made in the EU and the United States. In the optimistic framing, we solved some of those problems by making the decision more transparent. “There is also the founding of the ‘Google Alliance’, which is an
international standardisation across the planet around how AI is defined and used and how it is progressing. It performs audits and testing. There is still tension and problems but we prioritise safety over speed.” The pragmatic and worse-case scenarios see the world’s largest technology companies ignore calls to use AI in the public interest, choosing instead to use it to boost their profits and satisfy their shareholders on Wall Street. The pragmatic scenario sees large organisations run by Chief AI Officers, companies having access to vast personal data banks and an AI collaboration between Apple and Amazon, known as Applezon. The worse-case scenario is a bleak and dystopian one, with China digitally annexing the United States and controlling the majority of the world’s bank accounts, and in 50 years it effectively brings an era of democracy to an end when it uses AI to control the planet’s resources and wipe out any enemies. It is a disturbing and provocative take on AI, but Webb says that China’s Big Three are part of a “well-capitalised,
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It can be fun to think about the sci-fi stuff but it’s more important that we get familiar with the boring stuff first”
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highly organised state-level AI plan for the future, one in which the government wields tremendous control”. Webb has said previously: “This is China’s space race, and we are its Sputnik to their Apollo mission. We might have gotten into orbit first, but China has put its sovereign wealth fund, education system, citizens, and national pride on the line in its pursuit of AI.” While it’s easy to be sceptical, Webb says there is no excuse for consumers to ignore the issue anymore, and that we have to think far more carefully about how our data is being used and harvested. “It’s useful to think about the downstream implications for the future. If you’re not someone living in China you might not care so much about how data is being collected. On the other hand, there are far too many Chinese companies working in some way in AI and they have research labs working all over the world. “Some are doing terrific work as are others, but they are also domiciling their data on Chinese cloud system and that data is accessible by the Chinese government. China is not transparent about how and why they are using data.” Back in the United States, Webb believes that the relationship between its tech giants and Capitol Hill needs to be strengthened and refined. “How can governments be an effective watchdog to ensure AI is being
used for good?” she asks. “It depends how you define good because it is being used for good at the moment but there are also some negative consequences. At the moment, our big tech companies in some ways have as much power as our governments do, just in different ways. “The challenge is that outside of China and Russia they can have an adversarial and disruptive relationship with governments and there aren’t solid relationships. So, collaboration is important going forward and governments have to recognise that they can’t operate without big tech, and tech has to recognise that it is going to get regulated. “They are operating like a nexus of power and in reality, they are in a codependent relationship and in many ways, they depend on each other but they think they are the singular authority, but they are not.” Addressing the disparity that the book explores between the perception and reality of AI, Webb reiterates that a stepchange in thinking needs to happen: “The most critical thing is to get away from abstraction. We get into trouble when we look to pop culture instead of diving in and understanding what AI actually is and what it does. It isn’t a singular thing, it is an umbrella term for many more things. It can be fun to think about the sci-fi stuff but it’s more important that we get familiar with the boring stuff first.”
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DIGITAL BULLETIN ROUNDS UP THE INDUSTRY EVENTS THAT ARE WORTH CLEARING YOUR DIARY FORâ€¦
04-06 JUN DATACLOUD GLOBAL CONGRESS 2019 04-06 JUNE, 2019 MONACO Datacloud Global Congress is now entering its 16th year as the premier leadership summit for critical IT infrastructure. Over the past 15 years, this event has evolved as a recognised beacon of high quality content offering thought leadership across the entire IT infrastructure ecosystem. Datacloud has performed a critical role as an international networking and deal making opportunity for key players across the sector. With a powerful agenda covering cloud challenges, edge evolution and data centre infrastructure, it attracts investors, financiers, business leaders and their customers who use this annual meeting in the stunning backdrop of Monte Carlo to do deals that influence outcomes for the next 12 months and beyond. WWW.DATACLOUDCONGRESS.COM
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09-13 JUN CISCO LIVE
09-13 JUNE, 2019 SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA Cisco’s annual customer and partner conference is designed to build the foundation for your digital future by providing attendees with education, connections, and inspiration. Transform your outlook, career, and potential by learning directly from Cisco’s best and brightest. From technical education to future-focused thought leadership, 1:1 meetings with Cisco experts to connecting with Cisco partners, having fun at the Cisco Live Celebration to networking with your peers, Cisco Live is the place to experience it all.
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10-14 JUN LONDON TECH WEEK 10-14 JUNE, 2019 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM A series of mini-events covering every angle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, London Tech Week unites tech and talent in a world-class hub of innovation. The UK continues to innovate as a worldwide cutting-edge technology centre. As one of the worldâ€™s most open & welcoming markets, it is positioned to lead the global conversation in designing and scaling technology, with talent at its heart. The week-long bonanza connects international communities from across the spectrum to address how access to technology for all can have a profoundly positive impact in society and business. Leading the speaker list this year is ASOS CTO Bob Strudwick, Twitterâ€™s Bruce Daisley and Hyperoptic CEO Dana Tobak.
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17-19 JUN DIGITAL WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE 17-19 JUNE, 2019 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS DWX19 is the premier digital workplace conference, produced by Simpler Media Group, publisher of CMSWire.com, in partnership with the Digital Workplace Group. During this three-day conference, DWX attendees have the unique opportunity to see inside the worldâ€™s most successful digital workplaces. Discover the latest trends, best practices and research and deep dive into real digital workplaces through engaging workshops, Innovation Spotlights, case studies and live tours. Whether your focus is employee experience, collaboration, communications, intranets or digital workplace tools, DWX will give you the latest on modern digital workplace trends.
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25-26 JUN AWS RE:INFORCE 2019 25-26 JUNE, 2019 BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
27-28 JUN INNOVEST UNBOUND 27-28 JUNE, 2019 MARINA BAY SANDS, SINGAPORE
AWS re:Inforce is a new event from AWS focused on cloud security, hosted at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre. Attendees can expect two days of security, identity, and compliance learning and community building. Join AWS to dive deep into how its services can keep your businesses and customers secure in the cloud. Your conference pass gives you access to hundreds of sessions, the keynote featuring AWS security leadership include CISO Steve Schmidt, the chance to connect with cloud security experts at the Security Learning Hub (the Expo experience), and numerous opportunities to connect with the cloud security community.
The award-winning Innovfest Unbound is the anchor event of Smart Nation Innovations, a week-long series of events that showcase Asia’s most innovative developments. In 2019, it will welcome over 15,000 entrepreneurs, brands, corporations, investors and tech startups from 100+ countries to meet and share new ideas, build partnerships and celebrate digital disruption. In partnership with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Innovfest Unbound is organised by NUS Enterprise and Unbound and is Southeast Asia’s largest and most exciting innovation festival. Co-chaired by Yossi Vardi and Lily Chan, it is the place where brands connect with disruptive innovation and explore Asian opportunities.
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30 JUN 02 JUL
SECURITY OF THINGS WORLD 30 JUNE-02 JULY, 2019 BERLIN, GERMANY Security of Things World is a leading business event platform on IoT and cybersecurity. It discusses technological and legal aspects of IoT security as well as precise roadmaps towards secure connections. 35+ pioneering experts and industry leaders share experiences, forecast trends in the cyber security revolution, present their best practices, evaluate best-in-class projects and explain development in recent projects, while 150+ senior level executives and leading professionals discuss the most pressing challenges and solutions, technologies, trends and best practice innovations in the field of IoT security.
14-18 JULY MICROSOFT INSPIRE 14-18 JULY, 2019 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Microsoft Inspire is where the companyâ€™s partners meet to connect, collaborate and celebrate as one community. Joining together with thousands of Microsoft partners from over 130 countries, youâ€™ll find inspiration from shared experiences and insights. Get insights from other partners, make connections that lead to new business, and create relationships with Microsoft field team members. Learn how to accelerate the digital transformation of your customers, foster diversity and inclusion, and extend sales and leadership knowledge.
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16-18 JUL RSA CONFERENCE - ASIA PACIFIC 16-18 JULY, 2019 MARINA BAY SANDS, SINGAPORE RSA Conference conducts information security events around the globe that connect you to industry leaders and highly relevant information. The conferences draw over 50,000 attendees per year, more than any other conference in the industry. They boast valuable content presented by some of the industryâ€™s most forward-thinking leaders and they offer you the chance to network with thousands of peers. Learn about the latest cybersecurity developments in expert-led sessions, inspiring keynotes and in-depth seminars. Demo innovative products and solutions and help move the industry forward as part of an engaged and empowered global community.
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16-19 JUL ÜBERCONF 16-19 JULY, 2019 DENVER, COLORADO ÜberConf is the only advanced Java/JVM conference offering 90-minute in-depth sessions. This offers you the opportunity to go beyond the basics. ÜberConf is about mastering JVM technologies, making it the ultimate conference for software developers and architects. Speakers at ÜberConf emphasise and present on topics such as test driven development, continuous integration, code quality measurements, code smells, team building and customer collaboration. This brings together many of the industry’s best project leaders, developers, authors, and trainers.
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THE CLOSING BULLETIN
THE CLOSING BULLETIN Samsung’s Kate Beaumont tells Digital Bulletin why it is uniquely positioned to turn 5G’s potential into reality to transform the way we live, work, connect and communicate
I think it’s safe to say that by now, we’ve all heard about 5G. And if you’re a mobile consumer, you might be thinking “so what?” Surely 4G is good enough - do you really need to care about this next-generation wireless network technology? Isn’t it just another iteration, bringing incremental changes that are no big deal?
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My answer to these questions is this: think again. 5G represents a monumental leap forward for connectivity. New products, services, business models and entire industries will spring up as 5G brings about a seismic shift forward in speed, capacity and connectivity. It gives everything – cars, homes, drones, medical devices - instant access
to the internet. This technology will extend wireless connectivity beyond our smartphones, radically enhancing machine-to-machine connections and fuelling a genuinely connected life. That’s why I passionately believe 5G isn’t just hype. But, questions remain; Why 5G now? Why is 5G so important to consumers’ lives? And what was it that led us at Samsung to make it a reality, even when this next-generation network was perceived as a difficult task with hurdles? The answer lies first with the device in our pockets.
TRANSFORMING THE DEVICE IN OUR POCKETS
Smartphones have evolved in form and function so dramatically over the past decade. Only this year, we celebrated ten years of our iconic Galaxy S Series with the launch of the Galaxy S10 range of devices. And over the next decade, we’re going to witness even more incredible change. Not just in form factor, but in more revolutionary ways driven by 5G’s extremely low latency and blisteringly fast speeds. What’s exciting for us at Samsung is
that this change is not a decade away; it’s happening today, with exciting new use cases being discovered daily. Work is already underway on how we can realise a 5G-powered railway, meaning passengers can download all eight seasons of Game of Thrones – that’s 67 episodes or 56GB – in just 60 seconds, delivering a new era of on-board immersive entertainment. Or 5G smart factories, where businesses are adding IoT (Internet of Things) sensors to everything from products they sell to individual machines, allowing them to monitor production line performance enabling real-time decision making. The possibilities are endless and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this change. In fact, we are leading the way when it comes to 5G; it’s why we’ve just launched our future-ready Galaxy S10 5G device in the UK – Samsung’s first commercialised 5G smartphone. The new Galaxy S10 5G will offer consumers a next-generation network experience and the most powerful feature set available on a Galaxy S device. To ensure our first 5G device was as user-friendly and intuitive as possible, Samsung developed a major hardware
New products, services, business models and entire industries will spring up as 5G brings about a seismic shift forward in speed, capacity and connectivity” 91 Issue 5
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5G promises exciting implications for the future of connected living and will play a huge role in optimising the operation and connectivity of devices that harness AI and IoTâ€?
innovation. Because a 5G phone must support all LTE legacy hardware, adding 5G-specific components such as the 5G modem chip and 5G RF chip naturally involved incorporating additional parts. We got around this by meticulously designing how and where to include these extra components to retain the Galaxy seriesâ€™ streamlined, unibody design. This was not the only hurdle we had to overcome with the Galaxy S10 5G; 5G networks consume a lot of battery power due to the large amount of data they have to transmit. We mitigated this challenge by incorporating the latest vapour chamber technology featuring new AI software that automatically optimises battery, CPU, RAM, and even device temperature based on how
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people use their phones. This smart software learns from its user over time. We pushed through significant transformations to ensure we could deliver a 5G device that packs in the power but also delivers on style. Getting this right means we create infinite possibilities for consumers to use their S10 5G device as the central nervous system of an increasingly connected world. Moving from devices just talking to each other, to devices learning your preferences and acting autonomously to make your life totally seamless.
FROM THE INTERNET OF THINGS TO THE INTERNET OF EVERYTHING 5G promises exciting implications for the future of connected living and will play a huge role in optimising the
operation and connectivity of devices that harness artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT. The world of 5G will bring so much potential into the future technology field, including helping the realisation of smart factories and smart cities. Imagine a world where video conferencing will no longer be in 2D but will take place in 3D. Imagine one day being able to stream 360-degree video on your smartphone with mobile data. Imagine a hospital where a consultant 5,000 miles away could deliver instructions to a smart surgeon robot in theatre. These are not scenarios of science fiction anymore. Let’s take the example of a connected car, where data needs to be transmitted to the driver extremely fast. For instance, in the case of a car driving at a speed of 100km per hour, a 0.1 second delay in latency could result in a 3-meter difference. That lag creates monumental problems for the safety of autonomous cars. 5G is therefore crucial for industries too.
REVOLUTIONISING WHAT’S POSSIBLE
Samsung is serious about putting its money where its mouth is. We’re heavily investing in driving these technologies forward. In 2018, Samsung committed $22 billion in investments over three years to advancing emerging technologies, including AI,
5G and automotive electronics. And we’re not stopping there. 5G technology has the potential to completely revolutionise what is possible on a data network, much like the unprecedented possibilities offered to users by 4G when it was launched. Prior to 4G, people couldn’t imagine working on their phone using just mobile data, much less accessing the internet or streaming a video clip while on the go. But with the increased speeds and lower latency of the 5G bandwidth, 5G stands to offer more than just mobile advantages when compared with LTE. Samsung’s scale and commitment to innovation puts it in a position to lead the way to a genuinely connected world. We’ve conquered many world firsts when it comes to 5G; from the world’s first gigabit speed 5G transmission to the first 5G handover between multiple cells and now, the first 5G smartphone on the market. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Samsung Electronics, so it seems apt that this is also the year we blazed a trail on 5G. The future of content and connectivity is being created today.
Kate Beaumont is Director of Innovation, Technology and Services at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland.
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The Edge in Amsterdam is considered one of the greenest buildings in the world, coated in solar cells and integrating technologies throughou...
Published on May 30, 2019
The Edge in Amsterdam is considered one of the greenest buildings in the world, coated in solar cells and integrating technologies throughou...