J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5
+ the magazine for ict professionals
the rise of the
also: Telus Garden
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Chef Watson & DeepMind
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CONTENTS Fe a t u r e s
26 The Rise Of The Digital Enterprise The digital age is rapidly becoming the new normal
30 Meet Chef Watson & Googleâ€™s DeepMind Cognitive computing is on the verge of going mainstream
Networks & The Cloud
New & Noteworthy
The Back Page
I n the N ext Issue audited by:
>> Focus On Mobility 6 www.connectionsplus.ca
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E D I TO R ’S N OT E
The time to innovate
is now he author of this issue’s cover story writes that the digital enterprise is arguably the most significant milestone to have hit the business scene since the advent of the Internet Age. The question now revolves around buy-in from the executive branch. Will they embrace mobile, social, cloud and analytics or ignore it? Peter Hughes, national leader for delivery and operations at Deloitte Digital Canada notes in the piece, we are on the edge of those technologies being germane as to how organizations can facilitate transactions and interactions with users anywhere, anytime on any device, seamlessly. Further to that, at the recent Canadian Telecom Summit a report entitled The Transformation of Work was released, a first of its kind national research study by researchers at Ryerson University that examines the role of mobile technologies and adoption rates among Canadian organizations. Astoundingly, only half of managers surveyed had “clearly integrated mobile technologies into their business strategy. The report’s authors state that new technologies including wireless and mobile devices, strong network infrastructure, Web-based collaboration tools, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), pervasive and scalable cloud-based IT solutions as well as
analytics and applications “can lead to dramatic improvements in productivity, development of new products and services and more engaged employees and customers.” Wendy Cukier, vice president of research and innovation at Ryerson and co-author of the report, said that digital technologies have the potential to transform virtually every sector, but warned “there is ample evidence that under-investments in technology are impeding growth and productivity improvements. Nitin Kawale, president of Rogers Communications Inc.’s enterprise business division, spoke about the need for organizations to embrace innovation during a keynote speech at the Telecom Summit (see p. 22). He estimated that Canadian SMEs spend more than $2 billion on legacy, wireline voice services alone: “That is technology invented in the 1960s and 1970s trying to power productivity in 2015. Imagine how far we could advance our businesses by investing in technology that actually improves productivity.” He added that many business leaders do not see the value of “mobilizing their business. “We are using technology and content much better in our consumer lives than we are in the workplace,” he said. “What it means is that we have digital Canadians working in obsolete offices.” The truth is in the numbers. Results of a Vodafone study released in July showed that nine out of 10 (93%) of companies in the Americas using M2M products and services have experienced a tangible return on investment.” Further coverage of both studies will appear in the next issue of Connections+. C+
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Volume 2, Issue 4 July/August 2015
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EDITORIAL ja.indd 4
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I nf r a st r uc t u re S ys t e m s
‘Seeing Green’ at
Telus Garden By Paul Barker
Ottawa – There is a distinctly European flavour to the soon-to-be opened Telus Garden, the 305,000 square meter development in downtown Vancouver that will contain a 24-story LEED Platinum office tower and 53-storey residential tower that is already sold out and is scheduled to be completed in December. According to Telus, the $750 million, complex will use at least 30% less energy than a standard development of its size. Sustainability features include a rainwater recycling system for grey water and irrigation, solar panels that capture solar energy to power exterior lighting, triple-glazed windows to help maintain a consistent temperature, sun tracking system that automatically adjusts interior blinds, high-efficiency lighting system on occupancy and motion sensors and a raised floor with a displacement ventilation system that allows for a 100% fresh air supply rather than recycled air. A Telus fact sheet states that sustainability features will reduce CO2 emissions by more than one million kilograms annually, the equivalent of planting 25,000 trees every year.” 6
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Upwards of 1,000 Telus employees are being assigned to the office tower. It is a mammoth undertaking and at the recent BICSI Canada Conference , two speakers representing firms involved – Goran Ostojic, partner of the Integral Group, a sustainable building design consultancy firm and Clint Undseth, vice president of innovation with Canem Systems Ltd., an electrical contracting firm – discussed the building’s integrated design and delivery process. Ostojic talked about the acute differences that exist when it comes to European and North American building design. In North America, he said, the driving factor more ofen than not is the lowest capital cost and as a result, the “envelope” does not perform well and “everything is on different systems that do not talk to each other. “There is no shared information. You can have seven different vendors coming into a building and staying there forever. “If you look at the other side of the ocean, you will see the Continued on page 10. www.connectionsplus.ca
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I nf r a st r uc t u re S ys t e m s
Rittal Canada boss predicts impact of Industry 4.0 will be huge B y Pa u l B a r k e r
Anthony Varga, the president of system provider Rittal Canada Inc., has experienced the impact of Industry 4.0 in Germany personally and predicts within 12 months it will evolve into a “mainstream topic” and massive initiative throughout North America. He suggested in a recent interview with Connections+ that while Canadians are just starting to hear about it, a year from now it is going to be a buzzword in the way the Internet of Things or IoT is today. IoT’s entry into the marketplace has certainly not hurt Industry 4.0’s cause. Karthik Sundaram, an industrial automation and process control analyst with Frost & Sullivan, described it in July as a “grand entry into the manufacturing sector. The result would be a dynamic new environment where devices, processes and people would be connected via advanced IoT technology that will rapidly pave way for a fundamental change in business of manufacturing as we know it today.” Launched in 2011 at the Hannover Fair, Industry 4.0, according to Rittal, which is headquartered in Germany, characterizes the fourth industrial revolution. The first was the mechanization of production systems using water and steam power, the second was the introduction of mass production using electrical power and the third was the digital revolution, the firm notes. “The U.S. is about a year ahead of us when it comes to it becoming mainstream and talking about it and Europe is all over it,” Varga said. “At Hannover Fair 2015 in April it was entirely themed Industry 4.0. There were many examples of multiple vendors having collaborative booths showing the interaction of machinery. 81
“From our perspective, the message we want to get out is that it is coming, it is real and we are a voice in it.” Industry 4.0 design principles include interoperability (the ability for physical systems, humans and smart factories to connect and communicate via IoT and the Internet of Services or IoS.), virtualization (a virtual copy of the smart factory, which links sensor data with plant models for simulation), decentralization (the ability for cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own within the smart factory) and real-time capability (the ability to collect and analyze data and provide insights). “In traditional IT, the interface with production is restricted to the provision of services and data, engineering and the necessary ERP and PDM (product data management) systems,” a Rittal white paper released earlier this year states. “In terms of the machinery itself, interfaces were only used for industrial communication protocols. “New trends and technologies such as the Internet of Things are revolutionizing these structures. This involves machines communicating with each other based on established and therefore costeffective Internet technologies.” IT and IT infrastructure have a key role to play, the white paper notes as they provide the enabling technology: “However, the advantages that IoT offers must be balanced against the requirements of a production environment. It will be necessary to manage a diverse range of communication participants as well as process increasingly large quantities of data. “The particular vulnerability of the Internet in terms of security means that data integrity, security and quality represent key factors for all companies when it comes to product success.” The movement is also having an impact on who owns what. The stable of Rittal’s parent Friedhelm LOH Group, for example, now includes such companies as EPLAN, software that helps companies optimize their engineering processes, and Keisling, a firm it bought two years ago that has expertise in the fields of switching systems and control system engineering. “As technologies evolve I can see more and more acquisitions,” Varga said. “(For example) the electrical companies are buying enclosure companies. Phoenix Contact has an enclosure line. Schneider Electric has an enclosure line. They are all coming into our space, but we are not sitting stagnant. We are not box people. We are moving into the machinery space.”
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I nf r a st r uc t u re S ys t e m s
CommScope, HP form DCIM partnership CommScope has partnered with HP to provide its iTRACS data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) platform with HP’s Converged Management Consulting Services. Kevin St. Cyr, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at CommScope, described the partnership as an important step in the journey of driving customer-centric infrastructure management.” The combination of iTRACS DCIM and HP’s converged management framework simplifies and improves the ability of data centre managers to manage and optimize their infrastructure to meet their organization’s fast-changing needs. This partnership extends iTRACS capabilities by providing decision-makers with enhanced HP infrastructure management solutions to optimize the capacity, availability and efficiency of their infrastructure.” William Bloomstein, director of strategic and solutions marketing at Commscope, described DCIM in a recent blog as a software-based management tool that provides a comprehensive view of the various physical systems and assets in the data centre, including information technology equipment and systems, and the facilities and utilities that support them. “IT devices can include servers, storage and network switches,” he wrote. “The facilities equipment monitored by DCIM might include assets such as power distribution units and computer room air conditioning. “The time span between the emergence of new generations of technology is growing shorter and this phenomenon is especially apparent within the data centre. Most data centres started as connectivity technology housed in wiring closets, then quickly started requiring entire floors. Today, many are in their own buildings comprised of hundreds of thousands of square feet housing hundreds of millions of dollars 1in 5/5/15 IT and facilities AD_2015_Cat_qtr_Layout 9:51 AM investments.“ Page 1
Telus Garden continued from page 6.
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IE M ON
The time span
emergence of new generations of technology is growing shorter and this phenomenon is especially apparent within the data centre.
difference. They look at long-time performance and life cycle analysis is conducted as opposed to the cheapest and fastest way to get it done. Buildings there use less energy and have lower operating costs.” Other features include a massive envelope and operable windows, an energy performance target, hydronic mechanical systems and integrated technology approach. The result, said Ostojic, is low energy use and reduced operating cost. That compares to North America, he added, pointing out that 30% of commercial buildings have illness associated with them, and 150 million person-days are lost to absenteeism due to poor indoor quality at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion. The technology, he said, also tends to be a multiple control network with sub-optimal information and lower performance than Europe. “We tested all the systems for inter-operability to make sure it is truly open source,” said Undseth. “If you go up from there, you are now on top of the network, which is where you start dealing with lots of data. That is where we learned about eight months into the project, the importance of analytics. “We integrated everything up through the application layer. What it meant was that we could take all types of data and translate that into meaningful information.” The end result, he said, was the delivery of actionable information, graphic navigation for all systems, energy charts for analysis and improved executive decision-making through dashboards. www.connectionsplus.ca
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I nf r a st r uc t u re S ys t e m s
4K Video over HDBaseT networks By Paul Kish
DBaseT technology provides a means of transporting high quality audio and high-definition video signals from a source (i.e., set top box, Blu-Ray player, video server) to a display over balanced twisted pair cabling for distances up to 100 meters. One of the key benefits of HDBaseT is its ability to transmit not only uncompressed digital video and high quality audio signals, but also 100 Mb/s Ethernet, control and power over a single network cable. In January of this year, the IEEE-SA Standards Board approved the adoption of the HDBaseT Specifications 1.1.0 and 2.0 as part of the IEEEâ€™s standards portfolio. The HDBase-T standard will become IEEE 1911 standard once the adoption process is complete. The HDBaseT Alliance issued HDBaseT 2.0 specification on August 4th, 2013. Currently, HDBaseT 2.0 supports the HDMI 1.4 specification including both 2K resolution (full HD) Paul Kish is and 4K resolution (ultra HD) formats. HDBaseT 2.0 provides Director, Systems a maximum throughput of 8 Gb/s for downstream video and Standards transmission in enhanced mode. Since HDBaseT uses a at Belden. more efficient encoding scheme, this is equivalent to the The information presented is maximum throughput of 10.2 Gb/s for HDMI 1.4. Upstream the authorâ€™s HDBaseT carries the Ethernet data and the controls of the view not official return channel from the display to the source at a data rate correspondence from up to 150 Mb/s. TIA or IEEE 4K is the latest buzzword in the consumer market for the next generation video displays that will deliver a whole new level of clarity at roughly four times the resolution of full HD, commonly known as 1080p. Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and others are already selling 4K TV sets. Although 4K video content currently available to consumers is limited, an ABI Research report from last year expects 4K to surpass 10% of North American TV households by 2018. Since HDBaseT 2.0 was published, HDMI 2.0 was released in September 2013 and provides significantly more capabilities for 4K resolution at a higher throughput of 18 Gb/s. Table 1 on the right shows the supported formats and capabilities for
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HDMI 1.4 and 2.0 specifications. The big difference between the HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 specifications is in the available bandwidth. As you can see from Table 1, HDMI 1.4 provides a maximum throughput of 10.2 Gb/s and supports 4K resolution at a progressive frame rate of 30 frames per second and at a colour depth of 24 bits per pixel. HDMI 1.4 does not support 4K resolution for 3D video signals. The HDMI 2.0 specification provides a maximum throughput of 18 Gb/s and supports 4K resolution at a progressive frame rate of 60 frames per second (twice that of HDMI 1.4) and at a color depth of 24 bits per pixel. HDMI 2.0 also supports 4K resolution for 3D video signals at a progressive frame rate of 24 frames per second and a color depth of 24 bits per pixel. There is a lot of mystery about the type of cabling that is needed to support HDBaseT applications over balanced twisted pair cabling. It has been reported in the field that there are cases where multiple HDBaseT signals in separate cables that share the same pathway can interfere with one another causing a loss of signal (a dropped link) or a degraded picture with Category 5e and Category 6 UTP cabling. As a minimum it is recommended to use Category 6A UTP cabling or Category 6 shielded cabling. To support 4K video, some HDBaseT equipment vendors are advocating the use of shielded Category 6A or even higher performance cabling. As you can see cabling is an important issue and there is more guidance needed in this area.. C+
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N et w o r ks & T h e C l o u d
HP set to be split, transformed According to one industry analyst, it ‘needed to do something to snap it out of its old-think mindset.’ B y Ly nn G reiner
credit, it recognized the severity of its situation and made the bold decision to cut deeply and quickly, and to rebuild itself in a very different image.” Analysts at IDC Canada see both opportunities and challenges in the split. They like the fact that the newlyminted Hewlett Packard Enterprise will have a board, executive team, management and all other employees solely concentrated on enterprise IT. Yet, they point out, it needs a cohesive set of differentiators. “In terms of differentiators, HP is a very large ship, not known for making very fast turns,” says Dave Pearson, research manager, enterprise storIDC says HP must put security front and centre as a full hardware, software and services offering. age and networking, at IDC Canada. “They play in almost every enterprise Las Vegas – November 1 of this year will mark the end of an era. After space, and are never near the bottom of the heap. However, it’s ex75 years, HP will cease to be. Two new companies, Hewlett Packard tremely difficult for such a widely integrated company to become Enterprise and HP Inc., will rise in its stead. CEO Meg Whitman an- known as ‘The (pick your technological poison) Company’ with so nounced the date in June, during her keynote here at the company’s many moving parts.” Part of the goal of the separation is to simplify and focus, said annual HP Discover conference. “We are living in an era of relentless change,” she told attendees. Whitman. At the same time, she doesn’t want to abandon HP’s legacy, and its tagline, “Invent”, is still top-of-mind. “We will continue to “We need IT solutions that can move at the speed of business.” As previously announced, Whitman will be president and CEO of invest in and invent new ways to compute.” For HP Inc., the goal is to be the world’s leading personal system Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Dion Weisler will head up HP Inc., with Whitman acting as chair of its board. The split separates the and printing company. Products such as Sprout, an all-in-one comprinting and personal systems division (HP Inc.) from the company’s puter and 3D scanner for designers, will loom large in its plans, alenterprise offerings including servers, storage, security, services, though more mundane things like the award-winning EliteBook Folio laptops will still receive the attention they deserve as well, company and cloud. “HP had no choice, as rapidly evolving market forces would have officials said. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s scope is broader, and, notes Pearresulted in continued brand and market position erosion had it simply maintained its original organizational structure,” says Carmi son, it has a lot of solid offerings. “They have an extremely strong Levy, an independent technology analyst. “The company needed to services division, they have a new structure for go to market under do something to snap it out of its old-think mindset. A cosmetic up- development, and they are trying to gain strength in key areas such date to the org chart would have been inadequate. To the company’s as the software defined data centre and hybrid cloud,” he says. 14
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Ne t wo r ks & The Cloud
Speaking at the annual HP Discover conference, HP CEO Meg Whitman outlined details of the move to separate the printing and personal systems division from the company’s enterprise offerings. Meanwhile, at HP Labs, work is continuing on a project called “The Machine,” a new computing architecture that will rely on optical connections, not copper. On the innovation front, said one analyst, it is “possibly the best example of why the postsplit HP will do just fine.”
“Becoming a top of mind organization in one or more of these highergrowth, higher-margin areas will be critical to recapturing some of their previous success.” Still, he and his colleagues point out that enterprise computing as a whole is not currently a high-growth market, although some segments, like security and hybrid cloud, are exceptions to that rule. IDC believes that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is well-positioned to differentiate and take share in those areas. However, says David Senf, vice president, infrastructure solutions group at IDC Canada, “Canada is in the early days of the highly competitive hybrid cloud market, so HP needs to trumpet loudly its capabilities and strategy here to secure its share.” With four out of five IT managers in Canada identifying hybrid cloud management as an important element in their success, according to IDC research, it’s a fertile market. Levy agrees. “The separate entities will have to invest in sustained messaging to ensure customers, prospects, suppliers and other key stakeholders know who to deal with under what circumstances,” he says. “Much like the circles around a divorcing couple must endure a period of uncertainty as relationships are redefined, so, too, will those who deal with HP in any material capacity. Orchestrating this process can be a drain on resources, and it’s something the newly twinned companies will have to account for and contend with.” IDC believes that HP needs to put its security offerings front-andcentre as a full hardware, software and services offering. It points out that HP’s security portfolio has been performing well; it leads the Canadian market in intrusion prevention systems, for example, and has taken additional share in recent quarters. However, HP ranks third overall in the Canadian IT Services www.connectionsplus.ca
NETWORKS ja.indd 15
market next to IBM and CGI. IDC says that security is a key area to focus on to help it move up the ranks – and the new Canadian security operations centre (SOC) will make a positive difference. “Moreover,” Senf says, “security of identities, data and applications in the cloud is a critical element in hybrid cloud. HP has a long history in both management and security with a large portfolio of offerings.” On the innovation front, says Levy, “The Machine is possibly the best example of why the post-split HP will do just fine.” The Machine, currently a project in HP Labs, uses a new architecture that puts storage first, not compute, and does not differentiate between working memory (RAM) and data storage. It will ultimately use a different memory technology (memristors), a new kind of operating system, and rely on optical connections, not copper. HP Labs director Martin Fink says that it will be used for massively parallel processing that’s not possible today, such as managing gate crews at every airport worldwide to ensure flights do not get stranded on the runway when they are off-schedule, as well as for current workloads. “Its radical architectural roadmap suggests that the spirit of innovation that placed the company at the apex of American technological leadership is alive and well,” says Levy. “It speaks volumes about the leaders who remain committed to not simply milking past achievements, but who are just as driven today to rewrite the way work gets done, and have the courage to invest in longer-term initiatives that will allow it to carve out entirely new markets. “It takes guts to strike out in an uncharted direction, and The Machine is as much proof as anyone needs that post-split HP will retain the kind of heart that built it into a leader in the first place.” July/August 2015
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N et w o r ks & T h e C l o u d
Chambers talks tough at Cisco Live:
‘Either we disrupt or get disrupted.’ B y D e ni s e D eveau dress. His presentation, entitled “Thriving at the Speed of Innovation”, was a standing room only attraction that set the thematic tone for what was to follow over the course of the next three days. While its marketing strategy the Internet of Everything or IoE loomed large in conversations, it was no longer the headliner. Rather the dominant theme was the advent of the digital era and the promise, and challenges, it will bring. Chambers claimed that the digital era would completely transform by a factor of five to tenfold what the Internet has done to date. “Today are we ready to run the fastest race that’s ever been done,” he said. The digital world promises to change people’s lives, healthcare, education and business models, he added. “It’s not just connectivity. It’s how we can build the best IT foundation for the future.” A recurring theme throughout the event was the fact that almost 90% of CEOs beIncoming CEO Chuck Robbins (l.) and outgoing CEO John Chambers are shown during a Q&A ses- lieve they must become a digital company sion with media at the receent Cisco Live conference. The company’s digital strategy moving for- in order to compete; yet only 7% actuward, said Chambers, is based on the idea that everything needs to be connected for the purpose ally have a digital strategy. As Chambers of fast innovation. pointed out, “organizational, process and cultural change also has to happen. Not San Diego – There is one word that perfectly describes this year’s just technology. Companies must have the courage to make this Cisco Live Event: transformation. Whether the conversation centered change.” Cisco’s digital strategy moving forward, he added, is based on on people, processes or technology, it was clear that change is coming at a faster pace than ever before. This year’s event in San Diego the idea that everything needs to be connected for the purpose of drew upwards of 26,000 people who were introduced to Cisco’s over- fast innovation. The logic is, fast innovation will require fast IT; and arching vision of the new Digital Era and a vastly changed leadership the Internet of Everything will be the foundation for fast IT. Security will serve as the umbrella in a world where the majority of data will team. That change could be seen, felt and heard in every corner. The be processed on the edge of the network. “The ability to use fast IT is World of Solutions area treated visitors to demonstrations of connec- key to our futures,” Chambers said. By 2020 75% of business will become fully digital, yet only 30% of tivity in action, from the home and classroom, to transportation and lighting systems. Software developers plied their skills in the DevNet those digitization efforts will be successful, Chambers told his audiZone, alongside working demonstrations of automated systems, as ence. “The number one reason they will not succeed is they will fail to innovate and reinvent.” well as drones and robots that entertained thousands of visitors. An interesting side note was that the digital age will not be led by Cisco Live was also the final appearance of John Chambers as CEO, as incoming CEO Chuck Robbins prepares to take the helm. the U.S., with Chambers citing major advancements in Europe and in Over the three days, the two leaders often worked in tandem to re- particular France. He also noted that the profit (not revenue) projecinforce their solidarity and reassure the audience that while the new tions for IoE are a staggering US$19 trillion globally, led by manufacCisco will be different, it will also rely heavily on the foundations built turing (US$3.9 trillion); retail (US$1.5 trillion); finance (US$1.3 trillion); and healthcare (US$1.1 trillion). throughout Chambers’ lengthy leadership. Chambers plans to be actively involved in an advisory role for One of the most anticipated events was Chambers’ keynote ad16
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Ne t wo r ks & The Cloud
Rowan Trollope, head of Cisco’s collaboration technology group: “The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes.”
the foreseeable future. Given the fact that Cisco’s focus and direction is undergoing an unprecedented change that will take years to execute; however, he stated that the handover to Robbins is timely. Robbins has already made a bold statement out of the gate with the unveiling of a new executive team, half of which are women who participated in a dedicated roundtable discussion on women in technology. In discussing the executive shakeup Robbins pointed out that the process involved months of behind the scenes effort to ensure that the right team was in place that would be committed to moving the company into a new direction. “It’s clear we have been out-executing most technology companies in the last few years, and there’s a great deal of innovation we continue to drive inside the company. Looking forward we thought about how can we build on that pipeline of innovation? We have to crank the pace up like we’ve never seen before.” Moving forward, Cisco’s focus will be on four priorities, Robbins said. The first is speed and business acceleration, followed by simplification. “We have to simplify and articulate what we are doing internally and externally to help the team move more quickly together.” Third is continuing with operational capabilities to drive revenues. The final piece is building on the culture created by Chambers to move faster on decision making. “How do we move from selling architectures to tightly integrated products? How do we make the transition for engineering, services and sales? It’s not about technology for technology’s sake. It’s about more tightly coupling technology to business challenges and creating architectural connectivity across everything we do.” The conference also served as the springboard for a number of major announcements from Cisco, including partnerships with 35
Among the speakers was Inbar Lasser-Raab, vice president of enterprise products and solutions marketing at Cisco.
By 2020, 70% of businesses will become fully digital, yet only 30% of those efforts will be successful.
NETWORKS ja.indd 17
independent software vendors (ISVs) to accelerate the creation of innovative cloud services for the Intercloud. The selected ISVs will be offering cloud services to help customers capture IoE opportunities across three key areas: nextgeneration developer platforms, big data and analytics and IoE cloud services. Cisco and its partners plan to offer these next-generation cloud services to customers via the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace, a partnercentric global storefront for Intercloud-based applications and cloud services. Intercloud Marketplace is scheduled to launch in fall of 2015. Cisco also unveiled its latest hybrid cloud software innovations for Cisco Intercloud Fabric, including new security capabilities, extended VM onboarding capabilities, and additional hy-
pervisor support. On the networking front, Cisco announced new offerings to embed security throughout the extended network, from the data centre to endpoints, branch offices. This, it said, will be achieved by adding more sensors to increase visibility; more control points to strengthen enforcement; and pervasive, advanced threat protection to reduce time-to-detection and time-to-response. Cisco also offered up a newly expanded SDN hardware and software portfolio that it said will enable customers to build flexible and agile networks across multiple deployment models, including application centric infrastructure (ACI), programmable fabric and programmable networks. Ultimately the takeaway for industry was clear: those who fail to heed the call of the digital age and innovate will be taken out by those that do. “You have to change dramatically in order to win,” Chambers said. “Either we disrupt or we get disrupted … Disruption is going to get ugly.”
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N et w o r ks & T h e C l o u d
FICO, credit cards scores and the Internet of Things
Soon-to-be 60-year-old company harnessing ways to instill value into all that data. B y Pa u l B arker Predictive analytics and decision management software company Fair, Isaac and Company, better known as FICO, made its mark in the banking world soon after engineer William Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac formed the organization back in 1956. The two who were both faculty members at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif. at the time, created a credit scoring system that was first adopted by a group of American lenders in 1958. Wikipedia notes that the FICO score, a measure of consumer credit risk, has become a fixture of consumer lending. In 2013 alone, lenders are reported to have purchased more than 10 billion FICO scores and upwards of 30 millions American consumers accessed their scores. In Canada, the company provides decision management software offerings to the banking, insurance, retail, health care and government sectors and at last count the number of companies totaled 170. Earlier this year, FICO moved out of its comfort zone in the banking world with the release of the Data Management Integration Platform, defined by the company as streaming analytics and real-time distributed processing software than “ingests, normalizes, co-relates and distills Big Data as it is being generated.” The Internet of Things is also a key component. Brian McDonough, research manager for business analytics solutions at IDC said in a release that IoT is at the “heart of our view of the third platform of technology and the four pillars – mobility, social business, Big Data/analytics and cloud – resulting in millions of applications available to billions of end points.” He added that while it has already started to produce a huge mass of data, “there is no value in that data until data-processing technology and analytics are ready to take on the challenge in real time.” Doug Clare, vice president of product management at FICO said in a recent interview “more and more things are going to be connected. There is no avoiding it. There is a huge opportunity to make the world a better place. The use cases I am seeing have a lot to do with driving efficiencies and coordinating activity amongst and between devices that have to interact in a physical world.”
“When you think of self-driving cars and traffic control, there is a huge opportunity to drive fuel efficiency, avoid accidents and Doug Clare: People are going to have make traffic flow quick- to think about data and analytics in a ly. They are going to different way. come to pass and in a short period of time.” “In making that work, people are going to have to think about data and analytics in a very different way. Coming from FICO, our heritage on the risk management side and working with banks and other organizations, we are used to data that moves very slowly. Credit bureau information, master file information … You sweep data into a pile, you develop a model, you execute the model and get some predictions about future consumer credit performance or buying habits or whatever, and you apply that learning in a batch mode.” In the Internet of Things era, said Clare, the need will be to learn in real time. He added that while there are insights from the past that you are going to need to draw from about what type of data is predictive, “the fact of the matter is if you are going to have the type of meaningful outcomes that you need or the kind of precision that you are going to need to avoid a real-time accident at the next intersection, you are going to have to learn on the fly.” Clare, who in previous roles has helped businesses manage fraud, risk and the customer experience, pointed to the company’s Falcon Fraud Protection Management System, which is used by 90% of organizations with payment cards. “Fraud evolves very quickly, new fraud patterns emerge. Fraudsters will target banks, ATM networks or individual devices. The software has to learn very quickly how to get ahead of those fraud problems and shut them down. “It is a real-time data stream that makes real-time decisions within milliseconds. We are taking those concepts and we are now applying them to other use cases.” These include an energy management initiative that is currently in beta, which monitor in real-time, data that is flowing in from different entities in a power grid including smart meters and neighbourhood transformers.
There is a huge opportunity to make the world a better place.
NETWORKS ja.indd 18
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15-07-17 2:20 PM
N et w o r ks & T h e C l o u d
New Dell Global Scorecard reveals gender gap persists
Dell has announced the findings of the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard at its sixth-annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit, revealing gender-based differences stifle the growth of women-owned businesses across all 31 countries measured. The Scorecard is the first worldwide analysis focused on the challenges and opportunities for women business-owners to launch, scale, create jobs and disrupt industries, Dell said. Its goal, it added, is to provide a diagnostic tool that will advise leaders, policy-makers and law-makers on how to improve conditions in their countries and enable businesses founded by women to thrive. According to Dell, the 2015 results offer a comprehensive view on the conditions for women entrepreneurs around the world, highlight best practices, identify data gaps and provide actions countries can take to improve. “To address the specific challenges for high-impact women entrepreneurs in different countries and regions, it takes a holistic approach,” says Dr. Ruta Aidis, Project Director of the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard. “That’s why research like the Scorecard is critical to understanding what actions are needed to drive change.” Building on the research Dell commissioned in 2013 and 2014, the 2015 Scorecard evaluates 31 countries across five key categories: relative business environments, access to resources, leadership and rights, pipeline for female entrepreneurship and potential for high-growth women-owned businesses. It also looks at key factors proven to unleash high-impact female entrepreneurship and
estimates the number of jobs created by women-owned businesses if they reached their growth potential. “The success of entrepreneurs and small businesses is critical for a thriving global economy, and at Dell we believe women entrepreneurs must play a much more prominent role in business and leadership in the future,” said Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Dell. “Our Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network aims to ensure women entrepreneurs have access to technology, capital and networks to grow their businesses. The Scorecard provides the datadriven insights we need to move the broader conversation from awareness to action and allow female entrepreneurs around the world to reach their full potential.” More than 70% of the 31 countries in the study score below 50% demonstrating a significant growth gap between female and maleowned businesses worldwide (76% of global GDP is covered by the study). “Because of its family-friendly policies and a favourable political environment for startups and investment in women, Canada is an emerging hot spot for female entrepreneurs,” says Aidis “Generally, women in Canada are educated, with more females earning college degrees than men, and they’re well-connected to others in the business world. On the downside, women still have challenges accessing capital and there remains a skills confidence gap for women contemplating business startups.”
To address the specific challenges for highimpact women entrepreneurs in different countries and regions, it takes a holistic approach.
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Ne t wo r ks & The Cloud
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Mo b i l e Mo v e m e n t s
Rogers’ Kawale says ‘digital Canadians working in obsolete offices’
Nitin Kawale, president of Rogers Communications Inc.’s enterprise business division, says that the inability of Canadian organizations to become innovative will have dire consequences on both individual companies and the nation as a whole. Kawale, the opening keynote speaker at the 2015 Canadian Telecom Summit held in June, said a productivity gap currently exists among Canadians when it comes to their personal and business lives. “We are using technology and content much better in our consumer lives than we are in the workplace,” he said. “What it means is that we have digital Canadians working in obsolete offices. “The innovation of productivity continues to be the most important challenge facing our country, our industry and all of our businesses and organizations. Last year, I spoke here about the opportunity to drive innovation through collaboration and productivity. In one year, not much has changed.” Canada, he added, still remains near the bottom within its peer group when it comes to innovation rankings – at last count, a dismal 13th among 16 countries, according to research conducted by the Conference Board of Canada. “The numbers are simple. If you are able to drive the productivity of a nation 1% a year, you double the standard of living every 72 years. If you increase that to 5% you double it every 14 years. We have been in the 1% range for the past decade.” Kawale estimated that Canadian SMEs spend more than $2 billion on legacy, wireline voice services alone: “That is technology invented in the 1960s and 1970s trying to power productivity in 2015. Imagine how far we could advance our businesses by investing in technology that actually improves productivity.” He said that many business leaders do not see the value of “mo22
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bilizing their business. Microsoft released research last year on the topic of cloud technology and concluded that only 10% of Canadian executives can define cloud and only 5% could actually describe it. We are starting to see the picture.” Telecom summit organizers Mark Goldberg and Michael Sone; meanwhile, wrote in the conference show guide that in a big data world that increasingly relies on light-speed sharing of information for personal and commercial purposes, the ICT sector is more than indispensable – it is the lynchpin of the global economy.”
UAE telco, Nokia use smartphone-carrying drones in test trial Nokia Networks and du, a Middle East telecommunications service provider have successfully employed drones carrying smartphones with network testing applications to analyze du’s network. The test was carried out at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. The Proof of Concept (PoC) gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers. According to Nokia, automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. In this instance, the test data was collected automatically and sent to a server so that it could be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Centre (GDC) for immediate reporting and any necessary actions to improve network performance could be carried out. Telco drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecom tower. “It is especially important when weather conditions make climbing too dangerous,” Nokia said in a release. “This method delivers a high-quality site audit with unique and detailed panoramic and top-down views of the lattice tower captured in one pass. Drones can also help supervise the quality of installation by remotely monitoring the installation via wireless video streaming.” www.connectionsplus.ca
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M o bile Movemen ts
Ericsson: 70% of world’s population using smartphones by 2020
Findings from the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report published recently show that by 2020 advanced mobile technology will be commonplace around the globe: smartphone subscriptions will more than double, reaching 6.1 billion, 70% of the world’s population will be using smartphones, and 90% will be covered by mobile broadband networks. The report states that growth in mature markets comes from an increasing number of devices per individual. In developing regions, “it comes from a swell of new subscribers” as smartphones become more affordable; almost 80% of smartphone subscriptions added by year-end 2020 will be from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. According to Ericsson, with the continued rise of smartphones comes an accelerated growth in data usage: smartphone data is predicted to increase ten-fold by 2020, when 80% of all mobile data traffic will come from smartphones. Average monthly data usage per smartphone in North America will increase from 2.4 GB today to 14 GB by 2020. “This immense growth in advanced moThis immense bile technology and data usage, driven by a surge in mobile connectivity and smartgrowth in advanced phone uptake, will make today’s Big Data mobile technology revolution feel like the arrival of a floppy disk,” said Rima Qureshi, Ericsson’s chief and data usage, strategy officer. driven by a surge in “We see the potential for mass-scale transformation, bringing a wealth of oppormobile connectivity tunities for telecom operators and others to and smartphone capture new revenue streams. But it also requires greater focus on cost efficient delivery uptake, will make and openness to new business models to today’s big data compete and remain effective.’ An expanding range of applications and revolution feel like business models coupled with falling mothe arrival of a dem costs are key factors driving the growth of connected devices. Added to this, new use floppy disk. cases are emerging for both short and long range applications, leading to even stronger growth of connected devices moving
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forward. Ericsson’s forecast, outlined in the report, points to 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Earlier predictions by the company forecast 50 billion connected devices. The company added that each year until 2020, mobile video traffic will grow by a staggering 55% per year and will constitute around 60% of all mobile data traffic by the end of that period. Growth is largely driven by shifting user preferences towards video streaming services, and the increasing prevalence of video in online content including news, advertisements and social media, it said. When looking at data consumption in advanced mobile broadband markets, findings show a significant proportion of traffic is generated by a limited number of subscribers. These heavy data users represent 10% of total subscribers but generate 55% of total data traffic. Video is dominant among heavy users, who typically watch around one hour of video per day, which is 20 times more than the average user, the report stated. July/August 2015
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Mo b i l e Mo v e m e n t s
CABA and Frost & Sullivan join forces in cyber security study of the home
The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) and Frost & Sullivan are partnering on a connected home research project, specifically looking at the issue of cybersecurity in the context of connected homes, and the risks and susceptibilities associated with it. The two organizations say the analysis promises to create an understanding of the magnitude of cyberthreats and how they can be managed and eliminated in addition to the challenges of adopting and implementing cybersecurity measures. “Connected homes are prime examples of innovative applications of technology that usher in new convenience for consumers,” said CABA president and CEO, Ronald Zimmer. “Industry however has acknowledged that associated with such convenience is risk. CABA is therefore pleased to commission a research project that will provide industry with insightful intelligence concerning the nature and acuity of these ‘cybersecurity’ risks.” In lieu of the benefits that connected homes may bring, risks acquired via cyber threats have the potential to compromise the industry as a whole, CABA said in a release. “The current and potential magnitude of threats for connected homes could expose important data not only for home owners, but technology vendors and service providers as well. These are potential damages that consumers should be aware of, and create credible perceptions of cybersecurity through. “Although meant to enable connected experiences, allowing third parties open access to home networks exposes both the consumer as well as the service providers to the potential vulnerabili24
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ties of cyberspace. It is critical to understand that cyber threats require collective responsibility and accountability sharing from all stakeholders involved,”noted KonKana Khaund, principal consultant for energy and environment with Frost & Sullivan. “Collaborative research projects like these, supported by industry participants, establishes the fact that cyber threats to the connected home are indeed being taken seriously by such participants.”
ITU unveils its 5G roadmap ITU has established the overall roadmap for the development of 5G mobile and defined the term it will apply to it as “IMT-2020”. With the finalization of its work on the “Vision” for 5G systems at a meeting of ITU-R Working Party 5D in San Diego, ITU has now defined the overall goals, process and timeline for the development of 5G mobile systems. The meeting also agreed that the work should be conducted under the name of IMT-2020, as an extension of the ITU’s existing global standards for International Mobile Telecommunication systems (IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced) which serve as the basis for all of today’s 3G and 4G mobile systems. It said the next step is to establish detailed technical performance requirements for the radio systems to support 5G, taking into account the needs of a wide portfolio of future scenarios and use cases, and then to specify the evaluation criteria for assessment of candidate radio interface technologies to join the IMT-2020 family. “These new systems, set to become available in 2020, will usher in new paradigms in connectivity in mobile broadband wireless systems to support, for example, extremely high definition video services, real time low latency applications and the expanding realm of the Internet of Things (IoT),” it said in a release. The ITU-R Radiocommunication Assembly, which meets in October, is expected to formally adopt the term “IMT-2020”. www.connectionsplus.ca
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COV E R S T ORY
the rise of the
Enterprise All the major pundits say that while technology matters, it is process change that matters more if companies want to compete effectively. By Denise Deveau 26
COVERSTORY ja.indd 26
he digital enterprise is arguably the most significant milestone to have hit the business scene since the advent of the Internet Age. Over the past 10 years, the transition to digitization has been dramatic, as enterprises moved from a world of virtualization, consolidation and data warehousing, to one where IoT, collaboration and Big Data have become the underpinnings of a new way of doing business. Even more significant is the fact that all the major pundits are now saying that while technology matters, it is process change that matters more if companies want to compete effectively.
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Imagine someone in the oil field The digital age is rapidly becoming the new normal, as the topics of mobile, social, cloud and analytics are permeating conversations in organizations, says Peter Hughes, national leader for delivery and operations at Deloitte Digital Canada in Toronto and author of the recently-published The Rise of the Digital Officer report. “We are on the edge of those technologies being germane as to how organizations can facilitate transactions and interactions with users anywhere, anytime on any device, seamlessly.” These concepts; however, are not the goal, but simply the enablers of digitization, he adds. Now the question is who will run and innovate with this technology? Who will design the digital experience? “The new digital age represents new methods, new approaches and faster time to value. It’s turning business on its head and how we do our work.” Beyond the well-hyped consumer space, digital will play a significant role in industries such as oil and gas and manufacturing where efficiency, safety and connected workforces are integral to success, Hughes believes. “Imagine someone in the oil field operating heavy machinery with a wearable that monitors their heart rate to determine if they are alertmagine someone in the oil field operating heavy machinery with a wearable that monitors their heart rate to determine if they are alert; or warns them when they are approaching a high voltage risk area. Imagine a user in the middle of nowhere with an iPad and 3D printer being able to manufacture on the spot the screw needed to replace something in the field. This isn’t outlandish stuff.” Perhaps the most “receptive” industry in terms of digitization is financial services, says Joseph Bradley, vice president, IoE global practice with Cisco Consulting Services. One of the most promising is healthcare. “The financial industry has been dealing with the notion of digitization for awhile and ahead of a lot of industries, but until now, haven’t had the tools to deliver on it. Healthcare comprises 30% of all data globally in the world and is now mandated to move to digitization so we can also expect to see fast movement there.” Yet connecting devices isn’t enough to achieve digitization, Bradley stresses. While it’s easy to identify a dark asset that can be connected to the network, whether it’s a sensor, car or light fixture,
machinery with a wearable that
monitors their heart rate to determine if
they are alert.
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there is no inherent value in IoT as a standalone investment. “Without underlying people and process changes, IoT would only make things worse. If you have the people, process, data and things in place, then a business becomes digitized.” “All of those words such as cloud, Big Data and mobile, are simply phenomena equated with a broader digital evolution. The primary force that is driving change is not the technology; it’s a fundamental shift in the business process and model design. In other words, function is now driving form,” says Matt Baker, executive director of enterprise strategy at Dell in Round Rock, Tex.
Breaking down the silos…again
Reaching that end goal will take time because organizations are falling prey to the buzzwords of the day without seeing the bigger digitization picture. At the same time, there are considerable legacy investments that need to be optimized for the new digital age. Navigating a digital future will rest heavily on having a futureready enterprise. This represents a major change given that IT departments have spent a significant amount of time in the past seven years trying to break down all silos to create a more efficiencies through tools such as virtualization and convergence. However, those silos are now resurfacing with the rush to cloud adoption. “The primary mission for most IT shops investing in technologies used to be cost savings,” Baker says. “Today efficiency is no longer the primary mission. In fact there’s a distinct possibility you could find yourself in a multi-cloud, multi-infrastructure world with no rhyme or reason to it.” The ubiquity of the cloud is definitely becoming a double-edged sword for enterprises as digitization grows. After 15 years in the cloud services realm, Steven Green, president of TemboSocial in Toronto, a provider of engagement tools, has seen remarkable changes, and challenges. In fact, the ease of access to cloud-based applications means that corporations are at risk of having too much of a good thing. “In our investigations, a company may have seven certified/authorized solutions; but in fact, there could easily be more than 200 SaaS-based tools in use,” Green says. “Lots of people in business July/August 2015
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COV E R S T ORY
When asked why now for cloudbased test and measurement analysis, Neeley says cloud infrastructures have achieved the economies of scale and security required. “Cloud has gone mainstream and has more practical security than any in-house IT department. That’s crucial given that our customers have very mobile workforces.” Industry is only starting on the road to digitization, Neeley says. In the very near future, one could easily see data coming from embedded Joseph Bradley, VP of IoE global practice sensors OEMs put in their motors with Ciso Consulting Services: Fast IT is about and overlay that with maintenance simplifying the IT infrastructure. data; or run historical time series and correlate that with production. Data can be used to compare difare creative and will break the rules to have the tools such as surveys, social media monitoring or project management services that ferent sites and compare processes and layer in geography and separate teams. “As data scales the promise of the cloud can do all will let them do their work.” The challenge on the IT side is the fact they simply do not that. The main thing is to get the data up there first and make sure have the bandwidth to evaluate and configure every solution from customers will find a use for it.” scratch, Green notes. “The irony is that people are investing in ways to get employees together to collaborate, but at the same time, this Need for speed is creating silos and destroying ways to collaborate. In response we All of this talk about digitization will never discount the foundational are now seeing a back to basics view emerging as people are real- networking aspects in a world where Fast IT is the infrastructure izing tools are just that. Unless they can turn a tool into a program, Holy Grail moving forward. As Bradley explains, “You don’t buy a it doesn’t add value to a business.” Ferrari that can go from zero to 30 in three seconds and put it on a dirt road with mud and potholes. It will struggle. Fast IT is about simplifying IT infrastructure and making it smart and secure through Going the software route The time has now come to simplify and focus on fast IT. A funda- ACI (application centric infrastructure) policy-based management mental change is that infrastructures have transitioned from being and using the network as a super sensor.” Data and IT have moved leagues beyond the “utility tool” stage, transactional to relationship driven, Baker contends. In response, today’s infrastructures need to take the shape of multi-tiered, re- says Maurice Zetena, vice president of data centre technology for dundant architectures that can scale out. “Instead of traditional Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc. in New Milford, Conn. “Tosegregated work of protecting overall workload, storage, drives day’s business climate revolves around information and transport and memory, apps can now take care of managing it. The ideal fu- of information between individuals. We are now seeing a change ture state is a computer centric software-driven world that can grow in the way people address data centres and utilizing information.” New concepts that have been spawned include distributed horizontally.” John Neeley, engineering and product manager for Fluke Con- switches, unified computing systems and convergence, all of which nect in Everett, Wash. also believes the software-based enterprise are affecting approaches to addressing the physical layer aspect, is here to stay. “Software provides a way to digitize and present Zetena says. “One of the most important things we see is the ability data over smartphones using secure connections directly to the for data centres to be adaptable, scalable and migrate-able from a cloud. Essentially it reduces the complexity and aggregate data se- physical layer and connectivity perspective.” The focus is also on extending the lifespan of physical layers curely and reliably so measurements can flow from sensors or tools to eight years and beyond through innovations such as distributthrough whatever gateway you want for sharing and analysis.” 28
COVERSTORY ja.indd 28
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ed switching, OM4 cabling and VECSEL (vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting-laser multimode fiber which are allowing data centres to increase density and speed at a lower cost utilizing a smaller footprint. “We are seeing connector families that allow multiple strands to be terminated in a single connector. There’s also talk of moving from 24 to 36-fibre MPOs (multi-fiber push on) and the need for 400 GB uplinks.” As data transport demands grow, Zetena expects the intercloud to drive significant shift in data centre design. “Intercloud is east-west traffic which makes for a very, very demanding environment. By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. I don’t think people fully understand the ripple effect associated with that data. The need for speed will increase and increase. Organizations need to set the stage for something that will last a long period of time.” C+
The digital age is rapidly becoming the new normal as the topics of mobile, social , cloud and analytics are permeating conversations in organizations.
Denise Deveau is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telcos stand to make big gains from the digital enterprise The telecom industry is uniquely positioned in the digitization revolution, says Stephan Gatien, the Vancouver-based head of telco industry and mobility solutions for SAP. “Telecom operators have such a unique rapport with digitization compared to other industries because of their IP infrastructure. Paradoxically, they could also become victims of digital disruption in the face of OTT (over-the-top) players such as Google.” The Internet is very strategic in terms of planning and development for telecoms, says Shawn Sanderson, vice president, Internet of Things for Telus Communications Inc. in Toronto. “High speed digital access is a core ability to deliver digital solutions. Infrastructure is key to everything.” Gatien sees three potential areas of opportunities digitization could offer telecoms. The first is their existing customer interaction with a highly digitized customer base. “This opens up a wide range of possibilities, particularly in the omnichannel space. Another potential area is IoT, says Gatien, adding that “sensor-based environments such as healthcare, smart grid, telematics, connected cars, etc. have the potential to present huge business opportunities if the telecoms play it right.” Telcos are not alone in their bid for the IoT space, Sanderson says. “IBM, Cisco, Accenture, Intel, SAP and Microsoft for
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example all have IoT plays, whether it is around analytics, fog computing, Big Data, infrastructure or something else.” Which brings us to the third opportunity: the potential to benefit from interaction with external players, including partners, suppliers and newer stakeholders such as developers, Gatien believes. “OTT players are able to create very powerful ecosystems based on openness of their systems. Operators have the same potential because they have a lot of assets they can open up to the world that can be used for collaborative development.” Canada is now seeing the incubation of a digital ecosystem where both big and small partners are working together to deliver value added solutions, Sanderson confirms. “Our number one focus in internal discussions today is how we are going to work with an ecosystem of companies in a way we can leverage our respective resources and not compete with one another. That will have a huge impact on what we can all deliver to market.” Ultimately, Gatien advises operators to pick their battles, whether it is healthcare, telematics solutions or something else. But the one common battle they will all face is on the wireless front and the investment needed to keep pace. “Not even two years ago we had 3G, now we have 4G and Asia is already testing 5G. Technology is constantly evolving and the race for speed and the need for investment will be continuous.”
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TR E N D I NG
Meet Chef Watson & Google’s DeepMind A business case can be made for both these cognitive computing systems for each can process billions of relevant inputs in the blink of a human eye. By Dave Webb
Leanne LeBlanc, IBM Watson project manager, views analytics of healthcare data.
arlier this year, IBM Canada Inc. hosted a unique culinary event. At St. James Cathedral Centre in downtown Toronto, IBM unveiled five poutine recipes laser-targeted to the local market. While the press and assorted dignitaries noshed on such dishes as Filipino-Portuguese poutine and Italian-Korean poutine, outside, a lineup grew that could only be created by the offer of free poutine. And on the whole, it was really good poutine. The chef was an instance of a computing load in a piece of hardware about the size – ironically enough – of a pizza box. IBM’s Watson, famously champion of Jeopardy, ingested millions of pages of recipes, local ingredient preferences, demographic information and more to create variations on the fries, curds and gravy staple
that would appeal to local preferences not only for Toronto, but also for distinct regional tastes in Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. This, according to Rick Power, Watson solutions leader for IBM Canada, is not just high-end analytics. It’s cognitive computing; Watson actually learns. “Chef Watson is an application of cognitive computing that we’ve found… allows a larger group of people, a broader audience, to relate to what it is cognitive computing can do,” Power says. “Not all of our potential customers, or those interested in cognitive, necessarily have backgrounds in Big Data and analytics. Some of the technologies are not reachable for them, if I can use that word, especially if we’re talking to line-of-business executives.” www.connectionsplus.ca
Engineers at energy company Woodside use Watson in a predictive data science initiative.
Conditions Of Cognitive Computing So what makes computing cognitive, as opposed to simply a batchprocessed analytics process? Power cites three conditions to call a computing system cognitive. • Its user interface is based on natural language, not business rules. In a cognitive computing environment, a user can ask, “What is the best way to maintain a plant under limited lighting conditions?” A cognitive computing system can parse the question and build its own query to run against its data store, rather than forcing the user to build a query to run against the data. “The cognitive burden is placed on the cognitive system, not on the user,” Power says. • It generates hypotheses, both in terms of what the questioner might be asking, and what the answer might be for each of these. This is the thinking part of cognitive computing. Based on the parsing of the query and the content of the structured and unstructured data store, a cognitive computing system suggests likely answers to the question, which it ranks in terms of relevance and likelihood – confidence-ranked responses, as Power describes them. • It learns from the input and the hypothetical process, developing more acuity and more relevant answers. It evolves through its interactions with users, not by being reprogrammed. If users consistently choose consistently to select or ignore a result, its confidence ranking improves or suffers.
Business Applications Guelph, Ont.-based LifeLearn is a 20-year-old veterinary support www.connectionsplus.ca
company with three core offerings: Online practice marketing for veterinarians, corporate solutions for pharmaceutical, nutrition and diagnostic organizations, and content distribution through its Stratus online user interface, which allows users to disseminate complex, key messaging to their target markets. “A key part of our growth strategy is to continue to develop and innovate solutions for our target market, which is animal health,” says James Carroll, president and CEO of LifLearn, with a master’s degree in biomedical communications. “There’s a very distinct challenge in the veterinary market, much like the human health market. There is incredible growth in the amount of information that is being created, and veterinarians are required to be able to access and retain in order to provide the best in patient care.” But veterinarians have to deal with multiples species that can’t communicate with them, at least not verbally. They also have to be their own specialists, performing as radiologists, oncologists, internists, and more. “They’re not just a family practitioner,” Carroll says. LifeLearn’s treatment planning support tool has ingested hundreds of thousands of pages of veterinary documentation to provide platform-independent advice on the diagnosis and treatment of animal illness. Using an instance of Watson, treatment option advice is delivered, on average, in about 2.7 seconds; it would take a vet hours to consult and comb the literature in the database. But Watson doesn’t learn the veterinary ropes on its own. Watson’s teacher’s name is LifeLearn Sofi. Between Sofi, Stratus July/August 2015
TR E N D I NG
and Watson, LifeLearn can work from a veterinarian’s presumptive diagnosis and deliver logical, evidence-based treatment support plans Likewise, Chef Watson was educated – seeded by – by the Institute of Culinary Education. It begins with some research into the culinary trends in various regions. Because of ethnic makeup and various other factors, Toronto got Sri Lankan and Caribbean combination; in Montreal, a Moroccan-Lebanese blend was front and centre.
Bodies Of Data Cognitive computing’s specialty involves ingesting and digesting bodies of data that are so huge, it is impossible for a human to interpret in a practical window of time. But it has a lot to learn before it’s useful, or even usable. “Watson is like a child. It doesn’t know anything,” says Mario Grech, director of entrepreneurial initiatives and special projects with the computer science department of the University of Toronto, the 10th ranked computer science department in the world. Grech’s job is to bridge the gap between the research and development of technologies and their commercialization, and as a venture capitalist himself, he can help fund commercial projects. Among recent projects is ROSS, essentially a virtual legal assistant. “ROSS creates a new way for lawyers to research the huge volumes of unstructured data that exists in their world,” Grech says. “It’s revolutionary. It’s never been done before.” Populated with millions of pages of legal precedent and documentation from CanLit, a leading legal library, ROSS understands legal queries in natural language, then scours billions of documents in seconds to provide relevant references. At a recent cognitive computing competition in New York, ROSS placed second against competitors including Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and MIT. For the most part, Grech says, what’s happening today is what he calls “dumb-search,” based on metatags and tags throughout the data. Cognitive computing understands the context of the unstructured data sets that are fed to it. Grech points to HAL 9000, the computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, as the goal to which cognitive computing aspires – conversational and intuitive. It’s still leaps away from what we have now, he says. To Grech, artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing are synonymous. “The term (artificial intelligence) has been around for 40 years,” Grech says. “I think cognitive computing is the latest term they’re giving this whole genre of computer science.” The term’s a little less intimidating than AI, Grech says. “When you think of artificial intelligence, if you ask the layperson, they think of things like the Terminator. That’s not a good image to brandish to people’s minds.”
there are aspects of artificial intelligence, in research and perhaps even beyond research, near production… but I’m sure there are others that would debate that response.” If Grech does not draw a distinction between cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, there are distinct approaches to the issue. Consider two movies released this spring: Ex Machina and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the former, a skilled programmer wins a weekend at his reclusive (and very Jobsian) boss’s country retreat, where he is tasked with a face-to-face Turing test with a robotic woman who has been programmed to interact with others like a real person, despite her visible mechanics, purring, whirring, and impossibly graceful balletic poise. In the latter, Tony Stark’s Ultron is essential an algorithm in physical form, a blank slate. It wreaks havoc but has no understanding of why; it learns as it goes. If the heroine of Ex Machina is IBM’s Watson, preloaded with massive volumes of data, Google Inc.’s DeepMind is Ultron, although not to suggest that Google is bent on wreaking havoc. The Deep Q Network (DQN) behind DeepMind – the brainchild of British neuroscientist Demis Hassabis – doesn’t have the terabytes of preloaded data. It’s designed to learn through the same experience-reward architecture of the human mind. The breakthrough accomplishment for DQN was learning to play old Atari arcade games – 49 of them – at a higher level than the average human. DQN combined neural networking, which mimics the human brain’s learning process by extracting more and more context at various levels, with reinforcement learning, which causes the algorithm to change the way it behaves based on previous experience. In the case of video-gaming, the only inputs the algorithm received were the pixel maps of the games and the scores. DQN worked out how to play the games based on that, rather than supervised learning, wherein a lab worker corrects the machine to optimize the output.
Is It AI?
Regardless of whether it’s AI or CC, whether a machine is learning to play a video game or do legal research, there is a business case for Watson or DeepMind. A system that is intelligent and can learn tasks independently – and can process billions of relevant inputs in the blink of a human eye – can be applied to a problem like a team of hundreds of analytical workers. And Apple Inc.’s Siri, as well as its cousins on other platforms, responds to natural language queries in order to answer questions in real-time. It understands context; it formats its own queries; and it returns results based on what it believes to be most relevant. The word believes is important; it points to the possibility we have created something more profound than intelligence. C+
“In my view, cognitive computing is a subset of a larger field called artificial intelligence,” Power says. It may grow to encompass the aspects of artificial intelligence, but “today, I think it’s fair to say
Dave Webb is a Toronto-based freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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New & Noteworthy
1. PLATINUM TOOLS
The 10G Termination Kit from Platinum Tools exceeds 10Gig performance standard requirements for streaming high bandwidth across Cat6E, Cat6A, and Cat7 cable, the company says. Now shipping with an MSRP of US$240, the field kit includes Cat6A shielded connectors, the Tele-TitanXg Cat6A crimp tool, cable jacket stripper, and external ground tab crimper. According to the company, “streaming media traffic, whether, data, audio or video, is on a sharp rise and networks are demanding more bandwidth. That means bigger and usually shielded cable, such as Cat6E, Cat6A and Cat7. The connector choice is critical.” www.platinumtools.com.
The Greenlee Communications’ AirScout is designed to characterize the Wi-Fi environment, optimize the wireless network setup and produce a simple, on-screen report that a technician can immediately share with the customer. The system goes beyond simple test and measurement by validating a home for Wi-Fi readiness and identifying solutions to solve potential problems. AirScout brings intelligence to the process by measuring multiple locations simultaneously, then using the data to select the best channel and optimum location of the wireless access point. To do this, the system surveys the WiFi environment, produces a heat map, and provides a Quality of Experience (QoE) score. www.greenleecommunications.com.
Dell Canada has unveiled the PowerEdge C6320, the latest addition in its 13th generation Dell PowerEdge server portfolio. The company says it delivers up to two times performance improvement on the leading HPC performance benchmark, and has the right mix of cost-efficient compute and storage in a compact, 2U chassis for HPC and hyper-converged solutions and appliances, allowing customers to meet demanding workload needs. The PowerEdge C6320 features the latest generation of Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors and provides up to 18 cores per socket (144 cores per 2U chassis), up to 512GB of DDR4 memory and up to 72TB of flexible local storage. www.dell.ca.
Cable manufacturer Helukabel recently launched its new PROFINET plug connector, the Helukat RJ45 Cat5 IP20, which has built-in fast connection technology. The Fieldbus-compatible plug comes in a linear and angled design for industrial use in tight installation spaces. Features include coloured contact elements, which prevents the installer from committing connection errors. The clear labeling matches the wire sequence of the PROFINET standard whose four single wires can be quickly connected. Transmission rates are up to 100 MHz Cat 5. The shielded plug connector comes in a linear, 180° version and an angled, 90° version. Designed to protection grade IP 20, it can withstand operating temperatures of -4 F to 158 F (-20 C to +70 C). www.helukabel.de/ca.
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New & Noteworthy
6. BERK-TEK LEVITON
Anritsu Company has expanded the testing capability of its portable MT1000A Network Master Pro and MT1100A Network Master Flex all-in-one transport network testers. The enhancements include support of CPRI/OBSAI and RFC 6349 TCP throughput testing, OTN multi-stage mapping for OTU3/4, a remote operation tool, MDIO analysis, an event logging feature with filtering and support of a Video Inspection Probe (VIP). With the enhancements, network managers and field technicians have a singleinstrument handheld solution to test new technologies designed into mobile fronthaul networks, as well as OTN, Ethernet, Fiber Channel and SDH/SONET and other technologies in transport network technologies, the company said. www.anritsu.com.
Berk-Tek Leviton Technologies has announced that its CX6850 Cat 6A Premium+ UTP system was successfully tested to deliver 100-watt Power over Ethernet (PoE), enabling the transmission of power and data to a wider range of remote devices. The ability to deliver 100 watts supports emerging PoE standards, such as the draft IEEE 802.3bt (type 4) PoE standard, which is scheduled for ratification in 2017. The CX6850 system includes Berk-Tek LANmarkTM-XTP cable, Leviton Atlas-X1TM componentrated connectors and patch cords and Leviton component-rated 110-style patch panels. According to the company, next-generation powered devices will require greater bandwidth than Gigabit Ethernet and more delivered power. www.berkteklevitontechnologies. com.
HP has announced the HP t420, a cloud-ready thin client for task workers in call centre, desktopas-a-service, and remote kiosk environments. It offers a choice of essential operating systems including Linux-based HP Smart Zero Core and HP ThinPro, and Windows Embedded 7.Â HP also announced the new HP mt245 Mobile Thin Client, which is designed for flexible cloud computing on-the-go. The thin client delivers pro-class user features and critical management software at an affordable price, the company said. The Windows Embedded Standard 7E tools, the programs, and the resources are all integrated into the lightweight design with a 14-inch diagonal HD screen. www.hp.com.
The Q-Series Cabinet from Legrand is a UL 2416 listed, 19â€? EIA offering for a range of applications, from single racks to small computer rooms and data centres of all sizes. The new cabinet complements the Q-Series family, broadening the offering of physical infrastructure products, the company says. The Q-Series product line-up was first introduced by Legrand last year after its acquisition of Quiktron. The line-up now includes standard EIA racks and cabinets, in addition to existing cable assemblies and connectivity products from Quiktron. For high performance applications, Legrand also offers LX cabinets, Mighty Mo racks, Infinium fiber and Clarity copper. www.legrand.com.
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L it e rat u re R eviews
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Connections+ 2015 MEDIA KIT The magazine for ICT professionals, Connections+ readership targets individuals who purchase, design, specify, install, maintain and test structured cabling, networking and telecom products as well as facilities management specialists and senior IT executives who are responsible for overseeing the implementation and installation of these initiatives. For more information contact Maureen Levy – 416-510-5111 or email@example.com
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TH E B ACK PAG E
Revisited By Dave Webb
lan Turing was harassed to death because he was a homosexual. I can’t write a humorous column about his legacy without acknowledging the bald facts upfront. It’s an example of the horrible things people do to each other for no valid reason. We are living today with a horrible example of that which cost dozens of lives. (It doesn’t matter when this column appears; it will still be true.) I can’t help but think how the computing landscape would be different had Turing had more time to influence it. Would the Wintel platform even exist? What about Unix? Would client-server ever have happened? Would we have gone to virtualization 30 years ago? Ponder that. In the meantime, let’s talk about Turing’s legacy in the field of artificial intelligence. The Turing Test, hypothetical as it may be, is still the gold standard for determining whether a machine has developed intelligence. If a blind conversation with a machine is indistinguishable from a blind conversation with a human, this is artificial intelligence. I’m going to take the high road with respect to some humans I’ve had conversations with. Culture has changed much since Turing’s time, and there are perhaps refinements to the test that would be more relevant to today’s vapid society. I humbly – with bottomless respect to Mr. Turing – offer a few alternatives. The Gordon Ramsey Test: Supply a list of 12 ingredients and demand an appetizer, a main and a dessert. If the machine doesn’t swear at least 30 times, it’s not Gordon Ramsey. (IBM’s Watson, BTW, conclusively failed this test by developing dozens of poutine recipes without dropping a single F-bomb.) The Random Professional Sports Star Test: Ask a question about anything – geopolitics, world hunger, drought in California, race relations. If it does not reply that it will give 110%, take it one game at a time, and promise that his team will play its game and live and die by it, it is not a random professional sports star. (Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons conclusively failed this test when, on the eve of a Mother’s Day baseball game, he remarked that, “A lot of us wouldn’t be here without our mothers.”) The Kardashian Test: If you get an intelligible answer about any question, it is not a Kardashian. (No Kardashian has yet failed this test. Or passed it. I’m not
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The Turing Test, hypothetical as it may be, is still the gold standard for determining whether a machine has developed intelligence. sure which.) The Paris Hilton Test: See above, but imagine you’re 10 years younger. (I have no parenthetical comment for this.) The Matthew McConaughey Test: If you ask a question and it takes its shirt off, causing your girlfriend/ wife/dog to begin drooling and staring vacantly into space, there’s a good chance it’s Matthew McConaughey. (This is not a conclusive test; it must be correlated against the Justin Timberlake Test and the nowrarely-used Vin Diesel Test.) The Charlize Theron Test: I’m sorry, what were we talking about? (Charlize Theron has been conclusively proved to make me breathe funny and lose my train of thought. More research is required.) The $3 Jagermeister Test: If it’s on Queen Street East in Toronto and can actually respond to a question at 2 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday, it’s probably not human. (Queen East is the Jagermeister Battle Zone for bars; everybody has a special. I never touch the stuff, myself, because I’m usually in bed with a vermouth buzz already. I’m classy that way.) The Survivor Test: Does it really want to be on the island? It’s not human. (Must confess I never watched an episode, and I feel a healthier human being for that.) The Jeopardy Test: Give it answers. If it doesn’t respond in the form of a question, it’s never watched Jeopardy. The I Need Another 25 Words Test: Ethernet virtualization disaster recovery security infrastructure telemetry Gigabit flash memory speed-to-market. (Still one short.) C+ Dave Webb is a Toronto-based freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com. www.connectionsplus.ca
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