Madeleine Redfern, the mayor of Iqaluit – the largest and only city in Nunavut, Canada – has a colorful way of describing how sparsely populated the territory is. “The seals outnumber the people.” With a population of just over 35,000 people spread out over an arctic 1,750,000 square kilometers, Internet access is a challenge. In fact, according to Redfern, her most favorited tweet was that she couldn’t tweet… because the connection was too slow.
Madeleine Redfern participated in the first ever Indigenous Connectivity Summit last November. She and other participants shared their experience and expertise to help close the connectivity gap in Indigenous communities. Many also sat down for brief interviews with the 1st-Mile Institute, a New Mexico nonprofit that has initiated a local “Broadband for All” program. The videos are now available to watch on the 1st-Mile Institute’s website.
Nice in the South of France will play host on May 14th to the 6th Annual ZTEsoft Together Summit. This year the theme is Transforming with You and ZTEsoft‘s chief marketing officer, Fu Jianjun and guests will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and telcos’ digital transformations.
IoT Now is pleased to be supporting the Summit, and editorial director & publisher, Jeremy Cowan will be the moderator for the one-day event. Here, he talks to Fu Jianjun to find out what delegates can expect.
IoT Now: This is the 6th annual ZTEsoft Summit. How will this year’s event differ from previous years?
Fu Jianjun: The ZTEsoft Summit is our annual opportunity to strengthen the links with our user community, to exchange ideas and experiences, create a common vision and insight based on our industrial viewpoints, lessons learned and future plans and to help operators to get the most out of our solutions and capabilities.
Nice is the backdrop for the 6th annual ZTEsoft Together Summit.
In the past few summits, we communicated with our customers more focus on the thoughts about “What to do” with digital transformation, and in this summit we will focus on “How to do” together with our customers.
This year ZTEsoft comes with a strong value proposition allowing our customers to become Native Digital Players by embracing the very same business models and technologies that have paved the success of the internet giants. We reaffirm our engagement with the industry by providing the best blend of cloud and internet technologies together with a deep insight of industry core business and challenges.
IoT Now: A key part of your audience is network operators and digital service providers? What Digital Transformation and IoT information and support are they looking for in 2018?
Fu Jianjun: IoT and Digital transformation for operators and service providers are deeply related subjects. With trillions at stake, the best way not to participate in the IoT party is to continue doing business as usual.
The IoT will reach its full potential by using the strength of the ecosystem to innovate and deliver value and to continuously expand the demand and offering across industries and marketplaces.
IoT and also IIoT (industrial IoT) is clearly the future of the industry because its development requires the kind of services and capabilities that CSPs are good at delivering, including End-to-End SLAs (service level agreements), involving not just applications but network services, performance, reliability and security.
As I’ve mentioned, transformation had been engaged in in many cases but there are still key issues to be addressed: • What would be the target role of the specific service provider in the IoT/IIoT ecosystem? • How to achieve the kind of elasticity and operational efficiency needed to harness the IoT/IIoT opportunity? • How to leverage from ZTEsoft joint services and capabilities to harness the IoT/IIoT opportunity and achieve a successful transformation? • How to monetise their investments and participate in the digital ecosystems? • How to assure a controlled and soft transition to target architectures and business models?
The Continuous Engineering Summit in New Orleans is a wrap! It was exciting community event focused on education and knowledge sharing. And we want to offer many thanks to the more than 400 engineering and technical professionals who joined us at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place, in the heart of the French Quarter. Here are the best quotes we heard throughout the three-day conference.
“Watson is good at ‘fast thinking’ and people are good at ‘slow thinking’, but good engineering requires both.”
– Michael Crow, Associate Technical Fellow, The Boeing Company
Michael did a fantastic job of demystifying Watson myths versus reality. Which is to say, he explained what Watson is and isn’t, in black and white terms. You know, like an engineer does. Understanding how Artificial Intelligence works and, more specifically, how it is trained to do a well-defined job properly is key to integrating cognitive sensing and reasoning into the requirements process of systems engineering. Boeing is working with IBM Research to adapt Watson to engineering problems. It is a fresh way to think of how AI can provide augmented intelligence to engineers, where each “brain” plays to its strength and the sum of these parts is greater than the whole. Michael referenced the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman to inform the notion of what AI is good for versus the human brain.
“We’ve seen the way Watson and the like are creating connected cars; now we’re looking at connected people.”
– Andrew Hendl, Manager, Kaiser Permanente
Andrew explained how we now see new solutions popping up that sound like science fiction come to life. AI is changing how things talk to each other and provide feedback loops for the people who use them. He asserts that the health care sector is really figuring out how all this is going to work. Few business sectors have more to gain—or lose—from technological developments than health care. When people become better connected and smarter, it will solve some of the biggest health care challenges we face.
“A fighter jet is now almost like a smartphone in that it allows you to install your own apps and use it however you want.”
– Johan Gunnarsson, CTO, Combitech AB/Saab
Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) is changing the way Saab designs and builds fighter aircraft in shorter time frames and with higher quality. It makes simplification possible when dealing with very complex systems.
“Digital Twin is a hot new ’emerging terminology space’, but this is a real thing, and modeling is at the heart of it.”
– Sky Matthews, CTO and Fellow, IBM Watson IoT
There are many types of interesting data that can give value to the end user’s job. Digital Twin can transform the way engineering is done for design, build and operate phases of product and system lifecycles. IBM believes that a digital twin — the digital representation of a physical thing — needs to be able to reason with cognitive sensing and cognitive computing powered for “augmented intelligence” and the digital thread that runs through it.
“There are lots of benefits to Digital Twin, but the biggest one is that we’re seen reduced defects downstream.”
– Julie DeMeester, engineering fellow, Raytheon
Given that many of Raytheon’s products often live in “challenging” situations–namely, in potential or active military combat areas—digital twins and threads enable more efficient monitoring and upgrades, and DeMeester (second from left) detailed these during the conference’s opening panel discussion.
Jule DeMeester (second from left)
“Are you ready to reinvent the world?”
– Chris O’Connor, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things Offerings
The technology industry, and the industries it serves, are largely and rapidly transitioning to entirely different ways of doing business. That’s why Chris stressed that IBM is thinking about where you need to be in four to five years, with a continuous loop around design of connected software-driven things to operational intelligence and insights. A Digital Twin of systems will enable engineering teams and organizations to vastly improve their decision making process.
“If you ask 3 people what the digital twin is, you get 5 answers. If you ask 3 people what the digital thread is, you get 15 answers.”
– Marc Lind, SVP Strategy, Aras
Marc talked about an increasing “context” problem emerging as we undertake connecting things. This is only compounding the complexity of introducing this data into our systems. Aras believes the digital thread represents meaningful relationship connections with context and floating or fixed dependency. He believes we are fast approaching a time where we cannot manage systems complexity without digital twin, and the future without digital twin and digital thread has dangerous ramifications and risks without adding AI.
“NOLA needs an API!”
– John Walicki, Developer Advocate, IBM Watson IoT
… And some data science! New Orleans flooded in August of this year. Predictive maintenance and IoT sensors combined with weather data could have helped with planning and coordination with other agencies to prevent major issues. Engineers now have tools that empower this kind of planning and modeling with data science. John showed a step-by-step way in which he thinks New Orleans water management engineers and planners could measure thresholds, pattern mechanical behaviors and track environmental factors. That would allow them to build models for predictive maintenance schedules and proactive decision making. It could be the perfect way to augment the billions invested in equipment, dirt and facilities with intelligence to prepare for the next flood.
“Some of these requirements documents are treated like their children!”
– Abe Hudson, Prime Contractor, Barrios Technology
The International Space Station (ISS) has been continuously occupied by scientists, astronauts and engineers for over 17 years. Requirements matter … a lot. “Mission critical” is not just a saying. Converting requirement documents from paper and Office file formats to digital models is a process that takes equal parts discipline, ingenuity and culture change to achieve success. Abe and his colleague, Kevin Orr,shared their experience with this monumental transformation task working with the NASA requirements management process for mission and program integration (MAPI) to ensure the ISS has continuous operation and manages different payloads.
Kevin Orr and Abe Hudson
“Whether you’re in government, automotive, aerospace, or any number of other industries, software is where it’s at.”
– Dibbe Edwards, VP Connected Products, IBM Watson IoT
Building a digital twin is a journey. A journey with a road map and partners. Dibbe Edwards invited all engineers present (and those of you reading this) to join the new IBM Digital Twin beta program. Find out more on this website.
Thank you to everyone who joined us in New Orleans! It was a fascinating three days of great thinking, interesting conversations, good music and fantastic food. And if you’re ready to streamline your organization’s operations, we’re ready to help. Visit our site to learn how you can improve productivity with IBM’s Continous Engineering and IoT solutions.
If U.S. Senator of New Mexico Tom Udall’s call that “we must do better” to ensure connectivity in Indigenous communities set the tone, delegates of the Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) in Santa Fe this month left with little doubt in our ability to do so.
Whether it’s a pueblo at the top of a mountain or a fly-in region in the Arctic, Internet access in many Indigenous communities is characterized by high costs, low speeds, data caps and poor or non-existent service.
At the Internet Society, we work to make sure the Internet is open and accessible to everyone, everywhere. The ICS was the first event of its kind to focus on ensuring Alaska Native, American Indian, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities have access to affordable, high-quality and sustainable Internet access. We heard from several Indigenous community network operators in North America and abroad about their experiences and the impact it’s had on their communities.
Perhaps the most resonant and inspiring message at the ICS was the potential of Indigenous community networks to provide access where commercial networks do not reach or serve, or areas where they may not be economically viable to operate. Speakers shared success stories of surmounting tremendous obstacles to establish by-the-community-for-the-community networks to close connectivity and cultural gaps.
As Internet Society CEO Kathy Brown put it, “In order to be connected to the economic backbone of the 21st century you have to be connected.”
Similarly, community-driven networks are critical to self-determination. We know that when people get access to the Internet, amazing things can happen. They can share ideas, build communities, start businesses, improve health outcomes, access education opportunities and support cultural and language preservation. This list of possibilities is endless.
As several ICS attendees noted, successful community networks also involve community networking.
The ICS was a good starting venue for community network manager/operators, Indigenous-owned Internet service providers, community members, researchers and policy makers, and Indigenous leadership to have a broader discussion about the value of connecting with each other to build capacity. We’re incredibly grateful to the youth, participants and speakers who dedicated valuable time to contributing to well-rounded conversations.
But the work has just begun.
As Kathy said at the outset of the Summit, to be truly successful in our mission to ensure all communities can get connected, “We can’t just fly in and fly out.”
The ICS was the start of a much larger and very critical conversation about how we can work and partner with Indigenous communities to ensure they can connect themselves to the Internet on their own terms.
To keep the ball rolling, we are working on a report on the ICS to make knowledge publicly available and contribute to future discussions with key stakeholders.
Internet Society will also continue its work to foster an enabling environment where Indigenous communities can connect and build community networks. This includes developing strategic partnerships and supporting opportunities for education and capacity building, initiatives that promote infrastructure, as well as supportive governance and policies.
Just as community networks are built and operated by people working together and combining resources, it took many efforts to make ICS possible and accessible to all.
The Internet is a powerful tool for change, but we can’t meaningfully move forward if millions are left behind. ISOC was founded by some of the Internet’s earliest pioneers and we have an important mission to work for an Internet that is open, global and secure – today and for future generations.
We encourage all ICS delegates to keep the momentum going by sharing what they’ve learned with people in their own communities and networks. Use our discussions to set goals, influence policy makers, and develop solutions and business models that respond to individual community connectivity needs now and into the future.
Did you miss the Indigenous Connectivity Summit?
To learn more and access video of panels, presentations and discussion, please visit the event’s page.
On October 10, IBM Middle East hosted its 13th signature event: ‘The IBM Cognitive Summit: Genius of Things’ at the J.W. Marriot Marquis in Dubai. This was the latest event in the global roadshow that kicked off with the opening of the Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich earlier this year, and has brought the Internet of Things to life through events in Mumbai, Shanghai and Boston.
As you’d expect from something entitled ‘Genius of Things’ (or ‘GoT’, for short) the event itself was full of inspired moments. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.
Genius moment #1: 15 clients shared their journey of digital transformation: to Invent, Optimize and Transform
GoT Dubai saw IBM’s partners and clients come together in their mutual quest to achieve digital transformation with Watson IoT, Cognitive and Cloud. 15 of the top names in their respective industries joined IBM on stage to share their journey of digital transformation to achieve key outcomes of Invent; to create new revenue opportunities, Optimize; to achieve operational efficiency and Transform their customer experience.
Among them was DP World, one of the world’s largest port management companies. They shared their journey of enhancing operational efficiency in their terminals. DP World increases asset availability, gains predictive analytics and reduces operating costs to efficiently manage its port infrastructure.
Genius moment #2: Dubai’s connected vision: Smart Dubai Government
For an event exploring the concept of ‘digital transformation’, you’d be hard put to find a better location than Dubai. The city is home to some visionary IoT projects, pilot studies and even buildings, all designed to integrate the physical world with the digital.
Most striking, perhaps, is the Burj Khalifa – which bears the dual distinction of being the tallest building in the world, and ‘the smartest building in the UAE’, according to Honeywell. It stands an eye-watering 830 meters high, can withstand earthquakes up to 7.2 magnitude and, most significantly, is a completely connected building.
His Excellency Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government, joined us on stage to expand on this theme and share Smart Dubai Government’s vision of a connected city, driven by AI and Blockchain. Dubai has already embraced an ‘AI layer’, as he puts it. There is now has an AI agent that can answer 5,000 questions related to living in Dubai – everything from where to go out for dinner to how to renew your driver’s licence. You can watch his speech in the video below.
We were also joined by Bashar Kassab, Director Facilities Management, the Burj Khalifa who shared insights on what it’s like to maintain the experience of the tallest building in the world.
Genius moment #3: Blockchain’s not so mystifying in Dubai
Marie Wieck, IBM’s General Manager for Blockchain, spoke about embracing disruption with Blockchain. Normally, in events like this one, she is first to broach the subject. It’s also quite common for her to offer a brief summary of what blockchain technology entails, in tacit acknowledgement that this subject will be new(ish) to many. Not so at GoT Dubai. This time, Marie was not the first, but the third person to speak about Blockchain. Dubai is aiming to be the first blockchain city and our partners and clients are not only familiar with the concept, but are already adopting this relatively nascent technology in their businesses. How’s that for trailblazing!
Genius moment #4: Drones in Dubai
Michael Rudolph, Head of Airspace Safety at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) spoke about his work with IBM to help future-proof the drones industry. Keeping an eye on drones in flight and ensuring they don’t stray across other air traffic has traditionally been a major challenge, but the DCAA is now using IBM’s platform to improve the security of the skies by tracking drones in real time.
Elsewhere, in the hands-on, demonstration zones, event participants saw how drones could perform airport security checks and alert staff to the presence of unattended luggage. The alert would be broadcast to a central operations centre, managed by IBM’s Intelligent Operations Centre capabilities, where it could be dealt with in a timely manner.
Genius moment #5: Safeguarding endangered rhinos
The transformational reach of the IoT goes far beyond business and commerce. It can benefit the ecosystem, too. Sanjay Brahmawar explained how MTN, a leading African telecommunications provider is working with Wageningen University (WU) to protect endangered rhinos from poachers.
By kitting out prey animals such as zebra and wildebeest with collars containing embedded sensors, staff at Welgevonden Game reserve can track these animals in real time to identify threat-induced behavioural patterns. Using predictive analytics, staff can learn to differentiate between responses to specific threats – particularly spotlighting those caused by the presence of unknown humans. Over time, these technologies will make poaching predictable – and therefore much riskier to attempt.
Genius moment #6: Interactive, live-streamed demos
No cognitive summit is complete without a little hands-on playtime, and GoT Dubai is no exception. To demonstrate how the IoT can transform the customer experience, each demo booth sported beacons to capture the details of the people visiting. Using this information, we could customise the conversation with each person later in the event, depending on what they visited on the day.
The staff weren’t exempt, either. Everyone within IBM was asked to download an application designed to analyse driver behaviour in response to stimuli like road obstacles, traffic and speed limits, and keep it on while driving. Information from the app was collated to identify behavioural patterns from individual drivers, which we displayed in the demo zone dedicated to IBM’s IoT for Automotive solutions. Beyond making sure we all keep to the speed limit, a solution like this has far-reaching implications for fleet management, or indeed for any organization that employs drivers. The idea is that companies can understand how their motorists are handling their vehicles, and ensure they are driving safely, without being reliant on outside sources for this insight. Instead, it comes from the drivers themselves.
Genius moment #7: Connected drummers
Amr Refaat, IBM’s General Manager, Middle East & Pakistan, chose drummers to kick off his welcome speech. Not purely for the joyous racket, though that was certainly appreciated, but to show how the IoT could help monitor the drummers’ physical wellbeing as they performed.
One of the drummers wore a device which captured his heart beat in real time, and broadcast it to a demonstration about worker safety taking place outside the main room. The demonstration showed how connected sensors embedded in workers’ uniforms (or protective equipment) could help keep an eye on them as they worked in challenging physical conditions. Sensors could monitor external temperature, humidity, pressure and other measurables of the surrounding physical environment, as well as the person’s physical response to these pressures. The sensors could detect the onset of heat exhaustion, for example, and send an alert to remove the person from the environment to recover.
Drummers at GoT Dubai
GoT Dubai 2017: Celebrating a community of innovators
It’s often said that innovation doesn’t happen in a silo. To really create, we need partners to help us on our way. Digital transformation is a journey that requires collaboration and community to exist – working together to achieve something exceptional.
The Genius of Things roadshow is a celebration of collaborative working and partnership. Digital transformation can’t happen without raw data, and lots of it, but it also needs the capability to analyse, interpret and understand that data to unlock powerful new insights. At IBM, we have the experience, the platform and the technology to help achieve this. But we also need you. To find out how we can help drive your digital transformation, get in touch with an expert today.
Continue the conversation
You can catch up with video footage from Genius of Things: Dubai on our Highlights landing page, or join in the conversation on Twitter with the tag #IBMCSGoT. Don’t forget to bookmark the GoT 2017 tag for blogs from other events from the roadshow.