InterConnect 2016: Cloud is not the Destination, it’s the Innovation Platform
By Dan Kehn
This is a quick recap of the week that was InterConnect 2016.
One impression I was left with versus last year’s InterConnect is how much the industry has settled on the question of cloud computing. While many of last year’s attendees asked themselves “What is cloud computing and does it affect me?”, this year’s attendees were either already in the process of integrating cloud platforms into their I/T strategies or planning to do so in 2016. Simply stated, it’s no longer if but when and to what degree. Hence the three conference themes centered around transformation really resonated.
PS: For those who were not able to attend, check out IBMgo, the sessions highlighted in the video list below, and of course the posts tagged #interconnect in this blog.
Day 1: Digital Business Transformation
To emphasize the point that InterConnect is really owned by customers, the first session was opened by a trio of IBM clients: Westpac, SIEMENS, and Alpha Modus.
Alpha Modus recounted how they leveraged Watson Cognitive services on Bluemix to spot changing market sentiment. Bill Alessi provided a real-world example where an announcement by the Federal chair prompted a positive market reaction, but their analysis suggested it would be short-lived; this insight proved useful to their clients who were able to adjust their exposure accordingly.
This was followed by a flurry of announcements including:
Senior VP Robert Leblanc closed out the session with a reminder followed by a challenge: The cloud isn’t the destination, it’s the platform. How are you going to innovate?
Day 2: IT Transformation
As with the prior session, Day 2 was opened by IBM customers, beginning with Mark Keller of Coretech WPP. He shared the story of one of his client’s, Hogarth Worldwide.
Hogarth Worldwide needed to manage huge amounts of data for ad campaigns. Each of the 20 ad campaigns were comprised of several videos rendered in multiple languages and locale differences.
Hogarth’s success hinged on digital transformation to address their considerable storage and archival requirements. Coretech recommended Cleversafe, which slices data, encodes the pieces, and stores them in multiple sites. This disbursed data storage strategy eliminates excessive redundancy.
Next Tom Rosamilla, Senior VP, IBM Systems, offered advice on mastering the hybrid cloud strategy:
- Integration. This begins by mastering the hybrid cloud, where the key is open interfaces and open APIs.
- Data. Over 90% is never looked at, and 70% is irrelevant tomorrow. Inline analytics within the transaction enable businesses to capture otherwise lost “dark data”.
- Operations. Service providers have a simple requirement: I have to be available, period. Time to think differently about infrastructure!
While these transformational changes are unavoidable, you don’t have to sacrifice stability if you have the right mix of legacy and new systems enabled by a hybrid cloud approach.
Next David Kenny, General Manager for IBM Watson, introduced four new APIs that look at the human condition:
- Tone Analyzer – provides insights on the message behind the message.
- Emotion analysis – identifies joy, sadness, disgust, anger. These assessments can be helpful when analyze social media posts and reviews.
- Expressive text to speech – Adds emotional intonation like excitement, enthusiasm, or disgust when reading back text.
- Visual recognition – improvements to flat visuals and video analysis, enabling you to better analyze what customers are saying about your company.
To demonstrate how to apply this technology, Connectidy (“dating app for evolved people”) explained how they use Watson Personality Insights rather than a questionnaire. Connectidy’s analysis may be more insightful and honest than self-reported questionnaire responses. Watson can also offer coaching on word choice to be sure the sender conveys their meaning accurately, a sort of “spellcheck for emotions” on text communications.
Day 3: Personal Transformation
The closing session was indeed a lesson in personal transformation; it began with the inspirational story of Simon Wheatcroft, blind since the age of 17, leveraging technology to fulfill his dream of becoming a competitive long-distance runner.
Simon was joined on stage by Runkeeper founder Jason Jacobs who explained that they handle 100 terabytes of data from 50 million users in over 200 countries. Jacob asks “How can we gain insight from this data and personalize the functionality?” Later Adam Kocoloski of IBM Cloud Data Services explained how IBM helped Runkeeper scale by porting its data to Cloudant, allowing Runkeeper to focus on user experience, not the infrastructure’s data layer.
W.C. Field is credited with saying “Never work with children or animals” because they’re sure to upstage your performance. This adage was proven true by Tanmay Bakshi, a 12 year old who delighted the audience with his story of how he became an online coding instructor on YouTube and AppStore developer:
His latest project is “Ask Tanmay?”, a web application that combines Watson analysis and Google results, so its assessment of accuracy to a given question/answer is dynamic. The evaluation isn’t just keywords, but content pulled from Google matches into Watson Relationship Extraction (BETA). Tanmay demonstrated several questions/answers live. He handled a few demo mishaps better than most adult presenters!
By the way, if you’ve had a rough day at work, read Ruth Ann’s post-conference reportPower of technology is changing people’s lives. It’s a short, inspirational reminder how the technology we use everyday has the potential to improve the human condition for thousands of people.
Discover how IBM’s Bluemix relieve the stress of maintenance updates and deployment times – CLICK HERE
Article was originally posted here