When Dell agreed to pay a jaw-dropping $67-billion for EMC, it made official the belief that the IT landscape is undergoing radical transformation, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When computer maker Dell announced this week it would pay $67-billion for storage giant EMC, it marked not only the biggest technology acquisition in history, but also a major shift in the information technology landscape.
EMC happens to own a majority share of the biggest cloud computing company in the world, VMWare, which will remain a listed company. Arguably, Dell was after this business, with its highly strategic positioning at the heart of the digital revolution. Analysts applauded the deal, which they believe will spur growth in EMC as well as in its underlying businesses.
The deal was announced on the eve of the annual VMworld conference in Barcelona, where 10 000 attendees from 96 countries gathered to hear company executives pronounce on the future of the cloud. In the wake of the buy-out announcement, their messages took on new significance.
“There are tectonic shifts under way and the merger is just a piece of that,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. “In the next decade, 40 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies will be no more. Inaction becomes the biggest risk a business can take today.”
He outlined several imperatives that, he said, would shape VMware.
“First, elephants must learn to dance. That means we have to innovate like a start-up, while delivering like an enterprise.
“Second, we are moving from an experimental phase to the professional era of the cloud. We are meeting the information security challenge of protecting people, applications and data, and we can deliver a comprehensive security solution for the first time in history.”
In an exclusive interview, company president Carl Eschenbach said that there was a natural affinity between VMware and Dell, as the two companies had been in a strategic partnership for a decade already.
Dell is a global leader in computer servers that underpin company networks, while VMware is a leader in systems that help companies manage data centres in which the servers are housed. The deal would make both companies more effective in meeting market needs.
“It gives us a converged infrastructure across three areas: network, compute and storage,” said Eschenbach. “We have the storage and network, but don’t have a compute platform. Dell brings that to the table, and allows us to build a converged infrastructure stack.”
From a sales point of view, he said, it was like putting together pieces of a puzzle.
“One of the biggest benefits is a non-technology one; it’s a new go-to-market opportunity. EMC has been focused on large enterprises, while Dell sells into the mid-market and small and medium businesses. Now we have the entire market segment covered to sell our solutions through Dell and EMC.”
The timing of the deal, he believes, could not have been better, as businesses are waking up to the strategic importance of information technology and the move into the cloud.
“The IT organisation needs to change and transform. People think of IT as just a cost centre, as just the plumbing that keeps a business up and running. In the past, most senior executives would ask for more costs to be taken out of IT.
“Now people are realizing that, if we can build new agile frameworks and bring products and services to market faster, it can be an enabler for growth. If you listen to the next generation of CEOs, they talk about digital transformation, and how it can drive top-line growth.”
Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults
An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.
Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.
These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.
Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:
- The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
- The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
- The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
- The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
- The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
- The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.
The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been.
“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured. The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.
“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’.
“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves. Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).
“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”
For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.
Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry
Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time.
Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable.
We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks.
So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility?
Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly.
The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.
Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.