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Data beyond boundaries

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Although disruptive technologies like cloud and mobile are driving transformation, they are putting CIOs under pressure to deliver a good combination of business value and competitive edge in the ever changing IT environment, says ANURAG AREN.

The latest disruptive technologies such as the cloud, social media, mobility and more are driving digital transformation, creating new and innovative ways of doing business. However, this prevailing trend, while it has the potential to be enormously beneficial, is putting increasing pressure on CIOs to deliver the right combination of business value and competitive edge in an ever-changing technology environment. In addition, customers increasingly expect a seamless, intuitive IT experience, which CIOs must then deliver. The data centre, as the heart of the modern organisation, needs to adapt in order to enable the delivery of agile, flexible services required for a customer-centric enterprise. The Boundary-less Data Centre (BLDC) has thus emerged as the catalyst for this change, driving a new model of ‘workload centric’ IT services that empowers the customer to sense and respond as per value and cost effective services to the business.

Current IT and data centre challenges

One of the most significant challenges today is that the data centre is not optimised, nor is it aligned with business strategy, requirements and outcomes. Organisations are constrained by legacy IT environments, operational issues, lack of appropriate IT compute resources, obsolete technology and more. The current IT landscape is not agile enough to enable faster time to market of new products and expedite release of applications, which reduces competitive advantage. Turnaround time on new releases is slow and the cost is prohibitive if the same hardware and software is used as it has been utilised in the past. Organisations are challenged with the need to reduce costs and cycle times while focusing on the end user experience, becoming predictive in their approach to business, and learning to become workload-centric.

The BLDC is the solution to these challenges, offering a software-defined data centre architecture that is responsive to business outcomes. It serves as underlying enabling technology to allow organisations to become more agile and cater to customer requirements. IT resources including networking, storage and compute can be commissioned in an instant through a self-service portal. Importantly, these resources can be decommissioned as necessary, allowing the organisation to only pay for what they use, when they use it. Utilising a BLDC, organisations are able to seamlessly deliver workloads using a combination of resources from a hybrid cloud-based environment. In addition, the BLDC is hyper-resilient for maximum uptime, and as a software-defined approach is at the core of the offering, it creates a cloud-ready architecture that enables organisations to embrace next-generation technologies such as social, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The advantages of the BLDC

Since a BLDC can be delivered in a variety of different models, including outsourced, in-house or a hybrid Data centres, a key advantage of a BLDC is that the business is not locked into a particular technology or vendor platform. In addition, organisations can leverage significant performance improvements and cost savings. Organisations can be competitive with hardware costs decreased between 30 to 70%, and software licences can be reduced by between 20 to 50%).

In addition, the BLDC facilitates improved alignment between business and IT, as well as pooling of resources for the seamless consumption of IT as well as reduced total cost of ownership. The end user experience is optimised, and the resources consumed by IT can be scaled up and down according to requirements. In addition, agility is improved for faster go to market as well as enhanced automation and automatic scaling of infrastructure to meet demand. This BLDC approach is coupled with role based security and Policy based governance.

These benefits enable organisations to become more flexible, more agile and ultimately more competitive. Costs are automatically reduced by virtue of ensuring optimal technology utilisation, and IT infrastructure is future-proofed. In addition, organisations can quickly launch applications, enhance the end user experience, and expand vertically and horizontally into existing markets with delta incremental cost compared to doing so utilising legacy infrastructure.

The journey toward BLDC

Many organisations have already begun to work towards embracing digitisation and cloud-based technologies, however, this often proves to be a ‘hit and miss’ learning curve as they work towards the desired outcome. Every CIO knows that cloud is successful but is worried about how to get there with minimal risk and assured outcomes. Partnering with an expert service provider can help organisations to reduce the time this process takes, assisting organisations to become more agile sooner, remain competitive and meet changing customer demand.

* Anurag Aren, Head of Global Infrastructure Services at Wipro.

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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.

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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.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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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.

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