Archive for the ‘IBM’ Category

IBM Facilitates Serverless Computing With OpenWhisk

Monday, December 19th, 2016

“Going serverless” is rapidly becoming the deployment option of choice for developers looking for maximum flexibility.

It just makes sense: Why take on the additional responsibility, complexity, and cost of provisioning and configuring servers, when your code can simply be ready when you are—called on an event basis and billed according to resources consumed, not server time.

IBM has made significant investments in OpenWhisk, an open-source, event-driven FaaS platform. OpenWhisk is now generally available via Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform.

Recently accepted into the open community of Apache developers, OpenWhisk now includes new services such as:

  • Instant debugging for Node.js, Python and Swift actions
  • Integration with Message Hub, a Bluemix-hosted Apache Kafka service for real-time build outs of data pipelines and streaming apps
  • Support for new runtimes such as Java, Node v6, Python and Swift v3
  • An extension for Visual Studio Code
  • A new and improved user interface to simplify browser-based development and testing

Santander Group, one of the world’s top banks by market capitalization, is adopting OpenWhisk to speed time-to-market for its digital banking services.

“OpenWhisk provides the instant infrastructure we need for intense tasks and unexpected peaks in workload,” said Luis Enriquez, head of platform engineering and architecture at Santander Group, “and is a key building block as we move to a real-time and event-driven architecture.”

Learn more about why OpenWhisk is the most flexible serverless computing platform for enterprise here.

Bluemix and Millennial-Targeting Ingenuity Kickstarted This Startup

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Millennials are using social media in droves — and businesses are listening. But how do businesses turn all that communication into profitable engagement?

MutualMind, a startup using IBM’s Bluemix developer portal, made it work, attracting angel investors and eventually getting acquired by forward-looking marketing firm Shapiro+Raj.

The vast majority of millennials use digital channels to research, criticize, or get support from companies, and social media significantly affects their purchasing decisions. 85% of millennials use social media to research products and services. MutualMind’s approach to hearing and activating this conversation, manifested through Bluemix, is what attracted investors.  

Here are three features that led to MutualMind’s success:

The feature: Integration with Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing system.

Why it’s important: Sentiment analysis is a critical tool in analyzing the casual speech that rules social media.

The feature: The Adaptive Listening interface allows businesses using MutualMind to spot and react to mentions immediately.

Why it’s important: 42% of consumers who make a complaint on social media expect a response within the hour. When millennials have a chance to interact with brands in a meaningful and timely way, they’re much more inclined to be loyal to, or even evangelize them.

The feature: A Command Center that pulls a business’s relevant social data into one dashboard, with real-time visualizations.

Why it’s important: With constant activity on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more, millennials don’t just use one platform to communicate. To get a handle what they’re saying, you have to defragment the landscape.

Fuse Bluemix with your startup today to embrace over 130 services that can push your enterprise to the next level.

IBM Brings New Depth to Blockchain Ecosystem For Developers

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

“The future growth and adoption of blockchain is reliant upon building a strong ecosystem,” says Bridget Van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Industry Platforms.

The blockchain is here. From its underground start as the base technology behind popular crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, to its enormous potential as a secure, distributed transaction layer for business, blockchain is slowly coming of age.

Like so many promising technologies, blockchain is going to need adoption at scale by entire industries in order to hit maturity.

IBM’s recently launched Blockchain Ecosystem is intended to be just that: An open source, openly governed, cross-industry effort to advance the Linux Foundation blockchain technology known as The Hyperledger Project.

“The growing maturity of the Hyperledger Project code is a major milestone,” says Van Kralingen, “that’s why IBM is investing to help developers accelerate the creation of blockchain networks by providing an environment where these players can work together.”

IBM’s Blockchain Ecosystem already includes dozens of players including Cloudsoft, EY, Everledger, Gliding Eagle, HACERA, The Hive, and Mooti Blockchain Digital Identity.

For more details, visit the IBM Blockchain Ecosystem page.

IBM SmartCamp Shines a Light On London’s Burgeoning Tech Ecosystem

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

If you read media coverage of the Canadian tech startup scene, you’re used to seeing the same three regions listed time and time again: Vancouver, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Toronto. But there’s a wealth of incredible tech talent in other cities across Canada and thanks in part to the rise of “demo days” and accelerators, those companies are starting to break through to get attention.

Case in point: London, Ontario’s SmartCamp Pitch Competition happening December 14 will push Canadian tech talent onto an international stage.

Co-hosted by London’s own TechAlliance and IBM Canada, the event provides an opportunity for seven applicants to live-pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The prize: Winning a top-spot at the SmartCamp Global Finals at San Francisco’s LAUNCH Festival in April, 2017.

“It’s a great opportunity for our local entrepreneurs,” says Marilyn Sinclair, President & CEO of TechAlliance, which will be actively helping competitors craft their pitches, as well as offering support after the event.

Sinclair thinks London’s SmartCamp event is the perfect vehicle to help shine a light on the city’s burgeoning tech community. “We have a very diverse tech sector,” she says.

That diversity is one reason why Sinclair thinks London, Ont. doesn’t always get the attention of tech hubs like Kitchener-Waterloo, an ecosystem that is packaged and branded in a familiar way for the venture capital world.

Nevil Knupp, IBM CanadaNevil Knupp, Client Executive and Sales Transformation Leader at IBM Canada, agrees.

“There is an incredibly deep and diverse pool of talent in London,” he says. “The skilled individuals that graduate from Fanshawe College and Western University are world class and many seek to build new businesses that help solve real problems for today’s consumer and commercial enterprises. With IBM’s support and leadership in projects like SmartCamp, we are helping to make these opportunities possible.”

IBM is supporting SmartCamp competitors with an offering of cloud, cognitive and analytics tools and services — of the seven teams competing, three will win funding through IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program.

“We’re helping young Canadian companies innovate and be successful in Canada,” says Knupp. “We are enabling these companies to get off the ground and have a chance to be successful by giving them access to all the tools and technology they would need in the IBM Cloud platform.”

Winning a pitch competition takes more than raw talent, however, and Sinclair and Knupp have some advice for London-based entrepreneurs looking to bring their A-game: “We’re looking for solutions to real-world problems,” Knupp says.

And those solutions need to be unique, he points out, warning that founders should be prepared to show that their business “goes above and beyond any run-of-the-mill app.”

The pitch won’t be won on uniqueness alone, Knupp adds, indicating that the founders themselves will be judged too. “We’re looking for people who are extremely bright, capable and ideally have a track record in something else they’ve already done.”

Sinclair takes a similar view: “You could have a good idea but it has to be matched with the right entrepreneur.”

If there’s one thing she thinks founders should keep in mind as they get ready to wow the judges: “Be very clear and concise.”

To attend IBM SmartCamp in London, ON, register free here.

New Bluemix Hub Supercharges Toolchain Functionality

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

In the DevOps world, consistency and automation are wonderful things. Both help reduce errors, speeding the delivery of bug-free, production-ready code.

To create a really powerful DevOps environment, developers need flexibility to use the right tools for the right function, without being locked in. That’s why toolchains have become so popular, and why IBM continues to support and expand the use of them throughout its Bluemix cloud development platform.

To help with the sometimes tough task of managing toolchains, IBM is releasing the IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery service with GitHub and Slack integration. It acts as a central hub for quickly creating, managing and scaling toolchains.

Continuous Delivery templates the toolchain function, giving users the ability to clone and modify existing templates that help build microservices, containers or cloud-native applications.

With the advent of Continuous Delivery, IBM has also added integrations with popular solutions such as GitHub, Slack, PagerDuty and SauceLabs: services that developers already rely on for both their personal and professional projects.

Startups Vie For $25,000 Investment at IBM SmartCamp

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

IBM SmartCamp could provide your startup with “life-changing” opportunities, according to Yoly Avalos, Founder and CEO of Bquate.

But if you are one of the global top ten winners, it could be worth $25,000 of investment and a spot in the LAUNCH Incubator in San Francisco.

IBM SmartCamp is a global pitch competition for early-stage startups hosted by IBM and LAUNCH. From Amsterdam to Wilmington, DE, chosen startups will take part in a startup bootcamp and compete in a round of live pitches.

If you want in at this early stage, sign up to IBM Bluemix today.

Ten semi-finalists selected from around the world will exhibit at the LAUNCH Festival, San Francisco’s biggest startup conference, before the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals kick off. They will demonstrate their solutions to top founders and investors, and gain priceless networking opportunities.

Three finalists will emerge from a round of onstage pitching to win a spot in the SmartCamp Global finals and an interview with Jason Calacanis, host of This Week in Startups. The overall winner will win a place in the LAUNCH Incubator and a $25,000 investment from the LAUNCH Fund.

If your city is below, there’s still time to sign up.

Deadlines remaining

Cairo — November 26
Denver — November 30
Dubai — December 8
London, Ont. — December 1
Singapore — November 27


Why developers should sign up to SmartCamp

Ultra-HD Special Effects Powered by IBM Cloud

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Prana Studios, the award-winning 3-D graphics and visual effects company behind Disney hits like Planes, is using IBM Cloud infrastructure in the production of an Ultra-High Definition project for an upcoming deluxe theme park attraction.

Over 1,000 bare-metal IBM Cloud servers were used in rendering the photo-realistic 3-D stereo presentation. The project’s resolution was twelve times larger than 1920×1080 Full HD, and designed to be played through 12 projectors on a 400-ft wide screen at 60 frames per second—nearly three times HD’s frame rate.

“Scaling to cloud was the logical next step for us to continue to operate efficiently even on such a complex project,” said Anish Mulani, President and COO of Prana Studios.

With significantly large file sizes involved, Prana Studios also needed the cloud solution to help reduce download times so that it would work within their tight time constraints.

Prana Studios

Rendering files were output from IBM Cloud to Prana’s on-site servers using IBM Aspera high-speed file transfer technology. Prana was able to make creative changes under client direction without dramatically altering the production schedule of the show.

For more on cloud technology on IBM Bluemix, click here.

Project Intu Adds Cognitive Capabilities to Any Device

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Five years after winning Jeopardy! on American televisions, IBM Watson can now become part of the television itself, thanks to the new experimental platform Project Intu.

Project Intu, which is not yet in beta, can embed Watson’s cognitive capabilities into nearly any device. Developers can now incorporate Watson APIs, such as emotional analysis and image recognition, into avatars, robots, drones, and IoT devices.

The platform was announced by Elliot Turner, Director of Alchemy & Discovery at IBM Watson, at the Watson Developer Conference.

“IBM is taking cognitive technology beyond a physical technology interface like a smartphone or a robot toward an even more natural form of human and machine interaction,” said Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and CTO of IBM Watson.

According to research firm IDC, the demand for cognitive-enabled applications is accelerating rapidly. In a recent report, it predicted that 75 percent of developer teams would be including cognitive functionality in one or more applications by 2018.

Intu is system-agnostic and can be built on a wide variety of OSs, as well as the Raspberry Pi. The platform is ready for experimentation at the Watson Developer Cloud and on GitHub.

#WatsonDevCon: The Rise of the Bots

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

It’s been just two weeks since IBM showed off the power and future of Watson in Las Vegas, and the company is at it again. This time in San Francisco, and this time with a deep developer focus.

Taking place at the Innovation Hangar in downtown San Francisco, IBM’s Watson Developer Conference was home to thousands of developers, coming from all over the world to learn about the power of cognitive technology.

Opening the event, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty set the tone for what’s to come in the world of tech.

IBM Chief Digital Officer Bob Lord made a major announcement, impacting designers, developers, data scientists, and programmers.

While the conversation centered around cognitive technology, attendees were especially interested in the topic of bots.

To say people were excited would be an understatement.

Then again, judging by how far language and tone analysis has come with IBM Watson, “excited” might be just the word needed to appropriately generate a positive sentiment data set.

The top bot-related takeaways from #WatsonDevCon

1) Developers who are building bots need to keep it simple. Don’t throw the kitchen sink at the bot dev process.

Consider the language, tone, and sentiment of users to build-in appropriate responses.

2) What kinds of user experiences should bots create? Conversational or intelligent conversation? These questions generated a few different perspectives from speakers at #WatsonDevCon.

First, developers need to think about how and where someone will use a bot. Some conversations don’t need to appear to be driven by intelligence if they’re just functional.

There are a few things that are important to consider in making a bot feel conversational.

Or maybe it’s more simple than that. Amir Shevat, Director of Developer Relations at Slack, said bots should pass the beer test, not the Turing test.

3) The bot revolution is just beginning.

While bots can already do a lot, panelists on the “Intelligent User Engagement with Chat Bots” panel agreed that there is much opportunity ahead in totally untouched areas and industries.

For businesses that are transitioning to use bots and cognitive technology, the opportunity for developers has become clear.

But opportunity doesn’t stop there.

The final takeaway from #WatsonDevCon: bots are poised to change more than just the world of tech, they’ll soon change tertiary industries and professions as well.

Watson Developer Conference Augments SF’s Intelligence

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The IBM Watson Developer Conference kicks off November 9th in the heart of San Francisco, and TechPORTFOLIO will be there delivering live insights.

The three tracks of IBM Watson development content will be delivered in Spotlight and Flash talks, giving attendees and our readers a chance to Envision, Explore, and Engage.

From cognitive-enhanced fun in the Watson Beat: Making Music Cognitive session to a crucial security discussion in the Hacking with a Purpose: Safer Communities Through Mobile Tech seminar, this conference will deliver an augmented vision of IBM Watson’s capabilities for developers in all sectors of enterprise and industry.

Experts from Uber, OmniEarth, Slack, and of course IBM Watson will get to the heart of making business, science, education, and the arts cognitive. As with all great tech revolutions, the cognitive age begins when developers truly get excited.

On-site developers will have access to a brand new Watson Developer Certification.

If you can’t be there in person, make sure to follow along on Twitter.

To learn more about Watson’s capabilities, click here.