Most enterprises aren’t just talking IT Transformation anymore – they are placing big bets and big money on modernizing IT infrastructures. None of this is technology for technology’s sake — senior executives have clear business goals in mind when they invest in IT Transformation. Unfortunately, despite these major investments in time and money, many of them still haven’t found the secret to transformation success or how to deliver concrete business results from these efforts.A new study by Forbes Insights and Dell EMC released today shows that the number of organizations dedicating up to 50% of their budgets to IT Transformation will rise nearly fivefold by 2018. The most critical goals include the drive to reduce IT costs (75% of respondents), be first to market with new products and services (73%) and reallocating funds to strategic business projects (67%). With so much riding on these transformations, it’s critical to understand the potential barriers and how to overcome them.Why? Because leaders – where IT Transformation is established and starting to be viewed as a key strategic priority – are more than 2X as likely to report they are ahead of their competition and 2.5X more likely to report return on investment in 12 months or less.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLkb__MJKoMany enterprises still aren’t gaining a clear competitive advantage from transformation strategies. In fact, 59% say they’ve achieved parity with competitors. Less than stellar transformation results often center on problems that arise between two pivotal players — CIOs and CFOs, who struggle to work together as a team.According to the study, collaboration problems are exacerbated by conflicts arising from traditional reporting structures and a lack of new incentives aimed at fostering closer cooperation between CIOs and CFOs. CFOs point to problems stemming from a lack of business expertise among CIOs and the conflicting priorities of the two groups – although they also acknowledge that their own attitudes about the role of CIOs are outdated.An astounding 89% of senior executives surveyed acknowledge that significant barriers keep CIOs and CFOs from collaborating more closely on IT Transformation initiatives. Nearly all respondents (96%) see close CIO/CFO collaboration as being important or critical to business success; however less than 40% would describe it as excellent. Interestingly, when asked to rate the effectiveness of CIO/CFO collaboration, nearly three-quarters (72%) of CEOs and 63% of COOs consider it excellent.Realizing the full benefits of IT Transformation requires better CIO/CFO collaboration, but where do you start? The report recommends these 6 steps:Update reporting structures to address the evolving roles of CIOsCultivate change agents among CIOs and CFOsMeasure — and reward — CIO performance according to business outcomesSee ROI calculations as guides, not hard and fast requirementsImplement clear milestones to monitor the progress of higher risk initiativesTurn the IT department into a consultancyWhen CIOs and CFOs are in sync, the biggest benefit according to the respondents is the ability to react more quickly to market changes (22%), attract new customers in current markets (16%) and more quickly introduce new products and services requested by the business (14%). There is a lot at stake with IT Transformation, but with closer collaboration between CIOs and CFOs, leading enterprises can turn it into a strategy for business success.If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between CIOs and CFOs, and the impact it can have on IT Transformation, download the Forbes Insights report, “IT Transformation: Success Hinges on CIO/CFO Collaboration”.
Month: February 2021
Deep learning is hard. Between organizing, cleaning and labeling data, selecting the right neural network topology, picking the right hyperparameters, and then waiting – hoping – that the model produced is accurate enough to put into production. It can seem like an impossible puzzle for your data science team to solve.But the IT aspect of the puzzle is no less complicated, especially when the environment needs to be multi-user and support distributed model training. From choosing an operating system, to installing libraries, frameworks, dependencies, and development platforms, building the infrastructure to support your company’s deep learning efforts can be even more challenging than the data science. Add on top of that, the rapid pace of change in deep learning software and supporting libraries – many of which change monthly – creates a recipe for IT headaches.Containerization helps solve some of the IT complexity. Instead of your IT staff cobbling together dozens of libraries and dependent software packages to make your deep learning framework of choice function, you can download pre-configured containers which handle all of that. Or you can have your data scientists build custom containers to meet their specific needs. However, your IT department must still build and configure infrastructure for orchestrating those containers, while providing a resilient, scalable platform for your data science team to be as productive as possible.Nauta Deep Learning PlatformNauta software seeks to solve many of the problems associated with building container orchestration infrastructure for deep learning. Nauta is a containerized deep learning platform which uses Kubernetes for container orchestration. It provides an intuitive command-line interface for building, running, curating and evaluating experiments, and it includes must-have features such as Jupyter notebooks and Tensorboard.We’ve been using Nauta in the Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab, testing its features, functionality, extensibility, and ease of use. We use Nauta to run many of our cutting-edge deep learning research projects, including scalable convolutional neural network (CNN) training on chest xrays and ultra-scalable multi-head attention network training for language translation. It allows us to go from early proof-of-concept in Juypyter notebooks – to high-performance distributed training using the MPI-based Horovod framework for TensorFlow – to wide hyperparameter analysis for producing the most accurate model possible. Best of all, it’s a scalable platform built on top of Kubernetes and Docker, allowing us to easily share and replicate work between team members.In addition to training neural networks, Nauta also provides a mechanism for testing deployments of trained models. This allows us to evaluate model accuracy, benchmark performance, and test reduced-precision quantization on new hardware, such as the 2nd-Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor with Intel® Deep Learning Boost. Nauta allows inference on both batches of data, as well as streaming inference using REST APIs. And while Nauta isn’t expressly designed for production model deployment, the ability to evaluate trained models and experiment with reduced precision is an important component of the overall model development and deployment process.Looking ForwardThe Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab team continues to use, evaluate, report and resolve issues, and recommend improvements to Nauta. Select customers are also experimenting and evaluating Nauta on Dell EMC hardware, and Nauta will be a central component of future Ready Solutions. In the end, your company’s AI efforts are only going to be successful if the infrastructure is ready to support your data science team. Nauta provides an on-ramp for your IT organization and your data science team to get started training in an on-premises containerized environment quickly and easily.
Dell’s Experience Innovation Group (EIG) believes the future of personal computing lies in the combination of hardware and software to deliver immersive, predictive experiences. Recognizing that form factor plays a significant role in how we interact with technology. We began exploring multi-screen devices around a decade ago and have been working with partners to explore this deeper the last few years.Modern, smart and responsive devices have the potential of unlocking new ways of working; encouraging collaboration and boosting productivity. We have been exploring how to make user interactions with technology simple, natural, and intuitive. Even if it’s just shaving seconds off the log-in process as demonstrated with Dell ExpressSign-in, our aim is to make technology work better and harder for us as our usage models evolve.New category considerations and usesDell’s EIG has expertise in areas of innovation such as narrow display borders, all-day battery life, and revolutionary manufacturing techniques, but dual screen devices bring unique design and engineering considerations.The obvious benefit of having multiple displays is to multi-task. Today, it’s not uncommon for consumers to watch a movie on one device while looking up an actor’s filmography on a second screen. However, those use cases are only scratching the surface.We are designing dual-screen PCs to be productivity enabling experiences. Users will be able to complete multiple tasks more efficiently and seamlessly. For example, artists and architects will be able to create on one screen, while referencing photographs on another. You’ll be able to take notes on one screen, while the other shows the slides on a video call; or use one for composing an email, while another shows the spreadsheets you’re pulling data from. Imagine that in one light, mobile device.Two is better than one…but only if done right. User experience is king, and research plays a vital role in our design journey. We engaged a dedicated team of in-house user experience and behavioral psychology experts early in the concept development process.Psychology and habits play a huge part in the adoption of new technologies, and it is critical to understand how users respond to new product designs and experiences so that we get them right.Our agile development cycles mean that dual screens have taken various forms at Dell – some earlier concepts even made it as far as the prototyping stage back in 2017.Thanks to books, dual screen and foldable formats are familiar to us, and we see dual-screens as a natural evolution of the PC. However, we also know that users today have a strong emotional attachment to physical keyboards. Users will eventually shift to on-screen keyboards in the future or rely on voice-activation or pens. We are exploring ways to bridge these experiences and embrace the new rules of device interaction. We had to consider a range of usage scenarios and input methods: What advancements are needed to handle palm rejection on fully touch enabled surface? How do we make the device accessible for those with special needs?A big question: Since cats love to sit directly on keyboards, where will they park themselves in the future and how would a dual screen device react to their movements?Design iteration to deliver the perfect experienceThe above is only a handful of the factors we’ve had to consider as we work diligently to bring the best dual screen experiences to users. We have spent a lot of time exploring the balance between performance, power and overall aesthetics. For example, larger screens are preferred for productivity tasks, while users will continue to demand thinner and lighter devices. Of course, these all directly conflict with the need for ample battery life.Dell’s EIG will continue to work with partners and design, build, test and repeat. We’re excited about the evolution of the PC and expect applications to take advantage of dual screens to provide an enhanced experience. We are committed to ensuring Dell delivers the best dual-screen experience – one that we are proud to put our name to. Watch this space for further updates!
How can 5G accelerate manufacturing?With its increased speed, higher bandwidth and lower latency, fifth-generation wireless cellular technology, or 5G, has the potential to be a key enabler and accelerator of the next generation of smart manufacturing. Some advantages of this communications technology for industrial applications include:Higher Bandwidth – modern IIoT gateways and distributed edge compute architectures are creating an explosion of valuable plant data and 5G networks are ideally suited to keep up with this data delugeLower Latency – allowing devices to communicate more quickly and reliably is especially important for machine-to-machine communications to function effectivelyGreater Device Density – 5G has the potential to connect to more devices, up to 1 million per km2, critical for a factory full of sensorsDevice self-registration – time and costs associated with deployment, setup and commissioning will be greatly reducedIncreased Security – cellular networks are more difficult to hack than standard WiFi implementationsFewer Cells – cellular signals can travel farther than WiFi, requiring fewer cells vs access points in an equivalent networkLower Power – the NR (New Radio) specifications have the potential to reduce power consumption by up to 100xWhen will 5G accelerate manufacturing?But the ultimate future of widespread 5G deployments in factories is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. Initial investments in acquiring private spectrum, purchasing hardware and the associated costs with learning and managing a new technology will be significant, especially in the early stages. It will require a total workforce transformation.And while the initial rollout of 5G will be focused on an enhanced mobile broadband (eMMB) experience – mostly targeted at cell phones and tablets, the IIoT enhancements necessary for manufacturing deployments are not scheduled for the next “R-16” release. This includes the ability to use unlicensed spectrum, machine communication protocols (like eMTC enhanced machine-type communication and NB-IoT narrowband Internet of Things) and the lower latency improvements (eURLLC enhanced Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication) will not be available until late 2021. And the enhancements to the 5G radio for low power sensors and wearables is not expected until mid-2023. The transition to 5G is truly a journey and will not happen overnight.Scheduled Availability of 5G IIoT CapabilitiesWhat about technology we already have?Standard WiFi is not going away either. Newer technologies are on the horizon, offering improvements over existing wireless infrastructures. Following the well-known 802.11ac WiFi standard, the next generation will technically be 802.11ax, but will be known as WiFi 6. WiFi 6 will be up to four times faster in device-dense areas and offer much greater bandwidth than its predecessor.There is no shortage of interest and excitement around 5G for manufacturing, but the debate on its advantages vs WiFi will only intensify as the next generation WiFi 6 is released. Ultimately the market will decide which is the preferred technology to use, and most likely it will be a hybrid combination of the two. In any case, smart manufacturers know that this next generation of wireless connectivity will be enabled and accelerated by a modern infrastructure that includes distributed compute architectures to support the significant data streams being created.No matter the direction, Dell Technologies can help with the transition to whatever the wireless connectivity future holds. Enabling the transformational business outcomes promised by the IIoT will require a next generation digital infrastructure that only the Dell Technologies portfolio of companies and solutions can provide to build a truly integrated, converged, future-proof solution for all industrial customers.
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has indicted the owner and editor-in-chief of the country’s largest independent group of newspapers and TV stations, along with two former government officials in a decades-old case related to allegations of tax evasion in a real estate purchase. Mir Shakilur Rehman’s Jang Group of Newspapers, which includes Geo TV, has been critical of the government. He was arrested in March 2020 by the National Accountability Bureau and released months later on bail. His lawyer says Rehman was indicted on Thursday in the city of Lahore. He’s accused of purchasing government land in violation of rules, a charge he denies.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — As legal weed becomes a reality across the U.S., Idaho is putting up a fight. A proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent the legalization of pot in the state moved forward on Friday. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted to approve a joint resolution that bans all psychoactive drugs not already legal in the state. Backers say the state Constitution needs to be changed because neighboring states have approved marijuana use, and it could happen in Idaho. Those opposed say medical marijuana is needed for residents suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. The measure would have to pass the Senate and House with a two-thirds majority before going to voters in Nov. 2022.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada officials will consider next month whether to rename McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. The Las Vegas Sun reports the all-Democratic Clark County Commission is set to consider the proposal at a Feb. 16 meeting. Reid is a Democrat and the former Senate Majority Leader who retired from the Senate in 2016. There have been longstanding calls to rename the airport from its current namesake, former Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran. He served as one of Nevada’s senators from 1933 until his death in 1954, and was known for anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views.