IT Conferences 2016

Focus on Cognitive Computing

- IBM Business Connect in Copenhagen

Post date: Oct 28, 2016 7:36:28 AM

Yesterday Safepark attended IBM Business Connect 2016 (#IBMBCDK) at the Tivoli Hotel &Congress Center in Copenhagen. We there partly due to Niels Jensen's involvemen with Lyle the Patient Support Group for Lymphoma, Leukemia and MDS in Copenhagen and partly due to our involvement with a intelligent operator support system being developed in collaboration between a research group at DTU and a Norwegian company involved in off-shore platform control system development. It turned out to be well worth our time.

Earllier this year IBM's CEO announced at the World Health Care Congress a partnership between IBM and American Cancer Society to provide personalized support for cancer patients and their relatives using the capabilities of IBM Watson (read the announcement here.). We would dearly want Kræftens Bekæmpelse (Danish Cancer Society) enter into a similar collaboration with IBM Denmark. Unfortunately this requries Watson to speak Danish, and this is currently not one of IBM Watson's capabilities. However, thanks to GapGemini in Norway we know know, that it took about 4 months for IBM Watson to learn Norwegian, and if the recently announced IBM Innovation Center in Copenhagen is to be a success, then IBM Watson must speak the local language - I think. Well, that was a sidestep.

Already the opening keynote feature two presentations from IBM customers in Denmark, who are already using the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson in the businesses. The first were Novo Nordisk who in the new world of IoTT have to cope with data not from 1000 or 2000 patients involved in a clinical trial, but in near future with data from millions of connected diabetic patients. These data most be handled securely, and the data most be turned into insight to help the patients. The second were ISS, who wont to use IoTT to provide facility management for building. As an introductory case and - I guess - a demonstration windows the company's headquarters in Copenhagen have been transformed using IoTT. As an example can the cafeteria manager in real time monitor how many clean plates are left, and a reservation of a meeting room in which no movement is detected can automatically be chancelled a certain time after the meeting should have started.

Following the keynote there were two times two parallel sessions. One was about product development, when data are the new co-worker. In this session a CBS professor talked about their involvement with the Roskilde Festival and how they used data from mobile phones to plan logistics of everyting, from when to be ready to serve 2000 pork sandwiches an hour to when to empty toilet containers. In the same session another company explained how they used wheather data to close sewer lines during major rainstorms to avoid sewer water in basements. This technology was originally developed for single family phones, but are now being adapted to apartment buildings. Other sessions during this part of the day focussed on cognitive technology as a catalysator, 2. generation digitalisation and technology & innovation.

The afternoon featured 2 tracks of up to nine parallel sessions. One was cognitive business of which a large part was health care. Here we learned about a recent partnership between IBM and Tekes in Finland to apply the IBM Watson technology to completely change health care in that country over the next few years. We asked if IBM Watson had been used to evaluate medical images, such as X-ray scans, CT-scans and MRI-scans, and got a rather weak answer. After the session we learned from another IBM co-worker, that IBM Watson is being trained to evaluate X-ray scan, which are simpler than the other types of medical images. We also attended a session hosted by BP3 Global on Smarter Process in which they cleverly had create a complaint handling system with the aid of IBM Watson in order to get us started thinking about the ethical issues and legal issues in employing cognitive technology.

The afternoon ended by a talk by Cyborg Neil Harbisson, who has an antenna connected to his brain. The implant convert colors to frequencies of different sounds.The technology actually allows him to perceive both infrared and ultraviolet areas of the spectrum.The day was wrapped up by wrap-upper Per Vers with a ten minute tour de force of what we had experienced during the day.

"Big Data"

- the latest IT buss word or a business tool?

Post date: Sep 16, 2016 3:32:40 PM

Today Safepark attended a morning seminar at Scion DTU title "Big Data for professionals" in order to get some feeling for what this latest IT buss word really mean. We got away somewhat disappointed - but maybe we are not professional enough to get the message.One of the first slides (see picture to the left) gave the following definition of Big Data: "The practices and technology that close the gab between the data available and the ability to turn that data into business insight". That was wonderful! Now we know, that Big Data consist of two things: practices (skills) and technology.

Unfortunately the focus of the presentation was on examples of the practices and technology you could buy as a service from vendors such as IBM. We had expected - given the location of the presentation - that we would get away with some knowledge of the underlying technology, such as Hadoop to handle large datasets, and the statistical tool "R" to get answers to specific questions our of the data. We did get some information about in memory databases, such as SAP Hana and Microsoft SQL, but no information about open source alternatives such as Redis, SQLite or UnQLite for capital constraint startups. We also heard about the business model behind IBM Watson, and some examples of its capabilities. It was mentioned, that IBM Watson could act as an intelligent assistant for a doctor - or if they don't want such an assistant - as a for-a-fee cloud services for individuals. We look forward to hear more about the capabilities of IBM Watson at IBM Business Connect next month.

Scion DTU Hardware Breakfast

Post date: May 4, 2016 6:30:25 PM

Today Safepark attended a Hardware Breakfast at Scion DTU in Kgs.Lyngby just north of Copenhagen. Hardware Breakfast is a new event at which Scion DTU shows off prototype and hardware products in development by some of the many startup company, who take advantage of being close to DTU - one of the largest engineering universities in Norther Europe.

At todays event more than 20 startups showed and demonstrated their products, and Scion DTU explained that hardware focused startups today account for about 50% of the companies in DTU's Sciences and Technology Park.Here just a few of the companies will be mentioned. For a complete list go to the Scion DTU homepage.

Fluidan is a company which focus on making equipment for real time rheology measurements for use in online process control applications. They demonstrated their liquid rheometer at the event, but told that they also have a prototype which can perform the equivalent of a melt index measurement of plastic. For more information take a look at the attached brochure or go to the company website. The technology, which this company is developing is something, which one of us dreamed about when developing online multivariable control for a polyethylene reactor based on infrequent process samples and laboratory measurements of melt index and density.

Jakob Andersen from MASH Biotech shared some diagrams, which he had created about the collaboration opportunities which are available at DTU. We have attached a copy as a PDF-file, and one of the diagrams is shown to the left. This diagram shows what your DTU collaborators expect to get out of the collaboration.

Another startup OCTLIGHT worked on a prototype for 3D imaging of your eye for quick and better diagnosis of eye problems. Their aim is to develop a devise, which can be used by either a local eye doctor or your GP. Naturally the company already collaborate with the leading eye specialist in the Copenhagen area. Remote sharing of the 3D image during diagnosis of rare diseases is also being considered.

Also displayed at the Hardware Breakfast was sensor build into a wall, color coating of titanium objects, use of oxygen-15 in medical scanning, and a chimney for improved burning in wood burning stoves. LED iBOND innovative use of LEDs both for retrofit of old lamps and for better industrial lighting was also impressive. I wonder if this technology could be made safe for use as outdoor lighting in refineries and chemical plants? I am thinking of new internals for existing lamps - not replacing old lamps with new ones. Retrofitting a large facility could potentially save significantly on the lightning bill, and possibly contributed to a safer workplace during night hours.

Safepark can highly recommend, that you go to Scion DTU website, and subscribe to their newsletter. Then you will be informed about the next free events - and some events - as the one today - are in English.

2016 05 04 Scion_DTU Hardware_Breakfast LED_iBOND Less_is_more.pdf
2016 05 04 Scion_DTU Hardware_Breakfast OCTLIGHT Eye_3D_imaging.pdf
2016 05 04 Scion_DTU Hardware_Breakfast Fluidan RheoStream_Real_time_rheology.pdf
2016 05 04 Scion_DTU Hardware_Breakfast MASH_Biotek How_to_work_with_DTU.pdf

Can project-work be done smarter?

Post date: Jan 29, 2016 7:29:37 PM

Friday morning Safepark attended a seminar a the local office of Projectplace, which is a Swedish company founded in 1998 and taken over by Planview - a Texas based company - in 2014. Projectplace has one product, which is a project collaboration tool, which makes it easy to share ideas and progress among members of a project-team, and also discuss ideas with other team members without having to cope with a flood of emails.

The title of the seminar which we signed up for was "How can you build qualified portfolio mangement and effective project-teams in one and the same solution". by Patrick Kjellin,who has the title of Solution Marketing Manager. Unfortunately he could not come, and in his place came Karolina Jackson-Ward, who is product manager for projectplace form the Stockholm office. That change clearly somehow influenced the aim of the seminar. So we are treated to a talk highlighting findings from two surveys done in Europe and Northamerican about issues with project collaboration. With projectplace your project documents are stored in projectplace clould solution. Some companies, who are uncomfortable with this, can store just links to documents hosted elsewhere.We were unable to find any information about encryption on the projectplace website. That is somewhat concerning with the focus on security these days.

Our reason for attending the morning seminar at Symbion in Copenhagen was our involvement in arranging meetings for patients with common disease. These meetings appear to follow the same pattern each time, much the project of publishing a periodical each months. Hence we thought that a project collaboration tool would be ideal. However, in our case the team members are mostly volunteers using their free time, and we came away from the meeting Friday morning thinking, that this team would not be happy with the somewhat top down approach to projects, which seems to be inherent in Projectplace, So we are stil looking for a tool to help streamlining our patient meeting projects. Something, which fits with our use of Google for Work would be good.

After the seminar we signed up for a free two week trial of projectplace, but quickly concluded that it was not the best tool for our volunteer teams. So we think project-work can be done smarter,but we are stil searching for the right tools.

A closer look at DX

Post date: Jan 28, 2016 8:25:32 PM

Yesterday Safepark participated in IDC's Conference Digital Transformation (DX) in Copenhagen. The venue was the fantastic new conference hall at the IDA Meeting Center on the Copenhagen Harbourfront. The recently renovated facility featured a widescreen with ambilight all the way around the screen, which made it much easier to look at slide during a full conference day.

The IDC conference host was Trine Brøve, who did a wonderful job dealing with speaker being sick or sending a replacement. The days first speaker was IDC's own Frank Gens on the topic "Flipping the Switch: Leading the 3rd Platform and Digital Transformation to Scale". The key message in our view was, that DX must be CEO-led. The implications of this is, that responsibility for much of the spending in IT moves from the CIO to the CEO, and become more line of business focused.

The traditional introductory IDC presentaton was followed by T-Systems "Digital Transformation - attack your brand and business model" in which the two German gentlemen presented highlights from their involvement in customer projects. The most spectacular in our view was a project for Deutsche Band to predict the likelihood, that a given locomotive would fail, i.e. stop, unexpectedly within the next 5 days with a confidence of 85%.

After a coffeebreak Jesper Schleimann from SAP took over with "Simplifying Digital Transformation - Make your business Digital - make Digital your business". Jesper told us about an app for customers of a particular shoe store, which offered special deals to their customers, when they entered a competitors store. The app started with an offer of 100% discount on their next pair of shoes, and then started a counter reducing the discount by 1% for each second elapsed, until the customer reached their store. The luckiest customer during the campaign got a rebate of 89%. He also told us, that Harley Davidson had completely changed to make to order production. The time from customer finish a personalized design on the HD website until the motorcycle is finished has been reduced to just 6 hours. Jesper Schleimann further predicted, that the focus on big data would likely change to a focus on latest data, which demands here and now reaction. This raises the question of the reliability of data from IoT devices.

The last speaker before the lunch break was Adam Baker from CA. He has recently moved from Sydney to Denmark with his Danish wife and 3 children, and started with some of digital challenges facing newcomers to our beautiful country, such as our NemID or the need for a local bank account. He experience with Danske Bank had turned him into a negative customers, because of differences in functionality between their Danish and English online banking facility. The title of his formal presentation was "The Digital Disruptors", during which we learned the new word: ideation.

We had looked forward to hearing Jesper Ritsmer Stormholt from Google about "Digital Transformation as a constant driving force". Unfortunately he was sick. So my story about improvements in the Microsoft Word to Google Docs transformation during the fall of 2015 is coming here. In late September I received several chapters of my sons Ph.D.-thesis as Microsoft Word documents. Some with many illustrations. I immediately converted the documents to Google Docs. Unfortunately many of the illustrations were not correctly converted. However, we could still comment on the text and share these comments. Two months later I received the last chapters of the thesis, and when these were converted to Google Docs all illustrations were converted too. So I converted the first chapters again, and their illustrations were also converted. I think this an indication of the improvements, which are kicked-off when a process somehow fails.

After the lunch break followed a talk from the Danish government department responsible for digitalization of public services, such as letters to citizens and the needed infrastructure, and a panel debate. This was followed by two customer stories.One by Torben Ruberg from Falck on "New possibilities and business models with Digital Transformation", and by a representative of Saxo Bank on "Being a positive driver of disruption - not only a survivor". During which we learned that Saxo Bank provide their trading platform free of charge to users, but naturally hope to created revenue from the transactions their users are executing. The value of the daily transactions handled by Saxo Bank is above 100 Billion dollars.

Conclusion: We learned most from mornings presentations, and would properly have lived fine without knowing about the ones after lunch. So not the best IDC event we have attended.

IDC Directions 2016

Where is IT - and derived technologies - headed in 2016 and beyond?

Post date: Jan 28, 2016 1:03:00 PM

On Tuesday Safepark was privileged to participated in the 30th IDC Directions event in Copenhagen. IDC Directions has since 1986 been an event, at which leading IT people in Denmark gathered to hear the latest predictions about the developments in IT in the coming year and beyond. Predictions, which has always been based on the latest surveys done by IDC analyst both globally and in the Nordic area. This years event was at the IDA Meeting Center on the Copenhagen Harbourfront. Naturally there was a 30th Anniversary cake during the coffee break.

After a welcome by IDC associate vice president Charlotte Poulsen did IDC senior vice president & chief analyst Frank Gems talk on 'The 3rd Platform is the building base for "Innovation Accelerators"' based on input from 1100 analyst worldwide he talked about 8 of the 10 identified mayor areas of interest in the coming year and the next 2,3 or 5 years.

The largest of these trends is the CEO-led digital transformation will drive what is done in and with IT in the coming years. Already next year 2/3 of companies survey will have a corporate strategy as part of digital transformation. Such a strategy was recently announced by the CEO of the Danish pump company Grundfos. IDC has together with a major player developed a 5 step digital transformation maturity model against which companies can benchmark themselves and decide where they want to be. Frank Gems also stated, that by 2018 45% of IT budgets will be controlled by line of business executive - thus signaling a major change for the place of IT within companies.

The second trend was spending on the so-called 3rd Platform, which will grow to 50% of all IT-spending. Spending on the 3rd Platform appear to increase by 13% year over year, while spending on legacy systems decline by 4% year over year. Not surprisingly IDC predicts increasing focus on the Cloud as a core platform, with 65% of enterprise infrastructure and storage spending being cloud based in 2018. A result of this will be increased need for people with skills in monitoring and managing hybrid clouds.

A fourth trend was not surprisingly Internet of Things, or what IDC calls the intelligent edge. Already by 2018 they expect 22 billion connected devices rising to 30 billion already in 4 years time. All these devices will mean the creation of more than 200000 unique new apps within the next three years form apps monitoring how we brush our teeth to apps which allow our doctors access to infomation about our activity record including regular measurements of blood oxygen content and other paramters using wireless sensor technology. Essential tools to make this happen is found within Artificial Intelligence (AI), also called machine learning or cognitive everything. Most of this - about 60% - will be powered by four major players: Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft. Again people with skills in cognitive areas will be in high demand. We will also see an increase in the development of industry cloud platforms with industry specific app stores. This will also lead to new types of collaboration among companies earlier seen as competitors. Finally there will be increased focus on customer experience.

This talk was followed by IDC chief analyst Anders Elbak on "Marketing potential in the digital transformation in the Noridcs". He stated that 4 of 10 CEO's have digital transformation on the agenda, however the number one focus area in the Nordics is productivity and effectivety, This is - according to Anders Elbak - properly because DX is viewed as a tool. Anders Elbak also mentioned, that homeless people in Copenhagen selling "Hus forbi" - magazine published by the homeless - now accept mobile pay. Anders Elbak finished by stating, that DX is not a goal, but a means to achieving a goal.

The participants at IDC Directions was also offered an opportunity to developed a concept for one of the 200000 apps mentioned above. Each of six tables were giving a topic and 15 minutes to discuss the idea, before presenting it to the other participants in 30 seconds. It was interesting to see the creativity spoored by this exercise. I think such exercises, which only take about 30 minutes, should be part of more future events.This will help generally increase creativity.

The trend mentioned here will also impact process safety and process security specifically, but in general also the process industry. On example of this is the new pilot plant at Texas A&M University which use wireless sensors and controllers, and hence avoid a large amount of wiring. This kind of technology also make it much easier to reconfigure the control structure.

At the end of the half day event 13 predictions for 2016 were presented. We will know how that went at the start of 2017. The 3 best prediction from last years event each received a bottle of 30 year old rum.