Recent Blog Posts

User-Centric Design and the Internet of Things

“No man is an island, entire of itself.”

John Donne – Meditation XVII

 

The Harvard Business Review recently published a blog regarding the often-overlooked human element in discussion of the Internet of Things (IoT). The blog closed with the potent statement that the goal for the IoT is not to make things smarter but to make people smarter. To be successful we must create devices that move beyond process automation and create predictive intelligence that enhances intuition and decision making. H. James Wilson dove into the cognitive science behind good design, citing that one of the greatest hurdles facing the IoT is deciding whether to develop with an interaction-dominant focus or to follow a more component-driven approach.

 

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Softly Assembled Systems

 

The “Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology” states,

 

“The key property of softly assembled systems is that they exhibit interaction-dominant dynamics, as opposed to component-dominant dynamics. For component-dominant dynamical systems, system behavior is the product of a rigidly delineated architecture of system modules, component elements, or agents, each with predetermined functions (i.e., the pendulum clock or a factory assembly line). As noted earlier, however, for softly assembled interaction-dominant dynamical systems, system behavior is the result of interactions between system components, agents, and situational factors, with these intercomponent and interagent interactions altering the dynamics of the component elements, situational factors, and agents themselves…”

 

A softly assembled system represents a collection of components synergistically existing and interacting; Wilson brought up the example of cooking in the kitchen. When preparing a meal, we don’t think about the devices we use to accomplish the task – all the tools are used as an extension of self. The motion is both fluid and intuitive. But when one of those tools malfunctions, it disrupts connectivity and removes us from the softly assembled system.

 

All Eyes on Ireland

 

This year, we embarked on a journey with the Dublin City Council to make Dublin the most connected city in the world. 200 Quark-based Gateway platforms scattered across the city will collect environmental sensor data in hopes of improving quality of life and fostering greater sustainability. This ecosystem of sensors will blend into the current infrastructure with zero impact on the current population, and allows inhabitants to communicate needs to the city’s administration in real time without interrupting daily routine. A smarter Dublin will represent a softly assembled system that allows its citizens to connect with its government simply by their physical existence within city lines.

 

IT leaders have a lot to learn from Dublin’s approach. When strategizing for the more connected enterprise, IT leaders need to remember the science behind interaction-dominant dynamics. Analyzing natural human-device interaction will allow us to build those softly assembled systems. The less obtrusive the technology, the more a user will be able to exist in a comfortable, natural — productive — state. It’s time for IT leaders to focus on solutions designed for existing connectivity. No man is an island. Even in your enterprise.

 

If you’re currently working on your IoT strategy, don’t forget to read about the key tenets for developing and deploying IoT solutions. And to continue this conversation, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.

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Accelerating Time to Insight in the Petroleum Geosciences Industry with Xeon Phi Co-processors

Today DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) announced the acquisition of a new HPC system from SGI. DUG and SGI worked closely with Intel while developing the system, which will feature a total of 3,800 Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors. This is one of the largest commercial deployments of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, and the largest such deployment intended for use in the petroleum geosciences industry.

“We’ve already started to see dramatic improvements in turn-around times when we compare our upgraded machines to those without coprocessors. Our time migration now runs more than ten times faster. Our depth migration runs six times faster. DUG has also seen its Reverse Time Migration (RTM) run significantly faster using this new technology,” said Dr. Matt Lamont, DUG’s managing director.

Dr. Lamont gives several reasons for choosing the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors over GPU accelerators. In addition to his top researchers being more familiar with the many core programming model, when asked about the differences in programming difficulty, he stated that for Kirchhoff Time Migration, programming on the GPU was roughly four times more difficult than on the Intel Xeon Phi.

He also stated that overall Total Cost of Ownership, or “bang for the buck,” is a top consideration for DUG, and that the performance, programming environment and end price all play a role in this. For HPC workloads at DownUnder GeoSolutions, consisting of a full suite of seismic processing and imaging algorithms, the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors were selected as the best option.

“The innovative use of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors by DownUnder GeoSolutions is enabling their geophysicists to work with large seismic data sets interactively,” said Charles Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of Workstations and HPC at Intel. “In an industry where time is invaluable, the Intel® Xeon Phi™-based SGI system allows DUG to test more and faster, leading to better results in a much shorter period of time. Their integration of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors has enabled them to quickly adapt their existing code and immediately pass this value on to their customers.”

Visit with Intel and DownUnder GeoSolutions at SEG next week in Denver, booths 1693 (Intel) and 538 (DUG).

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Mobility In The Financial Services Industry — Right On The Money

Results from a recent survey of IT professionals working in the financial services sector show that a significant percentage of the industry is adopting a mobility strategy. CIOs at wealth management companies need to be prepared to offer solutions that focus on the needs of financial analysts and advisors. The IT leaders in these companies have a unique perspective on the technologies and devices that are capable of alleviating productivity bottlenecks.

 

Financial analysts and wealth managers need a device that supports their fast-paced profession yet still affords them the flexibility to get their work done wherever they are. Many tablets and other mobile devices are loaded with extraneous features, but most wealth managers just want technology that gets them to the numbers without getting in the way. For financial service companies looking to give their team an edge by offering a high-performance mobile device that works quickly, seamlessly, and lets analysts focus on making decisions that benefit clients, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a great investment.

 

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Time Equals Money

 

When time is money, loading screens are your enemy. In a recent study, Principled Technologies tested a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, iPad Air, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 side by side to check performance with regards to common tasks wealth managers perform, such as using financial planning software and mutual fund research. The study also tested Microsoft Office and video performance using Microsoft Lync remote meeting software, a service commonly used for real-time collaboration and communication.

 

The difference in load times across the three platforms was substantial. When using the financial planning software MoneyGuide Pro, the Intel-Powered Surface Pro 3 cut waiting times by 40% compared to the iPad Air and Galaxy Note 10.1. Additionally, while performing common mutual funds research on Fund Mojo, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 outperformed the competition by 45%.

 

Don’t Buy Into Inflated Tablet Hype

 

While the iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 have gained in popularity, the smart investor knows to dig deeper before making a move. In addition to leaving both tablets in the dust when it comes to research and portfolio management tasks, the Surface Pro 3, featuring a 4th generation Intel Core processor, demolished the competition in productivity time savings. The Surface Pro 3 allows users to access and edit Office documents 76% faster than the competition, and features full Microsoft Office 365 compatibility. The iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 were only able to perform a fraction of the productivity tasks, and were even further disadvantaged when it came to video conferencing with Microsoft Lync. The Surface Pro 3 was the only device capable of participating in a Lync meeting and accessing all of the software’s features.

 

If you’re looking for a full-featured tablet to give your company’s wealth managers and financial analysts a significant return on investment, look no further than an Intel-powered Microsoft Surface Pro 3. For a full breakdown, check out the Principled Technologies white paper. To join the conversation on Twitter, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter

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Protecting Consumer Information: NCR and Intel Team Up for a New Approach

One of the most fascinating—and challenging—aspects of using technology in the retail and financial services space is how to ensure the protection of personal data on open platforms. In the guest blog post below, Chris Lybeer, Vice President of Strategic … Read more >

The post Protecting Consumer Information: NCR and Intel Team Up for a New Approach appeared first on IoT@Intel.

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Optimized Data Center Performance – Intel’s Collaboration with Azure

Intel continues to deliver on its commitment to provide our customers with industry leading silicon optimized for their specific needs and workloads.

 

A year ago (Nov 2013), Intel talked about having delivered more than 15 customer specific offerings.  Earlier this year at Structure, Diane Bryant and I  detailed Intel’s plans to accelerate and expand its silicon customization capabilities, including the announcement of a coherent and customizable FPGA product and the Intel Xeon D product family.  Just months later, in September 2014, we demonstrated our commitment to moving faster by announcing that the number of unique customized solutions for Intel Xeon E5 v3 had now grown significantly to more than 35, with the addition of 20 new customer specific solutions.

 

Today, we’re excited to be a part of Microsoft’s announcement of the new Azure “G-series” Virtual Machines: Azure’s most powerful VMs to date, based on a customized Xeon solution from Intel.  The “G-series” VMs deliver significant improvements in platform capability for cloud-based computing by leveraging the latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family, and will target customers that are running large relational databases and big data workloads that require maximum performance and large memory.  Working together to understand their requirements we were able to deliver a SKU optimized specifically to meet Microsoft’s unique performance, power & feature requirements.  This is yet another example of how working together, Intel and Microsoft are delivering cutting edge innovation across the computing spectrum.

 

The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 product family offers the best combination of performance, built-in capabilities, and efficiency to address performance computing challenges. Compared to previous generations, the Xeon E5 v3 processors delivers up to 3x higher performance. (More info)  Microsoft joined us on stage at the launch of Xeon E5 v3 in September to share their enthusiasm and our collaboration within Azure.

 

 

 

The G-series offers up to 32 cores, 448GB RAM and over 6TB of local SSD space. This new Azure offering delivers an excellent choice for large SQL and Oracle database systems, MongoDB, database systems with high memory requirements or enterprise applications.

 

Let us know what you think about the new G-series Azure offering.  To read more from Microsoft Azure and their G-series, visit microsoft.com

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Practical Challenges of Healthcare Security

From time to time we will look at healthcare IT environments from around the world to see how different countries approach healthcare technology challenges. Below is the second in a series of guest posts on the English NHS from contributor Colin Jervis.

 

In the UK, an aging population threatens to increase demand for healthcare and social services. My last post looked at the features of the integrated care needed to stem this tide and some of the security and confidentiality issues raised by sharing between organizations. Really, the only answer in the short- and medium-term is better models of care supported by Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

 

In addition, Baby Boomers are now aging and are likely to be far more assertive than their parents about healthcare quality and delivery. And they often have better ICT at home than they encounter in a spell with the NHS.

 

For sure, the management of long-term conditions is likely to be a competitive arena for public and private sector healthcare providers. Even among traditional NHS providers we already see the formation of GP consortia and of secondary care providers hiring salaried GPs to create new organizations.

 

Supporting this are wirelessness and data integration – moving away from traditional institutions and clinics and moving closer to care in a patient’s home. But the great benefits this promises come with risks.

 

The NHS uses two-factor authentication to authorize access to systems that contain confidential patient data – password and smartcard. Something you know and something you have. This is practicable for most NHS staff; however, for some it is not.

 

In a busy emergency department with few end user devices, the time taken for an individual to log out and in to the electronic patient record each time is unbearable. So, what tends to happen is that someone logs in with their smartcard at the start of the day and remains logged in until the end of their shift, letting their colleagues use their access rights. Not what is intended, but difficult to censure when clinicians put addressing patient needs before information governance.

 

Further, clinicians mobile in the community often have issues with security. They can attend a patient at their home and login. Provided access is good and there is continuous interaction between patient, clinician and machine this is fine.

 

However, some clinicians, such as physiotherapists, may have longer interventions away from the machine. To comply with security, the device times out after a few minutes. Logging in again is a pain, not to mention the possibility that – for example – an inquisitive family member could access the unattended machine while the connection is open. In the world of remote access security form does not always follow function.

 

Two-factor authentication is sound, however, many ICT helpdesks will rate the resetting of passwords as the biggest reason for user calls. Passwords are not easy for most people to remember particularly if the structure is prescriptive; for example, at least one capital letter, one digit and one symbol – and also has to be changed regularly.

 

Nothing of nothing comes. With the greater use of ICT and the benefits of instant access and mobility, we must trade something. There is no activity that carries no risk. Even if I lie in bed all day to avoid being run over by a truck or attacked by a mugger, I still risk the disbenefits of inactivity such as depression, heart disease and an overdose of comfort eating.

 

But how important to us is the confidentiality of healthcare information, particularly with the growth of wearable health devices and the smartphone app? I’ll address that in my next post.

 

What questions do you have?

 

Colin Jervis is an independent healthcare consultant. His book ‘Stop Saving the NHS and Start Reinventing It’ is available now. His website is kineticconsulting.co.uk, and he also posts on Twitter @colin_jervis.

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Rethink Privacy 2.0 and Fair Information Practice Principles: A Common Language for Privacy

By: Paula Bruening Last week, Mauritius hosted the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. By convening in this island African country, the data protection authorities acknowledged that data protection and privacy are concerns not only of the developed … Read more >

The post Rethink Privacy 2.0 and Fair Information Practice Principles: A Common Language for Privacy appeared first on Policy@Intel.

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Intel and AT&T to Drive Research to Enable Software Defined Networking

Software defined networking (SDN) offers a new approach to network management and programmability for the purpose of enabling more flexible network architectures and agile service deployments. SDN introduces new standards and mechanisms to manage networks and quickly introduce new functionality … Read more >

The post Intel and AT&T to Drive Research to Enable Software Defined Networking appeared first on Intel Labs.

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Transform IT – Episode 3 Recap: The Curvy Path

During the latest episode of the Transform IT show, Patty Hatter, Sr. VP of Operations and CIO at McAfee, challenged us to take what I called, “the curvy path.” To be unafraid of having a career path that doesn’t look like a straight line. But the curvy path can be scary, right? The trick is in how you approach it.

 

Wasn’t it fun to hang out with Patty? What I love about her is that she is a no-nonsense, get-it-done executive who makes big things happen. But she also refuses to accept the status quo, is easy to talk to and she’s just a lot of fun to be with. What a powerful combination.

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And as I was talking to her, I couldn’t help but think that her own “curvy path” is a lot of the reason why.


As she explained during the interview, she is able to relate to all of her counterparts because she has been in their shoes, at least in part, at different times in her career. I think that kind of depth and breadth of experience gives you an inner confidence that allows you to drop your guard a bit. I think that inner confidence – and the easy manner it engenders – came through loud and clear when I was talking with Patty.

 

So her challenge to each of us was to be unafraid of our own curvy path. To be willing to step off the safe, straight and narrow career path that most of us have been on, and to be willing to try something completely new and different.

 

It’s scary. It’s risky. But it’s what will give you the depth of experience that you need to have that kind of inner confidence in almost any situation.

 

So how will you step off the safety of the straight path and seek out the less direct, but much more interesting path that will lead you forward? It may be an uncertain future, but by embracing the uncertainty and becoming an intellectual and experiential explorer, you can prepare yourself for whatever that future may hold.

 

So what will it be? What will be your first step off the straight, safe path onto your own “curvy path”?

 

Share that first step with us in the comments below or via Twitter using #TransformIT and #ITChat. Taking that step is a critical decision that will put you on the path to getting some amazing things done at the intersection of IT and business!

 

If you missed Episode 3, you can watch it on demand here.

 

Also, make sure that you tune in on October 28th when I’ll be talking to Frank Wander, former CIO at Guardian Life and Author of the book, Transforming IT Culture. We’ll be discussing the similarities between wine and culture from his own personal wine cellar! You’re not going to want to miss it. You can register for a calendar reminder here.

 

Join the Transform IT conversation anytime using the Twitter hashtags #TransformIT and #ITChat. Don’t forget that you can order my book, “The Quantum Age of IT” for 50% off thanks to the Intel IT Center: http://intel.ly/1pfz4tU

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