Category Archives: cloud

IDG Contributor Network: Twilio jumps on the serverless bandwagon

News from the second day of Twilio’s annual developer conference, Signal. While yesterday’s big news focused around end-user functionality (in particular speech recognition and understanding), today’s news is more down in the weeds but no less important for a company at the cutting edge of the developer experience.

You see developers are, by nature, tinkerers and like to experiment with new stuff. Sometimes this is simply professional interest, but often it’s because of an almost pathological desire to do things effectively, efficiently and elegantly. A case in point is the current developer move towards serverless technologies. First commercialized by Amazon Web Services (AWS) with its Lambda product, but now matched by offerings from the other cloud vendors, serverless approaches mean that developers don’t need to set up servers to run their applications, they can simply rely on setting triggers, logical steps and the cloud vendor takes over the rest.

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IDG Contributor Network: Twilio does speech recognition and understanding, the right way

We’ve all had horrendous experiences with voice recognition when calling a support center – I’d like to think that it’s just me with my slightly unusual Kiwi accent, but everyone I talk to has similar stories of getting exasperated at an automated call center that hopelessly gets even the most basic speech recognition exercises wrong. It’s a sad reality of the modern world that organizations try to shoehorn users into solutions that aren’t yet fit for purpose, just to save some costs.

The world of communications has been the focus of Jeff Lawson for the past few years. Lawson is founder and CEO of Twilio, the company that offers a modular communications platform that developers use to power the communication functions of their apps. From tiny startups to huge companies like Uber rely on Twilio to manage all the communication stuff, so that they don’t have to. in a phone conversation prior to Twilio’s annual developer conference, Signal, Lawson told me that ever since the beginnings of Twilio, back when all they did was voice communications, he has hated voice recognition.

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IDG Contributor Network: Going interstellar with Microsoft Cosmos

At Microsoft’s Build developer conference last week, the company announced Cosmos DB, a new cloud database offering that, if you believe the hype, entirely changed the database game. Before reelecting on what this means for developers and organizations, it’s worth taking a look at what Cosmos is.

Cosmos is a schema-free database service built with the aim of delivering high performance, fault tolerance, automatic indexing of data and truly globally distributed scalability. Cosmos is, at least in part, the evolution of Microsoft’s previous DocumentDB offering. DocumentDB was Redmond’s first foray into the NoSQL world. And while DocumentDB was a NoSQL choice in contrast to Microsoft’s relation offerings, Cosmos DB is multi-modal, offering developers the options to store relational or non-relational data. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s perennially red-shirted Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group, described Cosmos as, “the first globally distributed, multi-model database service delivering turnkey global horizontal scale out with guaranteed uptime and millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.”

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IBM makes leap in quantum computing power

IBM has some new options for businesses wanting to experiment with quantum computing.

Quantum computers, when they become commercially available, are expected to vastly outperform conventional computers in a number of domains, including machine learning, cryptography and the optimization of business problems in the fields of logistics and risk analysis.

Where conventional computers deal in ones and zeros (bits) the processors in quantum computers use qubits, which can simultaneously hold the values one and zero. This — to grossly oversimplify — allows a quantum computer with a 5-qubit processor to perform a calculation for 32 different input values at the same time.

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IDG Contributor Network: When does tech make you money and when does it cost you?

There’s an interesting Forbes article on the topic of turning a cost center into a profit center. In it, author Larry Myler talks about three ways to “become a hero” by:

  1. Killing overhead,
  2. Inventing revenue, and
  3. Supporting company strategy.

Having worked in cost centers within organizations myself, I was skeptical as to whether this can actually be done. If so, it would change the game for just about any company trying to reduce costs and increase revenues (and that would be almost every organization).

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IDG Contributor Network: An under-pressure OpenStack gets support from an (in)famous individual

Last week saw a few thousand devoted OpenStack community members flock to Boston to take part in the bi-annual OpenStack Summit. This summit marks a major turning point for the initiative. Since we all congregated in Barcelona last year, there have been some major pieces of news which have rocked the community. Only a couple of weeks before the event, Intel pulled out of a partnership with Rackspace to build an OpenStack-based test facility, and OpenStack poster boy Mirantis pivoted from a pure OpenStack strategy to one covering a number of open source initiatives.

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SAP wants enterprises to learn from their smart devices

SAP has added machine learning to its Leonardo IoT software suite to help businesses handle data gathered from smart devices more intelligently.

It unveiled the additions to Leonardo  — and a cloud of other news — at its customer conference, Sapphire Now, in Orlando on Tuesday.

Leonardo runs on SAP Cloud Platform and provides a number of services to process data from the internet of things, including streaming and predictive analytics. Now, those predictive capabilities will include machine-learning tools tuned to work with the rest of the Leonardo components.

“It’s about adding intelligence to existing business processes and integrating with the core systems of record. Leonardo’s capabilities can be infused into SAP applications,” said Mike Flannagan, SAP’s senior vice president for analytics. “We see Leonardo as something that will help customers transform processes.”

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Google launches Cloud IoT Core service for enterprises

Google today unveiled a cloud platform service to help organizations collect vital data from billions of Internet of Things devices.

The service, Google Cloud IoT Core, is designed to help enterprises, including utilities and transportation agencies, securely connect globally distributed devices to the Google Cloud Platform. There, the data can be centrally managed and integrated with Google’s data analytics services, said Indranil Chakraborty, cloud product manager at Google.

One customer who has been testing the new service for two months is Energyworx, a company of 40 workers that has used Google cloud services since 2014. Energyworx provides data analytics to utilities to help them plan better and improve performance.

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IDG Contributor Network: Azure Stack and the role of context

There were dozens of announcements at Microsoft’s Build conference last week, but perhaps one caused the most angst among the cloud cognoscenti.

I’m referring to the upcoming general availability of Azure Stack. Microsoft’s offering will let organizations leverage the Azure cloud operating system, but only within the context of an on-premises deployment.

Azure Stack has something of a checkered past — it has been announced, in one guise or another, more than once. I remember years ago the notion of a private cloud deployment that would involve Microsoft software and partner hardware. That never really eventuated, and things went quiet.

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