They don’t call IBM big blue for nothing you know. The annual IBM Interconnect conference promises big announcements, big crowds, big program, big WOW factor….and so far 2017 hasn’t disappointed.
It’s no surprise that IBM’s focus remains firmly in the cloud as they work to differentiate their enterprise targeted offerings from market leader Amazon.
In her keynote address, Chief Executive Ginni Rometty described the IBM cloud as the “platform for the next era of business.” She laid out three basic tenets of IBM’s cloud strategy: It’s built for the demands of the enterprise, it’s focused above all on data availability and protection, and it leverages Watson “cognitive” technologies to extract insights from that data.
Watson is of course one of the stars of IBM Interconnect and I was delighted to score an invite to attend the Watson reception to round out my first day in Las Vegas. I heard about the opening of the Watson IoT Headquarters in Munich – a place where IBMers, clients and partners the world over can come together in hands-on industry labs (or “Collaboratories”) to tackle business transformation with IoT and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Currently IBM has 6,000 clients globally who are tapping Watson IoT solutions and services, up from 4,000 just 8 months ago.
IBM also announced the availability of a new cognitive assistant that leverages IBM Watson to help IT pros protect networks of IoT devices, smartphones and other endpoints. IBM MaaS360 uses machine learning to analyse devices on the network and recommends policies, patches and customised best practices. With security remaining a high priority for CIOs and mobility a key factor driving productivity in distributed asset management operations, I think this will be an interesting development to keep on top of.
And when it comes to mobility, this annual IBM get together is an excellent opportunity to catch up with EZMaxMobile vendors and Clarita partner, Interpro Solutions. Recent product development has focussed on improving performance and user experience when working offline, a welcome enhancement for those working in connectivity blackspots.
The other tech sharing the limelight this year is blockchain, with IBM announcing a new ‘as a service’ cloud offering to help big customers construct networks that handle data securely. This service, based on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric from The Linux Foundation, is designed to allow only authorized group members to view data and prevent any tampering.
Interconnect is also an opportunity to hear from clients all over the world and their creative, innovative and imaginative applications of IBM technologies. I was particularly interested to hear the keynote address by Bill Cobb, President and CEO of H&R Block on how Watson is assisting in the preparation of tax returns.
A jam packed program so far and still so much left to discover! I hope to share more of my experiences and discoveries before returning from Los Vegas. In the meantime, you’ll find a good summary of IBM Interconnect highlights here.