Beijing, China and Armonk, NY, USA - 09 Dec 2015: IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) hasannounced that it will expand its Green Horizons initiative globally to enable city governments, utility companies and factories to better understand and improve their relationships with the environment and to help tackle pressing issues related to air pollution and climate change.
The announcement builds on a successful year-long collaboration with the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), expanding to include over a dozen commercial deals and research engagements on four continents. IBM’s China Research lab is working with the Beijing EPB to provide one of the world’s most advanced air quality forecasting and decision support systems, able to generate high-resolution 1km-by-1km pollution forecasts 72 hours in advance and pollution trend predictions up to 10 days into the future. It models and predicts the effects of weather on the flow and dispersal of pollutants as well as the airborne chemical reactions between weather and pollutant particles. In the first three quarters of this year, the Beijing government was able to achieve a 20 percent reduction in ultra-fine Particulate Matter, bringing it closer to its goal of reducing PM 2.5 by 25 percent by 2017.
The new Green Horizons engagements apply IBM’s advanced machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to ingest and learn from vast amounts of Big Data, constantly self-configuring and improving in accuracy to create some of the world’s most accurate energy and environmental forecasting systems. They include:
- An agreement with the Delhi Dialogue Commission to understand the correlation between traffic patterns and air pollution in India’s capital and provide the government with ‘what if’ scenario modelling to support more informed decision-making for cleaner air.
- A pilot program with the City of Johannesburg and South Africa’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to model air pollution trends and quantify the effectiveness of the city’s intervention programs in support of Johannesburg’s air quality targets and long-term sustainable development.
- Additional clean air projects in China with the Environmental Protection Bureau in Baoding (one of China’s most polluted cities) to support the city’s environmental transformation; the city of Zhangjiakou (host to the 2022 Winter Olympics) to improve air quality for the outdoor sporting event; and Xinjiang Province in north-west China.
In addition, the program is delivering on its promise to help increase contributions of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources in to national grids. New customer engagements include:
- UK energy giant SSE is piloting IBM technology to help forecast power generation at its wind farms in Great Britain. The system is able to forecast energy for individual turbines and includes visualization tools to show expected performance several days ahead.
- In Japan, IBM is working with the Toyo Engineering Corporation and renewable energy company Setouchi Future Creations LLC on the Setouchi solar project – one of the largest in the country. IBM’s monitoring systems will help Setouchi manage and control energy from the plant's 890,000 solar panels.
- Through the United States Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, IBM is making renewable energy forecasting technology available to government agencies, utilities and grid operators across the United States to support supply and demand planning.
- IBM is working with China's largest wind power solution provider - Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd to use IoT, cloud computing, big data analytics and other advanced technologies to drive innovation and transform Goldwind's business and technological models. Also in China, Shenyang Keywind Renewable Company is using cognitive forecasting technologies to help integrate more energy into the grid.
- The Zhangbei Demonstration Project, managed by China’s State Grid Jibei Electricity Power Company, is tapping the power of Green Horizons renewable energy forecasting technology to integrate 10 percent more alternative energy into the national grid, enough to power more than 14,000 homes.
“Even as society is looking to address some of the biggest challenges of our generation -- environmental degradation and climate change -- two game-changing technologies have emerged that are completely transforming our understanding of the world in which we live,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director, IBM Research. “With Green Horizons, we are applying the most advanced cognitive computing and IoT technologies, combined with world-class analytics, to enable forward-looking government and business leaders in their efforts to make better decisions that can help safeguard the health of citizens today while helping to protect the long-term health of the planet.”
"Air pollution and climate change are global challenges that require stronger action by government and business," said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). "To get to a clean energy future, we need accurate data about emissions, air quality and power generation. Advanced technologies can provide crucial insights about our impacts on the environment -- today and in the future."
New Initiatives Build on Success of IBM Clean Air Partnership in Beijing
IBM’s Green Horizons initiative is based on innovations from the company’s Research Laboratory in Beijing, with contributions from leading environmental experts across IBM’s global network of research labs. To help address the issue of air pollution -- considered to be the greatest environmental threat to human health -- IBM has developed next-generation pollution forecasting and management systems which draw on vast amounts of Big Data from environmental monitoring stations, weather stations, traffic cameras as well as meteorological and environmental satellites. Cognitive technologies understand this data, and use it to tune a predictive model that shows where the pollution is coming from, where it will likely go, and what will be its potential effect, allowing more informed decisions about how to improve air quality. Machine learning technologies ensure that the system automatically adjusts the predictive models to different seasons and topographies.
“In the past two decades China has been at the center of global manufacturing and economic growth,” said Dr. Xiaowei Shen, Director, IBM Research - China. “However, this great progress has come at a cost and today the Chinese government has placed air pollution and climate change high on the national agenda. With Chinese investments into green innovation worth billions of dollars and with a new budding generation of environmental scientists coming to the fore, China is the natural starting point for IBM’s Green Horizons initiative which is now being exported to other parts of the world.”
To support China’s clean air action plan, IBM has entered a number of collaborations across the country. Building on their existing relationship, IBM and the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau are launching a new Joint Environmental Innovation Center that will provide decision support capabilities to the Beijing government. Using scenario modelling, the government will be able to optimize its emission reduction strategy and achieve a balance between clean air and continued economic growth. Measures include short term limitations on urban traffic and construction activity as well as long term improvements to industrial production and power generation - such as switching to cleaner energy sources and installing filtering systems. The Beijing EPB also uses a colored alert system to warn citizens when harmful levels of pollution are forecast for the coming days. Selective, temporary reductions in industrial activity are also considered for large scale events such as the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“Our environmental engineers are working on a daily basis to tackle Beijing’s complex and challenging pollution problem and protect the health of citizens,” said Dawei Zhang, Director of Beijing’s Environmental Monitoring Center, a department of the BEPB. “Through our collaboration with IBM Research – China, we are delivering on our environmental commitments with the help of some of the most advanced technologies available. Over the past year we made good progress and the joint innovation with IBM is one of the key driving forces behind it.”
Building on these results, IBM is also working in the Chinese city of Baoding with the local Environmental Protection Bureau and environmental service provider Encanwell to improve the air quality in one of China’s most polluted cities. Pollution source tracking analyzes current emissions and prevailing weather patterns to identify the likely origin of pollution - a powerful tool for environmental law enforcement at industrial parks, factories and power stations.
“Our aim is to reduce PM2.5 by 33 percent over the next two years - IBM’s pollution analytics and forecasting technologies will help us to achieve this,” said Jimin Zhao, Lead Researcher at Baoding City Environmental Protection Bureau. "Using Green Horizons to track the source of pollution, we can take rapid, targeted action to reduce emissions. For example, we can require that heavily polluting enterprises install filtering systems, use smokeless fuels or we can even consider closing or relocating factories and power plants in the long term.”
About IBM Research
Now in its 70th year, IBM Research continues to define the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 14 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame – the most of any company.
For more information on IBM Research, please visit: www.research.ibm.com
For Green Horizon photos, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_research_zurich/sets/72157644613083040
For Green Horizons B-roll, please visit: https://share.agencyroad.com/message/xuooqZcoZpNifmQJyf1hmP
For more info about the Green Horizons initiative and a film about the work in China, please visit: http://www.research.ibm.com/green-horizons/
For Green Horizons B-roll, please visit: http://ibm.newsmarket.com/Global/ibm/s/e865d5fa-67b8-4cd3-a991-469a2a4afd73
As part of the UAE Innovation week, IBM kicked off the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) in Dubai on November 26.
GCTC is a collaborative network of project teams, or “Action Clusters” working on groundbreaking Internet of Things (IoT) applications within the smart city/community environment. Entrepreneurs, students, professors, developers, Marketers and IT professionals, all gathered at this event with one purpose - innovating to solve city challenges.
During the event IBM team showcased simple ideas that matter for better quality of life and how IBM Bluemix enables ideas to come to live in hours and days - not months and years.
Two students captured the audience's attention showing how they taught themselves IBM Bluemix and created a 'smart fussball' through the use of IoT , Rasberry Pi and IBM Bluemix.
To learn more about Global City Challenges visit this page https://www.us-ignite.org/globalcityteams/ and get in touch if you are from the UAE and would like to participate in the challenge.
Just a few hours ago, the curtain fell down on the Emirates Airways (EK) Hackathon in San Francisco, from the 7-8 November. The Hackathon objectives were straight-forward, contestants were asked to develop ideas and applications to “Enable different personas to search for flights online or on mobile devices in new and creative ways.” Each team was asked to select a specific persona and re-invent current search options, according to their specific needs, using web and mobile API’s.
The Cloud Ecosystem Development teams in MEA and Silicon Valley partnered with Emirates Airways by providing Hackathon participants with the IBM Bluemix platform and Watson API enablement as well as advisory support, during the 24 hour-long hack. The team also provided prizes for the team with the best Bluemix application, which included a GoPro 4.
The Hackathon participants were armed with all the information about IBM Bluemix platform and Watson APIs before the hackathon actually started, but, being a team of excellence, the Cloud Ecosystem team from Silicon Valley still kicked off the Hackathon by holding an IBM Bluemix workshop, giving contestants a boost of information, enabling them to hit the ground running.
The Hackathon was a 24 hour activity, and the interest from applicants was monumental. More than 700 applicants entered the Hackathon, but EK decided to select only 300 participants, and disperse them into 42 teams.
14 of these teams (one third of all participants) selected to use the IBM Bluemix platform and include Watson API in their solution. This is an impressive 600% growth of IBM Bluemix use, compared to EK’s previous hackathon held in Dubai. This means that Bluemix awareness and adoption is most certainly growing, and more and more developers are realising the benefits of our platform. The EK and IBM teams are committed to continue with Hackathons, as this benefits EK by releasing innovative and competitive travel apps, and benefits IBM by creating awareness, and broadening the use of IBM Bluemix to promote and foster innovation.
Judges and other onlookers had the pleasure of witnessing some ingenious usage of IBM Bluemix and Watson APIs. At the end of the Hackathon, the decision was to award the overall winner prize to the team #pathfinder, who created an app to improve and reinvent the travel booking process.
The best IBM Bluemix application came from the team called #emiblue who used Watson personality insight and speech recognition to come up with innovative idea to improve traveler experience.
#emiblue: Bluemix Platform Winner
Overall the Hackathon was a resounding success from an IBM Cloud perspective, but our commitment to EK does not end here. We will continue our collaboration with them and expose more of our platform to them, with focused activities targeting their innovation agenda.
I would like to thank the Cloud Ecosystem Development team in Silicon Valley, Jean Carl Bisson, James Barry, Scott Tomlinson), the Cloud team in MEA (Mir Ali, Anthony Butler) and EK Client team (Mustafa Kilic, Mike Ghoraishi). I am sure there were other involved in this and I apologize if I left them out.
Call to Action:
Visit your closest CIO and explain to him/her what is that he/she can expect to achieve with such an event. A Hackathon will drive value within his/her business, but expectations will need to be set up! These goals will drive the overall theme and specific prompts that developers will use during the event to build their apps. For more information, contact Predrag Lucic and/or Anthony Butler.
IBM will host a workshop on 11th November 2015 in Cape Town where you will learn to rapidly compose and extend apps that take advantage of data and analytics from your connected devices and sensors.
With nine billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices today, and growing, organizations must consider how to manage the complexities of connecting to a seemingly unlimited number of devices and integrate with the incoming data.
You will learn to build and deploy apps quickly by utilising IBM’s Digital Innovation Platform - IBM Bluemix.
Guest Speaker: Martin Weiss, Telemetry Expert
The workshop will demonstrate tools available to help developers develop smart
city and industry solutions using IoT technology, including one of our most exciting
offerings, IBM Bluemix.
IBM is also proud to partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and
US-Ignite for the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) 2016. This workshop will also prepare you
for participation in the upcoming challenge. For more information about GCTC, visit
To register for this event today, Click Here:
Bluemix is an implementation of IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture, leveraging Cloud Foundry to enable developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage their cloud applications, while tapping a growing ecosystem of available services and runtime frameworks. IBM will provide services and runtimes into the ecosystem based on our extensive software portfolio.
In practical terms, this means that cloud applications built on Bluemix will:
- Reduce time for application/infrastructure provisioning
- Allow for flexible capacity
- Help to address any lack of internal tech resources
- Reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Accelerate exploration of new workloads – social, mobile, big data
For developers, this means a system that will significantly reduce the time needed to create the application, to provision it, allow for flexible capacity in terms of storage, but also bandwidth and processing power, and which will handle the back-end infrastructure needs without requiring the developer to spend valuable time doing so--in other words, allow developers to concentrate on doing what they do best--being creative and developing top quality applications.
Enabling the transition
Part of any open cloud environment deployment includes cloud workloads and capabilities that are available within the cloud. IBM has been working to enable key functionality in the cloud based on early customer engagements as well as input from developers.
Bluemix: Making a difference in the cloud
When IBM envisioned Bluemix, it envisioned a system which would answer the needs and challenges facing developers while at the same time empowering and enabling businesses to leverage their resources in the most efficient way possible. And we wanted to create a system that could do this in concrete ways.
For businesses, IBM created a system which allows line-of-business users to easily create applications without needing a high level of technical know-how, reduce the total cost of ownership by introducing cost savings inherent in the cloud, and enable businesses to rapidly adjust to their customer and client needs by leveraging the flexibility cloud applications provide--instant updates, new features deployed automatically (high responsiveness from the end-user's perspective).
By doing all of this, the goal is to provide a platform that allows everyone--the developers, the businesses, the end-users--to accelerate their exploration of cloud app capabilities, whether it be to solve social, mobile, or big data needs and challenges--or combinations of the three, to build the next generation of cloud applications and services.
Develop your applications now.
Register for your free 30 day trial now and click here: Bluemix
Modified on by MichaelMarinier
Cloudant is an IBM software product, which is primarily delivered as a cloud-based service on Bluemix. Cloudant can be defined as an open source non-relational, distributed database service which requires zero-configuration.
Cloudant NoSQL DB provides access to a fully managed NoSQL JSON data layer that is always on. This service is compatible with CouchDB, and accessible through a simple to use HTTP interface for mobile and web application models.
Cloudant puts the 'service' in NoSQL database as a service. Unlike scale-it-yourself NoSQL databases, Cloudant is scaled and operated for the developer. Developers focus on their code because the back-end scaled and managed by IBM. Additional features of Cloundant includes replication and sync, full-text search and advanced analytics via MapReduce.
Using the Cloudant database service on Bluemix developers can:
- Develop Fast - GET, PUT, Index, and Query JSON objects via a CouchDB compatible, RESTful API. Cloudant is schema-less, so you can develop new features without having to redesign your database or migrate data.
- Grow your database without worry - experts at Cloudant operate and scale it for the developer
- Developers can push data to the edge - Cloudant distributes data across a global network of data centers, or to your data center or individual mobile devices, for fast, non-stop access to data from anywhere.
- Build epic features - Built-in text search, data replication & synch, and MapReduce for advanced analytics, enable you to easily create an exceptional user experience for your customers
This can benefit developers in Africa due to its ease of use and the powerful search and synch function which allows client applications to work offline. Africa often has power disruptions and this affects network coverage. Using this database the application can be operational 24/7 without interruption.
Developers in Africa are already able to create applications in these sectors. Using cloud platforms like IBM Bluemix, developing such applications has never been easier and more affordable.
IBM Bluemix is a Cloud Based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can get start-ups and established companies to become cloud ready easily and timeously. If you would like to benefit from IBM Bluemix and get a better understanding of it all you need to do is create an IBM Bluemix Account and enjoy a 30 day free trial. Use this time to determine if the service is a perfect fit for your needs.
If you need more information just put it in the comments below or tweet. You can also find me @MarinierCom
When IBM first announced the Watson Developer Cloud in October of 2014, they unleashed the potential for developers around the world to tap into the cognitive power that Watson provides. Since this initial release, the number of apps utilizing Watson within Bluemix has exploded. We have seen apps leveraging Watson’s personality extraction capabilities for enhancing social engagement to apps combining speech detection to deliver interactive experiences.
Staff at the World of Watson hackathon pose for a group photo
Out of all these applications, some of the most unique and innovative use cases have come out of hackathons, where the creative juices are always flowing. I want to highlight some of the great MVPs that have come out of only a few days of hacking with Bluemix and Watson.
MVPs at IBM sponsored hackathons
The World of Watson event in Brooklyn, NY brought people interested in the future of cognitive computing together under one roof. Proceeding the event, the first ever Watson-focused, two-day hackathon was held, challenging participants to create an app that solved real user pains using Watson and AlchemyAPI services.
Likemind recognized that even though conferences brought people in similar fields together, they did little to connect the attendees on a personal level. To solve this issue they built an iOS app that leveraged an API from both Watson and AlchemyAPI, matching users in the vicinity of each other based on personality and interests.
By retrieving users’ Twitter profiles and tweets, Likemind used Personality Insights to analyze a user’s personality profile and AlchemyAPI’s Keyword Extraction API to detect their interests. The team built a streamlined UI that easily connects likeminded users with this data and allows them to connect!
Another entry into the fray of the Watson hackathon at WoW was Sacagawea, an app focused on connecting you to the places you’re traveling. “Inspired by the convenience and glance-ability of Android wear apps” the team set out to build an app to assist travelers without taking them out of the experience at hand.
By combining Watson’s speech and translation APIs with the power of Wolfram Alpha, they were able to deliver a seamless mobile experience, powered by Bluemix on the back end. As they scope out further development of the app, they plan on migrating to the Watson Question and Answer API to more accurately address travelers’ inquiries. Check out their code on GitHub here.
Orphans in the Desert
At GigHacks, Dave Callaghan took the opportunity to assess using the Watson APIs and Bluemix as a replacement for his application’s analytics code written in R. The app, called Orphans in the Desert, acts as a way to bring together people affected by orphan diseases (conditions affecting less than 200,00 people) so that the road to a cure is expedited for these often ignored ailments.
Orphans in the Desert serves as a medical tool by allowing doctors to collect diagnostic info on their patient which is then fed to an app hosted in the cloud. Dave hopes that by doing this he can cluster sufferers of these rare diseases into large groups with a sufficiently well-defined set of symptoms so that pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to develop drugs for these otherwise underfunded diseases. He also hopes to leverage the app as a support resource for people struggling with one of these diseases in order to give them a guide to possible diagnosis of their ailment and relief of their symptoms. After a successful weekend of hacking, Dave is optimistic about the possibility of completely moving from his R code to the Watson APIs.
MVPs at non-IBM sponsored hackathons
The above apps were all created in a matter of days at hackathons, showcasing the speed at which Bluemix enables developers to leverage DevOps practices and greatly reduce the average product lifecycle. Lest we forget the other hackers around the world, let’s recognize other fantastic Bluemix-Watson apps produced outside of IBM sponsored hackathons.
Watson Meets Twilio
One of the strongest promises of Watson technologies is the ability to bring a more personal experience to human-computer interaction (HCI). A great way of extending the Watson APIs to do just that is to integrate them with the Twilio APIs, enabling applications to send and receive text messages, among other things. Ricky Robinett (@rickyrobinett) combined the Watson Question and Answer API with Twilio to create an application that lets users ask and receive answers to various health questions straight from their phone. You can read about how Ricky built the app here and view his source code here.
Non-IBMers aren’t the only ones who get to spend a few days fueled by energy drinks and pizza while creating cognitive apps that are bound to change the world. Last September, a team from IBM Messaging participated in the Connected Vehicle Hackathon hosted by Ford Motor Company in Las Vegas, NV. The goal of the hackathon was to build apps designed to raise driver awareness and enhance the community around their SYNC AppLink APIs.
In an effort to show how Bluemix, IoT Foundation, and Watson could be used in Connected Vehicle applications, the team created an app to gamify social and safe driving. Users of the application can report drivers by saying what happened in the event of a quick change of speed/direction, which is then parsed into text by the Watson Speech-to-Text API. The app then uses the Watson Concept Expansion API to determine the sentiment of the drivers description of the event, in turn punishing or rewarding the driver being reported. The team further expanded the app by tying it into their Connected Vehicle Maps hackathon kit. For a more detailed breakdown of their hack, check out their blog post.
The next MVP
Just from this small sample set, it’s clear that Bluemix and Watson are continuously being used to create novel and inventive apps. Will you be responsible for creating the next one?
A notification arrives on your smartphone; a vehicle accident occurs on your normal route home; someone uses an ATM to withdraw cash from your bank account. Each of these scenarios generates an event in a remote system, hidden somewhere in a data center. If that event doesn’t reach you in real-time, then you may miss an important text message, you might be stuck in traffic for hours, or a criminal may make off with thousands of your hard-earned dollars!
Event Hub—a new Bluemix platform service—brings together events generated by myriad web services or on-premises systems in one centralized, cloud-based system.
Easily aggregate event streams with connectors
Providing a growing number of connectors, Event Hub makes it simple to aggregate multiple event streams within the Bluemix Message Hub while maintaining separation of data. From there, it’s easy to attach an app or service to your data stream and consume data using a single protocol as the data flows through. Worry no more about writing code to support multiple data sources or platforms; Event Hub will handle that for you!
Event Hub is launching with four connectors:
- Twitter connector can “listen” for various keywords across the Twittersphere or scoped to specific users
- Salesforce connector provides mechanisms for subscribing to existing PushTopics
- Cloudant connector enables listening and processing of updates within a database
- MQ Light connector provides connectivity to instances deployed on-premises or in the cloud.
We’d love to hear about other services or applications that you’d like us to support!
To get started, simply provision the service, select the desired connection type, and provide the required connection information. Event Hub will establish a connection and begin streaming your data into Message Hub. Events can be accessed through compatible services or directly through our REST API.
Be sure to check out the service documentation as you try things out and let us know what you think in the comments below. If you run into problems, post a question on Stack Overflow using the #bluemix tag and keywords in the subject “Event Hub” and we’ll get in touch ASAP.
Sign on for Bluemix today and enjoy the free trial.
—Matt Hamann (@mhamann), Software Engineer, Bluemix Cloud Integration
—Kristin Whetstone, Software Engineer, Bluemix Cloud Integration
Modified on by MichaelMarinier
Each day, we strenghten our relationships with universities! In order to promote IBM Academic Cloud Program, we held IBM Academic Cloud Bootcamps in 3 major cities in Turkey. The event in Istanbul was held in September 29th, Izmir was held in October 6th and Ankara was held in October 8th, 2015, executed by Turkey Cloud Ecosystem Development Manager, Jale Akyel and delivered by Cloud Solutions Technical Consultant Burak Cakil. In these sessions, we provided information about IBM Bluemix, its broad services portfolio, and IBM Academic Cloud Program. After we enabled the academicians and students about our cloud platform and the program, we then discussed about the ways and possibilities that we can utilize the usage of cloud for academic purposes such as lectures and research projects.
The questions, feedback and suggestions from the academicians were very constructive and positive, and at the end of the sessions, we realized that they were eager to use the platform within the program in order to broaden their and the students' vision of cloud and innovation in application development methods. They were also incredibly impressed by the Internet Of Things and Watson capabilities. Most of them demanded additional, in-depth workshops in order to better understand the capabilities and possible usage scenarios of the platform.
The audience included more than 60 academicians and students from various universities including Bogazici University, Istanbul Technical University, Yıldız Technical University, Izmir University, Izmir University of Economics, Dokuz Eylul University, Ege University, Balikesir University, Hacettepe University, Middle East Technical University, Baskent University, Atilim University, TOBB University, Gazi University, Ankara University.
In each session, the agenda was as follows:
*Introduction to IBM Bluemix
*Bluemix Services Portfolio, Internet Of Things, Big Data, Mobile, Watson
*Demonstration of Sample Applications
*IBM Academic Cloud Program and academic cloud usage scenarios
*Q&A Session and discussions
On 5-6 November, JAVA developers from around the country will gather at the Clock Tower at V&A Waterfront to network and chat about Java at the J-SA inaugural Conference.
The J-SA Conference is one of many software conferences hosted around the country to train
and connect software developers to each other and open up new opportunities in the tech industry.
This latest event, which will run from 5 – 6 November 2015, will focus on JAVA, one of the most popular programming languages in the world, with close to 90% of Fortune 500
companies reported to be using it.
The event is being organised by Evenir Pty. Ltd, leaders in software conferencing, who aim to provide a space for new and experienced developers to connect and open up the tech
conversation in a country where coding is still an emerging profession and industry.
“There is a huge emphasis on training at our conferences, because the industry is still so fresh in South Africa”, says Theo Sauls, founder of Evenir. “Many developers are self-taught and could benefit from networking with more experienced developers. Our conferences provide a
space for this.”
The J-SA Conference is a mix of practical applications and informative talks by local and international experts in the field, with headline speakers such as Indran Naick, Chief
Technology Officer for IBM in the Middle East and Africa and Nitsan Wakart, a coder who has worked on army intelligence systems, dot.com start-ups, financial institutions and
innovative product development, taking the stage.
While Cape Town has recently been recognised as a growth hub for technology, there is still a long way to go. Sauls, however, says that it is imperative that the country start looking at IT, and more especially software development/ coding, as the job market of the future.
“Besides the fact that we have a serious IT skills shortage in South Africa, if you look at the Java Ecosystem, developed countries are looking abroad for developers to outsource work to.That work could be coming to South Africa.”
To help move this process forward, Evenir regularly donates a percentage of its’ tickers to students to attend the conference for free.
“It’s pointless getting all these experienced developers together if we are not developing our next wave of experienced developers,” says Sauls. “And thanks to sponsors such as Standard Bank, Amazon and IBM, we are able to donate 20% of the tickets to the J-SA Conference to students and invest in our country’s future.”
For more information about the J-SA Conference, contact Theo Sauls on 078 488 5095, email
Focus on your apps and services
Bluemix Local is delivered as-a-service and in constant collaboration with your IT team. We partner on updates, platform health, patches and security fixes to ensure your environment is always current, available and ready for your apps and services.
Extend your infrastructure
Leverage your existing mainframes, SOA, processes, and data in a modern cloud platform. Because Bluemix Local is deployed in your data center- in close proximity to your existing systems - you can improve performance of hybrid applications.
A platform to grow with you
Across public, dedicated and on-premises cloud, the core Bluemix platform is always the same. This means you can easily build apps and services in Local and expand or migrate them to public or dedicated as your strategy grows or evolves over time.
Sign-up for your free trial today and click here.
Large enterprise product launches and announcements may occur on a reasonably regular basis, and in the current technology-indulged world that we live in, we may not review each development with the same awe as we would some 20+ years back, at the peak of the digital evolution in the information age. A recent launch, however, that IBM announced, in my personal opinion, is worth taking notice of.
This particular launch not only showcased IBM’s ability to continuously innovate and evolve, but also their unique intuition and agility when it comes to customer feedback and market insights.
IBM launched Bluemix, which is an open-standards, cloud platform for building, running, and managing applications. Bluemix is IBM’s answer to Platform as a Service (PaaS), and what makes it so unique is that with Bluemix, developers can focus on building excellent user experiences with flexible compute options, choice of DevOps tooling, and a powerful set of IBM and third-party APIs and services.
While the value of Bluemix is clear, many enterprises still face significant challenges around successful adoption of cloud and PaaS, especially enterprises with sensitive data and workloads that must remain on-premises in order to address key security and compliance requirements. For example in Middle East and Africa, there are strict data and personal information security laws that must be adhered too, especially in the financial and healthcare markets. If non-compliance was discovered, or even worse, an actual breach occurred, even the most successful companies would face tremendous implications and potential fines.
Fear of facing these issues, is amongst the top reasons why enterprises have been slow to adopt cloud, but this is where IBM has listened, interpreted and adapted, and came back with a solution to ensure the success of their clients. IBM’s solution to solve and adapt to the business needs has been Bluemix Local.
On the 1st October 2015, IBM announced the launch of Bluemix Local, rounding out the foundation of their approach to hybrid cloud. This new addition addresses the challenges companies are facing, regarding on-premises cloud, particularly when it comes to platforms. Bluemix Local is a cloud platform that allows enterprises to quickly build apps in a secure manner and deploy them across public, private and on-premises environments. Given the rapid pace of innovation and change in the industry, many enterprises want to ensure that entry points into cloud are coupled with clear paths to a more expansive cloud strategy – a strategy that will almost inevitably include a mixture of on and off-premises infrastructure and services, while still balancing costs, agility and quality of service.
These game-changing claims and commitments to success, made by IBM, are the reason that key influencers such as Fortune Magazine and Forrester Research have taken notice. Barb Darrow, from Fortune Magazine, skeptically ponders that, “Big Blue is making some big claims here. If this works as advertised and the price isn’t onerous, this could get traction.” She then moves on to a competitive comparison, and finishes with an acknowledgement of IBM’s credibility, “Still, the company has a tough row to hoe in the public cloud arena where Amazon, Microsoftt, and Google spend multiple billions a year in cloud infrastructure. That said, IBM can claim a cadre of big-name customers that might be more comfy moving their applications to an IBM-run service, a la Bluemix Local.”
John Rymer, from Forrester Research, also weighs in with his competitive comparison, stating that, “This will give PivotalCF a run for its money.” PivotalCF is a commercial version of Cloud Foundry supported by Pivotal, the spin-off of EMC and VMware.
I have no doubt that IBM will keep to their commitments, and continuously innovate to meet customer expectations.
Interested in IBM Bluemix? Watch more here:
Written and compiled by Samantha Smith
Modified on by MichaelMarinier
IBM has operated in Africa for almost 100 years. Today, its operations span 24 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. Nairobi is also home to IBM Research – Africa: IBM’s 12th global research lab and the first industrial research facility on the continent of Africa. With facilities in Kenya and South Africa, IBM Research – Africa is driving innovation by developing commercially-viable solutions to transform lives and spark new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, energy, security and e-government.
Kenya Research Lab changing te way we farm
Arable farming is big business in Kenya, but most farms are relatively small, lacking the size to take advantage of economies of scale. With unpredictable rainfall and variable water supplies, it is difficult for farmers to ensure crops are not under- or over-watered. However, with increasing levels of internet access via smartphones across Africa and the affordability of modern sensors, tech-savvy farmers can change the way they run their businesses.
Dr. Kala Fleming, Water, Agriculture and Health Manager, with IBM Research—Africa, says: “In Kenya alone, there are 15 million small-scale farmers. Most rely on aggregators to help get crops to market. We set out to empower farmers and investors with technology to help create a more sustainable farming industry.
Creating the solution
IBM Research created EZ-Farm, an Internet of Things (IoT) remote monitoring solution that helps small-scale farmers to better manage water resources, and agricultural aggregators to identify the best prospects for investment. Dr. Fleming explains: “We place sensors at farms to capture data on water tank levels, soil moisture and rates of photosynthesis and securely stream it to the IoT Foundation. There, an analytics engine within IBM Bluemix measures how the plants are doing and identifies patterns of water usage, then insights are provided back to the farmers via an app on a tablet or smart phone. We are building up a database of information that shows the best farm for management of resources and growing conditions, used to provide value-added services to aggregators that help them select investment opportunities.”
Building and developing insights for farming in Africa
By offering ongoing insights into crop health and risk factors, EZ-Farm is expected to transform small-scale farming in Kenya.“EZ-Farm will help the farming industry in developing markets reach new levels of productivity and reduce costs—all translating into greater profits for both farmers and aggregators,” comments Dr. Fleming. “Larger, healthier yields means greater food security and a reliable supply of crops for market.”
Dr. Fleming concludes: “The potential for the solution is huge. For example, we are uncovering insights that can be used to improve government policy on subsidy distribution and groundwater management. The development of
EZ-Farm, based on IoT technology, enables a smarter approach to agriculture in Africa and beyond.”
IBM launched Bluemix with a $1 billion investment in 2014, and has grown rapidly to become the largest public Cloud Foundry deployment in the world. The open-standards-based Bluemix catalog includes over 120 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and Internet of Things. IBM Bluemix was recently shown to be the "developers’ choice" of PaaS and is growing 10-times faster than the overall PaaS market.
IBM Bluemix is a Cloud Based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can get you cloud ready easily and timeously. All you need to do is create an IBM Bluemix Account and enjoy a 30 day free trial. See what you can achieve with Bluemix to help find solutions for your specific country.
StrongLoop, an IBM Company, is one of the leaders of the Node.js community. They offer powerful API capabilities and Node.js DevOps tools, which means exciting things for Bluemix. For starting from scratch wanting to create a Node.js application with powerful API and CRUD capabilities, look to the LoopBack framework. For those with existing Node.js applications, look to using StrongLoop Arc’s management and DevOps tools to actively monitor your application.
IBM Bluemix is a Cloud Based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can get you cloud ready easily and timeously. All you need to do is create an IBM Bluemix Account and enjoy a 30 day free trial.
Your comments or questions are always helpful.
StrongLoop Arc is a graphical UI for the StrongLoop platform that complements the StrongLoop slc command line tools. Arc includes tools for building, profiling, and monitoring Node.js apps.
To be able to access this service you will need to register for Bluemix here.
Your comments or questions are always helpful.
IBM has accelerated its hybrid cloud capabilities by unveiling a cloud platform that allows enterprises to quickly build apps in a secure manner and deploy them across public, private and on-premises environments.
Enterprises today are spending more time managing their infrastructure and moving data and apps between disparate cloud environments, forced to sacrifice on either security or speed. The delivery of Bluemix Local brings the speed and ease of app development on Bluemix behind a client's firewall. With its write once, run anywhere feature, enterprises can now swiftly build and run apps in the cloud that stitch together existing systems and connect data and API's into a single environment, while keeping apps current across all platforms. This news continues to expand the Bluemix platform, which has been built on an open architecture to provide increased flexibility for enterprises.
This is especially significant for organizations in regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and financial services, who must follow strict mandates and internal policies for how security, compliance and sensitive customer data is handled of their corporate network. For most organizations, a hybrid cloud approach is the preferred model for connecting these worlds in a seamless way. ESG research expects that hybrid cloud adoption in enterprises will rise to over 50 percent by 2017.1
For instance, CaixaBank, the largest financial institution in Spain with the broadest customer base of 13.8 million customers, over 5,300 branches and nearly 10,000 ATMs, has chosen Bluemix Local to support business applications migrating from its local, and private, Cloud Foundry-based Platform as a Service.
New capabilities of Bluemix Local include:
- Relay technology, created by IBM cloud development teams, that ensures all cloud environments remain current. Relay can instantly sync updates across environments, allowing enterprises to experience the same cloud content and visibility, regardless of location.
- Access to IBM's open-standards-based syndicated catalog of more than 120 services that combines IBM and third-party services so enterprises can construct and extend apps and services. With a private catalog and API Management services, enterprise clients can create, publish, manage and monetize their own APIs.
- A single admin console that puts enterprises in control of their entire cloud platform with visibility through a single dashboard of their public, private and on-premises Bluemix environments, including real-time releases, updates and patches.
Clients can also sync data across geographies using IBM's global network of Cloud Data Centers that are operated throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Using the syndicated catalog through Bluemix Local, a wealth manager at a financial services organization could leverage the Watson Personality Insights API to better understand and service their customer. By analyzing communication between the wealth manager and the customer, a company could build an individual personality index to determine if that person is a risk-taker or more cautious in their investment approach. By narrowing down these personality traits, financial services organizations can provide more insightful recommendations, resulting in highly satisfied customers.
"With the delivery of Bluemix Local, IBM now has the broadest spectrum of hybrid cloud capability in the industry," said Steve Robinson, general manager, Cloud Platform Services, IBM. “Developers are using APIs and building data-intensive apps at an explosive rate, but many, particularly those in heavily regulated industries, want the choice to keep sensitive workloads within their own data center. Clients want options. Now, we are empowering developers to build, deploy and run next-generation apps in the environment they need, with the flexibility to shift across hybrid clouds in a simple click."
IBM launched Bluemix with a $1 billion investment in 2014, growing rapidly to become the largest Cloud Foundry deployment in the world. The open-standards-based Bluemix catalog includes over 120 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and Internet of Things. IBM Bluemix was recently shown to the “developers choice” of PaaS and is growing 10-times faster than the overall PaaS market according to research firm ESG.
Find more information on Bluemix Local, visit: ibm.com/bluemix/hybrid.
IBM Bluemix is essentially a Cloud Based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can get you cloud ready easily and timeously. Click here to create your IBM Bluemix Account and enjoy your free trial.
1. ESG: Platform-as-a-Service Usage and Satisfaction Study, April 2015. http://www.esg-global.com/research-reports/platform-as-a-service-usage-and-satisfaction-study/
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