Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Agorithms can now understand photos

My first introduction to AI was when I learned LISP programming in 1985. Everyone believed that computers were soon going to be be as smart or even smarter than humans in many domains. Instead of a revolution, AI turned out to be a slow process of evolution and refinement. Articles like this one I read today: "Google Stanford build hybrid neural networks that cane explain photos", point to how technology continues to mature in this space. The pace has picked up. We are all benefitting from smarter and smarter services that we have come to expect and embrace without thinking about the complex, powerful and extremely fast algorithms that make it all possible.
Pic: Sunset view of DC from my office

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interopertating Things

Internet Of Things

Over the past year, I resisted carrying additional connected devices besides my iPhone. However, recently I succumbed and tried a couple of new devices connected to my iPhone over the past several weeks and have been impressed how easy some of these devices are to connect and use. It is obvious that everyone will soon be carrying several specific-use accessories connected to the smartphone. Many of these will be barely useful but others will truly deliver value.

I have started wearing a watch again after 5+ years. It took me a few minutes to connect the Pebble to my iPhone. I find its very basic feature very useful: I can see my incoming phone calls, e-mails and text messages on my watch. This is very helpful as I am in meetings all the time and it is very distracting for me to look at my phone during meetings.

I tried the keyboard with my blackberry all weekend long. It was very easy to connect and worked quite will. While, personally, I am comfortable with the standard glass keyboard on the iPhone, I plan to get a few of my colleagues who really want a physical keyboard to try it out.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Indians get a Unique Identity

During my recent vacation in India, I had a wonderful opportunity to meet one-on-one with Nandan Nilekani, the Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAD). Nandan is one of the architects of Offshore IT business in India. He founded and evolved Infosys into one of the most innovative and successful IT services provider in the world. I have always admired what he and his team achieved at Infosys.

I had heard about Nandan leaving Infosys in 2009 to lead a government project to provide a Unique Identification number (called Aadhaar number) to each and every Indian. I was intrigued but just did not get around to learning more about the initiative. Aadhaar is the hindi word that for "foundation" or "support". The idea is to create a 21st century equivalent of the US Social Security Number in India. The most attributes of the program in India are:
  • Each Aadhaar number is associated with biometric information (retina and fingerprint scans) that uniquely and digitally identifies the person.
  • UIAD had developed and runs a simple high-performance web-service for on-line verification of the Aadhaar number and the biometric information associated with it.
The fact that a service provider can validate the identity of a person in real-time opens up the possibility of developing some very unique and valuable services. Further, the fact that the number is tied to unique verifiable information allows the card-holder to retain complete control of all personal information associated with the card. Nandan and I had a long discussion on the possible services that this can enable in financial services, government programs, healthcare, etc. The possibilities are truly unlimited.

Over 12 years ago, I realized that strong identity management is central to secure and seamless access to IT services. We have developed a robust Identity and Access Management for the 30,000+ employees at the Washington Post companies and integrated all our services to one central IAM solution. It was very hard for us to develop a solution that is now broadly utilized across all the IT services provided by my team. The complexity of deploying a solution to support 1.2 billion people is just mind-blowing. The logistical and political challenges are just enormous.

I believe that even if the project delivers only 10% of its true potential, the value to the country and the citizens of India will be huge.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leap Motion

Wow! How we will be interacting with computers in the 3D space in the very near future - pre-order for $80 on BestBuy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Programmable Light-bulb - Philips Hue

I have not posted on this blog for a very long time. However, I could not resist recording my first introduction to Philips Hue. I came across the programmable light-bulb when I saw this article.

Philips is now launching a developer program and is opening the API to the bulb.

Very cool. Very Geeky!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Interview on CIO Insight

Link to the article: Washington Post CTO Yuvi Kochar Wants Cloud Vendors to Give Him an Exit Strategy

My wide-ranging discussion with Jim Nash touches on where we are with the use of cloud services. We also talked about my strong desire to see the industry deliver more flexibility for us to make from one solution to the next. Integration, Vendor lock-in and security continue to top the list of things I worry about when I look at new SAAS solutions.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Google Consumer Surveys

Interesting new product from Google to conduct market research. Click here to learn more. This could become a significant tool for quick and inexpensive Market Research.

Obviously, it remains to be seen if Google can accurately target the right selection of consumers - potential use of the recently integrated profile that Google launched with its new Privacy Policy. Also, will media companies sign-up to embed these surveys on their sites?

Some sites are touting it as a "pay wall" replacement for media companies - I will be tracking that!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

IT as a Service

Information Technology now plays a central role in the functioning of any business. Most, if not all, projects in a modern business have tasks related to technology. As product lifecycles have shortened and more and more business is conducted on-line, the volume of IT work has grown exponentially. IT departments have become a bottleneck in most companies. Business leaders are frustrated by the lack of agility and scalability of IT services and by the constant increase in cost.

Recent advances is Cloud services provide IT with a solution to deploy and scale technology infrastructure quickly and linearly with demand. Further, SAAS solutions like SalesForce and others have demonstrated that high-end technology solutions can be acquired as a subscription and deployed quickly. Further, these solutions are constantly updated with minimal additional cost. Given these experiences with IAAS and SAAS, business now expects internal IT solutions to be delivered in a similar manner. IT as a Service is a hot topic.

Over the past several years, we have developed a model to deliver Enterprise technology solutions as a service. We now have an organizational blueprint and an architecture template that allows us to develop and deliver new services quickly with no capital investment. I will share our experiences over the next several posts.

pic: our backyard, a couple of days ago!

Monday, February 06, 2012

On Sandhill.com

A short Q&A on our experience deploying Enterprise Collaboration Technology was posted today.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Recent Evolutions of the Internet

At the CTO Roundtable this morning, Steve Crocker, long-term CTO Roundtable member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ICANN (the not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with global participants that coordinates the governance of the Internet) led the discussion with two of his colleagues: Leslie Daigle, Chief Internet Technology Officer for the Internet Society, and Jamie Hedlund, ICANN's Vice President of Government Affairs - Americas.
Jamie provided an overview of the new how ICANN is rolling out gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains). This will allow the creation of a whole new set of domains like .bank, etc. The idea is to try and make the internet more open and create a pathway for further innovation. It reamins to be seen if this options will start expanding internet URLs away from .com, that now has over 100 Million names. The thinking is that communities built around these new top-level domains will develop enhanced features that better serve the goals of the community members. Also, ICANN, for the first time, is moving away the closed-door selection process that they followed to date to a more open and democratic process.

Leslie then talked about why she believes that 2012 will be the year of IPv6. As we have now allocated most of the 4Bn IPv4 addresses, the long-term way forward is IPv6. IPv4 addresses are bing sold at approximately $11 per address. She believes that this will drive adoption. Also, several large content providers are permanently moving to IPv6 as the default. Let us see if 2012 turns out to be the year of IPv6.

pic: sunset over first snow in 2012