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Four Stunning Keynotes From the ECC Conference

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:38 PM


For the fourth year in a row, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Enterprise Computing Community (ECC) conference. This conference has four keynote talks during the mornings and evenings of both days, which are located in the main hall with up to 300 attendees. It also has concurrent sessions, three or four at a time, and you choose one to attend. Top speakers present the keynote talks and the topics are designed to stretch your thinking.

Edge Computing in Perspective 

On Monday morning, keynote speaker Don Duet gave a presentation titled “Edge Computing in Perspective.” Duet serves as the president and COO of Vapor IO. I heard about edge computing before Duet’s talk, but he really opened our minds to the importance of edge computing right now and its role well into the future. With the billions of devices coming online supported by a new generation of applications, it’s simply impractical to expect all that data to be sent to the relatively few data centers worldwide for processing. There’s a need for edge devices and networks close to the data and the processing needs of the community.  

Key Takeaways

1. Most compelling idea: Billions of devices, zettabytes of data and a new generation of applications are driving demand.

2. Most unexpected notion: The computer interface is shifting from human to digital so the infrastructure must change to adapt and that’s why edge computing is important.

3. How this information can influence your future: The challenge that’s raising the importance of edge computing is a significant opportunity in 5G mobile, community-led endeavors like interoperability standards and application frameworks, and the overall edge economy.

For more, please see his presentation

The Changing Nature of Innovation in the 21st Century Digital Economy

After lunch on Monday, the keynote speaker was Irving Wladawsky-Berger, who worked with IBM for more than 35 years and now serves as a visiting lecturer and research fellow at MIT. His presentation was titled “The Changing Nature of Innovation in the 21st Century Digital Economy.” Wladawsky-Berger focused on a number of major areas including continuing digital advances (mobile, IoT and cloud), the emergence of big data (analytics, data science and artificial intelligence (AI)), the critical importance of security, privacy and trust (transactions and blockchain), and societal impacts (will there be enough work in the future?).

Three Key Takeaways

1. Most compelling ideas: Advances in AI continue at a rapid rate, fueling new applications that promise to transform entire domains like driving trucks and automobiles. Blockchain has significant potential to modernize company accounting through distributed ledger technology.

2. Most unexpected notion: Around 40 percent of adults around the world (~2 billion people), don’t have accounts at financial institutions, and are thus excluded from the emerging digital economy. Digitizing helps overcome the costs and physical barriers that have beset otherwise valuable economic inclusion efforts.  

3. How this information can influence your future: Individuals must prepare for lifelong learning, evolving skills requirements, changing job opportunities and new ways of working.

For more, please see his presentation.

IoT—Making Sens(or) of the World

On Tuesday morning, keynote speaker Markus van Kempen, an executive architect and venture capitalist at IBM, gave a presentation titled “IoT–Making Sens(or) of the World.” van Kempen identified himself as a banker with a passion for the Internet of Things (IoT) and that was certainly revealed during this presentation and demonstration. He was one of a number of conference presenters who brought hardware devices to show what he was talking about as he presented. He began his talk with an interesting discussion of terms and explained that IoT has many definitions and different related acronyms—for example, Internet of Everything (IoE), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT). He clearly made the point that IoT is about connecting the physical world to the digital world, and also shared the prediction that IoT could have an annual economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion by 2025.

Three Key Takeaways

1. Most compelling ideas: IoT is happening now because of inexpensive hardware, connectivity and available computing power. IoT combined with AI and analytics make a compelling application for managing buildings, helping game wardens keep endangered animals safe from poachers and improving the grape yields in vineyards.

2. Most unexpected notion: IoT applications reach is more than I anticipated. van Kempen described manufacturing, transportation and utilities, which are the main focus areas of current spending. Consumer, healthcare, retail, insurance and cross-industry will also be emerging areas of spending by 2020.  

3. How this information can influence your future: Look to IoT as an opportunity to add value to existing applications—a modernization tactic to add to your existing toolkit like adding new languages to the mix, replacing files with databases and updating the UI.

For more, please see his presentation

Private Cloud Services at the Enterprise Level

After lunch, keynote speaker Bill Thirsk, vice president of information technology and CIO at Marist, spoke about the private cloud services that Marist provides to many outside organizations. He spoke about shared services that help other institutions and organizations. These shared services grew from a unique research partnership with IBM. The IBM/Marist partnership supports students of all disciplines throughout their academic career. Marist participates in the IBM value chain as both a contributor and as a consumer through research, teaching and learning, scalability of operations and efficiency along with ISV “lift and move” development, testing, and operations. The original research projects started in 1988 and the joint return on assets model has been proven with massive virtualization and non-similar workloads. For me, this was the most interesting and frankly stunning presentation of the conference because of the innovation that has arisen from the partnership.  

Three Key Takeaways

1. Most compelling ideas: Casting a wide net of collaboration between companies, institutions, researchers and students can have considerable benefits. Diverse application use provides students and faculty with amazing learning opportunities. 

2. Most unexpected notion: I discovered that the mission for Marist shared services is to engage in special projects with like-missioned organizations to jointly lower the overall cost of high performance technologies and services so affiliated participants may redirect precious resources to their primary mission.

3. How this information can influence your future: After you review the 50-page presentation, you should consider the work at Marist as a durable innovation model along with a template for notions of shared services and excellence in collaboration between companies and institutions that delivers lasting career benefits to students.

For more, please see the presentation