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It takes years – sometimes a lifetime – to perfect certain skills in life: hitting a jump shot off the dribble, nailing that double high C on the trumpet, parallel parking a Ford Expedition. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book, “Outliers,” discussing the amount of work – 10,000 hours – required to perfect a skill (while the exactness of 10,000 hours has come under debate, it is still a useful point that people need to invest considerable time and effort to master a skill). But once we get comfortable with something that we feel that we have mastered, we become reluctant to change. We are reluctant to unlearn what we’ve taken so long to master. Changing your point of release on a jump shot or your embouchure for playing lead trumpet is dang hard! Why? Because it is harder to unlearn that it is to learn. It is harder to un-wire all those synoptic nerve endings and deep mem... (more)

Quantum Computing, #AI and Solving the Impossible | @ThingsExpo #DX #SmartCities

Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Solving the Impossible In the blog “From Autonomous to Smart:  Importance of Artificial Intelligence,” we discussed the two critical artificial intelligence (AI) challenges in creating “smart” edge devices: Artificial Intelligence Challenge #1: How do the Artificial Intelligence algorithms handle the unexpected, such as flash flooding, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, police car chases, emergency vehicles, blown tires, a child chasing a ball into the street, etc.? Artificial Intelligence Challenge #2: The more complex the problem state, the more data storage (to retain known state history) and CPU processing power (to find the optimal or best solution) is required in the edge devices in order to create “smart”. In the blog “Reinforcement Learning to the Rescue,” we talked about how Moore’s Law isn’t going... (more)

It’s About Economics! Data Is the New Sun | @ThingsExpo #AI #DX #BigData

I’ve always felt that bringing an economics perspective to our Big Data and digital transformation discussions is more important than a traditional accounting or even information technology (IT) perspective. Heck, I believe that a Chief Data Officer’s background should be more along the lines of economics than IT. Economics brings a forward-looking perspective on creating value (wealth). In fact, economics is defined as “the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer (capture) of wealth.” It is this forward-looking perspective on the “production, consumption, and transfer (capture) of wealth” that should drive an organization’s digital transformation initiatives. And as an example of how digital transformation is exploiting economics, we need to look no further than what is happening in the automobile industry. Economics of an Elec... (more)

The Four Laws of #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo @Schmarzo #AI #DX #IoT #SmartCities

My discussions with organizations looking to “digitally transform” themselves is yielding some interesting observations. I expect that when these discussions move into the execution phase, we will start to create some “Laws of Digital Transformation” that will guide organizations digital transformation journey. So with that in mind, let me start by proposing these “4 Laws of Digital Transformation”. Law #1: It’s About Business Models, Not Just The Business Digital Transformation is about innovating business models, not just optimizing business processes Organizations are looking to leverage these digital assets to create new “economic moats.” Warren Buffett, the investor extraordinaire, popularized the term “economic moat.” “Economic moat” refers to a business’s ability to maintain competitive advantages over its competitors (through process and technology innovatio... (more)

Is a #BigData Conference Like Going to the Dentist? | @CloudExpo #BI #IoT #SmartCities

I recently visited my dentist and found the experience, well, less than satisfactory. I was subjected to 45 minutes of lecturing while strapped into the dentist chair: “You don’t brush enough times a day. You don’t brush long enough. You don’t brush correctly. You aren’t using the right type of toothbrush. You aren’t replacing the brush head soon enough. You aren’t flossing enough. You aren’t flossing correctly. You aren’t using the right type of floss.” Good lord! It’s any wonder that my teeth aren’t just falling out of my head!! No one likes being lectured. It’s not constructive and after a while, you just turn it off.  That’s probably similar to the feeling of going to these Big Data conferences – constantly being told what you aren’t doing right. And maybe I’m guilty of doing that as well. If I am, then I’m sorry because from an audience perspective, it sucks... (more)

Me, Myself and Digital Twins | @ThingsExpo #AI #IoT #BigData #DX #DigitalTransformation

It’s hard to get into the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) without eventually talking about Digital Twins. I was first exposed to the concept of Digital Twins when working with GE. Great concept. But are Digital Twins only relevant to physical machines such as wind turbines, jet engines, and locomotives? What can we learn about the concept of digital twins that we can apply more broadly – to other physical entities (like contracts and agreements) and even humans? What Is a Digital Twin? A Digital Twin is a digital representation of an industrial asset that enables companies to better understand and predict the performance of their machines, find new revenue streams, and change the way their business operates[1]. GE uses the concept of Digital Twins to create a digital replica of their physical product (e.g., wind turbine, jet engine, locomotive) that captures ... (more)

Microsoft Azure September 2017 Software Defined Data Infrastructure Updates

Microsoft September 2017 Software Defined Data Infrastructure Updates Microsoft September 2017 Software Defined Data infrastructure Updates September was a busy month for data infrastructure topics as well as Microsoft in terms of new and enhanced technologies. Wrapping up September was Microsoft Ignite where Azure, Azure Stack, Windows, O365, AI, IoT, development tools announcements occurred, along with others from earlier in the month. As part of the September announcements, Microsoft released a new version of Windows server (e.g. 1709) that has a focus for enhanced container support. Note that if you have deployed Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and are looking to upgrade to 1709, do your homework as there are some caveats that will cause you to wait for the next release. Note that there had been new storage related enhancements slated for the September update, however... (more)

How to Power #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo #DX #IoT #SmartCities

“You can’t stop the incessant march of economics” – Bill Schmarzo Okay, so it’s probably not cool to quote oneself, but hey, this is my blog and I get to do what I want.  And for anyone who follows me knows, I love to “riff” on the game-changing power of economics.  The “economics of big data” – where the cost to store, manage and analyze data is 20x to 100x cheaper than traditional analytics – started this big data and data science craze.  But ultimately it is the economics of value, or to be specific, “value in use” where the economics really become a game changer. I recent article titled “The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence” from the Harvard Business Review highlights very well the role that economics (maybe even more than data science) is going to play in separating the winners from the losers in digital transformation.  To quote the article: Machine int... (more)

Five Questions that Define Your #DigitalTransformation | @ThingsExpo #DX #IoT #SmartCities

I recently had the opportunity to give a 10-minute keynote at DataWorks Summit 2017.  I know what most of you are thinking: Schmarzo can barely introduce himself in 10 minutes! What sort of keynote could he give in just 10 minutes?  And to be honest, I too struggled with what to say. But after some brainstorming with my marketing experts (Jeff Abbott, Erin Banks, and Chris Hill), we came up with an idea:  Pose five questions that every organization needs to consider as they prepare themselves for digital transformation.  And while I didn’t have enough time in 10 minutes to answer those questions in a keynote, I certainly do in a blog! So here we go!! Question #1:  How effective is your organization at leveraging data and analytics to power your business model? The Big Data Business Model Maturity Index was developed to help organizations to measure or benchmark their... (more)

What Business Leaders Need to Know About Machine Learning | @ThingsExpo #AI #ML #IoT #M2M

What Tomorrow's Business Leaders Need to Know About Machine Learning Sometimes I write a blog just to formulate and organize a point of view, and I think it’s time that I pull together the bounty of excellent information about Machine Learning. This is a topic with which business leaders must become comfortable, especially tomorrow’s business leaders (tip for my next semester University of San Francisco business students!). Machine learning is a key capability that will help organizations drive optimization and monetization opportunities, and there have been some recent developments that will place basic machine learning capabilities into the hands of the lines of business. By the way, there is an absolute wealth of freely-available material on machine learning, so I’ve included a sources section at the end of this blog for folks who want more details on machine lea... (more)

A Vacation Lesson: Mastering Logistics with Analytics | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData

Okay, so my vacations don’t necessary seem like other folks’ vacations. Yes, we relax. Yes, we spend too much money. Yes, we eat too much food. But for some reason, unusual learning opportunities pop up during our vacations, and this year’s vacation was no different. This year’s vacation theme was… logistics. Our logistics foray started by watching the artsy-fartsy movie “The Lunchbox.” I hate artsy-fartsy movies, but my wife insists on watching them on vacation. The movie was excellent. However, I was totally mesmerized by the lunchbox delivery system that was a featured part of the movie. The lunchbox delivery system, called dabbawalas, delivers hot lunches from homes and restaurants to people at work in Mumbai, India. The lunchboxes are picked up mid morning, delivered to husbands at noon using bicycles and railway trains, and returned to the originating source ... (more)