5 Ways IBM Is Looking To Empower Partners

That could involve using APIs to access cognitive solutions from the IBM Watson platform, or tapping IBM Cloud Private capabilities from the hybrid …

IBM has dramatically revamped how it works with partners through an extensive modernization of its channel program.

That initiative took a leap forward in April with a major restructuring that boosted incentives for embedding solutions like cloud and artificial intelligence, and simplified the resell motion, especially across the Software-as-a-Service portfolio.

IBM’s approach to engaging partners would be unrecognizable to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention for even a year, channel chief John Teltsch and other IBM channel leaders told CRN during a conversation about how the company is empowering its partners.

And IBM continues to improve the framework through which it is nurturing a broader ecosystem that includes born-in-the-cloud solution providers and developers, Teltsch said.

“The client is driving a different agenda with our partners. They’re very schooled on what kind of integrated offerings they want from vendor and partner,” Teltsch said.

“It’s all about cloud, it’s all about data, it’s all about AI. We have to understand our clients, and the ecosystem has to understand our skills, capabilities, and offerings, on-prem or in the cloud.”

Embedding Success

IBM has prioritized efforts to help partners embed its technology into their own solutions, John Teltsch, IBM’s channel chief, told CRN.

“As the market continues to change, drive these solution-based offerings, partners need to leverage our capabilities and content,” Teltsch said.

That could involve using APIs to access cognitive solutions from the IBM Watson platform, or tapping IBM Cloud Private capabilities from the hybrid cloud organization, he said.

“We’re very focused on artificial intelligence and the openness of our APIs and the secure capabilities you can build into your solutions,” Teltsch told CRN.

Enabling Alliances

IBM has made it easier for solution providers to launch and scale practices.

A year ago, it was still challenging to enter the IBM ecosystem because of its size and complexity, said IBM channel chief John Teltsch.

“To onboard themselves into the IBM company as a net new partner has completely and dramatically changed from 12 months ago,” Teltsch said.

Born-in-the-cloud solution providers and development shops were also reluctant to use IBM capabilities because they thought of the company in outdated terms—as a PC and server vendor.

IBM has worked to change that perception by highlighting its current portfolio and the opportunities to leverage those capabilities.

“We’ve been looking to simplify the program, our offerings, so a new generation of partners can embed our products in their solutions,” Teltsch told CRN.

Reach and Range

Understanding “the reach and range of the capabilities of the IBM portfolio” is of tremendous benefit to partners, IBM channel chief John Teltsch told CRN.

Big Blue’s product line is unique in that it encompasses hardware, software, and services, he said.

“We have a rich, rich set of offerings,” Teltsch said, including a broad set of artificial intelligence capabilities made available through the Watson platform.

IBM has developed extensive tooling to help partners tap the potential of that portfolio, Teltsch said.

Rich Incentives

IBM offers rich margins to resellers, IBM channel chief John Teltsch told CRN.

But for partners with different business models, including those embedding IBM technology, Big Blue has developed other incentives to boost their profitability.

“If we have new partners that want to only embed our capabilities in their solutions, we have a set of capabilities that gives them a way to monetize quickly time-to-value, take our solutions and deliver to the marketplace and make money,” Teltsch said.

Brand Trust

IBM’s brand goes a long way with enterprise customers.

“Trust of the IBM brand, our products, offerings, capabilities, and the people behind the IBM brand, is invaluable,” IBM channel chief John Teltsch told CRN.

Dorothy Copeland, vice president of global business partners for North America, said that’s especially true for partners embedding IBM technology.

“They like the fact that they can say embedded in their solution is IBM technology,” Copeland said. “It creates a lot of trust with their clients.”

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Google and Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technology Investments are Eye Opening

In fact, Alphabet has already reportedly acquired a number of distributed ledger technology startups, but they’re just waiting to announce those …
Google Has Quietly Become the Second Largest Corporate Investor in Blockchain Technology

Google Has Quietly Become the Second Largest Corporate Investor in Blockchain Technology

Is Google secretly developing blockchain technology? That’s the claim made by blockchain investment bank NKB Group in a report from earlier this week.

In a blog post, NKB Group cited a report from investor watch group CB Insights. That report, among other interesting information, claims that Google is the second largest corporate investor in blockchain technology.

In fact, Alphabet has already reportedly acquired a number of distributed ledger technology startups, but they’re just waiting to announce those acquisitions.

The report goes on to claim that Google has already invested in some of the blockchain industry’s biggest names, including Gyft, Blockchain, Ripple, LedgerX, Buttercoin, and Veem. NKB Group cites “a source at Alphabet” in addition to the CB Insights report.

Some believe Google sees potential in integrating blockchain technology into its cloud business. However, NKB Group disputed that proposal:

“Blockchain has no role under the hood of the cloud provider’s infrastructure. A computational service that would have the distributed ledger at its heart is a fictional concept.”

So why is Google partnering with blockchain technology firms? Here’s what NKB Group believes:

“The reason Google partners with companies who build blockchain platforms, is just to have them available on their cloud marketplace, as preconfigured bundles to save developers some time with the installation.”

As evidence, NKB Group cites Google’s recent announcement of a partnership with Digital Asset, another distributed platform provider. The announcement falls into the category mentioned above: Google wants to have the distributed platform available on its cloud marketplace. This, according to NKB Group, has “been largely misunderstood by the media.”

The Cloud is Ideal for Developing Blockchain Apps, But Not for Running Full Blockchain Networks

Google’s cloud platform is ideal for developing, testing, and deploying an application because it provides quick deployment, cloning, snapshots, and other useful tools while giving companies a pay as you go operating model.

All of this makes Google’s cloud platform ideal for decentralized app and blockchain app development. However, the platform has limited use for actually running full blockchain networks.

There’s a simple reason why cloud platforms aren’t ideal for running decentralized networks: it’s a contradiction of the fundamentals of a decentralized network:

“But [a cloud platform] has limited use to actually run full blockchain networks, as having a distributed ledger under one cloud roof contradicts the blockchain principle of distributed control. The cloud is a good base to develop blockchain apps on and run some of its nodes, that’s all.”

Google is Developing Blockchain Technology for Online Advertising

Google’s core business is in online advertising. NKB Group believes that Google is exploring the use of blockchain for their online advertising business.

Distributed technology could revamp Alphabet’s advertising empire. Google loses billions of dollars per year due to ad fraud. Online advertising ecosystems can be messy. Google could use blockchain technology to make online ads more transparent and credible.

With blockchain, Google would be able to share data among actors at different levels of the online ad food chain. No party is in full control. When a single party is in full control, it leads to a lack of trust.

Google may also see potential in smart contracts. Smart contracts could be used to automate multiple aspects of the online advertising ecosystem. Google could use smart contracts to automate ad delivery, for example, and to arrange payments for publishers.

“The idea of blockchain in online advertising is so tempting that deciphering Google’s secret blockchain strategy may actually be quite easy — the ledger is perfect for their very core business, which feeds them with 80% of their revenue — the content advertising.”

In any case, the news that Google is the second largest corporate investor in blockchain technology is significant. While we know Facebook has its own blockchain division exploring the use of blockchain technology, we haven’t seen any indication of Google implementing similar technology. This new report suggests that not only is Google exploring the use of blockchain, but that they’re one of the industry’s largest investors.

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Do You Trust This Computer? documentary review: artificial intelligence is already here

This slick gloss on all the ways in which artificial intelligence is already impacting our world won’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention…

Documentarian Chris Paine, who once asked Who Killed the Electric Car?, is back with another question of genuinely societal-shaking importance: Do You Trust This Computer? This slick gloss on all the ways in which artificial intelligence is already impacting our world won’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention… but as with so many other situations of incredible importance playing out right now, not everyone is.

“We have five years,” warns Elon Musk here, before we reach the moment that futurist geeks already know as the Singularity (oddly, that word is not mentioned in the film), when our computers exceed our capabilities, perhaps even reach a form of consciousness, and AI escapes our control. This does not seem implausible, not with how quickly we’ve gotten here, with AIs operating now that are already better than us in some limited ways, as Trust runs down. AI-driven robots are doing lots of routine surgeries; Google’s AI Deep Mind is the best Go player and best poker player on the planet, and it has admin-level access to Google’s servers (Google’s search engine itself is a kind of AI), though which it learns about everything. Google, the film implies, could achieve sentience, and soon, and we should be worried.

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Apstra Hires Former VeloCloud Exec, Tells Cisco to Bring It

Wood has three-decades worth of experience in engineering and product marketing roles, and much of that centers around emerging technologies.
Apstra Hires Former VeloCloud Exec, Tells Cisco to Bring It
Jessica Lyons Hardcastle
August 17, 2018

1:31 pm PT

Apstra this week brought on former Cisco and VeloCloud executive Michael Wood to fill a newly created chief marketing post at the company in a move to accelerate intent-based networking.

The startup, founded in 2016, is a pioneer in intent-based networking. This allows a network operator to state a business intent for the network and then use software to automatically implement this intent take corrective actions if needed. It’s an emerging data center technology — Gartner estimated fewer than 35 full deployments as of early 2018. But it’s been gaining traction with vendors including Cisco and Juniper jumping on the intent-based networking bandwagon.

Still, it’s a tough sell for risk-adverse network buyers, says Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner.

“Intent is essentially a new paradigm for how you manage a network, and new paradigms don’t go over particularly well in networking,” Lerner said. “Network buyers prefer moderate, incremental change. Apstra is a new vendor and they are doing a new thing.”

In other words, as the new guy tasked with scaling product management and marketing, Wood’s got his work cut out for him. He says he’s not fazed by this challenge — or by heavyweights like Cisco entering the sector.

Apstra Mike Wood

“I love to have competition and it would be great to have more,” Wood said. “I genuinely believe that intent-based networking will become the standard for data center operating systems. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the fact that other vendors have begun talking about intent-based networking is an example of its high value to IT.”

To Wood’s point about imitation, Apstra CEO and founder Mansour Karama added: “We certainly saw that when Cisco embraced intent-based networking.”

Wood has three-decades worth of experience in engineering and product marketing roles, and much of that centers around emerging technologies.

‘Marketing Leader in a Hot Market’

Prior to Apstra, Wood was vice president of worldwide marketing at VeloCloud, which was scooped up by VMware last year. Before VMware and VeloCloud, he was at Akamai, Cisco, and Stratacom (acquired by Cisco).

Apstra’s hoping Wood can work the same magic he did for SD-WAN and VeloCloud on intent-based networking and Apstra. Lerner says Wood is up to the task.

“Mike Wood has a strong track record in emerging technology markets and a very strong track record with VeloCloud,” Lerner said, noting that three SD-WANstartups emerged from stealth in Silicon Valley over a 10-week period in 2012. They were Viptela, which Cisco acquired, CloudGenix, and VeloCloud.

VeloCloud’s technology, which has been folded into VMware’s NSX SD-WAN, leads the market in terms of revenue and customer deployments, Lerner said.

“At the very least the marketing strategy set out by Mike Wood helped to achieve that point. He was the marketing leader in a hot market and he took VeloCloud to be the leader by revenue and paying customers. You can’t do that if you have bad marketing,” Lerner added.

Data Center Disruptor

Wood says Apstra’s technology “looks like the next major disruptor in the data center space,” and that’s one of the reasons why he joined the team.

“One of the things that has really drawn me in was this idea of markets and busiensses that are creating a disruption,” Wood said. “I had the opportunity to be able to participate with that in VoIP at Cisco and SD-WAN with VeloCloud — that was a massively disruptive business. And I saw Apstra was doing something incredibly innovative and facilitating greater disruption in the data center.”

Data centers are becoming increasingly complex, and that complexity means that enterprises aren’t able to enjoy the promised cost and technology benefits of using commodity hardware. Apstra’s intent-based networking addresses both of these issues, Wood said. It supports multivendor infrastructure and automates network operations, thus simplifying management and reducing OpEx.

“It’s really giving superpowers to the data center IT teams,” Wood said.

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Lowry Solutions’ Blockchain, RFID & IIoT Expert John Greaves Named To AIM Board Of Directors

… President – Business Development for Alien Technology; Ralf Kodritsch, Director Segment Manager RAIN RFID Solutions for NXP Semiconductors; …

BRIGHTON, Mich., Aug. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — John Greaves, RFID, IoT & Blockchain Solutions Architect at Lowry Solutions has been named to the Board of Directors of AIM, the trusted worldwide industry association for the automatic identification industry which has provided unbiased information, educational resources and standards for nearly half a century.

Lowry Solutions Logo (PRNewsfoto/Lowry Solutions)

AIM also announced today the appointment of four other new industry executives to its Board of Directors. Also joining the board are Patti Blessing, Vice President – Business Development for Alien Technology; Ralf Kodritsch, Director Segment Manager RAIN RFID Solutions for NXP Semiconductors; Anna Lau, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Laxcen Technology Pte Ltd and Amber Richards, President & Chief Executive Officer at Integrated ID Solutions.

“We are excited to welcome these incredibly innovative leaders to the board,” said Mary Lou Bosco, AIM’s Chief Operating Officer. “The range and depth of their industry experience will undoubtedly bring strength to the AIM global community and offer the association greater diversity than ever before. Each new director has a unique perspective along with a reputation for collaborative leadership and integrity, attributes essential to AIM’s continued success around the world.”

“Having John represent Lowry Solutions on the AIM Board of Directors on our behalf in such an important capacity, is an honor for us,” stated Lowry’s CEO, Mike Lowry. “His industry experience and leadership will be an asset.”

The new directors join a board that guides the strategic direction, financial health, policies, procedures, vision and mission of AIM, serving nearly 400-member companies and their employees around the world.

The current AIM Board also includes executives from Aware Innovations, BlueStar, CDO Technologies, Datalogic, Honeywell, Lyngsoe Systems, ScanSource, Schneider Kennzeichnung GmbH and Zebra Technologies.

For more information contact AIM Headquarters via email or phone +1 (724) 742.4470.

About Lowry Solutions

Lowry Solutions is a global systems integrator of complete IIoT, Blockchain, RFID and barcode solutions for supply chain applications. As the industry leader for over four decades, Lowry has been implementing real-time asset visibility solutions that simply traceability and improve business outcomes. The company continues to evolve alongside its customers to provide the most complete and modern data collection solutions available. Contact them at +1 (888) 881.2477 or lowrysolutions.com.

Follow Lowry Solutions: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+

About AIM

AIM is the trusted worldwide industry association for the automatic identification industry. For nearly half a century, AIM has provided unbiased information, educational resources and standards to providers and users of these technologies. AIM membership provides access to an insider’s perspective on trends and opportunities along with a voice in shaping the growth and future of the industry. AIM member benefits include education, advocacy and community, as well as a role in creating industry standards through collaboration. Contact them at +1 (724) 742.4470, www.aimglobal.org or info@aimglobal.org.

Contact:

Michelle Shook, Marketing Manager

Lowry Solutions

+1 (810) 534.1669 · michelles@lowrysolutions.com

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SOURCE Lowry Solutions

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