Daily Tech Digest - February 27, 2017

Android Struggling In Tablets As Windows 10 2-in-1's Come On Strong

Where Android has faltered, Windows is now taking over. Many people are replacing tablets with multipurpose Windows 2-in-1 PCs. Phablets are also taking over for tablets, especially in Asian countries. Many device makers are cutting Android tablet offerings. Dell has dropped Android tablets, while other PC makers like HP, Acer and Asus have fewer Android offerings than previous years. The PC makers are instead pushing out higher-priced Windows 10 2-in-1s. Over the last five years, analyst firms made bold predictions that tablets would overtake PC shipments, but that hasn't happened. In 2014, Gartner predicted that tablet shipments would overtake PC shipments in 2015.

What Exactly The Heck Are Prescriptive Analytics?

Prescriptive analytics is about using data and analytics to improve decisions and therefore the effectiveness of actions. Isn’t that what all analytics should be about? A hearty “yes” to that because, if analytics does not lead to more informed decisions and more effective actions, then why do it at all? Many wrongly and incompletely define prescriptive analytics as the what comes after predictive analytics. Our research indicates that prescriptive analytics is not a specific type of analytics, but rather an umbrella term for many types of analytics that can improve decisions. Think of the term “prescriptive” as the goal of all these analytics — to make more effective decisions — rather than a specific analytical technique.

BIS Report: DLT 'Promising' But 'A Long Way Off'

Though the report seeks to cast a wide net in its exploration of the tech, its most notable aspects relate to the as-yet unanswered questions around blockchain's use for market infrastructure. Those behind the report appear to be in two minds on if current distributed ledger designs may ultimately help any transparency boosts the tech could bring. The BIS talks about the trade-offs inherent in limiting the number of participants in a ledger, while also suggesting that a more open and resilient financial system may provide benefits. "One possible benefit of DLT in an interconnected system is that data shared across key entities may lead to greater market transparency and more effective risk management across systems," the report reads.

How IoT is Changing the World: Cases from Visa, Airbus, Bosch & SNCF

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our world. This may seem like a bold statement, but consider the impact this revolutionary technology has already had on communications, education, manufacturing, science, business, and many other fields of life. Clearly, the IoT is moving really fast from concept to reality and transforming how industries operate and create value.  As the IoT creeps towards mass adoption, IT giants experiment and innovate with the technology to explore new opportunities and create new revenue streams. I was invited to Genius of Things Summit as a Futurist by Watson IoT and WIRED Insider and attended the long-awaited grand opening of IBM’s headquarters for Watson Internet of Things in Munich. The two-day event provided me an insight into what IBM’s doing to constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible with the IoT.

IT project success rates finally improving

"Digital convergence is collapsing the gap between business and IT. For so many years, we talked about how to better align IT with strategic business goals, and now it's just a fact of life. That forces IT -- and companies' PMO [project management office] -- to emphasize planning and prioritization, which helps them succeed with the projects that are truly important," Tickle says. "It's a bit anecdotal, but the buzz around planning and prioritization has increased just in the last couple years, and I see that when I talk to clients and customers -- both those who are using our products and those that are using other suites; another thing I'm seeing is that organizations are slashing the number of projects they're taking on, to focus more intently on those that will have the greatest impact and ROI," Tickle says.

Watch List 2017, Special Report N°3 | 24 February 2017

Whether unprecedented or not, the challenges currently facing our global security are immense and cause for considerable alarm. It is difficult to think of a time in recent history when there has been such a confluence of destabilising factors – local, regional and global – hindering collective capacity to better manage violence. These overlapping risks, unchecked, could coalesce into a major crisis – indeed we are currently experiencing a spike in global conflict violence – without the safety net of solid structures to deal with it. When Crisis Group was founded, its premise was that bringing field-based expert analysis to the attention of (principally) Western policymakers could effect positive change in both preventing and ending situations of deadly conflict. Much of that premise still holds, but for us, as for others, it is no longer sufficient: the West can no longer be viewed either as homogenous or an oasis of tranquility.

Microsoft Adds Network Performance Monitor to Management Suite

As a standalone solution, it supports several use cases, including monitoring the health of the network connections between on-premises networks and public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and of course, Microsoft's own Azure cloud computing platform. It can also be used by businesses to monitor the links between multiple data centers and offices, whether they're connected via public or private networks. Prior to its official launch this week, early testers have been putting Network Performance Monitor through its paces since July 2016 as part of a public preview release. According to Microsoft, their feedback has helped the company ship Network Performance Monitor with several new features and enhancements that help IT professionals find and fix issues faster.

Don't let continuous software delivery automate the publishing of bugs

Changing the pace of iteration does not mean that you can suddenly code faster. A better word might be sooner. Let's do a new version sooner, see what works, see what doesn't and then iterate from there. ... DevOps is on a good path. The original DevOps and Agile people should be proud. It reminds me of the 1990s with open source. These were idealists who did not understand the concept of corporate production. With Linux, and even Microsoft today, it is a victory for open source. The same thing is taking place with development methodologies. We used to have long release cycle -- often years. The Agile guys in early 2000s didn't understand what critical software meant to operating critical apps in production. Today, if you're not doing Agile and DevOps, you're late. Every company has been good at producing business value from software.

Pass on the JSON, and choose binary encoding formats instead

Text-based encodings are typically 10x slower than the less efficient binary codecs such as GBP. There are binary encodings that are 10x to 100x more efficient such as FlatBuffers, Cap'n Proto and SBE (Simple Binary Encoding). ... This increase in efficiency results in direct reductions in latency, increases in throughput, and efficiency gains. We can also see bandwidth reduction due to more compact encodings. One of the biggest wins can be on mobile devices where the battery usage is significantly reduced. If you profile the typical business application you will likely be shocked how much CPU time and memory is dedicated to protocols and codecs relative to the business logic. It seems our applications are mostly doing protocol handling and encoding and as a side effect do a little business logic.

Processing Streaming Human Trajectories with WSO2 CEP

Extracting useful information from an uncertain data stream is a significant issue in data stream processing with a wide variety of applications. In this article we will demonstrate one such application which involves the synthesis of useful information from an uncertain data stream in the domain of transportation and logistics. It is essential to filter the sensor data collected from sensor networks since most of such data are inaccurate due to multiple issues such as sensor malfunctions, environmental noise, etc. Specifically we describe the use of Kalman filters on WSO2 CEP (complex event processing) for smoothing human trajectory information gathered from an iBeacon sensor network. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our solution by comparing an example raw human trajectory against the Kalman filtered results.

Quote for the day:

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” -- John Wooden