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Digital Transformation, Security And Artificial Intelligence: Enterprise Partnerships

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enterprise partnerships in artificial intelligence & Digital Transformation

During my conversation with Tim Baker, Director of Marketing and Product Management of Commercial Security Products at Honeywell, I realised very quickly that yes, I did want the person designing today’s security systems to have a real passion for making buildings and people safer. 

Physical security is top of mind for us all, not just from media hype but at a basic level of feeling good about going out in the real world every day. On top of that, digital transformation is turning the security field completely on end. 

In 2018 Honeywell brought an all new team on the job to re-imagine security for organisations from small to medium-sized franchise businesses, to schools, to compliance-heavy commercial and (should this be mission critical facilities? critical facilities. Truly an amazing opportunity to start fresh, no legacy burden and the best possible partnerships. 

Tim brings the perfect background to the job, coming from an integrated engineering and industrial design background, he has that genius for identifying customer problems and coming up with solutions for them. 

Security & Digital Transformation Enterprise

Honeywell has a fantastic opportunity in front of them. Digitalisation offers the ability to merge the three domains of security into one integration system, e.g. intruder detection, access control and video surveillance – into one integrated system.

By integrating the security feeds, system designers aim to go from reactive (monitoring and detecting intruders) to predictive and preventive. It’s the perfect big data application. 

Take the stereotypical global security office (G-soc) with a wall of 30 video monitors. How much better to develop a layered interface that brings the right information to the front of just two or three monitors while pushing the right information to critical team members, and collecting new information from incident responders? And for heavily regulated industries such as pharma, healthcare, banking, airports, oil & gas, and energy, a customisable system can help drive compliance on a global scale.

There are complications though. The industries in the most need of better security systems also require 100% uptime. Security systems in those environments must provide complete redundancy, from network to power supply, because failures are not tolerated – and neither are false alarms. 

Another complication is the variance between sites. While Fortune 500 companies may own hundreds of buildings, they usually haven’t built those themselves and they’re probably operating disparate systems. That means, says Tim, “We have to be able to compute at the edge for isolated buildings, and in other cases to compute in the cloud and in localised servers as well.” Building an infrastructure that can customise and scale across all of those requirements is daunting.

In fact, the initiative might not have worked at all were Honeywell not so committed to open-platform design and partnerships. “Honeywell is not trying to be an expert in all aspects – you’d wind up being an expert in nothing.” Tim says, and calls out things like gunshot detections and behavioural analytics.  This type of expertise already exists and can be added in. Honeywell focuses on the core integrated software and hardware and integrates the specialty peripheral elements and data via the open platform.

One of the most intriguing partnerships Honeywell security has is with Intel. As Tim puts it, “We were looking for a hardware partner for things like servers, and it evolved into a really interesting relationship. They’ve introduced us to a lot of capabilities, such as driving our video analytics through hardware acceleration. It really opened our eyes and allowed us to apply that technology to a broader range of use cases.

Now we’re looking at AI and machine learning and servers with purpose-built processors. And, Intel is helping us connect the dots with other ecosystem partners since they are talking to so many other companies in the space.  They are bringing us together to solve customer problems.” 

From what Tim describes, it sounds like the combined capabilities are creating better products. For example, a loitering detection solution was generating too many false alarms from animals or wind. Working in collaboration, the partners were able to apply machine learning to the detection algorithms and teach them to recognise real vs. false alarms. They’ve since dropped the false positive rate to single digits. 

It’s like a co-create concept where once the team has outlined what they’re trying to build, they can leverage Intel’s capability as much as possible to create a repeatable design and build processes and without having to build everything themselves. 

Tim points out that Intel is also contributing software tool kits like Intel Distribution of OpenVINO to help partners leverage Intel hardware. “Having standard deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow allow us to leverage their processors in such a way that we can efficiently manage the compute for compute-intensive algorithms.” 

So is edge the next big challenge for video security? Raw 4k video is high volume, high speed and high value. With the explosion of 5GT connectivity, we are going to be talking about petabytes of data and you can’t copy that across the network. I thought, what a great opportunity for Honeywell to put their capabilities on the edge of the network where the data is and glean those insights as they’re happening as opposed to trying to hold that data somewhere else to run it centrally. 

Tim agrees – “You want to be able to do as much with that video data at the edge as possible. In an access control application, you don’t need to hold on to the footage of the person walking up to the door, you just need to use the video at the edge to identify the person via biometric means.” And, he points out, with all of the differences in data privacy regulations, you may not have the rights to store video at all. 

Intel’s capabilities are allowing Honeywell to look at applications that are really camera intensive, such as smart cities. I asked Tim for some predictions about what security would look like in the near future, and you can hear his answer at the very opening of the podcast. Stay and listen to the rest of our conversation; there’s a lot going on in the security space and the partnership between Honeywell and Intel is fascinating. 

My sincere thanks to Tim and the rest of the team at Honeywell and Intel for making this podcast possible. For more information about the topics he and I discuss, follow the reference links below. 

Reference links:

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Rebounding for the data-driven fate with FPGA and eASICS

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Field Programmable Gate Array Technology

Data is now the new driving force of the modern world. How well your business performs or what its rank could be on the performance list entirely depends on how you leverage the data available, involving emerging tools such as ML, AI, and cloud! Such forces have, in turn, lit up a stand for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). 

Lately, I have had a great fortune to sit down and have an in-depth discussion with Jim Dworkin, the senior director of the cloud business unit in the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel. During our discussion, even Jim asserted that in order to unlock the potential of data, we need to embrace the latest FPGA technology. 

Further, having the modern architecture out into the right place now could easily uncover the paths to get things right. Perhaps, we need to educate ourselves on the ‘hardwiring’ of data flow to ensure we can appropriately leverage the power of data, speed time to market, diminish the costs of ownership, and a lot more that could take the businesses to new heights. 

For example, the technology Intel has been offering has virtually evolved “off-the-shelf”, so competent than ever before that it can now solve specific infrastructure or business problems.

With the embracement of FPGA latest technology and eASICs(the Intel tech discussed above), there has been an acceleration in infrastructure use cases (SmartNICs). So, what is SmartNICs? Well, SmartNICs is a programmable accelerator. It holds the capability to centre all the networking data with the utmost security and proffering storage flexibility and efficiency at the same time. 

Having SmartNIC onboard businesses hold enough power to handle more refined infrastructure workloads using cloud hosts, churning of wastage of time, and saving more resources. Besides, SmartNICs also furnish great value towards nurturing virtualized assistance, such as multi-tenant shared cloud and more.

Perhaps with hyper-scalers’ mushrooming, the overhead of network infrastructure might turn daunting. But the applications of FPGA have helped manage that. 

Apart from this, Intel has also come up with FPGA cloud SmartNIC platforms that replicate the hyper-scalers’ used architectures. So, how does it operate? 

This platform integrates Intel high-performance Stratix 10 FPGA with an Intel Xeon D processor that works together on the SmartNIC card, enabling virtual switching by offering the Tier-2 data centres a mass-market solution. 

Intel has also been heavily sponsoring more efficient AI via recommender systems and natural language processing. It has even established a more robust form of FPGA, which is able to interpret voice coder inputs. 

Jim contends that the enactment of a GPU manages to be modal and established on the micro-architecture constructed around it, irrespective of their power. Therefore if it shifts from an optimization point, latencies might rise, negatively impacting the performance of speech processing. 

FPGA applications are virtually inexhaustible, particularly with FPGA transition reaching up to par with software programming in ease of usage. 

Jim is optimistic about exploding evolution. He believes people wouldn’t be asking what SmartNIC platforms are. Instead would be keener towards knowing how transformative it could be. But if you ask me, I would still say the real excitement lies in accessing Intel’s technology and then jumping to Microsoft Azure to revise and enjoy leaner and faster service completely.

With his extensive product knowledge of large-scale integration work, Jim puts it; we must decode problems at a strategic level and not in a microcosm.

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Conversation With Jim Dworkin, Senior Director Cloud Business Unit, Intel PSG

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I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jim Dworkin, who is the Sr. Director of Cloud Business Unit at Intel PSG, to discuss the recent news, insights, FPGA trends, and offerings surrounding Field Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) from Intel and related topics such as Data Centres, Infrastructure from Servers to Networks, to the Internet of Things, Edge networking  Artificial Intelligence, compute and much more.

In this episode of our podcast show, Jim and I delve into a wide range of business and technology insights around how key CXO and Senior Business & Technology decision-makers can obtain immediate real-world business benefits by taking advantage of the tremendous technology and supporting ecosystem or partners, integrators, and others and Intel teams globally – this show covers many recent trends in FPGA is you can not miss, please do tune in it today!

Here are a few of the important points from our show:

  1. Latest macro FGPA Trends driving development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs

We kick off with Jim sharing insights around what he and his team at Intel are currently seeing worldwide, as far as the latest macro trends driving the development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs are concerned.

Jim also clarifies what an FPGA is, what Intel’s eASICS are, and where they each fit in the respective spaces around development, design, implementation, going into production, and more – a phenomenal overview to set the scene for this fantastic discussion.

  1. Obstacles & happenings around the adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness

I ask Jim to share his take on the key hurdles & opportunities he and his team at Intel PSG, and related teams at intel, are seeing worldwide concerning the uptake and adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness.

  1. How Intel customers/partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs

Jim gives us an extraordinary briefing level summary of how Intel customers and partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs, as well as some great actionable takeaways listeners can put in place within their own organisations to gain real business and technology benefits over a wide range of key areas in both Information Technology as well as Operational Technology systems and environments.

This conversation covers a broad range of news and detail about Intel’s FPGA solutions business, and technology decision-makers should pay attention. PushPLAY now and tune into this great conversation. If you have any questions, reach out at any time via any of the usual channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. We’d love to start a conversation and perhaps connect you with the best people at Intel to support your organisation’s outcomes.

This podcast covering Intel FPGA News was created in association with Intel.

Explore:

 Intel® FPGA Homepage: https://intel.ly/3gRRXm5

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (Video): https://intel.ly/37pjDLS

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3mo5PW3

– Pushing AI Boundaries with Scalable Compute-Focused FPGAs (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3gRZLnI

 

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5G

Telecom Security Innovations will allow telcos to offer security

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Telecom Security Innovations & Services

It’s an exciting time to be involved in telecommunications. We have witnessed a major push towards remote work this year and telecom companies, both on the provider and supplier side, are scrambling to meet new demands. The growth is being driven by an exponential bump in traffic from both human and IoT footprints. To add to it all, many telcos are gearing up to launch 5G services as well – but, like all things in life, it’s a mixed bag.

The rise in digital activity across the globe has also been accompanied by a nearly unbelievable surge in cyberattacks, much of which is highly sophisticated and increasingly targeted at enterprise rather than individuals.

Many organisations and business leaders had a tough time in 2020 dealing with a relentless spate of virus, ransomware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. For their part, telecom providers have been forced to reconsider the limitations that come with legacy infrastructure, especially when it comes to ensuring the security of mission-critical data.

Also consider the sheer scope of change in business models for carriers and providers, if they could finally move away from their pitched battle around pricing. By offering high-value, premium security solutions that guarantee peace of mind, the telecom industry can create something customers will be willing to pay a higher price for: reliability.

The need to rethink security from an infrastructure perspective

The complexity of security issues has moved beyond ‘gatekeeping’ firewall solutions in the core. Think about it. Legacy security solutions are largely based on sampled traffic. The traditional firewall sits in the core network and is generally too busy dealing with high traffic volumes to do much beyond a basic source-destination check – leaving the network vulnerable to malicious content housed undetected in particular packets of communication.

These solutions are typically slow to detect and mitigate the kind of advanced attacks that are increasingly prevalent in 4G networks and will be “de rigour” in 5G. While enterprise networks can be enmeshed in multiple layers of security, that technique is simply not tenable for telecom networks that have too many connections going in every possible direction to be effectively protected.

The problem gets magnified and compounded for 5G. Picture the huge variety of devices feeding into the networks, ranging from very high-speed mobile broadband to numerous complex and connected IoT devices, vehicles, autonomous drones and more. To put this in perspective, each of these devices is estimated to generate 20-gigabits of traffic per second that all needs to be routed and checked for security. In the case of an attack, the volume of data generated can increase manifold and significantly stress system resilience.

Telco Security Innovations initiative takes security to the next level

Telcos understand this only too well. And it’s not surprising that in recent surveys, the need for advanced security in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers trumped evergreen asks from telecom providers like lower latency, higher capacity, and throughput.

This is why I was so excited to talk with Folke Anger, Head of Solution Line Packet Core, Ericsson Digital Services and Yasir Liaqatullah, Vice President Product Management, A10 Networks to discuss an interesting innovation around the security of 5G Core technologies – the Packet Core – a high-performance cloud-native firewall.

Building security into the DNA of 5G Core infrastructure

With CSPs moving from centralised data centres to edge cloud, the threat landscape has evolved to a point where attacks need to be mitigated as they arise. This means bringing down the scale of response time from minutes or seconds to milliseconds. That’s physically impossible to achieve on legacy infrastructure, so Ericsson thought about the problem differently.

They combined their cloud-native principles with the design of the user plane and built-in its Packet Core Firewall, powered by A10 Networks’ security capabilities, by adding micro-services into the user plane in Packet Core Gateway. The result is a fully integrated security solution that eliminates the need for additional cloud-native functions, separate management or multiple instances.

The Packet Core solution is completely unique in terms of embedding security within the data plane. It’s fully automated and backed by ML in the form of artificial intelligence. It also requires minimal human intervention – all of which result in millisecond level mitigation of even advanced threats.

Opening up a new horizon for telecoms and carriers

The implication of security built into the DNA of the 5G infrastructure is huge for the telecommunication industry.

For one, the resiliency brought in by an integrated security solution ensures that the infrastructure is strong enough to reconfigure and re-spawn itself in case of an attack and continue to function with minimal impact on latency.

It also offers granular security by monitoring all connections with full visibility and can detect threats as they appear and take corrective action – ensuring minimal human intervention and mitigation of attacks in milliseconds. It’s integrated with automation systems and can easily scale to keep pace with higher traffic volumes.

Implementing an integrated security solution will result in lower TCOs for service providers. That, by itself, should be a huge benefit for companies negotiating various partnerships to negotiate the high costs of implementing 5G infrastructure. But it holds out scope for something much more important.

In effect, this innovation can finally offer what telecoms and carriers have been craving for years – a solid differentiator in terms of the value they offer to customers. The pricing battle that telecoms and carriers have been stuck in for years can finally end as they choose to evolve to offer more premium offerings to meet the core demand of many customers on faster networks – complete, reliable security in mission-critical applications.

Eventually, we might see security-as-a-service being bundled as a value add-on to service packages, but given the current threat landscape, security can be the differentiator that sets apart exceptional enterprise service providers from the rest.

I want to thank Folke Anger and Yasir Liaqatullah, and all the wonderful people at Ericsson Digital Services for making this interview possible. Please tune in to the conversation at the link below, and use the other resources to learn more about the technology and innovations we discussed.

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