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Think Australia 2018 – Where Technology meets Humanity



IBM Think Australia 2018

Sydney’s International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour is about to play host to an amazing array of leading minds in business & technology, and a cast of ridiculously High IQ futurists from every imaginable walk of life, all housed under one roof for IBM Australia’s local 2018 edition of IBM’s inaugural 2018 “Think Australia” event ( #ThinkAU )

It’s no secret I had the honour and privilege of being part of the North American THINK 2018 ( #THINK2018 ) event in Las Vegas just a couple of weeks ago, and unless you’ve been living in a cafe for the last six months, your social feed across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. will have seen blogs, twitter chats, podcasts, photo galleries, videos, interviews, and live streams I’ve been posting from the US event.

The North American event was quite literally “off the chart”, from doing Facebook live streams with folk like Matt Cadieux, CIO Red Bull Racing ( talking about real time big data and machine learning at the pace of Formula One racing, through to being on stage with legends of AI, to the lead up to the launch of the new IBM Z Mainframe offerings.

I even got to bring ( well I did a “friendly kidnap” ) my new best friend Lucy, an IBM #Power9 chip back to Sydney with me as part of the #Power9Tour – where Lucy the Power 9 CPU travelled around the world to get to THINK 2018 in Las Vegas, toured the show with me from Registration through to the final day, and then hitched a ride with me back home to Sydney – check out the photos here => )

I am still very much on a high from the North American event, so you can imagine I’m very excited to share that I now have that same opportunity to be part of the local version of THINK 2018 here in my home town of Sydney, where I’ll be publishing live from the event for you, with live tweets, photo galleries, videos and live streams across Facebook live, Instagram Live, Periscope, and Twitter – we have such an exciting collection of material coming your way.

So what can you expect from Think Australia 2018 in Sydney? The key message is to “Challenge yourself to think differently”.

Insights Into IBM Think Australia 2018

Every day we see new and exciting and often disruptive emerging technologies change the way we live, work, and interact with one another. Think Australia will see us jointly explore the relationship between humanity and technology is a bold endeavour, and none of us can do it alone. Innovation, disruption and emerging technologies are a team sport.

Think Australia is set to highlight, celebrate and elevate the ideas that will change not only the world of business, but the world at large. It’s a space that will transform individual insights into powerful collaborative business solutions, helping to address some of our toughest challenges.

We’ll explore quantum computing, cloud and data, AI, blockchain, security solutions and business and technology services to gain better insight into the progressive partnership between humanity and technology.

Here’s a selection of the extensive lineup of speakers – you can see the entire lineup of speakers on the Think Australia website ( link at the end of this blog ):

  • Harriet Green – Chairman and CEO IBM Asia Pacific
  • Chris Hadfield – Astronaut, First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station
  • John Cohn – IBM Fellow, Distinguished Agitator, IBM Internet of Things
  • John Smith – IBM Fellow, AI Tech, IBM Research
  • David La Rose – Managing Director, IBM Australia and New Zealand
  • Rana Novack – Advocate for refugee crisis, IBM
  • Chieko Asakawa – Inventor and IBM Fellow, IBM Research
  • Hugh Riminton – Author, journalist, foreign correspondent and television news presenter
  • Rashid Ferrod Davis – Founding Principal, Pathways in Technology Early College High School PTECH
  • Tomer Garzberg – CEO, GRONADE
  • Professor Michael J. Biercuk – Founder & CEO, Q-CTRL
  • Mickey Iqbal – VP Enterprise IT Transformation, IBM Fellow & Master Inventor

and many many more..

I actually recently caught up with IBM Fellow & Master Inventor Mickey Iqbal, and I got him in the studio for a podcast, part of the Pioneers of Possible series, check it out on your way to the event via this link =>

So what are the key themes we’ll be looking at throughout Think Australia 2018?

Big topics include all of my favourites, such as:

  • Quantifying Quantum: The value of quantum tech & its future applications
  • The Future of Work and AI: Exploring the future of AI in the workplace
  • Experience and AI: Explore customer experience and the cognitive tools available
  • Brewing Blockchain: What is it & why you should care about Blockchain

As most of you will know I’m a champion of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (, as the UN describes them, “17 goals to transform our world”. These goals are all set to be positively impacted by what you’re going to see at Think Australia 2018.

Key Topics of Think Australia 2018

Broad high impact topics such as Cloud, AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, the Future of Work, Blockchain, these and many other key themes you will learn about, hear about, from Think Australia 2018 are all set to have such a powerful and positive impact on the likes of reducing Poverty, eliminating world Hunger, extending the reach of access to Good Health and Well-Being to emerging markets and developing nations.

To think that these things are potentially able to be solved in our lifetimes from technologies some of us are directly or indirectly involved in developing and implementing is for me, exactly the legacy I wish to leave behind in this world in my lifetime.

So we’re all set for an amazing time, and amazing event, and frankly some amazing stories through keynotes, presentations, and much much more.

I look forward to seeing you at the event if you are able to join us in person, but if you can’t make it on the day, please do make sure you join us online, register for the live streams ( link below ) and follow the #ThinkAU hashtag on Twitter for all of our live and post event updates.

Together, let’s now go explore what makes you think, and let’s think together.

To register for the event in whatever form you can, here are the relevant details for you:


Rebounding for the data-driven fate with FPGA and eASICS



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.

Further Reading

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



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.


 Intel® FPGA Homepage:

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (Video):

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (White Paper):

– Pushing AI Boundaries with Scalable Compute-Focused FPGAs (White Paper):


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Telecom Security Innovations will allow telcos to offer security



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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