At BTEX 2019, CDW’s Jason Allan (Cloud and Data Centre Architect) discussed new technologies that are changing how companies operate, with an emphasis on real-world scenarios.
‘“There’s a lot of marketing and fluff around artificial intelligence,” he said, “but there’s a lot of real stuff as well.”
He shared the example of reviewing legal documents. “AI can now easily consume and understand the context of various case files that usually take lawyers weeks to review and pull out relevant information. AI can now shrink that down to hours, which is a significant change.”
Jason told the story of a law-enforcement application of AI in which a camera was placed on a street for 12 hours. It was intended to capture information about whether a house on the street was being used to sell drugs. AI was used to tag objects in the resulting video – people, cars and even cats – and timestamp them. The 12-hour window was compressed to 15 minutes of footage that a person could quickly review. “There’s a lot of manual work that traditionally goes into these sorts of scenarios, so it’s incredible how it can really compress the time frame and make people’s jobs easier.”
AI coupled with Internet-of-Things technology is also being used to help ensure food safety, Jason said.
“There’s now devices that can connect to your mobile phone and understand and analyze light frequencies, as opposed to images, down to a micron level, which replaces the job of a microscope.” This technology has been used to identify counterfeit honey and olive oil at border crossings and prevent them from entering the market. “Traditionally, those reviews would take weeks to happen, and by that time, those counterfeit products are in the market.”
The latest innovations in the data centre
Jason also shared a story of the benefits of virtualization from his time at a managed services provider in Australia. He noted that compute virtualization is already well-established. “We all know that well. Now, in the last few years, network and storage virtualization has really taken off. We’re all in a great position to really move to a converged stack, if that’s best for you.”
He worked on one project where data centres across the east coast of Australia were moved from a traditional to a hyperconverged model. “The services that we were able to provide for our customers and the performance exponentially improved.” He noted that such shifts usually mean much less complexity and moving to a single pane of glass.
How to “disrupt your own business”
Jason encouraged BTEX attendees to disrupt their own businesses before someone else could, and always look for ways that new technology can create value for customers. “You need to have people within your business constantly experimenting with new technologies and services, finding ways to leverage these to ensure that the products and services you offer are providing value to your customers. Remove that friction, make it delightful for your customers to work with you, whatever those services are. That’s where experts like us at CDW are really key to your journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We work for you – you’re basically our bosses.”
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