Tag Archives: Bank

Blockchain solutions — and disruption — pondered at EmTech 2018

CAMBRIDGE — The World Bank, one of the most powerful financial institutions on the planet, is experimenting with blockchain as a tool to track agricultural goods and raise capital.

Gideon Lichfield, the editor in chief of the MIT Technology Review, found some irony in that.

“This technology that was invented by somebody whose true identity we still don’t know — Satoshi Nakamoto — specifically to take power away from financial institutions and put currency in the hands of the people is now being used by the ultimate, central, financial institution,” Lichfield told an audience at EmTech 2018, a conference focused on big data, artificial intelligence and technology.

The crowd gathered at MIT’s Media Lab had just heard from two thinkers in the increasingly mainstream field of blockchain, a method of distributed ledgers that can dramatically alter how transactions are made and verified.

Ledgers themselves date back to cuneiform records etched into tablets 7,000 years ago at the dawn of civilization, said Michael Casey, an author and senior advisor to the Digital Currency Initiative at Media Lab. If blockchain solutions decentralize financial ledgers in the future, that change could disrupt the flow of money into the world’s financial hubs. Using the 21st century version of the ledger, governments and other institutions could invest the money they save on financing in other causes.

The lack of trust in the record-keeping function has a huge impact on the world.
Michael Caseysenior advisor to the Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab

“If they could raise money more cheaply, you’d have a lot more funds to put into education, to put into health,” Casey said. “Why should [the cost of financing] go into the hands of a large investment bank when it could be going back to the poor?”

Blockchain solutions could also help the so-called underbanked and unbanked gain access to financial services. Distributed ledgers accrue credibility by replicating transaction records across a network of computers. Casey said that credibility could benefit people in places like Nairobi, Kenya, who have difficulty leveraging value from their real estate because banks distrust their property records.

“The lack of trust in the record-keeping function has a huge impact on the world,” he said.

The World Bank's Prema Shrikrishna and MIT Media Lab's Michael Casey discuss blockchain's potential at EmTech 2018.
The World Bank’s Prema Shrikrishna and MIT Media Lab’s Michael Casey discuss blockchain’s potential to provide a new model of trust at EmTech 2018.

World Bank experiments with blockchain solutions

The altruistic applications of blockchain were a focus of Casey’s EmTech talk with Prema Shrikrishna, who works on blockchain projects at World Bank Group.

Teaming up with the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank is currently designing a blockchain architecture to track oil palm from the farm to mills, where it becomes palm oil — an agricultural staple in everything from chocolate to candles. By tracking the origin of the raw material, most of which is produced in Indonesia, blockchain could reward farmers for sustainable practices, according to Shrikrishna.

Among other World Bank experiments with blockchain: 

Education. The World Bank is developing a system for rewarding students playing an educational game called Evoke, which is designed to teach skills for success in modern society, Shrikrishna said.

Vaccine management. In December, Oleg Kucheryavenko, a public health professional who works with the World Bank, wrote on the institution’s blog that blockchain could provide a “cost-effective solution” for vaccine distribution. Vaccines have a shelf-life, Kucheryavenko wrote, and the supply chain is “too complex to be taken for granted, with vaccines changing ownership from manufacturers to distributors, re-packagers and wholesalers before reaching its destination.”

Financing. In August, the World Bank sold blockchain-enabled bonds through the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which raised about $80.5 million, according to Reuters.

Blockchain’s best use cases

Members of the audience at the talk had varying aspirations for blockchain’s use.

Rahul Panicker, chief innovation officer at Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which focuses on technological solutions to large-scale societal problems, believes blockchain can be harnessed for humanitarian causes.

“It was very encouraging to see an organization like the World Bank being willing to look at these frontier technologies, and especially a technology like blockchain that has the ability to reduce friction in the financial system,” said Panicker, after attending the talk. “The whole purpose of blockchain is actually to minimize the burden of trust. The cost of trust is especially high in the developing world, so the fact that organizations like the World Bank are willing to look at this can mean big things for the disempowered.”

Tom Hennessey, an attendee, posited that financial settlement was the most readily available application.

Tomas Jansen, of Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, said a lot of refugees arrive in Europe without identification papers because they belong to a marginalized group or lost their documents. Jansen wanted to hear ideas from the blockchain experts on how to address those problems.

Shrikrishna sidestepped the political ramifications, but she noted that World Bank has a program called Identification for Development that is working on integrating ID databases and creating an identity that would be “portable across borders.”

She said the World Bank is “technology agnostic” in seeking to solve problems around the globe, and stressed that the financial institution’s approach with blockchain has been both “very cautious” and “very experimental.”

Blockchain disruption

World Bank is hardly alone in its exploration of blockchain solutions to solve problems and change how business is done. Analysts expect blockchain to have a major impact on businesses, which are eyeing its potential to manage supply chains, verify documents, and trade securities. The firm Gartner estimates blockchain will add $3.1 trillion to the world economy by 2030. Some industry sectors have been quicker than others to start experimenting.

Describing blockchain as at an “inflection point,” a recent report by the consultancy Deloitte found that financial services executives are “leading the way in using blockchain to reexamine processes and functions that have remained static for decades,” and emerging players are using blockchain to challenge traditional business models.

Meanwhile, blockchain’s most developed use case — bitcoin — is driving most of the interest in the technology, while taking those invested in the cryptocurrency on a roller coaster ride.

So far development of a “stable coin” has been a “difficult nut to crack,” according to Casey, who used to cover currencies for The Wall Street Journal.

To stabilize the tender, a coin could be pegged to other metrics, or it could be backed by a reserve of funds to try to create more stability, Casey said. One way or another, he predicted, developers will find success.

“Something’s going to work. Something’s going to break as well,” Casey said.

Bank opts for AI-infused data storage platform over cloud

When the Hitachi Vantara storage array used by Frost Bank approached its five-year mark, Dan King, vice president of IT operations for the San Antonio -based chain of banks, started looking at alternatives. Simply replacing the existing system with a newer version of itself would take six months of planning, cleaning out a rack and migrating the data over. King wanted to determine if newer technology might save money, boost performance or simplify operations.

He considered cloud options, including Amazon, but decided these were too slow and couldn’t give him the kinds of IT controls he was used to (see sidebar). He ended up going with a new all-flash storage array, delivered as service from Pure Storage. Data migration promised to be relatively painless. Pure Storage said that it could also replace the six-rack array with a single rack that was faster — and do so in a weekend rather than six months.

But what really moved him to make the choice, he said, was what other customers told him about the data storage platform’s management capabilities. Pure Software’s core offering, Pure1, included cloud-based management and predictive support. The company was also rolling out Pure1 Meta, which included predictive intelligence that automatically optimizes the storage array.

“The way Pure designed the storage software makes using and managing the systems much simpler,” said King, an attendee at Pure Accelerate 2018 conference in San Francisco. “The other systems are designed to sell storage.”

More than faster hard drives

Since the dawn of IT, storage has been perceived as a hardware commodity. Enterprises purchased storage as a capital expense and provisioned it across enterprise users through a complex system of rules-based software.

But enterprise storage vendors are starting to adopt the playbook of public cloud providers, selling private storage infrastructure as a service.

This in part explains the rapid rise of Pure Storage, a data storage platform provider founded in 2009. The company, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., sells against entrenched competitors like Dell EMC and Hitachi. Its focus on selling private storage as a service seems to involve more than just semantic juggling around recategorizing Capex as Opex. It has driven the company to explore better practices around upgrading, provisioning and optimizing storage at the hardware level. These are all functions that have typically been done outside of the hardware at the application level, which limits the speed at which the enterprise can make good on big initiatives like digital transformation.

“Storage has been an afterthought for most CIOs. It is not a place an executive or IT person thinks of to drive innovation for their architecture,” said Matt Burr, general manager of FlashBlade at Pure. But he said that attitude is changing; companies are being forced to digitalize their business models.

Baked-in AI, improved management

As companies look to repurpose their data for new applications, they are starting to connect legacy applications for storing the system of record to more nimble applications that have different patterns of reading and writing data, Burr explained. Not only can new data access patterns slow down performance, the interfaces between apps can break things in ways that are hard for IT organizations to diagnose.

To address this challenge, Pure’s data storage platform uses AI analytics to capture and analyze petabytes of data, with the aim of automating many of the traditional management challenges associated with keeping servers running — and doing that automation and optimization at the hardware level. This optimization at the hardware level leaves IT to innovate at the software level, with less fear of having to tweak the data management software to get good performance.

“We want to invest in technology that allows IT managers to anticipate problems before they happen,” Burr said.

Data dedupe at the hardware level

Frost Bank’s King has found Pure’s predictive approach helps identify signs of a problem early, before a failure cascades into other systems.

He said the vendor’s data storage platform has also made it much easier to migrate data. Before Frost Bank would have to get six rack spaces and develop a plan to install a unit, which would take six months. Afterward, they would have to deinstall the older storage array to make a hole for the next round of storage migrations.

Modern data stores tend to be highly redundant and reuse many of the same data structures across records. Traditional approaches to compression happen at the operating system level, which adds a lot of overhead. It also adds a bit of brittleness, making it harder to move to a better app that is more aligned with a digital transformation strategy.

But better compression and deduplication at the hardware level can dramatically shrink IT infrastructure with no overhead on the application itself.

For example, King observed that he was able to shrink at 150 TBs data storage infrastructure onto a 15 TB system on top of Pure. Same applications, same data, only Pure’s data storage platform was able to compress and deduplicate data on the fly without any additional burden on his IT team or new software to install.

Of course, vendors have experimented with deduplication at the app level, King pointed out, but he said that just added another level of complexity to manage at the software level, when the aim is to make things simpler.

TD Bank empowers employees with assistive technology in Office 365 and Windows 10 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Bert Floyd, senior IT manager of assistive technologies at TD Bank Group.

My journey with accessible technology at TD started more than 10 years ago, when I was called in to help incorporate a screen reader and Braille display into our retail environment for a new employee who was blind. Back then, it was a steep learning curve for the IT department. That’s not the case today. Over the intervening decade, we have created an inclusive corporate culture that celebrates everyone, including people with disabilities, and provides us with huge business potential. For example, one in seven people* in Canada identifies as having a disability, and there is an increasing incidence of age-related disabilities among our growing elderly demographic. Making sure our services are easily accessible is key to earning the business of this considerable segment of the population.

We are excited about introducing accessible technologies within Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10 to empower our employees to help us work toward this strategic advantage. We find that most people can benefit from these accessible technologies, whether they identify as having a disability or not, because the technologies are built in to the Office apps. When employees can customize their environment and adapt to a wide variety of situations, they will be far more successful and productive.

And when we accommodate employees who identify as having a disability, we gain their insight and innovation to help us build accessibility right into our products and services. People with disabilities must think creatively about how to do things that other people don’t necessarily have to worry about, and we want to support that creativity in our workplace. We’re deploying Office 365 to all our employees and Windows 10 to almost 100,000 computers, which helps create an accessible workplace and ensure we will not miss out on hiring the best and the brightest.

From our websites to our brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs, we try to consider accessibility in every aspect of the customer experience. And we believe that with a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we’ll be in a better position to get there.

I’m excited about giving our employees the opportunity to leverage the accessibility features in Office 365 and Windows 10 in their everyday work lives. All employees need to think about accessibility, and everyone plays a role in creating a supportive, inclusive culture. When we all use the same inclusive tool set, there is enormous potential for improving productivity and driving awareness about the value of creating accessible documents and presentations for everyone to easily read and understand. Employees at TD already have access to Accessibility Checker, which makes it easy to spot problems and make content in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote more accessible. People are learning about Narrator and Magnifier in Windows 10 and about the built-in color filters.

We have come a long way since hiring that first employee who was blind. Today, approximately 6 percent of our workforce identifies as having a disability. Our Assistive Technologies Lab welcomes anyone to come and learn about inclusive design and the technologies we have available to support our employees. We work with technology projects to help them conform to our IT accessibility standards, and we rolled out a training program for our developers and testers—a number of them with disabilities—to ensure we fully consider accessibility in our customer-facing products and services.

Today, TD prides itself on its diverse and talented workforce, and I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a great team that works hard to put so many resources behind our employees. Along with our assistive technologies, we are using Office 365 and Windows 10 to help us remove barriers for people with disabilities to create a more inclusive workplace that’s as diverse and exciting as the communities we serve.

*A profile of persons with disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years or older, 2012.

—Bert Floyd

Read the case study to learn more about how TD Bank is empowering its employees with assistive technology in Office 365 and Windows 10.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, 2TB WD Black – ADDED 4TB NAS HDD

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

ADDED – 14/07/2018

4TB Seagate NAS HDD (31/07/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£50 payment by Bank Transfer
4tb_nas_disk.jpg


SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
View attachment 1031253

View attachment 1031251

Withdrawn

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, 2TB WD Black – ADDED 4TB NAS HDD

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

ADDED – 14/07/2018

4TB Seagate NAS HDD (31/07/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£50 payment by Bank Transfer
4tb_nas_disk.jpg


SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
View attachment 1031253

View attachment 1031251

Withdrawn

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Toshiba 1TB 2.5” Sata HDD

Taken out of old laptop, formatted and ready to go, perfect working order

Price is £22.50 posted via Bank Transfer, no offers at this time

Price and currency: 22.50
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Preston
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, 2TB WD Black

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
ST2000LM015_warranty.jpg

ST2000LM015_disk.jpg

Withdrawn

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, 2TB WD Black

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
ST2000LM015_warranty.jpg

ST2000LM015_disk.jpg

Withdrawn

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, HDDs

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
ST2000LM015_warranty.jpg

ST2000LM015_disk.jpg

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – 620W PSU, Router, HDDs

For Sale

Enermax ELT620AWT PSU (myHermes,RM)
£25 payment by Bank Transfer.

WD My Net 900 router (myHermes,RM)
£15 payment by Bank Transfer.

2TB WD Black Desktop HDD (31/08/2020) RMRD/MyHermes
£45 £41 payment by Bank Transfer

3TB Recertified Seagate Desktop HDD (18/09/2018) RMRD/MyHermes
£40 payment by Bank Transfer

HDD details here.

SOLD

WD My Net Wifi Extender (myHermes,RM)

2 x 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Desktop HDDs (OOW) RMRD/MyHermes

2TB ST2000LM015 7mm Laptop/PS4 HDD (26/02/2020) (RMRD)
ST2000LM015_warranty.jpg

ST2000LM015_disk.jpg

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.