Category Archives: IBM

C2010-555: IBM Maximo Asset Management v7.6 Functional Analyst

Test information:
Number of questions: 72
Time allowed in minutes: 100
Required passing score: 64%
Languages: English

Related certifications:
IBM Certified Deployment Professional – Maximo Asset Management v7.6 Functional Analyst

An IBM Certified Deployment Professional – Maximo Asset Management v7.6 Functional Analyst is a technical professional responsible for supporting, implementing and maintaining an IBM Maximo Asset Management v7.6 solution, the asset life cycle including inventory, contracts, purchasing, resources, work management, preventive maintenance and security. This individual will be expected to perform these tasks with limited assistance from peers, product documentation, and support resources.

Asset Management (18%)
Describe managing and creating failure codes
Describe managing and creating locations and location hierarchies
Describe set up and use of meters
Describe the use of warranty contracts for assets
Describe moving, modifying and swapping assets
Describe using and applying Asset Templates
Identify asset relationships
Describe creating asset subassemblies and spare parts
Describe the difference between rotating and non-rotating assets

Predictive and Preventive Maintenance (10%)
Explain the use of Master PMs
Describe how to configure the various types of PMs
Identify using Routes
Describe how to generate and modify a PM forecast
Describe how Condition Monitoring can be configured to generate work orders
Describe time based and meter based PMs
Apply job plan sequencing to PMs

Work Management and Planning (21%)
Describe work orders, child work orders and tasks
Explain how to assign a work order
Describe the plans and actuals on a work order
Describe the work order status change life cycle
Describe the creation of Job Plans
Describe how to report labor hours

Procurement Management (10%)
Describe procurement related contracts
Describe the difference between a company and a company master
Describe the purchasing life cycle (PR, PO, RFQ, DR, Invoice)
Describe the receiving processes
Perform the return of a rotating asset or direct issue item

Inventory Management (15%)

Explain inventory and inventory balances
Define costing methods
Describe the use of item assembly structures
Describe the different types of items
Describe using the Inventory Usage application
Describe hard and soft inventory reservations
Define a service item
Describe tool records and stocked tools
Describe adding new units of measure and conversions
Define the item statuses
Apply the reorder process

Workflow and Escalations (8%)
Describe the use of workflow processes
Construct workflow processes
Describe the use of escalations

Analytics (8%)
Construct adhoc reports
Identify where KPIs can be viewed
Describe KPI Templates
Explain the different reporting options
Demonstrate knowledge of running and using reports

Administration (10%)
Describe the creation of organization and sites
Describe managing resources
Describe managing the security configuration
Describe configuration of the business financials
Describe the creation of Calendars and Work Periods
Describe managing Classifications and attributes
Describe edit mode and how to apply it


QUESTION: No: 1
A company has a requirement to report on actual labor hours, materials, services and tools used as work
progresses on a work order. What is the earliest point in the basic life cycle a user can start reporting?
A.APPR
B. COIVIP
C. WIVIATL
D. WAPPR

Answer: A


QUESTION: No: 2
A vendor requires a payment of 20% of the purchase price when the purchase order (PO) is sent and the
company wants to withhold of the payment until 90 days after receiving the item before final payment is
made.
How would this be accomplished’?

A. A Purchase Requisition would be created and three invoices would) be generated via the invoicing
application One invoice tor 20%. one for 60% and one for 20%
B. A Price Contract would be created with a payment schedule with an invoice of 20% at the time the PO
is Approved, an invoice of 60% at the time the item is received and another invoice for 20% 90 days after
receipt.
C. A Blanket Contract would be created with a payment schedule with an invoice of 20% at the time the
PO is Approved, an invoice of 60% at the time the item is received and another invoice for 20% 90 days
after receipt
D. A Purchase Contract would be created with a payment schedule with an invoice of 20% at the time the
PO is Approved, an invoice of 60% at the time the item is received and another invoice for 20% 90 days
after receipt

Answer: D


QUESTION: No: 3
A company wishes to group its location records into a hierarchy to assist users in searching for asset s.
How can this be accomplished?

A. Location Groups can be created and LIVE locations added
B. Locations can be linked by using the Related Records tab in the Locations application.
C. Location records will need to be added to a network and can only include locations with an ACTIVE status.
D. Location records need to be added a system and can only include locations with an OPERATING type.

Answer: D


QUESTION: No: 4
A company has assets at multiple locations that require maintenance There is a requirement to have a
single work order with charges rolled up to a single GL account.
How can that be achieved?

A. Create a task work order for each asset
B. Create a child work order for each asset
C. Add a job plan that has the assets associated
D. Add the assets in MuItipIe Assets, Locations and Cis

Answer: B

 

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C2010-506 IBM TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager V10.3 Application Consultant

Test information:
Number of questions: 52
Time allowed in minutes: 90
Required passing score: 73%
Languages: English
Related certifications:

IBM Certified Application Consultant – TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager V10.3

Study Guide for the certification test.
Below are the high level objectives for this exam. We recommend reviewing the Study Guide for more detailed information on the test objectives to provide a better idea of the content which will be covered on the exam.

Section 1: Real Estate Concepts
Given knowledge of real estate leasing, define some of the common real estate leasing terms so that they can be explained to a client.

Section 2: Real Estate Contracts
Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, create and populate an Owned Property (Fee) Agreement in the TRIRIGA system so that an activated Owned Property (Fee) Agreement is created for use in tracking, managing and reporting on owned property assets in TRIRIGA.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, create and populate an Real Estate Lease in the TRIRIGA system so that a Real Estate Lease can be used in tracking, managing and reporting on lease assets in TRIRIGA.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the four different methods and the related steps to enter a lease into the TRIRIGA system so that the consultant can determine and perform the best method based upon their customers requirements.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the real estate leasing lifecycle within TRIRIGA so that the consultant can properly advise their clients of the process flow.

Given that an understanding of real estate, compare Owned Property (Fee) Agreement to Real Estate Lease in the TRIRIGA system so that the stated differences between the Real Estate Contract and the Owned Property (Fee) Agreement have been clarified and the consultant will be able to direct the client to use the appropriate record.

Given knowledge of real estate, explain the critical real estate leasing concepts so that the consultant will use appropriate terminology when working with the client.

Given knowledge of the Real Estate module, explain the aspects of a real estate leasing so that the consultant will use appropriate terminology when working with the client.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, create a Clause in a Real Estate Lease in the TRIRIGA system so that a clause has been created to support functionality in a TRIRIGA Real Estate Contract.

Given real estate industry knowledge, explain the rental income stream throughout the life of a lease so that a consultant can explain it to their client.

Given real estate industry knowledge, define Percent Rent in the TRIRIGA system so that the consultant can be effective in communicating this understanding during implementation of Tririga Real Estate with a client.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, define capital vs operating expense requirements in the TRIRIGA system so that the consultant can determine the best method of use based upon the customers requirements.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, create and/or execute an Option on a Contract so that options can be tracked on a lease.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the two different methods to create, process and change/update a payment schedule on a lease in the TRIRIGA system so that Real Estate payments are effectively entered and processed for the life of the contract.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data and the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the process for setting up an Operating Expense / Common Area Maintenance Clause and performing the periodic Payment Reconciliation so that the OPEX/CAM Clause has been entered and is effectively reconciled each period.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the method of creating an amendment of a Real Estate Lease so that the Real Estate Lease is effectively amended to reflect new contractual changes.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the method for defining and processing indexed rent adjustments so that Real Estate Lease rent payments are updated with the new indexed amounts.

Section 3: Real Estate Transaction Management
Given that TRIRIGA installed, a license to use the Real Estate module, user has appropriate security permissions, CTQ Templates, RE Transaction Plan Templates, Real Estate Contract templates have all been properly created as necessary, all application settings are properly configured as necessary; describe the real estate transaction lifecycle within Tririga so that the consultant can properly advise their customers’ of the process flow.

Given that TRIRIGA installed, a license to use the Real Estate module, user has appropriate security permissions, create RE Action Request as an entry point to the RE Transaction Plan so that a real estate requirement has been documented.

Given knowledge of real estate, summarize the benefits of using a Real Estate Transaction Plan so that the benefits can be explained to the client.

Given that client requires an understanding of the product features summarize the benefits of using RE Projects so as to provide a positive understanding of the value and capability of the feature set.

Section 4: Real Estate Common Functionality
Given knowledge of real estate and TRIRIGA, describe the interaction between Real Estate Contracts and portfolio so that portfolio elements that the Real Estate Contracts reference are identified.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the method for requiring Real Estate Lease Contact roles so that RE Contract has proper contact roles defined.

Given TRIRIGA is installed, the Portfolio is properly configured and loaded with data, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the different notifications that are used in a Real Estate Lease and how they can be generated in the TRIRIGA Real Estate module so that the consultant has defined system generated and manual notifications.

Given that client requires an understanding of the product benefits, summarize document storage so as to provide a understanding of the value and capability of the feature set.

Given expertise in real estate, define financial terminology so that the consultant can explain financial terminology to the client.

Given that TRIRIGA is installed, the user has a license to the Real Estate module and the proper security permissions, describe the out-of-the-box reporting so that the consultant understands the reporting available in the TRIRIGA application.


QUESTION 1
TRIRIGA Projects offers enterprise project management, program management, fund source management and vendor bid management capabilities to deliver which business benefits?

A. Simplified navigation and control, adaptive portal layouts and streamlined application processes
B. Comprehensive suite of operational and analytical applications
C. Single technology platform, scalability and enterprise interoperability
D. All of the above

Answer: C


QUESTION 2
Identify the license type which allows converting a concurrent core license to the Integrated Workplace Manager (IWM) license.

A. Allowed under the S&S contract
B. One-time upgrade license
C. Trade-up license
D. Must purchase an additional IWM license

Answer: C


QUESTION 3
What is a benefit of the TRIRIGA Workplace Enterprise-Class Application system?

A. A single suite of modular applications that manages across the entire workplace function
B. Five low-cost stand-alone applications integrated using Omnibus and SOAP interfaces
C. Automates EH&S regulatory compliance
D. Fully compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory requirements

Answer: A


QUESTION 4
All pricing includes first year maintenance and support.

A. True
B. False
C. Only for first-time purchases of the software
D. Only for additional license purchases after initial order

Answer: A

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C2010-068 Rhapsody for Systems V8

C2010-068: Rhapsody for Systems V8

Test information:
Number of questions: 60
Time allowed in minutes: 75
Required passing score: 65%
Languages: English

Related certifications:
IBM Certified Specialist – Rhapsody for Systems V8

The test consists of 3 sections containing a total of approximately 60 multiple-choice questions. The percentages after each section reflect the approximate distribution of the total question set across the sections.

Section 1 – SysML 1.3 Fundamentals (35%)
Modeling Requirements
Modeling Use Cases
Modeling Activities
Modeling Structure
Modeling Sequence Diagrams
Modeling State Behavior
Modeling Interfaces & Ports
Modeling Allocation

Section 2 – Rhapsody for Systems Fundamentals (45%)
Creating Projects
Basic Modeling and Traceability
Properties, Metrics and Queries
Model Execution
Reporting on Models

Section 3 – Rhapsody Introduction to Advanced Topics (20%)
Rhapsody Design Manager
Use of RELM for Coverage and Impact Analysis on Models
Customizing Rhapsody
Test Conductor for Systems
Integration with Third Party Analysis Modeling Tools
General knowldege of Harmony

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How IBM Plans to Get With the Times

I like the IBM Edge conference because it tries to showcase how infrastructure can provide a large company with a competitive edge. While the event clearly contains content on IBM products and services, the emphasis appears to be on getting things. This year’s event also offered a snapshot of how IBM is adapting to address one of the most massive changes the technology market has yet made.

Remember, the Fountain of Youth Is a Myth
Perhaps the strongest metaphor for the problem that IBM faces was the opener for the first keynote talk: A brilliant guitarist who’s only 11 and has been playing for just three years. (I found that personally depressing.) An older musician soon joined him; he was able to keep up, and perhaps even outplay him, thanks to his experience.

This older musician represents IBM’s potential. IBM can never again be an amazing young company, but its experience and history should let it step up and at least match any young firm. The key here is that the older musician matched the younger musician’s tune and didn’t try to step in with classic rock. IBM must be agile enough to play as well as the young companies entering the market to make its experience seem like an advantage.

As the youngster left the stage, and he was asked who he wanted to be like, he said he just wanted to be himself. There’s the problem with the young company – it’s still trying to figure out what it will be. That’s a painful path that the older company has already completed. IBM knows what it is – and that’s the sustaining advantage that any older company must remember. IBM’s most iconic CEO, Thomas Watson Jr., said it best: To succeed, you have to be willing to change everything but who you are.

IBM Partnerships, Products Position Company Well
Perhaps IBM’s most powerful and interesting move to the sale of the IBM System X group to Lenovo. This goes to the heart of the “change everything” part of the equation. System X wasn’t working inside IBM. Lenovo’s own server group represents an increasing threat, but it’s not growing very quickly. System X brings low margin to IBM, but Lenovo is a low-margin company, so it could take this division and actually increase its margins. In short, IBM is trying to eat its cake and have it, too.

In addition, the ongoing drama between the U.S. and China on data security makes it nearly impossible for U.S. companies to sell in China and vice versa. IBM and Lenovo clearly execute better than most companies, but this issue still hampers them both. The deal surrounding the acquisition provides an answer: Lenovo can take the lead selling IBM products in China, while IBM can take the lead selling products in the parts of the U.S. where this conflict poses problems (such as the U.S. government). Neither company has ever been identified as working against its customers, and both firms’ ability to assure a willing outcome should be a common competitive advantage.

That said, IBM does have another clear advantage: Watson. IBM is the only company working on artificial intelligence at enterprise scale, and Watson represents the next big step in real-time applied analytics-based decision support.

Integrated into IBM offerings, this system should significantly improve the decision accuracy of IBM executives and IBM customers as well. Watson stands out in IBM’s line as a massive competitive advantage, as it turns the rest of IBM’s data analytics solution into something that’s nothing short of industry changing.

One IBM customer, a huge healthcare company, said its goal was an enterprise-scale solution using cloud methods and technologies. Buyers at this size need the compliance of an enterprise company and want the cost advantages of the cloud.

Everything Old Is New Again
That’s what IBM presented this week – and it demonstrated that IBM’s transition to a very different company continues. Once complete, IBM will have offerings such as Watson and partnerships with firms such as Lenovo that are unique, powerful and unmatched in the rapidly changing technology world.

IBM Edge 2014 provided a unique view into the future of at-scale cloud computing infrastructure and the near-term future of IBM as a company that plans to be the very best at providing what you need when you need it.


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Why IBM thinks Windows Phone is best for the enterprise

As BlackBerry fades out, Microsoft’s phone is the choice of enterprises to replace it.

The BYOD movement is how Apple got into the enterprise, but if it were up to IT pros, you’d be issued a Windows Phone. That’s what IBM has found in its work with large firms.

Jim Szafranski, senior VP of customer platform services at IBM’s FIberlink unit, told Redmond Mag that many of its enterprise customers would like to see their employees use Windows Phone for work-related activities because of its tight integration with Microsoft’s back-end systems, but he added that WP continues to trail in popularity to that of iPhones and Android devices.

“Actual end user momentum is trailing business interest,” Szafranski said. “IT likes Microsoft and likes Windows. They’ve made a lot of investment in things like Active Directory and Exchange and as a result they have a lot of interest in seeing Windows Phone used by employees. I don’t think anyone is going to be all Windows on mobile, but enterprises do want it and I think they have a strong opportunity when it comes to the enterprise side of purchase decisions.”

Windows Phone’s base remains smaller, at just 3% of the market at the end of Q4 2013, according to IDC. Still, that was a 46% growth over the year prior, but it’s still being greatly outpaced by Android and iPhone. Android has ubiquity, iPhone has Apple’s cool factor. Windows Phone can’t seem to grab either.

IBM recently acquired Fiberlink Communications, maker of the MaaS360 mobile device management platform, and it was the strong IT interest in Windows Phone that made IBM decide to support WP, even with its meager installed base, Szafranski said. The company announced the addition of WP to the MaaS360 product line at the recent Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona and at the IBM Pulse conference in Las Vegas.

The company’s MaaS360 Productivity Suite provides secure email, calendaring, contacts and a browser. This lets IT separate personal apps and data from enterprise software and information. Should the need arise, IT can remotely manage or wipe the enterprise side of the phone while leaving the user’s personal data and apps untouched.

Windows Phone 8 has some significant enterprise-oriented features, which IBM and its customers have clearly recognized. WP8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) secure boot protocol and advanced app “sandboxing” to isolate apps within the phone. It has hardware-accelerated BitLocker technology to encrypt the entire device, Exchange ActiveSync management, Active Directory and Group Policy features for remote management, and Skype/VoIP integration.

The big question now is whether IBM will take up the flag for WP. It has no dog in this fight since it does not sell handsets. IBM is, for all intents and purposes, a services and software company. Hardware sales are now in the single-digits with the x86 server divestiture. Microsoft couldn’t ask for a better ally. A seriously ironic one, given their histories, but a major ally none the less.


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IBM workforce cuts raise questions

NY Gov. Cuomo says state has deal with IBM to preserve jobs, but questions arise about what the pact really means

IBM is laying off employees this week, a job action that began in a curious way.

IBM won’t disclose the number of cuts, calling the layoffs part of a “rebalancing” of its workforce as it invest in new technologies. The company points out that at any given time it has more than 3,000 jobs openings in the U.S.

The layoffs may have begun in earnest today. The website at the Alliance@IBM, part of the Communications Workers of America union, was hard to access this morning; a union union organizer said the delays are due to high traffic to its site from IBM employees and others.

Lee Conrad, a national coordinator for the Alliance, estimates that between 4,000 to 6,000 IBM U.S. jobs may be at risk in the latest move, a figure based on previous job actions and IBM’s restructuring goal of $1 billion.

Even though the latest round of layoffs was expected, the week began with an announcement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that IBM had agreed to create new jobs, as well as maintain minimum staffing levels in the state.

There was nothing in the statement announcing the move about a pending job action, and appeared timed to try to blunt the impact of a layoff.

Specifically, Cuomo said, the state had reached “a major agreement” with IBM to “maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. The company has committed to increase its minimum job commitment to the state by 750 jobs, and maintain the 3,100 jobs through the end of 2016.”

The statement did not disclose the number of employees that IBM now has in the Hudson Valley area.

IBM is believed to employ about 7,000 workers at its Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill facilities. That estimate is from Dutchess County spokeswoman, who said IBM is the county’s largest employer.

Conrad said the governor’s announcement raises some questions for workers and the region. “Yes, you’re trying to protect 3,100 jobs but what about the other 3,900 jobs?” he said.

The New York governor’s office did not respond to a Computerworld request for comment on the IBM layoffs and the agreement.

When asked, IBM referred all questions to the governor’s office.

In a statement, IBM spokesman Douglas Shelton said that “IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry.”

Shelton said that IBM is positioning itself to lead in, among other areas, cloud computing, analytics and cognitive computing. He pointed to a $1 billion investment in its new Watson unit and the decision to spend $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud footprint.

In addition, IBM this week announced a $1 billion investment in boosting its platform-as-a-service cloud capabilities, as well as further investments in nanotechnology and othe rareas.

As part of the minimum staffing agreement, Cuomo also announced that the IBM and the state are jointly investing in nanotechnology, and that IBM plans to create some 500 new jobs in Buffalo.

At one time IBM regularly disclosed the number of employees it had in the U.S., but stopped doing so several years ago as the number declined.

The main source of information about IBM’s U.S. employment base has been the Alliance, gathers documents from workers that detail cuts in the various business units. But this information pipeline may be disappearing.

Conrad said Wednesday that IBM has changed how it releases information, something he called a “distributing development.”

IBM employees received documents listing the age, title and number of employees selected for a job cut. These resource action documents, as they are called, no longer include this information, said Conrad.

This data “is how we validated and counted the numbers that we gave you in past job cuts,” said Conrad. “IBM clearly does not want us, you or other employees to know the depth and scope of today’s cuts.”

The Alliance website site, by mid-afternoon, did show 150 jobs cuts in Essex Junction, Vt., and 10 to 15 in Endicott. The Alliance also posted anonymous reports on its Website that show much larger layoff figures.


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IBM Research Determines Atomic Limits of Magnetic Memory

Punctuating 30 years of nanotechnology research, scientists from IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) have successfully demonstrated the ability to store information in as few as 12 magnetic atoms. This is significantly less than today’s disk drives, which use about one million atoms to store a single bit of information. The ability to manipulate matter by its most basic components – atom by atom – could lead to the vital understanding necessary to build smaller, faster and more energy-efficient devices.

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While silicon transistor technology has become cheaper, denser and more efficient, fundamental physical limitations suggest this path of conventional scaling is unsustainable. Alternative approaches are needed to continue the rapid pace of computing innovation.

By taking a novel approach and beginning at the smallest unit of data storage, the atom, scientists demonstrated magnetic storage that is at least 100 times denser than today’s hard disk drives and solid state memory chips. Future applications of nanostructures built one atom at a time, and that apply an unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, could allow people and businesses to store 100 times more information in the same space.

“The chip industry will continue its pursuit of incremental scaling in semiconductor technology but, as components continue to shrink, the march continues to the inevitable end point: the atom. We’re taking the opposite approach and starting with the smallest unit — single atoms — to build computing devices one atom at a time.” said Andreas Heinrich, the lead investigator into atomic storage at IBM Research

How it Works

The most basic piece of information that a computer understands is a bit. Much like a light that can be switched on or off, a bit can have only one of two values: “1” or “0”. Until now, it was unknown how many atoms it would take to build a reliable magnetic memory bit.

With properties similar to those of magnets on a refrigerator, ferromagnets use a magnetic interaction between its constituent atoms that align all their spins – the origin of the atoms’ magnetism – in a single direction. Ferromagnets have worked well for magnetic data storage but a major obstacle for miniaturizing this down to atomic dimensions is the interaction of neighboring bits with each other. The magnetization of one magnetic bit can strongly affect that of its neighbor as a result of its magnetic field. Harnessing magnetic bits at the atomic scale to hold information or perform useful computing operations requires precise control of the interactions between the bits.

The scientists at IBM Research used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to atomically engineer a grouping of twelve antiferromagnetically coupled atoms that stored a bit of data for hours at low temperatures. Taking advantage of their inherent alternating magnetic spin directions, they demonstrated the ability to pack adjacent magnetic bits much closer together than was previously possible. This greatly increased the magnetic storage density without disrupting the state of neighboring bits.

Writing and reading a magnetic byte: this image shows a magnetic byte imaged 5 times in different magnetic states to store the ASCII code for each letter of the word THINK, a corporate mantra used by IBM since 1914. The team achieved this using 96 iron atoms − one bit was stored by 12 atoms and there are eight bits in each byte.

IBM and Nanotechnology Leadership

In the company’s 100 year history, IBM has invested in scientific research to shape the future of computing. Today’s announcement is a demonstration of the results garnered by IBM’s world-leading scientists and the company’s continual investment in and focus on exploratory research.

IBM Research has long been a leader in studying the properties of materials important to the information technology industry. For more than fifty years, scientists at IBM Research have laid the foundation of scientific knowledge that will be important for the future of IT and sought out discoveries that can advance existing technologies.

Top 5 Ed Tech predictions for 2012

Here’s hoping I’m more accurate than I was last year.

Earlier this week I wrote about five major technologies that should have had real impacts in education this year, but which never amounted to much. I called more than one of them out a year ago, when all signs pointed to their potential for disruption and transformation in 2011. I can’t resist giving it another shot this year, though. Here are my top 5 predictions for the state of the art in Ed Tech in the coming year.

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Analytics and BI will go mainstream
In a former life, I was a SAS programmer doing data management and statistical analysis for clinical trials. SAS is still going strong in large-scale, mission critical statistical programming, but much of its business focus is now on analytics and business intelligence (BI). IBM just launched an initiative to promote education, training, and research at the university level in the fields. For those not familiar with them, BI and BA apply complex business rules and enable decision-making based on the analysis of very large data stores.

Both companies (and many others, although SAS and IBM are arguably the market leaders) have products geared towards making these tools available, relevant, and usable in the education space, where the amount of data we now collect on our students is growing exponentially, both because of federal and state requirements and because most educators realize that data-driven instruction is a powerful tool for improving outcomes. In education, these tools can pick out at-risk students based on wide-ranging data before they ever hit the radar of a guidance counselor.

The data are in place, the technologies are in place, and NCLB and RTTP have conditioned educators to think about data (no matter what else, good or bad, you may think of them). 2012 will see an explosion in the real use of analytics to assist schools and districts in improving quality and outcomes. I’m not talking about reviewing yearly standardized test scores here. I’m talking about the confluence of formative and summative assessments, demographic data, and many other bits of information, all of which are now available electronically and ready to be mined. It’s worth noting that EDUCAUSE was filled with vendors holding up the latest and greatest tools for data mining, aggregation, management, and analysis and Oracle resorted to showgirls standing next to geeks demoing software at both BBWorld and EDUCAUSE.

Google’s tablet will NOT be the holy grail of 1:1
A reader emailed me the other day and asked me if I thought that Google’s tablet, expected for release before fall 2012, would finally make tablet-based 1:1 initiatives a reality. The answer was no. Although I’m sure the tablets will be great pieces of hardware and software and I’m sure that I’ll get one, the predicted $500 price point is just too high. Sure, Google Apps integration will be very strong, as will the management features that go with it, but at that price, you could have an iPad.

While I’m not saying that iPads are better for education than other tablets, I am saying that they have a major foothold in the growing market. Even iPads, though, are only making it into well-funded districts at scale. The only thing that could disrupt the current market and current trends in 1:1 would be a very inexpensive tablet (<$300) with all the management features and a content ecosystem that would finally make the ideal of a “tablet in every backpack” a reality.

Google’s move to drop the price of Chromebooks this year and provide enterprise, web-based management consoles for the slick little laptops suggests, as well as innovative rental models for schools and businesses, however, suggests that they may have a few tricks up their sleeves. The Google tablet won’t be the holy grail of 1:1, but I’m hopeful that it will be a step in the right direction.

BYOD will make 1:1 possible in a big way
In the face of miserable budgets and no end in sight to a stagnating economy, school/state-funded 1:1 will not be sustainable in the majority of school districts. Worldwide sales of Classmate PCs to education ministries remain strong, but this relies on a very different educational model than that employed here in the States. At the college level, where a computer is a necessity for students, only a tiny fraction of schools supply a laptop as part of a student’s tuition. Instead, students bring their own, often selecting from specially negotiated prices with major OEMs. It’s time K12 schools followed suit.

Again, there is a confluence of factors that will make BYOD the 1:1 model of choice for 2012 (a model, by the way, that will get devices onto a lot more desks and into a lot more student hands in the classroom this year). The emergence of inexpensive devices like the Kindle Fire, despite its lack of manageability, means that tabets will become increasingly commonplace for for students, making instant access to the Internet and a variety of content easily achieved. AMD is promising inexpensive alternatives to Intel’s ultrabooks and prices continue to fall on remarkably usable laptops.

Similarly, great platforms for e-learning, ranging from Moodle 2.3 to the new and improved Google Apps, to a growing ecosystem of tablet apps mean that schools have more reason than ever to leverage all of those devices that are sitting in student bedrooms but often aren’t allowed in classrooms. Finally, robust security and filtering solutions (including tablet integration) from companies like LightSpeed mean that the risks formerly posed by outside devices are increasingly being mitigated both on- off-campus.

Khan Academy, et al, will give publishers and mainstream educators a run for their money
Many teachers and students have leapt at the opportunities provided by Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, and other free and open educational tool available online, assigning them as homework, using them for flipped classes, suggesting them as resources for study and remediation, and even integrating them into their curricula just as they would multimedia tools that come with their textbooks. Others struggle with the idea that Khan and others represent competition. For the latter group, rest easy…no video can replace an awesome teacher in class. Awesome teachers, though, use whatever resources they can find to ensure that their students “get it”, whatever “it” might be. The teachers who should be worried are those who aren’t, for lack of a better word, awesome. Awesome teachers are engaged mentors to whom students will look for guidance as they navigate the muddy waters of information on the Internet, among other places.

The real moral of this story, though, is that enough teachers are turning to the Internet and open resources (including great open source texts available from organizations like CK12.org) that traditional publishers have no choice but to stand up and take notice. This will be a battle of Darwinian proportions (i.e., survival of the fittest); open resources will no doubt coexist for years to come with proprietary resources from mainstream publishers. But we’re talking about a multibillion dollar industry here. It doesn’t take much of a dent to start shaving millions off of profit margins.

We will say goodbye to a lot more libraries and hello to a lot more information
A local prep school dumped its library about two years ago in favor of a media center replete with computers, Kindles, and an espresso bar (yes, an espresso bar – it’s a prestigious school). Administration took a lot of flack, not because the library was well-used (it wasn’t) but because a lot of people didn’t like the idea that the notion of a library was changing. Now, with far less controversy, Johns Hopkins University is closing its historic medical library in a few short days. Library staff had already transitioned from traditional librarian roles to that of so-called “informationists.” Modern library science degree programs are far more concerned with accessing information than the Dewey Decimal System.

Add to that growing space constraints, emerging 1:1 programs that are far easier to justify if they can reduce reliance on dead trees, and nearly ubiquitous availability of journals and books in electronic formats and you have a recipe for converting libraries as we know them now to anachronisms. This isn’t a bad thing as long as the misson of school libraries can be to make students discerning seekers and users of information. In fact, moving to information-based rather than book-based models could cause a renaissance for libraries. This renaissance simply doesn’t need to involve acquiring larger expensive collections of paper; it needs to involve drastically increasing the amount of time students spend in libraries developing their critical thinking and information access skills.

The future according to Big Blue

IBM unveils its annual list of five emerging technologies that will supposedly change our lives in the next five years.

As so many look back at where we’ve been in 2011, IBM is looking forward at where we’ll likely be in the not-so-distant future.

 

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Today, the company releases the sixth annual “IBM 5 in 5” list of the five innovations “that have the potential to change the way people work, live, and interact during the next five years.”

According to IBM’s own research, “people power will come to life” as kinetic energy created by everything from human activity to heat from your computer is harnessed as renewable energy for homes, businesses, and even entire cities.

12345 may soon be out as the most popular password of all time because “you will never need a password again” but will instead rely on biometrics, or unique biological features such as eyes and fingerprints, to unlock doors, access computers, and even withdraw money.

Jokes about mainlining information or computer mind-melds may also become a thing of the past as IBM scientists in the field of bioinformatics look for new ways to link your brain to your devices so that “mind reading is no longer science fiction.”

Also, advances in mobile technology will lead to much more than an increase photo and status updates as better, faster, and cheaper mobile technologies lead to a brighter future where “the digital divide will cease to exist” for the planet’s 7 billion people.

And finally, turns out that “junk mail will become priority mail” when advertisements become so personalized and spam filters so effective that every offer is relevant to the individual user and no offer will ever really be unwanted.

True life will soon be at least as interesting as science fiction according to IBM which claims that some parts of each of these innovations already exist in its labs in some form of reality or another.

IBM buys Emptoris for contract managment, supply software

IBM has signed a deal to buy supply and contract management software vendor Emptoris in another bid to fill out its growing catalog of business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce technologies, the company announced Thursday. Terms of the deal, which is scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year, were not provided.

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The move closely follows IBM’s US$440 million purchase last week of DemandTec, maker of analytics software that retailers use to fine-tune their product offerings and pricing strategies.

Emptoris has about 725 employees and 350 customers, including ADP, Kraft and American Express. In recent years, the company suffered a US$7 million judgment against it in connection with a patent case filed by its competitor, Ariba.

IBM’s move to buy Emptoris comes shortly after the launch of a new version of the smaller company’s product suite, which it dubbed a “strategic supply management platform for the future.”

Features include an overhauled user experience, including support for many browsers, the iPad and integration with Microsoft Office; a program management module; a global repository for data regarding suppliers; and BI (business intelligence) functionality based on SAP’s Business Objects software. It’s not clear whether IBM will look to swap out the last feature with its own Cognos BI platform.

During the early and mid-2000s, Emptoris set out to be the top suite vendor for strategic sourcing, and largely succeeded, said Jason Busch managing director of advisory firm Azul Partners and editor of the Spend Matters blog.

“It was one of the best, if not the best, at that time,” said Busch. “They did a great job of convincing the market they had a better mousetrap.” Busch also competed against Emptoris years ago while working for FreeMarkets, a company acquired by Ariba in 2004.

Ariba’s patent case came at a “horrible” juncture for Emptoris, he added. “They were unable to raise the high-valuation funding rounds they were able to before,” due to the uncertainty, he said. Marlin Equity Partners took a majority stake in Emptoris in 2009.

Emptoris has since gotten back on track, Busch said. “It’s one of the stronger products in the sourcing market today.”

IBM’s announcement drew a cool reception from Tim Minahan, chief marketing officer for Ariba.

“It validates the strategy we’ve been pursuing,” he said in an interview. “We continue to compete against and have beat Emptoris quite handily in the past. This is a change in business cards for them, not much else. There’s still a lot of runway for IBM to travel. Acquiring a sourcing company isn’t going to do it. We have the world’s largest web-based trading network.”

However, IBM may really be intent on using Emptoris to compete more effectively in the procurement BPO (business process outsourcing) market, Busch said. “This certainly puts pressure on Accenture in this market, and the other significant BPOs as well, who may or may not own significant software assets.”

Meanwhile, sourcing software providers, both pure-play companies and ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors such as Oracle and SAP, may have less to worry about. “This presents a huge opportunity for the best-of-breed as well as the ERPs,” he said. “Typically when IBM acquires software the rate of innovation is not what it was before.”