Red Hat: The evolution of IoT and 5G technologies
Ian Hood, Chief Technologist, Global Service Provider at Red Hat, is an “engineer and problem solver at heart.” Throughout the last few decades of his career, Hood has worked in the telecommunication sector designing hardware, software and networks, for governments, banks and global providers.
Hood was drawn to Red Hat just over three years ago, finding the “open source way of life quite intriguing.” From software development, to marketing, sales and support, the open source “approach is applied to every aspect of the business,” says Hood. He goes on to say that “being able to work together with customers to solve complex technical and business challenges around the world and being able to share that knowledge with other customers, partners and industries,” is a key aspect of his role at Red Hat that initially led him to the company in the first place.
Day to day in his role, Hood primarily engages with telecommunication, media and digital service providers to architect and optimize the efficiency of next generation 5G, MEC and edge infrastructure as well as the innovative cloud-native services and applications that the technology may be combined with.
“Our customers are already demonstrating innovations in their 5G and Edge labs that use drones with high definition camera recording for public safety and firefighting; healthcare is making use of data sharing for brain scans between hospitals and clinics; manufacturing and mining sites are using innovations to control heavy equipment,” says Hood.
Current trends that are exciting Hood the most relate to “the intelligent use of data streams and telemetry for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).” Many examples of this can be seen in healthcare and customer services, but Hood sees “a broad potential to combine AI and ML with software-defined infrastructure and cloud native applications deployed at the far edges of networks, to bring these services beyond urban centers and improve lives everywhere.” Key industries that Hood feels will benefit most from the adoption on IoT technologies “to affect our quality of life” for the good include: healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and automotive.
“Everywhere around the world, communications service providers are aggressively testing 5G innovations and multi-access edge computing (MAEC) technology,” says Hood. While he believes many connected IoT business applications can run on current Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks “those that require consistent low latency, high bandwidth and large-scale distribution of end points will gain a significant boost from 5G and perhaps be impossible without it.”
Hood believes industries that stand to benefit from 5G include:
“Monitoring and reporting low data streams in real time – machine operating data like temperature or air pressure, for example – is already a central component of plant management,” says Hood. However, the development of 5G will continue to “evolve manufacturing by making much higher data streams possible, creating a ‘factory of the future,’ where networked machines will be able to respond efficiently to tasks, whether they are issued by human commands or through AI and robotics.” Additionally, “the consistency of lower latency rates enabled by 5G distributed architectures enables improved reliability of remote applications and processes, reducing risk.”
“Transportation of the future will benefit greatly from a hybrid of distributed 5G and MEC architectures and the dynamism of software-defined networking,” says Hood. Implementation of this hybrid technology will “enable efficient and reliable delivery of applications at massive scale anywhere on the planet.”
In order for a city comprised of interconnected solutions to function, millions of sensors must transmit data simultaneously, making a smart city essentially a blended workload bringing together upwards of 20-30 or more IoT devices each with different requirements,” says Hood who believes “the seamless connectivity, telemetry, security and analytics capabilities offered by 5G can ensure every sensor and device work together effectively.”
Hood does however, acknowledge that with these 5G innovations there are challenges and risks, in particular – cyber threats. “The key to securing any system is to design with all aspects of security in mind. ood,.HThis means everything in the entire supply chain,” says Hood. Key implementations to stay ahead of cyber threats include “organisation-wide commitment, risk management, clear governance, and accountability, with requirements for consistent, repeatable processes and best practices. Being secure means maximizing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the systems and infrastructure that comprise the 5G, MEC and IoT environment.”
Looking to the future, Red Hat looks to continue towards its vision of an open hybrid cloud enabling customers to deliver any application or service on any infrastructure. “We are already seeing many deployments of hybrid cloud for enterprise as well as service providers, and with the expansion of the 5G, MEC infrastructure being deployed, these applications may be deployed across a collection of open edge clouds,” says Hood. “We also expect to see applications of AI, ML, blockchain, AR, VR and the advent of serverless computing across healthcare, automotive, agriculture, manufacturing and finance.”
Going forward, Red Hat – while retaining its independence and continuing to build and expand all its partnerships – will look to continue its relationship of over 20 years with IBM, “working together to solve compelling business challenges for customers.” IBM and Red Hat share a common objective to drive innovation across the hybrid cloud with choice and flexibility. As well as giving customers the opportunity “to take advantage of Red Hat and IBM’s modular agile integration and business intelligence and open API management tools to accelerate their time to revenues.”
“The key focus for us is how to help them expand and evolve their current environments in a practical manner while providing compelling business benefits along with improved customer experiences - quite an exciting time for all of us.”
Established over 25 years ago, Red Hat are leading global providers of open source solutions to help companies in all industries and regions to digitally transform and become better interconnected. Red Hat’s open source portfolio covers: hybrid cloud infrastructure, middleware, agile integration, cloud-native application development, management solutions and automation solutions.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.