Archive for category Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship was his passion, leadership, his expertise


Entrepreneurship was his passion, leadership, his expertise. Google was a young company when Nikesh Arora chose to join @Google over founding his own company. Under his skilled leadership, the company’s operations grew rapidly and in 2011, Arora became Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Google.  After working in Google for nearly a decade, Arora joined @SoftBank, a Japanese multinational company. Arora guided SoftBank investments in startups like Ola and Grofers and SoftBank grew rapidly. 

Palo Alto Network headquarters exterior under blue sky. Palo Alto Networks, Inc. is a network and enterprise security Palo Alto Network headquarters exterior under blue sky. Palo Alto Networks, Inc. is a network and enterprise security - Santa Clara, CA, USA - 2020 Building Exterior Stock Photo

In 2018, Arora joined Palo Alto Networks and currently serves as the CEO and Chairman of this leading #cybersecurity and cloud computing company. Cyber security experts have to constantly figure out innovative ways to keep up with cyber hackers, who got even more active during Covid 19 pandemic. According to Dzone research, almost 53% of SMB’s suffered from a data breach during 2020.

After Arora joined Palo Alto Networks, under his leadership, the company made the biggest acquisitions in its history with the acquisition of Demisto for $560 million followed by Twislock for $410 M and recently @Aporeto for $150M.  Given the company’s scale compared to smaller competitors in the segmented cybersecurity market, its double digit growth remains solid. PAN leadership has maintained that PAN is still on track to grow revenue by 20% annually until 2022 and its operating free cash flow margins are expected to exceed 22% and 30% respectively. 
Inviting entrepreneurs to take the exciting opportunity to hear Nikesh Arora, CEO of PAN speak at @TiEcon 2021on May 7 at the link  https://www.tiecon.org/register?utm_source=Darshana_Nadkarni&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Volunteer_Contest . At TiEcon, there are exciting #entrepreneurship tracks and other tracks on #CloudComputing #Security #Healthcare and more.

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Story of innovation, scale, riches & ethics


Ratan N Tata

This man once said “Take the stones that people throw at you and use them to build a monument” and what a monument he built and scaled. He is Ratan Naval Tata, scion of the Tata family and great-grandson of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata Group. First, what is Tata Group?

Tata Group is one of the biggest and oldest industrial groups in India. Under the leadership of JRD Tata in 1938, Tata Group assets grew quickly from USD $ 101 Million to over USD $5 billion. Tata Sons further grew the conglomerate of 95 enterprises with vertical and horizontal expansion into sectors such as steel, chemicals, technology, cosmetics, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, tea, software services and more. 

At a certain point, the company looked like it was headed to collapse. Rata Tata became chairman of the Tata Group in 1991, the year of economic liberalization in India. True to the adage he lived by, Ratan Tata decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Economy was opening to foreign markets and Tata Group began to acquire a number of companies, including Tetley, Corus Group, and Jaguar and Land Rover. With these acquisitions, under his leadership, Tata Group grew from a largely India centrist organization into a global business of international reputation and standing. The company now works across six continents in over 100 nations, including markets like luxurious vehicles and accessories to opulent five star hotels. “It is not wrong to make money, but it has to be done ethically”, says Ratan Tata.

Take the opportunity to listen to Ratan Naval Tata speak in conversation with Kanwal Rekhi, Managing Director of Inventus Capital Partners at virtual #TiEcon @TiEcon on May 6th. Register with link

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Coronavirus – Vaccines and Immunity


While 2020 will forever be defined by the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 is a year that will be etched in memory of humankind for how the world came together to beat the virus with the fastest and most effective vaccines. As coronavirus vaccines are starting to get rolled out, people have many questions. How soon a person receiving the vaccine may develop immunity, how long the immunity will last, what if one does not take the second dose, can one still be a carrier without exhibiting symptoms and so on. Let us try to address some of those concerns.

First, a shoutout to incredible scientists, engineers and healthcare professionals whose dedication, persistence, hard work and professionalism amidst a lot of noise, politics, fake information and conspiracies prevailed only because of their complete focus on finding solutions to the challenges represented by the covid crisis. 

Vaccines & Immunity

Covid 19 Vaccines: Covid 19, a disease caused by the novel strain of coronavirus has defined the year 2020. As we stand the on the verge of a brand new year, 2021 is likely to be defined by the vaccines to beat covid 19. 

Virus, Bacteria, Vaccine, Vaccination, Coronavirus

At no time in history, has there been such a rapid pace of innovation in developing vaccines to combat such a ferocious disease, as now. Currently, three vaccines authorized are Pfizer-BioNTech, J&J, and Moderna’s vaccines. Additionally three other vaccines  in phase 3 clinical trials are developed by AstraZeneca, Janssen and Novavax.  As far as I know, all of these are mRNA vaccines. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and it can be described as messengers that carry instructions on how to make a protein. These messengers never enter the nucleus of the cell and therefore they can never alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup or DNA. These messengers only work with the body’s natural defenses to fortify them and help them develop immunity to the disease.

Sometimes any of these vaccines can cause some symptoms like fever, headache and so on. These symptoms are a sign that the body is building immunity. None of these vaccines will infect anyone with covid 19 and none of the vaccines can cause someone to test positive on Covid 19 tests. If a person develops immunity then it is possible that they may test positive on some antibody tests, but not on covid 19 diagnostic tests. If you got sick from covid 19, prior to taking the vaccine, very likely you may still benefit from getting the vaccine. So it is advisable for everyone to take the vaccine, including those who may have contracted the disease before. 

There are different kinds of immunities and at this point, researchers don’t have all the answers. While it is hard to say exactly how long most people will be protected from the disease after receiving the vaccine, it may also vary from person to person. But here is some general info.

  • Sterilizing immunity: In this  best case scenario of robust & durable immunity (like Measles), once a person develops immunity then the body is able to defend itself in all possible future infections.  In coronavirus, this may be unlikely for most of us. However, some people with strong natural immunity may develop it.
  • Functional immunity: This is the type of immunity that is most likely in case of novel coronavirus. Here the person may contract the virus but the immune system will recognize & fight off the virus with very mild symptoms.
  • Waning immunity: In this case, a person infected or vaccinated would lose immunity over a period of time. This is likely in case of coronavirus and we may need to take booster doses. But even in this situation, most people will likely not be very sick as reinfections will be much less severe.
  • Lost immunity: In this case, a person would lose all immunity in some time & reinfection may be like first infection, carrying the same risk. Experts feel this is not very likely as most people will be able to generate some immune response and then develop some long term immunity.

Covid 19 is a serious disease. While many people only have a mild illness, others get severe illness and many are dying from it, all over the world. Covid 19 vaccines will help protect you by creating an antibody response, without having to experience serious sickness and without long term serious and detrimental effects on your body.

Some indication seems to be that very likely the mutated strain coming from UK may be more contagious BUT less virulent. This may also be great news for vaccine efficacy. On the other hand, there isn’t much data on the mutated strain coming from South Africa but Dr. Fauci has said that vaccines may not be as effective on the South African virus. A thing to remember is that ultimately, viral load, duration of exposure AND your immune system will determine your risk of infection and also the impact of the vaccines on you. Any of these factors can change the outcome for you. For instance, even if you are young and have great immunity, if you are exposed to heavy viral load (mostly from someone in close proximity) and if that occurs for a long time then your risk of infection increases. So please continue to take all precautions.

Please sign up for some of the interesting health tracks and events and take the opportunity to listen to the incredible scientists from across the world as they share their journeys towards incredible breakthroughs in fighting covid 19.

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Diversity on Boards


In 1995, when I began doing diversity training for employees at @IBM, there was often some resistance among corporations. Some felt that it was better to not “open a can of worms”. At IBM, a grand diversity initiative was started by Ted Childs Jr., who is widely recognized as the leading corporate diversity expert. 

Diverse People Stacking Hand Together - Royalty-free Adult Stock Photo

At the core of the diversity training, we focused on how workplaces that become inclusive where each and every employee can bring their best and contribute at the highest level of productivity, such teams enjoy high morale and the company enjoys high retention rate. In our trainings, we emphasized the importance of embracing diversity to uncover the competitive advantage it provides. 

All of that is still true. AND additionally, it seems, today the climate exists where we can also speak freely of how and why it is ethically and morally the right thing to do, to embrace the entire range of diversity, from diversity of gender, race, religion and sexual orientation to diversity of thought, functionalities and perspectives.

I am eagerly looking forward to the Road to @TiEcon panel on July, 22 at 9:40am on the roadmap to bring diversity on boards of corporations. It is widely understood that just having a diverse range of people on a team, is in itself not enough to create a high performing team. In order to leverage diversity and create a high performing team, a team needs to strategically and consciously create a culture that values diverse people, diverse range of behaviors, and creates a space for listening to diverse perspectives. 

I am eagerly looking forward to the views and best practices that this panel will share. The panelists are: Anjali Bansal, founder at Avaana Capital; Dipti Jaggi @clinakos; and Tina Shah Paikeday, Head of D&I @RRAonLeadership at Russell Reynolds Advisory. 

Sign up for this exciting panel and the entire event at the link below.
https://www.tiecon.org/?campaign=Referral&source=DaNa 

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Hardware enabling Artificial Intelligence Revolution – Panel at TiEcon


Artificial Intelligence, Brain, Think

From virtual doctors to hassle free data maintenance to driverless cars and robotic surgeries, artificial intelligence (AI) has been transforming the way we live, work, learn, and conduct business.  But it is only now, as powerful GPUs have become available to train networks, that the technology has become more practical and it’s use more strategic. 

At Road to TiEcon event on July 22, an exciting panel of senior leaders across a range of industries, will discuss how hardware is enabling the AI revolution. Panelists include Chris Rowen, CEO at @BabbleLabs & founder of #Tensilica; Gaurav Singh, Corporate VP at @XilinxInc; Gordon Wilson, CEO at Rain Neuromorphics @Rain_AI; and Sumit Gupta, VP of AI strategy & CTO, Data & AI at @IBMData @IBMcloud @IBM cognitive systems. This will be an exciting panel.

The algorithmic superiority of certain complex functions comes only with high computation and memory and this requirement poses significant challenges to the hardware platforms required to execute these functions. The AI teams under proven leaders, are in constant quest for new devices, architecture and algorithms that would lead to improved efficiency. 

Sign up for this exciting panel and entire event at the link below. https://www.tiecon.org/?campaign=Referral&source=DaNa  

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Changing Healthcare Landscape in the post-Covid world


In the post Covid world, one thing that is certain to change is health care and health technologies that impact the quality of care. There is already an enormous impact of digital technologies with remote monitoring, remote diagnosis, and telehealth platforms, and artificial intelligence powered apps and devices. Related to that is an explosion and access that providers have in the number of data points. 

In the immediate covid world, there is an urgency of some of these new technologies in contact tracing and monitoring the spread of the pandemic. There is also a necessity for protective gear that while protecting providers can make care more personalized and is easy to use. Providers are also trying to balance providing care for other health issues while dealing with continuing covid cases.

So what might be possible attributes that will make new technologies and devices stand out?

Medical Equipment on an Operation Room

For any tools that impact healthcare, accuracy, reliability, and safety are of prime importance. Also delivery of care is rapidly transforming and all devices need to seamlessly integrate into rapidly changing clinical flow. All devices that work with healthcare data must also be extremely secure. 

At Road to #TiEcon2020 @TiEcon @tiesv on June 24th, domain experts will discuss new technologies and how it is all poised to make an impact in the changing arena of healthcare.  Domain experts speaking at this event include, Dr. John Whyte @WebMD, Aashima Gupta @GoogleCloud, Dr. Suraj Kapa @MayoClinic, Ramesh Raskar @MediaLab, Dr. Meera Kanhouwa @Deloitte.

If you need more information than post your question with your email. Register for the event with the link here:
https://www.tiecon.org/?campaign=Referral&source=DaNa

 

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Data Security Challenges of Remote Work


TiEcon, Silicon Valley’s largest entrepreneurship conference, has gone virtual, this year. On June 24th, at 9 am, Chris Jones will speak on that exact topic of how virtual meetings and remote work is changing the paradigm and hidden opportunities and challenges inherent in this new paradigm.

 

Cybersecurity of network of connected devices and personal data security, concept on virtual interface with consultant in background

Of all the challenges of remote work, security challenges are some of the most complex ones to navigate. In equal measure, some of the solutions may be very basic and simple and some may require sophisticated solutions but more than ever, companies need to fortify security for smooth functioning of remote work. Some of the top security challenges include cloud based threats, data exposure and theft, access compromise and anomalies, legacy appliance-based web defenses and legacy remote VPN access.

 

Right after the keynote by Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, Chris Jones will speak on strategies that companies can adopt to enhance security for their remote workforce. Chris Jones, as Director of Cyber Security for Dell Technologies, oversees eDiscovery, Digital Forensics, Cyber Investigations, and Insider Risk Operations. Chris Jones has not only been involved in addressing insider threat problems for corporations but has also worked with the US Intelligence community and law enforcement agencies. He founded the FBI’s Cyber Profiling Team and developed behavioral profiling and psychological analysis techniques, with use of technical data analytics.

 

Register for Road to TiEcon2020 at https://hub.tie.org/e/road-to-tiecon-6-24 .

 

 

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Herd Immunity for Covid-19?


Have you noticed only politicians and some lay people talk about #HerdImmunity? Scientists and business people seem to be talking about #testing, cure and vaccines. Amazon is planning its own tests just for their own workforce. Some of my clients are doing the same. Chemicals for covid-19 diagnostic tests are hard to find but businesses may tap into their global connections to acquire them.

So what is herd immunity?

A person is answering question relating to herd immunity.

Herd immunity is an epidemiological concept coming from an idea that ultimately if enough people in a population are immune to a disease then it stops spreading. For instance, if 80 people out of 100 can’t get the disease than the 20 people who can get it remain protected because they may be unlikely to actually get exposed.   

Herd immunity can be achieved in a community in one of the two primary ways.

1) Vaccine access and acceptance:

If a significant number of people get access to the vaccine, they accept it and avail of the opportunity and become non carriers of the virus then even if 5% may not have gotten the vaccine, they may not get the disease because there may not be enough people to get it from. But we don’t yet have a vaccine for coronavirus.

2) Virus has a free rein: 

This is how the politicians have been speaking of herd immunity. Herd immunity is also connected to the argument that the best way to end the social distancing is to allow the virus to run free or at least almost free and in the end the population will achieve herd immunity. This sounds like a creative new idea rather than something horrifying that we should try to avoid at all costs. But let us remember that this only happens after VAST numbers in a population, get infected. So that requires us to “sacrifice the vulnerable on the altar of the economy in vast numbers.”

What kind of vast numbers of fatality might we be speaking of? As per some estimates, herd immunity for Covid-19 can occur after at least 60 to 70 percent of the population develops immunity.  That means at least 60 to 70 percent of the people have to first get infected. Moreover, these have to be random infections. That means, several people would die with a highly contagious virus running free in a society, before herd immunity is achieved.  This would overwhelm our healthcare system and several healthcare professionals would die while working in a high virus load environment.

Even with all our social distancing measures in place, we have a high death count that has brought healthcare system on the brink of overwhelm, in many places. In New York, a dense state with high international travel, there was a death count of almost 15,000 in a population of less than 10M. Healthcare professionals from several other geographical regions traveled to New York to lend help. Can you imagine every state taxed that way beyond their maximum capacity to care for the patients? And that is the reason that scientists and business leaders are not advocating herd immunity as an ultimate preventive measure. We can be lay people and choose to remain ignorant and spread the forwards and myths about herd immunity OR we can listen to what science has to say over what the politicians may be advocating.

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Lessons from Shanghai, China: Strategy for containment & care during Covid-19 


Recently, CABS, the Chinese American Biopharmaceutical Society hosted a webinar on the topic,  “COVID-19 Clinical Treatment and Research Experiences from China”, with Dr. Wenhong Zhang. Dr. Zhang is Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases in Shanghai and leader of Anti-Covid-19 team. He is also on Chinese Society of Infectious Disease and with Chinese Association of Internal Medicine. During the fight against Covid-19, Dr. Zhang led the Shanghai team to formulate a clinical treatment and containment plan.

 

Night, City, Shanghai, Asia, East, Architecture, Urban

An article in scientific publication Lancet predicted in late January that after Wuhan, Shanghai can be the epicenter of the virus with as many as 800,000 cases. However, with very early focus on containment and reasonable social distancing (even without complete lockdown measures), Shanghai managed to restrict the spread to about 4,000 cases. The key was that the healthcare system went on full alert when they had their very first case of a person traveling from Wuhan.

 

Dr. Zhang shared many details of their process for containing the spread and answered questions sent by the audience members. I have captured a few of the nuggets from his talk and I am sharing them below.


Diagnosis: Immediately they optimized diagnostics and did all needed tests for suspected patients. Shanghai made separate fever clinics and all patients who met 1 epidemiology criteria plus one clinical criteria were encouraged to go to these clinics. Suspected Covid-19 patients were sent to separate quarantine wards for full testing, and while they awaited results.  If the results came back positive, they were sent to separate hospitals for quarantine stay and were tested again, before release.

 

Further, while in the US some hospitals first tested for flu and other viruses and if the patient tested positive for any of them then they were not tested for coronavirus, Shanghai tested all suspect cases for coronavirus. Dr. Zhang said that they have found that there are a lot of co-infections so a person can have regular flu virus plus coronavirus. Additionally, they found a high negative rate in PCR testing, while a positive rate was around 70%. Therefore, despite negative test results, if the patient was highly suspect than they did more testing. They did not rely on CT scans because they found that a chest CT cannot precisely confirm Covid and all cases needed molecular diagnosis.

 

Detailed process in place: Shanghai had a very detailed process in place for the steps to be taken for patients in the first screen, then first test, then when tested positive, if tested negative, and for followup.  Timely diagnosis and timely distancing and quarantine is very important, said Dr. Zhang. Immediate separation and early control of local transmission is the key to stop the Covid-19 disease spread, said Dr. Zhang.  This is something that did not happen in Italy. Almost all of their early cases were of foreigners. Eventually all of their cases and high death toll has been among the local population.

 

Treatment Options: Dr. Zhang shared that over 95% of the patients recovered and eventually were released. One patient died. There has been debate around anti-viral treatments. Dr. Zhang said, these treatments don’t seem to be effective. China also used hydroxychloroquine (widely touted malaria drug) to treat Covid patients and did not find it to be effective. However, it can have compassionate use since it shows little lasting side effects, said Dr. Zhang. Although he did not observe clinical evidence of anticoagulants, he said, it is possible that early anticoagulation may block clotting and eventually reduce the risk of major organ damage.

 

Respiratory Treatment: Dr. Zhang shared that the most fundamental treatment in keeping patients alive is respiratory treatment. We have a narrow window to stop progression from mild symptoms to severe symptoms, said Dr. Zhang. Low and short duration corticosteroids may stop progression and we need more studies to find that out. Life support for critically ill patients is crucial. Timely intervention with mask oxygen inhalation, nasal cannula oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation etc. can prolong life until the body’s immune system gets critical time to fight off the virus.

 

Medical Personnel: In Shanghai, strict following of protocol, translated into not a single infection spreading into the healthcare professionals. Highly qualified and standardized process included appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) with gowns, goggles, masks, double layer gloves and shoe covers. Healthcare professionals were asked to never share a meal with others at home, during the time this contagion was active. As far as possible, the patients were kept in negative pressure wards and surfaces were cleaned with disinfectants every 4 hours.

My Comments
Stay tuned for my next article on how China effectively used high tech, specifically big data and coupled it with public awareness and public participation to contain the virus. Please note: I am not a fan of, or in any way endorsing communism or authoritarianism. And yet, perhaps there are lessons even for Western democracies, to pay heed to early signs and implement containment strategies. And that is exactly what Bill Gates was referring in 2015, when he spoke at TedTalks and warned us about a virus pandemic that can possibly kill millions. That is what various scientists have been warning of, for years.

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Summit, IBM supercomputer is our recent hero in the fight against Covid-19


The looming threat of Covid-19 and the grim reality of the toll that novel coronavirus takes on humankind, makes it imperative that we find a way to prevent the spread faster and with less cost. Currently nine out of ten drug therapies fail mostly between phase 1 trials and regulatory approval. The estimated cost of developing a new treatment is around staggering US $2.6 billion.  While this article won’t address it, I want to mention that many bio/pharma companies are working with repurposed drugs to find a cure and at least 69 drugs have been identified as treatment possibilities. Drugs also have side effects and need to be tested for safety. Let us focus for a while on search for the vaccine.

Artificial intelligence icon AI, isometric cloud computing concept, data mining, isometric, neural network, machine programming, vector

Many companies including Moderna, CureVac and BioNTech are working on vaccines. With the help of  Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies the hunt for new pharmaceuticals and appropriate chemicals is expected to be quicker, cheaper and more effective. Novel coronavirus presents the most unprecedented challenge to date because of the speed with which it spreads. 

Who better than a supercomputer made by a company that has been on the cutting edge of innovation for over a century, to take on this speed challenge? IBM scientists instructed the world’s fastest computer to tackle this challenge at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Summit can run 200 quadrillion computations per second. The scientists ran thousands of simulations to analyse which drug compounds could stop the coronavirus from infecting the host cells. 

Summit, an IBM supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI” identified 77 compounds (from over 8000 compounds) that could be efficacious in preventing coronavirus from spreading in the host.  This is promising news in humanity’s quest for an effective vaccine against the virus. These findings are published in the journal ChemRxiv and give us hope although road is still long to get there.

With increasing computer processing power and advanced algorithms, AI has been employed to analyze large data sets with greater efficiency and will likely lead to many exciting innovations.  While AI and ML show promise to change every industry sector for the better, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning have become the most widely discussed topics in the healthcare sector and the excitement keeps growing.  

I will be looking forward to hearing about new innovations AI/ML at #TiEcon2020. Stay tuned for new dates for the conference at http://www.tiecon.org and on this blog.

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