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Top IT Trends for 2018 Part 3: Get Ready For New Data Types
Sat, 02 Dec 2017

This post is part 3 of my Top IT Trends for 2018. Here we will cover three data types that IT will need to store and manage as these applications become more prevalent in 2018. The first is video analytics, the second is Blockchain, and the third is the use of biometrics for authentication.


6.  Wider adoption of Video analytics

Video content analytics will be a “third eye” for greater insight, productivity, and efficiency in a number of domains, beyond public safety. The algorithms to automatically detect and determine temporal, spatial, and relational can apply to a wide range of businesses like retail, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, education and entertainment. Video, when combined with other IoT information like cell phone GPS and social media feeds can provide behavior analysis and other forms of situational awareness. Hitachi has used video analytics at Daicel, a manufacturer of automotive airbag injectors, in its quality management system to increase product quality, reduce cost of rework and root cause eradication. Retaillers  are using video to analyze customer navigation patterns and dwell time to position products and sales assistance to maximize sales. Video analytics relies on good video input so it requires video enhancement technologies like denoising, image stabilization, masking, and super resolution. Video analytics may be the sleeper in terms of analytics for ease of use, ROI, and generating actionable analytics.



7.  Blockchain projects mature

Blockchain will be in the news for two reasons. The first will be the use of crypto currencies, namely Bitcoin. In 2017 Bitcoin has accelerated in value from about $1000 USD to over $11,000 USD by the time of this posting! One of the drivers for Bitcoin is the growing acceptance of Bitcoin in countries that are plagued by hyper-inflation like Venezuela and Zimbabwe where bitcoin provides a “stable” currency.  Japan and Singapore are indicating that they will create fiat-denominated cryptocurrencies by 2018. These systems will be run by banks and managed by regulators. Consumers will use this for P2P payments, ecommerce and funds transfers. This means banks will have to build an IT capacity to manage accounts in cryptocurrencies. Russia, South Korea and China may also move in this direction.


The other reason is the growing use of blockchain in the financial sector beyond crypto currencies. Financial institutions will begin routine use of blockchain systems for internal regulatory functions such as KYC (Know Your Customer), CIP (Customer Identification Program is the KYC + checks against various blacklists or other government watch lists), customer documentation, regulatory filings and more. Interbank funds transfer via abstract cryptocurrencies and blockchain ledgers will expand beyond the test transactions of 2017.  A recent breakthrough in cryptography, Zero-knowledge Proof, may solve one of the biggest obstacles to using blockchain technology on Wall Street, which is keeping transaction data private. Previously, users were able to remain anonymous but transactions were verified by allowing everyone on the network to see the transaction data. This exposed client and bank positions to competitors who could profit from the knowledge of existing trades. Zero-Knowledge Proof is being implemented in several blockchain systems like zCash (ZEC) and ethereum in 2017 and is expected to be widely adopted by FSI in 2018. This could have major impact on IT in the financial sector.


Other sectors will begin to see prototypes with smart contracts, for provenance and identity services for health care, governments, food safety, counterfeit goods, etc. Blockchain provides provenance by building a traceability system for materials and product. You can use it to determine where a product originated, to trace the origin of contaminated food or illegal products like Blood Diamonds. Provenance may soon be added to the list of regulatory requirements that I mentioned in my Data Governance 2.0 trend



8.  The time is right for Biometric Authentication

A survey in 2016 showed that the average English speaking internet user had 27 accounts. By 2020, ITPro predicts that the average number of unique accounts will be 200! If every account had a unique password, this would be a nightmare to manage. Imagine updating your passwords every 90 days. That would be 800 passwords that you needed to generate and keep track of. In reality, most of us use the same password for many accounts that we don’t think are important. Unfortunately, hackers know this so once they discover a password they will use it to successfully hack our other accounts. The use of AI has been shown to crack a 20 character password in 20 minutes. Even if we adhere to the best password practices, it may be disclosed through hacks against third parties as has happened at Equifax. Businesses are coming to the realization that proxies that represent our identity like passwords, ATM cards, and pin numbers, even with two factor authentications, are hackable. In the United States the most common identification is a Social Security card number which was never intended to be used as a national identity token.


  Smart phone vendors and some financial companies like Barclays are moving to solve this problem by using biometrics which represent the real you. India has implemented a national identification program which includes iris scans and finger prints. However, choosing the right biometric is important. If a biometric like a finger print is hacked there is no way to reset it, like you would a pin number or password. Since we leave our finger prints on everything we touch, it is conceivable that someone could lift our prints and reuse it. Hitachi recommends the use of finger vein which can only be seen when infrared light is passed through a live finger to capture the vein pattern and is the most resistant to forgery.



Next week I will conclude these trends with Agile methodologies and Co-Creation and how they will contribute to Digital Transformation in 2018.

Don’t Confuse Magic Quadrant Positioning with Critical Capabilities Leadership For Object storage
Thu, 30 Nov 2017

Gartner differentiates object storage from distributed file systems, and have published separate Critical Capabilities reports for each. The last Critical Capabilities for object storage was published March 31, 2016. In this report, written by Gartner analysts, Arun Chandrasekaran, Raj Bala and Garth Landers, Gartner recommends that readers of the report “Choose object storage products as alternatives to block and file storage when you need huge scalable capacity, reduced management overhead and lower cost of ownership.” We believe the use cases for object storage and block and file systems are quite different.


This report clearly showed Hitachi Vantara’s HCP in a leadership position for object store


Quadrant Object store.png

Then in October of 2016, Gartner combined object storage and distributed file systems into one Magic Quadrant (MQ) report, and as stated in the 2017 report, Gartner defines distributed file systems and object storage as software and hardware solutions that are based on "shared nothing architecture" and support object and/or scale-out file technology to address requirements for unstructured data growth.  However, they still recognized the difference in these two technologies in their research.


Distributed file system storage uses a single parallel file system to cluster multiple storage

nodes together, presenting a single namespace and storage pool to provide high bandwidth for

multiple hosts in parallel. Data is distributed over multiple nodes in the cluster to deliver data

availability and resilience in a self-healing manner, and to provide high throughput and

capacity linearly.”


“Object storage refers to devices and software that house data in structures called "objects," and serve clients via RESTful HTTP APIs..”



On October 17th, Gartner published their second annual " Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage." For the second year in a row, we are the only vendor in the Challengers quadrant since we were only evaluated on our HCP object storage. It is important to note that the Magic Quadrant report is NOT a stand-alone assessment of object store.  As the title states, this is a vendor-level analysis based on the COMBINATION of an Object Storage and Distributed File Systems offering.


A new Critical Capabilities for object storage is expected to be published in early 2018.  We believe that report will be a more accurate way to evaluate object storage systems. We would expect to score much higher due to the addition of geo-distributed erasure coding and other functionalities in HCP, as well as the addition of Hitachi Content Intelligence to the HCP portfolio.


Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Distributed File Systems, 09 November 2017

Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Object Storage, 31 March 2016

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage, 17 October 2017


Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.