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Architecture Classics: IBM Building / Mario Roberto Álvarez & Associates
Located in the Retiro district of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is the IBM building designed by Mario Roberto Álvarez & Associates. Conceived to house the headquarters of the IBM company, this office building was designed around 1979 and consists of a tower supported by two large concrete structural cores on a base, which is separated from the ground and the shaft of the tower to house the ground floor and a level of common areas in order to maintain the urban scale. The language of the building is recognizable from a distance as it is formed by an enclosure of horizontal bands of glass and exposed concrete parapets-parasols, which achieve a dialogue and balance in the proportion of full and empty spaces.
Inaugurated around 1983, the project was designed on the basis of a series of premises that involved the contemplation of all the restrictions of the building codes. This included things like the use of the maximum usable floor area, the use of a free floor plan with a clear and simple reinforced concrete structure free of interior columns, and the optimization of the maximum perimeter of natural lighting. Also, attention to the pedestrian scale and the hierarchy of accesses on the ground floor, the modulation of façades and ceilings for a greater number of offices and flexibility, compliance with the client's safety regulations, and the integral solution to the problem of façade maintenance together with the escape to the external staircase.
Memoir by the authors. The work configures a contemporary, functional, efficient, and economical building, which, without being an extravagance, is different from its neighbors. A building that is the product of interpreting and complying with the client's criteria, objectives, and concepts, compatible with its neighbors, but different from the surrounding glass boxes in Catalinas Norte.
Architectural and engineering considerations resulted in the proposed structural skeleton, which proved to be the most practical and economical. The standard plan is supported by two central cores and a series of perimeter columns, with a module of 1.50 meters. The two central cores rest on direct foundations and the perimeter columns do not reach the ground but transfer their load to the cores by means of a special structural system.
This transition structure basically consists of two plates, a lower and an upper plate. The lower plate rises from the cores towards the sloping edge and intercepts the upper plate, which is horizontal in line with the columns. In this way, the load of the perimeter columns is gently deflected towards the cores by means of a logical and economic structure. This structure overhangs the line of the columns, distributing their loads and creating a space for anchoring the concrete bars. The necessary stability and support of vertical and asymmetrical loads is provided by a beam grid.
This modulated design of the structure allows for maximum flexibility in the floorplans to locate offices according to IBM's optimum and to have two minimum office ranges of 3m and a 1.50m corridor. A perimeter overhang with sunshades will provide security and also serve as a means of escape to an additional external fire escape.
The typical window is made of anodized aluminum with athermic upper glass, while the sill is a compact vitreous glass painted and baked on the outside. Every other window is an opening banner for ventilation in case of emergency so that no office of at least 3x3 is without ventilation. On each of the facades, one of these modules opens from floor to ceiling to allow access to the escape staircase.
On the other side, on the first floor, there is a terrace, garden, and living area for different functions related to the offices, which go from the 3rd floor to the 19th floor, leaving the top floor for the machine room. Two of the three basements are developed for parking, while the remaining one houses connections and various computer circuits.
Project: MRA+A | Mario Roberto Álvarez & Associates
Alvarez, Kopiloff, Santoro, Satow, Rivanera
Location: Carlos M. de la Paolera 275, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Land Surface: 2.736 m²
Total Built Surface Area: 32.000 m²
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The long view on computing is that every computer system starts with a limited set of functions and ultimately opens up to new functionality as creative individuals use the system in unexpected ways.
Cloud computing, its own kind of computer system when looked at in aggregate, is going to experience that renaissance just as other systems have, says John Roese, the chief technology officer, products and operations, of computer giant Dell Technologies.
"If you look at the compute paradigm, and you look at a mainframe or supercomputing environment, there's an interesting thing that happens: the system starts with a limited set of components and limited optionality so that you have manageable parameters to get to a system outcome," explained Roese in an interview with ZDNet via Zoom.
"What happens, though, is as the system becomes stable, and the system gets utilized, what occurs is diversification of the creative element of what we use it for — people figure out what to do with them which nobody contemplated when we first built the system."
The result of that burst of creative use, said Roese, is "it puts stress on architectures that are too curated, and leads eventually, inevitably, to a shift to an open system architecture."
There is a parallel now with cloud, says Roese.
"Since we went through it in the computing space — we [Dell] opened up computing — if we apply that to the cloud world, to the total IT stack today, our role is effectively to make sure that happens" with cloud.
"The master plan for Dell's place in the universe," said Roese, "is not to create another upstream silo but to actually look at which layers we can start chipping away at on the infrastructure side and turn them horizontal."
What does that mean, exactly?
Roese sees multiple initiatives that Dell is undertaking that may take layers, meaning, groups of functionality, and turning them into products and services that span multiple cloud computing providers.
For instance, Project Alpine, part of the company's APEX family of products, is Dell's program to bring its file, block and object storage management software into the public cloud as a service. Alpine will let companies deploy applications across storage in different locations, including on-premise facilities. The offering was first announced in January.
"Project Alpine is interesting because we said, We do storage really well, but if we do storage and it instantiates under a proprietary Amazon or a proprietary Google or a proprietary VMware, that isn't really binding these systems together into a multi-cloud," said Roese.
"And so Alpine was all about saying, What if that storage layer was actually horizontal, what if it was compatible with them but Dell provided that?" explained Roese. That creates tension because "lots of parties make money off of storage," he observes, including the cloud providers themselves.
But it comes down to the fact that "customers' biggest challenge in multi-cloud is, I would like my data not to be coupled to what compute substrate I use," he said.
In an analogy with a computer chip, Dell's storage software, said Roese, becomes "the shared memory substrate of the multi-cloud environment," like the cache memory in a processor.
This is a way, at the same time, to leverage distinct parcels of Dell's patented technology.
"By the way, from an IPR [intellectual property rights] perspective, we own the IPR in the storage layer, I don't care what a public cloud tells you," remarked Roese. "When they have a hard storage problem, they buy our gear and put it in their environment."
Another layer that could be chipped away at is edge computing, says Roese.
"Our edge strategy is creating an environment where an edge is not a mono-edge, in fact, the edge is a platform in which you have access to all the compute of all the clouds," said Roese.
"In fact, we have in our labs systems that on the same edge cluster are running [Google] Anthos, K3s, [Microsoft Azure] Arc, Vmware — and they're just software packages!" he said, citing four major container-management suites.
The same horizontal approach has Dell partnering with every so-called data processing unit, or DPU provider, including Nvidia's Mellanox and AMD's Pensando family of chips.
Working with Snowflake and other young companies, said Roese, makes the movement to data-in-motion, including Apache Kafka and other programs, a potentially horizontal affair.
"It's not, here's some storage under Snowflake," said Roese. Instead, "Their [Snowflake's] primary storage is in AWS, Azure or Google, and we are their edge." To be that edge, in this case, means that Dell uses connectors such as Kafka "so people can copy their data directly into Snowflake as a feature of a [Dell] storage array." Likewise, he said, by using a technology called remote database tables, "the Snowflake compute can now execute against remote data on prem."
Security may be the final frontier of such horizontal effects. For Dell, the field of security is a relatively new product area. Dell's offerings include data vaults, which it provides in both public cloud and on premise, as a way to "harden" data against ransomware.
But beyond a single product, "the right play for Dell is to lean hard into acclerating and simplifying the adoption of zero trust," he said, which is "not a product but our ability to organize the ecosystem."
Zero trust is "not hard," as a concept said Roese, it is simply constant authentication. That is, however, a very hard paradigm shift to engineer, he said. Being an entity that oversees zero trust, said Roese, can be an important position spanning different cloud computing instances.
Zero trust "is a set of business controls, knowing what you want your systems to do or not do, but then it also has a separable control plane," he said of the standard zero trust systems architecture.
"That control plane is in charge of diverse infrastructure underneath it," observed Roese. "If you were going to build for the multi-cloud world, that is exactly what you would do."
The process of chipping away at layers, said Roese, is a blend of partnerships.
In the traditional cloud compute world, "Today, we have pretty good relationships with all of them," said Roese. "We have a deep relationship with IBM and Red Hat, a deep relationship with Microsoft, deep relationship with Google, a growing relationship with AWS, a fairly good relationship with VMware, and on the telco side, we work with Wind River really deeply."
In the younger area of data-in-motion such as open-source Kafka, there is a growing number of relationships with young companies, with whom the existing partnership with Snowflake may serve as a model, said Roese.
"You can imagine us doing the same thing with Datastax and Databricks," he said. "So, it's a whole collection of people building new data architectures, and our role is still subordinate and underneath them."
Trying to open things up is one reason, said Roese, that Dell divested its stake in VMware last year. Although a virtualization platform could have advantages, he said, "there was also an encumbrance by owning them," he remarked, in terms of ending up with another silo competing with the cloud providers.
"We said, in order for us to be an enabler for [cloud service providers], do we want build things specific to them, or take it horizontal?" Jettisoning VMware was a vote for horizontal development, he said.
(VMware is in the process of being acquired by chip and enterprise software conglomerate Broadcom.)
From a business standpoint, all of the horizontal efforts are meant to create new opportunities for a company that already enjoys top position in its traditional compute and storage equipment markets.
"It's this age-old question: How do you grow a $100 billion company?" said Roese, referring to Dell's total revenue in 2021.
"You can consolidate, but if you run out of addressable market, it's a problem." Hence, his job, he says, is to divine, "How can we expand into adjacencies that make sense," a process that has the dual benefits of expanding the market opportunity but also creating "a lot more diversity at the company, which is good as technology ebbs and flows."
The company has six initiatives as the moment that are of primary focus to expand Dell's reach beyond its traditional bailiwick into adjacencies. That determination comes out of what the company calls its "tech radar," which for Roese means, "every technology that comes at us, we take a look at it, we decide if it's core [to Dell], adjacent or periphery, whether it's heading toward us or away from us."
The six, along with security such as zero trust, include as-a-service products such as APEX; edge computing, broadly the move away from centralized data centers; telecom technology, a new area for Dell where it sells to phone companies, called the Telecom Systems Business; artificial intelligence and machine learning; and data management including the real-time data-in-motion field that's emerging.
"The punchline" of those six initiatives, said Roese, is to "take the original TAM [total addressable market] of the company," which had been six hundred billion, and turn it into the current total addressable market of $1.4 trillion.
To the age-old question of business growth, said Roese, that larger opportunity has the effect of "expanding the surface area for Dell to grow."
Just as important to the business, said Roese, is that the six areas of focus, and the approach to them, sets Dell apart from the approach taken by competitors.
"At a macro level, we, kind-of, are emerging as doing what others aren't doing," he said.
"HP [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] is, kind-of, in a different vector, they're trying to be VMware, I think; Cisco can't afford to do it because you have to be able to play the commodity game; Huawei can, but they're crippled right now; the public clouds definitely don't want to do all the stuff I've talked about, like putting IT into the real world."
As a result, "I'm cautiously optimistic that we're playing a very meaningful role to pull things together, but we're doing it not just as an integrator but owning layers of the technology stack," said Roese.
"That makes us a bit of an odd duck, but we're a $101 billion odd duck that seems to have a lot of value and is, kind-of, providing more and more foundational technology."
Through stories and speculations, architects Florian Idenburg and LeeAnn Suen expose the relationships between space, work and people, and explore the intentions that have driven the development of office design for working humans.
In twelve essays, The Office of Good Intentions. Human(s) Work examines the spatial typologies and global phenomena that have defined the office in the last half-century.
Topics include the return of the work club, the rise of the corporate festival and the design of playgrounds for work. Frank Gehry’s radical, playful spaces for digital nomads in the advertising world feature, as well as stacks of punch cards, the Aeron chair and answering the phone in Hugh Hefner’s bed.
Photos by Iwan Baan provide a visual report on a range of office projects, such as Marcel Breuer’s IBM campus in Florida and the Ford Foundation’s urban garden in Manhattan.
This book looks at the spaces and solutions that have been designed for human work, tracing the transformation from work to occupation, from today’s lived experience to tomorrow’s unpredictable, imagined futures.
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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated IBM's Client Innovation Center (CIC) on Sunday.
Speaking at the IBM CIC inaugural function, Patnaik said most of the IT companies have set foot in Bhubaneswar and Odisha is now fast emerging as a technology resource hub.
"Over the years, the resurgent Odisha has scripted success stories in many spheres. It is marching ahead with renewed confidence towards a New Odisha adopting new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship," he said .
"Opening up of the IBM Client Innovation Center adds yet another watershed moment, signifying the fast changing IT ecosystem in the state," the chief minister said. The CIC, Bhubaneswar, is set up in line with the forays IBM has been making into emerging cities to get access to the diverse and rich talent available across the country. The Center will fast-track the digital transformation and economic growth of the region, as IBM Consulting continues to strengthen its Hybrid Cloud and AI Consulting capabilities delivered to global clients out of India, the company said.
"The expansion of our network of CICs is integral to supporting the growing needs of our clients as they accelerate their business transformation journey. Our teams will utilize their end-to-end delivery capabilities throughout the entire system development life cycle, from design to architecture to creation," said Amit Sharma, Managing Partner – Global Delivery, IBM Consulting. He said Bhubaneswar is fast emerging as a key talent hub in the country and this Center will provide these technology professionals with the opportunity to do impactful work for clients not just in India but across the world.
The new CIC will leverage the IBM Garage method of delivery, an approach that helps IBMCo-create', Co-execute', and Co-operate' transformative business and complex technology solutions with its clients and ecosystem partners, he said. The expanded presence of IBM in Bhubaneswar will create opportunities for existing employees as well as enable the company to harness the potential talent including graduate hiring from the technical educational ecosystem in Odisha.
IBM Consulting will now operate from 11 CIC locations in India, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, National Capital Region, Pune, Mysuru, Kochi and Coimbatore. Immediately after inaugurating the IBM facility here, Patnaik left for Hyderabad on his birthday on Sunday to attend the last investors' meet, the curtain raiser event for the third Make-in-Odisha' conclave to be held in the state from November 30 to December 4.
Earlier, Patnaik had attended a similar investors' meet at Bengaluru. During his two-day visit to Hyderabad, Patnaik will hold one-on-one meetings on Monday with business tycoons at Hyderabad to highlight investment opportunities in Odisha and woo investors.The aim of the Hyderabad meet is to attract investments in IT, ITeS, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, textiles and apparel, electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) besides food processing and renewable energy sectors, an official said. Patnaik's Hyderabad programme will be significant as the state government has recently released its new IT policy that aims at helping the state secure a prominent position on the global map as a preferred IT outsourcing destination propelling employment opportunities and inclusive growth.
Finding a company that could produce a breakthrough in lithium-ion battery technology is the quest for the holy grail in energy circles today. While lithium-ion batteries have been shown to be effective enough today to electrify segments of the energy market previously dominated by fossil fuels, they are still a higher-cost option with limitations. If a company can change the equation in regard to lithium's capacity, then it could be poised to capture an incredible market opportunity.
Enovix Corporation (NASDAQ: ENVX) is one of the companies trying to change that equation, and its product looks promising. Does this battery tech SPAC have what it takes to become a major player in this space and become a big winner for investors? Let's take a look at what Enovix has up its sleeve and whether it is a buy today.
For the past few years, many of the improvements made to lithium-ion batteries have come down to battery chemistry. Tweaks to the cathode materials -- the side of the battery made of lithium compounds -- have improved energy density (how much power you can pack in a battery), cycle times (the time it takes to charge), and degradation (the battery's capacity after hundreds of charges).
Many of the battery tech companies out there today are trying to find new ways to pack more power into the cathode through changes to chemistry or the state of the matter (solid state versus liquid electrolytes).
Enovix isn't doing any of this. Instead, it is focusing on improving battery cell architecture. Most battery cells look much like your typical AA battery. The anode, cathode, and separator layers are pressed together and then wound in a roll (looking like a Little Debbie Swiss roll on the inside).
Enovix's founding team took their approach from their experience in the hard drive and semiconductor manufacturing industries -- its CEO, Chief Technology Officer, and VP of research and development all previously worked at both IBM and FormFactor -- and redesigned the cell architecture.
Now, those pressed layers are cut into short lengths and stacked horizontally (looking like a club sandwich on the inside). This unique architecture also allows for the use of a silicon anode instead of conventional graphite anodes, improving energy density. Based on Enovix's published results, this architecture drastically improves the energy density, reduces degradation of the silicon anode, and improves cycle times.
Everyone's first thought about improved battery technology is its application to electric vehicles (EVs). While attacking the EV market is a long-term goal, Enovix sees an opportunity to monetize sooner in smaller applications. Smart watches and health sensors, smartphones, augmented reality (AR)-connected devices, laptops, and battlefield devices for the military are some of Enovix's short-term market goals.
These markets could be amenable to this type of product because of the volume and weight constraints of their products. Being able to produce significantly more power at less weight or in a smaller space comes at a higher premium than in EVs right now. Combined, these smaller cell markets are estimated at around $13 billion, so there is plenty of market to attack here early on.
This approach is bearing fruit, as management has so far announced eight design wins from customers and deliveries of commercial cells from its fabrication lines. Management estimates that its revenue funnel of projects in design and design wins is about $414 million.
Enovix's tech does sound promising, and some early design wins show that there is customer appetite for this particular battery tech. That said, there is a big difference between winning some contracts and becoming a profitable business over the long term.
Enovix needs to show that it can commercially manufacture this unique battery architecture both at scale and at adequate margins to generate returns. Management says that it has a line of sight on around $1 billion in annualized revenue and has a long-term goal for gross and EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margins of 50% and 30%, respectively.
But management also admits in its 10-k that the manufacturing process is extremely complex, and it is hard to project operational performance and costs. The most recent income statement says that it generated net income last quarter, but that was entirely from the exercise of warrants and not from the business' operations.
The biggest concerns here are time and cash burn. Enovix has about $384 million in cash on the books and expects to spend between $160 million to $180 million this year in capital expenditures (not including any operating cash losses). At this rate, it has less than a two-year window to get its operations up and running and generate enough cash to fund its capital plans without diluting shareholders or taking on debt.
Adding all this up, we have a company with tech that appears to be more market-ready than most other start-up battery technology companies out there. It isn't "EV or bust" for this company either, so there are more options to be successful. That said, this is a fiercely competitive industry today that could be disrupted by other innovations, and the company's cash burn rate says it needs those design wins to become real revenue soon.
It's hard to say what this company should be worth today. So determining whether it is a buy or not rests solely on how much you believe management can execute its plan. If we were to see some announcements soon that it is scaling up deliveries of cells to customers in the coming quarters, then that would be a really good sign. Right now, this is probably one of those "flyer" stocks that make up an incredibly small portion of one's portfolio. If it takes off, then great, but it's certainly not one you want to make a huge bet on yet.
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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday inaugurated IBM's client innovation centre (CIC) at O-Hub, Chandaka Industrial Estate in Bhubaneswar, further expanding the IT ecosystem in the state.
The centre was inaugurated in the presence of state's IT Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Odisha's E and IT Secretary Manoj kumar Mishra, Amit Sharma, Managing Partner Global Delivery, IBM Consulting, along with other dignitaries.
The new centre will position Odisha as a technology resource hub of India, stated the press release from CMO.
The innovation centre will have a capacity of 500 employees as the company is looking to expand its capacity to serve global clients outside India. It will create opportunities for existing employees and also enable the company to harness the potential talent including graduate hires from the technical educational ecosystem in Odisha.
INNOVATION CENTRE INAUGURATED
Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said, "Over the years, the resurgent Odisha has scripted success stories in many spheres. It is marching ahead with renewed confidence towards a new Odisha adopting new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. Odisha is now fast emerging as a technology resource hub of India."
Highlighting the immense scope available in Bhubaneswar, CM said that most of the IT companies have set foot in the city. "The enabling environment, facilitation service and huge talent pool available here have turned Odisha into a destination of choice," he said.
The opening up of the IBM client innovation center adds yet another watershed moment, signifying the fast changing IT ecosystem in the state, Patnaik added.
Meanwhile, IBM stated, "We announce the opening of new client innovation centre in Bhubaneswar. This is in line with the forays IBM has been making into emerging cities to get access to the diverse and rich talent available across the country. The center will fast-track the digital transformation and economic growth of the region, as IBM consulting continues to strengthen its hybrid cloud and AI consulting capabilities delivered to global clients outside the country."
Amit Sharma, Managing Partner, Global Delivery, IBM Consulting said, "The expansion of our network of CICs is integral to supporting the growing needs of our clients as they accelerate their business transformation journey. Our teams will utilize their end-to-end delivery capabilities throughout the entire system development life cycle, from design to architecture to creation."
Bhubaneswar is fast emerging as a key talent hub in the country and this center will provide these technology professionals the opportunity to do impactful work for clients not just in India but across the world, he added.
The new CIC will leverage the IBM garage method of delivery, an approach that helps IBM 'Co-create', 'Co-innovate', and 'Co-operate' transformative business and complex technology solutions with its clients and ecosystem partners.ALSO READ | Naveen Patnaik inaugurates 2 irrigation projects in President Murmu's home district
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