BU Spark! teams up with Red Hat, hosts software design workshop – The Daily Free Press

Boston University Spark! and Red Hat Inc. co-hosted an interaction design bootcamp for students and fellows. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELYSE CAROLYNN BUSH

Students traveled across Boston to its Fort Point neighborhood to attend a BU Spark! workshop about interaction design Friday. There they delved into interaction design and explored how to develop user-friendly software.

BU Spark! and Red Hat Inc. hosted the Interaction Design Bootcamp jointly at Red Hat’s Boston office. BU students and Spark! Interaction design fellows attended.

Red Hat is a software company that specializes in information technology and has a research relationship with Boston University that includes educational elements. The programs taught by Red Hat focus on user experience design, one of Red Hat’s specializations, .

“[Spark! was] looking for a little bit more coverage on user experience,” Colleen Hart, a user experience designer at Red Hat, said. “They don’t have a specific major around user experience or human factors and were looking for a bit of exposure to that.”

User experience design, also referred to as interaction design, is a consumer-centric discipline in technology. It focuses on making technological products as intuitive as possible. There are many areas of interaction design, including visual, front-end development, user testing and research.

Friday’s workshop focused on the intersection between computer science and graphic design.

“I think both groups wanted to learn a little bit more about that user interaction and the user design process, how to think about user-centered design when looking at products,” Hart said. “Graphic design students can get a little more of the technical side, and just get a more creative mindset on that process and vice-versa, to help collaborate the groups.”

In the program itself, students used the design-thinking model to develop an on-campus laundry service. The design-thinking model, an essential element of interaction design, features five steps.

First, the developers hone in on the needs of users and later define any problem customers face with the design. Then, they brainstorm solutions. The developers make a prototype of their ideas and move on to user testing.

Ben Lague, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, attended the Interaction Design Bootcamp and said he appreciated the collaborative element of the workshop.

“We started brainstorming different solutions to how this product would work, and then from there, figuring out the different features … and putting them all on sticky notes,” Lague said. “We were grouping them together, trying to find commonalities between them.”

After this collective brainstorming session, they began developing prototypes. Because the program was only three hours long, attendees didn’t have time to receive feedback and redevelop their products, but future sessions will enable that.

Red Hat and Spark! will host three additional sessions where they will organize a product review clinic and form a career panel for students to learn more about interaction design professions.

Both Natalie Wong, a senior interaction designer at Red Hat, and Ziba Cranmer, the director of BU Spark!, felt that this program was essential because of the applicability of user experience design.

“Especially in the world that we live in, we’re interacting with machines, software, so much more now,” Wong said. “It’s becoming our lifeblood, and it’s important to have these software applications or even machines to be able to interact with users in a more usable, friendlier, natural way, just to make our lives easier.”

Cranmer emphasized the importance that technology remains accessible and consumable for customers.

“It’s become intuitive because we’ve developed all of these patterns,” Cranmer said. “When you’re sending so much information at people, you need to give them an experience that allows them to access it.”





Ping An Technology showcases cloud computing power of Chinese businesses at 2018 Cloud Expo Asia

Cloud Expo Asia, the largest and most prestigious cloud computing event in Asia, is committed to providing the latest technology and business solutions for the digital transformation of the enterprise. Attendees this year included international giants, among them, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba, Citrix, Singtel, Huawei, JD.com, Fujitsu and NEC as well as many innovative startups.

“Cloud computing is giving new value to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain,” Mr. Chan said during his speech. “What Ping An Technology is doing is democratizing technologies and working to build a better world.” The technologies developed by Ping An Technology have become a part of daily life that people rely on, ranging from payment and asset management to health management.

For example, he said, in the field of intelligent cognition, Ping An Technology has formed three technological matrices. Intelligent cognition technologies represented by facial recognition, voiceprint recognition and micro-expression have been applied in more than 200 scenarios, including community security, educational testing, social services, financial risk control, agriculture and livestock farming, and healthcare. In workplace scenarios, Ping An Technology uses facial recognition technology to help verify the identities of visitors to office buildings, promoting digital building management in communities as well as in the educational and building management sectors. Recently, based on the advanced original facial recognition technology, Ping An Technology achieved another breakthrough in its algorithms, by upping and reallocating computing power to upgrade the Ping An π intelligent door access system,that established the technology’s dominant position in the market.

In the field of medical technology, Ping An Technology has been on a fast development track. The application of disease prediction systems based on artificial intelligence and big data in Shenzhen for flu monitoring can predict the anticipated progress of the disease one week in advance, with the accuracy rate at the peak of the outbreak surpassing 90%. At present, the research and development of the model has been gradually evolving from the prediction of the spread of an illness within a group to accurate prediction for individuals. To cite an example, the model can collect data as about an individual’s living habits and medical records, and, within five minutes, deliver the prediction results for five types of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Regarding building smart cities, Ping An Technology has entered into a collaboration with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to enable real-time exchanges of trade and financing information through the blockchain. By doing so, both parties can gradually build and access applications around supply chain finance, credit tokenization and online payment, with the goal of ultimately jointly building an open cross-border trade financing platform.

Mr. Chan noted that Ping An Technology now focuses on the construction of an ecosystem that brings together three scenarios: finance, healthcare and the smart city. The ecosystem, with applications for China’s domestic market as the core element, will gradually cover the whole of Asia. Currently, Ping An Cloud has more than 500 million online users. All these scenarios are based on a reliable and stable Ping An Cloud. Today, Ping An Cloud has obtained nine Chinese and foreign security certifications, and is among the cloud providers with the highest security level in the financial sector. With the implementation of its cloud-oriented strategy for products and services, Ping An Technology will continue to open up more technologies and services to the outside world, and, benefiting from its own thought leadership that it has named “All in the Cloud”, focus on building an open ecology of technology and business capacities with Ping An Cloud as the core.

Mr. Fang, the company CTO and chief architect, said in his speech that cloud computing is the underlying infrastructure that Internet businesses rely on for survival and development, and that the battle for dominance in cloud computing is expected to become one of the principle areas of competition between the world’s leaders in the Internet sector. In keeping up with the latest trends, Ping An Technology has always been one step ahead. In terms of the deployment of Ping An Cloud, Ping An Technology has taken its first step, forming what it refers to as the “3+1” model covering internal, public, proprietary and private cloud solutions, and creating a beachhead in terms of applications in security compliance, autonomous control, elastic computing, virtualization and other technological areas. He noted that Ping An Cloud will, based on already established advantages and by integrating existing products and services, create a one-stop platform for availability and delivery of its products and services, with five key capabilities and the finance, healthcare and the smart city as the core target markets.

Mr. Fang described the process as “a unique journey to unlock the value of the cloud”. With cloud computing as a modus operandi sweeping across the globe, it has become the common destiny of many companies all over the world to embrace and cater to the trend. What Ping An Technology has set out to do is to be the leader and not the follower, and to unlock the huge power that cloud computing gives enterprises as the global economy reaches the next inflection point.

Ping An Technology, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ping An Group, is committed to using AI, intelligent cognition, blockchain, cloud and other cutting-edge technologies to create a new cloud-based life for people. As a subsidiary, Ping An Technology is the high-tech core and tech business incubator within Ping An Group, and is responsible for the development and operation of the critical platforms and services for the group. As an independent entity, Ping An Technology strategizes with smart technology and manufacturing to focus on healthcare, finance, and smart city areas. Ping An Technology is dedicated to implementing the corporate philosophy of “technology changes life” by applying the international certificated technological capabilities to actual business scenarios.

More than 10,000 IT professionals and management experts form a high-level R&D force that provide expert-level technical support for the stable and reliable operation of the platform. The established cloud ecosystem has already been accessed by over 500 million internet users, and has been expanded into overseas markets, including the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as other countries and regions.

SOURCE Ping An Technology

SINGAPORE, /PRNewswire/ — The development of cloud computing has dramatically expanded the development space and imagination of the network technology. An increasing number of businesses in China are willing to tell the world China’s cloud computing strategy. The 2018 Cloud Expo Asia was held in Singapore on , with the top management of more than 350 leading cloud computing providers,  including Ping An Technology CEO Ericson Chan and CTO Guowei Fang. Chan and Fang both gave speeches about cloud computing’s unique value under the trend of digitalizing.

Ping An Technology CEO Ericson Chan delivering a speech at Cloud Expo Asia

Ping An Technology CTO Guowei Fang delivering a speech at Cloud Expo Asia