Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 01 | Page 15

NEWS WHO ‘virtual health worker’ designed by San Francisco and New Zealand-based company, Soul Machines The World Health Organization’s first virtual health worker has been designed by San Francisco and New Zealand-based company, Soul Machines. The WHO launched Florence as a ‘trusted source of information’, designed to help the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users quit. It uses Artificial Intelligence to dispel myths on both COVID-19 and smoking. The organization said quitting smoking is more important than ever as evidence reveals that smokers are more vulnerable than non-smokers to developing a severe case of COVID-19. The technology was developed by Soul Machines, which says the way it is designed means every interaction is unique. “We would call Florence a digital person,” said Greg Cross, Co-Founder of Soul Machines. “She’s a CGI creation just as we see in the movies, but what’s unique about Florence and other digital people like her is she is autonomously animated by a digital brain. You’re having a face-to-face interaction with a digital person. One of the things we know from our day-to-day lives is we learn to build relationships, we learn to build trust, with face-to-face interactions.” Equinix to extend customer access to Alibaba Cloud in 17 markets to Gartner. With the partnership, Alibaba Cloud can also enjoy secure, direct access to a robust, interconnected ecosystem of more than 9,700 customers, including 1,800 network providers and over 2,900 cloud and IT service providers globally to enhance performance, lower latency and increase reliability for its customers. Equinix, the global interconnection and data center company, has announced it will extend access to Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, through Platform Equinix for customers from 17 metros globally, including Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, as well as US metros such as Chicago, Dallas and Denver. This expansion, along with its API integration with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric), will help enterprises from these global markets easily and privately connect to Alibaba Cloud on Platform Equinix. Alibaba Cloud is the third largest global provider of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and the largest in Asia-Pacific, according As a key enabler of Digital Transformation, cloud has been heavily adopted by multinational enterprises as they seek to modernize and mobilize their IT systems. According to Gartner, IaaS is expected to reach US$62 billion in 2021 globally, and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% during the forecast period 2019-2024. To deliver on the expectations of transformation, it is critical for enterprises to ensure they can securely and seamlessly access multiple cloud service providers (CSPs), such as Alibaba Cloud. INTELLIGENTCIO 15