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Building a Smarter Planet. A Smarter Planet Blog.


 

Ramin Eivaz, SVP Strategy, Insight and Analytics, HSN

Ramin Eivaz, SVP Strategy, Insight and Analytics, HSN

By Ramin Eivaz

If you think back to the best gift you ever received during the holidays, I’ll bet for most of you it’s not just the most expensive present or the one that came in the biggest box. No, the best gifts usually come from people that really know you and put a lot of thought into personalizing that gift just for you.

At HSN, we feel the same way, and it serves as a motivating force that guides how we engage with our customers during this important time of year. We believe we know our customers better than any other retailer in the market, and that connection and intimacy we share with them really shines during the holidays. It’s much more than just providing our customers the best products at the best value – it’s about offering the products that are just right for each and every customer.

But with millions of loyal customers, we can’t just mass market our holiday offerings to them by making an email list and checking it twice. Those one-size-fits-all techniques are long gone and are about as welcome by our customers as a holiday fruitcake. Today retailers need to be able to deliver the right offer at just the right time, and for HSN, we need to do this on a massive scale across all platforms – from television to mobile devices. Continue Reading »

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November, 24th 2014
9:00
 

Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina

Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina

By Michael King

The bell has rung for the need to transform education.

Although elementary and secondary education has evolved significantly over the past decades, the near future of our industry is set to have even more impactful developments.

Technological advances in Big Data analytics, mobile proliferation in and outside of the classroom, and the emergence of cloud-based smart content is creating increasingly precise tools to determine which educational practices will prove most effective and radically transform current educational practices.

Such cutting-edge analytics and cloud-based smart content can help educators unlock deep insights that will transform our approach to learning and help move the classroom from assembly-line models into a truly personalized environment – environments that motivate and engage learners at all levels, from kindergarteners learning the alphabet to university students exploring majors. Continue Reading »

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Drew Johnson, Vice President, Engineering, Aeris Communications

Drew Johnson, Vice President, Engineering, Aeris Communications

By Drew Johnson

As the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications connect millions of diverse machines over networks, the goal is to make the combination of those machines greater than the sum of each type and to provide people with greater information and insight as the ecosystem expands.

To achieve this level of interconnectivity, businesses that depend on those machines need them to work reliably, securely, and cost-effectively – without human intervention. That’s where an unexpected technology function comes in to help: crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing typically conjures up images of people-driven programs, like traffic information gathered from thousands of commuters or weather reports created by people supplying pictures and information from their mobile devices. Continue Reading »

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November, 21st 2014
6:00
 

Jeffrey Welser, Dir., IBM Research - Almaden

Jeffrey Welser, Dir., IBM Research – Almaden

By Jeffrey Welser

One of the watershed moments in the history of computing took place on Dec. 9, 1968. Douglas Engelbart and his team at Stanford Research Institute presented a technology demonstration that included the first public showings of the computer mouse, hypertext, dynamic file linking and shared-screen collaboration over a network. Those advances turned out to be essential building blocks for personal computing and Internet, and the event came to be called “The Mother of All Demos.”

While only history will say for sure, I think we saw the glimmer of a similar new beginning last week at IBM Research – Almaden, in Silicon Valley.  The IBM Cognitive Systems Colloquium signaled a shift from a singular focus on the von Neumann computing architecture, which has dominated computer science and the computer industry since the mid-1940s, to new architectures modeled on the human brain. Continue Reading »

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Jonathan Schaeffer, Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta

Jonathan Schaeffer, Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta

By Jonathan Schaeffer

At the just-concluded G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, the leaders of the 20 major economies in the world agreed to “take strong and effective action” on climate change.

Still, at this critical juncture in the history of our planet, it is essential that the scientific world continue to document the dramatic climate changes occurring all across the globe.

One technological area gaining wider use is remote sensing. Today sensors are powerful and inexpensive, network access to remote data is increasing, scientific models are improving, and “big data” algorithms for crunching the numbers are more accessible. Continue Reading »

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Michael Dixon, General Manager, Global Smarter Cities, IBM

Michael Dixon, General Manager, Global Smarter Cities, IBM

By Michael Dixon

While there is always interest in the exciting innovations in cities – such as intelligent transportation systems – the backbone of any city operation is comprised of efficient water pipes and reliable electrical wires.

The availability, delivery and consumption of natural resources like energy and water is far more important to cities than a new fleet of busses. Optimizing resources is particularly relevant for cities because of their impact on both livability as well as resilience. Continue Reading »

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Laurent Auguste, Executive Vice President Innovation and Markets, Veolia

Laurent Auguste, Executive Vice President Innovation and Markets, Veolia

By Laurent Auguste

With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, cities have proven to have the winning model.

But the massive influx into cities leads to higher population densities, greater complexities and increased pressures on local resources, such as water.

In the future, successful cities will be those that have created local and global access to Big Data as sources of new game-changing dynamics. New city models will turn the passive pipes of city infrastructure into active ones, transcending their current use and freeing up yet untapped value.

Consider city water systems. Imagine enabling the pipes to communicate with treatment plants and learn from customer behavior as never before. Continue Reading »

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Jeff Schick, VP, IBM Social Software

Jeff Schick, VP, IBM Social Software

By Jeff Schick

For more than 30 years, email has been stuck in a rut. It’s still basically a list of messages that we plow through all day, every day—in our private and professional lives.  The important stuff is hidden among the trivial and the routine. Sure, you can fiddle with rankings and do rudimentary searches, but, for all the time we spend dealing with our email, it’s one of the least-evolved computer activities around.  Think of it as a tax on your brain.

I probably speak for many people when I say that the first word that comes to mind when I think of email is “frustration.” Actually, the word that comes to mind is less polite than that. That high level of collective frustration is what drove a talented team of software engineers and user experience designers at IBM to reimagine the domain—putting people and relationships at the center of things. Continue Reading »

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John Kelly, SVP, IBM Research

Dr. John Kelly III, SVP, IBM Research

By Dr. John E. Kelly III

The microprocessor was one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Those chips of silicon and copper have come to play such a vital role that they’re frequently referred to as the “brains” of the computer. Today’s computer designs put the processor at the center.

But the needs of businesses and society are changing rapidly, so the computer industry must respond with a new approach to computer design—which we at IBM call data-centric computing. In the future, much of the processing will move to where the data resides, whether that’s within a single computer, in a network or out on the cloud. Microprocessors will still be vitally important, but their work will be divided up.

This shift is necessary because of the explosion of big data. Every day, society generates an estimated 2.5 billion gigabytes of data—everything from corporate ledgers to individual health records to personal Tweets.

Continue Reading »

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Michael Nova, Chief Medical Officer, Pathway Genomics

Michael Nova, Chief Medical Officer, Pathway Genomics

By Michael Nova M.D.

To describe me as a health nut would be a gross understatement. I run five days a week, bench press 275 pounds, do 120 pushups at a time, and surf the really big waves in Indonesia. I don’t eat red meat, I typically have berries for breakfast and salad for dinner, and I consume an immense amount of kale—even though I don’t like the way it tastes. My daily vitamin/supplement regimen includes Alpha-lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q and Resveratrol. And, yes, I wear one of those fitness gizmos around my neck to count how many steps I take in a day.

I have been following this regimen for years, and it’s an essential part of my life.

For anybody concerned about health, diet and fitness, these are truly amazing times. There’s a superabundance of health and fitness information published online. We’re able to tap into our electronic health records, we can measure just about everything we do physically, and, thanks to the plummeting price of gene sequencing, we can map our complete genomes for as little as $3000 and get readings on smaller chunks of genomic data for less than $100.

Think of it as your own personal health big-data tsunami. Continue Reading »

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