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Archive for December, 2012
December 18th, 2012

Andreas Dummler, Director of Information Systems, ARBURG GmbH + Co KG

By Andreas Dümmler

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of injection molding machines used to make plastic products, ARBURG GmbH + Co KG is essentially a manufacturer’s manufacturer. We are as committed to smarter manufacturing processes in our own plants as our clients.

One of our foremost priorities is energy efficiency. As a family-owned business, environmental responsibility is a significant part of our culture. We make use of necessary resources, but stay true to a guiding principle to use the most energy efficient production and management systems in our plants as possible. Key tactics in facility engineering and management include the use of geothermal energy, photovoltaic technology, combined heat and power plants, rain water, waste heat from production equipment, and the use of natural ventilation and extraction in our buildings.

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Katrina Read, Business Analytics Solution Architect, IBM

By Katrina Read

For retailers, the busy holiday season brings the opportunity for significant revenue, but also the added stress of making sure shelves are stocked to provide maximize returns. Which begs the question: how do you know what products should be stocked in which stores?

The use of predictive analytics in the retail industry is not new – in fact it was one of the first commercial industries to really adopt the use of mathematical algorithms to predict future sales. And yet, I often find myself standing in front of empty shelves wondering how they could get it so wrong.

While this is the giving season, my gift to you, fellow retailers, is this advice: WWW. No, I’m not talking about the World Wide Web. WWW is short for, Who, What and When – the three W’s that every retailer must focus on in this new world of smarter commerce.
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Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer, IBM

By Bernard Meyerson

It’s amazing when you look back over the 60+ years of the computing revolution and see how far we have come in such a relatively short time. The first electronic programmable computers, built in the 1940s, were essentially really fast electronic calculators. Then came the mainframe, the PC, the Internet and social networking. Today, we’re entering the era of cognitive computing–machines that help us think.

IBM’s Watson marks a turning point.  The former Jeopardy! TV quiz show champ is now reading millions of pages of medical text in preparation for going to work in healthcare. But while Watson can understand all manner of things and learns from its interactions with data and humans, it is just a first step into a new era of computing that’s going to produce machines that are as distinct from today’s computers as those computers are from the mechanical tabulating devices that preceded them. A host of technologies are coming that will help us overcome our limitations and will transform the way we interact with machines and with each other.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this shift is our ability to give machines some of the capabilities of the right side of the human brain. New technologies make it possible for machines to mimic and augment the senses. Today, we see the beginnings of sensing machines in self-parking cars and biometric security–and the future is wide open. This year, we focused the IBM Next 5 in 5, our 2012 forecast of inventions that will change your world in the next five years, on how computers will mimic the senses:

Touch:        You will be able to reach out and touch through your phone
Sight:          A pixel will be worth a thousand words
Hearing:     Computers will hear what matters
Taste:          Digital taste buds will help you to eat healthier
Smell:          Computers will have a sense of smell

Join the Twitter conversation at #ibm5in5. Click here to vote on the coolest predictions, and check back on the blog Dec. 21 for the results.

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Posted by
Steve Hamm in

Each year, IBM Research chooses five digital innovations that will likely transform elements of modern life within five years. It’s an exercise designed to challenge IBM scientists and engineers and engage the general public in imagining the possible.

This year’s predictions will be announced on Monday, Dec. 17 on this blog. We’ll post links to videos and in-depth blog posts about each of the innovations by IBM brainiacs. Also, we’ll invite visitors to vote for their favorite prediction. The results will be announced Dec. 21.

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Kathleen Ryan, Writer, IBM Communications

By Kathleen Ryan

Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are part of our everyday lives. Whether we’re checking out groceries at the supermarket, getting medicine from the pharmacy, or shipping a package, the bar code and scanner are standard technologies for capturing and registering pricing and other retail information.

But it wasn’t always this way. Before bar codes, the process of pricing was laborious, time consuming and a drain on resources. Prices were placed on individual products by hand, usually with the thump of a price “stamper,” and then read by a cashier who then tapped the price into the cash register, by hand. Weekly price changes started the process all over again.

That all changed in June of 1974 when a clerk scanned a pack of Wrigley’s gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The technology rapidly took hold and today it shows up on virtually every retail product. Today the non-profit governing body for bar codes says that uniform standards for UPC codes are used by more than one million companies around the world.

One of the pioneers of bar code technology, retired IBM employee N. Joseph Woodland, died this week. He was 91.
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Doug Dow, Vice President, Business Analytics Transformation, IBM

By Doug Dow

As one veteran sports writer conceded recently, in the battle between gut instinct and algorithms: bet on “team calculator” every time.

From presidential politics to professional sports, sophisticated quantitative analysis is winning over experience and intuition. In business, organizations that have embedded analytics into their operations significantly outperform those who are still kicking the tires, according to a recent joint MIT Sloan Management Review and IBM Institute of Business Value study.

And yet, within many large organizations, the implementation of analytics remains highly uneven. For every organization that is playing “Moneyball,” there are more still puzzling over how to get started. The primary obstacle to widespread adoption: a “lack of understanding for how to use analytics to improve the business,” according to the Sloan study.  
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Robert Waymouth, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Robert Waymouth, Ph.D., maintains the sense of awe that he’s had since his earliest days as a chemist, savoring those “marvelous moments where it just takes your breath away, you can’t believe something worked like that.”

Waymouth, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, had one such moment in 2004 when he and his grad students discovered a new way to make molecules using organic catalysts. That breakthrough, followed by years of research with colleague Jim Hedrick at IBM Research in Almaden, Calif., has yielded a process to make environmentally sustainable plastics that could lead to smarter recycling methods, a drastic reduction in plastics pollution and even a safer, more efficient way to administer drugs.
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December 10th, 2012

Dan Pelino, General Manager, Global Healthcare & Life Sciences, IBM

By Dan Pelino

Last week, I had the opportunity to join leaders from all aspects of the healthcare ecosystem at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York City. We have all attended conferences like this in the past. We have heard ideas that are aspiring and some of these ideas inspire us to take an action.

What I found different and energizing about this event was the acceleration of the dialogue in creating value beyond the traditional barriers of health and healthcare. No one at the event was satisfied with status quo. The data is overwhelming and we all agree that new business models need to emerge. 

We heard examples of leadership, collaboration and governance that have had a profound impact on populations. We heard the rallying cry that we cannot leave the challenge of healthcare at the doorstep of hospital emergency rooms. We heard that this is a journey – not a one and done appointment.

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December 7th, 2012

Jon Zerden, CTO, Core Performance

By Jon Zerden

It’s the time of year when holiday decorations go up, temperatures drop, and people huddle indoors and gather for feasts of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and much more.

But when the feasting comes to an end, people begin to think of their New Year’s resolutions. In addition to the occasional over indulgence in holiday comfort foods, people are more wary than ever of the risks associated with a lack of exercise.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the annual estimated medical expense associated with obesity in the United States is $61 billion. Diabetes costs $116 billion, while cardiovascular disease and strokes amount to $313.8 billion in expenditures.

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