Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
Archive for March, 2013

Miles Nosler, Student, Texas State University

Miles Nosler, Student, Texas State University

By Miles Nosler

Over the last few years, whenever I saw an IBM Smarter Planet commercial on television I wondered what was behind things like Smarter Transportation? Smarter Cities? Smarter Commerce?

Since then I’ve come to understand what the Smarter Planet concept is about – tackling Big issues with smarter, interconnected technologies to improve the way we live and work. But, it didn’t truly sink in until I started crunching some Big Data with an IBM mainframe. Let me explain. 

If someone told me I would take the top spot among 4,600 very smart students competing in IBM’s Master the Mainframe contest, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s exactly what I did, and now I have in-demand technical skills on my resume that are landing me job interviews. Continue Reading »

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Richard Koubek, Dean of the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University

By Richard Koubek

The year 2007 was a watershed year for the engineering and computer science academic community – marking the end of a long decline in computer science enrollments that had plagued the industry since 1999. While the United States and many industries slipped into a major recession, it was as if American students finally opened their eyes to see that engineering and computer science disciplines held the keys to building stable, sustainable and successful careers.

As unemployment rates climbed, state budgets faltered, public funding for higher education declined and college tuition rose, engineering and computer science college enrollments skyrocketed.

While it’s true that a student’s pragmatic side may direct his or her attention to explore engineering and computer science, starting salaries alone usually do not “close the deal.” Students must envision a rewarding and challenging career ahead. In the past students were inspired by – and wanted to be part of – grand challenges such as the Apollo program to land a person on the moon. Continue Reading »

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Ari Sheinkin, Vice President, Client Insights, IBM

By Ari Sheinkin

Imagine an office full of static and noise. You hear YouTube blaring over bad speakers, competing with a dozen mobile calls and an in-person conference that’s interrupted by constant knocking on the door. And in this mayhem, you’re listening for one voice: the one whisper from one client talking about their experience or preference or plan.

CMOs face their own daily mayhem of data as they try to engage with customers as individuals. Marketing to industry segments and broad demographics is being replaced by the “era of you.”

Much of the data deluge comes from consumers via searches, clickstreams, mobile phones, and comments on Facebook and Twitter. Combine that with data about in-store traffic, conversations with call centers, and updates from suppliers, and today’s marketers confront a blitz of data waiting to be analyzed and acted upon to boost business.  Better insights enable companies, from retailers to banks, to literally design offers and services tailored to what consumers are telling them. Continue Reading »

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Juerg von Kaenel, Senior Research Manager, IBM Research, Australia

By Juerg von Kaenel

Only with sustained investment in innovation can countries improve the most fundamental quality-of-life indicators for their citizens. For complex and vital disciplines like disaster management, this requires comprehensive collaboration across community, government, industry and academia and on a global scale. By focusing on common social goals – such as reducing and mitigating the impact of natural and man-made disasters – best practices and collective technical knowledge can be used to help improve community resilience and potentially save lives.

The newly-announced teaming of IBM, the University of Melbourne, and the National ICT Australia (NICTA) research centre, to develop and implement the Australia Disaster Management Platform (ADMP) will enable collaboration between innovators in the critical fields of disaster planning, response and recovery. The ADMP promises to remove some of the major historical obstacles to innovation in this increasingly critical field. Continue Reading »

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By Joanna Brewer, Writer/Communications, IBM

Keith Mercier, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Retail Center of Competency

Growing up in a military family, Keith Mercier‘s fashion choices were limited to what was available at the military base exchange. At age 12, his love of fashion hit him like a bolt of lightning in the form of a bright red, v-neck, cashmere Lacoste sweater.

A few years later, Mercier started his career in fashion, working part time to stock shelves at the Gap. Rising through the ranks, Mercier eventually led the company’s e-commerce business and, in between, served as the president of beloved maternity brand Japanese Weekend. Along the way, Mercier learned some incredibly valuable truths that today help him guide apparel and fashion brands on winning strategies.

Dubbing himself the “fashionisto,” Mercier says, “In the fashion business you have to think like a fashionista – a truly devoted follower of fashion – if you are going to surprise and delight them and keep them coming back.” Continue Reading »

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March 22nd, 2013

Eoin Lane, IBM Smarter Water Architect

By Eoin Lane

People often say that water is the new oil, but really, it’s not. Oil is a fossil fuel that takes millions of years and a lot of pressure to create. When we burn oil – for example, by driving our cars – it is gone forever (or at least for a few more millions of years before it can be created again!).

Water, on the other hand, cannot be created or destroyed (this is not strictly true, but bear with me). The same amount of water is around today that was around when the Earth was formed. The truth is there is a lot of water on Earth – just not a lot of drinking water. Continue Reading »

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Ahmed Simjee, Smarter Planet Leader, IBM South Africa

By Ahmed Simjee

When I was growing up in South Africa, my family was fortunate.  We had access to fresh drinking water. At first we lived on a small farm near Johannesburg, where we used a well. Later, when I moved closer to the city, I had good tap water. But many of my fellow South Africans weren’t so lucky, and, even today, many people in the rural areas and in informal settlements near the cities don’t have ready access to fresh drinking water. That’s why I’m extremely pleased to be spearheading an initiative in South Africa, WaterWatchers, which is aimed at using mobile phones and crowdsourcing to cut down on leaks and wasted water.

We’re launching our free WaterWatchers app today in Gauteng Province, home of Johannesburg and the capital city, Tshwane. With 12.3 million residents, the province represents 23% of South Africa’s population. We timed the launch to coincide with the United Nations’ World Water Day. If you’re in South Africa, please download the app. Continue Reading »

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George Elliott, P. Eng., Commissioner of Transportation and Public Works, City of Cambridge, Ontario

By George Elliott, P. Eng.

In the city of Cambridge, Ontario, we’ve always taken pride in our long and proud tradition of delivering quality services to our citizens with the bottom line in mind. We know that with a growing city, our infrastructure needs are also growing. In these hard economic times, we wanted to address funding gaps through efficiencies and limit the impact on taxes. We looked for ways to give us more analytical ability to refine and enhance our systems and gain greater return on investment.

Given the aging physical infrastructure challenges that all Canadian municipalities are facing, we needed to better understand the competing priorities, and look to refine ways we address our infrastructure to avoid costly repairs.

Our team was challenged with addressing preventative maintenance as most of our resources were being increasingly used to respond to emergency repairs.  Continue Reading »

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Erick Brethenoux, Director, Business Analytics and Decision Management Strategy, IBM Software Group

By Erick Brethenoux

CMOs would do well to heed Ernest Hemingway’s time-tested advice: “When people talk, listen completely.”

For some time, brand strategists have been underscoring the importance of listening as a strategic mainstay for brands seeking to delve into social media.

To this day, I believe that thoughtful, inquisitive listening – to public commentary like tweets, posts and the range of online data that we, as individuals, share as a way of expressing ourselves – is one of the smartest investments a marketer can make.

The sky is the limit in terms of the kind of data marketers can listen to today. From online reviews that consumers post and contributions to forums, to creative self-expression on Pintrest and, of course, succinct yet expressive tweets – all of these are Big Data insights that, together, form a true narrative of what makes customers tick. Continue Reading »

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Charaka Kithulegoda, CIO, ING DIRECT

By Charaka Kithulegoda

It’s estimated that there are more smartphones on the planet than humans. By 2016, more than 10 billion smartphones will be in use around the global. And Canadians are leading that growth, with more than half of Canadian smartphone users banking from their mobile device – and that number grows even higher when looking at those between 18 – 34 years of age.

Our customers expect to be able to connect with their friends and family, browse and shop and of course, bank from their mobile devices. As the mobile marketplace continues to grow and expand, mobile banking is not just a convenient option for our clients, but a must have. So how do we provide our customers with easy access to their money at any time, wherever they are? Continue Reading »

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