By Adam Zurek
Digitizing and indexing hard-copy documents, transcripts and images in the name of preservation and greater accessibility is not new. However, when the Wroclaw University Library in Poland set out on a digitization project for its swelling library of invaluable original works – some of which date back more than half a millennium – the issue for me was both professional and personal.
I manage the Department of Scientific Documentation of Cultural Heritage in the university’s library, which is responsible for realizing and coordinating projects that create databases for digitized historic resources. And the resources at the Library, which has been collecting manuscripts, old prints and graphics – many of inestimable value – since its founding in 1811, are considerable. Continue Reading »
Rachel Haot is the chief digital officer for New York City, heading the NYC Digital program. Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed her to the newly-created post in 2011. Previously, Haot founded GroundReport, a crowdsourced news Web site based in New York. She recently answered some questions for the A Smarter Planet blog about what it takes to make a digital city. Here’s an edited version of the interview:
A Smarter Planet: Why did you accept Mayor Bloomberg’s offer to become New York’s first chief digital officer?
Haot: I had always been interested in the intersection of technology and government, so I saw his offer as a phenomenal chance to serve the greatest city on earth and to help to galvanize the momentum that I already saw building. Our goal at the start was to create the first digital roadmap that any city has produced, and to use that roadmap to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers.
Here’s Haot talking about how to run a successful hackathon:
By Bill Liao
The great Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Yet in a time when nearly all human activity is reliant on the magic of computer software, entire generations of kids are not learning to program until far too late, and the dropout rate for computer science degrees is routinely 50 percent. We have a global shortage of good programmers, and many startup companies simply fail for want of decent programming talent.
By Dr. David Sinclair
What skills will tomorrow’s city leaders need?
This is a very broad question, but it has a specific set of answers. Tomorrow’s urban leaders must organize, analyze and understand the resource that is Big Data. They will need to be able to use the sea of data pouring into their systems to predict how the city will operate and then build adaptable and informed plans to deal with the inevitable disruption and change. This set of skills fall under the heading of data analytics.
It is with these skills in mind that we have designed a Data Analytics Master’s programme at Dublin City University in partnership with IBM Research Dublin. The goal of the programme is to provide future planners with a deep understanding of the issues, as well as the techniques and tools needed to explore large amounts of raw data and extract meaningful conclusions from it. With such a skill set, tomorrows’ urban leaders will be positioned to build smarter, sustainable cities. Continue Reading »
By Beverly Macy
As we look forward, one thing is clear –social business is no longer optional. From driving innovation, to providing essential client experiences, to enabling a dynamic and productive workforce, organizations are realizing they need to craft a social business strategy.
Even companies that have committed to using social technologies realize they are just scratching the surface in terms of the power of social business to transform the employee experience and the client/partner experience. They see the potential of tapping big data and turning that information into intelligence, so it’s easy to see why there’s a surge in innovation and new levels of productivity and creativity within the enterprise.
Here are three areas of focus to keep an eye on in the coming months:
By Sangjun Hyun
Home shopping has evolved greatly since the Home Shopping Network (HSN) pioneered the concept in the 1980′s. And these networks’ nimble response to the rise of online and mobile shopping has allowed them to continue to grow and thrive even as the entire retail industry experiences seismic shifts. Today, nearly half of HSN’s sales are reportedly made online. And mobile is rising quickly. HSN recently said its mobile commerce sales grew 78% in Q1 2013 and mobile sales now represent 10 percent of its total company sales.
Home shopping networks are therefore not only rising to the challenge of online and mobile commerce, but accelerating the phenomena.
In Korea, where I sit, this is especially true. Home shopping is extremely popular in Korea and is helping drive Korea to become one of the most advanced online retail markets in the world. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service predicts online shopping will likely be the dominant retail channel in Korea within the next five years. A company seeking to take full advantage of this boom is NS Shopping, one of Korea’s leading home shopping networks, who is teaming with IBM to provide its customers a better shopping experience.
By Steve Hamm
Mark Twain’s often repeated quip, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it,” captures perfectly humanity’s frustration with the vagaries of weather. Take heart, though. While IBM Researcher Lloyd Treinish doesn’t claim he can change the weather, he and his environmental science team at IBM Research promise they can do the next-best thing: help people make better decisions based on pin-point accurate weather predictions.
The team’s sophisticated weather prediction technology, nicknamed Deep Thunder, can help city managers prepare for severe storms; farmers plan the planting, irrigation and harvesting of crops; and electrical utilities respond to hurricanes or integrate alternative energy sources such as wind and solar into their grids. “When we think of the impact of weather on business, it’s enormous,” Lloyd says. “In this country alone, it’s estimated that a significant fraction of the GDP is dependent on weather conditions.”
Eventually, the team’s technology could be useful for individuals as well. Already, Treinish gets calls from IBM research colleagues who are planning backyard barbeques and want to avoid rainouts. Continue Reading »