By Jay Henderson
With another peak holiday shopping season upon us, retailers and marketers across the country have high hopes for another record-breaking weekend of online sales.
They may very well get their wish.
Based on early data from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Thanksgiving Day online sales grew 19.7 percent over 2012, led by department stores, which increased 60 percent using the same comparison. As expected, mobile was once again a key driver of that overall growth, increasing 49 percent year over year as a component of all online sales.
As holiday shoppers become more diverse, connected and digitally savvy, retailers are looking to cloud, mobile and big data analytics to deliver personalized experiences for millions of consumers. The winners this year will be those that rely on real-time insight to adapt their mix of in-store, online and mobile promotions to make the sale whenever and wherever their customers choose. For retailers like Moosejaw, that means building a connected physical and digital shopping experience that is integrated, from the ground up, across the entire commerce cycle. Continue Reading »
By William Rusnak
We are just beginning to see the full potential of the use of sensors in healthcare.
In fact, the day may soon come when acute changes in a patient’s vitals may be sent as an alert to the phone of a primary care physician. Giant fluctuations of glucose levels in the blood of diabetics may be detected without the need to repeatedly prick finger tips. Food diaries, home blood pressures jotted down on notepads, and face-to-face follow-up appointments will likely be a thing of the past.
The typical check-up that we know today may transform into the equivalent of getting your car’s computer inspected when the “check engine” light is on. Sensors will lead to more pertinent data collection, and with the right analytics, will significantly improve outcomes. Continue Reading »
By Mark Daley
The tools and methodologies of “Big Data” provide us with new – necessarily automated – ways to boil down vast quantities of data into a form that is easier to digest. Critical tools include algorithms for dimensionality reduction, machine learning and large-scale visualization.
Beyond Big Data, many researchers are also beginning to face the related challenge of “fast data” – that is, real-time, streaming data for which an analysis is only useful if the results can be had quickly. For example, imagine a system designed to predict adverse weather events to mitigate losses to human life or damage to property. Clearly, the prediction is not useful if it comes 12 hours after the event. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Beware the pistol shrimp. It stuns small sea creatures with a gun-like claw that fires powerful clouds of bubbles at its prey. The scientific principle that gives the pistol shrimp its mini-superhero powers could also prove valuable to humans–in uses ranging from improving the designs of propellers to helping doctors destroy kidney stones and cancerous tumors. A global collaboration involving IBM scientists, researchers at two European universities and the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could help accelerate the journey of this science into the marketplace.
The multi-disciplinary team used one of the world’s fastest supercomputers to simulate the behavior of clouds of bursting bubbles–handling the highly-complex fluid dynamics problem in a way that was extremely efficient. In the process, they set a new record in supercomputing in fluid dynamics and, as a result, the team on Nov. 21 won the coveted Gordon Bell Prize from the Association for Computing Machinery.
Alessandro Curioni, head of mathematical and computational sciences at IBM Research – Zurich, described the adrenaline rush of working on the project. The team ran into one problem after another, and it required a diverse set of skills to solve them. The excitement peaked last April when the team–working around the clock for one week–demonstrated their breakthrough on Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia computer. Scattered over half the globe, they kept in touch constantly with email, telephones and Skype. “A single group could not have accomplished this. We needed a wide variety of skills. It’s a great example of open collaboration,” he says. Continue Reading »
By Brian Ng
As businesses mature and scale, cohesive digital and social integration becomes ever more critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, especially in today’s customer-centric world. Every customer and, increasingly, every interaction matters even more. The pressure is tremendous to deliver consistent, high quality customer experiences tailored to everyone, in whatever context imaginable.
Just as we build relationships with new friends or interested partners, we similarly become invested in the products or services that work well and delight us. We grow connected to the things we use and interact with on a daily basis. But unlike friendships, often one misstep with a product or service could mean the end of the relationship.
One company that prioritizes superior customer service in all of its channels is Bonobos, a leading online apparel company. They started off selling one pair of perfectly fitting khakis and have since grown their product line to include dress shirts, suits, and outerwear. The differentiator for them is the customer experience team, which it calls the Bonobos Ninjas. Continue Reading »
By Mathews Thomas
Are you facing challenges creating business process that require services from multiple cloud vendors with your enterprise? Wouldn’t it be nice to seamlessly integrate these services with large volumes of data you have to obtain key business insights?
Right now, cloud applications and services are single instances from one provider or vendor. IBM inventors have created a new technique that would make it possible to bring cloud applications and services into a single view to make it easier for business users to access these services and integrate them with in-house systems – for a single view of business operations.
IBM’s patent # 8,504,400 Dynamically Optimized Distributed Cloud Computing-based Business Process Management (BPM) System, helps combine the benefits of cloud services with in-house systems. Continue Reading »
By Michael Dixon
Cities have never been more attractive, with people all over the world migrating to them from near and far.
However, with them comes a range of significant challenges that city leaders must tackle. A new report from Frost and Sullivan looks at smart cities as a mega trend set to drive urban development for the next decade. It predicts that 26 global cities will be considered smart cities in 2025, more than 50 percent of which will be in Europe and North America.
In Barcelona last week, city leaders from around the world gathered at the Smart City Expo World Congress to discuss the best strategies for dealing with this population shift. As IBM met with mayors, CIOs and civic leaders, it was clear to all that a new level of instrumentation and interconnection within governments was needed to deal with the challenge. Continue Reading »
By Zachary Meath
Voice and data communication networks are part of the foundation of our schools, homes, businesses and daily lives. Yet, with data volumes soaring, new mobile devices proliferating, and demand for network access mounting daily, there’s still much to be solved when it comes to the world of network management.
One solution in particular that my fellow students, Marist faculty and I are collaborating with IBM on is the invention of an agile optical network that is automated and easily managed. It sounds simple enough, but in order to accomplish this feat, our team needed to create a new way to reprovision a network in a matter of minutes, not days or weeks, which is currently the norm. Continue Reading »
By Charles Weaver
The days of the cloud being used as an IT starter kit are over.
Small businesses are beginning to unlock the latent potential that lies within the cloud. They’re launching new products or expanding their offices and they’re turning to the cloud in increasing numbers to scale their computing systems to an organization can get up and running or move in new and innovative direction, in little to no time.
As small businesses embark on their cloud journey, the choices they make will have future ramifications for business and growth. One way is the limited, vendor lock-in commoditized cloud that will fulfill a one time transaction-based business with impediments in the future. Continue Reading »
By Mozhi Habibi
Cloud computing and the scalable, number-crunching power it affords, is being combined with analytics to help energy companies make sense of the mounting volumes of data coming in every day.
Consider Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of India’s largest clean energy generators producing energy from such renewable resources as solar, wind, bio-mass, and hydro. With plants in Bangalore and Delhi, BLP is tapping into cloud and analytics through IBM and IBM Softlayer to improve efficiencies and data management, both of which will ultimately help the company produce more clean energy for an increasingly power-hungry customer base. Continue Reading »