By Steve Hamm
Earlier this month, IBM opened the Nairobi IBM Innovation Center, the 41st center of its kind worldwide and the first in East Africa. This Innovation Center is a prime example of how IBM is helping to accelerate growth in Africa from the ground up with an ecosystem of highly skilled partners. IBM is working to support the growing network of entrepreneurs, academics, developers, and students by providing technology, business resources and a hub where they can come together to work with technology and business experts from around the world
But the opening of the NairobiIBMInnovationCenter is just the beginning of IBM’s work in the emerging ecosystem of tech and business in Africa.
To keep the conversation going and hear from expert voices, we will be hosting a Smarter Friday Facebook Chat this Friday, May 17th, from noon to 5 p.m. East Africa Time (4 a.m. – noon Eastern Standard Time). Continue Reading »
By Jim Zemlin
Businesses across China are adopting Linux at a brisk pace. According to the latest figures from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker (Q4 2012), Linux growth in the country outpaces the worldwide average where share has grown from 9.2 percent to 33.2 percent over the past decade.
The reason? Globally, businesses like those in China are looking more closely at Linux for new computing workloads such as Big Data, cloud and mobile. Linux is an easier and more cost effective choice than other operating systems, like Windows or iOS. Plus, it already powers most devices and key infrastructures such as smartphones, sensors, data centers, social media sites, and even automobiles.
My organization – The Linux Foundation – recently surveyed over 1,200 businesses for our 2013 Enterprise End User Report. We found that 80 percent of enterprises have long term Linux commitments, 73 percent are using Linux to run mission critical applications, and 72 percent are planning to use Linux for Big Data. Continue Reading »
By Karen Parrish
This week, professionals from around the world are attending eHealthWeek to discuss trends, innovations and solutions to address the ongoing challenges in healthcare. There certainly won’t be a lack of data and discussion about cost, wellness, aging populations and dealing with chronic conditions. While there are plenty of opinions, what’s missing from this deluge of points of view is a holistic approach to meeting needs of individuals – an approach IBM calls Smarter Care.
We’ve known for decades that health and social systems are interdependent and have a critical impact on each other. Yet the complex matrix of public and private stakeholders in the health and well-being of citizens still operate largely within silos, providing separate and disparate care. Continue Reading »
By Jeanette Horan
Most CIOs will tell you that one of their top priorities is helping functions like sales, marketing, and HR stay agile, collaborative and equipped to make data-driven business decisions.
Take IBM for example. The information that IBM’s many departments need to do their jobs resides among more than one petabyte of Big Data (that’s one million megabytes). That’s a lot of data and business opportunities to be analyzed. For the past few years, IBM has called upon the cloud for business analytics to boost resource flexibility, departmental collaboration and enable faster, more informed business decisions.
At IBM we’ve been able to save $25 million over the past five years. Here’s what we’ve learned… Continue Reading »
By Robert Fox
Cut throat competitiveness has been with the telecom industry since its inception nearly 140 years ago when Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in a race to the U.S. Patent Office to lay claim to inventing the telephone.
Fast forward to today and we see a highly complex, competitive telecom environment where voice services have taken a back seat to a growing range of data-intensive services such as streaming music, radio and video, high definition video, online gaming and social media.
Transporting all of this data through their networks is resulting in shrinking margins and network congestion for the carriers. But don’t hang up on them yet! Mindful of protecting customers’ privacy and preserving their trust, many of the carriers are annonymizing their data, or offering opt-in programs, as they start to embrace and leverage advanced analytics for competitive advantage.
A new IBM study on how telcos are using Big Data highlights this trend: 85 percent of the respondents indicate that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for them – a 124 percent increase in the last two years. Continue Reading »
By Alfred Vanderpuije
This week at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, leaders will come together to discuss Africa’s future. One of the three focus themes is the importance of ‘Strategic Infrastructure’ as a foundation for the continent’s growth. As Mayor of Accra and Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, I would say that there are few areas as crucial for infrastructure investment as cities.
Buoyed by an emerging oil and gas industry and a rapidly growing consumer class, Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Investors are flocking to the country’s capital Accra to take advantage of new business opportunities and become part of this success story. Mastercard recently identified Accra as one of Africa’s top cities in terms of economic growth potential over the next few years. Local and foreign firms are also driving a number of urban development opportunities such as Ghana Cyber City, King City and Appolonia City which aim to set up modern, high-tech hubs within and around Accra. Continue Reading »
By Takreem El-Tohamy
There’s a wonderful word in Swahili that I think expresses one of the imperatives for the future of Africa. The word is “harambee.” It means pulling together, collaborating and supporting each other. I believe that one of the key factors in the ability of African countries to create sustainable and equitable economic growth will be the emergence of innovation ecosystems. Harambee perfectly captures an essential element of such ecosystems—the ability of institutions and individuals to pull together and build a mutually supportive environment.
Innovation ecosystems are complex organisms that are difficult to create yet tremendously powerful when they work. Think Silicon Valley. They require a melding of all of the capabilities of governments, businesses, financiers, universities, and individuals. Together, these organizations and individuals provide the web of support that makes it easier for startups to launch and grow quickly, and for established companies to innovate more aggressively. With that kind of support, African entrepreneurs and businesses will find it easier to produce new products and services, or even create whole new industries. You can think of an innovation ecosystem as a collective intelligence—harnessed for the good of society. Continue Reading »
By James Kobielus
Big Data is a bit like our solar system. It’s a brilliant system of information and analysis that emerges from the inchoate gas, dust, rocks and crystals known as “data.” Cloud computing is the galaxy wherein the stars, rocks, and particles exist and interact.
To play this analogy out, data scientists would be the astronomers. They’re the ones who explore the spinning, interconnected, system, much of which consists of scattered matter that we lump together under the term “unstructured.”
But what exactly is a data scientist? Simply put, the data scientist is among the most important developer in Big Data. The discipline includes statistical analysts, data miners, predictive modelers, computational linguists, and other professionals whose job is to find deep insights in large, complex data sets. You can’t unlock the full value of Big Data in your business if you don’t bring together your best and brightest data scientists and give them the tools they need to do their job with maximum productivity. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
When Brenda Dietrich joined IBM with a newly-minted PhD in operations research 30 years ago, she ran into a buzz saw of ignorance about the role that math could play in business. She offered her expertise to an IBM manufacturing group in Poughkeepsie, New York, but was rebuffed. The only way they could use her math skills, they told her mockingly, was in helping to balance their checkbooks. “We’ve come a long way in the recognition of the value of math and analytics,” says Dietrich, CTO of IBM’s Business Analytics division.
Today, math and data analytics are seen as essential elements for businesses and other organizations when it comes to understanding how the world works, predicting the future and making better decisions. In this world of Big Data, the Internet of Things and social networks, organizations use math to help improve everything from operations and finances to their understanding of customers, employees and the interactions of physical and social systems. As data about all manner of things becomes more readily available and has computers become ever more powerful, we are at last able to deal with complexity and uncertainty, and, as IBM Watson’s victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy showed, we can create machines that think. Continue Reading »
By Ademola Adewale
The next phase of banking sector reforms and consolidations in Africa’s most populous nation will be driven, not by the industry regulator or by industry or market forces but, by technology, technology and technology.
Computing technology has become a key business driver for Keystone Bank as we embark on a comprehensive overhaul of our systems, processes and human resource assets and capabilities.
Like financial services institutions all over the world, Nigerian banks are increasingly realizing the transformative powers that technology can inject into their products/service delivery offerings and by extension, their reputations and expanding balance sheets. Continue Reading »