By Steve Hamm
Chief Storyteller, IBM
During the TV broadcast for the 1977 World Series, color commentator Howard Cosell left a seemingly indelible mark on New York City’s Bronx Borough when the camera panned above Yankee Stadium and captured a building involved in flames. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning,” he said. It was a time when people were giving up not just on the Bronx but on the American city as an institution.
Many cities have staged amazing turnarounds in recent years. But can the Bronx? Continue Reading »
By Solomon Assefa
When I first visited South Africa more than a year ago from IBM’s research center in New York, I was impressed with the advanced level of science and technology in the country. The country boasts four Nobel laureates in science and medicine and some of the world’s best research organizations.
Among them is the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH). IBM Research is working with them to address one of Africa’s most pressing problems: Tuberculosis. TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa. Roughly half a million people contract the disease each year, and, according to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the country’s young adults are infected, which exacerbates the spread of HIV. Continue Reading »
By Osamuyimen T. Stewart, Ph.D.
The World Health Organization estimates that almost 10,000 cases of the Ebola virus disease have been reported since the latest outbreak was first reported in March 2014, resulting in more than 4,800 deaths. According to the WHO, widespread and intense transmission is occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while localized transmissions have occurred in other countries, such as the U.S.
Of the many daunting challenges facing local governments and aid organizations as they try to contain and manage the virus is the collection and analysis of information — current and insightful data about the situation on the ground, such as the needs of affected people, the supplies and services they require and the need for education to address socio-cultural obstacles.
If we can map all the data, we can figure out what needs to be done and who we need to partner with to get it done. Continue Reading »
One year ago, IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Fund for Lake George announced the Jefferson Project, an ambitious effort to model the entire lake – its depths and shoreline – to get a holistic and accurate view of everything happening in and around one of the United State’s pristine lakes.
The goals of the project are multifold and include understanding and managing the complex factors impacting the lake, from invasive species, pollution, and other factors, to developing a template to use in other fresh water bodies around the globe. Continue Reading »
By Harry van Dorenmalen
Societies across the world are reaping huge benefits from the new natural resource that is data. But at the same time that people are experiencing improvements in public safety, health care, flood protection, weather prediction, transport planning or water resource management, politicians around the globe are grappling with how to legislate data.
Here in Europe, the European Commission’s DG Connect has been instrumental in promoting an innovative Digital Economy. However, rhetoric that is currently emanating from parts of Europe reminds me of this: that in mid-19th century Britain, laws forbade the use of self-propelled vehicles without a person walking in front, waving a red flag to warn pedestrians of a vehicle’s approach and to slow its speed. This dramatic measure hindered early automotive adoption. Continue Reading »
By Andrew Maner
As IBM’s Center for the Business of Government recently discovered, government CIOs don’t want sole ownership of Big Data. The irony isn’t lost on me since CIO does stand for Chief Information Officer. But when you peel back the onion a bit, their position starts to make sense.
Big Data is a new frontier for the public sector and it’s being generated by everything around us – all the time. It’s arriving from multiple sources at high velocity, volume, and variety. As it grows, CIOs and government leaders are trying to understand how to extract value that improves the functions of government while simultaneously addressing privacy and security issues.
So why don’t more government CIO’s see the importance of having IT units own the Big Data projects? Big Data is proving to be a useful resource beyond the back office. Many front office roles are starting to get more hands-on in their use of data and, frankly, they have a better understanding of their own needs and opportunities for innovation. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
IBM researcher Solomon Assefa likes to operate at the intersections of scientific domains and social institutions. It allows him to envision ways of using cutting-edge technologies to tackle new challenges. In a recent example of how his approach can pay off, he made the connections that resulted in a small team of IBM scientists helping boost a United Nations Children’s Fund social networking project that could improve the lives of millions throughout the continent of Africa. Continue Reading »
By Erich Clementi
The U.S. Department of Interior is embarking on a multi-year process of shifting its traditional information technology systems to a cloud computing-based delivery model. The agency’s 16 bureaus and offices, which manage assets ranging from national parks and monuments to wildlife refuges, dams and reservoirs, spend in excess of $1 billion a year on IT—but have promised to save $100 million per year from 2016 to 2021 via the shift to the cloud.
The financial impact of the move will be substantial, but, in addition, the Interior department is putting in place a long-term strategy aimed at using the cloud to help transform the way it operates—making it more nimble, innovative and responsive to the needs of its constituents. It plans on using the savings it reaps from the shift to fund investments in new capabilities. Continue Reading »
By Amitabh Kant
By John Tolva
When I left IBM just over two years ago to become the first Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave me clear marching orders. I was to take the lead in setting high standards for open, participatory government to involve all Chicagoans. At the time, Chicago lagged behind other American cities in open data access and other digital city initiatives.Thanks to a lot of work and creativity by Chicagoans in government, non-profits, businesses and community groups—not to mention individuals–we have more than caught up. We achieved great progress in making city data available to all, in catalyzing an app economy and in improving digital literacy. Yet I feel that we have just scratched the surface of what’s possible when it comes to fostering participatory democracy. Continue Reading »