Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
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Business Decision Optimization.  Evidence-Based Management. The Realtime, Predictive Enterprise.

On April 14, IBM launched Business Analytics & Optimization Services, a major expansion of its consulting organization that embraces all of these fronts. The move not only signals how the smarter planet vision is transforming into new value for IBM clients, but how that worldview will help individual organizations actually become more intelligent.

Business analytics may sound like an abstraction – (analytics simply means the science of analysis) –  but it reflects a very tangible reality at the heart of Smarter Planet: because we can increasingly sense and gather information with unprecedented scale and precision, entire new spheres of knowledge and insight are within reach. We can measure and monitor just about anything, from the complex interactions in natural systems like Galway Bay to the ebb and flow of power over an intelligent electric grid.

As the new paper from IBM’s Institute of Business Value, Business Analytics & Optimization for the Intelligent Enterprise, notes:

The information explosion has permanently changed the way we experience the world: everything – and everyone – is leaving digital tracks. Intelligence is increasingly embedded in objects.

What company wouldn’t want to operate with the kind of highly instrumented, interconnected and realtime intelligence that business analytics promises? While that may seem like a rhetorical question, the study IBM conducted as part of the launch of the new analytics service found that nearly eight in ten business leaders were making decisions based on gut and instinct.  Business analytics is meant to change that.

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The Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Study kicked off in early March with a summit event in San Francisco.
This video features Sanjeev Nagrath, who leads the global supply chain management practice in IBM’s consulting unit, Global Business Services, and Karen Butner,with IBM’s Institute of Business Value.

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My colleague Adam Christensen wants to make Smarter Planet something that matters to each of us: something that more people can understand, appreciate and maybe even feel some degree of personal, emotional connection to.

I couldn’t agree more. First, because the changes envisioned through Smarter Planet, and the challenges to making them happen, are big. Huge even. Building the new infrastucture the world needs to solve our energy, healthcare and environmental dilemmas isn’t really an abstraction. In fact it is possibly the largest and most daunting task in human history. But the scale of that ambition is also what makes this frontier so meaningful and interesting: the mother of all Manhattan projects.
Of course, turning global “complex systems” — like the network that makes up how food is grown, distributed and consumed — into something safer, smarter and more sustainable sounds nice. It’s just may not be something that individuals feel like they can touch or effect, no matter how desirable the goal may seem.ill
The same thing goes for the idea that the Web we know today may be on the verge of becoming something deeply different: an Internet of trillions of things, with practically every imaginable object connected to it, flowing into it. That may sound cool or interesting to some, but for many, the real reaction to the idea of “ubiquitous computing” may be “so what?” or “why should I care?”
The short answer, I think, is that this new world won’t just be the Internet, only more. It’s real promise is to give us better ability to innovate our way out of the real looming threats ahead. By the middle of this century, now just four decades away, human population will almost certainly jump from six billion people to nine billion, possibly twelve. And many of those new billions will be following the lifestyles of the developed world.  As one obsever in India recently noted, it would take three Earths to support that many people using the same amount of energy and resources that Americans alone consume today.
So to help people understand, and I hope, care more about some of these tectonic technology changes afoot, I’ve found video clips to make two of these key ideas a little easier to grasp.
First, to make the Internet-of-Things concept a bit more accessible, I stumbled on this clip about a new device, called Mir:ror, from an unusual company called Violet. It shows how smart “tags” or radio frequency identity (RFID) chips could change the way everyday physical objects may become intergrated into our digital lives. (Such “smart tags” are already revolutionizing industrial product managment in areas such as shipping, logistics and inventory control.)


For more on the Internet of Things, see this set of posts tagged “internet-of-things” on the Smarter Planet site on Tumblr.
In addition to the Web becoming more instrumented and interconnected, with more kinds of devices, objects and sensors feeding into it, another big component of the “new intelligence” is what some called Web 3.0, or the Semantic Web.
This emerging front is about the ability for pieces of data, applications and all kinds of content to “talk” or interact with other informational objects. A picture or video could describe not just when and where it was taken, but what it depicts.  A small software program could receive or give instructions on how it might interoperate with another application.
If Web 2.0 — today’s world of social networks and a renaissance in interpersonal communications and user-generated content– is defined by people being better able to share and collaborate, this next phase will enable data and programs to similarly intermingle and generate new innovations.
The Semantic Web is still very much a work in progress, and not the easiest idea to wrap one’s head around, but this clip — Intro to The Semantic Web – offers a brief and accessible overview of some of the main principles.
In a very rough sense,  these two ideas together form the foundation of what we’re calling the New Intelligence — an Internet that is wired up to the physical world via many new kinds of sensors, smart tags, and devices, and a new architecture that enables data to start behaving in rich new ways.
In practical terms, this new field of knowledge should help businesses make better predictions and more judicious decisions, and via such an improved management model, reduce risk and facilitate growth. But such an expansion of the intellectual and informational toolbox at our disposal should also pave the way for new areas of scientific research and exploration.
To get a broader view of this new intelligence horizon, take a look at the channel of related posts on the Tumblr site, and this section of www.ibm.com/think.
Jack Mason
IBM Global Business Services, Strategic Programs

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December 2nd, 2008
9:56
 

As we expand our social media outreach for Smarter Planet, we will begin to feature and point to other bloggers who are thinking and investigating issues related to intelligent infrastructure. (Please feel free to recommend, via comments here, blogs and sites that we should connect with.)
Here’s one example from the Healthnex blog, on wearable healthcare devices and a home monitering system developed by Intel.

You can also sift through several years of Healthnex posts on topics related to smarter planet such as "e-health trends," healthcare IT innovations, clinical decision support systems and genomics.

JackbhiheadJack Mason
IBM Global Business Services
jkmason@us.ibm.com
http://smarterplanet.tumblr.com

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