By Michael Rhodin
It’s hard to believe it’s only been 10 short months since the IBM Watson Group was announced. We talked of bringing together a unique group of people – incredibly talented professionals from across IBM – into a new unit.
This included the single largest movement of IBM Research personnel in our history, along with 10 – 12 startups worth of new cognitive technologies that would help define the Watson team. Individuals and core capabilities from our software business would join into the fray.
A new approach to engaging the market would be created from talent across IBM’s sales, marketing, services and consulting organizations. A new cloud delivery organization would be formed out of our services teams to serve this market – all brought together with a single purpose: to usher in a new era of computing. 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 Michael Karasick
When Thomas J. Watson Sr. joined IBM in 1914 as its president, the firm didn’t have a single engineer on its payroll, so he quickly hired engineers and set up a product development group in a brownstone near New York’s Penn Station. He created a patent development department in 1932 and, in 1945, he established the first corporate scientific research laboratory. Today, IBM Research has grown to become the largest corporate research organization in the world, with 3000 professionals at 12 labs in 10 countries.
The point is that the nature of innovation keeps evolving and organizations have to change with it.
That’s why IBM is adopting a new approach to innovation for our newly formed IBM Watson Group, which will be headquartered in New York’s Silicon Alley. In the group, we are melding research, product development, experience design and collaboration with business partners and clients—all with the goal of accelerating the development of cognitive computing solutions for many of the world’s most vexing problems. This new era of computing requires a new approach to innovation.
Our Watson initiative builds on top of IBM’s long tradition of innovation, which placed IBM as the No. 1 recipient of US patents in 2013 for the 21st year in a row. We received 6,809 patents, easily outdistancing Samsung, the No. 2 finisher, with 4,676. The next US company on the top 10 list, Microsoft, ranked No. 5.
By Marc Dietz
Traditionally relegated to back office IT managers reporting to the CIO, enterprise technology decisions are often made by a small subset of employees – generally not by executives closest to the business.
But cloud computing is changing all that.
Executives across the C-Suite are recognizing that they must reorient their businesses to become more competitive in a digital economy. This comes with a deeper understanding of how mobile and social technologies are reshaping the way people consume, disseminate and share information, and how the data generated from these applications is helping businesses transform their organizations and personalize their interactions with customers. New technologies – such as cloud computing – hold a new promise to open up powerful new lines of engagement.
But what truly excites these executives about cloud? Continue Reading »
By Mike Ray
It started 40 years ago, before it was trendy or being taught in business school.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM Chairman at the time, said: “We accept our responsibilities as a corporate citizen in community, national and world affairs; we serve our interests best when we serve the public interest…We want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make our world a better place.” That was 1969.
IBM’s values shape and define our company and permeate all of our relationships; between our employees and our shareholders, our clients, the communities where our employees live and work, and among our network of suppliers. 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 Rick Padinha
Over the past several years, Big Data, analytics, cloud, mobile and social technologies have infused our world. These technologies provide the instrumentation, interconnection and intelligence that make it possible to build a smarter planet. But, in order to do so, countries, cities, corporations and individuals need to rethink how they go about achieving their goals. Tune in here at the A Smarter Planet blog at 6 p.m. United States E.T. on March 7 to watch a live video of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty laying out her vision of the path forward at the Council on Foreign Relations. Join the conversation here and on Twitter at #IBM and #CFRlive.
By Robert LeBlanc
The era of the mobile enterprise has officially arrived. Half of American workers are now using smart devices for work as well as personal usage. The use of those devices is now at a critical mass and its just the beginning.
Yet Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, says few organizations plan and manage mobility with a truly strategic or proactive approach. They’re mostly reactive and tactical.
For enterprises, mobility shouldn’t be about the device. Instead, it needs to be about figuring out what an organization can do differently and better now that its employees and customers use mobile technologies so frequently at work and in their private lives, and access processes and data anywhere and anytime. (IBM today announced a new generation of mobile enterprise technologies that are based on this point of view.) Continue Reading »
By now, most globally-aware people are familiar with Africa’s mobile money story. M-PESA, launched first in Kenya, leapfrogged the developed economies in bringing mobile money transfers to the masses. But M-PESA is old news. The new news is that entrepreneurs are building a second wave of mobile apps that provide essential services for millions of Africans. One of those startups, MoDe, made a splash in New York City last week when it won IBM’s SmartCamp contest and was named IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
MoDe, short for Mobile Decisioning Africa Ltd., is a mobile micro-finance company based in Nairobi, Kenya, that provides mobile carriers with an online system for topping off their customers’ pre-paid subscriber accounts based not on cash payments but on credit. In emerging markets, the majority of mobile phone owners pay as they go, replenishing their accounts when need be at retail kiosks. But what happens when customers run out of time in the middle of a conversation, or when no kiosk is nearby? MoDe keeps them going.
MoDe is a prime example of the kind of innovation that is sweeping Africa these days. Most Africans don’t have PCs and Internet connections, so the mobile phone has become the go-to platform for communications and online services. Dozens of African companies have sprung up to create mobile applications that address the fundamental needs of Africans.