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Early answering machine. (Photo: Recording-History.org)

Early answering machine. (Photo: Recording-History.org)

By Rob van den Dam

For years, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) dictated the products and services consumers would pay for and adopt. The problem is, they weren’t always the most creative or innovative. In more recent times, the more interesting services such as free video, television and messaging served over traditional networks, have come from so-called, over-the-top (OTT) providers like Skype or What’s App.

In the process, the CSP has largely been relegated to middleman status. But that’s about to change. Continue Reading »

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Paul Rand at Yale University, where he taught.

Paul Rand at Yale University, where he taught.

By Randy Golden

When I joined IBM’s corporate design department in 1992, I drew a dream assignment: to be the liaison with Paul Rand, the renowned graphic designer and IBM consultant. But before I started with him, I faced a high hurdle: he had to sign off on me getting the job.

So I was understandably nervous when I showed up at his home studio for our initial meeting–partly because he had asked to review my own design portfolio. Fortunately, he liked what I showed him. He even gave me a couple of pointers. Then he said: “Let’s go to lunch.” Continue Reading »

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Rob van den Dam, Global Telecommunications Industry Leader, IBM

Rob van den Dam, Global Telecommunications Industry Leader, IBM

By Rob van den Dam

The way we communicate has changed dramatically. Traditional telco providers are increasingly challenged by open Internet platforms that meet diverse, rapidly changing user wants and needs. Specialized communications apps like Skype are increasingly siphoning conventional messaging and voice calls away from telcos.

A new IBM study of 22,000 consumers in 35 countries out today shows just how disruptive these new kids on the block are to telcos. Fifty three percent of respondents use specific apps like WhatsApp daily to communicate with others. At the same time, almost a third have or will cut traditional voice calling. Nearly the same number have or will reduce their usage of direct SMS text messaging. Continue Reading »

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Judith E. Glaser, CEO, Benchmark Communications Inc.; Chairman, Creating WE Institute

Judith E. Glaser, CEO, Benchmark Communications Inc.; Chairman, Creating WE Institute

By Judith E. Glaser

About 30 years ago I wrote an article for IBM managers that talked about “navigational communications.” It was my first major piece that captured my current thinking about the power of listening to influence success in business. It said,  

 “For a leader, listening is perhaps the most important skill. As a leader, we must learn to listen while navigating along with the speaker toward a common destination – mutual understanding. Whether your talents are in sales, systems engineering, administration, technical support, or leadership, listening to connect with others – requires a new and powerful form of deep, non-judgmental listening.”

Fast forward to 2013, and the world has transformed. While technology and globalization have reshaped much of business, it’s surprising how little the basics of communication have actually changed, and how much listening is still the cornerstone to navigating successfully with others. Continue Reading »

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Teddy Goff

Teddy Goff

 Teddy Goff led a team of more than 200 people focused on digital media for President Obama’s re-election campaign. They generated more than 133 million video views, developed innovative tools to build grassroots communities, and raised more than $690 million. Recently, he and two colleagues formed a strategic marketing consultancy, Precision Strategies. Here, Goff talks about the importance of cultivating relationships and how President Obama’s re-election campaign ultimately relied on the effective use of predictive analytics.

What was the digital campaign’s key contribution  to President Obama’s re-election?

 It put supporters back into a primary role. We realized the most important thing we could do on the digital side was to cultivate relationships with the supporters on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter. We wanted to keep them inspired, engaged and informed. If we gave those people a reason to hit the retweet button every now and again, hit the share button, they could reach almost everyone in the United States more powerfully than we as a campaign operation ever could. President Obama on election day had about 34 million Facebook fans. Those people were friends with 98 percent of the U.S.-based Facebook population, which is more than the number of people who vote. Continue Reading »

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Alfred Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra, Ghana

Alfred Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra, Ghana

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 »

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Like other media companies around the world, Australia’s Fairfax Media Limited is under pressure due to the fast-changing dynamics in publishing. But Fairfax isn’t taking those challenges lying down. The company, which is a leading media outfit in Australia and New Zealand, owns two of the most popular news Web sites in Australia. “We now have a business based around journalism that creates a large audience, and we hit that audience in print, online, tablet, smartphone and smart TV,” says Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Fairfax is a prime example of a company that has aggressively adopted technology to transform the way it does business and interacts with customers. Hywood was a featured speaker today at IBM’s CMO+CIO Leadership Symposium in Sydney, where IBM executives and clients interacted with nearly 100 chief marketing and chief information officers from Australia’s leading companies.

In a keynote address, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty told the audience that the explosion of data makes it possible for companies to address customers as individuals. “I think this will change the relationship you have with your customers fundamentally, no matter what industry,” she said. “And it will change the relationship between the CMO and CIO.”

Continue Reading »

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By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

During the past year, we’ve profiled nine exceptional “People for a Smarter Planet” who exemplify the spirit of change, innovation, creativity and curiosity that lie at the core of building a smarter planet. They are inventors and researchers, academics and executives, thought leaders, dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers.

These individuals come from a wide range of fields and possess an array of interests and expertise. What they all have in common is a passion for their work and a commitment to make the world a better place.

They include Ruhong Zhou, whose avian flu research may help prevent a global pandemic; Dave Bartlett, IBM’s smarter buildings guru; Bill Reichert, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with novel advice for entrepreneurs; and sustainability expert Sarah Slaughter.

If you haven’t met them yet, here are nine People for a Smarter Planet you should know.

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December 30th, 2012
21:00
 

Paul Brody, Global Industry Leader, Electronics, IBM

By Paul Brody

People have been talking and writing about the “Internet of Things” for more than a decade. It’s the idea that at some point billions of electronic devices and sensors will be connected to the Internet in parallel to the hundreds of millions of people who have access to the Net. But, unlike so many of the whiz-bang technologies that are forever predicted but never arrive, such as flying cars and time machines, the Internet of Things is on the verge of becoming a reality.

So, what exactly is bringing the Internet of Things to fruition? A big factor is the plunging cost of connectivity, which is being driven by the emergence of Heterogeneous Networks (often referred to as “HetNets”). HetNets offer a way to increase the density and bandwidth available to mobile devices.  Continue Reading »

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Ling Shao, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect for Internet-of-Things and Wireless, IBM Research, China

By Cindy Geng, Market Development & Insights, IBM Research, China

Telecom operators in China have their hands full.

The rapid rise of data being generated from smart phones throughout the country is creating profound challenges, from unbalanced network loads and low frequency spectrum utilization, to increasing network construction, maintenance and upgrade costs. What the industry needs is a  more flexible, smart network architecture.

According to market researcher, IDC’s 2012 Top 10 Predictions report, “big data will join mobile and cloud as the next ‘must have’ competency as digital content grows to 2.7 zettabytes this year (48 percent over 2011), and will reach 8 zettabytes by 2015.”

Continue Reading »

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