By Bob Sutor
Millions of people took to the roads and skies to visit friends and families for the holidays in 2012. In fact, according to AAA, this was the busiest holiday travel year since 2006, with 93.3 million Americans traveling.
The news is encouraging to leaders across the travel industry, many of whom are looking for innovative ways to improve and enhance the customer experience. One area getting particular attention is mobile computing. Advances in technologies and services should take more guesswork out of travel and pave the way for increased, more stress-free and smarter travel.
Mobility is transforming the way we live and work, and how we engage with our community. And its effect on the travel industry is no different. In an industry that can instantaneously be impacted by the economy, weather, and world events, mobility creates immense opportunities to address these issues and put important information at travelers’ fingertips when they need it most. Continue Reading »
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.
By Fabienne Guildhary, IBM Communications, Energy & Utilities/Media & Entertainment
Often, history serves as a tool to teach us valuable lessons and help us avoid repeating the same mistakes. As Chief Architect of the IBM Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities, Charles Vincent is leveraging his considerable knowledge of Electric Vehicles (EVs) to better shape the future of transportation.
Charles’ passion for EVs was sparked long before his career in electronic transportation took off. Fascinated by the technology at an early age, Charles devoted a lot of time poring over vintage publications on the subject, such as American Electric Vehicle Association newsletters from the early 1900’s. Then in the 1980’s, Charles got the opportunity to put his knowledge and passion to work.
By David Lee
Internal combustion engines fueled by petroleum continue to power the vast majority of vehicles around the world and continue to produce the largest percentage of CO2 from the transportation sector.
Since transportation is one of the largest sectors in Europe, it’s no wonder the mission of the European Green Cars Initiative is to support research and development on technologies that help advance such things as renewable, non-polluting energy, transportation safety, and traffic flow. In other words, the group’s objective is to help create a smarter, greener, integrated transport system.
As part of this effort is a campaign to increase the number of electric cars on our roads.
When it comes to planning a vacation there are a number of choices that must be weighed. Where do you want to go? How much do you want to spend? Where can you find the best deal? Is everyone in the family going to enjoy the planned activities? There are a lot of decisions to weigh and data to be processed in order to plan a great getaway.
Today’s empowered consumers turn to the Internet to plan a vacation whether it’s a weekend getaway or extended adventure with multiple stops. Yet with endless options from online travel agencies, members-only communities, and sites offering trusted advice from travelers, the decision making process can turn you off and pull the breaks on planning.
At Apple Vacations, we have specialized in vacations to exotic destinations since 1969. Keeping a pulse on the travel industry and consumer behaviors, we found that consumer online purchases were not growing past a certain threshold. PhoCusWright Research has estimated that online purchases were projected to comprise only 5 – 10 percent of traditional vacation packages.
This week IBM will receive the World Environment Center’s Gold Medal Award, so we asked students at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise to share their views on sustainability (we’ve included a video to show what IBM is doing to make the world smarter). From John Seaver:
A recent report by the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institute, called Transit Access and Zero Vehicle Households, revealed several striking statistics about Detroit transit. Of the 136,000 households without cars in the Detroit metro area, 85% have access to transit, but only 26% of jobs are accessible to these households within 90 minutes via that same transit.
It seems impossible to think that there is no connection between the challenges the city faces and the poor mobility of its population. This personally interests me because I am attending graduate school in Southeast Michigan. It is also important to me because I care about creating a sustainable future. And sustainability means more than protecting the environment; it also means protecting and enhancing people’s lives. Imagine the potential to create economic value by simply connecting labor with jobs through smarter public transportation.
Major research initiatives sometimes begin with a startling revelation. So it was with IBM’s Battery 500 project.
Winfried Wilcke, the program leader, attended an energy workshop at Stanford University in August of 2008. During a break, Nobel Physics Laureate Burton Richter told him that the US electrical grid had the capacity to charge all of the cars in the country at night if they were electric. “I said to myself, ‘He must be kidding.’ But I did the calculations, and he was basically right,” says Wilcke. That launched Wilcke on a quest to develop a new battery technology that would make it possible for a family sedan to travel 500 miles on a single overnight charge–making it a practical all-purpose vehicle.
Wilcke’s quest reached a milestone today with the announcement that two industry leaders, Asahi Kasei and Central Glass–have partnered with IBM in a research collaboration aimed at fulfilling the 500-mile dream via new lithium-air battery technology. Asahi Kasei is one of Japan’s leading chemical manufacturers. Central Glass is a top electrolyte manufacturer for lithium-ion batteries. They will work with an extended Battery 500 research team that includes scientists at IBM’s labs in San Jose, Calif., and Zurich, Switzerland, and at several U.S. national labs, including Argonne and Stanford-SLAC.