IOD '09: Todd and Scott show from IOD 2009, Day 1

Tired from a rousing first day at the IOD 2009 Global Conference, Scott Laningham and Todd "Turbo" Watson sit for a moment and talk about the truly interesting things that they witnessed on Day One — including RFID'd cows, real live customers, belief in billions of transistors per person, getting smarter usage from your data, and really, really shiny shoes.


Scott Laningham (, developerWorks Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

26 October 2009

Todd "Turbo": Three, two, one, we're rolling. Hey, Scott, welcome to Las Vegas.

Scott: Thanks, man, how are things going?

Todd "Turbo": They're going well. It's been busy.

Scott: What was the morning like for you? What are you getting out of it so far?

Scott and Todd talk about tagging cows with RFID


Todd "Turbo": Well, I went to the keynote session and before that I had breakfast and I talked to a nice lady who works on FileNet stuff out in the State of Montana which was fascinating. So I got to talk to a real customer.

And then in the kickoff session, there was some really ... actually, it was after the kickoff session, there was a press conference. That was the big deal for me this morning. And there were some interesting things that Steve Mills and Frank Kern and others shared, and there was this background that they handed out.

And I thought it would be a good way to kind of set this whole thing up. So they told us that by 2010, a billion transistors per person were going to be out there.

Scott: Per person.

Todd "Turbo": A trillion networked things — cars, roads, pipelines, appliances, the balloon boy, cows.

Scott: Cows?

Todd "Turbo": Cows. So, now wait a minute.

Scott: That gives a new meaning to herding cattle.

Todd "Turbo": Yes. RFID tags on cows. So I can just see it now, John Wayne in the remake of The Cowboys out there trying to herd a bunch of cows with a barcode reader. Not going to happen.

Scott: That one kid would have survived if they had had that.

Todd "Turbo": Oh, I cried about that.

Scott: Me, too.

Todd "Turbo": Anyway. I also heard something really scary: That one in three business leaders frequently make critical business decisions with no information at all. So, can somebody explain to me exactly how that process works? Is that kind of like a football game where they flip the coin and see who goes first? "Heads, we invest $500 billion in the new pipeline; tails, we end up in a cell with Bernie Madoff and Jeff Skillings."

You know, it's a good thing we're making business decisions like this while we're out in Las Vegas because remember, what happens in Vegas can put you out of business.

Scott: Goes on your blog...

Todd "Turbo": Exactly.

Scott: you said.

Todd "Turbo": And that, too.

So obviously, the priority in our recent global CIO Study is that 83 percent of respondents identified business intelligence and analytics as a top priority. Well, yeah ... if one in three are making decisions by flipping a coin it seems to me that spending anything on business analytics would be a good investment.

So that leads to the notion of this idea of an information-led transformation. And today, IBM made several announcements in support of this including IBM's Vice President of General Business Services, Frank Kern, who preannounced two new centers of business analytics.

You know, we've announced a series of those in Beijing and Tokyo and New York. Well, there's going to be one in D.C. that's focused on all things cyber and another in London, focused on the financial sector.

We also made several key software announcements including a range of new smart archiving products and some new Cognos tools that help provide sales and business managers with faster insight on sales performance and also for human resources groups for fully assessing recruitment and learning performance. So, a lot of key announcements.

Only the first day ... what did you learn?

Scott: Well, I spent a lot, I missed most of the sessions, I spent a lot of time working on podcasts, you know, we've done a lot of great interviews and you're going to be in on some of those.

You mentioned the Business Optimization Analytics Centers. Bill Pulleyblank, who is Vice President in Business Analytics and Optimization, he was one of the interviews that I did this morning. He was great.

I did a couple of others. Mark Register, who is also Vice President, Information On Demand, and Nancy Pearson who has a very long title ... Vice President BPM SOA WebSphere and Industry Marketing. So those'll be up later today along with some others.

But Bill, he was great. He talked about the smart use of this enormous data that businesses are collecting. And for example, healthcare. I mean, he talked about imagine being able to tap into 100 years' worth of records instantly in the diagnosis and treatment stage and being able to look at those patterns and minimize mistakes, become much more...

Todd "Turbo": Evidence-based medicine, yes.

Scott: Absolutely.

And of course, infinite opportunities like that, because there's data collected for everything obviously now. And with those RFID tags it's going to be even more. And you know, coincidently, Bill, I didn't realize until I talked to him but that he led the BlueGene project.

Todd "Turbo": Really?

Scott: Supercomputing project and dealing with the complexities of biology, obviously. He talked about how that the underpinnings of what they've learned there is providing so much support for what they're getting into now with analytics and optimization.

Todd "Turbo": Awesome. Nice shoes by the way.

Scott: Yes, well, I was going to show those later. I'm showing those at the end, when we give our highlights of the day.

Todd "Turbo": Okay, well, that's all I got for now. I got to go back to some more sessions, so....

Scott: Okay, I'll show them then. No, that's not as good. This one, they do the best shoe shining here in Vegas. They don't do much for foot odor, but they do beautiful shoe shining.

Todd "Turbo": Yes, you might want to hold that a little further away. Okay.

LANINGHAM So, you're off and we'll do another one of these tomorrow and find out what else has been happening here.

Todd "Turbo": All right, bye, everybody. See you later.

Scott: See you.



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