In January, 2010, IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano addressed Chatham House in London, where he described how forward-thinking leaders in business, government and civil society around the world are capturing the potential of smarter systems to achieve economic growth, near-term efficiency, sustainable development and societal progress. Watch the video.
What does it mean to be smarter?
At IBM, we mean that intelligence is being infused into the systems and processes that make the world work—into things no one would recognize as computers: cars, appliances, roadways, power grids, clothes, even natural systems such as agriculture and waterways.
Today, it's not a question as to whether the technology to build a smarter planet is real. Now, we need to know what to do next. How do you infuse intelligence into a system for which no one enterprise or agency is responsible? How do you bring all the necessary constituents together? How do you make the case for budget? Where should you start?
We've learned a lot over the past year about what it takes to build a smarter planet. Importantly, we’ve learned that our companies, our cities and our world are complex systems—indeed, systems of systems—that require new things of us as leaders, as workers and as citizens. A smarter planet will require a profound shift in management and governance toward far more collaborative approaches.
A series of conversations for a smarter planet
Intelligence—not intuition—drives innovation
Data is being captured today as never before. It reveals everything from large and systemic patterns—of global markets, workflows, national infrastructures and natural systems—to the location, temperature, security and condition of every item in a global supply chain. And then there's the growing torrent of information from billions of individuals using social media. They are customers, citizens, students and patients. They are telling us what they think, what they like and want, and what they're witnessing. As important, all this data is far more real-time than ever before.
And here's the key point: data by itself isn't useful. Over the past year we have validated what we believed would be true—and that is, the most important aspect of smarter systems is data—and, more specifically, the actionable insights that the data can reveal.
We have seen the emergence of a kind of global data field. The planet itself has always generated an enormous amount of data, but we didn’t used to be able to hear it, to see it, to capture it. Now we can because all of this stuff is now instrumented. And it’s all interconnected, so now we can actually have access to it. So, in effect, the planet has grown a central nervous system. Watch the video.
Smart grids use sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across operations—from power plant to plug.
By applying unprecedented computing power to perform advanced analytics using technology such as stream computing and deep computing visualization, we can turn a numerical ocean of credit and risk into actionable insight and intelligence.
The smarter approach to healthcare is one that uses information to create real insight into patient care and organizational performance. Healthcare providers, researchers and directors can work smarter by creating comprehensive, holistic views of patient data.
Cities symbolize and centralize so many aspects of what will make for a smarter planet: smarter education, smarter healthcare, smarter water and energy use, smarter public safety, smarter transportation, and smarter government... to name but a few.