More than technology: building a better tomorrow

Since the discovery of fire and the creation of the wheel, technology has existed to make life better. To make it easier. To make it safer.

From our founding over 100 years ago, we here at IBM have worked to improve businesses, developing innovative technology, services and solutions that help work get done efficiently and effectively. But alongside those efforts, we’ve also added to our focus a commitment to help make the world a better place. After all, it’s where we all live.

 

Go green or go home

It’s widely accepted that climate change has the largest negative impact on the poor and indigent, placing a moral and ethical burden on all of us to minimize the damage we might cause to the environment. And we take this responsibility seriously. That’s why since the 1970s, IBM has enacted “green” technologies and policies that are aimed at reducing waste, energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.

In fact, over the course of 2017 IBM engaged in over 2,000 energy conservation projects implemented at more than 500 global locations. And thanks to the hard work of these sites, we cut our energy use by 4.2 percent, avoiding the consumption of 173,000 MWh of energy and the creation of roughly 64,000 metric tons of CO2. Similarly, we reduced water consumption at our 45 data centers by 2.9 percent, and we recycled 87.8 percent of our nonhazardous waste.

 

Change a life, change the world

Beyond the environment, IBMers across the globe are working tirelessly to improve the lives of individuals, and we look for every opportunity we can find.

Consider our IBM Corporate Service Corps initiative, which serves as a leadership development program for key IBM staff. We let these employees hone their problem-solving skills by throwing them at critical education, health and economic development challenges in emerging markets across the globe. Whether it’s improving the efficiency of flood relief efforts in South America or promoting treatment for Alzheimer’s patients in Eastern Europe, these teams are focusing their talent, experience and creativity to have a lasting impact in communities that are far too frequently overlooked.

Similarly, the IBM Volunteers initiative is a long-standing program designed to help IBMers develop and execute their own volunteer-driven projects focused on making the Earth a better place to live. Since its inception, active IBM employees, retirees and partners have dedicated over 20 million hours to service projects spread across 80 countries. If you have the time, consider joining us.

We also offer IBM Impact Grants that fund cloud, analytics and cognitive solutions for non-profit organizations and schools across the globe. Altogether, we’ve delivered more than 2,600 grants worth over USD 53 million.

 

It takes a village

Luckily, we’re not acting alone. Our Business Partners are just as invested in making this planet better – they live here too.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that several of this past year’s finalists in the Watson Build challenge – a competition we hold for our IBM Business Partners to discover innovative uses for the IBM Watson platform – developed solutions targeted at making the world a safer place for everyone.

When Vascon Solutions learned that Nigeria lacked a national emergency service reporting system – such as 911 in the US or 999 in the UK – it took matters into its own hands. The business developed its Mel app to give everyone a common means to get help during an emergency, no matter where they were in the country. Now users can easily connect directly with emergency dispatchers and can even share location data and images of the event, making it easier to coordinate responses.

Aware of the health risks within textile factories and other manufacturing sites, ThinkLABs developed its innovative tMonitor system to actively track 13 different air quality indexes. And if the environment becomes dangerous or toxic, the system automatically warns workers to take protective action.

And the winner, Compta Emerging Business, developed its new Bee2FireDetection in direct response to the disastrous wildfires that far too frequently strike its home country of Portugal. In the wake of a series of forest fires a few years ago that cost dozens of lives and caused hundreds of casualties, Compta actively pursued an AI platform that could take its fire detection offerings to the next level. The result was an intelligent fire detection system that can identify potential wildfires in a handful of minutes, allowing firefighters to respond to these threats before they become unmanageable.

But don’t take our word for it. Let our partners tell you why they feel these solutions were so important to create in their own words.

And if you’d like to further explore some of the recent ways that IBM is working to build a better tomorrow, check out our #GoodTechIBM blog.

 

 

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