Emerging Technology Centre Innovation Day

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The Emerging Technology Centre (ETC) was a hive of activity earlier this month, playing host to back-to-back events in support of the UK company’s strategic initiatives – Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social & Security (CAMSS), and more.

At the first event, colleagues from across the business witnessed a series of new and innovative demonstrations taken from client engagements this year, with a view to bringing their own clients along to see how IBM can help solve their technology problems. And at the second event, several analysts were invited to see demonstrations and hear talks from experts on IBM solutions. Both events received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with one analyst describing the experience as ‘awesome’.

‘Potential differentiator’

Explaining the background to the events, Lee Fredricks, Emerging Technology Client Services Manager, says: “In his 2Q Performance Update, David Stokes, General Manager, IBM UK & Ireland, cited the opening of the Emerging Technology Centre as one of several key investments made earlier this year that will help enable IBM UK to accelerate growth in our strategic initiatives, describing the centre as ‘a forum to innovate with our clients around their most challenging business issues’.

“He stated that it was now up to us to capture the opportunity that is in front of us – and that was what we set out to achieve through holding these events: to get across to our colleagues the diversity of areas that Emerging Technology Services (ETS) can assist them with, as they focus on 4Q.”

David is, indeed, a great supporter of what the Emerging Technology Centre – and the lab in general – can bring to bear in client engagements. In the comments section of his blog, he writes: “I learnt the value of the Hursley back in my days leading the WebSphere team in the UK – we have so much talent… and we must engage our colleagues there in opportunities. Hursley is a potential differentiator for IBM in the UK in many sales opportunities.”


Demos, Lightning Talks and guest speakers

Describing the first event in more detail, Lee says: “We invited our colleagues from Global Business Services (GBS), Global Technology Services (GTS), Strategic Outsourcing (SO), Chief Technology Office (CTO) and Sales & Distribution (S&D) to come and view a raft of new demonstrations taken from our client engagements in 2014. These varied from Buildings Infrastructure Management controlled by an Oculus Rift, to the handling of sensitive information over the web using Fully Homomorphic encryption to monitoring distributed stock levels using Gaian data federation!

“In addition, we ran a programme of Lightning Talks throughout the event, which were well attended. We heard how ETS developers have been involved in the fight against cancer; about new open source assets such as NodeRED and Edgware, which were developed by ETS and are now ‘out there’ with thriving communities; about the state-of-the-art in Bluemix and Watson; about recent developments with the SyNAPSE chip and neuromorphic technology; and much more besides.” (A full list of the Lightning Talks given is provided below.)

Lee continues: “We were also lucky enough to have four esteemed guest speakers who recounted their experiences of working with ETS. Trevor Davis, Global Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Consumer Products, and a Distinguished Engineer, described how ETS assisted in the task of boot-strapping manufacturing facilities with sensors and instrumentation, bringing them into the world of shared data and the Internet of Things (IoT). Sam Seddon, Wimbledon Client Executive, described the most recent Wimbledon Social Command Centre and the challenges of Social computing. Tony Morgan, Client Chief Innovation Officer, Strategic Outsourcing, described a wealth of projects for which he has engaged ETS, including Innovation Days, dashboards for War Rooms and gamification. And Richard Smith, Chief Architect, Operational Information Systems, described the close relationship between ETS and the International Technology Alliance (ITA), a consortium involving many eminent Research, Academic and Industrial partners.

“The feedback from the event was excellent with praise for the speakers and demonstrations, with many expressing the view that they had not appreciated the range of projects and technologies ETS and IBM are involved in. Many more have promised to bring their clients into the Emerging Technology Centre so that ETS can show them how we can solve their technology problems. We look forward to welcoming them very soon!”


On the second day, the Centre welcomed over a dozen analysts from companies such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Freeform Dynamics, Lustratus and Beecham Research.

“The analysts made their way around pedestals focused on Cognitive Computing, Cloud Computing, Big Data & Analytics, Mobile Computing, Social Business, Smarter Planet and Security, listening to our SMEs describe IBM’s point of view and the recent projects that the Emerging Technology team have delivered in these areas,” says Lee.

“Once again, the feedback was excellent with one analyst overheard as saying, there’s only one word I can use to describe what I’ve seen, and that is ‘awesome’!”

Lightning Talks

Talk Presenter Summary
Innovation Thinking Kevin Turner Climate and culture for innovative thinking
Integrating the physical world Christopher Gibson Edgware Fabric is a new open source technology developed by ETS that integrates people and devices at the very edge of the network, bringing the benefits of middleware to the Internet of Things.
The Bluemix Garage – IBM as a Start-up Andy Bravery With Bluemix IBM now has an offering that is relevant and accessible to tech start-up companies and even individual developers. The challenge is how to sell to this market segment which is unlike any of our traditional customer sets. Bluemix Garage is about meeting these new potential clients on their own turf and encouraging them to make Bluemix the platform of choice for their technology-led businesses as they position themselves for a high growth future.
Security – What matters most? Saritha Arunkumar ETS works on various interesting and unique aspects of Security, the things that matter most. Come hear about location security, Geo-spatial access control, Biometrics and modern cryptography
Node-RED: a year in the life of an open-source project Nick O’Leary Node-RED: a year in the life of an open-source project
Tackling Cancer with Machine Learning Graham White Recent ETS involvement with Cancer Research UK
Watson Update Andy Naylor ETS involvement in Watson development
Transatlantic research with the ITA John Ibbotson Innovation from ETS as leader of the International Technology Alliance research programme
Gaian: And you thought you had seen it all in the information management space? Patrick Dantressangle Introduction to the ETS Gaian asset and the part it can play in information federation

Please contact ets@uk.ibm.com for more details on any of these talks.

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