An inside look at IBM Almaden’s Future of IT Executive Summit

Scaling the intimidating peaks of Mount Everest taught me resilience, determination and a commitment to forging a path. While attending the Future of IT Executive Summit hosted by IBM Systems, I was again reminded that great companies follow these same edicts.

Picture the most brilliant minds in technology—globally-recognized IBM scientists, futurists, award-winning experts and innovators—gathered to discuss the future and how people will use technology to better their lives and businesses.

Our host during the two days was Tom Rosamilia, SVP IBM Systems and Chairman, North America. Charming, funny and always welcoming, he enlightened us on five of the most important tech predictions for 2019. Take a look.

  • Trusted AI begins by making AI more transparent. Organizations will deploy new tools that enable them to better understand how to apply AI for social good and introduce tools that give organizations confidence in their ability to understand and manage AI systems. Is your organization ready to make the shift to AI?
  • Blockchain goes mainstream . . . quietly. By 2023, 90 percent of blockchain-based supply chain initiatives will suffer “blockchain fatigue” due to a lack of strong use cases, according to Gartner, Inc.[1]
  • Hybrid cloud takes center stage. More companies will adopt hybrid cloud as they seek to move mission critical data and workloads between public cloud and on-premise servers or data centers. By 2024, 90 percent of Global 1000 organizations will have a multi-cloud management strategy that includes integrated tools across public and private clouds per IDC.[2]
  • Governments clamp down on tech. More regulations are coming to the U.S. and other countries to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens and provide greater oversight to blockchain.
  • Commercial quantum computing comes of age. In 2019, the first commercial versions of quantum computing systems and quantum cryptography will hit the market.

The speaker lineup was a who’s who of technology innovators. It was thrilling to drill into the future with people who are architecting that future.

My favorite part of the tour was the Mango System tour. Mango is a UHV deposition tool, designed for rapid target change. It is fully automated with industrial protocols for robust and reliable operation. The picture on the left captures Mango and a group of leaders from IBM, Express Scripts and Delta Airlines.

On the second day of the summit, a parade of IBM Fellows and scientists shared what they have done to apply cutting-edge technologies in the real world.

Donna Dillenberger’s advances in AI and security session hit home to me because much of my work is in that space. As an IBM Fellow, Donna has designed system features that have enabled enterprise applications to achieve greater scalability and availability.

Donna even demonstrated an IBM Crypto Anchor Verifier (placed on the side of your mobile device) with the capability to verify label authenticity of any object (olive oil, cancer drugs, diamond, construction materials, etc.). We were awed.

Dr. Bulent Kurdi, leader of hardware scientists and engineers in the development and scaling of quantum computing hardware, shared his pioneering perspectives on Quantum Computing. Think sci-fi meets reality show.

On the heels of Dr. Kurdi came Jeannette Garcia’s in-depth view of IBM Q and how Quantum has been applied to chemistry and science. Quantum computers exploit complex and fascinating laws of nature that are always there — but which usually remain hidden from view. By harnessing such natural behavior, quantum computers can run new types of algorithms to process information more holistically. They may lead to revolutionary breakthroughs in materials and drug discovery, the optimization of complex manmade systems, cloud security, and artificial intelligence.  We expect them to open the door to achieve the unachievable.

hayes mansionOn the surface, the century-old architecture of Hayes Mansion in San Jose, where the summit took place, was a sharp contrast to the forward-thinking topics we explored like AI, blockchain and quantum computing. But then I pause. I think about endurance and how great leaders climb mountains too. The Future of IT Executive Summit demonstrated IBM’s endurance to lead on the research and development front and how they continue to be a profound influence in what the future looks like.

IBM Institute for Business Value commissioned a report of C-Suite executives and their predictions for the future of technology. Download the report here.

[1] https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-05-07-gartner-predicts-90–of-blockchain-based-supply-chain

[2] https://www.idc-community.com/2018/11/27/worldwide-cloud-2019-predictions/