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First days of these big conferences always have an extra layer of commotion to them. Hordes of people are swarming around just about every corner of the warehouse-size conference rooms, checking in and assembling lanyard badges, scanning the packed schedule booklets, some still dragging suitcases from McCarran Airport. You hear enthusiastic greetings and chatter as people say their initial hellos, some finally seeing faces of people they’re accustomed to working with only through a computer screen, others just meeting here for the first time, many just focused on grabbing their first cup of conference-quality coffee. Day one of Insight 2015 shared many of these animated qualities, proving itself to be not only lively, but a day of value and thought-proving inspiration, as a total of 14K of us came together to look at the future of IT and how it will inevitably shape our world.
Transform your industry. Crowds were ushered into Mandalay Monday morning to kick things off at the General Session with a handful of clients, partners, and IBM leaders to explain how to push boundaries by leveraging insights from data. Bob Picciano, SVP of Information & Analytics, described what disruption looks like across industries (think, Uber, iTunes, smartphones) and the insight economy that results. From here, Mike Rhodin took the stage for a 38-minute highlight of Watson, storytelling how Watson Analytics is powering the next era of business. We heard firsthand from several strategic partners about how with the power of Watson, they are able to be better prepared for natural disasters, provide groundbreaking personalized healthcare by ‘seeing’ data, and create cognitive hotels. We even got a visit from Pepper the robot.
Before things got too packed, I scouted out the Expo. It was an incredible display of IBM’s offerings and capabilities, and really cool to see pieces of the company spread out in one place like that. The Systems and Architecture booth (#932, to the right when you walk in) is much larger than I thought, with tons of live demos, intelligent people to speak with, AND its very own coffee bar. More on that tomorrow.
After lunch and some time spent in the Social VIP Lounge, I headed upstairs to one of the breakout rooms for a well-attended session with Omkar Nimbalkar, focused on Systems (specifically, IT Service Management and Middleware), titled Break Down the Barriers to Digital Transformation. With a few clients asking questions here and there, it was great to have a change of pace with a more interactive environment, a chance to get closer to details and really visualize how these solutions could apply to clients’ businesses. Tying into the recently announced, company-wide focus and shift to Cognitive Business, this helped expand on why digital is not the destination, but the necessary foundation for the next era of business. It’s one step beyond converting to a fully digital world, it’s leading the way for what we do with the unstructured data that now exists and the untapped possibilities with powerful APIs.
This was a good first course to the Systems & Architecture Super Session at 4:00 PM, where the Systems point of view was highlighted by General Manager of Systems Middleware, Marie Wieck. From Challenges to Shared Vision: The Path Forward to a Comprehensive Analytics Solution, Marie shared the stage with other leaders to portray how the power of data is driving better business outcomes. In a session meant to demonstrate the capabilities from advanced architectures that utilize software, systems and open source for fast and accurate analytics, Marie presented on the IBM Systems solution – illustrating the ‘natural resource’ of data that exists with the rapid growth of APIs, one that is steadily ripening for monetization.
The trick, however, is knowing how to tap into that natural resource and harness it in your enterprise. This is where Cognitive comes in, powered through APIs – tens of thousands existing today and an expectation for that number to reach millions in a few years – the world is being reinvented in code and this data is transforming industries and professions.
Marie illustrated this in a way I really liked, saying that data is constantly flowing from every device (by 2017, there will be over 1B connected devices in smart homes alone), giving us exact, clear-cut information, however 80 percent of this data is unstructured, which makes it invisible to computers, and less valuable to business’s decision making process. It is in the Cognitive Era, that we will take this 80 percent of unstructured data and gain meaning from it – real insights powered by reason.
The day didn’t end there, as I got the chance to hear more from Marie after her Super Session, in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look from our IBMSystems social team. Marie was wonderful for taking the time to meet with us and answer a few questions. Stay tuned to our IBMSystems Twitter and YouTube for the posted video.
As the first day of the world’s premier analytics conference winds down, at least for some, I reflect on what was covered, and the focus on the latest trends in cloud, mobile, Internet of Things, and of course analytics. There’s a lot going on, to say the least – and it’s exciting to be a part of. I believe it’s safe to say that we’re in the presence of people who will be responsible for the shape of the future of the IT world, not to say they haven’t already started.
Next don’t miss: Doug Balog in the General Session (8:30), z Systems Super Session (10:30), Booth #932 – Systems & Architecture Zone (12:00-3:30), Rock the Mainframe Party (with your ‘Z’ pin only! 7:30 PM).
Those of you that are here in Vegas as well, follow us at @IBMSystems and let us know your thoughts on day one!