Perspectives

Harnessing the Positive Power of IBM Technologies for Greater Good

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The meaningful impact that cloud solutions and AI learning have on everyday society is inherently difficult to quantify, and the cliché that “technology has transformed our lives” has started to ring increasingly hollow. When considering who benefits most from the advantages granted by cloud storage and machine learning technology, large-scale enterprises tasked with mass data processing seems the likely and logical answer. However, this technology can be applied to bring about purpose driven change and the onus is on business leaders to galvanise their employees to curate solutions that do so.

With this in mind as we enter London Tech Week for 2019, IBM is dedicated to tackling some of the world’s most challenging societal issues and that’s why we’ve imbedded innovation that matters into our values. Organisations are harnessing IBM’s technology and proving the tangible positive change it can have on the lives of society’s most vulnerable individuals.

With health services nationwide coming under increasing strain, charities aiming to provide additional support, and innovative start-ups nurturing transformative ideas but lacking sufficient resources, IBM strives to equip these organisations with the solutions they need to deliver an optimised service of care to those who need it most.

IBM Cloud solutions have already been introduced into various parts of the UK’s National Health Service, contributing to the efficient and secure running and delivery of care to patients. One such example is NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which employs IBM Business Process Manager (BPMoC) and Operational Decision Manager on Cloud (ODMoC) to maximise utility within the organisation’s structure. There are multiple benefits, and include the streamlining of delivery, maximised utilisation and equity of organ allocation nationwide, and the freeing up of vital resources. October 2015 was a seminal moment for the partnership, with the first transplant of a heart allocated according to the new scheme taking place. Innovation did not halt there, and NHSBT is exploring additional possibilities afforded by IBM’s cloud solutions, including expanding platform capabilities to encompass kidney and pancreas transplants.

Meanwhile, in the charity sector, IBM’s Watson Conversation API has provided Versus Arthritis with the necessary technology to deliver ongoing care, support and advice to arthritis sufferers nationwide. The solution entails personalised information about the condition, delivered in naturalised conversations. Next steps in the journey include growing the platform’s knowledge base to facilitate more comprehensive information for patients, voice input and output, location services, and other extended capabilities.

Continuing this developing legacy of technology solutions for society, IBM has recently joined forces with care management start-up Karantis360, with a view to improving health and wellbeing services across the UK. Karantis360 was established to combat the issues attached to providing care for the elderly. Leveraging sensors and Watson AI, running on IBM Cloud, Karantis360 has been able to assist caregivers and their patients. The Karantis360 mobile app delivers a holistic support culture to caregivers and facilitates more efficient and complete person-in-care reporting. In addition, careworkers can submit reports on the go and share updates with family members, maximising visibility and granting loved ones peace of mind.

Additionally, Cera Cara, a British start-up, are working with IBM to launch a six-month study to test whether LiDAR laser sensors can enable elderly people to stay in their homes for longer – without compromising privacy. Already playing an important role in the development of self-driving cars, LiDAR technology has strong potential in the care industry. For those who consent, LiDAR has the ability to help create a detailed picture of the daily routine of a care client in their home environment.

IBM technology can be applied to a number of important societal issues. For example, the collaboration with an NGO, Stop The Traffik, aims to put a halt to human trafficking and modern slavery, an increasingly widespread and difficult matter to combat. Stop The Traffik originally launched its mobile app in 2016 to encourage witnesses to report potential sightings of people trafficking. IBM Watson has now been introduced to the app to help sift through results, assess cases on a mass scale, and determine if a case is genuine. It also makes recommendations on how best to respond to the situation in hand.

IBM is dedicated to proving that technology can be, and is being, used for good, providing care and support to those who need it most. As innovation progresses in direct proportion to the needs of society, we will be able to further utilise emerging technologies to provide impactful and meaningful change. More widely, business leaders have an integral role to play. By communicating the potential technology holds and nurturing their employees, meaningful technology solutions can be curated, which are capable of taking on some of the world’s most pressing societal issues – and winning.

Speaking at VivaTech in Paris last week, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty spoke of entering a new chapter of digital reinvention – she envisages that Chapter Two will be even more ambitious and transformative: “it will change how the world works, and will change the world itself”. With its vision focused on positive societal impact, IBM is breathing new life into this statement.

IBM Chief Executive UK and Ireland

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