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Introduction

Ideas for Extreme Blue projects come from our own people. After all, who better to suggest ideas for future innovations than the people working at the front line of our industry? This approach ensures that the projects tackle real issues. We’re not afraid of taking risks though. Not all projects will make it to market, but what's the point in always playing safe? Extreme Blue is all about pushing the boundaries.

Projects vary every year and from country to country, but they have one thing in common – a focus on making a strategic impact on an emerging business opportunity for IBM. Take a look at some of the projects that students have worked on in previous years below…

Extreme Blue India – Biometric Data Matching based Entity Resolution System

Processes can run into trouble when there are multiple data sources each containing representations of data for the same people or organizations. The team in the two-month project developed a system that merges the duplicate data into a single true version by comparing the data attributes using its own matching algorithms. This project won the best project award and India TA is checking the feasibility to implement this from a process perspective.

Extreme Blue China – Intelligent Academic Conference Room

Setting up devices in unfamiliar conference rooms pose a constant challenge, and switching presentation sources mid-presentation can cause problems and delays. As well, ensuring the presentation and audience response is properly documented can easily go awry. The Extreme Blue China team worked to develop a system that would utilize Watson natural language and document search tools to help users control devices in the conference room and call up different presentation materials and documents by voice, as well as assist the speaker by transcribing the speaker’s and audience’s words. By doing so, they helped create more seamless conference experiences by utilizing IoT technologies and Watson natural language tools.

Extreme Blue Canada – Project Galapagos

Project Galapagos builds out a Cognitive Query Optimizer that leverages machine learning techniques to power the Db2 common SQL engine, revolutionizing the way clients drive insights from their data. Before Galapagos, Db2 engine executed queries in a cost-optimal way with rule-based query optimization techniques. Galapagos replaces this technique with a self-learning one, executes the queries in the most efficient way possible, yielding up to 10x improved query performance and eliminating workload arising from long query runtimes.
Project Galapagos was productized with Db2’s 11.5 version release, which positions Db2 as the AI database and was launched at THINK 2019 in San Francisco.

Extreme Blue France – SmartDeliveries

A team of 4 students from the top engineering schools in France prototyped a delivery round optimization system that leverage the city traffic data and predictive models to optimize vehicle rounds for transporters in the city of Lyon. The intent was to make trucks avoid congested areas, so as to deliver their goods faster, but also to contribute to reduce congestion and pollution at the city scale level. Upon delivery of the prototype, the city, industry partners, research labs and partnering transporters leveraged the study to let IBM join a $12 million, 3 years research project to materialize the prototype into a public service for the city.

Extreme Blue Germany – Hyperfacture

SME manufacturing companies hold an important role in the EU economy, but face a number of problems including delayed payment, lack of customer awareness of capabilities, variability of utilization levels, and international competition. On the flip side, fledgling entrepreneurs often require a manufacturer but have no prior experience and thus don’t know which companies would be good fits, and want to be able to manufacture flexibly, but many manufacturing companies require large batch orders. Hyperfacture’s solution combines IoT and blockchain technology to create a platform that directly connects creators and manufacturers without need for a broker by enabling trust and transparency between unfamiliar parties, providing real time tracking of production and high levels of automation, and connects machines to a global manufacturing market.

Extreme Blue USA – Project Iris

Project Iris worked closely with an IBM customer, an international hospitality company, to create a tool to be used on a third-party integrated environment. Iris resolved a long-standing problem of front desk systems going down without warning, leaving guests unable to check in or out of a hotel. Several unsatisfactory attempts by the customer to resolve this problem internally had not been successful. Working with both IBM and business partner engineers, the IRIS team created a production-level solution at both technical and business levels. This solution was adapted by the IBM customer and rolled into production within 3 months of creation.

Extreme Blue UK – Union Rugby

The RFU were unable to support, develop and grow their sport because they didn’t have accurate data to gain insights on where players are, how much they play or when they stop playing. The root causes of these problems were found to be poor data quality and an outdated IT and registration system, relying on volunteers submitting paper forms. These problems affected all stakeholders in rugby: players, clubs, and the RFU. The team’s solution tackled the individual needs of each of these stakeholders while solving the poor data problem the RFU had, providing a long-term solution. They created a system based on a single, centralised database that has three distinct views for each of the stakeholders. The player and club views are based on a native mobile application that allows them to visualise their statistics or look for clubs and to manage their fixtures and teams respectively. The RFU view provides a live general overview of rugby while also allowing the RFU to delve down into further details. The concept and developed product presented to the RFU received very positive feedback, with interest in carrying the project further.

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