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…
Case Study 1: Switch
By 2020, Government plans are that every household in the UK will be equipped with a 'Smart Meter'; microprocessor-enabled power meters capable of remote, automated readings. With mandated smart meters, consumers will be looking for additional value attached to the new technology that they may well be paying for. In addition to developing a front-end interface for users, team 'Switch' have written a response to the government consultation paper on smart metering and are investigating other services that potentially could be offered to users based on monitoring their energy use patterns. In this nascent market, we have the potential to demonstrate the impact of such services and IBM's forward thinking in this area.
Case Study 2: SiSi
SiSi is nothing short of a revolution in communication between the deaf and hearing. Able to translate speech into British Sign Language it uses an avatar (a digital 'person') to sign what is being said in a presentation, meeting, television programme or even a voicemail message. Designed specifically for times when a human signer is unavailable it relies on a speech recognition programme. The RNID has already given SiSi its approval - this really is a life changing innovation.
Case Study 3: The Voice Bank
The Voice Box Project aims to help patients who have lost their voice as a result of laryngeal cancer. The team designed and built a website that allows users to store their voice, and an Android app that will help them communicate after surgery.
Case Study 4: Breadcrumbs
BreadCrumbs is an iPhone application that scans grocery food barcodes and give consumers access to information about the food items such as ingredients, manufacturing history, and product recall alerts with the use of food traceability servers.
Case Study 5: Uza
In the European Union, more than 29 million people are affected by a certain rare disease. In order to improve the knowledge and diagnostic capability of these rare diseases, the team developed a reasoning engine consisting of a rule engine and a statistical tool. The project proved that medical knowledge combined with modern IT tools can support an earlier, quicker and more accurate diagnosis. In this way, the Belgian Extreme Blue team contributed in a brilliant way towards the idea of ‘Smarter Healthcare’.
Case Study 6: Team Blue Delta
This city is keeping its citizens up to date about climate change. This city is seen as a valuable future client with a budget to invest into IBM´s ‘smarter city’ concept. The challenge as defined by the city - create a an innovative solution to keep the citizens up to date with what the local administration is doing about the climate change within the city. The Extreme Blue team created a serious online game in which the people can compete with other cities in keeping their city area prepared for any climate change. The team helped the client in shaping its climate campus giving them a great advantage compared to other cities.
Case Study 7: Team Octopay
This project assisted in creating a solution for a challenge which was a topic that the client had been investigating for a few months already.
The challenge as defined by the client - create an innovative group payment service which makes paying collectively easier.
The students created a technical way to split a bill directly by using a mobile phone. This was through a sharing tool and OCR, to only pay for what has been used.
“I was amazed at what the Very OnTrend Extreme Blue team achieved in such a short period of time. It really showed the benefits of investing in innovation and creating environments within which people can flourish and really get under the skin of some of your key business challenges and drivers. The quality of end-product created by a team of interns in an environment conducive to free-thinking and inquisitive development has genuinely changed our view of rate of change and R&D internally.”
Paul Hornby, Shop Direct
“The team has exceeded my expectations. In this very short time the team came up with a range of ideas, a concept, a working prototype, a business case and even with a patent application. I can only say I'm very happy with the outcome and also with the experience of having further build the relationship with IBM.”
Frank van de Scheur, Innovation Director