Welcome To The Decade Of Smart

Comments at Fast Company on IBM’s vision for the next decade:

Speaking in London at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Palmisano reflected on the first year of the campaign, in which IBM signed multi-year, multi-hundred million dollar contracts to manage London’s traffic-congestion system, integrate New York’s crime-data systems, and reduce Shenyang, China’s carbon emissions by 10%, among many others. IBM created 1,200 “smart solutions” for customers in all, he boasted, four times his original target.

IBM’s success has sparked a flurry of copycat efforts by rivals like HP, Autodesk, Oracle, and Cisco, filed under the headings of “Digital Cities,” “City 2.0,” “Intelligent Urbanisation,” and even a “Central Nervous System for the Earth.” Cisco’s audacious efforts to create “Smart+Connected Communities” from scratch across the Middle East, India, and East Asia are the subject of a feature in the February issue of Fast Company (available online next week) which took me to New Songdo, South Korea to witness the birth of a smart city the size of downtown Boston.

Here’s an interesting snippet from Palmisano’s talk:

As I said, all this data is far more real-time than ever before. Most of us today, as leaders and as individuals, make decisions based on information that is backward-looking and limited in scope. That’s the best we had, but that is quickly changing.

You may be thinking that the last thing we need is more information raining down on us, more noise. But we now have the capability, with advanced software analytic tools, to extract value from data—to see the patterns, the correlations and the outliers. Sophisticated mathematical models are helping us begin to anticipate, forecast and even predict changes in our systems. That’s the promise of a smarter planet.

But with that promise come some disquieting implications. That’s the final learning of the past year. Consider two of the more obvious ones: privacy and security.

I’m curious to find out how reliable or insightful these putative forecasting and predictive systems actually are…

Picture credit here.


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