Apr 16, 201209:24 AMBlog: Alaska by the Numbers
Making a Smarter Planet
Last week, IBM experts on global innovation technology visited us in Anchorage for the “Alaska Smarter Planet Executive Conference” for an amazing opportunity to bring Alaska business leaders a one-of-a-kind conference, focusing on the future of global technology and innovation. At the conference, business leaders heard from Senator Mark Begich on his perspectives on Federal issues related to broadband and the changing world of technology.
The conference focused on predictive modeling and data analysis, highlighting that this drives everything including business, government and economic development. IBM’s first speaker, Dr. Michael Karasick, Vice President, Director of Almaden Research Laboratory, spoke about IBM’s Global Technology Outlook for 2012 which is a comprehensive analysis that looks three to ten years into the future seeking to identify significant, disruptive technologies that will change IBM and the world.
The common theme: analytics.
With data becoming increasingly unstructured and uncertain, there is a need for new models and new classes of computing systems that are able to handle these types of demands of analytics. Karasick also touched on systems of people, outcome-based business, resilient businesses and the future of analytics.
IBM’s second speaker, Dr. Colin Harrison, Distinguished Engineer, Smarter Cities Technical Strategy, talked about the emergence of forward-thinking cities or smarter cities as IBM calls it. Cities are facing increasing challenges with growing populations, aging infrastructures, energy demands and declining budgets. Forward thinking cities are addressing these problems by leveraging information to be able to make better decisions, addressing problems proactively and coordinating resources to operate more efficiently. IBM is working with cities all over the world to help solve difficult challenges by developing repeatable best practices that can be applied to cities of all sizes. Harrison notes that officials should assess their city from a holistic point of view and becoming a smarter city is a journey, not an overnight transformation.
Watson, the first non-human contestant to ever win Jeopardy! was also present at the conference, challenging conference-goers at the fun TV game. IBM is looking to integrate Watson into the business environment to help address business challenges. However, Watson has a lot of growing up to do and the technology must evolve to consider problem scenarios, deliver results that are justified and explained by supporting evidence and naturally interact with users.
The “Alaska Smarter Planet Executive Conference” was a great opportunity for Alaska business leaders to hear from top researchers and executives at IBM to better understand the global perspective of our evolving world and start thinking proactively about the future of our businesses and our city.