Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Opening the Door to Emerging Markets

The “international” in IBM’s name has never loomed larger. IBM got about 65 percent of its revenue from outside the U.S. last year. Much attention has focused on Brazil, Russia, India and China (known as the BRIC countries) -- rightfully so since IBM BRIC sales climbed 26 percent last year, more than eight times the pace in the U.S., according to IBM filings.(See this Bloomberg story for more.)

But beyond BRIC, there’s a larger group of emerging markets ramping up their economic development. To spur innovation in emerging markets in Africa and central and southeast Asia, for example, IBM is extending Linux and open standards resources there.

This week IBM announced the opening of the IBM Center of Innovation for Linux and Open Standards in Kazakhstan.

The Center’s mission is to drive adoption of open standards and open source technologies in Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation that spans territory larger than Western Europe.
"Kazakhstan faces the ambitious task of growing and enhancing its IT infrastructure very fast to match the demands of a new economy," says Inna Kuznetsova, vp of IBM Systems Software, marketing and sales enablement. "Using open source and standards-based computing, Kazakhstan can avoid the pitfalls of an expensive, proprietary infrastructure and build a more flexible IT foundation."

The interoperability from open standards such as HTML for Web and information structure, and Open Document Format for office documents can help Kazakhstan better deliver goods and services locally, and compete with business globally.

This comes on the heels of IBM’s new software package in Africa that takes advantage of the rising popularity low-cost netbooks and Linux to deliver businesses and government a smarter way to work.

IBM offers Linux expertise and resources in emerging markets through its IBM Innovation Centers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and other locations, such as the Cape Town, South Africa center, which opened earlier this month.

IBM hopes to bridge the so-called "digital divide" that exists among businesses in these countries, especially the growing base of mid-sized firms that are fueling economic growth. Linux is a perfect fit to encourage low-cost, flexible technology in BRIC and beyond.

(Pictured above: Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, where IBM is opening the new Linux Innovation Center. Photo courtesy of Inna Kuznetsova)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Smarter way to work in Africa

Starting fresh has its advantages -- especially for emerging markets. There’s an enormous potential for growth in those markets without the burden of being tied down by an old or outdated technology infrastructure. Companies in emerging market have the potential to leapfrog competitors in more industrialized nations by being early adopters of new disruptive technologies, avoiding the pitfalls of proprietary IT systems and costly infrastructure.

Today IBM announced a new software package, part of IBM's Smart Work initiative, that takes advantage of the rising popularity of disruptive technology -- low-cost netbooks, cloud computing and Linux -- to make collaboration software and services more affordable to businesses and governments across Africa. With the IBM Client for Smart Work, IBM hopes to bridge the so-called "digital divide" in Africa and beyond.

IBM estimates that African governments could halve their IT licensing, administration and maintenance costs -- freeing up money for disaster management, education and healthcare. Businesses that could not afford traditional PCs for all employees can now use a variety of devices and low-cost software to equip workers with the ability to work smarter anywhere.

Arguably you could see this as a business software version of the One Laptop Per Child program that focuses on delivering organizations access to really inexpensive computing.

African organizations can get started today with IBM Lotus Symphony running ‘in premise’ on their netbooks, and then add the social networking features as the cloud infrastructure builds out in Africa -- which varies by country and city. With new high-speed internet access to East Africa, connectivity is improving.

IBM worked with South African entrepreneur and founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, on the offering. See Mark’s comments on the opportunities for open technologies in emerging markets in a video here.

An article in the Wall Street Journal quoted Venansius Barya Baryamureeba, Dean of the Faculty of Computing and IT at Makerere University in Uganda saying:

If IBM keeps its part of the bargain and provides cloud-based applications at affordable prices then this service will revolutionize businesses in Africa.

This initiative follows the opening of the IBM Africa Innovation Center in Cape Town last week . The center supports IBM's efforts to help grow the burgeoning local IT ecosystem and is a key addition to IBM's US$120 million, two-year market expansion investment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch this space to hear more about how emerging markets are turning to innovative approaches to equip their workforces to work smarter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fighting crime with analytics

Check out this guest post and podcast on the Building A Smarter Planet blog by Jeff Jonas, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and chief scientist in IBM's Entity Analytics group.

Jonas joined IBM in 2005 when his company, SRD, was acquired by IBM.

Collaboration helps the world work smarter

This visualization is a Wordle providing graphical insight to a larger text passage on IBM's Center for Social Software.

This week, IBM is providing an intriguing look into the state of Social Software -- marrying far-reaching Research and our clients' every day practice in collaboration.

At two concurrent events in Cambridge, Mass., IBM is helping people understand how they can work smarter, be more agile and more collaborative.

From a 10,000 foot view, both events are focused on helping people derive greater value from data they use and see every day. But when you get right down to it, the tools these audiences are using to collaborate reflects their preferred method for receiving the data.

For example, this week IBM is hosting its Transparent Text Symposium at the IBM Center for Social Software. The Transparent Text Symposium focuses on how the next wave of analytics will move beyond numeral data to unlock the meaning of textual data. An eclectic group of experts on technology design and government, such as US Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government, MIT Media Lab, The Sunlight Foundation, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, have convened to discuss visualizations -- making data available to the masses in a visual format (hence creating transparency of the textual data.) An interesting example of social software and collaboration in practice at a research level.

Also this week, IBM is hosting hundreds of leaders from major industries and companies around the world at a two-day collaboration summit. The group is discussing best practices in collaboration and the newest technologies coming out in the collaboration market. In conjunction with the event, IBM is announcing the availability of micro-blogging and other traditionally consumer-collaboration capabilities to IBM's enterprise collaboration software: Lotus Connections. Having micro-blogging, wikis and file sharing features in a business-grade social software platform is yet another way IBM is helping people around the globe connect and collaborate.

Whether its through research into better way to deliver textual data, or delivering enterprise-grade collaboration software to market, IBM is serious about creating a more agile, collaborative and connected business environment. In essence, IBM is helping the world work smarter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Unique Ubiquitous Center in Korea

IBM established a Korean Software Solutions Lab in Seoul, Korea in 2007. In the lab, IBM operates a Ubiquitous Innovation Center. The Center packages custom-made offerings. At the Center, customers and partners are able to obtain information of technology trends such as cloud computing, business analytics, business process management, social networking, and radio frequency indentification solutions, etc. The center also has a mobile environment for testing and modeling purposes.

Supported by IBM's global resources in business planning and technology davancement, the Center is in a unique position to assist customers and busienss partners to pioneer new businesses in Korea and around the world. Below are two most recent cases that the Ubiquitous Innovation Center helped with.

Case one:

In June, 2009, IBM was selected to establish a city infrastructure project as part of the U-safety City project for the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), and by the government in an effort to turn South Korea into a major economic hub in Northeast Asia.

The project was to make the IFEZ an interconnected, environment-friendly, digitalized and smart city. One of the purposes is to support The Global Fair & Festival Incheon 2009 and The Asian Games 2014.

IBM will build this public safety system using high resolution cameras to monitor activities in the IFEZ, helping the Authority prevent crime and even predict possible events by analyzing patterns and data in real-time via a high-speed wired and a wireless network. The system consists an analytics framework, meta-data structures, event searching, video storage, video analysis servers and monitor applications.

The U-safety programs also includes SOS emergency rescue, remote controllable safety lamps in vulnerable areas, as well as the intelligent public safety system and wireless city safety network, which is implemented by IBM.

The system is built using technology such as IBM System Storage, IBM DB2 UDB, IBM WebSphere Application Server and MQ. The system, running on a flight of IBM System x 3650 Servers, will be operated by SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd and S1 Corporation under the administration of the Incheon Metropolitan Government and the IFEZ Authority.

Case two:

In August, 2009, IBM in Korea announced that POSCO, one of the world’s largest steel makers, is using IBM sensor technology -- including WebSphere Sensor Events -- to make its production plant in Pohang Ironworks safer for employees and visitors.

With more than 500 employees, the plant has an annual production capacity of 1.5 million metric tons. The engagement is a great example of how technology is enabling smarter safer workplaces.

With the system, all workers in the plant and visitors are required to wear ultra wide band technology-based RFID tags so as to monitor their location in real time through the integrated system which has 90 sensors. In case of a fire or gas leak, people in the affected area can be immediately located and necessary action can be taken to protect their safety.

Posted by Mark Guan, IBM Media Relations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Free the Developers: One Language for Web 2.0 Apps

To help unleash developers from complex technologies needed to build Web 2.0 applications, IBM released EGL Community Edition this week, now completely free of charge. An extensive community of students, web developers, PHP developers and JavaScript developers are defining much of the open source movement and a single language like EGL is key. EGL CE is an Eclipse-based tool that simplifies development of JavaScript-based Web applications. Developers who usually code in PHP, Ruby on Rails, Groovy, JavaScript and HTML can now download free EGL tools to code, test, and debug rich Web 2.0 applications in one simplified language.

We know JavaScript development can be complex, but it's the core of all dynamic Web applications being built today. EGL CE supports development of rich, JavaScript-based user interfaces without writing any JavaScript, and Java-based services without writing any Java code. More time coding and less time deploying.

With complex Web 2.0 applications making up a growing part of developers’ daily workload, an extensible platform such as EGL CE offers valuable time savings in a more simplified programming model. Anyone can try it -- EGL CE is now available for download at no cost at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reducing paper consumption

Recently I've taken proactive steps to reduce my carbon footprint and be more "green." While I cannot pretend to be truly eco-savvy, I have taken small steps that I feel good about. My daughter, who started Kindergarten today, now has an eco-friendly, BPA-free water bottle and reusable lunch containers instead of plastic sandwich bags. I've taken steps to reduce water consumption and turn off lights at our home. We leave the gas-guzzling SUV at home and drive the compact car whenever possible.
But last night, as I printed my daughter's elementary school lunch schedule, two extra pages came out of the printer each with one word on them. Knowing I could not reuse the mostly blank pages for my next printing job, I tossed the pages in the trash. Could I have reused the scrap paper for a grocery shopping list or gave the pages to my son with some crayons? Yes. But, I didn't. I've been thinking about my actions knowing that the typical office worker users about 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year – enough to cover a three- by six-foot desk more than 360 times.
This morning I read Fortune's Remember Lexmark? The printer underdog is still fighting where Jon Fortt discusses Facebook, Kindle and texting impacting printer and ink sales.

It's staggering how much sales of printer paper and ink cartridges impact the bottom line of Lexmark, HP and others.

People rely heavily on paper to perform everyday duties, despite the high costs associated with lost documents, risk of document obsolescence and labor inefficiency. Not only are piles of paper overwhelming my home office, paper is becoming a bottleneck for business processes and its excessive usage is also becoming a clear impediment for organizations that are embracing greener IT.

A few months back, IBM introduced new offerings to help clients address the costs, risks and efficiency challenges associated with using and storing paper. IBM is helping clients assess their rates of paper consumption and evaluate the benefits of eliminating the paper burden within their organizations.
Most recently, the U.S. Army, an IBM client, received an award for its use of IBM Lotus Forms software. Representing one of the world's largest e-forms installations, the U.S. Army has stopped sending soldiers into the line of fire in order to get an officer's digital signature on a military form. IBM Lotus Forms is currently used by more than 1.4 million Army personnel worldwide, yielding an estimated $1.3 billion in cost savings to the U.S. federal government.
Many clients have already turned to IBM to help reduce paper usage cost. Maybe I should use IBM technology to help me better manage my paper consumption at home? In the meantime, I'm going to grab those two stray pieces from my desk barrel, find some crayons and write up a grocery list.