At its core, IBM's Smarter Planet effort is about finding new applications that create new opportunities for IBM and its customers. At the Pulse conference today, IBM is showcasing extensions to the suite of applications that it has developed under its Smarter Planet campaign that include:
- Analytics software for monitoring telecommunications, transportation or any network that distributes data
- Tools for monitoring and managing smart meters networks
- Software that helps hospitals locate and monitor their clinical and biomedical equipment in real-time
- Software to optimize energy and equipment efficiency in a building
What's interesting about the IBM Smarter Planet efforts is how IBM has been able to apply the technologies it develops under this program to existing infrastructure versus, for example, having to wait for someone to build a new building in order to deploy metering technology that makes a building more energy efficient.
In fact, Natasha Roukos, IBM director for Smarter Buildings, says the majority of the work that IBM has done in terms of making buildings more efficient has been on existing edifices, rather than new construction.
The real challenge, in most cases, is getting people with IT expertise to start considering where IT can be applied outside of the traditional data center to help companies save money or enhance their revenues. Unfortunately, getting IT folks to think outside the four walls of the data center doesn't always come naturally. But chances are there is something that with the installation of an inexpensive meter could be better managed. It's really just a matter of taking the time to think about where best to apply IT to help better manage the business, which, by the way, then makes IT more valuable to the business. And the odds are good that that place is not necessarily going to be inside the data center.