IBM CEO Provides Accounting of Smarter Planet

Michael Vizard

In a speech at the Chatham House in London today to promote the concept of IBM's Smarter Planet, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said substantial progress has been made on multiple fronts that has resulted in massive amounts of savings and thousands of new business opportunities.

The benefits of IBM's efforts to spearhead innovation by leveraging the broad distribution of massive amounts of computing horsepower across the Internet include:

  • Over 1,200 new solutions developed by IBM employees.
  • Reduced traffic congestion that has resulted in a total savings of roughly 700,000 hours annually and $15 million on average in 439 different cities.
  • Ten percent gains in operational efficiency for eight hospitals and 4,070 clinics in Spain.
  • Four leading retailers have cut supply chain costs by 30 percent, reduced inventory by 25 percent and increased sales by 10 percent.

Palmisano also cited a U.S. Department of Energy study that found that consumers who adopted smart meter systems saved 10 percent on their energy bills and cut their use of energy during peak hours by 15 pecent. He also went on to cite financial services firms such Grameen Koota, the Bank of Russia and CLS as institutions that have all expanded their global operations with the aid of IBM.

The IBM CEO praised the efforts of IT and business leaders who overcame a number of cultural issues within their companies to change business processes for the better, without which all the technology in the world would not make a difference.

As the Smarter Planet initiative expands to be part of the "Internet of Things," Palmisano said he expects that traffic from all the devices on the Internet will push traffic levels to half a zettabyte annually within the next three years. Half a zettabyte is 1 trillion gigabytes. The nature of that traffic, however, is changing as medical images are routinely transferred alongside data from security cameras and millions of sensors.

Palmisano also took pains to stress that IBM is working on maintaining privacy and security levels in this new age, specifically citing IBM's participation in a Global Intelligent Unity Network Coalition consortium of utility companies focused on securing smart grids, and the Security and Defense Agenda, a think-tank based on in Brussels that will host an online "security jam" with IBM to create recommendations for the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

As the world economy starts to stabilize, Palmisano concluded by trying encouraging business leaders to invest in innovation to drive the next wave of economic growth to ultimately create a series of interconnected systems that will ultimately be "more transparent, more efficient, more accessible, more equitable, more resilent."

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