Today Sam Palmisano will be presenting to the Council on Foriegn Relations about a new strategy for IBM called Smart Planet (not to be confused with a game about knitted avatars called Little Big Planet which is a new strategy for Sony ;) .  The basic premise as I read it is that whilst the world might currently be going through the mill, there is great opportunity to look for new business models that will become possible as pretty much everything on the planet becomes networkable.  Consider:

  • 67 per cent of all electrical energy is lost due to inefficient power generation and grid management.
  • Congested roadways in the U.S. cost $78 billion annually in wasted hours and gas.
  • Consumer product and retail industries lose about
    $40 billion annually, or 3.5 percent of their sales, due to supply chain inefficiencies.

 

As things we don’t even consider to be computers gain intelligence and connectivity, and we have increasingly vast computing resources to understand it all, what problems will we be able to solve?

The internet “revolution” and todays experience of embed technology are the baby steps – people think blogging is cool and chips in their cash cards are futuristic.

 

I remember some mind blowing statistics about the power of computing that will be available over the next 20 years that makes today’s computing look like an abacus.  Problems like self drive cars and other promises of technology that never quite happened will start to become a reality, partially down to just shear brute force number crunching combined with all the data from those pervasive cheap sensors.

 

So to return to Sam’s message… what new business models will all this smartness enable.  For sure business won’t look like it does today.  Businesses will need to embrace change faster than they ever have or be killed in Amazon and eBay style game changes.  To enable that change businesses need to think 2.0 and start with what they can do now.  Namely, embrace the web2.0 mentality – interconnectedness, good-enough, democracy, and opening up the insides of your company.  Perhaps start by promoting your employees who Facebook rather than frowning at them. ;)

 

Of course the side story here, is that popular bloggers on w3 were given access to this story by w3 Editor-in-chief Ethan McCarty, before Sam has even finished giving the speech, which underlines IBM’s committment to web2.0 methods of communication, and I feel very priviledged to apparently be counted among them.

Ethan has also posted some great videos on YouTube promoting the new strategy.  Here’s the first one to whet your appetite:

 

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