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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:


It’s been a good week.  I get asked a lot about how to create videos using virtual worlds (machinima [pronounced ma shin ee ma], so I’ve been creating a series of videos on how to create virtual videos.  Which of course means this is one of those happy times when the medium is the message.  There is nothing new in all that of course, but as it’s done on IBM time and for an IBM audience it sadly means that I won’t be posting it on the internet.

In the course of doing all this, I found a great little internal IBM website which allows you to create topics with content and then mash them together into mini-courses which people can sign up for.  It did also remind me that things go full circle.  When I joined IBM I worked on a project called “Learning Village” which IBM sold to a company called RiverDeep which basically did the same thing and more, but was a full-blown Lotus Notes deployment.

This is all very timely as I am on a panel discussion tomorrow up in London for an HR Magazine on virtual worlds learning.  I’d best go iron a shirt! 🙂

Business Process Management

Ian used to work in BPM and now works in virtual worlds and is amused that these things are now coming together.  It’s all about people – BPM and virtual worlds, everything.  Combine services and people to do a piece of business – SOA – People Information Process.

BPM with Virtual Worlds
What is it you’re trying to do.  V. different having a VW as an end touch point for your customers to having a VW for doing business.  Very different for VW providers too.

Chain Model of Needs
Expressiveness, Communcation and Instrumentation
Depends on what you are trying to do as to how things flow between them.

Ian talking about virtual business center )  Nice slides.  Customer touchpoint.  Ian is making point that it’s integrated into our regular processes.  Note we even have Siebel tactic codes for leads!

Internal Communication
Often treated as a side project. VW has to be integrated into the workflow of everyday business life.  Treat it as you treat email system, IM etc.  Ian gives cattail example – IBM’s social filesharing app, which can be easily pulled into IBM’s internal Metaverse project as same login is used for both systems. Also mentioning instant VW comms as part of IM – IBM’s recent announcement.

Virtual Worlds as the Business
As a service provider or tool vendor this is business as usual.
Opensim is a good fit for IBM – open and interoperable.

Innov8 – a BPM simulator

Ian talking about holistic view of business and business dashboards.  Is best way to find out about your business a spreadsheet at the end of the month or a living breathing model.

Understanding your business – the future
VW visulization of the entire holistic view of your business in realtime.  Think mirror world, but with the business/IT as the model to mirror.

Eating the IT Elephant
Not about VW, but able to use dynamics of a virtual world to communicate the details outlined – physical, business services, Data/Component Entities, SOA view, Complete view. Gives you a model that you can use to explain things to people.

To quote Douglas Adams. “Space is big.  You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.  I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the drg store, but that’s just peanuts to space.”  Virtual worlds can be at the end of a business process, part of the business process or controlling your business process.

This weeks Virtual Worlds Forum in London is now over.  The event had started on an unexpected low with the the conference venue turning into a crime scene after an unrelated shooting at the weekend. During the first day, some folk regrouped to “The Hospital” – a private members club for creative types in Covent Garden.

As I knew many people would no longer be heading into London I offered to setup a virtual refugee camp at the IBM Business Center.  As the afternoon progress more people arrived and after showing Jeff Barr and Giles Hogburn around the Virtual Green Data Center, Giles agreed to present his very interesting talk planned for the VWF on my virtual chat show Boris in Wonderland.  You can see it by visiting my Boris in Wonderland show channel, and pressing “On Demand” and then VWF.  Our comms team also picked up the story and sent out a press release about it.

In the evening, the planned South by Southwest mixer party continued as planned, and I quickly wrapped up Giles’ presentation so I could head in for it.  I met up with some of the VWF team, did a quick vox pops (7.5mins in (bear in mind it was pretty loud and my hearing is not so good ) ) for the VWF podcast series, met Bruce from Vastpark (who’s pitch seemed to make a lot of sense to me), discussed IBM’s Lotus virtual worlds announcements with the Ambient team, and met lots of others.  I hopefully snaffled a few people to appear on Boris in Wonderland in the future. ) Good evening and free drinks )

The next day, the VWF arranged an “unconference” at the Hospital, where about 100 die-hards showed up to set the agenda, meet and greet.  Ian Hughes, Rob Smart and I spread out and effectively setup an IBM track and input to other sessions too.  Ian hosted a discussion on 3D printing, Rob ran on on inter-world messaging and I ran one how to communicate virtual worlds to business technophobes.  I also attended a session on “when will corporates get virtual worlds”, to which my answer was basically, when their sales people understand it (that’s my experience in IBM!) and when they are all running Sametime 3D ) I got to see Klaus Hammermuller again and was hearing how his “Talkademy” (one of the best uses for virtual worlds I’ve seen) is going now he’s left IBM.  Ian also introduced me to Mal Burns, an interesting character who is I understand a well known blogger and twitterer.  Indeed, through talking to a few folk over the conference has inspired me to get back into blogging, twittering etc and basically get give myself a shotinthearm2.0 (running my own virtual chat show is clearly not enough, apparently I have to be web2.0 not just 3.0 ;) ).  That’s the problem with working from home and being busy it’s just too easy to stay focussed on core work, and spend time with your wife and kids and that’s not what the modern world is about  )

All in all a bit of a pheonix from the ashes.  It’s hard to say whether there would’ve been lots of potential clients there originally, but there certainly wasn’t at the unconference.  Time will tell whether the Virtual Worlds expo in 2 weeks will be any better…

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