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Aug 09, 2011

The Future is Now for Smarter Computing

By Evelyn Hoover

Smarter computing is all about transforming IT, which is often perceived as a bottleneck, into a source of innovation and business benefit to an organization. That was the message IBM Fellow Gururaj Rao championed during his keynote, “A New Era of Smarter Computing: Optimized Systems,” at the SHARE Conference on Tuesday.

“Smarter Computing is a synthesis of what we have seen our successful clients do … with a specialized plan,” Rao said following his session. “These clients are enabling innovation.”

He cited several examples, including one hospital’s use of sensors to monitor infants in a neonatal unit. The data from the sensors is then analyzed to see triggers for life-threatening conditions that might arise down the road.

Similarly, fishermen are using mobile technology on fishing boats to report their catch while still at sea. Restaurants can then negotiate with the fishermen through the cloud. As a result, the day’s catch is already sold while ships are still at sea. They do this on System z, Rao added.

“When you look at these powerful examples, they are creating business value by using IT in a non-traditional way,” he said.

In many cases, these innovations involve non-traditional data as well. Big data sources, like sensors and call detail records, offer great opportunity but they don’t fit in the traditional enterprise data warehouse, so new approaches are needed, Rao noted.

Accordingly cloud and virtualization technologies are being used to create smarter computing, he said. His message, however, is one size does not fit all. Using golf as an analogy, he explained, the objective isn’t to just hit the ball. If that were the case, you’d only need one club.

IT organizations need to determine their specialized needs—cost efficiency through platform consolidation or improved performance, Rao said. The key is to create the right architecture infrastructure based on the business need to deliver business value. This requires a different mindset about how systems can add value rather than simply being perceived as a cost center.

And IBM is able to help customers determine what hardware, software and services are the best fit to achieve an individual client’s needs.

“Any client can enable innovative business value without breaking the bank,” Rao explained.


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