Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘telecommuting’ Category

Do You Yahoo?

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Here’s the question of the day: Do you Yahoo?

And my answer is…yeah, well, sure, but only when I’m in the office.

Because, you know, and we all know, that a cubicle farm is the perfect venue by which to instigate and channel creativity and innovation.

Just ask Dilbert. He’s been stuck in that cartoon cubicle for nearly 20 years, and he’s doing just fine.

I’m referring, of course, tongue in cheekly, to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s new edict that all Yahoo employees must come back to work in the mother ship and that there will no longer be telecommuters.

In her memo, Mayer wrote that “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

To which I would ask, “Show me the money.”

I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades working at IBM, and I would say that my career has been about evenly split: Half in an office, half working from home.

Upon reflection, I’m not sure I could say there was more productivity or innovation that could be attributed to working from one location or another.

While I’m not discounting the serendipitous opportunities for mixing it up that can come through working in a physical office with colleagues, I can attest as well that it can have the opposite effect — too many interruptions, too many meetings, too much lost productivity.

For me, work is a state of mind and being, not a location. It’s something that I do, not a place that I go.

The technologies that IBM and others have built have eliminated the perceived need for constant physical proximity.  Using IBM Notes, Sametime, and Connections our world is one big virtual office, with more than enough software capability to bind us together in a seamless fabric, one that increasingly transcends both space and time.

And perhaps that’s another key difference.

In a global company like IBM, we typically work daily with people from around the world.  But I can’t wake up Monday morning and decide I need to drop by the office in Bangalore. That’s typically a 20+ hour journey from Texas, and as far as commutes go, that would probably be on the outer boundaries of long commutes!

But I can virtually stop by Bangalore daily, chatting with colleagues via instant messaging, or at minimum exchanging emails or posts in our internal IBM Connections platform.

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD columnist Kara Swisher writes on this topic this morning, with the headline “Despite Yahoo Ban, Most Tech Companies Support Work-From-Home for Employees.”

She calls out IBM in particular, citing that “IBM was one of the first global companies to pioneer programs to reduce employee commuting. It has sustained these programs for nearly two decades. Two key aspects are its (a) work-at-home program and (b) mobile employees program. Today, more than 128,000 (29 percent) of employees globally participate in one of these programs. In 2011, in just the U.S. alone, IBM’s work-at-home program conserved approximately 6.4 million gallons of fuel and avoided more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.”

To that point, I figure in the 10+ years I’ve been working remotely, I’ve probably saved close to $20,000 in gasoline and auto maintenance costs.

I’ve also been spared the agony and utter un-productivity of wasted time spent in traffic. That’s at least another 500 hours saved over ten years, time that I can either give back to myself or, as is often the case, back to IBM.

Of course, I recognize Yahoo is also an exceptional case at the moment.

Marissa Mayer is trying to turn a culture around that has been stagnating, and through this announcement she will no doubt drive people away from the company that the company may well be better off without.

On the other hand, I’m not sure wrangling the herd of Yahoo cats back to the home ranch is going to serve as the needed combustible recipe that puts the innovative spark back in the Yahoo innovation engine.

In a year or two down the road…and I mean that quite literally…I can’t help but think the answer to that wonderful, brand-promised question: “Do you Yahoo?”

The answer’s going to increasingly be, “I used to, but I just got sick and tired of the commute.”

Written by turbotodd

February 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

In Search Of The Mobile Enterprise

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The new mobile business model — with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporate and individual — can make your IT organization feel like it has lost control. For all the good that comes with mobilizing your workforce, there are challenges: maintaining security and compliance, managing multiple device platforms and addressing complex mobile requirements.

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a new smartphone or tablet device.

Last week, it was the iPhone 5 and the new Kindle Fire HD. Tomorrow, HTC’s expected to introduce some new mobile products.

And Apple still has yet to introduce the Apple “mini” iPad, currently expected in October.

The move to mobile computing raises some intriguing questions about the nature of work. What is it? Where does it take place?

As someone who’s worked their entire career at IBM, I can certainly attest to the idea that here, increasingly, work is not a place you go but what you do.

I’ve spent nearly nine full years working from my home, and several of those years, spent at least a week a month living (and working) in airplanes.

As the IBM “Services for the Mobile Enterprise” team recently observed, the new workplace is now undeniably a mobile enterprise.

CIOs On Mobile: 66% Plan To Increase Mobile Investments in 2012

Which makes it no big surprise that 66 percent of CIOs plan to increase investments in mobile services in the next year.

And of course, there’s the “BYOD” movement to contend with (“Bring Your Own Device”), with employees expecting whatever device they have to fit into their corporate environment.

This new mobile business model, with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporations and individuals, can send IT folks into a conniption fit.

Despite all the goodness — for employees, management, and most importantly, the bottom line — there are challenges that accompany this mobilization of the workforce.

Issues such as maintaining security and compliance.  Managing multiple device platforms.  Addressing complex mobile requirements.

IBM recently released this interactive infographic that has some interesting statistics I thought worthwhile sharing here.

To start, 35 percent of the world’s total workforce is expected to be mobile by 2013.

Here in the U.S., up to 72.2 percent of workers are already plugged in remotely.

This year, some 43 billion mobile applications are expected to be downloaded.

And yet on average, mobile workers spend only a total of 28 minutes a day on technology distractions…there’s too much work to do, otherwise!

The Mobile Upside: 240 Extra Hours Worked Per Worker Per Year

And here’s the upside bonus for you managers: Such mobile workers work an average of 240 extra hours per year.

But as the infographic observes, with those benefits come expectations.

This new mobile generation of workers demands flexibility. Today’s employees expect to use their own devices and applications at work to access information and social networks at will. They even value this flexibility more than a higher-paying salary (Can you say “Mobile enables work/life balance?”).

Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report in 2011 found that 66 percent of workers said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility.

Mobile Presents New Challenges

So, as businesses work to embrace these new productive mobile work habits, they must also face the requisite challenges asscoated with the growing number of devices, networks, and applications. Enterprises need a solution that intertwines cross-platform compatibility, security, cost management, compliance, and the inevitable complexity.

By way of example, 21 percent of mobile workers say they have experienced a security issue related to their smartphone (lost, stolen, hacked, virus) in the last year alone.

Fifty-four percent of enterprises rate security and authentication as one of the two top concerns for their mobile environments.

Seventeen percent say they need to meet compliance/regulatory requirements in mobile environments.

And yet 45 percent of IT departments say they aren’t prepared policy- and technology-wise to handle this more borderless, mobile workforce.

Bridging Your Mobile Gap

To overcome those challenges, enterprises need an experienced partner with a strategy capable of spanning the distance between mobile advances and existing infrastructures.

Those early adopters are leaping ahead: They’re already experiencing 20 percent cost savings and productivity improvements.

And 75 percent of CIOs say mobility solutions are a top priority of theirs for 2012.

On the mobile front, IBM workers are walking their own mobile talk, connecting to 10 different networks located around the world, and with 100K+ of them connecting using their own handheld devices (using at least five supported device platforms).

IBM’s own app store, Whirlwind, offers over 500 applications and was recognized by CIO Magazine with the “CIO 100 Top Innovation Award.”

All of that experience IBM has had with its own mobile enablement has informed and shaped the company’s customer-facing mobile initiatives, both through product development and through the introduction of its mobile services offerings.

IBM can help your staff develop the right strategy and governance and deliver a wide range of mobile enterprise services to create a more productive, connected workplace.

You can read about some of those offerings here.

TurboTech: A Humorous Look At 2011 Technology Trends In Review

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It’s not many people who have the opportunity to be able to say that they’ve worked with a true broadcasting professional like Scott Laningham.

Blogger's Note: No dolphins were harmed during the making of this video. Green pigs who stole bird's eggs, well, that's a whole other story!

It’s even less people who would take the opportunity to actually come clean and admit to having done so, especially on more than one occasion.

Because I’m neither a true professional nor someone who likes to allow the skeletons in his closet to begin to accumulate, instead of facing as many of them as I can take head on like some egregious out-of-control episode of “Walking Dead,” or, worse, a full-on “Angry Birds” like assault come to life (but only if it’s the ad-supported version, as we’re too cheap to actually buy a copy), it is with great pleasure that I feature for you my readers the latest episode of “TurboTech,” another fine example supporting the postulation by Gartner and others that broadband video is here to stay…even if Scott and I are not destined to be ourselves.

The following is video documentary evidence of what happens when nature cannot simply abhor a vacuum, but instead must attempt to fill it with technology forecasting tripe at the end of another grand year of massive technological disruption.  In our case, the year 2011, which was filled with much technological wonder and wonderment, not the least of which included fabric-based computing.

It shall also not go unnoticed by somewhat regular (assuming there are any of you) viewers that Scott continues to look and sound much, much better than me in these episodes, indicating once again that Scott continues to have better technology than me.

This, too, must change.

Crashing While Driving While Texting

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So I watched the Chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, last night as she made the rounds on the news channels about the NTSB Safety Board’s recommendation for a nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

Though I know there will be lots of business interests, not to mention political ones, against such a ban, I thought the Chairman made a compelling argument, and as I delved into some of the details and case studies that informed the board’s recommendations, it became even more difficult to argue with.

Mostly.  But more on that later.

Mind you, this is my take on the situation, and I’m sure there are lots of other points of view that I hope this announcement instigates some discussion around, and of course, I only speak for myself here.

But first, let’s survey some of the facts and incidents the board cited in the press release it issued around its decision:

  • On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.
  • The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.
  • The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.

These were just a couple of the initially cited incidents.  The Board came loaded for bear with a variety of others:

  • In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured
  • In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens.
  • In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.
  • In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious “duck” boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;
  • In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities

So what about the recommendation?  It specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task, like GPS devices) for all drivers.

The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communications campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

‘According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

Controversial?  No doubt.  Sensible?  Largely.

Once upon a time, I used to find myself on occasion texting and driving, particularly on the freeway, until a couple of times I nearly rear-ended someone.  Then, I very quickly came to my own empirical conclusion that driving while texting was not conducive to “smarter driving” and went back to enjoying my car stereo.

As far as the complete and entire ban on voice discussions in the car, particularly considering the introduction of technologies like OnStar and Lynx — which make voice communications much more seamless and integrated into the overall driving experience (volume control on the steering wheel, voice activation and dialing, etc.) — I’m curious if maybe there could be some more research to help fully understand the safety and economic impact of such a robust ban.

But in any case, I do think the NTSB Safety Board is heading in the right direction, so to speak, and to put the exclamation point on the report, the report cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers which found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, emailing, or accessing the Internet.

163 times!  You can go here to see more about the NTSB report and recommendation.

So, not to be scientific or anything, I’m looking to elicit input from the crowd in the following poll on what your thoughts are regarding the NTSB announcement.  Vote early and often!

Celebrating Social Media Week: Our Big Blue Social Business

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Remember the logo, that curvy red “e” that mimicked the “@” symbol, which came to represent what IBM meant by the idea of “e-business” back in the late 1990s?

Starting in 1997, the IBM e-business logo signaled IBM's focus on helping organizations transform themselves using Internet technologies. It's now helping them pursue similar transformations with "social business" adoption.

Well, imagine replacing it with a curvy “s” instead and calling it “social business” instead, and you’d have a pretty good symbol for describing IBM’s social transformation inside the company, as well as the market it’s helping to make for other companies and organizations around the globe to follow suit.

IBM: The Social Case Study

As we celebrate “Social Media Week,” I wanted to write a post to let people know some details and facts behind IBM’s social transformation. As the largest consumer of social technologies, IBM is a case study for this transformation into a social business.

This goes beyond IBM’s business in social software and services (IBM’s collaboration software, consulting services, analytics/social media research, conducting Jams for clients).  IBM is leading social business on all fronts – technology, policy and practice.

IBM takes social networking seriously –  to develop products and services, to enable sellers to find and stay connected with clients, to train the next generation of leaders, and to build awareness of Smarter Planet among clients, influencers and other communities.

What’s Past Is Social Prologue

IBM’s social media activity dates back to the 1970′s when its mainframe programmers started online discussion forums on the System 370 consoles. For 15 years, IBM employees have used social software to foster collaboration among our dispersed 400,000 person team — long before Generation Y became fixated with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

I remember, because when I joined the company in 1991, I used to collaborate with fellow employees in other locations via IBM’s internal mainframe.

Then, in 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Internet, at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access (I’d gotten on the commercial Internet starting in 1993 myself).

In 2005, the company made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate (I started this blog in June 2005).

In 2007, IBM launched its own social networking software for the enterprise: IBM  Connections. My team now uses Connections to collaborate and coordinate work literally around the globe. I’m not quite sure how we got along without it (but we used to say the same thing about email!)

This is a screenshot from an IBM Connections Community that I use to manage a workgroup of people who attend a weekly call I've been holding for nearly six years now. The Connections community streamlines the time I have to take to manage basic details for the call, ranging from communicating where files are located to highlighting the call-in number. In short, I'd be lost without it, and be much less productive in my day-to-day work!

In early 2008, IBM introduced social computing guidelines to encompass virtual worlds and sharing of rich media. (Remember Second Life?? Yeah, me neither…well, kind of.)

And later that year, IBM opened its IBM Center for Social Software to help IBM’s global network of researchers collaborate with corporate residents, university students and faculty, creating the industry’s premier incubator for the research, development and testing of social software that is “fit for business”.

Social Business Means Business Change

Here’s a profound stat: According to Gartner, in 2010, only five percent of organizations took advantage of social/collaborative customer action to improve service processes.

IBM sees social media morphing into what we view as a key requirement for “social business” — as tools for organizational productivity and culture change, for engaging with diverse constituencies of clients and experts, and for spurring revenue growth and innovation for our global workforce.

Today, IBM views itself as one of the most prolific users of social networking in the industry with one of the largest corporate-wide communities on social media sites.

Some examples of IBM’s internal social media footprint today include the following:

  • 17,000 individual blogs
  • 1 million daily page views of internal wikis, internal information storing websites
  • 400,000 employee profiles on IBM Connections, IBM’s initial social networking initiative that allows employees to share status updates, collaborate on wikis, blogs and activity, share files
  • 15,000,000 downloads of employee-generated videos/podcasts
  • 20 million minutes of LotusLive meetings every month with people both inside and outside the organization
  • More than 400k Sametime instant messaging users, resulting in 40-50 million instant messages per day

The screen above has become one quite familiar to IBMers around the world. "LotusLive" emeetings have become commonplace, helping employees across multiple geographical locations come together in real-time and virtual space to meet and get work done!

If you were to glance outside IBM on the social media external to the company, you’d find a continued and expansive footprint of IBM participants:

  • Over 25,000 IBMers actively tweeting on Twitter and counting
  • Approximately 300,00 IBMers on Linkedin. This number is growing at 24%/year, which gives IBM the largest employee presence of any firm on the platform.
  • Approximately 198,000 IBMers on Facebook

Putting Social Into Action

Our social business initiatives have had a profound impact on IBM’s business processes and transformation. By way of example, well before the phrases “Web 2.0″ or “social media” came into being, IBM was using online jams to drive business initiatives and values development across the company.

As our own CEO Sam Palmisano explained, “Jams have helped change our culture and the fundamental way we collaborate across our business.”  We’ve conducted jams both for IBM and our clients, including the Innovation Jam in 2006 which led directly to the development of the business opportunities that preceded our Smarter Planet agenda.

So, from that perspective, it becomes evident a massive internal social exercise that allowed the employees of IBM identify a major strategic shift for the company!

When’s the last time you let your employee base determine a massive strategic direction that your company was about to take??

Human Resources Are Inherently Social

IBM’s HR hasn’t been untouched by the social business evolution. Our HR professionals use social media for tech-enabled recruiting (think LinkedIn), employee education, sales training and leadership development.

By way of example, IBM relies on social media for leadership development from the first day on the job.  IBM’s Succeeding@IBM makes new hires become part of a social group for the first 6-12 months, so that they can get better acculturated into IBM with other new hires.

In 2006, hundreds of thousands of IBMers came together in a 72-hour virtual jam to help identify the emerging business opportunities that came to represent IBM's "Smarter Planet" initiative. This was "crowdsourcing" of a massive scale, and led to over $100M in internal investments in these important new business opportunities.

In point of fact, IBM’s recent study of 700 Global Chief Human Resource Officers found that  financial outperformers (as measured by EBIDTA) are 57 percent more likely than underperformers to use collaborative and social networking tools to enable global teams to work more effectively together and 21 percent of companies have recently increased the amount they invest in the collaboration tools and analytics despite the economic downturn.

Most recently, we’ve launched an internal initiative entitled “Social Business @ IBM” on our intranet which serves as a resource for IBMers to better educate themselves about social media and various social initiatives taking place internally, while also helping enable them to participate in the broader social media.

We also host modules that provide the IBMer with an introduction to the social web, where they learn how to use social computing tools to foster collaboration, develop networks, and forge closer relationships…with people who are often halfway around the globe!

Social = Transformational

When people tell me they still have to go into an office my response is, “How primitive.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love to press the flesh, but I’ve found that in this flatter earth, increasingly globalized realm, where my colleagues and I have to work all different hours, the question that always comes to me is “Who has time to waste sitting in a car?!!!”

But more importantly, the social business evolution I’ve witnessed at IBM is truly transformational.  When I started work at IBM in the summer of 1991 as a greenhorn intern, we DID go to an office every day and we DID have meetings face to face all the time and I DID wear a white shirt and blue tie.

These days, I can’t remember the last time I went into the IBM office, and yet I feel more connected and more productive than ever.  Why?  Well, I won’t lie, even if I sound like a commercial — the IBM technologies, from our IBM Lotus Sametime Instant Messaging to Lotus Notes and IBM Connections largely remove time and geography from the productivity equation.

But I would suggest there’s an even more transformational thought at work: IBM now trusts its employees in ways it never did before, and the democratization that social tools brought forth has also brought us a democratization in decision-making.

I now make front line decisions that, 20 years ago, would have been driven through a host of hierarchies and managers at a pace that likely would have been acceptable in terms of those times.

Today, such delays would be completely unacceptable and even uncompetitive, as decisions often need to be made instantly. But based on both the technological and cultural transformation within IBM, that’s okay, I’m expected and trusted to make those decisions.

And finally, social business, like social media, is also just plain more fun.

It’s as if these tools enable you to have the whole world at your fingertips.  And that makes for a smarter planet and  a smarter, more competitive IBM.

Stop Your Honking! The IBM 2011 Global Commuter Study

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The IBM Commuter Study for 2011 is now available.

In last year’s results, I mentioned that I’ve been an IBM home office worker for the better part of the last eight years.

I’m not sure how much gas I’ve saved.  And I’m not sure how many more hours IBM has gotten out of me, never mind the fact that I pay the utilities here at the home office.

But whatever the price, it’s saved me the hassle of getting out into the Austin traffic.

And once you hear some of the results from this year’s study, you may be wanting to climb your way out of your own commute:

Of the 8,042 commuters in 20 cities across six contintents, here’s the headlines:

  • Drivers report more stress and frustration related to commuting worldwide
  • Forty one percent of commuters globally said improved public transportation would help reduce stress
  • Perception of traffic in emerging economies vs. more developed economies is improving

In a cross-section of some of the most economically important international cities there appears a startling dichotomy: while the commute has become a lot more bearable over the past year, drivers complaints are going through the roof.

The annual global Commuter Pain Survey revealed that in a number of cities more people are taking public transportation rather than driving, when compared with last year’s survey.

In many cities, there were big jumps in the percentage of respondents who said that roadway traffic has improved either “somewhat” or “substantially” in the past three years.

IBM Commuter Pain Index

To better understand consumer attitudes around traffic congestion as the issue continues to grow around the world, IBM conducted the 2011 Commuter Pain survey. The IBM Commuter Pain Index, illustrated in this speedometer graphic, ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in 20 international cities. From right to left, cities are plotted from least painful starting with Montreal and gradually increase to the most painful city, Mexico City.

But that’s only part of the story. In many cities, the survey recorded significant increases, when compared with last year, in the number of respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their levels of personal stress and anger and negatively affected their performance at work or school.

“Commuting doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s global intelligent transportation expert. “A person’s emotional response to the daily commute is colored by many factors pertaining both to traffic congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year’s Global Commuter Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more unsettled and anxious compared with 2010.”

Infrastructure Investments in Emerging Markets

The survey results suggest that aggressive infrastructure investment in some of the most rapidly growing economies seems to be paying off. Compared with other cities surveyed, more commuters in Bangalore, New Delhi, Beijing and Shenzhen reported improvement in traffic conditions over the last three years.

For example, last year Beijing was expected to invest approximately 80 billion yuan to improve its transportation infrastructure, and Mexico City is making a significant investment of $2.5 billion US over the next few years to better support the growing demands of its transportation network in one of the most populated urban areas in the world.

With more than one billion cars on the road worldwide, cities are continuing to address traffic congestion and looking for new ways to handle the growing demand.

Even though commuters in many emerging market cities report that traffic is down, there is much room for improvement. The respondents in many of these same cities also report, with a greater frequency than the global average, that traffic negatively impacts their stress levels, physical health and productivity.

For example, 86 percent of the respondents in Beijing, 87 percent in Shenzhen, 70 percent in New Delhi and 61 percent in Nairobi report traffic as a key inhibitor to work or school performance. Sixty seven percent of drivers in Mexico City, 63 percent in Shenzhen and New Delhi and 61 percent in Beijing said they had decided not to make a driving trip in the last month due to anticipated traffic — the most of all cities surveyed.

Commuting pain is also reflected globally as 69 percent of those surveyed indicated that traffic has negatively affected their health in some way. Some 42 percent of respondents globally reported increased stress and 35 percent reported increased anger. Respiratory problems due to traffic congestion were most prevalent in China and India.

A Move To Public Transportation

The survey results reflect an increased willingness to use public transportation and technology to improve the commute. Overall, 41 percent believe improved public transit would help reduce traffic congestion. Consider that even though globally only 35 percent of people changed the way that they get to work or school in the last year, 45 percent of those who have are opting for public transit.

An astonishing 70 percent of Nairobi residents report taking public transit more often in the last year on their daily commute. The biggest movement to public transit is in emerging cities including Nairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing. If this continues, it could help mitigate increasing traffic due to population growth and urbanization. Interestingly, the desire for more accurate and timely information about road conditions as a way to reduce stress was shared across a number of cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to Moscow and Bangalore.

If you've never experienced traffic in Bangalore, here's a snapshot I took from my visit there in June 2010. This was very light traffic conditions in Bangalore, if slow!

IBM Commuter Pain Survey

IBM compiled the results of the survey into its Commuter Pain Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city, with the highest number being the most onerous. The Index reveals a tremendous disparity in the pain of the daily commute from city to city. Montreal had the least painful commute of the cities studied, followed by London and Chicago. Here’s how the cities stack up:

The index is comprised of 10 issues:

  1. commuting time
  2. time stuck in traffic, agreement that:
  3. price of gas is already too high
  4. traffic has gotten worse
  5. start-stop traffic is a problem
  6. driving causes stress
  7. driving causes anger
  8. traffic affects work
  9. traffic so bad driving stopped
  10. decided not to make trip due to traffic.

The cities scored as follows: Mexico City: 108; Shenzhen 95; Beijing 95; Nairobi 88; Johannesburg 83; Bangalore 75; New Delhi 72; Moscow 65; Milan 53; Singapore 44; Buenos Aires 42; Los Angeles 34; Paris 31; Madrid 28; New York City 28; Toronto 27; Stockholm 26; Chicago 25; London 23; and Montreal 21.

“We can’t simply build our way out of congestion no matter which city,” said Vinodh Swaminathan, director of intelligent transportation systems, IBM.  In order to improve traffic flow and congestion, cities need to move beyond knowing and reacting; they have to find ways to anticipate and avoid situations that cause congestion that could turn the world into one giant parking lot.”

Survey Snapshot: Notable Movers & Interesting Trends

  • Fourteen of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that traffic had improved either “somewhat” or “substantially” over the past three years, with many of the cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (24% in 2011 vs. 12% in 2010), Toronto (23% in 2011 vs. 8% in 2010), Milan (27% in 2011 vs. 7% in 2010), Stockholm (42% in 2011 vs. 18% in 2010), Moscow (31% in 2011 vs. 16%), and Johannesburg (29% in 2011 vs. 13% in 2010).
  • Despite improving traffic conditions, 12 of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their stress levels, with sveral cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (45% in 2011 vs. 13% in 2010), Los Angeles (44% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Toronto (40% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), London (33% in 2011 vs. 19% in 2010), Milan (61% in 2011 vs. 38% in 2010), and Johannesburg (52% in 2011 vs. 30% in 2010).
  • Eleven of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reporter year-over-year increases in respondents who said that roadway traffic has made them angry, with several cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (35% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), Los Angeles, (29% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), and Toronto (29% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010).
  • Eleven of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that traffic has negatively affected their performance at work or school, with several cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (28% in 2011 vs. 8% in 2010), Toronto (29% in 2011 vs. 17% in 2010), Madrid (30% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Paris (35% in 2011 vs. 26% in 2010), Milan (40% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Stockholm (25% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), and Moscow (34% in 2011 vs. 25% in 2010).
  • When asked about the longest amount of time they have been stuck in traffic over the past three years, the mean time reported by drivers in Mexico City, Moscow, Beijing, Shenzhen and Nairobi were notable, with delays of about two hours. In Moscow, approximately three in ten drivers (29 percent) say they been stuck for over three hours. By comparison, about half of the drivers surveyed in Stockholm, Singapore, Madrid and Buenos Aires reported spending less than 30 minutes or literally no time stuck in traffic.
  • The percentage of New York metro area drivers who are driving to work or school alone decreased to 59 percent in 2011 vs. 90 percent last year.
  • If traffic didn’t take up so much time, commuters would rather devote it to personal relationships and improving their physical health. More than half of respondents (56 percent) would spend time won back with family/friends; while nearly half (48 percent) would exercise and 40 percent would spend more time on recreation. Nearly three in ten drivers (29 percent) would sleep more.
  • Commuters in Nairobi seem to take traffic in stride despite the fact that they average among the longest commutes. Nearly half (48 percent) report that roadway traffic has not impacted their health.
  • On average, drivers in Nairobi, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Beijing, Bangalore, and Moscow spend the longest amount of time (36 minutes or more) on the road to get to their workplace or school.

About the IBM Commuter Pain Survey

The Commuter Pain Survey is conducted by IBM to better understand consumer attitudes around traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions around the world and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These events are impacting communities around the world, where governments, citizens and private sector organizations are looking beyond traditional remedies like additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the negative impacts of increased road congestion.

This is IBM’s fourth annual Commuter Pain survey. IBM began conducting the survey in the United States in 2008 and expanded it to 20 global cities in 2010. Findings from the Commuter Pain survey will be used to assess citizen concerns about traffic and commuter issues; enhance smarter transportation solutions such as traffic prediction intelligent tolling systems, road user charging, advanced traffic management and integrated fare management and serve as a basis for pioneering new approaches to improving transportation.

IBM is working with cities, governments and others around the world to make their transportation systems smarter. Smarter transportation systems can help traffic and public transit systems flow more smoothly, anticipate and improve congestion in advance, reduce emissions and increase the capacity of infrastructure.

Read the IBM report on the 2011 Commuter Pain Survey here.

Join us for a Twitter chat #2011CommuterPain with @kalgyimesi, automotive leader for IBM Institute for Business Value and one of the study authors, on September 12 at 12 PM ET.

To join in the conversation on Smarter Transportation, join us on LinkedIn and Twitter and follow #2011CommuterPain.

Visit here for more on IBM and Smarter Traffic.

Look Into the Camera

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Merger Monday has evolved into Transaction Thursday.

As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 60th birthday today in Beijing (only invited guests could physically attend the celebration…all the other Beijingers had to watch the Party on TV), Cisco bought Norwegian video conferencing provider, Tandberg, for around $3B U.S.

If you’ve never seen a Cisco TelePresence suite, it really is the next best thing to being there.

Tandberg provides similar capabilities, with The New York Times pointing out that that it sells smaller-sized, cheaper conferencing units, suggesting that Cisco is readying itself to take video conferencing downmarket to conference rooms everywhere.

Tandberg’s range of video conferencing gear includes those systems that can sit on desks or be used with personal computers.

Does this mean I will soon no longer be able to work in my pajamas?

Quite possibly.  Maybe I can find a PJ top that looks like a tuxedo.

Which I can then wear via videoconference in New York City, where, today and tomorrow, IBM, in partnership with NYC and The City University, as well as other organizations from the public, private, and voluntary sectors, will be convening to explore how cities in the Americas can become smarter.

Hosted by IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, the SmarterCities NYC forum will continue the conversation started in Berlin in June to explore new approaches to regional partnership as well as evaluate frameworks for investment and review the tools that are helping our cities meet 21st century realities.

You can learn more about the event here.

Continuing with the video conferencing meme, just yesterday, IBM announced new services that will help companies around the world improve their own global communications, reduce their carbon footprints, and save costs on travel expenses.

For the first time, IBM is delivering a managed service to make it easy to implement and operate a video communications solution enabling smarter collaboration between employees, customer and partners around the world.

The new IBM Converged Communications Services – Managed Telepresence service includes design, implementation, concierge and help desk, integration with client calendaring application, remote operations, and maintenance and support.

IBM will provide telecommunications for this service by leveraging its partnerships with telecommunications providers worldwide, and technology for this service using Cisco’s TelePresence technology.

IBM Global Financing will also offer flexible billing and payment options for this solution.  Learn more about the new Managed Telepresence service here.

So, don’t be surprised when you see me wearing a tuxedo in our next video conference…and try not to laugh too hard when you think about the rest of my remote wardrobe (I’m sensing a major new clothing line opportunity here).

Written by turbotodd

October 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm

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