Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘smarter planet’ Category

TurboTech: IBM SmartCamp Video Debrief

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For you regular readers of this blog, you know I attended and blogged the IBM Global SmartCamp Finals in San Francisco week before last…wow, has it already been two weeks?

In fact, it was two weeks ago today that Profitero was announced as this year’s winner.

Although as I mention in the videocast with Scott Laningham below — in which we talk for about 15 minutes about what I saw, heard, and witnessed at the SmartCamp finals — all the participants, as well as those of we IBM bystanders, were winners when it came to hearing some of these groundbreaking business plans for helping build smarter (and more data-driven) cities around the globe.

I also enjoyed meeting my blogging counterpart, Steve Hamm, who provided extensive coverage on IBM’s Smarter Planet blog and with whom I broke bread…err, noodles…somewhere in Chinatown.  I couldn’t find my way back to that noodle shop if I had to — I’m not sure if Steve could, either.

The Titans Of Silicon Valley: Words Of Wisdom From Real World Venture Capitalists

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This post is being dispatched by yours truly, Todd “Turbo” Watson, who is acting as a guest blogger  on the IBM SmartCamp blog for this year’s IBM SmartCamp Global Finals.

The “Titans of Silicon Valley,” venture capitalists Mark Fernandes, Sierra Ventures; Mark Gorenberg, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners; Don Wood, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Promod Haque, Norwest Venture Partners offering their words of wisdom to IBM’s nine Smart Camp Global Finalists in San Francisco yesterday afternoon.

If you’ve ever been involved in a start-up enterprise of any sort, you know that some of the most precious insight and advice you can get comes not from your mother (Happy Birthday, Mom!…it really was my mom’s birthday yesterday, so I had to get that shoutout out there), but rather from the people who hand out the investment checks, the venture capitalists.

And so it was at IBM Smart Camp yesterday afternoon in the 425 Market Street offices of the IBM Company here in San Francisco.

For those of you who have followed my own blog, turbotodd.com, for any length of time, you are accustomed to me writing about earthquakes when I’m such prone-ridden regions of the world.

I’ve been in earthquakes now in San Jose, Tokyo, and Beijing, all while on IBM business, but the only earth-shattering that went down today was the wisdom passed on to this year’s IBM Smart Camp finalists by the Silicon Valley VC themselves.

The “Titans of Silicon Valley,” as went the panel title.

Our VC experts included Mark Fernandes, Sierra Ventures; Mark Gorenberg, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners; Don Wood, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; and Promod Haque, Norwest Venture Partners.

Between the four of their firms, I figure they had a few hundred million (and, presumably, even billion) dollars lined up behind start-ups of every sort, and so their word was, quite literally, gold among the entrepreneurs in today’s audience, as well as we mere mortal bystanders.

The first question came from our moderator, IBM’s own Deborah Magid, who asked how our VCs typically prefer to come across their investment ideas, and the answer was almost uniform: The network.

No, not pitches via email across the Internet transom, but rather, via the vast network that each of these VCs have, where they know people they know, and the people who know them, and the hundreds of entrepreneurs who run into their circles. So if you don’t know anyone, get busy, because as Mark Fernades explained, “The referral really matters.” Mark Gorenberg piled on, explaining that “the first meeting is key. We’re looking for an opportunity for a company to be disruptive, and to have the entrepreneur demonstrate excellence.”

Don Wood had this to add: “When you have the opportunity, get in front of the investor in person. They will try to talk to you by phone, by Skype, but if you can, get in front of that partner in the firm. What we look for is the magnetism and spark of the founder. There are so many great ideas out there on paper. But it’s the person who is telling the story that matters most: Can they be a magnet to attract talent to their company, can they attract employees and those important first customers? You are the CMO for your product, so try to do it in person and “wow” them.”

So, now that we got the Woody Allen advice out of the way (“Life is 90% just showing up!”), what next?

Don continued: Be very thorough and forthright about the marketplace and the competition. If the burden is all on me to figure out the competitive landscape, or if I or one of my partners know more than the person presenting, that worries me.  Be very informed and forthright. Respect the competitors, but when you do that comparison grid, be really honest. It’s frustrating if you find out someone misrepresented that landscape!

Another question from Deb: How do you get a sense that the guy or gal “has it?”

Mark Gorenberg explained simply: We have networks of people that we know.  Would we send them to work for this type company?  It’s hard to put your finger on it, but that way we know they’ve got a good idea.

Don Wood then added: We like to find young people who have prior experience, often in their 20s, but even those who have a couple of IPOs, they may have motivation issues. If you don’t have experience, show what you’ve done already and come in with some real progress that you can point to. If you’re a little company but you’ve caught the attention of IBM, that takes some real skill.

A round of virtual applause for all those nine semi-finalists who got IBM’s attention in the SmartCamp finals!

Don then explained that being young doesn’t hurt.  He joked: We’re all old..would we ever go do a startup?

Promod joked back: Can I show you my plan? (LAUGHTER throughout the room!)

Don went on to explain: Every set of logos from Apple to MS to Dell, and they were all started by 20 year olds.  Box.net was started by a 23 year-old.

Perfect segueway to tomorrow’s likely float of Facebook’s IPO, started by 20-something CEO Mark Zuckerberg!

Promod expanded on the power of youth: There are certain things with regard to experience. You don’t know what cannot be done!  The ability of the entrepreneur to surround themselves with others, to collaborate, to listen to other people.

So now a finalist turned the question around: What should the entrepreneurs look for in a VC?

Mark Gorenberg: Look for value add, someone who can help open doors.  We’re opportunists in a value add way.  We’re primarily pattern matchers, but we can open doors, and act as a rubber wall.  We can introduce you to partners, recruiting…that’s half our job, finding you people who can fill out your teams.  All those parts to help you find outside board members, etc.  Use us as part of your network…we should be there all the time. Are you comfortable calling the person you’re working with at 10 at night?

Having that sort of chemistry is great for a long term relationship.

Promod expanded on Mark’s response: The world is changing and the entire VC industry is changing.  Some are getting larger, some smaller, some are going to disappear. If it’s a semiconductor or software company, we know it’s going to take a lot of money. We’re very mindful of the fact of how large or strong they are going to be with capital. Challenging situations: One VC is going out of business and can’t invest in the next round.  Check the reputation of the board members who are going to be on your board, and have the respect of the boss. Those are the types of things you’re going to have to watch out for.  Who are going to have to deal with the next 6, 7, 8, 9, even 10 years!  A lot of funds are disappearing so you have to be careful who you’re choosing.

And probably some of the most insightful wisdom of the afternoon came from Don Wood, again explaining: If each fund is going to do 6 deals, and then look at a number of partners, that looks to be one or two investments per partner.  You got introduced to one person, and so you’ve got to stand out to be that partners one deal for that year. So if you have the opportunity to present yourself to one partner, you’ve got to win over that one partner.

If you go into the wrong partner, or they’re busy, they won’t be a very good champion, although they might hand you over to another partner. Understand your entry point: How many investments they’ve made, how many boards they’re on, do they miss board meetings, do they send analysts to them instead, do they spend time with the company outside of the board meetings? It isn’t always the most senior or experienced partners you want, but rather the ones who have the capacity.

Mark Fernandes continued: Go look into the deals they’ve done that haven’t worked out.  You’ll start to learn how that person reacts in bad times.

And sometimes, that big deal will come from the most unlikeliest of referrals, another entrepreneur.

Promod: A couple of quick examples. At the end of the day, the success of a deal is measured by the outcome of the deal you have on the financial return. There are times when you don’t make money. We were invested in a company called Yipes, around 1999-2000, and the company had a lot of debt and couldn’t raise any more money.  We had to file Chapter 11, and then put more money into it.  We eventually sold it, made money on second investment, but lost money overall.  While we had gone through the bankruptcy situation, he referred us to another company, Rackspace, where we made $500 million.

And a good VC/entrepreneur relationship can be akin to a good marriage:

Continued Promod: When we enter into a relationship with a company, we know it could be an 8-10 year relationship.  You go through all kinds of gyrations.

Don explained you have to look also at where the money’s coming from, especially these days: I think it depends on who you’re asking. Right now there are a lot of angel investors, and they’re paying a hugely important role.  Their financial objective may be different than Mark’s objective.

If an angel puts in $200K, and then be sold to Google for $30M, that model works for them. Quick sale, not thinking IPO. Their model is on the shorter-term, small exits to the buyers in the market. Teams, new features, ideas, etc. IF your company is like that, your angel could be satisfied. When they’re investing $300-$500M, they’re going to be looking for individual investments that can bring in at least $100M initially, and ultimately $1B.

That means the investors will want to swing for the fences, and bypass those early acquisition factors, because that won’t make a difference for a larger fund. There’s then a scale and gradation in between those two endpoints.

Another entrepreneur’s question: How often does the startup clients play a role in the investment (customers)?

Promod responded: That helps, because that’s a validation point, and a lot of times you’re investing in companies that don’t even have a product.  But, if you have a company that’s got some customers, now you can talk to that validation. We usually don’t have that luxury when we’re investing in a Series A.  When we do the Bs and Cs and so on, that will help in terms of making sure money gets in and valuation goes up.

Don chimed in: Also, they’re ask who are your referenceeable customers? They’re also going to ask you if you lost any customers, and be prepared to have calls made to the customers you lost.

Mark Fernandes: Even if you don’t have customers, you’ll walk into a meeting and know whether or not they’ve got out and talked to end customers (You don’t see revenue, proof of concept, etc.)

Another question, this time on investing in Chinese startups: How do you think about companies in China, when there are companies like Google, EBay, who are not successful (unlike IBM, which has been very successful in China)?

Promod: We’re investors, and we’re investing in local China companies in the e-commerce space, a semiconductor company, and they’re growing like a weed. It’s a huge market opportunity, and we have people on the ground, growing 9-10% a year.

Don: We struck gold early on by investing in Baidu, and owned 27% of them when it public. Based on the strength of that investment, we’ve invested in the next 30, and a number of them have grown 200%, but we’re optimistic. We have an office and a local team there.

But even with that, it’s challenging, because the government can get involved or shut them down overnight. We have some R&D funds and we don’t yet know if we’re going to be able to get that capital to work in China.  There’s a lot of risks there.

Q: We have our 9 finalists from around the world.  What’s a quick tip you have for each of them as they make their final presentations on Thursday?

Mark Gorenberg: Get to the main points.

Mark Fernandes: Demonstrate passion and commitment.

Promod: Make sure you state the value proposition very simply.

Don: Small thing: When you’re asked customers during finals, if it’s a yes, no, question, answer it yes, or no.  If it requires a numeric answer, give a numeric answer, then maybe explain briefly.

And the final words of wisdom to the nine IBM Smart Camp Global Finalists on the 20th floor of the IBM building in downtown San Francisco?

Promod: If you don’t win it’s okay, the main thing is to raise money.

IBM SmartCamp Global Finals – San Francisco: Not Your Typical Camp Experience

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I never was much one for camp, save for the Boy Scouts day camp I used to attend every Texas hot summer.

There was one particularly memorable time at camp.  One of the parents was driving us home for the day, and the next thing I knew, I was rolling along the pavement.

Me, not the car.  The car kept going, until the parent realized I had inadvertently opened the door and rolled out onto the shoulder of the road.

Fortunately, nobody was behind us, and I got back into the car, a little worse for the wear, and even played in my Little League baseball game that evening despite the new strawberry on my leg.

But that was a different kind of camp, in a very different time and place.

And over the past year, IBM has been holding camps all over the world.  “Smart Camps,” where IBM venture capitalists look for the brightest startup companies around the world.

Because for IBM, innovation from the startup community is essential to our mission of building a smarter planet.

No company, including IBM, can all of that on their own.

So over the past year, IBM’s been searching the world for the best and the brightest startup companies.

And as I write this, I’m on my way to San Francisco, California, “startup central,” if you will, to learn more about the finalists in IBM’s Smart Camp competition, and to learn more about the innovative new solutions they’re working on to help address some of the toughest challenges cities face every day, including those like traffic, healthcare, retail, and communications, among others.

So what is IBM’s role in all this, aside from the competition itself? IBM is helping convert startups to “speedups,” by helping provide coaching and connections to IBM clients and partners.

IBM is working to help get these startups to market faster, while also providing IBM clients with the hottest new technologies.

Some Background On IBM SmartCamps

A quick flashback to see how this has fared in the past: The finalists for the 2010 SmartCamp finals went on to generate more than $50 million in VC/angel funding in the year following their SmartCamp appearance!

This week, nine technology start-ups from the business analytics realm, and from around the globe, are competing to be named “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”

These nine finalists were selected among nearly one thousand applicants, and by winning their local SmartCamp competition, earned a spot in the finals to go head-to-head with the best in the world. There were nine SmartCamps held in 2011, including in Austin, Texas; New York, NY; Bangalore, India; Tel Aviv, Israel; Shanghai, China; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; London, England; Istanbul, Turkey; and Barcelona, Spain.

Some of my favorite cities around the world!

The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals will bring together hundreds of leading VCs, industry experts, press, analysts, and academics to network and celebrate entrepreneurship.

For now, I’m going to decamp the plane and head into San Francisco, where the week’s tidings are already underway.  Keep an eye on this blog for further coverage.

Google’s 2011 Zeitgeist: The Year In Black

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Hard to believe, but here we are, near the end of another calendar year, and being this time of year, it’s time for the Google Zeitgeist for 2011.

This “How the world searched” feature is in its 11th instance, and as Google alluded to it in its official blog, the Zeitgeist provides us with “the spirit of the time.”

Or, as the case may be for extraterrestrial aliens suddenly landing on the planet and examining the Google global search logs for 2011, it provides a psychotic view into our collective predispositions and moral depravity.

“E.T., phone home…and whatever else you do, DON’T read the human search logs.”

Before we allow for the drumroll, let’s highlight the details behind the Zeitgeist. Basically, Google looks at the most popular and fastest rising search terms — those with the highest growth in 2011 — in many categories across many countries.

Those of us who work in global SEO can certainly appreciate the challenges and opportunities those local conditions engender, and to make this effort even more fun, Zeitgeist this year has introduced search visualizations so one can compare terms across categories.

And, if you hate reading, there’s always the Zeitgeist year-end-recap video:

 

If the Zeitgeist is intended to capture the spirit of the times, based on some of the top search queries, I may, in fact, be entirely behind the times.  “Rebecca Black” made the top of the list, and I’ve honestly never heard of the pop singer whose greatest hit appears to be “Friday.”

TGIF.

Other songstresses hit the upper reaches of the Google search universe, including “Adele” (also lost on me), reality star “Ryan Dunn” (of which reality, might I ask), and “Casey Anthony.”

Finally, one I heard of.  The alleged child killer came in at a whopping #4 on the global zeitgeist!  Casey Kasem would be so proud!

“Google+” came in at number 2.  How convenient — and Facebook nowhere to be seen this year?

Apple dominated three other spots in the top 10: “iPhone 5” at #6, “Steve Jobs” at #9, and the “iPad 2” at #10.

A lot of stuff happened in the world this year.

There were natural disasters galore, from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, to the swarm of tornadoes across Missouri and the midwest in May, to the floods in Brazil and Thailand.

We found and killed Osama Bin Laden, even as his former safe haven of Sudan found independence in the South.

There were revolutions, literally, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and even near Wall Street.

And yes, there were some timely demises, including some of my faves, Joe Frazier, Andy Rooney, Christopher Hitchens, and yes, of course, Steve Jobs.

And despite all that, it’s apparently the big splash of Rebecca Black that topped the search charts, when her video “Friday” went viral and received over 167M views on YouTube.

E.T…don’t just phone home.  Pick me up and get me the heck out of here.

Just please, whatever else you don’t, do NOT put it on YouTube.

Written by turbotodd

December 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

IBM To Acquire Cúram Software

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IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cúram Software Ltd. to help governments improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of social programs for smarter cities.

Today, IBM acquired Curam Software, a leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cúram Software is used in more than 80 government agency projects around the world to provide the most appropriate social programs to citizens and their families in a timely manner, deliver services more effectively, and continuously monitor progress toward achieving people’s social and economic potential.

Who Is Cúram Software?

Cúram Software is the leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Using Cúram’s solutions, agencies can immediately reap the benefits of client-centric business processes and an outcomes-driven integrated service delivery model Cúram’s solutions, underpinned by the Cúram Social Industry Platform, combines the advantages of software built specifically for social programs, an enterprise platform and service-oriented architecture with the business and technical flexibility required to allow agencies to implement solutions to meet their strategic objectives.

Cúram, which means “care and protection” in Irish, was founded in 1990 and is based in Dublin, Ireland, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and India.  One of the company’s investors was Enterprise Ireland, which helps Irish companies achieve global success.

How Is Cúram Software Used?

Cúram social managment software is used by health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations around the world to deliver welfare, social insurance and both individual and employer based social programs.

It allows cities and governments to provide a single view of benefits and services available across agencies, levels of government and private and not-for-profit organizations.

The Social Industry Platform includes processes to deliver all types of programs and offers the flexibility needed to quickly update them as policy makers react to different economic times.

Cúram Software’s Platform also allows government and providers to focus on lowering overall program costs by ensuring that the benefits and services provided address core issues and that people become more self-sufficient.

Cúram And IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative

Through its Smarter Cities initiative, IBM helps cities and governments serve citizens better by adopting more intelligent and efficient ways to analyze data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources.   IBM has led more than 2,000 projects to achieve these goals and through its acquisition of Cúram Software, IBM expects to extend its leadership in this area.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.

Today’s news also builds on IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives in Ireland.  Last year the company opened its first Smarter Cities Technology Center in Dublin at IBM’s R&D Lab,  where IBM works with city authorities, universities, small and large businesses to research, develop and commercialize new ways of making city systems more connected, sustainable and intelligent.

With the addition of the Cúram Research Institute — which is working to develop and deploy new business models for managing social programs — IBM will enhance its ability to help clients increase the social and economic potential of people and their families.“

We are working to help cities and governments at all levels transform the way they interact with citizens while improving efficiency,” said Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM Industry Solutions.  “We all have stories to tell about standing in long lines or making countless phone calls to gain access to government services, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Together with Cúram, IBM can transform the way citizens do business with government in a way that benefits everyone.”

Since 1999, IBM and Cúram have collaborated on federal, state, local, and provincial-level social program solutions around the world.  More than 90 percent of Cúram’s clients use IBM WebSphere middleware and nearly 70 percent of its clients use IBM hardware.  Cúram’s software is certified for use with the IBM Government Industry Framework and has been part of IBM Global Business Services’ Integrated Case Management solution since 2001.

“After 13 years of experience working with IBM, we know our companies are an excellent fit”, said John Hearne, CEO, Cúram Software.  “Many of our clients already use IBM technologies and services, and they will benefit from working with Cúram and IBM as one.  Through IBM’s global reach, we can grow our client base by bringing the benefits of Cúram’s Social Industry Platform to citizens around the world.”

IBM’s announcement of its plan to acquire of Cúram Software follows a series of moves IBM made this year to enhance its offerings for cities and governments.   In June, the company introduced the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, which provides a unified view of all city agencies so officials can predict events and quickly respond.  Shortly thereafter, IBM announced it planned to acquire i2, a leading provider of intelligence analytics for crime and fraud prevention.  The acquisition was completed in October.

After the acquisition is completed, Cúram Software will be integrated into IBM’s Software Group, which is a key driver of growth and profitability for the company.  Cúram has approximately 700 employees.

In addition to its headquarters in Dublin, the company has offices in Herndon, VA.; Toronto; Frankfurt, Germany; Canberra, Australia and Bangalore, India.  The acquisition is anticipated to close by the end of December subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

To learn more visit www.cúramsoftware.com.

Mondays With Buffett

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Monday. What can you say about Mondays other than Monday?

The first thing I typically do on Mondays is check the news.

When I did so today, one of the first headlines I read said “Buffett Buys Into IBM.” At first I missed the function “into” and thought Buffet had bought IBM.

No, he didn’t buy the whole company, but he did buy a nice big chunk (He being renowned investor Warren Buffett). He bought 64 million shares, around 5.4% of the outstanding stock.

As the Journal article pointed out, Buffett has historically stayed away from tech stocks, but said in this case “It’s [IBM] a company that helps IT departments do their job better.”

He went on to say that he “admired IBM” because they had laid out clear long-term goals and met them.

A fiduciary vote of confidence from Warren Buffett — now that’s a nice way to start a Monday.

Written by turbotodd

November 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Blame It On Rio

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IBM CEO Sam Palmisano attended a forum in Rio de Janeiro today which had a special focus on Latin America and the world's growth markets, and which convened forward-thinking government and business leaders to examine real-world approaches on how cities can tackle serious urban issues and improve the quality of life of their citizens.

Rio de Janeiro.  One of my favorite cities in the world.

The land of churrascaria (eat meat until you tell them to stop feeding it to you!) and caipirinhas, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches…oh, man, I’d better stop daydreaming.

True story: I was giving a presentation in an IBM building one time in Rio, and the view behind the people I was presenting to was breathtaking.  I was presenting to a crowd of IBMers with the backdrop of the Cristo Redentor statue atop Corcovado, when someone had the big idea of closing the curtains because the view was too distracting!

Flash forward to today: With both the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2014 World Cup being hosted in Brazil, IBM has partnered with the city of Rio de Janeiro to add new capabilities that improve the city’s emergency response system (not much unlike what IBM did for the City of Madrid), and also to give Rio citizens access to information that will help them better manage their daily lives.

The new automated alert system will notify city officials and emergency personnel when changes occur in the flood and landslide forecast. This is expected to dramatically reduce emergency response times using mobile communications.  Details of these expanded capabilities were revealed today at SmarterCities Rio, a two-day forum hosted by IBM Chairman, President and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano.

With a special focus on Latin America and the world’s growth markets, the forum convenes forward-thinking government and business leaders to examine real-world approaches on how cities can tackle serious urban issues and improve the quality of life of their citizens.

 

Also in Rio today, IBM announced the finalists for its SmartCamp in Brazil.

IBM’s Smart Camp, scheduled for November 10th and 11th in Rio, brings startups together with senior government and business leaders from Latin America’s most progressive cities to mentor them and examine how we can spur economic development, modernize infrastructures and transform our cities to create a new urban model. The five finalists have developed technology solutions that address some of the world’s most pressing issues – such as traffic, healthcare and food safety.

The SmartCamp in Brazil is the most recent of nine global SmartCamps this year. The winner will be invited to the next SmartCamp World Finals to square off against other winners from around the globe to claim the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Here are the finalists from Brazil:

  • Easy Taxi: With Easy Taxi’s mobile transportation solution people can call a taxi with a click on their smartphone. The application locates and calls the nearest taxi, calculates the fare and processes the payment online.
  • IDXP: IDXP’s consumer behavior solution installs sensors in stores and shopping carts to help retailers understand consumer behavior in real time.
  • Mobwise: Mobwise’s mobile application combines various sources of information on traffic conditions including real time data generated by users to suggest best routes and to offer rewards and discounts at partner establishments.
  • Opara: Opara‘s food traceability system for fruit monitors the entire production chain, from farm to supermarket shelf, in a more automated fashion and allows for food origination tracking end-to-end.
  • Prime Health: Prime Health uses business analytics to help improve patient health and reduce the cost of treating chronic diseases.

The event will be webcast November 10 and 11 at www.livestream.com/ibmsoftware. You can also follow the action on People for a Smarter Planet on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/9S1Jp8, and share your thoughts on Twitter at #IBMSmartCamp.

Consider this the official point at which I volunteer to fly down to Rio to be a judge.

Viva Brasil!

IBM Board Names Ginny Rometty New IBM President & CEO

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The IBM board of directors has elected Virginia M. Rometty president and chief executive officer of the company, effective January 1, 2012.

She was also elected a member of the board of directors, effective at that time. Ms. Rometty is currently IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who currently is IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Mr. Palmisano will remain chairman of the board.

“Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM’s most important businesses over the past decade – from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets.”

“Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM’s most important businesses over the past decade – from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit,” Mr. Palmisano said.

“But she is more than a superb operational executive. With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM’s capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge. Ginni’s long-term strategic thinking and client focus are seen in our growth initiatives, from cloud computing and analytics to the commercialization of Watson. She brings to the role of CEO a unique combination of vision, client focus, unrelenting drive, and passion for IBMers and the company’s future. I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century.”

IBM Board of Directors Elects Virginia M. "Ginni" Rometty President and CEO of IBM

IBM Board of Directors Elects Virginia M. “Ginni” Rometty President and CEO of IBM: Samuel J. Palmisano and Virginia M. “Ginni” Rometty at IBM’s corporate headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.  Rometty, an IBM senior vice president, was elected by the IBM board of directors to become the company’s president and ninth CEO on January 1, 2012.  Palmisano, currently IBM chairman, president and CEO, has significantly transformed IBM.  During his tenure as CEO, the company has delivered record financial performance and breakthrough innovations, such as Watson. Mr. Palmisano will remain IBM’s chairman. [Photo: Jon Iwata/IBM]

Ms. Rometty said: “There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment. Sam had the courage to transform the company based on his belief that computing technology, our industry, even world economies would shift in historic ways. All of that has come to pass. Today, IBM’s strategies and business model are correct. Our ability to execute and deliver consistent results for clients and shareholders is strong. This is due to Sam’s leadership, his discipline, and his unshakable belief in the ability of IBM and IBMers to lead into the future. Sam taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM.”

Mr. Palmisano, 60, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. During his tenure, IBM exited commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increased investments in high-value businesses and technologies. He has overseen the significant expansion of IBM in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil, Russia and dozens of other developing countries, transforming IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. In 2008, he launched IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy, which describes the company’s view of the next era of information technology and its impact on business and society.

Since Mr. Palmisano became CEO, IBM has set records in pre-tax earnings, earnings per share, and free cash flow. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure, IBM increased EPS by almost five times, generated over $100 billion in free cash flow, and invested more than $50 billion in research and development – creating over $100 billion of shareholder value since 2002 through an increase in market capitalization and dividends paid.

As global sales leader for IBM, Ms. Rometty, 54, is accountable for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She is responsible for IBM’s worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010. She also is responsible for leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions. Previously, Ms. Rometty was senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. In that role, she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting — the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts. She has also served as general manager of IBM Global Services, Americas, and of IBM’s Global Insurance and Financial Services Sector.

Ms. Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2011 at 11:08 pm

From Farm To Plate: Using Analytics To Make Safer Foods

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I had a friend who was recently impacted by one of those contaminated cantaloupes.

Fortunately, she only got sick and didn’t perish from listeria, but 23 others were not so fortunate, and over 100 more also became very ill.

These type of outbreaks cost $152 billion a year in the U.S. alone, with 48 million food-related illnesses and 3,000 deaths a year. Governments around the world are now proposing more stringent regulations to better protect consumers from food borne illnesses.


A breakdown at any point in the food system on the farm-to-table spectrum can cause catastrophic harm to the health of consumers and great disruption and economic loss to the food industry.

More than six billion cases of fruits and vegetables alone travel across the U.S. each year. As this food travels through various points of the supply chain there are possibilities of this food being exposed to temperatures or other factors that could lead to its contamination.

In response to this challenge, IBM today announced that Cherry Central, a leading cooperative of  hundreds of growers of fruits and vegetables in the United States, is using IBM analytics technology to provide true visibility of food items as it travels from the farm to supermarket shelves or ingredient buyers locations.

Using analytics technology, the food producer and marketer has improved productivity by 50 percent.

Eat, and Track, Your Fruits And Vegetables

To ensure the safest food products reach the shelves of grocery stores and ingredient buyer locations, Cherry Central is collaborating with IBM and business partner N2N Global.

With IBM analytics technology, Cherry Central is tracking data from the time fruit is harvested, sorted or processed, sent to a distribution warehouse, and finally unloaded and placed on display counters at a grocery store or ingredient buyer location.

All of this activity data can now be collected, viewed, aggregated and analyzed in real time, all with a few clicks of a mouse.

Additionally, workers now can use mobile devices to record key information, such as date, time, location, temperature, and all aspects of quality and food safety compliance.

The information is uploaded to a centralized database, where it is stored and can be accessed and shared by their supply chain trading partners.

Each time the food moves or is handled by someone new, the data can be updated thorough mobile devices, recorded and aggregated instantaneously to provide a complete, accurate picture within its operations.

This, in turn, minimizes unnecessary administrative tasks and data entry, allowing management to focus more on business growth than data capturing.

Cherry Central can now more precisely record incoming fruit from growers, track the food items through their operations and monitor and report on all critical control points such as  refrigeration and processing temperatures, thus improving the overall traceability and visibility of the products they handle.  These new capabilities are helping Cherry Central track food from harvest to dinner table to avoid contamination pitfalls.

“Cherry Central and its trading partners are a microcosm of the entire food supply chain.  In working IBM and N2N Global, we are taking advantage of a solution that tears down the barriers and complexity of the food supply chain,” said Steve Eiseler, vice president of operations at Cherry Central Cooperative.

“This collaboration is helping us create a well-connected and visible food supply chain to make it easier and faster to track the food items we market while also allowing us to spot trends as they’re occurring real time.  This visibility is enabling is to take proactive measures to ensure food safety and ultimately protecting the consumer.”

Paper, Plastic, Or Analytics?

One of the major challenges for Cherry Central is to provide better transparency and usability of its data that is growing at the rate of 1.6 million records per month.

Many in the food industry still use paper-based solutions that produce paper checklists and questionnaires to perform audits and inspections on their fruits and vegetables and processing/packing systems .

As paper forms are returned to the office, they are “manually” entered into the computer leaving room for human error, generating mountains of paperwork and the possibility of misplacing files — making it more difficult to pinpoint the source of a possible contamination, causing costly and potentially critical delays.

Now, with analytics technology, Cherry Central is not only capturing this data, but using analytics to create real business outcomes from it. For example, processing data can be analyzed real time and decisions can be made immediately rather than waiting hours or days until the data is compiled.

In addition, all small businesses are impacted by federal regulations and government mandates. Small businesses operating in the food industry, however, have additional layers of regulations and mandates defined by federal and state agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The new Food Safety Modernization Act as well as industry trade association standards have added new and complex compliance demands to the landscape.

Cherry Central’s business analytics platform provides product traceability consisting of IBM DB2 Web Query running on Power System.  Its quality & food safety program runs on N2N Global’s Quality & Food Safety Manager solution running on IBM System x.

If you’d like to learn more about IBM’s Smarter Food initiatives, visit here.

IBM 3Q 2011 Earnings: Revenue Up 8%

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IBM’s earnings for third quarter 2011 just came across the wire.

Here’s the topline:

    • Diluted EPS:
      • GAAP: $3.19, up 13 percent;
      • Operating (non-GAAP): $3.28, up 15 percent;
    • Revenue: $26.2 billion, up 8 percent, up 3 percent adjusting for currency;
    • Net income:
      • GAAP: $3.8 billion, up 7 percent;
      • Operating (non-GAAP): $4.0 billion, up 9 percent;
    • Pre-tax income:
      • GAAP: $5.0 billion, up 7 percent;
      • Operating (non-GAAP): $5.2 billion, up 10 percent;
    • Gross profit margin:
      • GAAP: 46.5 percent, up 1.2 points;
      • Operating (non-GAAP): 46.8 percent, up 1.5 points;
    • Software revenue up 13 percent, 8 percent adjusting for currency;
    • Services revenue up 8 percent, 2 percent adjusting for currency;
      • Services backlog of $137 billion, up $2.4 billion;
    • Systems and Technology revenue up 4 percent, 1 percent adjusting for currency:
      • Power Systems up 15 percent;
    • Growth markets revenue up 19 percent, 13 percent adjusting for currency;
    • Business analytics revenue up 19 percent year to date;
    • Smarter Planet revenue up 50 percent year to date;
    • Cloud revenue year to date has doubled full-year 2010 revenue;
    • Full-year 2011 Operating (non-GAAP) EPS expectations raised to at least $13.35 from at least $13.25.

IBM today announced third-quarter 2011 diluted earnings of $3.19 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $2.82 per share in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 13 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings were $3.28 per share, compared with operating diluted earnings of $2.85 per share in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 15 percent.

Third-quarter net income was $3.8 billion compared with $3.6 billion in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 7 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) net income was $4.0 billion compared with $3.6 billion in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 9 percent.

Total revenues for the third quarter of 2011 of $26.2 billion increased 8 percent (3 percent, adjusting for currency) from the third quarter of 2010.

“In the third quarter, we drove revenue growth, margin expansion and increased earnings as a result of our innovation-based strategy and continued investment in growth initiatives,” said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Growth markets delivered outstanding revenue performance across software, hardware, and services and contributed to the company’s expanded margins. We also achieved strong results in Smarter Planet, business analytics and cloud.

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

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