Global CIO: IBM CEO Palmisano Calls For Transportation Transformation

Palmisano's speech shows the power of intelligently applied technology, even in sectors that today seem hopelessly stuck in the past.
"As we have worked with clients over the past 18 months, we have validated that the key to smarter systems lies not in the chip, or the sensor, or the mobile device. It's not the smart meter, or the smart powerline. It's not even the software, per se.

"It’s the data.

"Thanks to an instrumented and interconnected planet, we're capturing data in unprecedented volumes. In just three years, IP traffic is expected to total more than half a zettabyte. (That's a 1 followed by 21 zeroes.)

"We're receiving these enormous streams in real time, and they are coming in multiple forms—from text to rich media, sensors to cell-phone cameras. And we're capturing it from just about every kind of system or event imaginable—supply chains, rail vibration, weather patterns and billions of individuals using social media.

"But the most important point about this is not how much data there is. The important point is what it could tell us. To capture that, you need to dive deeper—to move from 'big data' to smarter data."

Armed with that intelligence, Palmisano said, transportation systems can deliver new levels of value that currently seem hopelessly beyond reach:

**the ability to predict demand and optimize available capacity;

**dramatically enhancing the end-to-end traveler experience;

**improving operational efficiency while reducing environmental impact;

**ensuring safety and security; and

**smoothly interacting with other systems, including healthcare, public safety, commerce, and more.

Whatever you might think of our current transportation capabilities and intelligence, the value of Palmisano's speech lies in its push to make us see the world not just as it is but as it could be; to consider what new opportunities we might find if we focus more on what we need to do rather than on what we think we can't do; and on seizing the initiative to use all of this high-pace change as an asset we can deploy rather than see it as something to be feared.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

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