Conference Notes

Notes on Wednesday's Keynote at Lotusphere 2012 – The Future of Social Technology

The session has three individual sessions, then a panel discussion of the three speakers.

Speaker 1 – Sir Tim Berners-Lee
– The web was originally was supposed to be about a collaborative space. Social business is a way of getting there.
– Cerf developed IP in the late 1960s. In the late 80s-early 90s, Tim was annoyed that there was no level of abstraction on the documents. He just wanted to see a web of documents, so wrote HTTP.
– The next level of abstraction – “linked data” (the semantic web). Allows the computer to understand the data – and away from documents the computer can’t understand.
– … eg., a calendar entry points to an event – but we don’t care about the data format. We want to see what’s linked to this.
– … eg., moving from one application to another – some data can move across.
– … eg., looking at things on a time line. What changed, and when?
– Can build applications.

Speaker 2 – Manoj Saxena, GM IBM Watson Group
– In February 2011, Watson bet the two best winners on Jeopardy.
– Watson was a collection of different technologies from across the IBM portfolio – eg., 2800 processing cores, 16 TB RAM. Could process (read and understand) 200 million documents every 3 seconds.
– Next step – Watson for Healthcare (August 2011), and in 2012 ongoing the focus is on other industry sectors.
– some stunning statistics:
– … 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years
– … of this, 80% in unstructured. And so IT systems can’t understand it.
– … traditional systems only leverage 20% of available data
– Customers are calling IBM and seeking possibilities for applying Watson.
– How it works:
– … Watson understands natural language and human speech – at scale.
– … It generates and evaluates hypotheses based on evidence
– … Adapts and learns from user selections and responses
– Gives rise to probabilistic computing – “Based on the evidence, I am 70% confident that … “
– Healthcare:
– … healthcare knowledge is doubling every 5 years.
– … Doctors in the US spend less than 5 hours per month keeping up.
– … Watson can help a doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.
– … IBM is also working with WellPoint and CS to work on beating cancer.
– … Expect that social collaboration will enhance Watson – based on discussions in communities (doctors and patients).
– Could also apply Watson to – contact center, financial services, government, and telecom.

Speaker 3 – Andy Miller, President and CEO of Polycom
– on the role of multimedia communication in collaboration and social business
– Andy wants to talk about a vision of communication and collaboration
– Video communications – traditionally been seen as a room-based mode, based around travel savings.
– … Reality today – it’s a productivity tool. It’s not room based.
– Polycom’s vision – how to make video collaboration ubiquitous.
– … Polycom today announced cloud-based delivery of video capabilities
– Some examples:
– … 8 of the top 10 hospitals are using Polycom video solutions to speed diagnosis and save lives. Eg., remote diagnosis of a patient – are they having a stroke? If so, what should they do about it?
– … 4 of the top 5 colleges use Polycom to increase knowledge and extend reach.
– … leading government agencies are enhancing citizen services and increasing public safety with Polycom
– … 10 of the largest banks and 6 largest insurance companies, use Polycom to save costs and speed the flow of information. Eg., kiosks in a retail branch for talking to a subject matter expert in another location.
– … Manufacturing … improving supply chain
– … Entertainment … reducing production times
– key trends in collaborative communications today:
– … a generation raised on video – audio conference calls won’t be enough for millenials.
– … the proliferation of mobile devices – eg., 64 million tablets today, expected to grow to 320 million by 2015 (90% will be video enabled)
– … readiness of the network – 3G, 4G, and WiFi
– … social connectedness – 800 million users on Facebook
– … cloud delivery – $41 billion today, growing to $241 billion by 2020. Customers want video as a service.

Panel Discussion – Tim, Manoj, and Andy
Q1. To Tim – what are the problems and pitfalls we will experience on the way to the semantic web?
– (Tim) It depends on the Internet working – neutrality and openness is really important.

Q2. To Manoj – what kind of changes are going to take place in the lives and role of the knowledge worker as AI and the semantic web become more pervasive?
– (Manoj) It will create growth opportunities from a career perspective. Knowledge workers will learn new skills and capabilities, with new opportunities. People can engage around driving outcomes.
– … It will also put new demands on people. How do you see a business as processes and information models? Also – how do you understand the technology?
– … Have to step up and skill up.

Q3. To Manoj – will the line between IT and business blur?
– (Manoj) It’s already happening – among CIOs (with business training) and architects.
– … Anyone who can drive a reduction in cycle time will be very valuable.

Q4. To Andy – will we see a generational divide between digital natives and immigrants?
– (Andy) There is a divide already today, eg., email and conference calls, vs. social networking and video. Polycom is working to bridge the chasm.

Q5. To Manoj – you talked a lot about healthcare. What other industries will be impacted by Watson?
– (Manoj) It’s a hot discussion. There are examples all over the place.
– … In terms of the strategy – looking at information intensive industries, and the liquidity of information. We are going about it in a systematic way.

Q6. To Tim – what are some concrete steps for getting business value from the semantic web now?
– (Tim) Get people to understand the technology, and what it can do.
– … Join the Web Consortium group, so you can learn faster and be part of the transformation. Help us with building the new standards.

Q7. To Tim – looks like there is an HR component on this?
– (Tim) And training – take 20 people and assign them time to look at what’s going on. To learn, to see what can be done. Let them build some system.

Q8. To Andy – how do organizations move the needle on video communications now?
– (Andy) Polycom helps organizations use the current tools in place – Sametime, Connections – and bring video into those. It’s not rip-and-replace.
– … Secondly, understand the supply chain requirements. You will need to work across company boundaries. Just having things inside the organization is no longer enough.

Q9. To Manoj – what do organizations do now?
– (Manoj) Three things:
– … educate – see what it can do. Look around. Share this with your team.
– … enable – start small. Start implementing with 5-7 people.
– … encourage – get some results, and start talking about what’s happening. (Eg., Exemplar stories from User Adoption Strategies.)

Q10. To Manoj – what kind of investments will be needed?
– (Manoj) We work with customers at two levels. A tactical track – for delivering value within months. Also a strategic track – scoping up projects that align with strategic.
– … Investment – money for training, and money for pilots.

Q11. To Andy – what’s the level of investment needed?
– (Andy) You need the infrastructure – whether it’s call control, video, or social. Once the infrastructure is there, you can leverage off that.
– … Eg., mobility – use whatever tablet you have.

Q12. To Tim – we have limited resources, lots of competing priorities, why is semantic web so important?
– (Tim) keep your existing systems, and focus on extending them. Because you have locked data today, you are limiting organizational value. You need to be able to link them.
– … When you do linked data, you have greater awareness of problems and opportunities.
– … In the medium term, you can drive discontinuous change. The value from being first – not being left behind.

Q13. To Tim – what about the cultural changes in organization? How do we deal with this?
– (Tim) There’s the boring stuff, “not invented here.” Some people hug their data.
– … The other question – how do we affect culture? Could we understand other people better from using AI and semantic data?

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