Data is world's next natural resource: IBM CEO

Don Sambandaraksa
27 Feb 2014

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty delivered Big Blue’s first keynote address at Mobile World Congress focusing, like most of the industry, on the developing world and the innovation that will come out of it - not just despite the lack of infrastructure, but because of it.

She said that IBM recently opened its 12th research laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya because of not despite of the lack of infrastructure. Increasing stability and demographics in Africa mean that the continent will soon leap forward.

One example was traffic management networks. While mega-cities in the west depend on thousands of traffic cameras and sensors feeding information to their control rooms, Nairobi only has nine traffic cameras. Instead of rolling out more infrastructure and more cameras, IBM instead decided to use the data from just those nine cameras and build up models to actually predict traffic in Nairobi.

Rometty said that data was the world’s next natural resource. Mankind is now creating 2.5 billion gigabytes of data a day and 80% of all the world’s data has been created in the last three years.

Cloud computing of course plays an important role with development and companies moving to cloud or hybrid solutions. The challenge though is in complying with local data protection laws which at least 100 countries have. To this end, IBM has in recent years expanded the number of countries in which it has data centres from 25 to 40.

Going forward, mobile will be crucial to security as everyone interacts with enterprise-class systems on the go. This will also mean that mobile networks will have to be enterprise-class.

Software development will be cloud-based and mobile first.

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