Inspiration and Innovation: a post-conference report from IBM Insight

November 12, 2014

3 minute read

Breaking moulds, seizing moments. As seen through the eyes of actor Kevin Spacey? You bet. Those who were lucky enough to be in attendance at IBM Insight 2014 had the opportunity to listen to the Hollywood veteran describe his experience with kicking old habits and reinventing the proverbial wheel as the Producer and Lead Actor in Netflix’s hit, House of Cards. As Kevin himself put it, “IBM knows Big Data. So does Netflix. That’s why its hit series “House of Cards” just netted 10+ Emmy nods….” He went on to discuss how disruptive technologies are making new business models via an incredibly well presented and entertaining insider’s scoop on taking risks, innovating and seizing the moment.

Game Changing Technology

In fact, what Kevin and his team did with House of Cards on Netflix was more than produce a new television series (a great one, I might add!). What they accomplished was actually a game changer. A big-data-based game changer. After all, what are traditional networks after in the end? What’s the bottom line? Viewers of course. Ratings. Advertising revenue in their pockets. Well, his approach to House of Cards with Netflix was a little bit different, given that Netflix is a subscription-based service. So the deal was that Netflix would produce and air a certain number of episodes of the show which was exclusive to Netflix, in exchange for the assurance of a minimum number of new Netflix users. This held broad appeal. Remember, it’s all about the numbers, whether you are Netflix or any other network.

Similarly, IBM has been thinking out of the box. With the launch of Watson, Watson Analytics and Watson Curator, the mega-company has changed the technology landscape yet again. The venture was named after Thomas John Watson, Sr. (February 17, 1874 – June 19, 1956) who served as the chairman and CEO of IBM and oversaw the company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM's distinctive management style and corporate culture, and turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization, based largely around punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world's greatest salesman when he died in 1956.

Reinventing with Watson

With a name that inspires, Watson the product’s ultimate premise is that while searching the internet is “nice”, wouldn’t it be better if information was served up to you based on the analytics of “all data out there”. For example, let’s say you wanted to travel to Napa Valley with your family. You could search the internet for cool and affordable hotels and do all sorts of research to suit your needs and potentially this would take you across several websites and days of research time (yup, that sounds about right). With “Watson” you’ll be able to search on Napa Valley Hotels and Watson will gather and analyze data from social media to online information…so if someone wrote a fantastic review on TripAdvisor about visiting a certain restaurant at sunset to get the most incredible view in Southern California…this kind of information would be delivered to you within minutes. So…with Watson…”the perfect search is no search at all…”. Quite fascinating. Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity and Chairman of the Board at certainly thinks so. He also spoke at Insight and discussed how he is working with Watson to revolutionize the travel industry…once again! What Watson is doing is a game changer. Read more about what’s happening here.

All in all, some very exciting announcements and moments of inspiration at IBM Insight this year. For example, did you hear that IBM has entered into a partnership with Twitter? Lots to digest and be excited about as IBM continues to break new ground. Not only was I inspired by what I heard at Insight, but I felt proud that as part of the Adlib team I can call IBM our partner. Together, we are helping organizations manage content effectively, efficiently and in ways that may never have been thought of before.

Looking forward to further inspiration at upcoming industry events. In fact, check out our events page to see where we will be next.

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