Improving Your Commute, 1 (Smarter) City at a Time

by  Naveen Lamba, Associate Partner, Smarter Government, Transportation, and Public Safety, IBM Global Business Services, in The Huffington Post

For many, summer offers a brief respite from the road congestion that burdens drivers and cities around the world. In a few short weeks, those less-crowded highways, trains, and buses will be a distant memory for most commuters.

traffic_morguefileWherever you live, cities are struggling to manage and prepare for short- and long-term traffic congestion. And road congestion and traffic jams aren’t only inconvenient; they can impede economic growth and impact the environment.

Just imagine how much more productive people could be if they could stop being stuck in their cars or other means of transportation for those several hours per day. The good news is that help is on the way. Get the story.


About the author

Naveen Lamba
Naveen Lamba is IBM’s global industry leader for intelligent transportation systems as well as Associate Partner, Smarter Government, Transportation, and Public Safety, IBM Global Business Services. For nearly two decades, he has been working on intelligent transportation projects around the world for governments and private sector organizations.
Smarter, More Competitive Cities – Download the whitepaper
– Posted by Regan Kelly

Birth of a Trend: What’s More Important than What’s Trending?

In this piece, Trevor Davis, a leading consumer products expert and consultant with IBM Global Business Services, talks about how our society is well-attuned to what’s trending at any moment, thanks to the rise of social media plus analytical tools.

But these trends are only fleeting, and because of their very nature, have limited value. How, then, do we extract the real value from all the noise, and figure out the long-term, meaningful trends with staying power? Read here.

Want to Cut Energy Usage? Use Social Media

by F. Michael Valocchi, Vice-President/Partner and Global Energy and Utilities Leader, IBM Global Business Services

F. Michael Valocchi headshot

IBM’s Michael Valocchi

f there was ever a time for consumers to get serious about conserving energy, it’s now.

July was the hottest month ever in the U.S., according to the federal government, and we’ve all seen pictures of parched farmland as the drought spreads to two-thirds of our nation’s farm fields.

Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know enough about their energy use to even start cutting back.

In fact, according to an IBM poll last year of 10,000 consumers, more than 30 percent of respondents had never heard of the term “dollar per kwh” and more than 60 percent didn’t recognize the terms “smart grids” or “smart meters.”

Utilities have provided lots of information and services designed to help consumers understand the difference between, say, drying clothes on a line versus in a dryer. We’ve been advised to turn off a dishwasher when it hits the dry-by-heating cycle. We have programmable thermostats in our hallways. Yet, there hasn’t been much of a change in individual behavior when it comes to energy savings.

That’s where social media can play a bigger role. Social media is custom made for bringing conservation front and center.

It’s now clear, based on studies by IBM and behavioral researchers, that money isn’t the biggest motivator in cutting energy use. Instead, it is a sense of belonging, achievement, competition, ease of use, sustainability — all these factors play crucial roles.

That’s why social media, with its connections, sharing, comparing, and real-time updates, can motivate people the way that won’t happen if the same information is communicated via a website, pamphlet in the mail, or advertisement on a bus. Social media can accomplish a few crucial tasks. It can:

Create a way to compete: An app on a phone or Facebook loaded with each individual’s home energy consumption data allows consumers to compete with their friends or family about who can cut the most energy use. Another approach is to load the apps with data from a neighborhood so folks can see how their energy usage compares with their neighbors. Some utilities are also sweetening the pot with prizes.

Share Tips Smartly: Our research found that the way a choice is framed and presented can make a big difference. For instance, people tend to get stuck if they’re bombarded with too many conservation tips at once, such as a list on a website. Using updates on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can give consumers the option to navigate tips the way they want to and to dig into the ones that interest them or that other people found helpful.

Target a message: Age groups are motivated by very different factors. Our research found that people under 25 are galvanized by the environment and are two and half times more likely than folks over 55 to follow the lead of people in their networks. Big data and analytics lets you ramp up the impact of your messages by creating personalized tips on a massive scale, pinpointing influencers on Twitter or Pinterest, and tracking the tenor of discussions.

Utilities have more information on cutting energy use than consumers could ever use. They’ve just never had a way to get that information to customers in a way that motivates people to act.

Until now.

Social media is exactly the opportunity utilities have been looking for. And the leaders are already jumping on board.

For more information about IBM’s energy and utilities solutions, click here.


Are you trying to cut down on your energy usage? What changes have you made?

The Friendly Skies in Frankfurt

Our work introducing The Greater IBM Connection to IBM’s European consulting partners at a two day event in Frankfurt has been very productive.

Many of our business colleagues seemed to quickly understand the value proposition of a social network that brought current and alumni

IBMers together for mutual business benefit: in short, IBM becomes both a more responsive organization, and being an IBMer becomes more than a matter of job status, but a professional and personal affiliation that has greater value.

After a day of demonstrating greaterIBM to our consulting colleagues, the group of 300 hopped on buses to an exciting evening event held at Lufthansa’s Flight Training facility.

Between wonderful food, drink, music and more of the business social networking that greaterIBM hopes to engender, our group was treated to virtual flights in a variety of state-of-the-art simulators for many models of commercial aircraft.

Meanwhile, we continued to describe the greaterIBM and get feedback and insights from the cream of our business service leaders on how the program can drive business and innovation opportunities.

During the course of the evening, groups of attendees were ushered onto the flight simulators and given a demonstration of how the multimillion-dollar mega-machines are used for safety training of pilots and crews.

As we prepare for the global greaterIBM program to take off, one lesson from our feedback in Frankfurt stands out…as IBMers, current and alumni, better understand how a social network for a large corporate ecosystem will operate, the more they seem to appreciate its potential.

We’ll continue the campaign in small exploratory events with current and former IBMers in Frankfurt, Vienna, London and Amsterdam.

Greater IBM in Frankfurt, Germany

IBMers Kevin Aires and Jack Mason are bringing the Greater IBM story to a meeting of senior IBM consultants in Frankfurt, Germany.
To accelerate the network’s growth as we prepare to become a live program, we’re showing our European colleagues the program’s portal, presence, blog and virtual worlds frontier.

We’re also using a nifty little Bluetooth broadcasting widget to send a greaterIBM “electronic business card” to the phones and mobile devices of the 300 or so consultants milling about the two-day event.

During breaks in the main room presentations, we’re also discussing the Greater IBM Connection’s strategy, and comparing notes with our colleagues on opportunities for this network to support business goals in key current markets, such as Germany, as well as emerging ones like China, India and Brazil.

The heart of that strategy is to empower alumni IBMers to stay connected with current IBMers, as well as each other.

Such richer relationships promise to benefit all involved, and to transform what it means to be an “IBMer” into something bigger and better than just being a current employee.

Of course, enabling current and former IBMers to interact — online, through live events and even via the exciting new from of virtual worlds — is very much in line with the emerging principle that the greatest societal innovations are the product of rich collaborations, collective creation that is increasingly empowered by Web 2.0 trends and technologies.

Of course, the real power of greaterIBM will not be a matter of technology, but of empowering people with new abilities to connect with each other.

One learning from this immersion in IBM’s global business culture is that virtually all IBMers get the premise and promise of the business social network we’re preparing to soon make public.

Meanwhile, our pilot network is growing briskly, with more than 800 members. Current and former IBMers who would like to become part of this group of groundbreakers are welcome to join via this link:

And Greater IBMers are equally welcome to share this invite link with alumni IBMers they think would want to join this network for collaborative innovation.

An account team’s “Alumni Philosophy”

IBMer, Nils-Carsten Huber, Global Business Services, Senior Consultant Strategy & Change

Nils started his career at Hamburg Savings Bank as a Credit Analyst and was promoted in 1998 to Branch Manager.  Before coming to IBM in 2003 he was a Strategic Performance Improvement Consultant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.  Nils is now a Senior Consultant at IBM and a member of the GBS key account team for Deutsche Post World Net/DHL/Exel.

The first of our three IBM genes is the IBMer’s dedication to every client’s success. Unfortunately, there are several ‘opportunities’ where you can directly observe how important it is to recognize a departing colleague being our customer in the next moment. Frequently, this former colleague is a decision-maker and his/her decision to take on a new position might be influenced by the perception of being valued, informed and treated with dignity during her/his exit at IBM. In my opinion, “just letting them go” is not appropriate.

In our account team for the worldwide logistics leader, DPWN, we have shared this insight for several years. In any case, we aim to know who is a former IBMer (or one of IBM’s affiliates, acquisitions, etc.) and also our client. We keep an overview in our CRM database.  We aim to establish a personal contact between a member of our account team and the alumnus to keep the relationship alive.

For example, once or twice a year we socialise with our alumni clients at a dinner, thus, establishing an “alumni community”. At the dinner, alumni can meet people who share their common history. Moreover, we regularly inform our alumni of developments at IBM and we share insights like the IBM CEO Global Study or the IBM Global Innovation Outlooks.

And it pays to live this philosophy: DPWN has been a GBS client for about 15 years. Over 50 percent of our VIP contacts are alumni. Alumni hold a remarkable portion of our signings; alumni frequently act as advocates in bringing ideas and IBM business to our client, and last but not least, alumni give honest feedback and help us to optimize ourselves in caring for our customer.

Thus, I want to congratulate IBM for the “GreaterIBM” communication programme. It is one more component in the relationship to our alumni and a great opportunity to rebind them to IBM and to show them that we care. I am looking forward to be a part of “GreaterIBM”.

Global Business Services Alumni Network

This post continues the series “What can Greater IBM Do for Me?”

IBMer, Lois Dwyer, IBM US Global Business Services, Program Manager IBM Global Business Services Alumni Network

Lois Dwyer is the Program Manager for IBM Global Business Services Alumni Network.  In her twenty-two years with IBM, Lois has worked in hardware, software and services.  Her career focus has been in Marketing.

To poorly plagiarize the words of President John Kennedy, I would not ask what the alumni can do for me, but, what you can do for your alumni!   Simply put, if we provide services and add value for our alumni, they will want to be part of the Greater IBM Connection.

As Program Manager for the IBM Global Business Services Alumni Network, I periodically poll our alumni to ask what they feel is the most valuable aspect of our alumni network.  The latest results show that our Webcasts (currently held approximately every sixty days throughout 2006) are the most valuable, followed by the ability to apply for jobs, followed closely by — the social networking spoke of the alumni “wheel”—learning the latest alumni news (e.g., “where are they now”) and reconnecting with former IBM colleagues.

The Greater IBM Connection provides a short cut to a much needed culture change in IBM… How IBM interacts with its former colleagues.  If we can host the types of activities, or provide a portal for our alumni to participate in activities as were described by our alumni in the paragraph above, we can be guaranteed of garnering successful relationships, both for IBM and for our alumni.

The “reconnection” aspect includes alumni and active employees in IBM Global Business Services Americas.  If you are an IBM Global Business Services Americas employee, or an alumnus of IBM Global Business Services Americas, please visit to join