Gauteng Business News

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BUSINESS: SA Introduced to Smart Planet Initiative


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Globalisation, ever more sophisticated technology and exploding bandwidth have made the world a smaller, smarter, more connected place. Yet the systems on which the world depends such as - food and water systems, transport, energy, healthcare - remain inefficient.

IBM will engage leading SA corporates in a dialogue around creating a more sustainable, smarter global future.

The Smart Planet initiative aims to foster the thinking, provide the tools and help create strategies that will drive positive change across these systems on a global scale. And South Africa becomes part of this initiative at Maropeng in when IBM introduces the Smart Planet strategy to a select group of South African corporates and government.

Says Dario Debarbieri of IBM: "The Smart Planet initiative is at the core of IBM's global strategy. It is founded on the premise that today any physical object, process or system can be instrumented, interconnected and infused with intelligence. Extraordinary opportunities exist to exploit this intelligence to the benefit of countries, corporates, industries and communities, and most importantly, the planet.

In a recent interview, IBM Corporation's Rich Lechner, Vice President of Energy and Environment, offered some interesting examples of the challenges the world faces. Among others, he notes that only 30% of the potential electricity available at an energy source actually reaches the doorstep of the consumer; more than 20% of all the shipping containers and more than 25% of the trucks moving around on a global basis are empty; and the average carrot in the United States travels 1600 miles to get to a dinner table. In addition, he says, in 10 years' time over a billion people will not have access to safe drinking water, yet today just five food and beverage companies consume enough water on an annual basis to serve the daily needs of everyone on the planet.

The event at Maropeng will introduce IBM's Smart Planet strategy to a select group of corporates, engage them in a deeper conversation on a number of issues and initiate a dialogue in SA on how to improve systems that are critical to companies, industries, the country and the global community.

Says Debarbieri: "While there is a growing awareness among South African corporates and government of the need to create a more energy efficient sustainable future, there are numerous best practices and approaches within the IBM Smart Planet strategy that will assist to drive critical thinking and develop strategies that will enable greater efficiencies, improve their bottom line and generate a positive impact on the environment."

He concludes: "(The) Smart Planet initiative will facilitate critical thinking and knowledge sharing, assisting participants to better leverage the intelligence around them. We believe this is possibly one of the most significant 'green' initiatives undertaken to date in terms of the collective knowledge it will make available to a global audience. We look forward to engaging with, and integrating, the thinking of South African businesses to this strategy."

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