Such sensors will also play a role for IBM, which has more than a dozen smart-grid projects around the world. The devices form the backbone of the “smart meters” that give consumers and utilities a tuning knob for power use. IBM will also target factories that want to fine-tune their round-the-clock manufacturing churn. To demonstrate, the company outfitted its Burlington, Vt., semiconductor plant with 60,000 sensors. These synchronized its water, power, heating and lighting use. Since the plant runs every minute of the year, the gains were substantial. Power and fuel use each dropped by a fifth.
Solar Roofs over parking lots are changing the landscape of California’s districts. By covering school parking lots with solar panels, districts are meeting as much as 75 percent of their electricity needs while enhancing green education.
Your Most Valuable Asset ... People | Atlantic Monthy
We hear a lot of talk about how businesses are embracing collaboration.
But when it comes down to it, companies are aiming too low.
Most businesses use collaboration technology for marketing and recruiting and that’s about it. Corporate feeds touting the latest products and news on Twitter? Check. Reaching out on Facebook to new college grads? Got it.
But rolling out the same kinds of social networking, blogging, and information sharing tools within a corporate network to, say, work together on projects, pinpoint specific skills among employees, or spark internal feedback on enterprise initiatives? Not so much.
According to a recent IBM survey of more than 700 chief human resource officers and executives from 61 countries, less than a 23% use social networking or collaborative technologies to preserve critical knowledge, while just over a quarter use those tools to spread innovation throughout their organizations.
It may be that many managers still distrust social networking, viewing it skeptically as a sinkhole for attention or a place where employees won’t be able to stop themselves from spilling company secrets. Or perhaps they can’t shake the feeling that, because social networking is used so much for entertainment and fun, it can’t get real work done.
Jennifer Okimoto - Jennifer Okimoto is an Associate Partner, Strategy and Transformation, for IBM Global Business Services. She specializes in Social Business and the changing nature of work, collaboration and learning at an enterprise level. She helps IBM’s clients figure out the things that the typical “knowledge worker” does as a part of his or her job — and how those things are changing due to new technology and shifting organizational needs for people to work globally.
The Mobile Device Is Becoming Humankind's Primary Tool | Technology Review
People everywhere are consuming more and more wireless bandwidth to manage a wider variety of tasks. Evidence shows that the mobile phone is becoming indispensable to us: more people are paying for apps, and they’re more willing to trade privacy for benefits.
Chart 2: Mobile service is among the fastest-spreading technologies in history. The number of mobile-phone accounts worldwide has doubled, to about 5.5 billion, over the past five years, while world population has reached nearly 6.7 billion.
Note: These data track accounts, not individuals, and some people have two or more accounts.
“The fast-evolving mobile phone environment and declining technology prices have set the stage for traditional M2M services to make the leap into the consumer space.”
The roots of the emerging ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) market lie in industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) systems. Historically, M2M monitoring was ideally suited to asset-intensive, complex processes that were spread over relatively wide areas. As the prices of M2M communications equipment have fallen, manufacturers have installed the technology in an increasing amount of consumer energy meters (known as ‘smart meters’), and have started to add it to a range of household equipment, cars and security systems.
The IoT has yet to become a mass-market proposition. All of the technologies and tools required to create the IoT are available, and at suitably low price points, but they have yet to be pulled together in a cohesive and user-friendly package, and the necessary scale has not been achieved.
“Imagine a future where everything is connected to the internet. Not just your phone and your laptop, but your car, your house, even parts of your body … “The internet of things is a realisation that sooner or later everything is going to exist in cyberspace,” says Gordon Bell, a computer scientist who had an early role in developing the minicomputer during the 1960s … According to Bell, there are three elements to the internet of things. There’s the sensing controls attached to devices, and then there’s the control exerted over those devices, either by their owner, or by a network manager who might offer services to a utility provider, such as a power or water grid.”—The internet of things › Science Features (Australian Broadcasting Company | Science)
A: The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS’s new public-affairs show Need To Know.
As students cut costs by buying books from cheaper online retailers or by downloading e-textbooks, campus bookstores sell fewer and fewer textbooks. That’s triggering an identity crisis for one of the oldest institutions on campus and leading some college officials to ask: If textbooks go digital, does the campus even need a bookstore?
“Book sales are declining—they’re down tremendously this year,” says DeAnn Hazey, executive director of the National Association of College Stores Foundation. “The college stores have to find other ways and other categories” to make money, she says, “otherwise they won’t survive.”
So bookstores at many colleges are preparing for a bookless future with new services they hope will keep students coming: performance spaces for in-store concerts, multimedia stations for printing digital photos, and even dry cleaning. Most store managers I talked with hoped to drop the word “book” from the sign out front.
Businesses are also using data tracking to spur their employees to accomplishing companywide goals: Wal-Mart partnered with Zazengo to help employees track their “personal sustainability” actions such as making a home-cooked meal or buying local produce….
These tools are simultaneously cool and useful. They’re also just the beginning; there are countless ways to use data to improve society that we haven’t yet figured out. That’s where you come in. In this Hive, I’m asking Slate readers how we can use data to help us all. The city of Paris, for example, gave residents a watch that recorded noise levels and ozone levels and then mapped the results. The people behind Asthmapolis distribute an attachment to asthma inhalers with built-in GPS, and they are using this technology to help asthma sufferers better understand what sets off their attacks….