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Working together to create smarter systems

01 Oct 09

In challenging times, we as business leaders have the opportunity to do great things; to make a real impact on the future. The challenges we’re facing globally, and here in New Zealand, afford us both remarkable opportunities and significant responsibilities – and I personally am excited about the possibilities.

Sometime this year, the two billionth person on earth will be linked to the internet. It is clear that the world is getting  smaller and flatter. But true economic development and growth is on the horizon, and it will happen more quickly if the  world also begins to get ‘smarter’.

Getting smarter is possible across all our systems. The benefits of making our energy grids smart would be immense.  The island of Malta, for example, is not only creating one of the world’s most advanced smart grids; it is also building  smarter water and waste management systems.

Smart health systems will help doctors make better decisions while reducing costs. For example, breakthrough ‘stream  computing’ software helps doctors at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada detect subtle changes  in the condition of critically ill premature babies.

The way our planet manages its money needs to get a whole lot smarter. In the US, the First National Bank of Omaha  worked to design and implement a ‘branch of the future’ that orchestrates a range of new technologies to create a  seamless self-service experience that strengthens the bank’s brand, while enhancing customer satisfaction and  exceeding customer growth by 30%.

I’m personally excited about the entirely new levels of intelligence that can be infused into the systems, processes and infrastructure that make our world work.

Why is this happening? Firstly, computational power is being put into things that no-one would recognise as computers:  cameras, cars, appliances, roadways, buildings and pipelines. Secondly, all of this is being interconnected  through the internet, creating new possibilities for greater efficiency. And thirdly, we now have thecomputing power and  advanced analytics to make sense of the world’s digital knowledge, and to turn mountains of data into intelligence.

In the future, smart systems will have the potential to enhance all aspects of our lives. They could improve our access to  better- quality, less-expensive healthcare; we’ll waste less energy, spend less time sitting in traffic, eat healthier food,  drink cleaner water, and live in safer cities.

Technology has the potential to help New Zealanders work smarter instead of just harder, and significantly increase  business productivity. As our systems become smarter, we have a chance to open up meaningful new possibilities for  New Zealand’s productivity and economic growth, which means new opportunities for business partners.

Even in today’s challenging environment, businesses are willing to invest in IT solutions, if they cut costs, drive efficiency  and productivity, preserve capital, and create competitive advantage. And that’s exactly what smarter solutions do.

Smarter solutions will enable business partners to engage clients of all sizes in higher-value discussions, by focusing on  the entire enterprise, and act as a true consultant. When we think about systems like supply chains in healthcare, we’re  really talking about the interaction of hundreds, even thousands of companies – small, medium and large businesses alike.

We can implement new solutions to inject greater intelligence into our country’s systems, and thus, help to change the  way our country works. It’s time for New Zealand to reap the substantial economic benefits from adopting intelligent  technologies and systems.

It is important to remember that the choices we make today will profoundly affect our future. Working together with  our business partners we can make our businesses and our industries smarter. And, for the sake of our businesses, and the sake of our planet, make it a smarter planet.

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