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Technology for good: Advancements with social responsibility


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connected city

Sweden’s blood services agency texts donors when their blood donations save a life. In Australia, underwater robots plant coral “babies” to repopulate the Great Barrier coral reef. IoT-driven, dynamic congestion tolling in the UK has led to the lowest carbon emissions since 1888. Each of these examples underscores the common theme that technology innovations are catalyzing our ability to deploy “technology for good.”

The “technology for good” movement focuses on using technologies to address distinct social, environmental and economic outcomes like better general well-being, job security, health and longevity, environmental sustainability, equity and economic viability. In the public sector, the global Smart Cities and Community movement is founded on the same goals.

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Technology for good into action

IDC’s global Smart Cities & Communities team defines smart cities as, “outcomes-based digital transformation in urban environments.” Stated another way, its focus is on leveraging technology to impact our aggregate well-being — leveraging technology to move the needle on sustainability, service optimization, better situational awareness, healthier populations and safer cities. Smart cities are increasingly focused on AI for good — tightly scoping artificial intelligence applications and solutions so they are mindful of data stewardship, privacy and bias.

Large-scale changes caused by digital transformation have made the technology for good movement a complex undertaking for the vendor community. These shifts have changed how government tech buyers view technologies, and now include tying technology investments to social and environmental outcomes, not just cost savings. It also changes how government technology buyers work with their partners and the partner ecosystem.

Vendors who have historically been direct competitors in a given market, are now reconfiguring their service offerings to deliver complex, next-generation, outcomes-driven solutions. It also requires a marquee partner who can convene the ideal mix of solution capabilities from a strong ecosystem.

Carefully constructed partner alliances create fit-for-purpose solutions, offerings that are created specifically for complex environments like law enforcement, defense and security organizations. The partnership between IBM and Samsung to deliver a mobile-enabled, wearable officer safety and wellness solution is an example of this in action.

Key partnerships for better solutions

With this solution, IBM and Samsung added wearables into the first responder workflow. The solution first collects data to create a wellness baseline for each officer. Processing of the wearable information is done at the edge, to protect privacy. Supervisors receive alerts if there is an anomaly detected. The solution runs on hybrid cloud, leverages IBM AI capabilities for wellness analysis and detection with Samsung’s Knox security architecture wrapped around the solution. IBM and Samsung are implementing this solution using 5G capabilities as low latency is critically important to this use case.

The key takeaway here is that it will become increasingly important to work with outcomes-focused vendors at the nexus of a partner ecosystem with proven track record of impactful innovation. IBM has recently strategically mapped out its key partnership alliances to be able to deliver fit-for-purpose, best practice, technology solutions with differing solution focuses.

From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders, academic experts and partners, to share their opinions and insights on current trends in blockchain to the Blockchain Pulse blog. While the opinions in these blog posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM, this blog strives to welcome all points of view to the conversation.

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