Smart tech fosters biz efficiency, sustainability

Analytics and cloud computing among such technologies that can help companies achieve business efficiency and facilitate green initiatives, note industry players.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The use of smarter technologies such as analytics can improve sustainability, make businesses more eco-friendly, and bring about greater efficiency, according to two chief information officers (CIOs).

Speaking at IBM's Technology Conference and Expo 2012 here on Friday, Terry Virnig, Big Blue's vice president and business line executive for cloud, IBM systems and technology group worldwide, explained that these technologies, such as analytics, are necessary in today's data- and cloud-centric world.

She explained that a lot of data exists currently and the use of smarter IT offerings can bring about business efficiency and greater eco-friendliness.

Siew Yim Cheng, CIO of Singapore's JTC Corporation, concurred. She noted that land is scarce here and it is important to make buildings as "efficient as possible" via more intelligent tech to promote economic development.

For instance, it is currently using software that allows multi-dimensional views of up to five dimensions to examine building information models (BIM). This program allows engineers and designers to better visualize the project and discover ways of making buildings more energy efficient, she stated.

JTC is also looking into collecting data from buildings and combining these with external data such as weather and electricity consumption in order to build predictive analytics to reduce the amount of energy used, Siew said.

"The focus has shifted from constructing a building to what happens after it is built because [the latter] exists for a longer period of time and affects the environment," she said. "Actionable insights from the data can help us understand how we can make buildings sustainable and efficient."

Lee-Lim Sok Keow, director of Temasek Polytechnic's school of informatics & IT, who oversees delivery of academic courses at the school, added that technology has helped improve the efficiency in educating students.

Analytics, for example, has given the institution insight into better understanding their students so that teaching methods can be tailored to their needs, she elaborated. Data such as past examination results are now collected to gauge their learning requirements.

Optimized systems needed
Joe Chan, executive of IBM systems and technology group worldwide, also called on companies to optimize their existing IT systems. The six layers, consisting of semiconductor, microprocessor, operating system, compliance, middleware, and applications, should all "build on each other and be interdependent", he told ZDNet Asia at the event sidelines on Friday.

For instance, the microprocessor one utilizes should be one that leverages the strengths of the chip used in the semiconductor layer, the IBMer explained.

By doing so, this will make companies' systems more efficient and increase their agility in responding to competitors and market conditions, Chan said. Conversely, if optimization is not pursued, the company's costs might increase and affect its overall profitability.

China Telecom, for one, adopted and implemented cloud computing in 2010, improving its time taken to market new products and services and gaining an edge in the competitive Chinese telco market, he mentioned.

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