Mobile revolution has already started

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Oct 14 2013, 14:39pm hrs
Theres no question that mobile computing is at a turning point and at stake is billions of dollars. Global corporations and entire industries are being turned on their heads, literally. Just as the focus in the early days of the internet was centered on the browsers and the dotcom companiestodays mobile focus has been on the devices and apps. Over the next three to five yearsthe most cutting edge advances in mobile will have next to nothing to do with the device itselfbut instead what you do with it, says Ravi Kothari, associate director, IBM Research-India. Ravi joined IBM Research-India in 2002 where he first led the adaptive and high performance activities and then the IT infrastructure management activities. He talks to Sudhir Chowdhary about the work undertaken at these labs. Excerpts:

Why is mobility a key area of research focus for the labs here

There are a couple of reasons. The sheer volume of mobile phones being adopted by the market here and its enormous potential is an area that could interest any researcher. In the labs here, we have been engaged with telecom service providers and have over the years an in-depth understanding of the domain.

We also feel that organisations will have to re-imagine businesses around constantly connected employees and customers, and create new ways to extend value to customers. The rapid adoption of mobile devices are accelerating the integration of social, analytics and cloudforcing organisations to re-think how value can be created in a larger ecosystem. Now, organisations will have to redesign their infrastructure, service delivery models and how individual services can be used to compose new applications.

What is the strategic importance of IRL to the parent company

There are several. One, we work closely with the business teams here to bring innovation to the clients in the region. Two, we work directly with select customers to collaboratively innovate on challenges and requirements that may be unique to the region. Lastly, we work with the global research labs to cater to the global research agenda.

But is it only collaborative research with other labs or some some amount of R&D is also taken up which is regionally relevant

We do both. We do collaborative research as well as research which would be regionally relevant. Allow me to provide an example. We are working towards flattening the peaks in demand for electrical power and spread the load to other times when the demand is lower, to make the overall power system significantly more efficient and cost effective. We developed a special kind of plug that goes in-between your electrical devicelike an air conditioner or water heaterand the socket. That plug senses peaks and imbalances in grid demand and automatically senses when to turn on your device.

Talk to us about some of the innovations emerging from the lab.

IBM on Edge Analytics connects people with contextual information. IndusInd Bank has embedded this technology within its customer channels, such as internet banking, ATM, SMS alerts, phone banking and branch offices.

Vibes is another enterprise software solution to help CMOs target consumers and communities that care about and participate in their industry. Then, there is Social Media Event Tracker Tool (SMETT); this leverages natural language processing, text mining technology and advanced analytics to comb through millions of public social network messages to derive meaningful insights.