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Infosys @ IBM Software Days, Dubai

I am just back from attending the IBM event - Software Days at Dubai.

Infosys was one of the GOLD sponsors of the Event. Primarily meant to show case the Smarter Planet initiative, the event had a reasonably good participation from customers and partner community. Apart from the 8-9 partner's stalls, IBM had put up separate stalls to show-case their capabilities in various verticals like Government sectors (I found the smart city story from Rio de Janeiro quiet interesting- too good to believe! This can potentially take E-governance to the next level), Retail sector (Sterling Commerce et al) and Natural resources.   

The forenoon session was dedicated to sessions by IBM leadership team in the region. The one which caught my attention the most was the session by Middle East & Africa General Manager Takreem El- Tohamy. Lots of insight into evolution of IBM into what is it today over 100 years. (I didn't know that IBM had such a significant role in Apollo 13 mission. The video on this was quiet informative.)

One of the main attractions for me in the event was the keynote address by former world chess champion, Gary Kasparov- my childhood hero. In my experience, best of the chess-players generally are not best of orators. Found Gary to be an exception. He spoke on the topic- 'How IT changed the way human think' based on his famous Man vs. Machine encounters with Deep Blue in the mid-90's. He played with his machine opponent, who could analyze 200 million positions in one sec, whereas, as human being, he can at best think of 3 positions in 1 sec! His opponent has, over past several years, deeply analyzed and internalized all of his past games, and is well prepared. Whereas he had never seen his opponents play in the past. Quiet an unfavorable situation to be in- even if you are world champion for 20 years! Still he managed to win. The reason, according to him, is that human can think of 'WHY', whereas machine can only talk about WHAT, WHEN & HOW. Machine cannot shift priorities in between the game based on WHY - the man can. That's where human has a huge advantage over machine. He went on to suggest that the best and ideal, unbeatable combination would be a Man + Machine. Human will do the strategic thinking part and machine will be there to prevent him from making any possible 'blunder' moves.

Post lunch session was divided into 5 parallel tracks- on collaboration, BPM/SOA, Application life cycle management, Business Analytics and one on Business Infrastructure and Services. Since I had a specific interest in asset management in utility space, I choose to attend the session on Infrastructure and services. I particularly liked the talk by Jim Fletcher; chief architect of Tivoli Solutions on Facility Management for Smart Building. He lined up quite a few statistics to support the need for energy management in Buildings (I am not sure to what extend the audience - mostly from oil-rich GCC countries could relate to need for energy conservation!). He explained how well the newly acquired TRIRIGA for space management fits into the Energy Management Solutions- supported by Maximo in the Operations Management.

Overall, a well-managed event show-casing IBM's commitment for the region. Would have been better, if there was more on-stage participation from partners and customers like what they managed in IBM PULSE event last year. Hope to see this happening in the years to come.

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