At the IBM Impact 2010 conference this week, one thing that was mentioned was how services-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) support IBM’s smart planet vision. The idea is that technology can be used to create smart systems – like smart meters, smart grids and e-health records for areas like transportation, power grids and health care – that run in an efficient and sustainable manner.
I can see how building out an SOA infrastructure and flexible business processes can lead to smarter operations at the level of the business. But the smart planet concept appears less tangible when it’s extended to the broader planet vision, where digital is to meet the physical world.
One executive I spoke to at IBM Impact acknowledged that the vision is indeed aspirational. But he also said it’s about showing customers the “the art of the possible.”
Another IBM executive I met about a month earlier said to me that although it may be hard today for some to see the value of the vision, IBM is proactively pushing this smart planet thinking so that when it does become attainable, people will think first of IBM.
Okay, the smart planet vision is pretty smart in that sense.