Further Comments on Ginni Rometty’s Keynote at Mobile World Congress, 2014

During the last 15 minutes of Ginni Rometty’s Keynote Presentation at Mobile World Congress, 2014, some viewers may catch how IBM is branding its Watson Cognitive system as a modern mainframe computer. Rometty also underpinned some skeptical comments about cloud and mobile security with a prediction. Sooner or later markets will wake up to recognize the importance analytics plays for a truly effective security policy for data.

Does IBM’s Watson Benefit from a Mainframe Brand?

I don’t think IBM’s Watson “cognitive computing system” benefits from a mainframe branding effort. Rometty presented her audience with an example of how Watson can benefit retail travel consumers, and then, at almost the same moment, pointed to what I take to be a much bigger story: how Watson can provide businesses in the online search market with a much more effective tool than some of the leading search tools on the market today. The two stories do not share the same scale. IBM MARCOM should spend more time portraying the really big applications for this technology (meaning for the online search market) and less time on the direct-to-consumer story.

Successfully branding Watson is a big challenge, especially given the deep commitment IBM has made to the launch of this product. I don’t think all of the publicity IBM has created around the Jeopardy Game Show application for this technology will pay off. But the minute or two Rometty spent on the comparison of Watson’s ability to serve up the ABS avalanche rescue system as something travelers may want to acquire before embarking on a trip to Patagonia was much more compelling, especially when she noted the other online search tool (not named) served up 750 thousand results for the ABS acronym.

Is Big Data Analytics the Best Solution for Online Security

Rometty predicted data analytics will prove to be the solution for truly effective online security systems in the future. But is this something new? I don’t think so. Almost any of today’s best of breed online security tools includes a database repository for information, and controls built on data analytics. I think she would have been more effective had she cited some examples of how IBM’s analytics products promise to bring something truly new to this market.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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