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September 28, 2021
Amazon’s Astro Brings a Personal Robot into Your Home

September 22, 2021
New Microsoft Surface and HP PCs Demonstrate Ongoing PC Innovation

September 15, 2021
Arm Working to Enable the Software-Defined Car

August 19, 2021
Intel Lays Out Multi Chip Architecture Plans

August 11, 2021
Samsung’s Latest Foldables Show Benefits of Refinements

July 21, 2021
Amazon Drives Ambient Computing Forward with Alexa Enhancements

July 14, 2021
Microsoft’s Windows 365 Brings Cloud PCs to Life

June 29, 2021
MWC News Shows 5G Focus Shifting to Infrastructure

June 22, 2021
Global Foundries Fab Expansion Reveals New Strategy

June 16, 2021
Videoconferencing Challenge Looming

June 8, 2021
Cisco Extends Webex to Suite of Offerings

June 2, 2021
Computex News from AMD, Intel and Nvidia Demonstrates Strength of PC Suppliers

May 18, 2021
IBM Simplifies Automation with Watson Orchestrate

May 11, 2021
IBM Simplifies Automation with Watson Orchestrate

May 5, 2021
Dell’s APEX Brings Hardware as a Service to the Mainstream

April 28, 2021
Arm Brings New Compute Options from the Cloud to the Edge

April 21, 2021
Apple Announcements Accelerate Custom Chip Transition

April 13, 2021
Nvidia Steps Up Enterprise and Automotive Efforts with GTC Announcements

April 6, 2021
AWS and Verizon Bring Private 5G and Edge Computing to Life with Corning

March 31, 2021
Cisco Wants to Make Hybrid Work Actually Work

March 23, 2021
Intel Reinvigorates Manufacturing Strategy with IDM 2.0

March 16, 2021
AMD Refocuses on Business with Latest Epyc and Ryzen Pro Launches

March 9, 2021
GlobalFoundries and Bosch Emphasize Shift in Automotive Semis

March 2, 2021
Microsoft Brings AI Appliances and Improved Connectivity to IoT

February 23, 2021
Cybersecurity Deal Highlights Benefits of 5G and AI in PCs

February 16, 2021
Will Conference Rooms Help or Hurt in the Return to Work?

February 9, 2021
The Ever-Present Need for Simplicity in Tech

February 2, 2021
Poly Makes Videoconferencing Personal

January 26, 2021
2021 Shaping Up to Be Big Year for Automotive Tech

January 12, 2021
What CES 2021 Says About Our Future

January 5, 2021
Big Tech Trends for 2021 Are Hybridization and Customization

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 12, 2021
IBM Brings Weather Data and AI to Help with Sustainability Goals

By Bob O'Donnell

If you’ve read much about changes in the corporate world recently, you’ve undoubtedly started hearing about something called CSR, short for Corporate Social Responsibility, and ESG, an acronym for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. Seemingly out of the blue, organizations of all types and sizes are advertising, blogging, and promoting their own goals in these areas and talking about the progress they’ve made against them.

The topics related to CSR and ESG aren’t new at all, but they have certainly received a great deal more attention and focus as the result of societal changes, growing environmental concerns, regulatory requirements, and much more. In particular, environmental sustainability issues have received a great deal of attention recently, as massive wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters driven by climate change have wreaked havoc on countries around the world.

As a result, many organizations have announced ambitious plans to do things like reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint and make whatever effort they can to lessen their impact on the environment. Companies are not only focusing on their own efforts here, but even on those companies that partner with them in supply chains.

Speaking of supply chains, industries of all types are now facing massive challenges in this area. While most of these challenges are driven by the pandemic, some can also be tied to environmental changes. This is particularly true in certain industries like agriculture and energy. Looking ahead, many organizations are also very concerned with the impact that future weather-based and environmental issues could have on business continuity. In fact, in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Risks Report 2021, the top 3 risks they cite for business over the next 10 years are all related to weather and the environment: extreme weather, climate action failure, and human-led environmental damage.

In this context, a new SaaS offering from IBM entitled the Environmental Intelligence Suite (EIS) seems to make a great deal of sense. It also—perhaps belatedly for some—provides a more solid explanation as to why IBM purchased the Weather Company (the digital assets behind the Weather Channel, but not the cable channel itself) over 5 years ago. The Environmental Intelligence Suite combines extensive real-time weather data with geospatial analytics, and AI-powered advancements from IBM Research. These capabilities give companies that use the tool the ability to monitor and predict changes in weather and the environment (even over mid- and long-term timeframes). They also provide insight into how these changes could potentially impact a company’s operations.

For industries like transportation and logistics, as well as insurance, agriculture and energy, this type of information is obviously critical. Not only can it provide the types of obvious warnings one would expect, EIS can also do things like overlay satellite images of tree growth on top of existing powerlines to warn energy companies where they should prioritize their tree trimming and line clearing efforts. Even in areas like manufacturing, IBM says its clients have uncovered significant real-world savings and efficiency improvements by leveraging the analytics data generated by the tool. Most importantly, it provides that information without the hassles and specialized skill sets that were previously necessary to try and piece this data together.

In addition, the Environmental Intelligence Suite includes a set of tools designed to make the process of collecting a company’s own environmental-related data easier to do. Right now, the data collection process for ESG and CSR reporting can be very challenging for many organizations, so the ability to make the process easier will likely be welcome news. IBM’s Carbon Performance Engine and associated Carbon Accounting APIs are a set of tools the company built to help collect the required measurement data, generate reports, let companies see how they align to evolving standards, and make comparisons to other companies in their industry. The tool can automatically adjust to changes in regulatory requirements and is designed to integrate with existing ERP systems to collect some of the necessary data. There are even several AI-powered, Natural Language Processing (NLP)-based abilities that compensate for things like the different names that some countries use for the same gas, ensuring that multi-national organizations can accurately (and automatically) adjust for these potentially confusing variations.

While IBM’s offering looks comprehensive, it’s not the only company helping other businesses to ascertain and improve their energy usage. At this week’s Google Cloud Next, Google unveiled a free tool called Google Cloud Carbon Footprint that, as its name suggests, lets companies that are using Google Cloud measure the carbon footprint of the workloads they are running there. In addition, Google will provide Carbon Reduction Recommendations that lets companies easily delete forgotten and/or unattended projects and workloads. While clearly only a modest part of most organizations’ total energy consumption, it’s still great to see Google making this information available for free.

Despite their relatively rapid rise to the corporate center stage, there’s little doubt that CSR and ESG-related initiatives are going to be around for a long time. That’s why efforts like IBM’s and Google’s are so important. Helping companies prepare for environmental challenges and collect information they can use to reduce their own impact on the environment is something a wide variety of organizations are going to want and need for some time to come.   

Here’s a link to the original column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.