IBM's new "5 in 5" list covers five technological innovations that will change the way people live and work over the next five years.
IBM has released its sixth
annual "IBM 5 in 5"
five innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live
and interact during the next five years.
The next "IBM 5 in 5"
is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from
IBM's research labs around the world that can make these transformations
possible. The list consists of these five findings: people
power will come to life
will never need a password again
reading is no longer science fiction
digital divide will cease to exist;
mail will become priority mail
In a post on IBM's
"A Smarter Planet" blog
, IBM strategist and writer Steve Hamm
said the "Next 5 in 5" initiative got its start in an IBM Innovation
Jam in 2006. "The seed goal was to get the entire company thinking about
grand challenges," he said.
The first innovation about
"people power coming to life" is about renewable energy. IBM said anything that
moves or produces heat has the potential to create energy that can be captured-walking,
jogging, bicycling, the heat from your computer and even the water flowing
through your pipes.
IBM says advances in
renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic
energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices
and cities. For example, IBM said it will become possible to attach small
devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you
pedal along. You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you
want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home, IBM
said in a press release.
Created energy comes in all
shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists in Ireland
looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of
converting ocean wave energy into electricity.
IBM continues to bridge the
gap between science fiction and science fact on a daily basis, the company
said. The second innovation in the "5 in 5," "you will never
need a password again," will come about because your biological makeup is
the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to
IBM says you will no longer
need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins.
Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw
money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can
recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye, IBM said. Or by doing
the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or
Each person has a unique
biological identity, and behind all that is data. Biometric data-facial
definitions, retinal scans and voice files-will be composited through software
to build your DNA-unique online password, IBM said. Referred to as multifactor
biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real time
to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it
matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized, Big Blue
says. To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of
whatever information you choose to provide.
Third, IBM says, "Mind reading
is closer to reality than you might think." IBM scientists are researching how
to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you
just need to think about calling someone, it happens. Or you can control the
cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it,
Scientists in the field of
bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical
brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and
concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking
IBM says within five years,
we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and
entertainment industry. Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test
brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help
in understanding brain disorders, such as autism, IBM said.
Life-changing innovation No.
4 in this year's "IBM 5 in 5" is that "the digital divide will cease
to exist." Indeed, IBM says in five years, the gap between information haves and
have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile
technology. There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five
years, there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold-which ostensibly means 80
percent of the current global population would each have a mobile device.
As it becomes cheaper to own
a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much
more than they can today. For example, in India, using speech technology
and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass
along information through recorded messages on their phones. With access to
information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports to
help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into
town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.
Growing communities will be
able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and
better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile
commerce and remote health care. In our global society, the level of
access to information increasingly decides the growth and wealth of economies.
In an interview in Hamm's
post, IBM Fellow Bernard Meyerson, who also is the company's vice president of
innovation for the IBM Systems and Technology group, said, "Today, through
telemedicine, patients can connect with physicians or specialists from just
about anywhere via inexpensive computers and broadband networks. Doctors can
view X-rays and other diagnostic imagery from thousands of miles away."
Moreover, Meyerson added: "Thanks to advances in
genetic research and high-performance computing, it is now possible to
affordably decipher an individual's entire genome. This makes it possible for
physicians to alert people to medical conditions they might fall prey to, and
it clears the pathway, eventually, to truly personal medicine."
Meanwhile, No. 5 in the 2011
"IBM 5 in 5" list is that "junk mail will become priority mail."
IBM said in
unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem
spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise that you'll
never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again, IBM said.
scenarios, IBM said: "Imagine if tickets to
your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available,
and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar. Through alerts
direct to you, you'll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile
device. Or imagine being notified that a snowstorm is about to affect your
travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight?"
IBM is developing technology
that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all
the facets of your life, such as your social networks and online preferences to
present and recommend information that is only useful to you, IBM said. From
news, to sports, to politics, you'll trust the technology will know what you
want, so you can decide what to do with it.