IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s CES 2016 Keynote (Full Transcript)

January 8, 2016 12:01 pm | By More

Title: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s CES 2016 Conference Keynote – Transcript

Event: CES 2016 Conference, 4:30 PM Wednesday, January 6, 2016 in The Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom.

Speaker (s):

Gary Shapiro – President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association

Ginni Rometty – IBM Chairman, President and CEO [Full bio]

Kevin Plank – CEO and Founder, Under Armour

Omar Ishrak – Chairman and CEO, Medtronic

Kenichi Yoshida – VP Business Development, SoftBank Robotics Corp


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Lady Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, Gary Shapiro.

Gary Shapiro – President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association

Welcome to CES 2016. I am so excited to be on this stage this afternoon to introduce our keynote speaker. You know, for nearly half a century, CES has been mostly about cutting-edge consumer products and during most of its more than 100-year history, IBM has been the preeminent leader in the business to business IT. But that’s changing for both of us, and I am thrilled that we have IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty here with us today to talk about this new paradigm.

In fact, the massive convergence going on around the world, thanks to Big Data and the Internet of Things, is driving two distinct trends. First, CES is no longer totally consumer product centric. It’s increasingly about technologies driven by the Internet of Things; and IBM is today leveraging its advantages with data and the Internet of Things to enter spaces it has never even been in before, appealing to totally new audiences as a result.

As Ginni has said many times, data is humankind’s next natural resource, and she’s leading a major transformation at big blue to become “the” preeminent company in what it calls the new cognitive era, driven by systems that actually learn. During her tenure — which began almost four years ago to this very day — she has made the cognitive power of one of IBM’s most iconic technologies the centerpiece of that transformation: Watson. The same system, which beat the two top human contestants on Jeopardy! in 2011 has been featured in ads with such top icons as Bob Dylan, in fact, it’s now at the center of what may be big blue’s biggest bet ever.

In fact, the same company’s technology helped land man on the moon just a generation ago has its own new moon shot today with Watson: transforming healthcare and education as we know it. And they’re not stopping there. In fact, last May, Ginni made headlines with a really bold prediction. She told an audience of IBM customers in New York that included engineers, doctors, bankers and other professionals that, “in the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson, and our lives will be better for it”.

Well, with the coming cognitive era, I am thrilled to announce an important research partnership between the Consumer Technology Association Foundation and IBM. The research will focus on identifying how cognitive computing will transform our lives as we age and also transform the lives of those living with disabilities. IBM’s generous contribution of funding and resources will lead to important research into the impact of technologies like Watson.

It’s still the early days, and major transformations are extremely difficult to pull off. But as Ginni is fond of saying, there’s a reason why IBM is 105 years old. It’s because the company has a long history of making big bets in the future and of being proven right. We will hear from Ginni about IBM’s bold and optimistic vision for the coming new era powered by Watson and cognitive business. We’ll also see a few demonstrations of how it’s being used today and hear from some IBM customers discussing cognitive, IoT and other key topics.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our keynote speaker, IBM’s CEO, Chairman, Ginni Rometty.

Ginni Rometty – IBM Chairman, President and CEO

Thank you, Gary. You did a great job. Well, thank you. That was a very generous introduction, and I thought Gary was going to give my presentation. I thought he was doing a great job, actually. He did a great job except for one thing. Did I hear him properly say that I was with IBM 40 years? Did I hear that? That — look at me. Does that sound true? I hope not. Not true. If you’re thinking yes, no.

And so, look, it is great to see so many people here and so many IBM clients. And I don’t think Gary mentioned this: I am the first IBM CEO to ever speak at a keynote here at CES. And so, you might be asking — Well, if you clap at that, you will clap at anything. Okay?

So, I am the first, and you might be asking why and why now. Now, I have walked around, looked around, clearly, IoT is a major theme here. It impacts every industry, every company. And I am here, IBM is here, because I want to assert something to you that the future of the Internet of Things is cognitive, the cognitive IoT. And I am going to be joined by CEOs from three major companies, all different industries, and we’re going to make some major announcements here today that embody this exact future I’m going to talk about.

So, let me frame what you’re going to then see come to life through their eyes. So, I want to talk about cognitive; what is a cognitive IoT? And then really quickly, what I think are three critical success factors because it’s what so many of you are doing. But first, I want to start with a question.

Now, there’s no doubt that the Internet of Things is all part of the phenomena of digitization of products, of services, of companies. So, if I ask you to raise your hands and ask how many of you either work for a digital company or you are trying to become a digital company, just raise your hand. Okay. Same response about anywhere in the world is almost everyone’s hand goes up. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re B to B, B to C, public/private, it doesn’t matter. And this has got a lot to do, as we reinvent ourselves, what we’ve done to build a good number of capabilities to help you become a digital company.

It started with building the leading and the largest set of big data and analytics capability in the world, building a cloud platform for the enterprise that goes between public, private and hybrid; and then, our work to help you re-imagine how work is done itself and that’s been through the partnership with Apple, and then having built the world’s largest enterprise security company. I think many people don’t realize that even by the end of 2014, those businesses for IBM were over $25 billion; and through the third quarter of this year, they’ve grown 30%.

So, this idea that analytics, cloud, mobility, security, they are all important. But I want to ask you a question. When everybody becomes digital, then what? Who wins? I like to say digital is not a destination; it’s a foundation. I mean, I just looked around this whole conference — wearables, sensors, cars, data everywhere. But what will differentiate you is understanding that data, and that brings me to my first point that Gary also introduced.

I believe the most disruptive, transformative trend is now in front of us, and it’s cognitive. This ability to think, to learn, to understand the systems, the products, the processes, everything you do, and it is the dawn of a new era, the cognitive era. Maybe you could simply say digital business plus digital intelligence. And cognitive is an era of business, and it is an era of technology. So, there’s two drivers for the technology era.

One, data that was invisible will now be visible to you. Now, you know, we’ve talked about the phenomena of big data forever, but 80% of the data out there, while it may be stored in some systems, it’s black. It’s invisible, it’s not understood. Sight, sound, music — you don’t actually know inside of it what it is, and that’s what’s changing in this new era.

The second thing is the advent of cognitive computing. Now, some people want to shorthand that to artificial intelligence; that’s part of it, but you have to be able to work in natural language and in a domain: understand medicine, metallurgy. And then more than anything, this is an era of systems you do not program; they understand, they reason and they learn. In fact, they therefore have hypotheses and confidence levels — and this is what IBM Watson does.

Now, we worked on this, it started a decade ago, and we went ahead and debuted Watson to Jeopardy!, the game show, in 2011. It has come a long way since then. At that time, what Watson could do was question and answer, which he did beat everyone then. Question and answer, and he had five technologies underneath it.

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