Went to EPCOT this weekend to check out the latest version of the IBM play center at Innoventions. It was quite good and my six year old went back to play it a couple more times later in the day. I was actually, a bit surprised that it was just being officially debuted this weekend as I played a version of the game online about six months ago.
The game itself is a bit of a trip through the history of computing, which IBM and you as the star, of course. Across from the game is a learning center where guess discover the possibilities of building a smarter planet. The exhibit is powered by a news Smarter Data Center, providing a real-life demonstration of optimized computing that reduces energy costs by up to 25 percent.
SmarterPlanet presented by IBM offers visitors to the park a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of how technology is helping solve the world’s most complex problems – from reducing road traffic and city crime to improving food safety and local water supplies.
The experience encourages guests to think about their individual role in creating a smarter planet as well as understand how smarter data centers are the heart of a more sustainable, technology-enabled world.
For example, hands-on interactive kiosks offer guests a “match” game that reveals societal and technological implications of creating a smarter planet. Guests will discover how more than two billion people are using mobile phones to open and use bank accounts for the first time; or that only 11 percent of the United States money supply is cash; or that by unplugging household appliance while not in use homeowners can save cash, up to $286 every year; or how smarter food systems track the temperatures of foods from one location to another to prevent spoilage. From the same kiosks, guests can take a Smarter Planet poll and compare their answers with those of other visitors.
The exhibit also features Runtime, created by Walt Disney Imagineering, which transforms guests into personalized avatars as part of the video game experience. Players run, jump and dance through a timeline of IBM’s achievements in the history of computing, journeying from the Babbage computer, through vacuum tubes and chips and bits, to the Internet. Guests can also email their personalized version of the game to any computer, extending the Runtime experience to their home.
Smarter Data Center
The exhibit’s glass storefront invites guests to peek into a functional IBM Smarter Data Center, responsible for running the SmarterPlanet exhibit and demonstrating the advanced technology required as part of the Smarter Planet transformation.
Implemented by hundreds of IBM clients around the world over the past three years, the exhibit’s version of IBM’s Scalable Modular Data Center is a quick-to-deploy, cost-effective, energy-efficient data center built on a combination of IBM hardware and software as well as partner offerings. Using this type of data center – equipped with highly optimized servers, storage, switches and smart software – IBM has helped organizations reduce their overall IT costs by up to 25 percent, including reducing overall energy costs.
In addition to providing the computer power for the exhibit, the Smarter Data Center will donate unused computing resources to the World Community Grid to help in various types of medical, humanitarian and environmental research. This project joins together thousands of individual computers worldwide, establishing a large system with massive computational power equivalent to a supercomputer, thereby reducing research time from decades to months.
The Smarter Data Center also includes an IBM Cloudburst™ demonstration environment. This emerging and massively scalable compute model allows a data center to rapidly deploy a workload with a high degree of integration, flexibility and resource optimization. It also helps to drive down costs and accelerate time to market for businesses.
“The new SmarterPlanet experience brings to life the many ways in which IBM technologies are invisibly woven into the way people live, work and play,” said Gary Cohen, IBM General Manager, Global Communications Sector. “The objective is for guests to walk away understanding how forward-thinking solutions can solve our greatest societal problems, and the increasing role technology will play in improving the quality of life for people across the world.”
SmarterPlanet presented by IBM also serves as a key venue for several of IBM’s community outreach programs, including Engineers Week, an annual program created by The National Engineers Week Foundation to reach out to current and future generations of engineering talent. The Engineers Week program, which IBM has hosted at its exhibit since 2000, engages visiting elementary school children in activities designed to inspire and motivate them to excel in math and science. The program also seeks to reduce the digital divide, especially for children from low-income communities where access to computers and technology may be limited at home and in school. This year, IBM will host Engineers Week April 13-15, 2010.