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Daily dose of inclusive Social Business

Discovery Channel Canada interviews IBM HA&AC Advocacy and Outreach Program Manager Peter Fay

The Daily Planet team from the Discovery Channel Canada is hip. They highlight cool new technologies and explore interesting people, places and things. So, when their FutureTech team wanted to get a first-hand look at the New Mobile Workplace, they came to IBM.

Hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin introduced the story by bemoaning the dichotomy of being able to connect to work from anywhere – it's great, but it's not always great! Ms. Tong then segued to reporter Lucas Cochran who visited the IBM software lab in Littleton, Massachusetts, to learn about how IBM is taking social business to the next level.

Lucas first interviewed Chris Crummey, IBM Social Business Evangelist, who demonstrated how IBM is "helping customers become a smarter workforce by becoming a social business." Chris showed Lucas how to easily transfer contact information from his tablet to Lucas's smart phone by simply scanning a quick response (QR) code, and – voila! – the data was there. He also demonstrated updating his social status by clicking on a microphone and recording an update.

Next, Chris handed Mr. Cochran over to Peter Fay to learn how the Human Ability and Accessibility Center (HA&AC) is working to make social business inclusive for everyone. With Lucas at the keyboard, Peter highlighted an accessibility innovation, Easy Web Browsing (EWB) that was invented by the Tokyo Research Lab and enhanced in collaboration with the HA&AC advanced technology team in Austin, Texas. EWB has features for people who are experiencing vision loss and Peter was able to show Lucas how to enlarge the type font on a web page, change the back- and foreground colors for better contrast and have text read aloud.

In the last part of the segment, IBM Researcher Dr. Joan DiMicco introduced Lucas to visual analytics and IBM's own internal crowdfunding application called 1 by 5. In perhaps the most fun part of the segment, Lucas created a project to practice light saber skills at lunchtime. Several IBMers including Chris Crummey, signed up, funded the project and got to match light swords with the intrepid reporter from the Daily Planet!

Peter's take on the whole experience was, "The crew from the Daily Planet had some really creative ideas to make the technology come alive and were really fun to work with."

Meanwhile, the next generation of EWB – EWB on cloud – is undergoing further review in preparation for commercialization.

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