Blog Archives

Surat, the Silk City

Our Smarter Cities Challenge: Travel to the city of Surat, India with a small team of other IBMers, work with city leaders, and in just three weeks, develop a plan to help make the city “smarter.”

Surat (pronounced, “SUE-raht”) has mills that produce vast quantities of silk, cotton and manmade fibers. It is known as the Silk City.  It is also a huge hub for the diamond market: 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished here. These industries provide so many job opportunities that people have been migrating to Surat from across the country, and the city’s population has been growing exponentially.  Surat is the world’s fourth fastest growing city.

January 26 is Republic Day in India, which observes the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950.  Our team celebrated the holiday by driving out of town to a salt marshy area called Dandi, by the Arabian Sea.  There, in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi staged an act of civil disobedience, to protest British rule in India.  He and an ever-increasing crowd of followers marched to Dandi to challenge a British-imposed tax on salt.  A huge statue of Gandhi holding a handful of salt stands outside, near a plaque that reads: “Here on April 6, 1930 A.D. Gandhiji broke the Salt Law, picked salt and challenged the rule of the mighty British which ultimately won for our motherland freedom on August 15, 1947.”

Gandhi statue at Dandi - Surat SCC - GHZ



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by | January 27, 2016 · 1:20 pm

I now know to bake cupcakes…..

IMG_1056 IMG_1037

My wife has already booked me for baking cupcakes for my son’s birthday.

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by | October 9, 2014 · 10:55 pm

Meeting the Awesome team at the mentorship academy

Mentorship academy

Mentorship academy

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by | October 9, 2014 · 10:49 pm

Birmingham – Day 3

Today is our first full day of scheduled interviews. We have been provided an ‘office’ in Birmingham City Hall, where our stakeholders who have been scheduled to meet with us by our host city can conveniently and comfortably share their experiences and insights into the food desert issues. There are many. While we are aware this is a complex issue, understanding how it unfolds in Birmingham is enlightening and very disconcerting. Birmingham is but one city of many that is dealing with this issue, but the impacts are very real in the community. Poverty, unemployment and hunger seem pervasive and inextricably linked.

Old houses

However, spirit and pride are also prevalent in everyone we speak to. Rows of vacant houses sit adjacent to well tended porches and lawns adorned with bright signs of life and vitality. Church groups, housing officials, education leaders and financial institutions, whom we interviewed today, have a keen awareness of the issues and the needs of the community. Everyone is perceptive and engaged in discussion, investigating the issues with us and sharing their own perspectives of cause, analysis, and potential opportunities for mitigation.

Nice houses

We began our synthesis of the issues after the long day of interviews was over. Time to begin planning the report! While we still need a variety of input from stakeholders not yet tapped and much team analysis, the tight schedule (only 14 days till the draft report is due for internal review!) makes it imperative to be working on multiple aspects of the Challenge in parallel. This effort is daunting, but the objective, and the community, drives the team forward. We look forward tomorrow to another insightful day tomorrow meeting more fantastic stakeholders of Birmingham.

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by | July 9, 2014 · 11:13 pm

Chennai, India – Smarter Cities Challenge gets started

chennaiThe day has finally arrived. It’s time to gather in Chennai, India to participate in an IBM Smarter City Challenge. The team is comprised of IBMers from around the globe with various backgrounds and complementary skills to contribute to the project. By way of introductions our team:

raviRavi Arunachalam    Mats  Mats Bergenfor
magesh  Magesh Rajendran barbaraBarbara Wherry-Skog
Jamie PWLC4Jamie Mendez

Together we have been preparing for the this project over the last four weeks through virtual meetings. Our meetings have included guest speakers who have shared information on a variety of topics including information about Chennai’s rich history and culture, city government structure, the project scope of work and expectations as well as best practices and lessons learned from previous Smarter Cities Challenge engagements.

While the team has been getting to know one another over the last month, there is nothing like being on the ground together to explore the many facets of a city’s vision to transform in light of an ever changing and growing populous. With growth comes increased demand on city services and infrastructure and the need to ensure highly efficient and accurate tax collection. Our project is to work with the Corporation of Chennai (City Government) to evaluate and identify opportunities to improve the Tax Assessment and Collection process.

This is a high energy and focused team who is ready to engage. Look for more details about our engagement in the coming days.

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by | June 8, 2014 · 12:56 pm

SCC – Faro Public Launch at Municipality

Faro Public Launch

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by | February 11, 2014 · 3:31 pm

KKU University Srinagarind HIS Discussions

KKU Srinagarind Hospital

KKU Srinagarind Hospital

Earlier today Dr Greg Kelaart-Courtney met with Associate Professor Cholatip Pongkul MD, Deputy Director for Information Technology at KKU Srinagarind Hospital to discuss the current status of their HIS (Hospital Information Systems) initiative and potential collaboration with the KKU Department of Science Analytics Research Center (ARC).

Srinagarind Hospital was established in 1975.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej laid the Foundation Stone of the hospital and named it in honor of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Mother.  It is the main tertiary medical referral center for Northeast Thailand—a modern and prestigious hospital.

Srinagarind Hospital is the main teaching hospital for the Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University.  Each year, hundreds of skilled medical practitioners and public heath personnel graduate; staffing the secondary and primary medical centers across the geographic region known as Esan (Northeast) Thailand.

Thousands of hospital beds facility has 21 operating theaters, 11 nursing care departments, a Blood Bank Center, Endoscopy Center and daycare.  The hospital serves over 700,000 outpatients and 50,000 in-patients each year.  Most patients come from Khon Kaen, followed by the provinces nearby, and those from farther including those from other ASEAN nations.

Srinagarind Hospital has a worldwide reputation for its treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, thalassemia, melioidosis, renal calculi, and cleft lip/palate restoration as well as its dynamic community outreach.

The Faculty of Medicine at Khon Kaen University has established itself as a center for world-class research and tertiary patient care. The mission of the Faculty is to engage in innovative research activities for well-balanced and long-lasting development of the people of Northeast Thailand. We are proud to work for the benefit of the Isaan people.  At present, the Faculty has four Research Centers of Excellence and 23 Research Groups, which are very active in undertaking research focusing on the diseases prevalent in Northeast Thailand.  One of the Faculty’s missions is to instigate research activities for important diseases in the region affecting local communities.

Srinagarind Hospital has recently ‘gone live’ with their eHealth Objects HIS initiative, which has already been integrated with their existing PACS (Picture Archive and Communications Systems) and LIMS (Laboratory Information Management Systems) passing ‘orders’ and ‘Results’, using HL7 between the three systems. The HIS solution is running on PureFlex infrastructure.

The overall project has been a great success where the physicians and staff have accepted the changes to their day-to-day jobs. What has been a highlight in the implementation is that the physicians have requested that the IT Department start to install PC’s on their desks so that they can input and access the administrative and clinical data more affectively.

There is a high chance of Srinagarind Hospital collaborating with KKU Department of Science Analytics Research Center in several areas such as:

  • The identification of clinical diagnosis heat maps, showing area’s interesting to both the clinical and administrative staff of Srinagarind Hospital;
  • The de-identification and re-identification of clinical data so that personal information is secure but still allowing for adverse results to be reported back to the treating physician; and
  • Medical devices integration with the HIS solution.

The current prognosis of the HIS implementation is very positive , and the leadership and staff of Srinagarind Hospital have all done a magnificent job accepting this new technology.

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by | November 18, 2013 · 12:24 am