IBM Midwest Key Enterprise, Startup and Academic Leaders November 2015 Update: IBM Watson Trend Hub, CNN Money Report Target Site Overwhelmed With Traffic On Cyber Monday, IBM Bluemix Evolution of the Cloud in Retail and More

The holiday season is upon us! Whether you are in the UK, the US or elsewhere in the world, the cash register bells all mean one thing: retailers are working aggressively on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to convince shoppers that they are the best place to shop. Analytics, marketing, cloud and uptime have all began to run together based on one requirement: customers want to buy when they want, where they want and for the best possible price. If a business cannot respond to this demand the consumer can quickly find a business who is–one click or swip away. This update has metrics and links you can use to monitor what is occurring for retailers with this holiday season—while it is going on. Let’s begin….

IBM Watson Trend Hub

The IBM Watson Trend Hub provide visibility into what shoppers are seeking this season as well as how they are using different technologies to select, research and purchase gifts for themselves as well as others. Below are a few key links from the IBM Watson Trend Hub to put this season into perspective for a business.

Mobile wins over Black Friday shoppers

Investment in mobile-friendly shopping experience pays off for retailers

IBM’s Watson Predicts Cyber Monday’s Top Products and Trends

Strong Thanksgiving and Black Friday Online Sales to Spur Double-Digit Growth Today

Get Instant Shopping Insights with Benchmark Live

Monitor and customize real-time views of online retail key performance indicators

Target Site Overwhelmed With Traffic on Cyber Monday javascript:void(0) David Goldman

After spending a year working to recover from the black hat guys, Target had a plan to bring customer’s back: 15% off site-wide.   The good news is the plan was extremely successful. The interesting news is Target had a contingency plan for the volumes of traffic of customers who were not able to access the site. The queue approach was used to funnel shoppers to the site.   As businesses prepare for seasonal peaks, Target’s experiences over the last year provide a story in contrasts and examples of why the cloud and other technologies can be critical assets to be used in capturing the market opportunity.


IBM Bluemix: Evolution of the Cloud in Retail

The first question that may come to mind is so really how could the cloud be used to work on these types of problem. I found the answer in this quote from the site:

“Take, for in-stance, the opportunities the cloud provides a major clothing retail-er: with warehouses throughout the country that deliver product in near just-in-time to their stores, the company has a pressing need to revamp their systems to solve a number of problems:

  • Deliveries: Drivers waste gas and take too long due to insufficient traffic tracking (use open source traffic data)
  • Reduce inventory holding & distribution costs: Products sit in the warehouse for too long, and stores run out of items (use internal systems to analyze purchasing data across stores)
  • Aid their suppliers forecast demand (make their internal data available to suppliers in order to facilitate forward positioning of products which are experiencing high demand in a specific locality)”

So just a few ideas for retailers to consider, not next year but even while opportunity awaits this year, the cloud.   This answer provides for a right here, right now approach to capture the business mindshare and walletshare for shoppers who may or may not be willing to wait in a queue.


GameStop Technology Institute Develops Innovative Apps with IBM Bluemix

Gamestop is one example of a retailer using Bluemix early in 2015 to leverage the cloud for integrating technologies to improve the gamers experience. This summary diagram depicts how Bluemix is used to coordinate the various technologies leveraged around with their various platforms: Cloundant, dashDB and more.


IBM Academic Initiative Faculty Resources for Leveraging the Cloud in the Classroom (all at no-charge to student nor the university)

The IBM Academic Initiative for Cloud offer provides faculty members access to using the above cloud resources in the classroom as well as provides them the ability to give students access at 6 months at a time. In addition, this link provides faculty guides, case studies, ebooks, white papers, studies, hands-on labs and courseware materials to aid to making the experience real-world.   Below are examples and link to some of the resources available:

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Chicago Bluemix Cloud Computing Upcoming Meetups

As we begin our meetup schedule for 2016, we have two meetups already on the calendar for 2016.   Two CEO/Presidents of two companies have agreed to come in and share their stories on what they are doing with the cloud and how it works with their business model. After their discussion, we will continue to have hands on labs for all in attendance to gain experience in working in the cloud. Here the details for the next two meetups:

Harnessing the Power of Telematics with the Cloud

Thu Jan 14
12:00 PM   71 S Wacker Drive  Sixth Floor and Please Bring a Photo ID for Building Security, Chicago, IL (map)


Using the Cloud to Improve Elderly Care

Tue Jan 19
12:00 PM 71 S Wacker Drive Sixth Floor and Please Bring a Photo ID for Building Security, Chicago, IL (map)


It has been an amazing year with getting to engage with so many new businesses, universities, startups, developers and enterprises re-vamping their market models.   In taking over the meetup we grew from 54 members in April to 345 this last day of November. We have had bootcamps, been involved in Global City Team Challenges, NASA Hackathons, partnered with companies including: Luna Lights, Chicago Urban League, Anyone Can Learn to Code, Northwestern University Coursera Social Marketing Specialization and others with plans to expand this list to many more in 2016.

As we continue the work started in 2015, I thank you for your partnership and look forward to 2016 and all we will accomplish in business, education, development and entrepreneurship. When those ingredients are mixed together we have a winning combination that just keeps getting better!

Michael Phelps


Michael Fred Phelps II is an American competition swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals in three Olympiads.

Let’s bring home the gold together again in 2016!



Valinda Scarbro Kennedy

IBM Chicago Cloud Academic, Entrepreneur and Developer Gladiator


Mobile/Text: 630-747-8807

Twitter: @vscarbro

LinkedIn: Valinda Kennedy



IBM Chicago City Team and Events:

IBM Chicago Cloud (Free 30 days):

IBM Chicago Entrepreneur Cloud for Startups (Free up to 120K):

IBM Academic Initiative for Cloud:


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