IBM will host its annual Think conference on May 11 and 12 as a virtual event focused on helping organizations deal with the challenges of digital transformation in a changing world.
While IBM has been putting on the Think conference for years, Big Blue is promising that this year will be different. Carla Piñeyro Sublett, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at IBM, told ITPro Today that the experience of IBM Think 2021 will be completely different from last year, which was also a virtual event.
"This moment in time gives us all an opportunity to rethink our future given all that we have been through globally," she said.
The Think 2021 virtual platform has been built with engagement and interaction at the core, Sublett said. No longer simply a broadcast and watch event, Think now offers enhanced engagement on the new digital platform for all attendees – including participation in community forums, breaking away for one-on-one chats and collaborating in the IBM Garage with the professionals who create the technology.
In addition for 2021, Think will consist of three airings to ensure everyone around the globe can experience the event. Each event airing will host local subject matter experts, live chats and discussions, and several local-language, market-led digital lounges.
Focus on Hybrid Cloud and AI
The key theme for IBM Think 2021 is how hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence are the foundations of smarter business.
Featured sessions will highlight how AI can help businesses become more predictive and resilient, how automation can accelerate business outcomes with digital transformation, building trust in business by doubling down on security measures, and bringing hybrid cloud architecture to application development and deployment, according to Sublett. She added that much of this year’s programming aims to illustrate how emerging technologies can be applied to solve some of today’s most pressing global challenges.
"Amid rapid and unpredictable change, we must all learn how to navigate change through transformation, automation and modernization," she said. "To do this, we must map out a future for applications of hybrid cloud and AI."
IBM's CEO to Give Keynote
Among the highlights of any Think event is the keynote address from IBM's CEO, and this year, Arvind Krishna, who only got the top job in April 2020, will be the keynote speaker.
Sublett said Krishna will discuss how the agility of hybrid cloud and the intelligence of AI enable organizations to respond to digital transformation. Krishna will also outline how companies in every industry can build a stronger digital foundation to reinvent the way they do business and engage the world.
During the keynote, Krishna will be joined by Karen Lynch, president and CEO of CVS Health, and Bret Taylor, president and chief operating officer at Salesforce.
Sessions of Note
To illustrate how technology can address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, Dr. Dario Gil, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, will take attendees on a guided virtual tour of IBM’s famed Research Labs, according to Sublett. Gil will also discuss creating and scaling the fundamental elements of computing and explore the limits of what is possible with technology and its impact for business and society.
IBM Think 2021 sessions about cloud technologies include topics ranging from managing and addressing skill gaps to how open source offers portability and observability when applications reside in multiple clouds. Multiple sessions will also address how flexible, open hybrid cloud architectures are already driving digital transformation for businesses today.
IBM is also bringing in a few special guests, including talk show host James Corden, chef José Andrés, Dr. Lisa Dyson, futurist Malcolm Gladwell and journalist Anjali Rao.
"Our speakers at this year's Think will help you think – deeply – about the future, about business and about how each of us impact the world with, and through, technology," Sublett said.
Registration for IBM Think 2021 is now open.