A world without IBM


To have further stats on the impact of IBM on every day users - and from there what would change about their life without IBM.

Early Findings

IBM's Most Impactful Products

  • IBM was behind key inventions over the last century such as the UPC barcode, the hard disk drive and automated teller machines.
  • If IBM had never existed, people either wouldn't be able to store their data, or alternative methods of data storage would have developed. There's no publicly availble data on total global HDD usage or annual unit sales, but last year, global unit shipments of hard disk drives were at 375.56 million units.
  • In 2018 there were 41.6 ATMs for every 100,000 adults worldwide. That's a total of 3.2 million ATMs that people have come to depend on. (Calculation: 7.7 billion people / 100,000 x 41.6). Without ATMs people may have to spend much more time waiting in banks.
  • On the other hand, with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Internet transactions, people are becoming less dependent on cash, and therefore on ATMs.
  • In 2015, people made 99 billion cash withdrawals, globally, from ATMs - something that may not have been possible in a world without IBM.
  • Some 80 to 90 percent of the top 500 companies in the US use barcodes.
  • According to IBM; "UPC is planet Earth’s most pervasive inventory tracking tool." Barcodes, they argue, " fundamentally changed many of the practices of retailers and all organizations that buy and move things, from large industrial equipment to pencils purchased in stationery stores. These two technologies led to the use of in-store information processing systems in almost every industry around the world, applied to millions of types of goods and items." In that sense, without IBM, its likely stores would function very differently.
  • For customers, barcodes meant that accuracy of transactions increased, while for stores they meant the costs of checking out customers decreased.
  • Barcode technologies today are now a $17 billion business.

AI and IBM Watson

  • Banks like Orange Bank (a fast growing mobile bank in France) and Banco Bradesco are using IBM Watson across their enterprises to resolve customer inquiries. IBM claims their AI help these banks solve inquiries in "seconds" with a 95% accuracy rate.
  • Last year the company launched IBM Talent and Transformation - an AI platform that helps businesses manage their staff and ensure they have the right skills, as well as a supportive working culture.

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