I had the chance to talk with … a number of IBM executives at their Rational Software Conference (RSC2009) over the last two days. I have heard some great talks on the role that software plays in developing a smarter planet, and how IBM can help companies develop smarter products. I have heard them talk about instrumenting the physical world to monitor, analyze, and improve the way it operates (a whole topic unto itself, really). I have learned a lot and shared ideas with some dynamic, passionate IBM’ers and my peer analysts. My key takeaway is not new, however. I have felt for some time (and my experience at the Rational conference furthered this belief) that IBM has an unprecedented opportunity to bring a systems engineering focus to developing mechatronic products, and unite the disparate mechanical, electrical, and software design processes.