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IBM injects $100M on mobile comms research

Posted: 25 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile communications? interface? GPS?

IBM Corp. is investing $100 million in mobile research over the next five years in an effort to recreate mobile services for businesses and consumers. The effort is expected to result in technology to bring simple, easy-to-use services to people who did not learn to use the Internet through the PC route, and instead got online via their mobile devices.

IBM hopes to drive new intelligence into the mobile Web and enable new efficiencies in business operations and people's daily lives, particularly in mobile enterprise enablement, emerging market mobility and enterprise end-user mobile experiences. The research will deal with issues that cross all three focus areas including analytics, security, privacy, user interface and navigation.

Guruduth Banavar, global leader of the mobile communications focus for IBM Research and director of IBM Research-India noted that as mobile devices become ubiquitous they are breaking down geographical, economic, and social boundaries. "With high penetration, simple user interface, and significant cost advantage for end users, mobile telephony holds the future of communication and exchange of information for the enterprise," he said.

BlueStar test
Mobile phones already outnumber traditional wired telephones, and IBM estimates that there will be one billion users by 2011. Mobile phone offers a compelling platform for accessing information services because of their low cost, high bandwidth, wireless access, and PC-like information processing power.

IBM pilot-tested its "BlueStar" technology for developing automated mobile devices and application management services for insurance claims processing. The first-of-a-kind (FOAK) program, matches IBM's scientists with clients to explore the use of emerging technologies to solve real world business problems.

The pilot showed that leveraging mobile technology to locate and dispatch the most appropriate and available claims adjusters for each case significantly reduced the time to process claims. BlueStar combined GPS location technology, presence awareness capabilities and an analysis of all candidate agents' calendar availability to select an agent. It then communicated with the agent's mobile phone, prepared necessary claims case information for the specific mobile device configuration, and securely transmitted all data to the device, thus to the agent.

This approach to processing information for staff on-the-go simplified the maintenance of mobile service products. There was no need to disperse the information to hundreds of handheld devices. Rather the information was briefly provisioned by a central server, thus enabling better monitoring, upgrading and security. The pilot showed the successful deployment and management of mobile devices and applications to a large force of enterprise field workers. It enabled smarter device management, and more importantly, a smarter way for the mobile field force to work.

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