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IBM unveils new services to meet surge in demand for smart chip technology


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Armonk, New York - 27 Sep 2002: Capitalizing on an upsurge in "smart" chip demand among its business customers, IBM today announced a broad ranging initiative to accelerate industrial, retail, logistics and domestic e-business applications. IBM's 'e-business to Smart Machines' initiative will use these powerful chips to help monitor machine performance, track inventory, and enhance security. Today's announcement is in line with IBM's strategy for pervasive comupting, which for more then for years now has been helping companies access data using any device on any network.

Smart chips are tiny "computers" that can be embedded on cards, inventory and equipment. They store information which can be read by special equipment, enabling cashless purchases, automatic identification, transmission of equipment performance/tolerance and inventory status.

"IBM's vision of millions of e-businesses interconnected by intelligent devices is now becoming a reality," said John Kirby, vice president, global wireless e-business services, IBM Global Services. "Smart chips have been around for some time, but in the last six months demand has ramped up significantly. By introducing smart chip technology into everyday devices and machines, and leveraging the power of e-business, IBM is enabling companies to build new revenue streams, raise business performance and improve customer service."

The new services will help companies remotely monitor certain conditions of assets as diverse as water pipelines and train boxcars. They will help healthcare and financial organizations improve their services to patients and customers.

In a business conference in Zurich, Switzerland, IBM demonstrated its services and customers discussed how different industries are using smart technologies to speed production, improve quality and customer service, and reduce costs for the enterprise.

New asset monitoring enablement capabilities presented today include consulting, systems integration, and extended e-business solutions for remote monitoring. Sensors gather data that is filtered by customers' systems, communicated via alerts to designated personnel and integrated into backend systems such as operations and customer service for repairs and adjustments. Such systems can help companies gather data very cost effectively and do "predictive" maintenance, which is often a fraction of the cost of corrective maintenance. IBM's e-business services in the area of asset monitoring enablement can help customers assess appliances, heating and ventilation systems and other systems where real-time information can save wear, tear and energy costs.

IBM today announced a new enablement service that gives card issuers the ability to tailor smart cards for a wide range of transactions as well as identification and authentication. The service helps enable customers to create and manage information on microchips that "sit" on a smart card or typical company ID, such as customer provided identification information. A corporate ID card could, for example, provide entrance to the property or certain rooms, serve as a lunch pass, and allow entry to a parking area. IBM provides this enablement service and technology to governments and organizations to use as a part of a comprehensive customer-managed security program.

"IBM's customers today are seeing significant advantages in using smart chips in their operations," added Kirby. "With the reduction in the cost of technology, the wider availability of data networking, the benefits of linking systems to the Web, and the clear customer benefit in terms of improved product quality and reduction in time to market, IBM sees a ready market for the deployment of e-business to smart machines."

IBM is the world's leading e-business company offering a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that help businesses take full advantage of emerging innovation. IBM's pervasive computing and mobile Internet strategy is to extend e-business applications to the new class of client devices. This involves building, deploying and developing mobile applications, developing groundbreaking initiatives to set open industry standards; and deploying hundreds of wireless consultants. IBM also makes chips for a wide range of devices from the world's most powerful computers to the smallest cell phones. IBM can be found on the Web at www.ibm.com.

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