IBM And AirToolz Use Wireless To Speed Home Construction

Enables Contractors To Generate Quick ROI By Building Higher Quality Homes Faster Through Wireless Networks At Construction Sites

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SOMERS, NY - 21 Jun 2002: AirToolz Software has created a powerful application for the residential construction industry running on IBM e-infrastructure software that enables contractors to speed the construction of new homes by wirelessly managing work schedules, inventories and back-end systems from the job site using handheld devices. This leading-edge mobile database technology, called AirWavz, saws-off as much as ten days from the home building cycle, reduces superintendent phone calls by 80 percent per month and brings a traditionally non tech-savvy construction industry to the forefront of wireless e-business.

Powered by a combination of IBM's DB2 database and WebSphere Application Server software, the application manages a master construction schedule in real-time for contractors working at multiple job sites. Contractors can instantaneously update and communicate construction schedule changes using a wireless handheld device such as a Palm Pilot, Compaq iPAQ or RIM's BlackBerry running DB2 Everyplace, or through a standard Web browser. When a change is made to the schedule, DB2 automatically detects the impact on other contractors and WebSphere notifies them via cell phone, e-mail account or fax. This is part of IBM's push into pervasive computing, which started more than three years ago.

For example, if an electrician pushes their schedule out after receiving damaged supplies, they can update the master schedule in real-time from the job site using a handheld device. Previously, superintendents averaged more than 4,000 phone calls each month managing multiple job site schedules and communicating schedule changes to contractors.

AirToolz Software, a joint venture between IBM Business Partner Unity Software Systems and Arizona-based LMC Construction, chose to develop and run the application on DB2 and WebSphere because their customers' IT infrastructures run on a wide variety of platforms.

DB2 and WebSphere software provides the broadest support for open standards, which allows the application to work on virtually any existing network used by construction companies today. In addition, DB2 quickly web-enables data for e-business, allowing mid-sized customers to go to market faster, gain competitive advantage, and increase customer satisfaction.

"We expect to gain 20 new customers and project a 100 percent return on investment by the end of this year," said David Dean, Unity Software Systems. "IBM was the only company to provide software that gave us the versatility to implement a truly user-friendly solution."

Beyond construction scheduling, DB2 integrates the AirWavz application with a general contractor's back-end system, including sales, financial and supply chain management applications. For example, the application communicates with the accounting system and payment processing begins immediately when a sub-contractor completes a job, reducing payment times from weeks to hours. Customer preferences can also be communicated to the job site in real-time, reducing errors, streamlining the supply chain and increasing customer satisfaction.

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