IBM has announced plans to invest USD100 million over the next five years in research into mobile. It aims to “create technology in its labs that bring simple, easy-to-use services to the millions of people who have bypassed using the personal computer as their primary method of accessing the Internet, and instead use their mobile devices for managing large forces of enterprise field workers, conducting financial transactions, entertainment, shopping and more.” Kevin Fitchard of TelephonyOnline, told the BBC, “While everyone knew IBM was working in wireless already, this money says it is not a sideline project for the company and that they are banking on wireless as part of their future.”
IBM said its three focus areas are: mobile enterprise enablement, emerging market mobility and enterprise end-user mobile experiences. Analytics, security, privacy and user interface, and navigation will be concentrated on across the research effort. “Mobility and the associated analytics will change virtually every enterprise business process,” said Paul Bloom, chief technologist, IBM Telecom Research. “It will change the relationship between enterprises and their customers, their employees and their partners, enabling them to do business in more intelligent, efficient ways.” For example, in a recent pilot, part of IBM’s first-of-a-kind (FOAK) programme which pairs scientists with aspects of real businesses, used a technology named BlueStar to develop automated mobile devices and application management services for insurance claims processing. It enabled an insurance company to reduce the time needed to process claims by identifying and despatching the most suitable agents through a combination of GPS location technology, presence awareness and analysis of agents’ availability.
FOAK solutions can also be used by telcos and retailers to customise mobile portals and recommend the right products to customers at the most opportune time to optimise sales.