Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for December 2011

IBM’s 2011 “Five in Five”: Innovations That Could Change The World (And A Little Monty Python Thrown In For Good Measure)

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The IBM "5 in 5" is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.

Before I get to the business news of the day, let me send a hearty congratulations to U.K. golfer Ian Poulter, who won the Australian Masters yesterday and outgunned Aussie’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who was attempting to take the tourney on his boyhood course.

Poulter was two strokes behind Ogilvy heading into the final round and closed with a 4-under 67 on a very windy Victoria Golf Club.

Nice win, Poulter.  Poulter should have plenty of Aussie dollars to head out for a little X-mas shopping, and perhaps he’d like to invite English striker Darren Bent to join him for a little shopping.

Bent was busted on the sidelines of Sunday’s game against Liverpool for doing a little online shopping (his team was losing), even though he was out for the day due to injury.  Otherwise, Bent is Villa’s leading scorer, to which I say, “A goal a day helps keep the Xmas cash register away!

But enough of sport.  It’s time to get serious.  And IBM’s latest “IBM 5 in 5,” a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, has arrived just in time for the holidays.

We’ll take them one at a time.

Watch the 5-minute video above for a quick fly-by of IBM’s 2011 “5 in 5” innovations.

1. People power will come to life.  

No, we don’t mean protests in the streets of Egypt or Libya, although that is certainly a worthwhile sort of people power.  We’re talking about real people power, anything that moves or produces heat and which has the potential to create energy that can be captured.

Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes.

Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.

Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along.

You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home.

Created energy comes in all shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists inIreland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.

2. You will never need a password again.

I’m paying special and close attention to this one.  I have so many IDs and passwords I don’t know when I’m coming or going, and my new favorite pastime is emailing web sites to request they send me an email reminder or password reset.

In this “5,” your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.

So to speak.  No, you will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins.

Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye.

Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.

Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data — facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files — will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.

Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.

To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.

3. Mind reading is longer science fiction.

Hey, get out of my head!  I see what you’re trying to do!  It won’t work…well, maybe…it…won’t.

But maybe it will!

From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been “wishful thinking” for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true.

IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens.

Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.

Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.

Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry.

Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism. .

4. The digital divide will cease to exist.

You’ve heard of the digital divide?  Well, get ready to see that divide get split in half…or even divided into infinity.

In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information.

And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology.

There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device.

As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today.

For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones.

With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.

Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare.

5. Junk mail will become priority mail.

Do you remember the original spam, the one that led to the Internet terminology?  It was a reference to a 1970s Monty Python sketch set in a case where nearly every item on the menu included Spam canned luncheon meet.

As the waiter recited the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons downs out all conversations iwth a song repeating “Spam…Spam….Spam…”  You get the picture?

Now, think about how often we’re flooded with advertisements we consider to be irrelevant or unwanted. It may not be that way for long.

In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.

Imagine if tickets to your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar.

Through alerts direct to you, you’ll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile device. Or imagine being notified that a snow storm is about to affect your travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight?

IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you.

From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.

Written by turbotodd

December 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Google’s 2011 Zeitgeist: The Year In Black

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Hard to believe, but here we are, near the end of another calendar year, and being this time of year, it’s time for the Google Zeitgeist for 2011.

This “How the world searched” feature is in its 11th instance, and as Google alluded to it in its official blog, the Zeitgeist provides us with “the spirit of the time.”

Or, as the case may be for extraterrestrial aliens suddenly landing on the planet and examining the Google global search logs for 2011, it provides a psychotic view into our collective predispositions and moral depravity.

“E.T., phone home…and whatever else you do, DON’T read the human search logs.”

Before we allow for the drumroll, let’s highlight the details behind the Zeitgeist. Basically, Google looks at the most popular and fastest rising search terms — those with the highest growth in 2011 — in many categories across many countries.

Those of us who work in global SEO can certainly appreciate the challenges and opportunities those local conditions engender, and to make this effort even more fun, Zeitgeist this year has introduced search visualizations so one can compare terms across categories.

And, if you hate reading, there’s always the Zeitgeist year-end-recap video:

 

If the Zeitgeist is intended to capture the spirit of the times, based on some of the top search queries, I may, in fact, be entirely behind the times.  “Rebecca Black” made the top of the list, and I’ve honestly never heard of the pop singer whose greatest hit appears to be “Friday.”

TGIF.

Other songstresses hit the upper reaches of the Google search universe, including “Adele” (also lost on me), reality star “Ryan Dunn” (of which reality, might I ask), and “Casey Anthony.”

Finally, one I heard of.  The alleged child killer came in at a whopping #4 on the global zeitgeist!  Casey Kasem would be so proud!

“Google+” came in at number 2.  How convenient — and Facebook nowhere to be seen this year?

Apple dominated three other spots in the top 10: “iPhone 5” at #6, “Steve Jobs” at #9, and the “iPad 2” at #10.

A lot of stuff happened in the world this year.

There were natural disasters galore, from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, to the swarm of tornadoes across Missouri and the midwest in May, to the floods in Brazil and Thailand.

We found and killed Osama Bin Laden, even as his former safe haven of Sudan found independence in the South.

There were revolutions, literally, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and even near Wall Street.

And yes, there were some timely demises, including some of my faves, Joe Frazier, Andy Rooney, Christopher Hitchens, and yes, of course, Steve Jobs.

And despite all that, it’s apparently the big splash of Rebecca Black that topped the search charts, when her video “Friday” went viral and received over 167M views on YouTube.

E.T…don’t just phone home.  Pick me up and get me the heck out of here.

Just please, whatever else you don’t, do NOT put it on YouTube.

Written by turbotodd

December 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

IBM To Acquire Procurement And Retail Analytics Firm Emptoris, inc.

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IBM today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Emptoris Inc., a leading provider of cloud and on-premise analytics software that brings more intelligence to procurement and supply chain operations with spend, supplier and contract management for Smarter Commerce. The acquisition is the latest addition to IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, launched in March 2011, which is aimed at helping companies respond to shifting customer buying patterns.

Emptoris, Inc. is world leader in strategic supply, category spend and contract management solutions that enable companies to maximize financial performance and optimize commercial risk. The company’s suite of award-winning and industry-recognized sourcing, contract management, spend analysis, supplier lifecycle management, services procurement and telecom expense management solutions are successfully used by Global 2000 companies.

Emptoris brings to IBM Smarter Commerce a set of new, flexible and integrated solutions that orchestrate and manage the sourcing and procurement of goods and materials as part of supply chain management. Supply chain intelligence using these solutions enables better inventory management and can create large savings opportunities.

For example, a large global oil and gas company established a centralized sourcing network across its entire enterprise operating in more than 80 countries, which enabled them to focus on the most strategic, highest cost, frequently-purchased items.  This brought speed, transparency and simplification to the sourcing process.  As a result, the company runs thousands of sourcing events per year managing more than 15,000 suppliers in 10 languages, achieving more than 9 percent reduction on managed categories of goods.

The Emptoris acquisition also will complement IBM’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) Business Process Outsourcing capabilities within its Global Process Services organization.   Emptoris’ expertise and technology enhances IBM’s Procurement and Supply Chain services, including its ability to apply category expertise and global operations to help clients streamline and automate supplier interactions, resulting in improved strategic sourcing, reduced service costs, and greater savings from spend with suppliers.

A $20B Market Opportunity

IBM has estimated that the Smarter Commerce initiative is a $20 billion market opportunity in software alone.  Smarter Commerce helps organizations that are struggling to meet the demands of rapidly shifting customer buying patterns in the era of mobile and social networks.

This new digital marketplace requires companies to respond rapidly to customer demands by automating their buying, marketing, selling and service processes.  Developing the right procurement strategy and an adaptive supply chain are keys to success in this evolving environment.  According to industry analysts, IBM is a recognized leader in multiple categories within Smarter Commerce.

With this acquisition, IBM builds on its capabilities in the “buy” aspect of Smarter Commerce and extends it to a new line of c-suite executives – chief procurement officers.  This growing list of decision makers includes chief information officers, chief financial officers, chief supply chain officers and chief marketing officers.

Existing Customers, Global Reach And Recognition

Procurement and sourcing professionals increasingly need better supplier management, spend analysis and contract management solutions to lower sourcing costs and risks.  Emptoris is a leader in delivering these benefits by automating vendor selection, negotiation, management and compliance.

Emptoris’ global clients span multiple industries including consumer products, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, chemical/oil/gas, utilities, construction and industrial manufacturing.

Emptoris’ spend management solutions complement the existing B2B integration and supply chain management capabilities IBM acquired through the purchase of Sterling Commerce in 2010. The Emptoris acquisition will allow IBM to deliver more solutions focused on the needs of sourcing and procurement professionals.

Founded in 1999, Emptoris has over 725 employees around the world. The acquisition is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2012, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

With more than 350 customers in 75 countries, Emptoris is based in Burlington, Mass. with offices in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, India, Brazil and China.

Emptoris was recently honored by Red Herring as one of its “Global 100” winners for 2011.  The Global 100 are selected and judged on a range of qualitative and quantitative metrics, including but not limited to, technology innovation, financial performance, growth criterion, management’s execution standards, potential globalization of the strategy and market share improvement.

Crashing While Driving While Texting

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So I watched the Chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, last night as she made the rounds on the news channels about the NTSB Safety Board’s recommendation for a nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

Though I know there will be lots of business interests, not to mention political ones, against such a ban, I thought the Chairman made a compelling argument, and as I delved into some of the details and case studies that informed the board’s recommendations, it became even more difficult to argue with.

Mostly.  But more on that later.

Mind you, this is my take on the situation, and I’m sure there are lots of other points of view that I hope this announcement instigates some discussion around, and of course, I only speak for myself here.

But first, let’s survey some of the facts and incidents the board cited in the press release it issued around its decision:

  • On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.
  • The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.
  • The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.

These were just a couple of the initially cited incidents.  The Board came loaded for bear with a variety of others:

  • In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured
  • In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens.
  • In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.
  • In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious “duck” boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;
  • In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities

So what about the recommendation?  It specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task, like GPS devices) for all drivers.

The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communications campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

‘According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

Controversial?  No doubt.  Sensible?  Largely.

Once upon a time, I used to find myself on occasion texting and driving, particularly on the freeway, until a couple of times I nearly rear-ended someone.  Then, I very quickly came to my own empirical conclusion that driving while texting was not conducive to “smarter driving” and went back to enjoying my car stereo.

As far as the complete and entire ban on voice discussions in the car, particularly considering the introduction of technologies like OnStar and Lynx — which make voice communications much more seamless and integrated into the overall driving experience (volume control on the steering wheel, voice activation and dialing, etc.) — I’m curious if maybe there could be some more research to help fully understand the safety and economic impact of such a robust ban.

But in any case, I do think the NTSB Safety Board is heading in the right direction, so to speak, and to put the exclamation point on the report, the report cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers which found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, emailing, or accessing the Internet.

163 times!  You can go here to see more about the NTSB report and recommendation.

So, not to be scientific or anything, I’m looking to elicit input from the crowd in the following poll on what your thoughts are regarding the NTSB announcement.  Vote early and often!

Flying Through Your Data Center

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After my recent visit to the Bahamas, and my first ever flight in a small aircraft, I decided I was going to take up flying.  Well, virtually, anyhow.

My buddy Steve recommended I buy a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, along with a remote USB yoke and throttle control, to do some initial simulation and learn some of the basic flying requirements on the safety of my computer.

Click to expand image. The IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator is designed to give busy chief information officers a fast and easy way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through the lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies. I was able to create this simulation in less than a minute!

I’m all about simulating while I learn the basics of flying.  I figure it’s much safer for me on the ground than in the air!

But simulations are no longer limited simply to learning how to fly.

Sometimes, the best way to demonstrate the benefits of new technology is, actually, through more technology.

Like an online simulator for IT data center ROI, for example.

The kind of tool that allows people to punch in information and variables and receive instant feedback on possible alternatives.

So, enter the new IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator.

This new online simulation tool is designed to give busy CIOs a fast and easy to way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies.

If you’re not familiar with IBM’s Smarter Computing approach to IT earlier this year, IBM introduced it as a way for organizations to realize greater efficiencies, improved reliability, and better performance, and all at lower costs.

The strategy centers around three fundamental aspects:

  • Leveraging analytics to exploit vast amounts of data for business goals
  • Utilizing optimized systems that are designed for specific tasks
  • Managing as much of the IT as possible with cloud-computing technologies.

The new simulator, then, starts by asking the visitor to select either IBM Power Systems or IBM System z to compare to their own IT infrastructure.

It then asks for the type of industry they’re in, the type of workload to be compared, and the number and types of systems to compare – including those based on Intel Itanium, Intel x86, and/or Sun SPARC.

As the systems are identified, graphical images of servers begin to populate a simulated data center floor.

When the visitor finishes and hits the “Next” button, an alternative data center floor immediately pops up and populates with IBM systems and a breakdown of estimated costs and savings.

Visitors can drill down for charts and analysis on operating and strategic costs of their infrastructures, and the potential costs and savings of the IBM alternative.

For even greater analysis, visitors can click on the IBM System Consolidation and Evaluation Tool at the end of the simulation that provides a more comprehensive and detailed comparison.

IBM will expand the tool, which went live in mid-October, to include support for System x in the first half of 2012.

You can check out the IBM Smarter Computing Workload simulator here.

Vacation Over, Or Getting Over Vacation

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Well, I’m back from vacation, and (mostly) no worse for the wear.  Ironic though it may be, I went from being somewhat Internet challenged to extremely Internet challenged when I returned home to Austin last evening.

I’ve been using AT&T U-Verse for the better part of this year for my Internet, phone, and digital cable access, and have had little-to-no issues (as opposed to frequent outages Time Warner Internet, my prior provider)…that is, until arriving home, when I discovered I’d been completely cut off from the world.  This, just as I was trying to get back into the saddle and catch up on the voluminous emails that had streamed into my in-box the past week.

After an hour of troubleshooting, I finally found a support number to call, and helpful though the AT&T support rep was on the other end of the line (my iPhone line, that is…remembering my landline no longer worked!), she couldn’t get me up and running.

Fortunately, they were able to get an AT&T truck roll to my house this morning, and I was back up and running in no time.

Thanks a million, AT&T.  I know people like to give you a hard time, but you moved as quickly as could reasonably be expected, and I very much appreciated the quick response, considering that otherwise I was going to be dead in the water my first day back in the home office.

Lots happened in the past few days on the IBM front, so I’ll be playing some blogging catchup.  But I did want to highlight one piece of news that came through during my absence: On Wednesday, IBM unveiled seven new social networking and collaboration mobile apps designed to address enterprise-class requirements.

The new software is available for download from the most popular app stores, and takes IBM social networking, real-time collaboration, and online meeting capabilities from behind the company firewall and into the hands of tablet users.

The new offerings span the widest range of tablets, including the iPad, and allow employees to more effectively collaborate and share data, images, and conduct meetings more securely as part of their everyday work experience.

The business card feature allows an IBM Sametime user to launch an announcement or chat to an individual or group using an iPad.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Social networking for iPad: Available from the Apple app store at no charge for existing IBM Connections users, the new app includes a new interface ideal for tablet devices allowing for unique document editing capabilities.
  • Attend Online Meetings: Employees can attend on-line meetings from their tablets anytime, anyplace. Available on Android, BlackBerry, iPad, and iPhone devices, LotusLive Meeting users can view shared presentations, chat with meeting participants, and virtually raise and lower hands from tablets and other mobile devices. IBM Sametime software users can also lead, participate in and manage browser-based meetings from their iPad or Android tablets.
  • Instant messaging: New mobile apps for iPad and Android enable IBM Sametime users to use tablets to take immediate action on urgent business tasks by providing one-on-one or group instant messaging, background notifications, and the ability to send photos through the chat window.
  • Access business documents: Available now in the Android Marketplace, IBM Lotus Symphony Viewers allow users to view any ODF-based document, spreadsheet and presentation on their Android devices. The viewers will be available for other devices soon.
  • Reduce calling costs: IBM Sametime Unified Telephony on tablets allows a user to initiate calls to whatever phone happens to be nearby by controlling call routing preferences and device selection as well as have his one unified number appear in caller ID.
  • Easier access to mail and calendar: IBM Lotus Notes Traveler now allows IBM mail users to easily add widgets to their Android home screens for quick, convenient access to mail and calendar, and allows users to call people listed in their calendar views with just one click.

According to IDC France, the tablet market is forecast to reach over 4.1 million in 2012, representing a 48% growth compared to 2011. A recent IBM study revealed that 73 percent of business leaders surveyed currently allow mobile devices or tablets to connect to their corporate networks.

IBM is also advancing the use of business analytics by delivering expanded native mobile device support with IBM Cognos Mobile on the iPad. Available to try out in Apple’s iTunes store, the software enables mobile workers to take their business analytics on the road whether offline or online, allowing for uninterrupted productivity.

Speaking of productivity, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to trimming down my burgeoning post-vacation in-box!

IBM To Acquire Cúram Software

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IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cúram Software Ltd. to help governments improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of social programs for smarter cities.

Today, IBM acquired Curam Software, a leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cúram Software is used in more than 80 government agency projects around the world to provide the most appropriate social programs to citizens and their families in a timely manner, deliver services more effectively, and continuously monitor progress toward achieving people’s social and economic potential.

Who Is Cúram Software?

Cúram Software is the leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Using Cúram’s solutions, agencies can immediately reap the benefits of client-centric business processes and an outcomes-driven integrated service delivery model Cúram’s solutions, underpinned by the Cúram Social Industry Platform, combines the advantages of software built specifically for social programs, an enterprise platform and service-oriented architecture with the business and technical flexibility required to allow agencies to implement solutions to meet their strategic objectives.

Cúram, which means “care and protection” in Irish, was founded in 1990 and is based in Dublin, Ireland, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and India.  One of the company’s investors was Enterprise Ireland, which helps Irish companies achieve global success.

How Is Cúram Software Used?

Cúram social managment software is used by health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations around the world to deliver welfare, social insurance and both individual and employer based social programs.

It allows cities and governments to provide a single view of benefits and services available across agencies, levels of government and private and not-for-profit organizations.

The Social Industry Platform includes processes to deliver all types of programs and offers the flexibility needed to quickly update them as policy makers react to different economic times.

Cúram Software’s Platform also allows government and providers to focus on lowering overall program costs by ensuring that the benefits and services provided address core issues and that people become more self-sufficient.

Cúram And IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative

Through its Smarter Cities initiative, IBM helps cities and governments serve citizens better by adopting more intelligent and efficient ways to analyze data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources.   IBM has led more than 2,000 projects to achieve these goals and through its acquisition of Cúram Software, IBM expects to extend its leadership in this area.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.

Today’s news also builds on IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives in Ireland.  Last year the company opened its first Smarter Cities Technology Center in Dublin at IBM’s R&D Lab,  where IBM works with city authorities, universities, small and large businesses to research, develop and commercialize new ways of making city systems more connected, sustainable and intelligent.

With the addition of the Cúram Research Institute — which is working to develop and deploy new business models for managing social programs — IBM will enhance its ability to help clients increase the social and economic potential of people and their families.“

We are working to help cities and governments at all levels transform the way they interact with citizens while improving efficiency,” said Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM Industry Solutions.  “We all have stories to tell about standing in long lines or making countless phone calls to gain access to government services, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Together with Cúram, IBM can transform the way citizens do business with government in a way that benefits everyone.”

Since 1999, IBM and Cúram have collaborated on federal, state, local, and provincial-level social program solutions around the world.  More than 90 percent of Cúram’s clients use IBM WebSphere middleware and nearly 70 percent of its clients use IBM hardware.  Cúram’s software is certified for use with the IBM Government Industry Framework and has been part of IBM Global Business Services’ Integrated Case Management solution since 2001.

“After 13 years of experience working with IBM, we know our companies are an excellent fit”, said John Hearne, CEO, Cúram Software.  “Many of our clients already use IBM technologies and services, and they will benefit from working with Cúram and IBM as one.  Through IBM’s global reach, we can grow our client base by bringing the benefits of Cúram’s Social Industry Platform to citizens around the world.”

IBM’s announcement of its plan to acquire of Cúram Software follows a series of moves IBM made this year to enhance its offerings for cities and governments.   In June, the company introduced the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, which provides a unified view of all city agencies so officials can predict events and quickly respond.  Shortly thereafter, IBM announced it planned to acquire i2, a leading provider of intelligence analytics for crime and fraud prevention.  The acquisition was completed in October.

After the acquisition is completed, Cúram Software will be integrated into IBM’s Software Group, which is a key driver of growth and profitability for the company.  Cúram has approximately 700 employees.

In addition to its headquarters in Dublin, the company has offices in Herndon, VA.; Toronto; Frankfurt, Germany; Canberra, Australia and Bangalore, India.  The acquisition is anticipated to close by the end of December subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

To learn more visit www.cúramsoftware.com.

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