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New IBM Software Uses Sensor Data to Trigger Automated Business Processes


Enables Intelligent Systems for Highway Traffic Management, Monitoring of Water Flow, Air Quality and the Flow of Energy Across Power Grids

ARMONK, N.Y. - Today IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing software that extracts actionable business information from the millions of interconnected sensors that link items in the physical world. Using WebSphere Sensor Events software, massive volumes of sensor data can be gathered and analyzed to provide clients with the business visibility needed to quickly respond to changing market conditions. The software is one of many IBM technologies bringing a new level of intelligence to the way in which people, businesses, organizations, governments and systems interact.

Sensors are part of our everyday lives, used in objects such as lights that dim and brighten depending on the level of darkness and in thermometers, which react to changes in temperature. Today, many kinds of sensors are used to monitor and manage water flow rates, highway traffic, seismic activity, air quality, the flow of energy across power grids, and much more. In particular, the use of Radio Frequency Identification sensors is growing for the purpose of item tracking and authentication. By 2010, approximately six billion of these tags will be in circulation.

WebSphere Sensor Events captures data from sensors and automates a reaction by a business system following a set of rules or events. The software is unique in that it spans the entire spectrum of clients’ solution requirements, from capturing information from sensing devices to connecting with systems for analytics, business process management and managing information technology and physical assets.

Using WebSphere Sensor Events, clients gain access to the intelligence they need to better predict and react to everyday business events. In turn, the information from networked sensors is positively impacting the daily lives of people -- speeding the flow of automobile traffic in major cities, ensuring the authenticity of prescription drugs and providing detailed information to consumers about the provenance of the foods they purchase.

“Sensors serve as an instrument for giving a voice to physical objects, allowing them to communicate important information in an increasingly interconnected world,” said Martin Wildberger, vice president, IBM sensor solutions. “By capturing and analyzing information from sensors, clients are infusing their operations with unprecedented levels of intelligence and agility.”

WebSphere Sensor Events includes business event processing technology IBM obtained from its acquisition of AptSoft Corporation in 2008 as well as business process management and events management capabilities from WebSphere and Tivoli software. The product’s user interface makes it easy for businesses to change the decision parameters they are using to act upon sensor data so that they are never locked into a single way of responding to a given situation. In addition to events management, IBM’s business process management offerings include business rules technology that governs decision-making around a variety of business challenges such as scheduling, budgets, and deadlines. The product will provide clients with data that can be accessed by IBM’s recently introduced Smart Analytics System as well as IBM Cognos software.

IBM and its clients across many industries -- government, retail, manufacturing, health care, utilities and transportation -- have been building networks of sensors to bring intelligence to the “Internet of things,” a world in which interconnected sensors communicate their identity, inventory and location, as well as information on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

For example, automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen are using IBM sensor software for on demand access to information on the exact location of the shipping containers used to transport parts from suppliers to the manufacturing floor. Volkswagen and other vehicle manufacturers are reducing costs by making their logistics assets function more efficiently.

The same technology is being used to track the provenance of the food we eat. In the U.S., the House of Representatives recently passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which would, among other things, mandate detailed record-keeping on the part of food manufacturers and suppliers to speed the process of tracing the sources of food-borne illnesses. In Norway, this technology is already at work to create a smarter food supply. For example, Nortura, the country’s largest producer of meat and eggs, uses IBM sensor technology to track meat from farm to processing plants, and then to distribution centers and stores.

WebSphere Sensor Events is also being put to work in data centers -- including several IBM facilities -- where it is used to keep track of valuable devices such as computers, switches and backup tapes. For this purpose, the Asset Inventory Management Services feature of WebSphere Sensor Events complements the broad infrastructure management capabilities provided by IBM Tivoli software with valuable information about physical inventory, such as the unauthorized movement of costly computer equipment.

Among the other IBM software products that enable the Internet of things are InfoSphere Traceability Server, Cognos 8 BI, WebSphere Business Events and Business Process Management, ILOG software for supply chain management, Tivoli Netcool and Maximo Asset Management.

About IBM

A pioneer in sensor technology and a leader in IT and business strategy, IBM offers sensor solutions that unlock new business value and help drive new insights and innovation. For more information, visit:


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