IBM delivers middleware for utilities, government markets

The new offerings, which integrate Lotus colloboration tools, focus on regulatory, security and remote operations issues.

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. -- IBM rolled out another gaggle of middleware solutions on Monday -- this time 15 new products to be delivered to customers in the energy and utilities, government and consumer product markets. The products specifically address regulatory change, privacy and security issues and remote operations.

To date, IBM has added 60 new middleware solutions to its portfolio since the company announced in December its realignment of its software group software group to focus on vertical markets, including finance, health care and manufacturing.

Our middleware automates the process. Scalability and flexibility are what middleware provide inherently.
Steve Mills
senior vice president  IBM 

"This is an incremental strategy that we're building on," said Dave West, segment manager, IBM Rational. "This [announcement] is a proof point that we're continually investing in technology to make the connectivity with applications more collaborative."

The products combine four elements: IBM middleware technology, including WebSphere app server tools, DB2 database management, Tivoli systems management, Lotus messaging and Rational developer tools; industry-specific middleware from IBM; industry-specific services from IBM and others; and industry-specific application software from IBM's network of business partners, such as SAP.

Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for IBM's software group, said integration is a "huge pain point" for businesses because up to now it has been largely manual. "Our middleware automates the process. Scalability and flexibility are what middleware provide inherently."

The new offerings include five new solutions for each of the vertical markets -- energy and utilities, government and consumer.

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For example, the energy and utilities offerings include Contact Center Optimizer to reduce the cost of customer support through automation; Regulatory Compliance to help utilities comply with cyber security and financial business controls by providing utilities with the ability to model, simulate andautomate businesses using Lotus and Tivoli middleware; and Mobile Workforce Management designed to help field crew productivity and utilization of resources by enhancing information capture at the service point through IBM's pervasive technology.

The offerings for the government sector include Access, a suite of collaboration tools; eForms and Record Management to help control redundant data; and Government Public Safety, which provides integrated access to a variety of data, such as spatial maps, to facilitate better and faster response to emergency situations.

The City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, is using one of IBM's government-specific solutions to build a community portal that would give the 280,000 residents of Windsor and nearby Essex assess to community information and services. The 1.5 million project, launched in February, uses a portal solution developed by IBM using WebSphere Portal and Lotus Collaboration products, such as Lotus Instant Messaging and Lotus Team Workplace, and runs on iSeries hardware.

Kristina Verner, project officer for the City of Windsor, said this project is all about collaboration to bring portal content to a community. "We see the technology as an enabler," she said. "This was the most advance tool we could find so that we would grow as our users become more sophisticated using this portal," she said.

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Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kate Evans-Correia, Senior News Editor

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