IBM plans $100 million investment in mobile technologies
IBM Corp. is planning a major research program to help the company capitalize on an accelerating technology trend — Consumers who are using cell phones and other mobile devices to visit Internet sites for work or entertainment.
The Armonk-based technology services giant said today that the commitment includes a $100 million investment over five years to fund research into mobile services and technology.
IBM and other companies see mobile devices as a potential lucrative revenue stream at a time when the traditional market for personal computers and telephone equipment is maturing. IBM projects that the number of mobile device users will grow by 191 percent from 2006 to 2011 to 1 billion users. In one example, cell phones now outnumber traditional land-line phones.
More consumers look to mobile technology to keep them connected, whether they are at home or the office, the beach or the golf course, a restauarant or a moutainside hiking trail. Mobile devices are a popular place for investors to check stock quotes, sports junkies to monitor the latest scores or video game enthusiats to indulge their passions.
“Mobile devices are gradually becoming ubiquitous and helping us transcend many boundaries — geographical, economic, and social, among others,” said Guruduth Banavar, global leader of the mobile communications focus for IBM Research.
The growth of mobile devices is being driven by falling costs, improved wireless access and tremendous advances in computer chips.
As IBM increases its research into mobile services, it can draw on the expertise of 3,000 scientists at eight major laboratories around the globe, including Yorktown Heights. It also employs more than 20,000 software developers in 75 development labs in 18 countries.
IBM already is putting its mobility technology to work in projects such as “BlueStar,” which is developing mobile devices for insurance claims processing; a pilot program in southern India that allows farmers, repairmen, small business owners and consumers to access content on cellphones; and a project in Taiwan in which IBM is analyzing customer cell phone information to develop insights into customer preferences and transaction history.