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IBM Introduces Software Platform for Designing Smart Products

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As demand increases for products that are digitally aware and interconnected, IBM has announced a new software platform and related services to help product manufacturers and designers create innovative products that help people work and live smarter.

Businesses serving every market segment are finding new ways to deliver greater value with innovative smarter products featuring capabilities that can only be provided by software. These same organizations often struggle with increasingly complex design environments. The software and services announced today will provide capabilities that support collaboration, and help reduce the cost and risk of bringing more intelligent, instrumented and interconnected products to market.

For example in the automotive industry manufacturers and their suppliers are turning to software to find new opportunities for product differentiation and growth. As a result the electronics content of the typical automobile has increased by almost 50 percent over just the last five years and software is expected to account for 35 to 40 percent of a typical vehicle by the end of next year*.

  • Companies such as UPS are turning to organizations like Eaton Corporation, where a range of IBM Rational software products were used to create a new breed of hybrid drivetrain that has been tested by the EPA to improve fuel economy by up to 70 percent.
  • Energy efficiency and costs savings are also being realized by Daimler Fleetboard, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, via IBM Rational software used to create an advanced end-to-end telematics system for trucks that optimizes vehicle usage and routing, resulting in a 5 to 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption as well as a 10 percent savings in telecommunications costs.
  • Delphi Corporation, a world leader in mobile electronics, transportation components and systems technology serving the automotive market, uses IBM Rational software to help teams located all over the world work together to better develop and design products, including such innovations as the first pre-packaged airbag assembly within a steering wheel.

On the medical front:

  • Merge Healthcare works with IBM Rational Software to create medical imaging solutions, including a technology that delivers x-rays and MRIs to laptops and iPhones to help doctors improve efficiency and have more options when delivering patient care.
  • CARMAT, a leading manufacturer of medical equipment, worked with software from IBM to invent a smart heart that is not only a life-saving device for patients waiting for an organ donor; but an interconnected medical ecosystem. Doctors, hospitals, healthcare providers and the manufacturer will be able to remotely monitor and diagnose the patient's heart, resulting in fewer hospital trips, faster product feedback, and lower healthcare costs.

Software Importance, Complexity Increasing

Software also plays an increasingly significant role in maintaining and improving key business success factors such as customer satisfaction, safety ratings, product reliability, profitable cost and risk models and an organizations' overall image as an innovator. According to Aberdeen Research**, 66 percent of product manufacturers are turning to software to drive product innovation; and of those companies, those that have built a best-of-class competency in software are infusing 4.4 times more software into their products. They are also 19 percent more likely to meet their revenue targets than the industry average. However, along with the competitive edge that software can bring to manufacturers that embed innovative software features into their products, is a higher level of complexity that comes with the marriage of software, electronics and IT systems.

"While this transformation is sparking unprecedented leaps in product value, it also introduces new challenges and business implications," said Daniel Sabbah, general manager of IBM Rational Software. "Whether we are at work, home or play, people of all ages have come to depend on products with features relying on increasing amounts of software-based intelligence. The successful organizations of the future will build a strong competency in delivering that software fused with sensor and electro-mechanical technologies to create products that are increasingly intelligent, instrumented and interconnected to the Internet and other systems. IBM helps its customers seize and effectively deliver on these new opportunities."

Integrated Platform with Seamless User Front-End

The new IBM software will provide a fully integrated software delivery platform that addresses requirements, design, development and management across electrical, mechanical and software technologies and helps organizations derive the greatest value from the products they deliver.

Designing products that are increasingly intelligent, instrumented and interconnected often requires collaboration between numerous teams using a range of design techniques.

IBM is unveiling IBM Rational Team Webtop, the integrated user front-end for the platform powered by Jazz. Team Webtop will help increase communication and productivity throughout these extended product design teams by presenting information from multiple software delivery tools across the workflow in a single Web-based view.

IBM Rational DOORS is also being enhanced with new features that will allow teams to avoid paper-based review processes by managing the complex and multi-layered requirements of smart products and systems of systems through an easy-to-use Web interface. The new version of DOORS enables an expanded set of stakeholders to review, analyze and modify requirements data using the Web.

IBM Rational Change and IBM Rational Synergy are being updated to help companies improve application quality by more accurately and efficiently identifying the specific stages of complex, multi-step processes used when developing smarter products.

The new version of IBM Rational Team Concert, which is based on the IBM Jazz technology platform, will provide new levels of scalability and security to enable collaborative, agile development among distributed product teams. In addition, select Rational systems development products will be integrated into the IBM Jazz technology platform, providing greater collaboration across the development lifecycle, which will allow people to work together regardless of location.

New features in IBM Rational Rhapsody will help customers bring products to market faster with new agile software development workflow and modeling capabilities to deliver complex systems before the software, hardware and electronics come together. This helps identify and correct potential design flaws as early as possible.

New Solutions Experience Lab

The IBM Rational software offerings also include services that build on IBM's expertise and experience helping customers deliver innovative products.

Last week, IBM opened its first Solutions Experience Lab for Systems Engineering and Embedded Software at the IBM Innovation Center (IIC) located in Waltham, Massachusetts. The Solutions Experience Lab provides a venue where customers can explore smarter product design using solutions from IBM and its business partners. The facility will also provide customers, business partners and members of the academic community access to systems engineering and embedded software education via symposiums and workshops. The Innovation Center in Waltham is the first of IBM's 40 worldwide IICs to offer these capabilities. Other locations are expected to offer similar capabilities starting with the IICs in Austin, Texas; Tokyo, Japan; and Munich, Germany later this year.

In addition, IBM Global Business Services (GBS), the world's largest consulting services organization, has a Systems Engineering and Embedded Software Services practice that helps customers identify areas of opportunity and manage the product design, software delivery and organizational change associated with delivering smarter products. IBM's programs also extend into research and development.


IBM Rational Team Webtop is available now. New features and integrations for IBM Rational Team Concert, IBM Rational Change, IBM Rational DOORS, IBM Rational Rhapsody and IBM Rational Synergy will be available in June 2009. More Information: http://www.ibm.com/software/rational/announce/smartproducts/

* http://www.cargroup.org/documents/TEAMMichigan0080108.pdf

** Embedded Systems Development, March 2009, Aberdeen Group

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.



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