New IBM Software to Advance Industry Transformation

March 1, 2011

With new software to monitor and analyze the physical world, IBM is helping cities, buildings, hospitals, utilities and railways become smarter.

LAS VEGAS, NV /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) introduced software to help bring a new level of intelligence to the world's physical infrastructure. The software aims to advance smarter cities and industry transformation across water, energy, transportation and healthcare industries by monitoring and analyzing new streams of data.

As part of the news, IBM is also announcing a series of client wins and advancements to transform infrastructures around water, energy management, buildings and more. This includes Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, the City of Waterloo, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, McMaster University and Swiss Federal Railways.

The growing ubiquity of sensors, smart grid networks, RFID tags and 4G wireless networks, smartphones and tablets are transforming everyday objects in the physical world into 'smart' ones with information on their history, location and status. This is creating new streams of data for organizations to drive more data-based decisions and business transformation.

IBM's expertise in analytics, systems management and sensors is unmatched for bridging the physical and digital worlds and creating new intelligent infrastructures critical for organizations to operate more efficiently. With today's news, IBM is continuing these advancements, delivering new software to give greater intelligence to the business operations of the world's infrastructure:

  • Analytics software for monitoring telecommunications, transportation, or any network that distributes data such as escalators for metros, ATMs for banks and refrigerators for grocery chains;
  • New software that monitors and manages smart meter networks for energy, water and gas utilities;
  • New software that helps hospitals locate and monitor their clinical and biomedical equipment in real-time to ensure that life-saving medical devices are instantly available and expertly maintained; and
  • Smarter buildings software that helps organizations to optimize their buildings' energy and equipment efficiency.

"The proliferation of computing power into more and more devices, buildings and infrastructures is driving new levels of insight and operational efficiency for organizations around the globe," said David Bartlett, IBM vice president of Industry Solutions. "From rail lines criss-crossing a country, utilities with thousands of miles of pipeline to hospitals with tens of thousands of clinical devices, we can put technology into places that you never could before and glean actionable intelligence."

Here's an overview of the products launched today:

Analytics Solutions for Monitoring Networks
IBM is delivering new and enhanced software to help enable predictive monitoring and event management across complex networks and operations. The software helps measure, analyze and pro-actively address network issues before they materialize such as network disruptions.

As information gets digitized and transmitted through sensors, this software acts as a nervous system that delivers updates on real-time status from events even thousands of miles away.

The new IBM Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus software is key to helping complex networks such as telecommunications lines and transportation signals enhance monitoring, visualization, correlation and root cause analysis. These products provide insight into a business's operations, such as monitoring escalators, ATM machines for banks and refrigerators for grocery chains to ensure they are operating smoothly and have the proper maintenance required. The software can reduce the time typically required to resolve network problems through enhanced network visualization and root cause analysis—improving network availability and lowering operational costs.

IBM Intelligent Metering Network Management
Utilities are deploying millions of smart meters across the globe for energy, water and gas metering and expecting over 300 million smart meters globally in next few years. These meters require networks to be secure, reliable and scalable.

To help utilities monitor and manage smart meter events, alarms and data, IBM is launching Intelligent Metering Network Management software for greater visibility, control and automation of the smart metering infrastructure. IBM software taps data captured from smart meters—on service availability and assurance—then correlates it according to policies and thus gains greater insight, enabling operational improvements. When data events fall outside the normal patterns, the IBM offering can automatically trigger customer service to create a work order or for staff to take the appropriate actions. By doing this, IBM software can help detect and even prevent network faults. With more insight into the location of faults, the utility can manage its services more efficiently with fewer truck roll-outs.

IBM Intelligent Metering Network Management provides an end-to-end service management approach with real-time monitoring of the wide variety of devices residing on the transmission and distribution networks. The solution enables utility companies to create a 'manager of managers' by integrating service management for multiple devices and networks into a single network operations view. It is a highly scalable solution which is able to monitor millions of devices.

IBM is integrating this offering with Trilliant and other business partners' smart grid communications systems to offer a more flexible and complete solution that is proven and ready to create immediate business value for utility customers worldwide. This software is part of the smart metering and beyond solutions from IBM and built on IBM Solution Architecture for Energy and Utilities (SAFE) industry framework.

IBM client CenterPoint Energy is currently using the offering capabilities to provide real-time information regarding the health of its advanced metering computer systems.

IBM Real-Time Asset Locator for Healthcare
IBM is launching IBM Real-Time Asset Locator for Healthcare, a new software offering to help hospitals optimize asset usage and track clinical, biomedical and other high-value equipment. With the real-time location of medical equipment, hospitals can ensure that life-saving medical devices are instantly available and expertly maintained. The software can even help track patients and staff in the emergency room, intensive care, operating rooms and beyond.

By tracking assets, hospitals can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost and underutilized equipment. It also reduces the time caregivers spend looking for the equipment they need. Industry experts estimate that the average hospital misplaces or loses 10 to 20 percent of an estimated $750 million of their valuable medical equipment annually. Experts also estimate that hospitals can't find 15 to 20 percent of the devices they own.

Sensors using ultrasound ID (USID) and other RFID technologies capture the status and location of assets—in use, available and out-of-service—so the hospital can have up-to-date statistics on its equipment. For example, the system can monitor the availability of key equipment to match patient needs, automatically triggering a work order in IBM Maximo Asset Management to rebalance inventory. In addition, the system can also create automated work orders for maintenance or cleaning staff. For example, a nurse can press a button on a room tag to indicate that it has been vacated and needs to be cleaned. This event triggers a series of work orders in Maximo to initiate sanitation for the room and its equipment.

To improve process efficiency and accountability, the IBM offering provides reports and metrics on the history of equipment usage, the process it has gone through, its condition and the responsible parties. By analyzing this data, hospitals can gain deep insight into processes and asset utilization. The offering is fully integrated with IBM Maximo Asset Management for end-to-end asset tracking and management. The offering works with Sonitor Technologies ultrasound tags and readers and a variety of other common location and sensor technologies in healthcare.

IBM Smarter Buildings Software
IBM has made its smarter buildings software available to clients now in open beta release. The solution combines real-time monitoring and analysis, facilities and space management capabilities, and advanced dynamic dashboards. It helps property owners and managers reduce facilities operations and energy expense, and improve asset management and reliability. Additionally, a new feature of the solution from IBM Business Partner Esri helps building managers visualize their buildings from an aerial view, drilling down into the details of the building and the floor plans. With this new feature an operations manager can locate a boiler or air handler that isn't functioning and then zoom into the floor plan to see where it's located, what it's near and coordinate maintenance. Overall, this solution is expected to reduce energy consumption by as much as 35 to 40 percent.

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