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  1. Technology
November 22, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp’s pervasive computing division is working on software that will enable networks to host any type of client system and allow those clients to take advantage of any service on the network, regardless of what combination of hardware or software is hosted. The software will be made available probably late next year as a set of proxies or software servers that provide translation services. It is part of IBM’s goal of establishing pervasive computing environments for the emerging world of networked information appliances. Pervasive computing is what IBM calls Tier 0 computing, or appliances and embedded systems below the desktop. Tier 1 is the desktop client, Tier 2 the departmental server, and Tier 3 the enterprise server with associated software. The division’s head, Mark Bregman, formerly head of the RS/6000 business, told Merrill Lynch & Co that IBM will not make the appliances but will provide the building block components, infrastructure services as well as end-to-end solutions. Bregman identified six solutions segments. First is personal e-business, where IBM is working with France Telecom on internet screen phones. Second is mobile e-business, such as wireless PDAs, providing real-time. Third is the networked vehicle. He told the brokerage that one example here is IBM’s work with GM for providing cars with wireless connectivity to the internet, a flat panel display in the back for entertainment, voice recognition for driver info, and a hook up for embedded systems to service for real-time diagnostics. Fourth is smart cards, which will be important in closed environments such as businesses or a campus. Fifth is the networked household for which IBM can provide a residential gateway. And sixth is nomadic document management. Merrill Lynch & Co notes a review board of vice presidents from various units oversees investments made in the area and that to be successful it needs other IBM divisions to buy into its vision by putting in their own people and money.

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