IBM Canada Ltd.

IBM Canada Ltd.

August 22, 2007 11:25 ET

Made in IBM Labs

IBM Showcases 40 Years of Innovation at the Toronto Software Lab

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2007) - To mark the 40th anniversary of its Toronto Software Laboratory and 90 years of operation in Canada, IBM today showcased a number of locally-developed new technologies, including Web 2.0 and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

The new technologies, built to address real-life scenarios, were developed using IBM's agile development approach, which minimizes risks in the software engineering process through shortened iterations of development phases, while blending in business processes from the very beginning.

Highlights include:

- Insurance Transaction shortens the issuance of a life insurance policy from a 45 day cycle to one that takes less than 30 minutes. Built on a Service Oriented Architecture, the system links frontline sales to live information such as customer background, financial approval processes and underwriting, eliminating all paper documentation usually required by the insurance industry.

- WebSphere Commerce is a software platform for online marketplaces used by major retailers to sell goods and services on the Internet. It uses Web 2.0 technologies, rich application, and cross channel, real time collaboration tools for transactions. The software helps to increase revenue through closer and more responsive customer relationships, enhanced channel partnerships, as well as easy and rich online shopping experiences.

- Innovation Factory is a high performance computing solution that identifies and refines new business ideas as well as new product designs by empowering communications, survey and research capabilities using Web 2.0 tools.

- Location Awareness Service uses IBM's WebSphere Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to enhance the safety of high-risk workers such as oil refinery personnel using RFID technology, which can locate employees or physical assets in real time - within an accuracy of just two feet. The service can be applicable in similar industrial safety scenarios, such as steel mills, forestry and paper mills.

The IBM Toronto Software Lab was opened 40 years ago with 55 employees. The lab's early projects included a Canadian Online Banking System and The Maintenance Device, which was IBM's first portable computer in an attache case and used by IBM's customer service representatives around the world. Since then, engineers at the lab have fine-tuned technologies needed by clients around the world.

"IBM's significant investments have made the Toronto lab one of the premier software development facilities in the industry," said Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Software. "Clients come to Toronto from around the globe with their business opportunities and challenges. Our lab professionals help them find innovative solutions."

"By shifting from code writing to joint agile development with clients, IBM labs have been providing real business value," added Martin Wildberger, director of the IBM Toronto Lab.

Today, with 2,500 staff, the Toronto Lab is the largest software development organization in Canada and IBM's fourth largest software lab. In addition to crafting solutions with industry-leading software such as DB2 and WebSphere Commerce, the Lab is also recognized as a leader in user-centered design and for its model of partnering with clients, academia and government through its Centre for Advanced Studies.

IBM's other research and development facilities in Canada include the Bromont site in Quebec, which specializes in packaging and testing of electronic components such as high-end chips; and software labs in Ottawa, Montreal and Victoria.

Made in IBM Labs

IBM's Toronto Lab is a member of IBM's network of more than 60 research and development labs around the globe. IBM's laboratory population includes more than 28,000 researchers, developers and engineers. More than 20 percent of them work directly with clients. In 2006, the labs conducted more than 10,000 engagements with clients - a 55 percent increase over the previous year.

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