IBM has quietly set up a new 'pervasive computing' business unit, which focuses on embedded systems to licence processors and other technology to third parties.
The new unit is housed in senior vice president Nicholas Donofrio's cross-functional technology division and will be headed by Mark Bregman, who formerly advised Lou Gerstner, IBM's chairman and chief executive on technology.
Phase two of the three-pronged, two-year strategy will see Big Blue develop the back end systems and network infrastructure to work with those devices such as household appliances to smartcards that will include the technology.
In phase three, IBM will bring end-to-end solutions to market, according to Phylis Porio, the unit's marketing director.
Big Blue already has several pilot projects underway and is working with various travel agents, hotels and airlines to enable customers to use smartcard based credit cards to purchase tickets.
The company also signed a non-exclusive cross-licensing deal with QNX Software Systems earlier this month to build embedded systems based on the PowerPC chip. IBM also licensed the QNX/Neutrino real time operating system, currently also licensed by Cisco.
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