IBM earmarks $100m for mobile research

The tech giant will invest £61m over the next five years in a drive to develop new mobile services for the enterprise and emerging markets

IBM is to invest millions of dollars for research into new mobile services and capabilities.

The company said on Wednesday it is setting aside $100m (£60m) over five years to "bring simple, easy-to-use services to the millions of people who have bypassed using the personal computer as their primary method of accessing the internet".

The company will focus on three areas: emerging markets, the enterprise field work and enterprise customer relationship applications.

"Mobility and the associated analytics will change virtually every enterprise business process," Paul Bloom, chief technologist at IBM Telecom Research, in a statement. "It will change the relationship between enterprises and their customers, their employees and their partners, enabling them to do business in more intelligent, efficient ways."

According to a United Nations-ITU survey published in March, about 60 percent of the world's population now use mobile phones, and there are about 4.1 billion mobile-phone subscriptions in operation each year.

IBM said it has been conducting pilots involving scientists and business customers. In one pilot, mobile technology was used by an insurance company to locate and dispatch the most appropriate and available claims adjusters for certain cases. This involved the use of GPS and presence awareness.

Another project saw IBM work with Taiwan Mobile to analyse customers' preferences, context and transaction history. A third trial — conducted in India — had people "post, retrieve or exchange timely information via voice on [mobile] phones".