IBM wants to make a ‘smarter planet’

May 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

The planet, according to IBM, is getting smarter. Things like GPS and RFID collect information that tell us where things are and even where we are. Refrigerators can place orders when items run out. Traffic lights are automated to adapt to different patterns at different times of day. And software, the company believes, is the invisible thread that ties all this and so much more together.

So today, the company is releasing the IBM Rational Team Webtop, a new user front end for the Jazz platform, along with updates to its Doors, Synergy, Change and Rhapsody software that follows a road map for the former Telelogic products that was mapped out in November.

The releases are part of IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative, which recognizes that the world is becoming more interconnected, more instrumented and more intelligent. One of the keys is getting software intelligence in products, such as global positioning devices, medical imaging software, and automotive controls that can collect and analyze all kinds of data, according to Dominic Tavassoli, IBM program director.

Developers creating the software for these devices can use Team Webtop, which employs widgets that extract relevant information from the various software delivery tools in use for display in a single Web-based view that’s meaningful for the user, Tavassoli said.

“Companies need to develop software competencies they didn’t have before,” he said. “Embedded development is changing from functionality and moving up to be key to business value. It’s getting more airplay with executives and teams that think of the business strategy. They’re realizing that embedded software needs the same kind of governance, business decisions and accountability as a component of [an organization’s] ‘system of systems.’ ”

To support this, several of the company’s development tools have been enhanced. The Doors requirements tool has been given a new Web interface, so requirements can be reviewed and modified by teams around the world, and it has better management features—with change control—for large-scale hierarchies of requirements.

Synergy has a new architecture defined for global use, and it brings configuration management into one central server with low-footprint clients, so distributed teams working on systems development, especially component-based development, can access project tasks.

Change now helps organizations set change processes and work with defects in complex, multi-step processes, Tavassoli explained. And the Rhapsody modeling tool now has the ability to support agile workflows, which he said enables design validation to occur earlier and more often.

“We’re seeing a major surge in the focus on embedded software and systems engineering,” Tavassoli said. “That’s where the world is going.”

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