IBM Unveils Data Tracking Solution

IBM is launching real time data monitoring software that will enable firms to track manufacturing and other trends.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM Corp is set to begin selling a long-awaited software aimed at helping companies analyze real-time data, ranging from traffic data to manufacturing processes, to find more efficient ways to run their business.

IBM, which has shifted its focus from computers to higher-margin software and services over the past decade, said the new software, named IBM System S, will be available from Friday following six years of development.

The software is designed to analyze streams of real-time data and could help financial institutions monitor transactions and analyze risks, or help hospitals monitor patients to detect problems early, the company said.

It could also help chipmakers, for example, monitor the entire manufacturing process which often involves 500-1,000 steps. IBM said the software could pinpoint errors to solve them before they multiply or lead to serious losses.

Nagui Halim, head of IBM's stream computing project, said the software can be used for "anything that has a situation where vast amounts of data are available at real-time."

"As businesses go more and more online, as more and more of what they do becomes available digitally, with cars, equipment and sensors ... there's this rising tide of information," Halim told Reuters.

"Generally people store the data, and they try to understand it later. What we're saying is, it's hard to do that, and by the time you get around to looking at it later the events of interest may be over."

IBM's software rivals include Oracle Corp and Microsoft Corp, as well as much smaller players like Tibco Software Inc.

The System S is due to be unveiled at IBM's annual event for analysts later on Wednesday. Analysts attending the event, however, are likely to focus on the company's overall business outlook.

Most analysts have said they expect IBM to reiterate its 2010 earnings forecast of $10-$11 a share, despite a recent slowdown in sales.

IBM's first-quarter revenue fell 11 percent from a year earlier, but cost cuts helped limit the fall in net profit, and the company said it expects 2009 profit of at least $9.20 per share.

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