IBM, Philips work on broadband content delivery

IBM Corp. intends to develop a demonstration platform for delivering secure digital broadband content to home users in partnership with the Telematics Institute and the Philips Research division of Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, the companies announced Tuesday.

The aim of the group, called the Telematics Institute, IBM, Philips Secure Content Initiative (TIPSCI), is to create an integrated end-to-end service provider platform that would supply consumers with broadband content such as music, video and games through the alignment of existing content management and distribution systems, IBM, Philips and the Telematics Institute said in a joint statement.

As part of the working agreement signed in the Netherlands on Tuesday, TIPSCI will research the security of content, digital rights management, quality of service provisions as well as the speed and manageability of home communications networks. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2003, the group said.

“We are looking at existing forms of content management and distribution to start with but that may change with time,” said Erik van den Akker, the IBM alliance director for Philips. “What happens in the future, and how long the project lasts all depends on the success of what we deliver. In terms of business models, that is part of the project but it is also to be decided further into the project.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

IBM, of Armonk, New York, will contribute its knowledge and product base in such areas as IT networking and service provider infrastructures, content management software and digital rights management (DRM) software. Philips, headquartered in Amsterdam, will offer expertise in consumer electronics devices and home networks, including such products as set-top boxes and end-user devices for audio and video, the group said.

“We have partnered with Philips because it is very strong in the home consumer market, and IBM is not. We think that IBM and Philips are very compatible. People are very worried about security, be it the security of their personal information, or companies being worried about the security of their content,” van den Akker said.

The Telematics Institute will bring research capabilities in the areas of content engineering, personalized services and business models, the group said.

The Telematics Institute, located in Enschede, the Netherlands, receives combined management and funding from the Dutch government and companies such as IBM, KPN NV and Lucent Technologies Inc., according to the Institute’s Web site.