Quick Hits

Under the big top, amidst acrobats and dancing clowns, may be the last place you would expect to find IBM Corp. But last month Big Blue announced a three-year technology partnership with the emperor of circuses, Cirque du Soleil. The Montreal-based Cirque said it has selected Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM as its worldwide IT sponsor through 2005, helping the show develop creative technology solutions to manage its business-side operations. As part of the deal, IBM will design and implement a wireless infrastructure via its WebSphere Everyplace software. The company will also work with Cirque to install a SAN that will connect all the organization’s servers to manage its growth. For details visit www.ibm.ca. Cirque is online at www.cirquedusoleil.com.

Semiconductors help track inventory

Benetton Group SpA, best known for pushing the envelope with its controversial ads, has set its sights on the bleeding edge of technology. The Italian clothing maker recently announced it will start attaching radio frequency identification (RFID) “smart tags” to its Sisley clothing line to track shipping, inventory and sales to its 5,000 stores worldwide. The smart tags include semiconductor technology by Royal Phillips Electronics NV of Amsterdam, which along with the RFID tags, will be printed directly onto the clothing labels. The labels are readable by handheld devices developed by Ontario-based Psion Teklogix. Benetton expects more than 15 million Sisley brand garments to hit stores featuring the RFID tags. For details, visit www.benetton.com.

Cabbies tap into technology

Sick of standing in the rain desperately trying to flag down a cab? Well UK black cab firm Zingo thinks is has the answer to your prayers – its taxi-hailing service. By calling a locate-rate number the user is automatically connected to the nearest taxi operator which finds the closest driver , who can then automatically find the passenger and give them a collection time. Zingo uses GPS (Global Positioning System) and location-based technology to locate both the taxi driver and the passenger.

The service costs

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