IBM Mobility Push Results in Deal with Portuguese Cable Provider

ZON Multimedia is turning to IBM's Tivoli software to help it consolidate its IT and network infrastructures onto a single management platform. The deal illustrates how IBM intends to make its presence felt in the burgeoning mobility space.

The decision by a major Internet provider in Portugal to tap Tivoli software for a platform consolidation project is an example of one of the directions IBM is pursuing with the mobility strategy Big Blue officials unveiled in June.

During a June 16 event celebrating the opening of a new IBM Lab just north of Boston, IBM Software officials said that while the company would not be coming out with any IBM-branded handheld devices, its software would be critical in bringing simplicity, manageability and intelligence to the rapidly growing mobile workforce.

That includes working with telecommunications and Internet providers to streamline their operations to make them more efficient to better serve their customers, they said.

The decision by ZON Multimedia, a top pay TV and Internet provider in Portugal, to use a host of Tivoli products to aggregate disparate components of its infrastructure into a centralized view falls in line with IBM's mobility efforts, according to Scott Sobers, program director of the Communications Sector for IBM's Tivoli business.

ZON officials are looking to manage IT and networking in a single fashion, Sobers said in an interview with eWEEK. Traditionally those two areas have been managed separately.

"This is a big trend we're seeing for service providers," he said, adding that ZON is among the first to make such a move. "Others are trying to do what ZON is doing."

The $1.5 million project, announced July 14, will result in enabling ZON officials to bring greater visibility, control and automation capabilities to their enterprise, Sobers said.

ZON officials said all that will mean better cable service for its customers.

"A superior centralized platform for operational management is the foundation to meet ZON's future technical and business needs more efficiently," Paulo Ribeiro, board member of ZON TVCabo, a company from ZON Multimedia group, said in a statement.

ZON will use a host of Tivoli products, including Tivoli Netcool, Monitoring, Composite Application Manager, OMNibus and Network Manager, according to IBM.

During the event in June at the Massachusetts IBM Lab, Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM's Software Group, said that even though the company won't be coming out with any branded smartphones or other high-profile products, Big Blue will play a major role in the growing mobile computing arena.

Products from such IBM businesses as Tivoli, Rational and WebSphere will be key products in bringing efficiency, manageability and intelligence into all areas of mobile computing, Mills said.

Sobers agreed, pointing out that the field is a wide open one for IBM.

"The mobile market is a growth market," he said. "Everything is going mobile."

For businesses like ZON, being able to bring together IT and network management under a single umbrella will be important going forward in what is an increasingly competitive market, Sobers said.

"To be efficient and to be competitive, you have to be able to manage across the board," he said.