IBM cashes in on bank's home-grown system

CBS Integrated Solutions, the software services arm of the Bank of Western Australia, has entered a business partner agreement with IBM, which will provide marketing, implementation and technical support for BankWest's Core Banking System (CBS) product in the Asia/Pacific region.

The product, which was developed by the bank in Perth, has already gained international recognition after being adopted to meet the needs of the Bank of Scotland, which is BankWest's largest shareholder.

Graham Murray, the Asia/Pacific executive of IBM Banking Solutions, noted that one of the main benefits of CBS was that it had been developed by bankers for bankers. "We anticipate being able to offer a best-of-breed product in CBS to a growing market demand across Asia/Pacific," he said.

David Saayman, managing director of CBS Integrated Solutions, said the banking system operates with new and emerging channel platforms to provide an integrated, online, real time banking system which supports a single view of the customer. "The emerging channels of e-business require online, real time processing to meet the convenience and immediate expectations of customers today," he explained. "In the competitive financial services sector it is imperative that organisations are able to view a client's entire financial experience, including savings, credit cards, loans and mortgages, investments and pensions in a single view," Saayman added.

Telemedia consolidates US presence

Victorian developer Telemedia Networks International has chalked up the second and third sales of its switching software - with promises of billing system sales to follow - in the US just a month after making its first sale there. The latest sales are to Texas telcos AccuTel and NationNet Communications.

Chris Jones, chief executive of Telemedia Networks, said that AccuTel, a fast-growing competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), will be supplied with an enhanced switching platform and is planning to introduce Telemedia's integrated billing system within six months. "By using Telemedia software, AccuTel will be able to provide more diverse services to its customer base and bring new products and service to its markets in a shorter time frame," Jones said.

NationNet, which is also a CLEC, plans to expand its Voice over IP network throughout the US this year on the back of Telemedia's central platform. It also expects to implement Telemedia's billing system within six months.

Just one month ago Telemedia signed a similar agreement with one point Communications of Chicago. Its US surge comes as a result of Telemedia's acquisition two months ago of US billing system developer Phoenix Global Networks (Insider Edition section of The Rust Report, July 7, 2000). Telemedia now claims to have more than 130 installations across 69 telecom service providers in 35 countries.

Keycorp does it yet again - this time to HSBCKeycorp has chalked up yet another export deal with the sale of multimedia self-service terminals worth more than $A1.2 million to Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The terminals will be installed throughout the bank's Hong Kong branches between now and the end of September.

Keycorp has previously provided smart card and EFTPOS solutions to HSBC, noted CEO Michael Thomes. "Self-service access devices are becoming increasingly important for banking service providers as customers demand access to their account information anywhere, anytime," Thomes explained. As proof of his claims Thomes noted that the first machines installed for HSBC are in some cases already handling more than 16,000 transactions per machine each week.

"Together with the uptake of smart card technologies which promise more convenience for consumers, the market for self-service terminals to help deliver this convenience represents a significant opportunity for growth," Thomes concluded.

Syrinx powers bank's voice trading

A natural language voice recognition system developed by Sydney company Syrinx Systems has formed the foundation for the VoiceBroker service launched by Commonwealth Securities, the retail stockbroking subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. A spokesman said the service allows ComSec clients to obtain live prices for shares listed on the ASX. Enhancements to be made to the system in September will allow shares to be bought and sold by voice commands.

"VoiceBroker is a significant Australian innovation as it greatly enhances the accessibility of accurate, timely information by allowing clients to obtain share prices quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," claimed Paul Rickard, director of ComSec. He added that the service is an alternative to obtaining share prices via the Internet, particularly when clients are on the move.

Microsoft renews push for Appeals hearingMicrosoft is back to its old tricks as it enters the latest phase of its antitrust case in the US. In a belated attempt to get the hearing in to the US Court of Appeals, which is believed to be more sympathetic to the developer's cause, Microsoft's attorneys suggested the case was too complex for the Supreme Court, which should let the Appeals Court clear the "underbrush" of messy issues.

To give the appeal "full and fair consideration", the Supreme Court would have to review the extensive trial record, which would be an "undue burden", Microsoft's legal representatives claimed. "These appeals are not confined to one or two legal issues of the sort the Supreme Court normally considers on certiorari. They instead involve a wide range of substantive and procedural issues more appropriately resolved by the Court of Appeals," Microsoft's lawyers wrote.

While the tone of the submission would seem patronising to anger the Supreme Court judges, US observers believe it is unlikely they will agree to hear the case until it has first passed through the Court of Appeals. "They want a docket that is limited, focused and narrow," one US lawyer explained.

The Department of Justice is expected to reply to Microsoft's submission on August 15, and Microsoft will have until August 22 to respond. And so it continues.

Short news takes on the home front

Australia will become part of the CeBit ICT trade show circuit next May when Sydney hosts the Now2001 information and communications technology exhibition and conference. The event will be a joint venture between the Australian Telecommunications Users Group and German show organiser Deutsche Messe AG, and is expected to attract more than 15,000 visitors, according to Jackie Taranto, managing director of Hannover Fairs, the Australian subsidiary of Deutsche Messe. Show dates are May 8 to May 10 inclusive.

Senator Chris Ellison, from Western Australia, believes a one-stop-shop for doing business with both Commonwealth and state governments may soon be established. Speaking at the Australian Procurement and Construction Ministerial Council in South Australia this week, Ellison said that under such a scheme an online register would enable suppliers anywhere in Australia to register once for business opportunities across the whole of government, and would increase access to government for many small and medium sized businesses which find the cost and complexity of current procurement arrangements prohibitive.

The Australian Information Industry Association is supporting an Accessibility and Usability Forum organised for Sydney next week by the Australian Interactive Multimedia Industry Association. The forum at the ABC in Ultimo starts at 6pm on August 3 and will be chaired by Sandra Davey. Further information by e-mailing forumrsvp@email.com or from AIMIA's Web site at www.aimia.com.au.

Listed online broker E*Trade has agreed to provide an online investment platform to Professional Investment Services, which is a group of independent accountants and financial planners.

News briefs from abroad

Compaq has agreed to pay the US Government $US4.5 million to settle an overcharging claim lodged by the US Department of Defence against DEC for work carried out in 1998. The charges arose from claims that DEC had inflated labour costs on a $US235 million PC LAN installation it had carried out for the department. The price inflations related to converting the costs of charges - such as shipping and warehousing - into labour costs and improperly billing travel time as a direct cost.

IBM is about to breathe new life into its mainframes - yet again - when it releases a range of 64-bit boxes now code-named Freeway, but expected to be marketed as G7. The new machines, along with beefed-up operating systems and other systems software, will be aimed at enterprise and ISP customers wanting industrial-strength e-commerce servers. IBM has also drawn up plans to make the installation of Linux on S/390 machines much easier, while a number of Big Blue's partners are preparing to release products that will monitor and manage Linux on IBM mainframes.

Investors in struggling Silicon Graphics Inc may at last receive some good news as the company is believed to have chalked up a backlog of orders worth more than $US100 million for a newly released range of modular supercomputers. The machines combine SGI's Origin 3000 series of servers with the Onyx 3000 visualisation systems to create a stackable supercomputer known as NUMAflex. "We think modular computing will replace the all-in-one approach. We can scale it up from two processors to 512," an SGI spokesman explained.

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