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IBM tries to come up with creative ways to help companies jump on the outsourcing train.

IBM has a new idea for business software, which it feels is unique enough that it deserves a patent.  The computer industry giant has filed application for a patent, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is currently mulling over.  IBM seeks to patent "Outsourcing of Services", which is briefly defined as a "method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization". 

The patent application, which can be found here, is an attempt to patent the use of computer software to algorithmically analyze a workforce and the various workloads on a company and determine which parts should be cut and outsourced.

The patent application was filed July 12, 2007.

IBM is also seeking to patent a software system for "matching a knowledge worker" with a corporate entity via means including "experience levels, salary, geographic location, job starting date and duration, and industry sector".  The patent application can be viewed here.  The patent has a figure attached which demonstrates its software, which looks like a small calculator.  The figure shows an example of the device displaying the lower costs of dealing with IGSI (Indian) professionals.  IGSI stands for IBM Global Services, India.  The device also seems to be closely connected to outsourcing jobs, as its main purpose appears to be demonstrating to employers that labor can be found far cheaper in non-U.S. locations.

Finally, IBM has at least one more patent in the works.  They currently have an application for a patent for a "System and method of using speech recognition at call centers to improve their efficiency and customer satisfaction".  This application attempts to patent a system for accent reduction in international workers.  The patent's language clearly indicates that it is targeted for situations such as call centers, where a large number of non-native English speakers will be answering calls. 

The patent first propose to electronically transcribe and then provide a digital voice for the caller.  In order to do this IBM proposes using its text transcription system, IBM ViaScribe, developed for hearing-impaired individuals.  Finally, the patent also suggests the speaker take accent reduction classes, such as the programs which IBM offers.

Some may be troubled by the developments that IBM's patents are contributing to the trend of outsourcing technology jobs outside the U.S.  They should not be surprised, however, with the overly broad scope of the applications or of the fact that the applications appear to be for existing or common sense practices. 

There is a long history of tech patents with overly broad language.  There have also been many patents which attempted to patent a well-defined existing technology that already had become common-place in an industry, which the applier was not necessarily the first to develop.  A famous example is Microsoft's 2004 successful attempt to patent the "double-click" (note--their patent only applied to PowerPCs).

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RE: All IBM has to do ....
By Ringold on 10/2/2007 1:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
Nor would I describe South Africa in the same terms as, ah, whats the politically correct term these days? A 'transitional economy', such as your northern neighbors. South Africa's GDP is, what, more than all the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa combined? You having that job isn't any more controversial than an American job going to Europe on occasion; not a big deal. Software engineers also aren't unionized; low skill jobs tend to be unionized, and thus the ones making a fuss.

Speaking of those northern neighbors, ya'll really should try to do something about Zimbabwe. It's gone from bad to worse and could go from worse to humanitarian disaster any day now.

RE: All IBM has to do ....
By Hexxx on 10/3/2007 5:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's still an example of outsourcing to get the job done for cheaper. The man hours would be less expensive seeing as the cost of living here is cheaper than Europe and the states and our salaries, as a consequence, aren't as high. Making us a prime candidate for outsourced skilled labour. The table at the bottom gives a comparison of the average IT salaries relative to the US and Aus (divide by 7 to get USD):

I can' comment on the figures for the other countries, but for SA those salaries look about right.

With regards to Zimbabwe, unless someone removes Mugabe from power there will be a humanitarian disaster. Unfortunately, I don't see him being removed. Even if he is removed, the situation may have already reached critical mass.

The problem is also cultural, among some of my countrymen (I can't speak for Zim residents), he is seen as a leader. Their reasoning is that leaders are not meant to be questioned. That is why they are leaders. If he says the Western powers are sabotaging the economy, it must be true. He is doing what's best for the people.

It's a sad truth, and a view that I found is shared, to my absolute astonishment, by a few of my relatively well educated colleagues. I don't hold much hope, they may have to hit rock bottom before they can come right again.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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