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.
As part of the working agreement signed in the Netherlands earlier this week, 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 have not been disclosed.
IBM will contribute expertise in networking and service provider infrastructures, content management software and digital rights management (DRM) software. Philips will offer advise on consumer electronics devices and home networks, including set-top boxes and end-user devices for audio and video.
"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 contribute research expertise in the areas of content engineering, personalised services and business models, the group said. The Institute, located in Enschede, the Netherlands, receives combined management and funding from the Dutch government and companies such as IBM, KPN and Lucent Technologies.