It's one thing to move bits and bytes securely; it's another to move people and freight around the globe safely. Yet IBM has taken on that challenge. Late last year, IBM unveiled a global security initiative aimed at setting some international standards for cargo seals, biometrics and data. Called Global Movement Management, the program addresses some of the technical and political issues that have historically hampered efforts to improve security. The plan also outlines a vision for a distributed governance system worldwide and an open-source system architecture.
"The Global Movement Management initiative will be extremely useful for leaders in both the public and private sectors, who are still wrestling with what it means to build security into their everyday operations and how to pay for it," says Admiral James Loy, former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. "The GMM initiative puts forth a vision for where the system needs to be, yet taking a realistic approach to these challenges."
IBM expects to announce at least two partners for the program in early January, as well as a pilot program for a major Asian port. "This is not exclusive at all to IBM," says Andy Kendzie, an IBM spokesman. "The issue of how to move people, money and products in a global economy is something we've been looking at for a long time. We have a couple of technology solutions, but IBM doesn't have a lock on this and we welcome the participation of others."
Three months ago, IBM and Maersk announced the Intelligent Trade Lane solution, which uses technology tools to bolster security in customs, ports and borders. IBM also recently unveiled a new diagnostic tool to help governments detect flaws and create viable border protection plans.