December 17, 2008, Updated September 13, 2012

IBM’s Haifa Research Lab at Mount Carmel on the University of Haifa campus.Tired of having to install new software with every new device? So are the world’s electronic manufacturers. With consumer electronics software becoming increasingly complex and new varieties of product lines each season becoming the norm, consumer electronics companies are urgently looking for ways to reuse the still-good software embedded in components.

That’s why manufacturing concern Samsung Electronics teamed up with IBM’s R&D center in Haifa to develop COMPETENCE, a component modeling technology to meets the demand for mass customization. The two companies last week announced the results of a close collaboration to improve the modeling language and tooling, and produce a new solution that reuses existing standards – all of which would ultimately save manufacturers on the cost of designing a new chip for each new product.

Printers are an example of a consumer electronics product line with a variety of models that could benefit from software reuse and simplified customization. A single printer model may have a number of variations, each with different combinations of features and functions. These variations in components include color or black and white printing, scanners, faxes, copiers, and more. Much of the software for each of these printer models is identical, while other individual component variations need to be developed and managed before manufacturing the different models.

Boost productivity, lower costs, reduce time to market

COMPETENCE is built on IBM’s Rational Software Architect tool, which uses the Unified Modeling Language (UML) open standard.

Once adopted, COMPETENCE would enable the industry to benefit from higher levels of automation and interoperability. This in turn will enable manufacturers to boost productivity, lower development costs, and reduce total time to market. Much of the savings, Samsung and IBM state, will come from the efficient reuse of existing components in new products, the integration of off-the-shelf components into new product lines, and of standardized interfaces available with model driven development.

The collaboration between Samsung and IBM is part of IBM’s First of a Kind (FOAK) program for new research innovations. IBM worked with data provided by Samsung to represent their system within a testing environment. COMPETENCE must undergo further development in order to be made available to other IBM clients in the future.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director