IBM announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Language Analysis Systems, Inc. (LAS), a privately held company based in Herndon, Virginia, that develops multicultural name recognition technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

This acquisition furthers IBM's company-wide initiative aimed at helping clients address emerging business challenges and better compete in the global economy through unrestrained access to accurate, reliable and trustworthy information.

LAS technology allows organizations to increase business insight by enabling a precise, real-time view into the linguistic and cultural properties of names and facilitates a range of solutions, including:

  • Combating global money laundering and fraud by helping banks, financial institutions and other organizations better identify and recognize criminals attempting to mask their identity using multiple variations of their name.
  • Compliance assurance for insurance providers required to meet government regulations by avoiding new accounts, policy changes and transactions with known criminals.
  • Customer recognition for airlines that want to quickly identify duplicate names across multiple reservations and overlapping flight itineraries to better manage passenger capacity and seat availability.

LAS technology verifies the origin, cultural variations and meaning of names by comparing and analyzing factors commonly associated with nearly one billion names from around the world, including nicknames, titles, format changes and typographical errors. Customers tap LAS to safeguard business transactions, increase revenue, enter new markets, reduce risk and avoid potential problems by rapidly analyzing and verifying the names of existing and potential customers, partners and employees.
As with its recent acquisitions of iPhrase, DWL and SRD, IBM's strategy is to apply LAS software in new ways and for new industries, utilizing its in-depth knowledge of these key industries, potentially opening up new growth opportunities by helping clients rapidly address emerging business challenges, such as:

  • Real-Time Law Enforcement - local, state and global law enforcement officers require the ability to decode unfamiliar names and match them up against criminal datasets and watch lists on the spot - traffic stops, checkpoints, etc.- to determine a subject's true identity, and detect and prevent potential threats before they become problems.
  • Healthcare Cost Savings - unnecessary, duplicative medical tests can be avoided if labs can quickly verify that a patient name on a medical chart - even if misspelled - matches the name on a medical test result. Medical providers also can identify potentially improper or duplicate health care claims by recognizing that an individual has multiple name entries in the same database.
  • Retail Scam Avoidance - Some customers routinely scam merchants by taking products off store shelves and returning them without a receipt for credit, while using different variations of their name as identification. The LAS technology, combined with IBM's existing identity resolution software, can be used to verify the names and identities of these fraudulent individuals, even when a customer is still at the return counter.

LAS technology supports IBM's continuing efforts to help clients better manage information and apply it in innovative ways for a competitive business advantage. The strategy takes advantage of IBM's software, storage, server, business consulting and research expertise to help customers free up all kinds of data - such as email, Web pages, blogs, podcasts, audio, images, video, etc. - regardless of format or structure, and turn them into useful, industry-specific services that perform business functions.
LAS is the 17th IBM acquisition since 2001 under the company's initiative to help customers access, manage and deliver information more effectively. Customers are striving to capture and integrate their data into business processes in order to grapple with challenging business demands such as globalization, security and government compliance mandates. IBM's approach combines industry expertise with open standards, advanced storage systems and information management software to integrate, manage, secure and deliver information in a more seamless, real-time fashion across enterprises, regardless of the underlying format or structure.

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