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Compaq pushes spooky follow your keystroke system

The system will undercut IBM by $80 million

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Compaq has developed a technology capable of tracking a consumer's every move.

The high-end system, which the company demonstrated at the Geneva telecomms show, integrates 111Tb (terabytes) of data and 128 processors from different types of Compaq boxes, allied with Corba databases and other pieces of software.

Compaq has built a demo system, at Cupertino, California and is touting the application at telecommunications companies, government agencies, banks and retailers.

David Liles, a senior consultant at Compaq's advanced technology centre in Algonquin, Illinois, said the system will scale from two processors upwards and will let large corporations use on-the-fly software to track a customer's every phone call.

The so-called zero latency system will allow Compaq's corporate and government customers to track every movement a customer might make, even with his or her mouse, and will also present opportunities for the consumer, in terms of better deals on books, mobile phones and other tariffs, said Liles.

A high-end system similar to the one Compaq has built in Cupertino will cost telcos and banks around the $22 million mark, said Liles.

That compares to similar systems from IBM, using Sysplex, which can cost five times that much, he said.

Compaq has already signed Sprint and NTT as customers but would not be drawn on which government agencies were interested in the technology.

The software, as standard, includes so-called government compliance customer care. Liles explained that in the United States, at least, it would allow reporting on which telephone numbers were called and the frequency of such dialling.

It takes Compaq between four to six months to build such a system into a telco, bank or agency, Liles said. But the Cupertino system is simply built as a demonstration tool and does not handle Compaq transactions. ®

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