IBM has announced an initiative that it claims will unite the digital and physical worlds, creating the"building blocks for 21st century infrastructure".

IBM was addressing the global proliferation of data said IBM's Nick Drabble. "There's been an explosion of data, a growing number of data-aware devices all with intelligence that we can use, but don't."

He pointed out that much of the information was contained in isolation."Everything's interconnected now," Drabble said. "But there are lot of inefficiencies in the way we work. For example, at any one time, 85 percent of the world's computers are lying idle. By using only 15 percent of capacity, we're driving huge inefficiencies as well as heavy use of power for cooling."

He also pointed out that companies spent about 75 percent of their resources, just maintaining systems rather than buying new products and services to develop their businesses. "We should be helping companies to use their assets in a smarter way," he said.

Drabble said that the new initiative would offer software across a variety of industries, One of the new products on offer, IBM Service Management Industry Solutions, will be customised for a variety of different industries, The product will bring together software from a variety of IBM divisions. Drabble said that this co-operation was key as IBM had experience in such a vast array of fields that it could bring its experience to bear.

IBM is also introducing a new governance consulting practice to mitigate global risk and a new consultancy to help enterprises design and implement service management strategies.

Other part of the announcement includes Tivoli Service Automation Manager software, to automate the design, deployment and management of services such as middleware, applications, hardware and networks, tasks that today are largely done manually.

"There's a great cost associated with staffing said Drabble. "I'm not saying that we should be getting rid of thousands of workers but those people could then be deployed on new projects."

A key part of the new initiative is security; the company has announced full-disc encryption on its IBM System Storage DS8000, to improve security through self-encrypting drives. Drabble said that the combination of the DS8000 and the Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager would greatly improve security at a time when enterprises were focused on the cost of data breaches.

Other aspects of the new initiative include new data security services and software for IBM's system z mainframe.

"It's an ambitious initiative," agreed Drabble but he said that companies were not necessarily going to take every offering. "This is aimed at big enterprises and SMEs and they can take what they want. "There's something here for everyone," he added,.