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Broadband group hits home for IBM

Big Blue plans next week to announce it's joining the Internet Home Alliance, which promotes new-fangled uses for the high-speed Net, such as household appliances controlled online.

The Internet Home Alliance, a broadband industry trade group, is adding IBM to its network.

Big Blue plans next week to announce its membership in the group, which promotes new-fangled uses for high-speed Net access, such as household appliances that can be controlled online.

Peter Gaucher, director of device-led solutions at IBM, said the computer and networking giant plans to provide financial support for the group and use it as a platform to facilitate the development of new technologies.

"No one or two players can make this happen on their own," he said. "We plan to work with other like-minded companies to get some cooperation and start learning by doing."

IHA provides research and promotion for experimental broadband applications. In July, the group released data showing that 42 percent of U.S. households are "inclined" to adopt a connected home "to enhance their quality of life."

Products promoted by IHA members include Internet-enabled appliances in development at Whirlpool that can be controlled by a Web tablet running Internet Explorer.

Other IHA members include Best Buy, Cisco Systems, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Invensys, Panasonic, Sears and Sun Microsystems.