Business challenge

To keep pace with the latest IT advances, Software Productivity Strategists Inc. (SPS) joined a global hackathon challenging participants to develop innovative apps with IBM Cloud and cognitive platforms.


SPS created an Internet of Things (IoT) tracking solution for caregivers in an IBM Bluemix environment, incorporating IBM Watson cognitive technology to provide critical alerts.


Accelerated development

to rapidly create and launch a irst-of-its-kind IoT app for caregivers

Managed costs

with an all-in-one development and hosting platform that eliminates capital investments

Established global hosting

to seamlessly extend solution delivery beyond the US to customers around the world

Business challenge story

Tackling a global hackathon challenge

For SPS, remaining successful in the IT industry means continuing to evolve as technology progresses and marketplace demands change. With IoT, cloud and cognitive technologies advancing at a rapid rate, the company needed to keep pace with new developments and encourage greater innovation in its solution design and delivery.

When IBM Global Training Partner Avnet announced a global virtual hackathon, SPS saw an opportunity to expand its capabilities and get up to speed with cutting-edge IT. The business joined more than 100 participants from around the world in taking on the hackathon’s core challenge: creating an innovative new app in just 19 days using IBM Bluemix and IBM Watson Developer Cloud technologies.

Having the Bluemix platform as a service offering was essential to being able to build a solution like this in just over two weeks.

Paul Lebar, Vice President of Innovation, Software Productivity Strategists Inc.

Transformation story

Developing a tracking app for caregivers

Transitioning to cloud-based development and delivery with IBM technology was the next logical step for SPS in a highly successful partnership spanning decades. “We’ve been an IBM Business Partner for more than 20 years,” says Paul Lebar, Vice President of Innovation for SPS. “It was natural for us to start using Bluemix when we decided that solution development on the cloud was a competency we were going to build.”

Working in a Bluemix environment during the Avnet hackathon, SPS developed Watchover, a mobile app designed to help caregivers monitor children, elderly relatives and other dependents. The app pairs with a GPS watch to create a robust IoT tracking solution that offers real-time location information, calling capabilities and an SOS button for immediately dialing emergency contacts.

Hosted on Bluemix virtual servers, the Watchover offering incorporates the IBM Watson IoT Platform to provide management capabilities for the IoT environment, IBM Bluemix Geospatial Analytics technology to deliver geofencing functionality and the IBM Watson Discovery News Service to track news and send alerts when weather events, evacuations or police emergencies occur within the proximity of a user wearing the Watchover device.

Results story

Winning top honors and scaling for growth

With the Bluemix platform, SPS rapidly created a first-of-its-kind IoT solution that won top honors at the Avnet hackathon. “If we had to acquire servers, provision them and install middleware, we probably wouldn’t have even finished during the event,” says Lebar. “Having the Bluemix platform as a service offering was essential to being able to build a solution like this in just over two weeks.”

IBM Cloud technology provides the flexible hosting environment SPS needs to cost-effectively grow its offering as demand increases. “Our up-front costs with Bluemix are very low,” says Lebar. “And as we add more users, our costs scale directly along with usage.”

Plus, SPS has established the global hosting infrastructure needed to extend delivery of the Watchover solution beyond the US to customers around the world. “With IBM, we’ll have instantaneous access to local data centers worldwide,” says Lebar. “This is another aspect of the scale that a small company can’t achieve without a true global cloud to run in.”


Software Productivity Strategists Inc.

Established in 1993 and based in Rockville, Maryland, Software Productivity Strategists Inc. (SPS) is an IT service provider with a broad portfolio of security, mobile, infrastructure and training capabilities. An IBM Business Partner and IBM Cloud Champion, the company is committed to helping customers drive innovation with analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and cognitive solutions.

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