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IBM to invest US$3bn as it connects enterprises with cloud-based open platform for IoT
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IBM to invest US$3bn as it connects enterprises with cloud-based open platform for IoT

Posted by Anita PodsiadloMarch 31, 2015

IBM has announced that it will invest $3 billion over the next four years to establish a new Internet of Things (IoT) unit, and that it is building a cloud-based open platform designed to help clients and ecosystem partners build IoT solutions.

‘Big Blue’ is said to be building a new Cloud-based open platform for industries to leverage IoT data. More than 2,000 IBM consultants, researchers and developers are now reportedly being trained to help enterprise clients “uncover new insights”, according to a spokesperson for the IT giant.

IBM’s work in Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities has been based on practical applications of IoT in the enterprise and led to a broad set of solutions, ranging from water management to optimising retail and customer loyalty to alleviating traffic congestion.

With new industry-specific cloud data services and developer tools, IBM will aim to build on that expertise to help clients and partners integrate data from an unprecedented number of IoT and traditional sources. These resources will be made available on an open platform to provide manufacturers with the ability to design and produce a new generation of connected devices that are better optimised for the IoT, and to help business across industries create systems that better fuse enterprise and IoT data to inform decision-making.

“Our knowledge of the world grows with every connected sensor and device, but too often we are not acting on it, even when we know we can ensure a better result,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president, IBM Analytics. “IBM will enable clients and industry partners apply IoT data to build solutions based on an open platform. This is a major focus of investment for IBM because it’s a rich and broad-based opportunity where innovation matters.”

IBM estimates that 90% of all data generated by devices such as smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances is never analysed or acted on. As much as 60% of this data begins to lose value within milliseconds of being generated. To address this challenge, IBM is announcing it will offer:

  • IBM IoT cloud open platform for industries: This platform will provide new analytics services that clients, partners and IBM will use to design and deliver vertical industry IoT solutions. For example, IBM will introduce a cloud-based service that helps insurance companies extract insight from connected vehicles. This will enable new, more dynamic pricing models and the delivery of services that can be highly customised to individual drivers.
  • IBM Bluemix IoT zone: New IoT services as part of IBM’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service will enable developers to easily integrate IoT data into cloud-based development and deployment of IoT apps. Developers will be able to enrich existing business applications – such as enterprise asset management, facilities management, and software engineering design tools – by infusing more real-time data and embedded analytics to further automate and optimise mission-critical IoT processes.
  • IBM IoT ecosystem: Expansion of its ecosystem of IoT partners – from silicon and device manufacturers to industry-oriented solution providers – such as AT&T, ARM, Semtech and newly announced The Weather Company – to ensure the secure and seamless integration of data services and solutions on IBM’s open platform.

IBM’s capabilities are said to be illustrated in a new global strategic alliance announced today with The Weather Company through WSI, its global business-to-business (B2B) division. WSI’s forecasting system ingests and processes data from thousands of sources, resulting in approximately 2.2 billion unique forecast points worldwide, and averages more than 10 billion forecasts a day on active weather days.

The IoT and cloud computing allow for collection of data from more than 100,000 weather sensors and aircraft, millions of smartphones, buildings and even moving vehicles. The two companies will help industries utilise their understanding of weather on business outcomes and take action systemically to optimise those parts of their businesses. The new unit will be led by Pat Toole as general manager.

For more information on IBM’s Internet of Things business, go to: www.ibm.com/IoT

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Anita Podsiadlo

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