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IBM's new $3 billion Internet of Things unit

By Shannon Williams, 07 Apr 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

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

IBM’s work in Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities was 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 build on that expertise to help clients and partners integrate data from an unprecedented number of IoT and traditional sources,” the company says in a statement.

IBM says 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 leaders 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,” says 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,” he says. “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,” the company says.

To address this challenge, IBM is announcing it will offer IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries. The platform will provide new analytics services that clients, partners and IBM will use to design and deliver vertical industry IoT solutions.  

Furthermore, the company will release the IBM Bluemix IoT Zone, a new IoT service as part of IBM’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service that 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 by infusing more real-time data and embedded analytics to further automate and optimise mission-critical IoT processes.

IMB says it will also launch the IBM IoT Ecosystem, an expansion of its ecosystem of IoT partners - from silicon and device manufacturers to industry-oriented solution providers - to ensure the secure and seamless integration of data services and solutions on IBM’s open platform.

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