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IBM to pump US$3 billion into new IoT business unit

March 31, 2015  

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IBM Corp. today announced that it will invest upwards of US$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 it said is designed to help clients and ecosystem partners build IoT offerings.

The intent, IBM added, is to design and produce a “new generation of connected devices that are better optimized 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,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president, IBM Analytics.

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

* IBM Bluemix IoT Zone: New IoT services as part of IBM’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service will enable developers to integrate IoT data into cloud-based development and deployment of IoT apps.

* 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 The Weather Company.

IBM’s involvement with the latter will be through WSI, the company’s global 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.

According to IBM the IoT and cloud computing systems will allow for the collection of data from more than 100,000 weather sensors and aircraft, millions of smartphones, buildings and even moving vehicles.

The two companies said they plan to help industries “utilize their understanding of weather on business outcomes and take action systemically to optimize those parts of their businesses.”

Other clients IBM has in the IoT space include:

* Dublin City Council. Bureaucrats in the Irish capital are working with the firm to identify and solve the root causes of traffic congestion in its public transport network.

* Yara Trams. The company is using IBM technology to access real-time information about service disruptions, tram performance and tram locations in Melbourne, Australia.

* Southern Ontario Water Consortium. The firm is working with IBM using tools to understand watershed dynamics, safeguard drinking water and forecast the impact of growth. The new platform analyzes data collected every 15 minutes and assimilates 600 data points per hour from more than 100 sensors.




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