The Flood: IBM Launches $3B Internet Of Things Offensive

IBM announced a $3 billion investment to create an Internet of Things division. It will partner with The Weather Company to product "micro forecasts" for businesses.
IBM announced a $3 billion investment to create an Internet of Things division. It will partner with The Weather Company to product “micro forecasts” for businesses.

In-brief: IBM announced that it would spend $3 billion in the next four years to build an Internet of Things division that will develop tools to help companies tap the flood of data from connected devices and remote sensors. A partnership with The Weather Company is just the start. 

Tech giant IBM announced yesterday that it will be making a major investment in the Internet of Things in coming years.

Big Blue said on Monday that it plans to invest $3 billion over the next four years to create an “Internet of Things” division to tap data collected from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) as well as the growing population of “smart” devices and sensors. The goal is to get ahead of what IBM sees as the changing needs of its many enterprise customers.

“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 in a statement. “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 indicated that the company’s Bluemix platform as a service will be a pillar of its new offering. The company is adding I0T services to Bluemix to make it easier for developers to tap cloud based resources to manage and analyze data collected from IoT devices. IBM anticipates that existing IT tools like enterprise asset management, facilities management, and software engineering design tools will soon need to be updated to incorporate IoT platforms. It expects Bluemix to facilitate that. 

Also, the company announced what it calls the “IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries,” an analytics platform focused on industry vertical IoT solutions for industries like insurance and automotive. IBM said it will offer pricing models targeted at those verticals.

The company will also use its name and broad reach to catch up to other contenders including Cisco, GE, Google, Amazon and others.

In addition to its Bluemix platform, which is expected to attract (critical) IoT developers, IBM will deliver a cloud platform tailored to industry verticals to host and manage IoT technologies.

The company says it is building an IoT “ecosystem” of partners. To that end, IBM said it would be working with  The Weather Company, owner of The Weather Channel, to deliver what it called “micro weather forecasts” that leverage hundreds of thousands of Weather Company sensors deployed globally. Data from WSI, the professional division of The Weather Company will be used to make better data insights and predictions about weather patterns, allowing retailers to analyze sales data and long range forecasts to help retailers determine what to sell and when, the two said. Insurance companies can benefit hugely from more accurate forecasts, as well.

That partnership may be about more than just raindrops and black ice. As Forbes notes: The Weather Company was a marquis account for Amazon Web Services.

Larry Dignan at ZDNet has a good write up here.

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