IBM today announced two initiatives to advance its cloud computing efforts, including the opening of a new Bluemix Garage in Nice, France and a Cloud Foundry Dojo in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.
The new Bluemix Garage in Nice will be IBM's second such facility in Europe. IBM also has a garage in London. The Nice location will help European organizations of all sizes and industries accelerate the development and design of next-generation apps on IBM Cloud.
There are now four Bluemix Garage locations around the world. In addition to Nice and London, IBM has Bluemix Garages in San Francisco and Toronto. Dr. Angel Luis Diaz, IBM's vice president of Cloud Architecture and Technology, told eWEEK IBM's Bluemix Garages are physical hubs where multi-disciplinary teams, including developers, product managers and designers, can collaborate with IBM experts to rapidly innovate and deliver new technologies using IBM Cloud.
With the world’s developer population estimated to reach 20 million by 2020, IBM is poised to set up additional Bluemix Garage locations across the globe, Diaz said. The company already offers the capability to place "pop-up" garages anywhere, he said. However, as Europe has a base of 1.6 million developers, many of which are tapping into the cloud, mobile, Internet of things (IoT) and cognitive computing spaces, IBM saw a need to address the European market.
"These Bluemix Garages are where we have a space where developers can come in and create MVPs—minimal viable products—very quickly and get stuff out the door by being productive on IBM Cloud and Bluemix,” Diaz told eWEEK. "It's been hugely successful. A lot of our enterprise clients want to behave like startups and a lot of our smaller and startup clients want to scale like enterprises. They can learn to do that at the garages."
For instance, the London Bluemix Garage, launched in 2014, has grown into an innovation hub, Diaz said. In one project, the London team is working with Simon Wheatcroft, a blind ultra-marathon runner, to use IBM Cloud APIs and services, such as Cloudant, IBM’s database-as-a-service, to use data to monitor and pace him through a solo, 60-mile run through a desert in Namibia.
The garage teams are armed with IBM's arsenal of cloud tools, which includes a continuously growing catalog of advanced APIs, including Watson cognitive APIs, as well as Twitter social sentiment analysis, IoT tools, and new forms of data such as video, weather intelligence from IBM's acquisition of The Weather Company, and more.
There are currently more than one million developers using Bluemix and IBM is drawing 20,000 new developers to the Bluemix platform each week. Those developers are creating more than 120,000 new apps every month. "That brings a tear to my eye to see where we came from to where we are now," Diaz said.
The Bluemix Garages do indeed follow a Bluemix Garage Method, which includes Agile development, the use of open models, as well as extreme programming, DevOps and more to reduce the time it takes to turn out new applications.
"When you're able to get a group of developers in a location working together with IBMers using a well-defined approach with design thinking and the Bluemix Garage Method, which we've publicized, you can spend two weeks and come out with something you can put to market rather quickly," Diaz said. "That's what we do in these garages with our clients. We have clients in Nice who have been using the garage already and have created some interesting outcomes. One client was able to create an app in two weeks that helped them accelerate sales for their electronic bike rentals."
Indeed, IBM said local Nice startup ADVANSOLAR, a sustainable mobility company, tapped IBM Cloud and design practices in the Garage to create its new electric bicycle rental services in just weeks—cutting the time needed to get to market by more than 50 percent. ADVANSOLAR worked with Garage experts to use IBM Cloud tools, including IoT, NodeRed and Node.JS services, to integrate external services and data to build its application.
"Working with IBM Cloud and design experts enabled us to quickly identify the most important features of our new service, and then build and deliver them rapidly," said Raphael Briere, CEO of ADVANSOLAR, in a statement. "Combining the power, openness and agility of IBM Cloud with the Garage's expertise enabled us to create a valuable product rapidly, and deliver our rental services at the right price for all our customers."
Diaz said once the visitors to the garages get the sense of how to get projects out the door quickly and have speeded up their way of thinking and of getting applications out the door then they can start connecting these applications with their own enterprise applications.