IBM Launches New IoT, Education Business Units

IBM announced new Internet of Things (IoT) and Education business units headed by Harriet Green, a newcomer to the company.

New IBM buiness units

IBM today announced two new business units that will apply the company’s strengths in big data, analytics and cognitive computing to the Internet of Things (IOT) and Education markets, respectively.

Big Blue also named Harriet Green, formerly CEO and executive director of the Thomas Cook Group and of Premier Farnell plc, as vice president and general manager for the new units. Green will be responsible for developing these and other new growth businesses.

"Harriet brings to IBM a strong, proven track record as a transformative leader," said John E. Kelly, senior vice president, solutions portfolio and research, in a statement. "Throughout her career, across multiple geographies and cultures, she has consistently shown a deep understanding of the needs of her customers and clients, and how to help them achieve their goals and aspirations. Her creativity and vision will help organizations transform themselves to take fuller advantage of emerging data and cognitive technologies."

The new education unit will formally launch later this year.

"I'm honored to join IBM and to become part of a team that is shaping this exciting and transformative moment for industries," Green said in a statement. "The Internet of things will help enterprises and governments at every level unlock entirely new areas of opportunity and growth, and no company is better positioned than IBM to be the partner of choice as these organizations embrace its potential. Likewise, education is being transformed by technology and IBM is incredibly well positioned to help leaders in the field enable this change."

IBM announced in March 2015 that it will invest $3 billion over the next four years to deliver new industry-specific cognitive computing technologies, cloud data services and developer tools to help clients and partners integrate data from an unprecedented number of sources across the Internet of things. Green will lead a team that will soon comprise more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers dedicated to helping clients unlock value in new insights. IBM has helped thousands of organizations to deploy IoT solutions, working with partners such as The Weather Company, ARM, AT&T and others to make cities smarter and safer, to transform automobile and electronics manufacturing, and to safeguard food and water supply chains, among other applications.

"The IoT is generating massive amounts of data—data from mobile phones, automobiles, appliances and industrial appliances—that can be captured, analyzed and transformed into actionable insights, in a secure manner," said Chris O'Connor, general manager of offerings for IBM Internet of Things, back in March. "IBM is helping innovators who design and produce the next generation of connected devices and those who operate and maintain those devices deal with the increasing complexity of creating products and solutions quickly to meet the needs of consumers."

Last October, IBM announced its IoT Foundation and last month announced the expansion of that effort along with a new partnership with ARM.

IBM's IoT Foundation is an extension of the company's Bluemix Platform as a Service (PaaS) to help developers build applications for the Internet of things (IoT).

Big Blue provides a set of digital tools that help change the Internet of things landscape by enabling developers to build an IoT application in just a few minutes. The cloud service was developed based on the thousands of IoT client engagements IBM has led under the umbrella of its Smarter Planet initiative, IBM officials said.

The IBM Internet of Things Foundation makes it possible for a developer to quickly and easily extend an Internet-connected device such as a sensor or controller into the cloud, build an application alongside the device to collect the data and send real-time insights back to the developer’s business.

IBM said Green is widely recognized for her efforts in transforming the infrastructure of the Thomas Cook Group during her tenure as group CEO and executive director. Earlier in her career, she was CEO and executive director of Premier Farnell, a high-service distributor of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair, and spent over a decade in executive roles at Arrow Electronics, a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions.

In addition, IBM said Green was named Leader of the Year 2013 in the UK National Business Awards, as well as the Sunday Times Business Leader of the Year 2013. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to electronics in June 2010.