IBM Pours $3B Into New IoT Business Unit

IBM is launching a new Internet of Things (IoT) business unit and has pledged to invest $3 billion to help bring IoT to the enterprise.

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IBM announced it will invest $3 billion over the next four years to establish a new Internet of Things (IoT) business unit.

Big Blue also said it is building a cloud-based open platform to help customers and ecosystem partners build IoT solutions. The company also is creating new IBM IoT cloud services to drive insights into business operations. More than 2,000 IBM consultants, researchers and developers will support the new IoT initiative and help enterprise clients gain new insights.

“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 of IBM Analytics, in a statement. “IBM will enable clients and industry partners to 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.”

Picciano said IBM’s pioneering 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. These range from water management, to optimizing retail and customer loyalty, to alleviating traffic congestion. IBM provides enterprise IoT implementations that securely combine and analyze data from a wide variety of sources.

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. 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 optimized for the IoT. The resources will also help business leaders across industries create systems that better fuse enterprise and IoT data to inform decision-making.

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

To address these challenges, IBM said it will offer three core components: IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries, IBM Bluemix IoT Zone and the IBM IoT Ecosystem.

The IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries will provide new analytics services that clients, partners and IBM will use to design and deliver vertical industry IoT solutions. For example, IBM will introduce a cloud-based service that helps insurance companies extract insight from connected vehicles. This will enable new, more dynamic pricing models and the delivery of services that can be highly customized to individual drivers, IBM said.

The IBM Bluemix IoT Zone will offer new IoT to 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, such as enterprise asset management, facilities management, and software engineering design tools, by infusing more real-time data and embedded analytics to further automate and optimize mission-critical IoT processes, according to IBM.

The IBM IoT Ecosystem expands IBM’s IoT partners which include silicon and device manufacturers and industry-oriented solution providers, including AT&T, ARM, Semtech and The Weather Company. IBM said the inclusion of partners ensures the secure and seamless integration of data services and solutions on IBM’s open platform.