IBM HAS ANNOUNCED it is investing $3bn over the next four years in the development of a new Internet of Things (IoT) unit, the same day that the Wireless IoT Forum has launched to support and promote the deployment of IoT worldwide.
The idea behind IBM's initiative is to build a cloud-based open platform to help the company's clients and ecosystem partners across industries better integrate real-time data. The idea behind the Wireless IoT Forum is perhaps more overarching, and has been created to drive the widespread adoption of wireless wide-area networking technologies in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.
The forum will work with key stakeholders from across the value chain to agree requirements that inform and accelerate standards development and deployments. It will also improve market representation for companies building the ecosystem and work to promote and market the benefits for the complete ecosystem including the following: Fixed and wireless network operators; infrastructure providers; app developers in utilities; government and specialist SMEs; semiconductor vendors; radio technology providers; module developers; systems integrators; and vertical end-users.
The Forum is set to announce the founding members at the M2M World Congress in London on 28 April 2015.
IBM's investment is a different effort. It comes in the form of three services to address the fact that 90 percent of all data generated by modern devices is wasted and not acted on, according to IBM. The firm added that 60 percent of this data "begins to lose value within milliseconds of being generated".
The first of these three services is the IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries. This will include new analytics services to design and deliver industry IoT solutions for customers on the IBM Cloud.
The second is the IBM Bluemix IoT Zone, a service element of IBM's Bluemix platform-as-a-service to allow easy integration of IoT data into cloud-based development and the deployment of IoT apps.
The third is IBM IoT Ecosystem, which looks to expand IBM's ecosystem of IoT partners, from silicon and device manufacturers to solution providers, such as AT&T, ARM and Semtech.
IBM said that this is to make sure the integration of data services and solutions on its open platform are "seamless and secure".
IBM said that these industry-specific cloud data services and developer tools will build on its expertise in creating practical applications of IoT in the enterprise, such as the firm's Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities initiatives. The idea is to integrate data from a number of IoT and traditional sources.
The IoT Cloud will be made available on an open platform so that industrial "makers" and "operators" can design and manufacture better connected devices and create systems that take advantage of enterprise and IoT data for business decision-making, IBM explained.
"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 IBM Analytics senior vice president Bob Picciano.
"This is a major focus of investment for IBM because it's a rich and broad-based opportunity where innovation matters. Over the next decade, integration of IoT in business operations and decision-making will transform business."
IBM is doing all it can to push IoT. The company joined forces with ARM last month to launch the IoT mbed Device Platform, a starter kit with cloud support offering developer tools with cloud-based analytics.
ARM's mbed tool was announced last year and is primarily an operating system built around open standards to "bring internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool" and make IoT deployment faster and easier and thus speed up the creation of IoT-powered devices.
Partnering with IBM meant that ARM's mbed tool can channel data from internet-connected devices directly into IBM's Bluemix cloud platform. µ
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