While there is nothing particularly exceptional about an Internet of Things – related announcement, this one is pretty big, at least in dollar terms. IBM has announced this morning that it will create a new Internet of Things business, consolidating its existing activities in its Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities initiatives. The numbers are quite striking – $4 billion to be invested over three years, and 2000 consultants, developers and researchers assigned to it. The key capabilities IBM will bring to the table are:
- IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries – A cloud-based analytics engine for various industrial applications
- IBM Bluemix IoT zone – An extension of its existing Bluemix platform as a service to allow IoT services to integrate with cloud-based apps and experiences
- IBM IoT Ecosystem – expanding its already announced partnerships to provide full-ecosystem solutions.
In addition to all this, IBM also announced a tie-up with the Weather Company, the organisation behind the Weather Channel. There are two angles to this partnership. The more prosaic, and less interesting is the migration of the Weather Company’s platform to IBM Cloud. Of greater interest is the slew of weather-related services that IBM plan to offer, including Watson Analytics for Weather – building real-time weather analytics and predictive platforms for companies to use, as well as provide a platform for developers to source weather-related information. Moreover, the ability to link up weather and temperature sensors from all over the world into the same platform will give IBM and the Weather Company the ability to provide an unrivalled level of detail of weather information.
Clearly IBM sees the opportunity for taking the lead in providing solutions based on weather information, which impacts logistics companies, retail, travel, leisure, insurance, transportation. Given that there is hardly any industry that is not affected by the weather, being a leader in this space puts IBM in a strong position when selling its Cloud platform. These plays are transforming IBM into a formidable player in the IoT Cloud service space, which is likely to become a two-horse race between Big Blue and Microsoft.