The Internet of Things refers to the growing network of sensors on everything from smartphones to jet engines. Instead of an Internet of connected computers, it’s an Internet of connected devices (or things) broadcasting loads of data about the devices. The intent of the new initiative is to put IBM at the forefront of the Internet of Things and provide a common platform on top of which customers can build useful applications to take advantage of all that data. IBM suggests that partnerships like the one with The Weather Company and the one announced last year with Twitter are the cornerstones of a strategy to put them on the cutting edge of a burgeoning technology.
IBM has actually had several pieces in place for some time, but it has been fragmented, says Joel Cawley, GM for information and Insights as a Service at IBM. With this announcement IBM is trying to provide a consolidated package of services to build Internet of Things applications.
The package includes analytics, a special zone of its own on BlueMix — IBM’s Platform as a Service offering — and expansion of what they call their ‘IoT ecosystem.’ The latter is a set of partners such as AT&T, ARM and The Weather Company.
“When I think about this, my business is building service delivery environments. We have been looking for a handful of anchor tenants. Twitter and The Weather Company are great anchor tenants. We can build a lot of stuff around this,” Cawley said.
A key piece of this approach is building a platform play across the different categories and IBM wants very much to attract developers to this vision. It appears to be pushing the correct buttons and putting all the right pieces in place, but it remains to be seen whether it can really win the hearts of developers to really drive the company’s transformation.