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IBM is putting billions of dollars into creating a standalone IoT division

IBM is putting billions of dollars into creating a standalone IoT division

IBM announced it plans to spend up to £2bn over the next four years to consolidate and revamp its Internet of Things technologies and services into a standalone business unit. The move seems aimed at broadening its appeal beyond proto-IoT segments it traditionally caters to.

Through its Smart Cities and Smarter Planet programmes the company has effectively been offering what many today refer to as Internet of Things technologies, but the renewed investment will see IBM mobilise and train a massive fleet of consultants (over 2,000) on its consolidated IoT services portfolio, and offer a cloud-based platform for companies to help them marry data real time IoT data streams with other data sets and services.

The company also plans to carve out a section in Bluemix, IBM’s platform-as-a-service, for specialist IoT services, and expand IoT-focused partnerships with a range of technology and service providers.

“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, IBM Analytics. “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.”

The move is part of a broader reorganisation effort currently underway at IBM, which is seeing the company realign internally (and trim headcount) to more effectively support service and technology development around cloud, mobile, security, and data analytics. Its Internet of Things offerings are both increasingly drawing from those other segments, and broadening beyond traditional smart cities or intelligent manufacturing segments use cases – areas where IBM has traditionally played.

In February for example ARM and IBM jointly announced an Internet of Things starter kit to enable developers to rapidly prototype mbed-based IoT applications using Bluemix, which ships with a development board from Freescale, powered by an ARM Cortex-M4 processor. The companies are aiming the kit at startups, which hasn’t traditionally been IBM’s nor ARM’s target demographic.

The 2nd annual Internet of Things World event to be held in San Francisco in May is due to address some of the challenges ahead of the industry in terms of IoT. Sign up here.