IBM has announced a set of digital tools that change the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape by enabling a company to build an IoT application in just a few minutes. The cloud service was developed based on the thousands of IoT client engagements IBM has led under the umbrella of its Smarter Planet initiative.

The new service, called the IBM Internet of Things Foundation, makes it possible for a developer to quickly and easily extend an Internet-connected device such as a sensor or controller into the cloud, build an application alongside the device to collect the data and send real-time insights back to the developer's business.

The IoT Foundation service is part of IBM Bluemix, IBM's leading cloud application platform. It delivers rapid access to, and provides valuable insights from, IoT device data coming from billions of Internet-connected sensors and controllers. IBM Bluemix is an open-standards, cloud platform for building, managing and running applications of all types, including for the web, mobile, big data and smart devices.

By placing all this connectivity in the cloud, equipment and asset manufacturers can use IoT to provide remote service and monitoring to residential and commercial customers, oil and gas companies can remotely monitor and provide predictive maintenance to critical equipment, and logistics companies can track and monitor the condition of goods in transit.

In addition to industrial applications, IoT will allow insurance companies to provide pay-as-you-go insurance, will allow city administrators to make critical infrastructure smarter and will give automobile manufacturers the ability to provide new connected services for vehicles.

"SilverHook Powerboats uses the IoT Foundation service within Bluemix as the basis for its real-time power boat telematics platform, allowing it to run complex diagnostic analytics in real time on racing boats traveling at high speeds on the ocean," said Nigel Hook, CEO, DataSkill. "The ocean can be a brutal environment and it's the platform that DataSkill and SilverHook Powerboats chose to prove out their IBM solutions for intelligently predicting performance and reliability while on the ocean race track at 140 mph."

The analyst firm IDC estimates that by 2020 there will be as many as 28 billion autonomous IoT devices installed. Today IDC estimates there are nine billion such devices.[1]

"Think of the IoT Foundation as an extremely fast on ramp to the cloud for the millions of intelligent IoT devices that are now being shipped, and the billions already Internet connected," said John R. Thompson, vice president, Internet of Things, IBM.

"While many vendors are talking about IoT, we've led thousands of engagements and are one of the first to enable business to rapidly gain access to the big data that billions of sensors, chips, controllers and RFID tags generate. Combined with our proven cloud, analytics, mobile and security capabilities, IBM provides one of the most comprehensive IoT solutions for clients to derive new business insights and competitive advantage," Thompson said.


Business Partners Support IoT Foundation

IBM also is announcing plans to form a partner program for IoT, along with a set of certified instructions, or "recipes," for connecting devices, sensors and gateways from a variety of its partners. The partners are expected to include ARM, B&B Electronics, Elecsys, Intel, Multi-Tech Systems, Inc. and Texas Instruments.

"Combining trusted, open-standard based data from connected devices with other data sources can lead to the creation of exciting new services," said Krisztian Flautner, general manager, IoT business, ARM. "The IBM IoT Foundation can unleash the potential of a connected world and by utilizing the ARM® mbed software ecosystem, there is a real chance that IoT solutions can positively influence the way smart cities, businesses and homes develop. It is exciting to think of the billions of mbed OS powered devices that will connect with IBM Bluemix and the value they will create -- improving safety, boosting economies and opening up the way the world communicates."

"Big data requires big access and enterprises with large capital investments in industrial systems need a proven solution that can deliver valuable information from their legacy devices deployed in the field to the Internet of Things," said Karl B. Gemperli, CEO, Elecsys Corporation.

"The IBM IoT Foundation, when combined with our rugged IoT gateways, extends the edge of IT networks to interface directly with existing industrial equipment and provides a fast track to easily capture and integrate vital process data from large populations of devices in the field, all without the need for substantial investments in new field equipment," Gemperli said.

"The Internet of Things is a huge opportunity for developers to connect their devices to the cloud to collect and share data making factories, automobiles, homes, buildings and personal electronics more intelligent. IBM's IoT Foundation complements our broad portfolio of hardware and software system solutions for IoT nodes and gateways," said Avner Goren, general manager strategic marketing, Embedded Processing, Texas Instruments (TI).


Generating Business Insight with Bluemix

As an integral part of IBM Bluemix, the IoT Foundation is designed to provide simple, highly secure and powerful application access to IoT devices and data. Clients can rapidly compose analytics applications, visualization dashboards and mobile apps that can generate valuable insights when linked with back office enterprise applications.

These data analytics applications can generate new opportunities for individuals and organizations and allow them to gain new insights into the physical world surrounding their operations.

For example, developers can easily combine data from sensors with predictive analytics to predict failures in critical equipment before any failure occurs and automatically dispatch a repair technician, which can reduce downtime and improve productivity.

At the same time, developers can quickly build mobile apps that can act as remote controls to connected devices. This may allow engineers to learn more about how their products perform in the field to drive faster innovation through closed-loop product development.

The IoT Foundation is offered as a fully managed cloud service within IBM Bluemix. The software service is designed to allow developers to quickly onboard devices using industry-standard application programming interfaces (APIs) and protocols.

IBM Bluemix is available today for developers worldwide.
The IBM Internet of Things Foundation will be available Oct. 21, 2014.
The IBM Internet of Things Business Partner program will be available on IBM PartnerWorld.


[1]IDC, Worldwide and Regional Internet of Things (IoT) 2014-2019 Forecast: A Virtuous Circle of Proven Value & Demand, doc #248451, May 2014.


This article was originally posted “IBM Extends Bluemix With Cloud Service For The Internet Of Things Software As A Service” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.