IBM allocates $3B to IoT over next four years

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Can Weather Data Alter Business Decisions? IBM Thinks So.

The move adds IBM’s resources to the fast-growing market for smart devices such as refrigerators, cars, clothing and other objects which can connect to the Internet or be linked to smartphones. IBM has joined forces with the Weather Company to help businesses harness vast quantities of weather data, proving that the cloud is about far more than just technology.If you’re driving home from work and an unexpected storm is headed your way, consider how helpful it would be to get a digital notification pushed to your windshield so you can plan your route accordingly.IBM is investing $3 billion US to build an “Internet of Things” division aimed at harnessing the massive trove of data collected by smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances and using it to help companies better manage their businesses. The tech giant and the Weather Company’s WSI business division will deliver weather-focused enterprise cloud services, the companies announced on Tuesday.

And more and more companies are investing big on taking this data and packaging in ways that are meaningful to businesses and ultimately, the average person. However, WSI’s Weather Alert service, combined with IBM’s Analytics technology, could be used to send policyholders text messages alerting them of impending hailstorms and safe locations for their vehicles. The new business unit is part of IBM’s shift away from hardware toward spending billions to focus on analytics, cloud computing, mobile services and security. IBM plans to launch an online service that helps insurance companies extract insight from connected vehicles, to create new pricing and services customized to individual drivers. It could also help determine exactly how many people were hit by a natural disaster so insurers could respond to claims faster. “Most people, most businesses, most governments wait for weather to happen to them and react to it rather than anticipate what it will do to them,” said Mark Gildersleeve, president of the Weather Co.’s WSI division.

Photograph by Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM As part of the alliance, WSI will move most of the databases and analytics applications using that data into the IBM cloud platform over the coming months. 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. Not only can weather data help better predict electricity demand, it is invaluable for renewable energy developers. “Any company that can manage the energy supply-demand volatility better (e.g. via better trading) has a strong market advantage,” said Holger Kisker, vice president and research director for Forrester Research. Gildersleeve offers the example of one auto-insurance carrier that already uses WSI data to send weather alerts to policyholders, warning them of approaching hailstorms. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever.

The service has already helped reduce potential damage by 52% in regions typically affected by those sort of damage, he said. “The skill in weather forecasts has improved faster than the skill in decision-making,” Gildersleeve said. “Every business needs a weather strategy, but most don’t. Insurance companies, power companies, and governments all need weather data to help proactively make better determinations instead of simply reacting to the weather after the fact. He points to a project IBM did in China monitoring air pollution as something the company could package using the platform components and sell to other countries with a similar requirement.

Tonight’s announcement fits in with a much bigger picture of IBM’s strategies and priorities moving forward, whether it’s Watson processing big data, its cloud strategy or analytics. 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.

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