IBM creates 'fast on ramp' to IoT with new managed service

Big Blue is calling the effort the IBM Internet of Things Foundation, but it is essentially an extension of the company's Bluemix platform.

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IBM on Wednesday launched a new cloud-based software-as-a-service designed to facilitate the connection of Internet of Things devices.

Big Blue is calling the effort the IBM Internet of Things Foundation. And although the computing giant is hardly new to the IoT game, the company says the foundation represents the evolution of cloud computing and big data technology and how it can be used to build innovative applications to connect devices. 

"This packages together a lot of the technology we have been using, and it packages them in a new way and made them simpler because they are behind a managed service," said Michael Curry, VP of IoT product development at IBM. "Under the covers we are using the technology we have delivered over the years, but in a new, cloud-native deployment." 

The IoT Foundation is hosted on IBM SoftLayer and delivered within IBM Bluemix, the company’s cloud-based platform for building, managing, and running applications for the web, mobile, big data and smart devices. Essentially, the foundation is an extension of Bluemix.

Bluemix is completely based on Cloud Foundry, and according to Curry, IBM still plans to contribute back to the multi-vendor, open-source effort. By combining the foundation with IBM Bluemix, IBM said it creates simple, secure access to IoT devices and data — a sort of fast on ramp to the cloud, if you will.

IBM also is announcing a partner program for the Internet of Things, along with a set of certified instructions, known as recipes, for connecting devices, chips 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. 

"At the end of the day, the IoT is largely about data — the amount of data that the new world of connected things has created," Curry said. "Today there are a lot of autonomous IoT devices but most companies don’t know how to harness that data. We are trying to help them do that, to simplify the process and to get value from that data."

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