IBM just signed a brilliant deal with ARM to 'watch' billions of devices on the Internet

IBM Ginni Rometty


IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

IBM has scored a sweet new partnership with ARM, the company best-known for designing the chips that power our smartphones and tablets. This deal will let IBM's cloud watch and analyze data from billions of devices on the internet.

The Internet of Things is the trend of adding chips and sensors to everyday items (from dishwashers to thermostats) and connecting them to the internet. Sensors will do everything from monitor the health of industrial equipment, to monitor your medical issues in a fitness device. It's projected to be a $1.7 trillion market in five years, according to IDC - that's trillion, with a "t" - up from a $655.8 billion in 2014, according to market research firm IDC.

ARM is already a player in this market. It's licensing about 1 billion-or so chips per quarter for Internet of Things devices, it told Fast Company, as part of a project called mBed (mBed = "embed", get it?).Advertisement

IBM, along with many others, is a partner with mBed. mBed's mission goes beyond IoT chips. The team is also designing an IoT operating system, computer servers where the things can connect, programming tools so developers can write apps, and its making all this tech cloud-friendly so the massive amount of data these billions of things create can be stored, tracked and analyzed.

That's where this partnership comes in.



ARM is adding IBM's cloud into the guts of the mBed system. That means that anyone using ARM chips for mBed IoT devices can easily hire IBM's BlueMix cloud to store and analyze the data. IBM is also launching a special new cloud, IoT for Electronics, that will do all this analysis in real time. Crunching billions of bits of data instantaneously is no easy engineering task and IBM is one of the few companies in the world with the cloud in place to do that.

For example, TP Vision, makers of the Philips brand television, is using IBM IoT service to control in real-time Smart TV content in over 30 countries, one of its executives said in IBM's press release.

This is another example of how IBM is using new partnerships with key and important players to fling itself into hot up-and-coming new markets as fast as it can, as its old markets whither and decline underneath it. In the past couple of years, the company has partnered with Apple, Twitter and even launched a commercial new cloud business with Chinese Internet giant Tencent.

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