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IBM Bets $3 Billion on the Internet of Things

Big Blue will invest $3 billion in the business of analyzing data from Internet-connected sensors

2 min read
IBM Bets $3 Billion on the Internet of Things
Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Corbis

IBM sees the huge river of data streaming from Internet-connected smartphones, home appliances, and vehicles as a big business opportunity for the near future. “Big Blue” announced on Monday that it would invest US $3 billion over four years on a new business aimed at helping filter the data coming from the growing swarm of sensor-equipped devices.

The new IBM business unit uses online software called the Internet of Things Foundation that allows partner companies and clients to build new applicationsor tweak existing appswith a focus on analyzing data coming from many different devices. IBM also plans to team up with the Weather Company, owner of the Weather Channel, for the purpose of creating weather data applications to help businesses in fields such as insurance, energy, retail and logistics, according to the Wall Street Journal.

IBM’s latest business move anticipates huge growth in the Internet of Things, the growing swarm of devices capable of collecting data and sharing it all online. That swarm could include wearable wristband devices such as the Apple Watch, exercise and health-monitoring devices, household gadgets such as Nest’s smart thermostat, and smart cars capable of sharing information about weather and traffic conditions. IBM is betting that many companies will pay handsomely for help in analyzing the deluge of data coming from thousands or millions of sensors and computing devices.

The Weather Company has already been selling data to weather-sensitive industries such agriculture or transportation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Weather sensor coverage has become ubiquitous enough to enable farmers to predict how hail or other weather conditions could affect certain fields. But the Weather Company’s new partnership with IBM could make use of Big Blue’s software and existing relationships with many industries.

Such a partnership also makes sense for IBM, given the company’s focus on creating and selling software capable of helping businesses sift through the mountains of Big Data. The company has also been developing new supercomputer hardware capable of efficiently handling the torrent of data being collected and stored every day.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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