IBM to invest $3B in building Internet of Things business

IBM on Tuesday said that it will create a new Internet of Things unit and invest $3 billion over four years to build it out.Ibm

The move formalizes IBM’s existing Internet of Things efforts. IBM’s smarter-planet and smarter-cities businesses are connected to the Internet of Things trend. The rough idea behind the Internet of Things is that sensors will be embedded in everything and networked to create data. This flow of data could improve operations.

For IBM, the formation of the Internet of Things unit follows a familiar playbook. IBM targets a high-value growth area, invests at least a $1 billion to get the effort rolling and throws its hardware, software and consultants at the issue. In this respect, the formation of the Internet of Things unit rhymes with what IBM did with e-commerce, analytics, and cloud and cognitive computing.

IBM faces a fierce battle for enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) business. Cisco has targeted IoT, as has almost every tech vendor.

Meanwhile, nontraditional IBM rivals have strong IoT efforts. For instance, General Electric, which happens to make many of the things that will be networked, has an IoT platform called Predix. G

E has invested $1 billion in industrial software development. Although GE calls the Internet of Things the industrial Internet, the concept of networking things and layering analytics on top is the same.

For IBM’s part, the company said it will have more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers aimed at IoT and the analytics that go with it. IBM said the unit will include:

  • A cloud platform for industries aimed at verticals. IBM will offer dynamic pricing models and cloud delivery to various verticals.
  • Bluemix IoT platform as a service so developers can create and deploy applications for asset tracking, facilities management and engineering tools.
  • An ecosystem of partners ranging from AT&T to ARM to The Weather Company.

Separately, IBM announced a partnership with the business-to-business division of The Weather Company, owner of The Weather Channel. The partnership will deliver micro weather forecasts using sensors from aircraft, drones, buildings and smartphones.

The Weather Company will also move its data services platform to IBM’s cloud platform and integrate Big Blue’s analytics tools such as Watson Analytics.

To be sure, IBM has a bevy of IoT projects under way with customers. The new unit will hone and focus those efforts while bringing in IBM’s expertise in analytics.

Facebook warns Page owners their like counts will drop on March 12

facebook.jpgFacebook will be removing certain inactive accounts next week from Pages’ like counts, a step that will probably result in Page owners seeing a drop in likes.

In a blog post this morning, Facebook said, “To make audience data even more meaningful for businesses, we’re updating the way Page likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from Pages’ like counts.

Facebook said there are two main reasons why it is making this move. First, because it will improve business results, giving “businesses up-to-date insights on the people who actively follow their Page and [making] it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools like lookalike audiences.

At the same time, the company also wants to make business results consistent with individual users’ experiences. Facebook said it already filters out “likes and comments generated by deactivated or memorialized accounts from individual Page posts.”

The decrease in likes will begin March 12, Facebook said, and should continue over the next few weeks. The social network wrote that Page administrators should see a “small dip” in their likes. But while some may object to losing likes, they should remember, Facebook said, “that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.

If deactivated accounts are reactivated, any likes coming from those accounts will be re-added to a Page’s like count.