IBM Betting on Cloud-Based Services

Electronics giant spearheading effort to bridge homes and businesses.

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Internet-connected devices were all over the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Being able to monitor and manage TVs, surveillance cameras and other components via web-enabled smartphones, tablets and PCs has become a very attractive—and almost expected—feature, but according to IBM, that’s merely brushing the surface of in terms of what’s possible.

“We are in the nascent stages of connectivity,” says S. Scott Burnett, IBM director of Consumer Electronics Global Electronics Industry. The next stage, and when consumers will find real value in Internet connectivity, he continues, is when devices can share and expose data to cloud, and businesses can use that data to provide better service to their customers.” Burnett offers this example: An Internet connected automobile could transmit data automatically to the cloud where an insurance company could gather relevant information about the car owner’s driving habits and offer special rates and services based on that data. This is just one of many ways IBM believes its Service Delivery Platform (SDP) cloud services can benefit consumers.

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While the automobile example may not be a reality today, there are a number of applications that are ready for the market. Lutron, for one, announced at CES that it will offer lighting and shading control products that can connect to telecommunications and utility companies through IBM’s developer cloud. The connection will enable Lutron’s new Clear-enabled components to adjust automatically based on data available in the cloud. For example, if a change in the weather occurs, Lutron window shades and thermostats could adjust to keep the temperature in a home comfortable.

In another application, IBM demonstrated how a smart TV could monitor the movements of a person recovering from an accident or surgery, for example, to mitigate trips to a physical therapist. “It’s no longer just about control and automation,” says Burnett. “It’s about technologies ability to provide consumers with value added services.”

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