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IBM, AT&T ink global Internet of Things tie-up

Cities not yet smart enough

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Big Blue and AT&T are moving to wrap up a chunk of the Internet of Things, announcing a global partnership that's as nebulous as the concept it's embracing.

Starting with a focus on utilities and city administrations (the latter having long been in IBM's sights), the alliance is pitched as having “privacy in mind” as the two companies “combine their analytic platforms, cloud, and security technologies ... to gain more insights on data collected from machines in a variety of industries.”

The IBM announcement doesn't mention “big data”, but it may as well have: their aim, they say, is “to integrate and analyse vast quantities of data from assets such as mass transit vehicles, utility meters, and video cameras. As a result, cities may be able to better evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning and utilities can better manage their equipment to reduce costs.”

The emerging discipline of social media monitoring also gets a look-in: as well as watching what's coming from sensors and the movement of people to create more efficient cities, the partnership will work on tools to “monitor social media updates” watching out for things like bad weather or traffic build-ups.

AT&T's contribution to the partnership will include its “globally accessible” machine-to-machine (M2M) network – which includes data from SIMs in connected machines – and its M2M management platforms. Big Blue will tip in its asset management, its MobileFirst solutions (including the MessageSight MQTT appliance), asset management, analytics, and its Intelligent Operations Centre. ®

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