Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IBM, sensors and the Internet of Things

IBM and its clients across many industries -- government, retail, manufacturing, health care, utilities, and transportation – have been building networks of sensors to bring intelligence to the Internet of Things -- a world in which interconnected sensors communicate their identity, inventory, and location, as well as information on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Today, IBM introduced software to help clients bring a new level of intelligence to the Internet of Things: IBM WebSphere Sensor Events.

Using WebSphere Sensor Events, companies gain access to the information they need to better predict and react to everyday business events. In turn, the systems that comprise the Internet of Things can positively impact the daily lives of people – to speed the flow of automobile traffic in major cities, ensure the authenticity of prescription drugs, and provide information to consumers about the provenance of the foods they purchase.

IBM software can take the sensor data and add a layer of analytics. For instance, companies can predict and automate a reaction following a set of rules or events to better predict orders for next month, provide alerts on what components will be needed for suppliers, and solve disruptions in a supply chain more quickly.

Automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen are using IBM sensor software for on demand access to information on the exact location of the shipping containers used to transport parts from suppliers to the manufacturing floor. Volkwagen and other vehicle manufacturers are reducing costs by making their logistics assets function more efficiently.

Enterprising IBMers are taking an innovative twist on sensors with Twitter:

Take IBM Master Inventor Andy Stanford-Clark, who connected his house to Twitter to monitor energy consumption, http://twitter.com/andy_house. The Twitter ID provides updates on lighting, heating, temperature, phone and water usage collected from his house. Each update comes from a simple sensor. The system works both ways too - it is possible to turn the fountain, lights and heaters on and off by flicking switches on a web page or from a live dashboard application on his mobile phone.

A team of researchers at the IBM Hursley Lab in the UK, the largest software development Lab in Europe, have set up the local bus to tweet its location and status, so they know exactly when it will arrive. http://twitter.com/hursleyminibus

The new IBM software is just one example of where IBM sees that connecting the digital and physical world through sensors can enable a Smarter Planet. IBM has a whole set of RFID and sensor technology solutions that bring a new level of intelligence to every day things. Sensors are serving as an instrument -- giving a voice to physical objects, allowing them to communicate important information in an increasingly interconnected world.

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