IBM Partners With TI on Secure APIs for IoT

Fresh off of promising to allocate $3 billion over the next four years to create a dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) business unit, IBM has announced it is working with Texas Instruments (TI) to secure APIs used in a variety of embedded systems.

Pete Karns, director of Internet of Things Cloud for IBM, told ProgrammableWeb that TI is the first of several providers of processors that are used widely in IoT environments that IBM is working with to secure APIs.

Under the terms of the alliance, the two companies will collaborate on cloud-hosted provisioning and life cycle management services for IoT devices using a set of APIs that TI will share with its customers. IBM also plans to create a Secure Registry Service that will authenticate devices based on TI silicon. Beyond simply connecting a device to the cloud, Karns says, IBM aims to provision, activate, register, and deregister and retire IoT assets via a Bluemix platform-as-a-service environment running on the IBM SoftLayer cloud.

As part of this effort, Karns says IBM also intends to share technology it develops with members of the Industrial Internet Consortium, which IBM co-founded to make sure IoT environments remain open.

The fundamental challenge with IoT these days is that there are very few true platforms. While many things are connected to the Internet, each one of them from an application development perspective is a unique environment. In the case of IBM, there is an IBM IoT Workbench service through which organizations can model an IoT service connected to multiple IoT zones on Bluemix.

In addition to first creating IoT zones on Bluemix for aviation and engineering, IBM will have developer zones for most vertical industry segments, Karns says. Thus far, IBM says it is allocating 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers to its IoT business unit. Much of the work that business unit will initially manage is being inherited from various Smarter Planet initiatives that IBM has already launched.

IBM certainly isn’t the only IT vendor with big ambitions for IoT applications. But Karns notes that in addition to investing in IoT, IBM has also invested billions of dollars in building out big data analytics applications and creating an IBM Watson cognitive computing platform. All the data being collected by IoT applications can be fed into those systems, which will make use of REST APIs to expose analytics to a variety of other applications as part of a massive data integration ecosystem that IBM is trying to build out.

Michael Vizard