IBM Extends MobileFirst, Launches MessageSight M2M Appliance

By Darryl K. Taft

LAS VEGAS—IBM announced new software, hardware and services in support of its Smarter Planet strategy, including an extension of its MobileFirst initiative, at the IBM Impact 2013 conference held here April 28 to May 2.

IBM extended its MobileFirst portfolio with the introduction of new mobile analytics capabilities and cloud services that enable users to design more engaging mobile offerings to reach customers, partners and employees in new and compelling ways. As a result, mobile apps can be constantly tailored to meet the needs of the specific audience they are trying to reach.

Introduced in February, IBM MobileFirst is a collection of mobile enterprise software, services, cloud and analytics capabilities that help a corporation design, deploy, secure and manage mobile strategies and apps.

According to IDC, the market for mobile enterprise infrastructure software and services was $14.5 billion in 2012 and will grow at a compound annual rate of 16.3 percent to reach $30.9 billion in 2016.

In addition, using mobile analytics to collect usage data is an effective way for companies to create a better user experience and target their customers. IBM's MobileFirst platform speeds the process of building apps by enabling companies to integrate analytics and capture the complete on-device experience of how customers are using apps, including insight into gestures, dwell time and navigation.

The IBM MobileFirst platform also now includes geo-location services for developers. Now, geo-location triggers can be used to extend applications to take contextual action based on a user's location to provide personalized service. Featuring a new toolkit, developers can more efficiently monitor battery and network bandwidth. Additionally, newly integrated mobile app-testing capabilities enable organizations to improve app quality while reducing the effort needed to test across different mobile platforms.

Moreover, as mobile apps proliferate, the cloud has also emerged as a key enabler of this growth. Cloud delivery of mobile applications accelerates time-to-value and speed-to-market, making the availability of new capabilities instantaneous. According to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, mobile cloud services are estimated to grow from $216.5 million in 2012 to $7.7 billion in 2017.

To help organizations take advantage of this opportunity, IBM is also introducing new cloud services for mobile so that companies can focus on creating compelling user experiences, rather than spending time on back-end connectivity and integration issues. This includes a new mobile marketing service that helps organizations create digital passes for employees in Apple's Passbook. Accessed through the cloud, the service enables organizations to quickly design and issue passes for loyalty, events, ticketing, payments and more without having to purchase on-premise development tools.

In related news, IBM's recently announced acquisition of UrbanCode will also help its clients tap into new opportunities in mobile. Based in Cleveland, UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data and cloud-based apps. UrbanCode's software is designed to simplify and speed the entire software development and delivery process for businesses. This also is important in terms of the "API economy," said Marie Wieck, general manager of WebSphere at IBM.

IBM said mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to expand their business. Based on nearly 1,000 customer engagements, 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the last four years, a team of thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations, IBM MobileFirst offers an array of solutions that helps businesses connect, secure, manage and develop mobile networks, infrastructures and applications.


Meanwhile, IBM said its Smarter Planet strategy took a major technological step forward with the April 29 introduction of IBM MessageSight, a new appliance designed to help organizations manage and communicate with the billions of mobile devices and sensors found in systems such as automobiles, traffic management systems, smart buildings and household appliances.

Building on the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) technology, IBM MessageSight delivers the performance, value and simplicity that organizations need to accommodate the multitude of mobile devices and sensors. This enables large volumes of events to be processed in near-real-time, allowing organizations to consolidate all the information in one place and more easily glean insights to make better business decisions. IBM MessageSight is capable of supporting 1 million concurrent sensors or smart devices and can scale up to 13 million messages per second.

Over the next 15 years, the number of machines and sensors connected to the Internet will explode. According to IMS Research, there will be more than 22 billion Web-connected devices by 2020.These new devices will generate more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data every day, while every hour enough information is consumed by Internet traffic to fill 7 million DVDs.

"When we launched our Smarter Planet strategy nearly five years ago, our strategic belief was that the world was going to be profoundly changed as it became more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. IBM MessageSight is a major technological step forward in continuing that strategy," said Wieck in a statement. "Until now, no technology has been able to handle this volume of messages and devices. What's even more exciting is that this only scratches the surface of what's to come as we continue down this path of a Smarter Planet."

The ability of IBM MessageSight to handle and route massive volumes of messages makes it ideal for use by governments and organizations looking to connect and infuse intelligence into cities and across industries such as automotive, health care and finance.

For instance, an automotive manufacturer can use IBM MessageSight to help manage the features and services of its automobiles. With thousands of sensors in each car, a dealer can now be notified when a "check engine" light turns on in a specific car. Based on the information transmitted by the engine sensor, the dealer could then notify the owner that there is a critical problem and they should get their car serviced immediately, IBM said.

Indeed, Vijay Sankaran, director of application development at Ford Motor Co., said Ford is providing systems that deliver just that kind of capability and more. He said cars of the future will be like rolling data centers."

"To realize the vision of a Smarter Planet, we must first enable the universe of instrumented sensors, devices and machines to communicate more efficiently while sharing, managing and integrating large volumes of data at a rate much faster than ever before," Bob S. Johnson, director of development for Sprint's Velocity Program, said in a statement. "We have been testing IBM MessageSight for some initial projects and are excited about the capabilities that it could help us deliver to the vehicle and beyond."

The vast majority of the 22 billion sensors will be found in devices that are mobile. And IBM MessageSight is designed to complement and extend the IBM MobileFirst offerings, now enabling a corporation to create mobile solutions, and manage and monitor those mobile devices in real time.

Foundational to IBM MessageSight is its support of the Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, which was recently proposed to become an OASIS standard, providing a lightweight messaging transport for communication in machine-to-machine (M2M) and mobile environments. Sensors are often small, and have low-power and typically low communications bandwidth capabilities. MQTT can be used in conjunction with these devices. Its low-power consumption, high performance and reliability allow real-time updates that can be acted on immediately.


This article was originally published on 2013-04-29