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IBM creates Internet of Things division, announces deal with The Weather Company

IBM is still a giant in the tech world, but lately its most important work has been done behind the scenes. While the company doesn’t seem to be moving away from that focus, with the announcement of its new Internet of Things (IoT) division, IBM could soon have an increased influence on your day-to-day life.

The Internet of Things is less a technology than it is a concept, one that starts with equipping devices such as home appliances and vehicles with sensors that allow them to receive and broadcast relevant data. Given the massive amounts of data involved, it makes sense that companies familiar with big data, like Cisco and IBM, as well as companies connected to home electronics, like GE, have taken an interest in the area.

IBM announced yesterday that it plans to spend $5 billion over the next five years in a massive push toward IoT systems. As part of this new strategy, IBM plans to work closely with The Weather Company, owner of Weather.com and The Weather Channel.

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“We’re combining IBM’s industry-leading big data and analytics capabilities with The Weather Company’s scientific expertise and cloud-based weather data distribution system,” IBM vice president of analytics Joel Cawley wrote. “The two companies will jointly develop new real-time insights services for specific industries, including retail, insurance, energy, utilities and logistics.” The tone of the post strongly hints that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Weather Company has sensors all over the world, but what is being done with their data is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to what could be done with it. “We are trying to translate weather into an outcome, a data product,” said Mark Gildersleeve, president of The Weather Company’s parent WSI Corporation speaking to TechCrunch.

This isn’t the only major partnership that IBM is pursuing as part of its IoT strategy. It also plans to partner will AT&T and ARM, and the company signed a deal with Twitter last year as well.

None of this will likely have an immediately visible effect on the technology we use daily, but the work being done in the background with this data should gradually improve what we actually see and use in our foreground.