IBM Genius of Things summit 2017 – The Internet of Things (IoT) moves beyond (any supposed) peak of inflated expectations.

For many of us engaged in the world of Internet of Things (IoT), anyone suggesting that the IoT paradigm is merely a passing fashion might be considered at best ill-informed***. Proof, if I can call it that, are the many, many practical use cases that IoT and it’s sister acronym, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) (and Industry 4.0) have in the market today. Indeed (if any more were needed), the many customer stories presented at IBM’s foremost customer IoT event, the IBM Genius of Things (IBMGoT) on February 18th in Munich, Germany only serve to re-confirm my sentiments; IoT is here, it’s practical and it’s valuable.

The Genius of Things event (with an audience of over 600) was promoted as a forum to present and discuss how the IoT and Industry 4.0 is changing the way we live and work. For me, the highlights of the event were in the insights offered by IBM’s customers; how they’re using IoT to change their business and improving the lot of their customers. And that they did, very eloquently, across a broad swathe of industries, from the likes of Airbus, Philips, Daimler, AIG, Bosch, ABB, Walmart, ISS, Schaeffler, SNCF, Ricoh, Tesco, Foxconn, Bragi, Local Motors and Kone. I particularly liked the way customers highlighted their visions, and how IoT has changed some situations in, and offerings of their operations. In some cases with potential ramifications cross-(their)industry. (For more information on presentation highlights and insights, look at my twitter feed for the event, and search twitter via @allanbehrens #IBMGoT).

There were some interesting announcements regarding partnerships at the event. Not least of these was the partnership between IBM and Visa, regarding (IoT device) payments, and distributor Arrow and crowdfunding innovator Indiegogo working with IBM to help incubate and support the next generation of (IoT oriented) start-ups. Probably the most surprising, to me anyway, was a newly announced partnership between Bosch and IBM. Bosch has had its eye on IoT well beyond its own use for products and customers for some time, and has its own IoT Suite/platform focused on service enablement.

IBM continue to be a stalwart IT innovator for the larger enterprise, and that was reinforced by the many customer presentations at IBMGoT. Having said this, it’s a (historic) perception that IBM’s trying hard to dispel. IBM’s is ultimately keen to be seen as a provider to all, (a sentiment often reinforced by their executives), to address the needs and solutions for smaller (and mid-sized) companies. To this end, and at the event, they cited recent support for Seebo, an interesting Israeli start-up in the IoT space, focused on making the IoT ‘simple’. IBM’s breadth and sophistication of solutions can be pretty daunting at first sight for the smaller business. Their announcements around Arrow/Indiegogo and Seebo are hopefully just the tip of the iceberg and I for one, look forward to hearing much more on their (IoT) strategies (and momentum) for(in) mid-to-small business communities.

*** For further proof, please look my comments in this months’ The Manufacturer magazine, or online here