The Internet of Things is coming, and IBM wants to be at the center of it

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While we’re still figuring out what the Internet of Things will eventually look like, we do know this: It’s going to be very, very busy.

To help make sense of the noise IBM is announcing MessageSight, a new, somewhat mysterious appliance that will help manage the flood of data coming from Internet-connected sensors and devices. To pitch the need for the box, IBM cites data from IMS Research, which says that there will be 22 million web-connected devices by 2020. All these devices, which will generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, are going to need hardware to process them — or so IBM says.

If the understanding of the “Internet of Things” still eludes you, envision a scenario where every component of you car had its own sensor, and all of these sensors periodically phoned home about what was going on inside them. Leaky tire? Faulty brake light? Empty fuel tank? With sensors, your car could keep track of this information and warn you when bad Things are going down. But getting sensors in devices is easy. The real challenge is processing all of their data.

More, managing the Internet of Things will require far more than just hardware — it will need software as well. Enter MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport), the lightweight, low-bandwidth portico being pushed by companies like IBM, Cisco and Red Hat. MQTT is already in use by a variety of medical devices, and IBM is intent on expanding the protocol’s Internet of Things applications as its vision develops.

So what does this mean for you? Unless you’re helping to build out this Internet of Things concept, not terribly much. Still, the developments show that there’s a lot of money out there for the company that can best handle the upcoming flood of sensor data. And IBM really wants to be that company.


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