IBM is launching a new Internet of Things community aimed at IoT developers. Big Blue's hope, of course, is that this community will end up using the company's tools and systems when its members are developing new connected devices.
Called IBM developerWorks Recipes, it is designed to help developers -- from novice-level to experienced -- learn how to connect IoT devices to the cloud and how to use the data that comes from those connected devices.
In addition to its own $3 billion investment, IBM is not alone in seeing a lot of lucrative potential in the Internet of Things.
Gartner is forecasting that 4.9 billion connected devices will be in use in 2015, up 30% from 2014, and the total number of IoT-based devices will reach 25 billion by 2020.
Juniper Research is even more bullish about IoT. The firm released a July 28 report that projected IoT devices will reach 50 billion by 2020.
In a statement, IBM gives examples of the kinds of project recipes that it is encouraging in the community.
These include understanding vehicle performance by analyzing the data from its On-Board Diagnostic system, as well as linking real-time machine-condition monitoring with IBM asset management to track everything from the health of household appliances to wheels on a railroad car.
Another example IBM gives is spotting trends and obtaining solutions to common problems through graphical representation of historical and real-time data from IoT devices. (Graphs -- in other words -- which then take data visualization to the next level.)
Users can incorporate other recipes into their own ones by pasting recipe content and then editing it.
Christopher O'Connor, general manager of the Internet of Things for IBM, wrote in a July 29 statement: "With developerWorks Recipes, IBM provides easy access to new analytics and operational insight capabilities that tap into the vast data from many connected devices, home appliances or cars."
The recipes in the site have a great tendency to utilize Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service, to implement the step-by-step tutorials used for embedding analytics and machine learning into IoT devices and applications.
IBM launched Bluemix in 2014 with a $1 billion investment. It currently has more than 100 open-source tools and services available to its users.
Some of the more interesting tools available are based on IBM's Watson. A node.js app called Personality Insights can analyze text for the writer's personality traits. Another available API is Alchemy that parses natural language.
Bluemix is a great change from IBM's previous attitudes and practices. It has an open source focus, and uses Docker containers as a delivery method across multiple platforms.
While there is a free tier for Bluemix for smaller developers, charges for its use are adjusted by instantiation and storage usage. It is a pay-for-what-you-use model that kicks in only when more features are actually used.