IT giant IBM (New York, USA) and telecoms operator Vodafone (Newbury, UK) have announced plans to combine their expertise in cloud computing and mobile communications as part of a ‘smarter home’ initiative.
The companies hope to spur the development of ‘smart home’ appliances that can be managed remotely.
IBM and Vodafone are demonstrating their technology at this week’s IFA consumer electronics event in Berlin. Using Vodafone’s Global M2M Platform and IBM’s new SmartCloud Service Delivery Platform, the two organizations are showing attendees how a washing machine and other smart home appliances can be managed remotely.
According to industry experts, home appliances that are wirelessly connected to the internet could feed useful data back to service providers and manufacturers, allowing those companies to provide improved functionality and services to consumers.
“The smart home market is now a reality and Vodafone is committed to delivering to it,” said Marc Tastayre, Vodafone’s M2M global business development manager, in a statement. “Security is the first important step for connecting devices to the internet and the collaboration between IBM and Vodafone is putting in place an open, efficient and scalable solution for the consumer electronics industry that will enable it to successfully progress the creation of the ‘Internet of Things’.”
IBM and Vodafone believe their M2M initiative could allow consumers to use their smartphones for a variety of remote activities, such as viewing their home's utility consumption; controlling security, heating and lighting systems; and activating home appliances such as washing machines.
“This collaboration is a great example of how cloud computing can be used for business innovation versus solely for IT efficiency purposes,” said Scott Stainken, IBM’s telecommunications industry general manager. “Cloud will increasingly be used in new ways that will provide enhanced consumer-centric experiences, especially when combined with mobile communications.”
IBM’s SmartCloud Service Delivery Platform is a cloud-based platform aimed at helping manufacturers to manage appliances and introduce new consumer services quickly and cost-effectively.
Vodafone’s Global M2M Platform gives appliance manufacturers a means of providing wireless connectivity to home gateways.
The two companies say that by combining the two platforms they will provide the consumer electronics industry with a global, open standards-based approach for ‘smarter home’ connectivity and services.