IBM Partners With BMW In New Cloud-Based CarData Project

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IBM will be pairing up with BMW to introduce a cloud-based connected car initiative. Market Watch reports that this partnership is part of IBM’s effort to link passenger cars with customized services. It essentially allows car companies to observe driver profiles of their customers, offering them specific features.

According to Market Watch this is one of the first iterations of IBM’s CarData program, which was launched in May. If executed as planned, this smart car project will connect about 8.5 million cars to auto makers. Third parties will then be responsible for creating these specified products, such as insurance plans and custom oil changes.

“We are the broker and the enabler for the third parties,” Dirk Wollschlaeger, IBM’s general manager for global automotive, said in a statement to Market Watch.

He also said that there is another European automaker besides BMW who will be launching the cloud computing product, which is called Bluemix. Wollschlaeger declined to give the name of the company.

While 82% of businesses reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud, this partnership is a clear move to make money from customers after the initial auto sale is complete. In a contributed commentary in Forbes, Sam Abuelsamid likened this to the growing trend of high-tech cars:

“As cars and trucks get ever more packed with sensors and connectivity, they are already generating tens of gigabytes of data per hour and will soon be producing terabytes per hour,” he writes. “In this modern world, data is often deemed as good as gold, just ask Google and Facebook. That’s why everyone connected to the auto industry is scrambling to figure out ways to make a business out of data…”

While the third parties likely see this as a lucrative opportunity for innovation, Abuelsamid points out the lack of uniformity could cause complications, hurting the growth of the project.

“If there is no standard for the interfaces, it complicates life for the app developers with having to support multiple services,” he writes. “In the mobile device space this has proved to be a killer for anyone that wasn’t there first such as Microsoft or Blackberry. Once Apple and Google gobbled up the mobile device platform pie, no one else wanted to support new entries. Between automakers and independent data platform brokers, lack of standards could end up killing the golden goose of data services.”