AT&T plus IBM equals IoT… or at least it does when the multinational telecommunications corporation decides to work with the multinational (used to focus on hardware but now focuses on software & services) corporation.

The two firms want to bring together AT&T’s global connectivity expertise with IBM’s cognitive computing know-how. The result will be open standards-based software tools for software developers on the IBM Cloud service.

10 million IoT developers by 2020

According to the VisionMobile 2016 Internet of Things Megatrends report, nearly ten million developers will be active in IoT by 2020, doubling the estimated five million we see today in 2016.

IBM and AT&T say they are committing time and money to open-source based tools such as Node-Red (a tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services) and open standards like MQTT (a lightweight messaging protocol for small sensors & mobile devices that is optimized for high-latency or unreliable networks) — all essential for creating IoT solutions.

In addition, developers can now add the power of IBM’s Watson cognitive computing and AT&T’s IoT Platforms like Flow Designer and M2X and access to its global network. This combination of open standards and IBM’s and AT&T’s  technologies will result (so say the firms) in a new level of IoT possibilities and solutions for developers to use.

An IoT developer starter kit

IBM’s IBM Watson IoT spokesperson Harriet Green noted that AT&T is also working with IBM on a new starter kit to make it easier for developers to get going. Once completed, users will be able to purchase the combined AT&T and IBM technologies in one toolkit for a complete set of IoT tools to start their IoT projects right away.

According to IBM, “Watson APIs can be used to break down barriers to analyzing unstructured data and provide access to powerful capabilities, including advanced cognitive computing, machine learning and deep learning approaches to help better understand and engage users and tackle the massive growth of data in multiple formats.”

Real, actionable IoT data

AT&T IoT solutions man Chris Penrose says he is focused on real, actionable IoT data. Penrose points to AT&T Flow Designer as a cloud-based tool for programmers to create and deploy IoT apps. The solution will be available as-a-Service on the IBM Cloud.

Developers can use the technologies presented here to make apps supporting connected cities, industrial equipment, cars, homes and health devices.

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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.