IBM Goes Open-Source For Better IoT Apps

Putting limits on what the Internet of Things can do to transform everything from in-store retail operations to multinational logistics is a great way to hamstring a potentially revolutionary technology. So too is keeping the way IoT apps and services are developed locked away behind the closed doors of intellectual property laws.

Fortunately, IBM has seen the light of publicly supported solutions and is releasing a new open-source IoT development tool by the name of Quarks. Supported by the IBM Streams platform that specializes in compiling and analyzing gigabytes of live data in real time, Quarks might be used alternatively by hospitals to share designs for vitals monitoring apps that can be used with wearables and by industrial companies outfitting their workers’ uniforms with safety sensors, TechCrunch reported.

While IBM may hope that Quarks becomes the industry standard for IoT development, it might be more apt to look at this decision in light of actions made by some of IBM’s chief competitors — namely, Cisco. The Bay Area tech firm recently dropped $1.4 billion to acquire Santa Clara-based IoT cloud dev house Jasper Technologies, and while Cisco might not be going the open-source route, the price tag on that deal proves that it’s no less serious than IBM about establishing a foothold in the IoT market.

It does appear as if IBM might have an ace up its sleeve. TechCrunch explained that the company has been lobbying the Apache Foundation, a startup accelerator that focuses on supporting projects directly associated with the open-source dev community, to include Quarks among its list of eligible programs for startup applicants. If IBM can get another organization to fund more activity on its own platform, it might not matter how much money Cisco has to spend scooping up whatever IoT startups are on the selling block.