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IBM And BMW Team Up On Connected Cars

In the realm of brands that are both recognizable and describable in three letters, International Business Machines (IBM) and Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) are easily the two most most globally known — which means there is something oddly appropriate about the two pairing up to take on the future.

The connected car future, specifically. According to news out of BMW this morning, IBM will provide cloud-based data management for the German auto maker’s recently launched connected car initiative. BMW is a big get in IBM’s recent efforts to enlist automakers for its cloud-computing platform. Last year, it announced a similar deal with General Motors Co.

IBM, it is clear, is looking to plant a flag in the burgeoning connected car marketplace by building out a global data hub that gathers information from many auto makers and matches vehicle owners with outside service providers such as auto insurers, repair shops and gas stations.

“We are the broker and the enabler for the third parties” beyond auto makers,  Dirk Wollschlaeger, IBM’s general manager for global automotive, aerospace and defense, said in an interview.

The project with BMW, which is expected to start up this fall in Europe, will tie into the car maker’s recently launched Car Data program.

IBM’s agreement with BMW isn’t exclusive, but it provides an opportunity to showcase its Bluemix cloud platform. Mr. Wollschlaeger further noted that  Bluemix will show up in at least one other European automaker’s machines later this year — and that his company is in talks with several others.

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