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IBM Teams Up With Visa To Commercialise IoT Devices

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Making money from IoT. Partnership to allow IoT devices to undertake secure payment services

IBM and Visa have announced a joint partnership that will bring real-world commerce capabilities to devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The partnership will see the business and technology aspects of IoT combined, to help people and organisations make money from the emergent tech trend.

It comes amid healthy predictions for the future of IoT devices, as both homes and workplaces become increasingly more intelligent and connected.

microsoft-iot-hubPoint Of Sale

The partnership between IBM and Visa utilises Big Blue’s Watson IoT platform and cognitive capabilities, coupled with Visa’s global payments services used by more than three billion consumers globally.

IBM’s Watson IoT Platform for example allows businesses to connect to billions of connected devices, sensors and systems around the world and then draw actionable insights. And this is happening right now, as Big Blue boasts that more than 6,000 IBM clients are using its platform to connect to millions of devices.

The thinking is that with this partnership, any IoT connected device such as a watch, ring, appliance or even a car, could be turned into a point of sale device. This is because IBM’s Watson IoT Platform customers will have access to Visa payment services via the IBM Cloud.

A video explaining the concept can be found here.

It would be made possible by integrating secure payments across product lines using the Visa Token Service. This token service replaces sensitive payment account information found on payment cards with a unique digital identifier, via IBM’s Watson IoT platform.

“IoT is literally changing the world around us, whether it’s allowing businesses to achieve unimaginable levels of efficiency or enabling a washing machine to ensure we never run out of detergent,” said Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson IoT.

“And behind this transformation are companies like Visa and technologies like IBM’s Watson IoT platform,” she added. “This combination of IBM’s industry leading IoT technologies with Visa payment services, signifies the next defining moment in commerce by allowing payments on any connected object, with new levels of simplicity and convenience for everyone.”

Real World

But how would it work in reality? Well take an IoT connected car for example, which is linked to the Watson IoT Platform. It could alert the driver when its warranty is about to expire or a car part needs replacing.

The driver could order the need parts with a push of a button, or schedule a service appointment at their local garage.

The driver could even pay for petrol via a direct interaction between the IoT car and the IoT petrol pump.

“The Internet of Things is not only driving a more connected world, it’s changing the way we live, shop and pay, by moving data and the point-of-sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be,” said Jim McCarthy, executive VP, innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa.

“With the power of Watson’s cognitive technologies and IBM’s leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to ‘virtually anywhere’ and on the enormous scale of the IoT,” he said.

Big Blue is betting heavily on the uptake of IoT. Last year IBM revealed a number of partnerships as part of its big push into the IoT arena.

But challenges remain. Earlier this week SophosLabs warned that attackers are increasingly making use of security holes in Linux to infect Internet of Things devices.

Quiz: Think you know all about IoT?