IBM makes a move into the IPTV delivery space

In a logical move worthy of its heritage, IBM (NYSE: IBM) is taking its business services expertise into the consumer space with a content delivery cloud platform designed for consumer electronics firms.

The platform--the no-nonsense-named IBM SmartCloud Service Delivery for Electronics--is intended to help consumer electronics firms deliver IPTV content to smart TVs and other connected devices. IBM even has a named customer--TP vision, a joint venture between Philips and TPV--which will use the IBM technology on a pay-per-use basis to deliver video to Philips's Smart TVs in 30 countries in Europe and South America's Brazil and Argentina.

"This provides an economic, more flexible way to create new services for our viewers," Albert Momberg, head of Philips Smart TV at TP Vision, said in a story in CED Magazine. "By engaging with IBM on a cost-per-device basis, we obtain a new business model with predictable costs and great flexibility to expand our services and grow our user base. We expect it to transform the way we offer new services and drive ongoing business innovation."

The pay-per-use policy is, no doubt, a move by IBM to get into a new space with an unknown--for now--pattern of usage. Big Blue has also agreed to provide analytics so that customers can determine how to deliver more personalized entertainment options and, increasingly importantly, delivered targeted advertising. These analytics will also serve as a foundation for markets who can collect consumer knowledge from a population of homes, as well as individual TVs.

In the end, it might seem odd for a big business player like IBM to move into the consumer space, but that's the nature of today's broadband market, where computers are TVs and TVs are computers.

"Televisions are about to become the next open application platform, similar to the application platforms on mobile devices," Bruce Anderson, general mnager of IBM's global electronics industry, said in the CED story. "Organizations are turning to the IBM cloud as the channel for their innovation."

On a technical note, the company said that its platform can scale to serve millions of different consumer devices and can be used to provision services, interface with third parties and collect customer intelligence.

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