IBM is opening its fourth Bluemix Garage in Nice in the south of France.

Big Blue defines the its Bluemix Garage as "a consultancy with a startup DNA empowering companies, large and small, to design and build engaging applications using IBM Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile DevOps."

The newest Garage is specifically targeted at European businesses, but also underlines IBM's ambitions to become the biggest cloud services vendor on the planet and will act as a core component of its strategy to corner the cloud market in Europe. It joins Garages in San Francisco, London and Toronto, and will soon be followed by one in Melbourne, Australia.

Nice is Nice

IBM announced two years ago, when it opened the Garage in the UK, that it was looking for other European locations. It is probably no accident that it landed on Nice, as it already has deep roots in the region after being tapped by authorities in the Mediterranean city to help it turn Nice into a ‘smart city’ in 2013.

That project has been a major success for the region and for IBM, with Nice ranked fourth in Juniper Research’s global ranking of smart cities for 2015, behind Barcelona, New York and London.

Bluemix Garage will ultimately feed into IBM’s smart city development, and just about every other part of the IBM Business.

IBM Bluemix is a cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that offers support for a number of programming languages and services as well as integrated DevOps to build, run, deploy and manage applications on the cloud.

Bluemix is based on Cloud Foundry open source technology and runs on SoftLayer infrastructure. IBM estimates that there are about 1.6 million developers in Europe, which will rise to 20 million by 2020.

At the moment, IBM claims that Bluemix is being used by 20,000 new developers a week and creates 120,000 apps per month.

IBM and PaaS

Earlier this month, Gartner pointed out that the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving platform-as-a-service (PaaS) use and development.

Learning Opportunities

Gartner predicts that more than 50 percent of all new applications developed on PaaS will be IoT-centric by 2020, disrupting conventional architecture practices.

In its PaaS predictions for 2016, Garter also points out that investing in PaaS is being driven by enterprises seeking some or all of the key benefits of cloud for their new IT initiatives.

The report points out, however, that in the next three years, many self-managed private PaaS initiatives will fail to meet the IT organization leadership's expectations of cloud characteristics and will need intervention from one of the big vendors developing PaaS.

The Bluemix Garages are designed to provide that kind of help.  They work with companies to identify and build new ways to use new technologies, like Watson APIs, Twitter social sentiment analysis, IoT tools, and new forms of data such as video, weather intelligence and more. Specifically it will offer enterprises:

  • Business development expertise by helping enterprises refine, clarify and turn business ideas into working apps
  • Expertise and technology to move data workloads to the cloud as well as connecting new systems with existing cloud apps
  • Faster time to market with services, applications or products

It will also tackle the growing problem of skills shortages that has hindered the development of cloud computing, analytics and big data globally which has already seen IBM investing in university courses in North America.

IBM hasn’t said what it plans in the future with Bluemix and SoftLayer key planks of a business strategy that needs pull Big Blue out of the financial mire it is currently wading through, it is certain that this Garage won’t be the last.

Title image "Nice" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Rodrigo_Soldon