The rush to stake out central roles in the emerging Internet of Things is picking up speed, with IBM and Visa announcing a partnership for adding secure payments technology to everyday objects, including vehicles.

IBM will leverage the “cognitive abilities” of its Watson IoT platform with Visa technology, providing a streamlined path for businesses to add payments to any device connected to the Internet, the companies said in a Thursday press release.

The collaboration will enable companies to embed payments in objects connected to the Watson platform, with payment card details stored in the IBM Cloud via the Visa Token Service, which replaces sensitive card account details with a unique digital identifier, according to the release.

Bloomberg News

“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,” said Jim McCarthy, Visa’s executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, in the release.

The partnership will add new levels of simplicity and convenience to the process of enabling commerce on any connected object, added Harriet Green, general manager of IBM Watson IoT.

Visa’s deal with IBM is only one of a flurry of partnerships and services emerging to enable payments in the IoT, which will support more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020, according to industry predictions.

IBM late last year unveiled IBM Pay, a service operating within its Watson Commerce unit, enabling merchants to integrate payments and loyalty within existing apps.

Visa is working on a host of other applications for payments within the IoT, and IBM separately has announced a collaboration between Mastercard, General Motors and ExxonMobil for an in-car computer system that will support payments and also leverages Watson.

Third-party developers also are working to forge roles for themselves to operate as payment “hubs” connecting different payments providers with service providers through myriad objects and channels.

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