IBM Invests $200M in Watson IoT Headquarters

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-10-04 Print this article Print
internet of things

Pund-IT’s King said he believes a notable point about many IoT stories is their emphasis on "things" or the sensors and devices at the endpoint of IoT webs.

“That's an interesting subject, especially as it touches on other popular technologies, including mobility and wireless connectivity,” King said. “But larger IoT stories inevitably return to the data centers where sensor/endpoint data is collected, secured, stored, analyzed and acted upon. IBM's vision wholly encompasses entire IoT networks but the company's fundamental strength is in the underlying data center infrastructures and cognitive technologies, especially Watson. So IDC naming IBM as an IoT leader doesn't really surprise me. In fact, it's difficult to think of another major vendor that's further along the IoT path than IBM.”

Meanwhile, IBM announced that Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc. is working with IBM to launch Watson IoT-powered cognitive hospital rooms. Jefferson University Hospitals includes three facilities with more than 900 acute care beds and part of Jefferson Health in Center City, Philadelphia. The cognitive hospital rooms will feature in-room speakers that are connected to the Watson IoT platform. The speakers will give patients control over various aspects of their hospital stay including communicating with hospital staff as well as operating the lights and window blinds, among other things.

“Being in a hospital can often be a hectic, anxiety-ridden, or even intimidating experience for patients and their loved ones,” said Neil Gomes, vice president for Technology Innovation and Consumer Experience at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, in a statement. “If we can minimize that discomfort, even a little, we are doing a lot to increase the well-being and care of our patients. “We are able to invest in new innovations like the Watson IoT-powered speakers to give our patients the ability to interact in natural language to get basic, but important, information about their hospital visit without having to buzz in for a nurse.”

Another customer, Aerialtronics, a Netherlands-based producer of unmanned aircraft systems, announced it is working with IBM to build commercial drones that tap the Watson IoT platform. Equipped with high definition cameras and using the Watson Visual Recognition APIs, the drones are targeted for use in inspection scenarios for various industries and services, such as monitoring traffic, crowd safety, damage assessment, crime solving, aviation inspection and other things.

“Pairing the unlimited perspective of drones with Watson IoT can bring these powerful cognitive capabilities to any location, where it can be used to analyze unexpected traffic patterns resulting from nearby construction or how a train is performing while it’s in transit,” IBM’s Green said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Big Blue also announced that Schaeffler, a German automotive and industrial supplier, has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with IBM to take advantage of IBM’s cognitive expertise as well as its IoT prowess. Schaeffler said it will use IBM’s platforms to analyze vast amounts of data from millions of sensors and devices across its operations to glean insights for better decision making and to maintain performance of their equipment in the field.

“Our goal is to be the world’s leading manufacturer of cognitive solutions which keep the world moving,” said Peter Gutzmer, deputy CEO and CTO of Schaeffler, in a statement. “We are entering an age where parts can monitor and evaluate their own performance and even order their own replacement when necessary. Schaeffler is a world leader in product development and manufacturing, IBM in hybrid cloud and cognitive computing; through this partnership we are ushering the new industrial era.”

Indeed, IBM’s Green noted that we are in an era of unprecedented industrial transformation that is “defined by factories, machines and parts capable of self-assessing, triggering actions and exchanging information with each other, and with the people who manufacture and maintain them,” she said in a statement. “Schaeffler is leading the way and literally redefining approaches for designing, producing and maintaining machines – making them safer and more reliable.”


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