IBM Announces Watson IoT, To Bring Power of Cognitive Computing to a Connected World

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IBM today announced the opening of its global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT), launching a series of new offerings, capabilities and ecosystem partners designed to extend the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors and systems that comprise the IoT. These new offerings will be available through the IBM Watson IoT Cloud, the company’s global platform for IoT business and developers.

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As part of today’s launch, the company announced that Munich, Germany will serve as the global headquarters for its new Watson IoT unit, as well as its first European Watson innovation center. The campus environment will bring together 1000 IBM developers, consultants, researchers and designers to drive deeper engagement with clients and partners, and will also serve as an innovation lab for data scientists, engineers and programmers building a new class of connected solutions at the intersection of cognitive computing and the IoT. The center will drive collaborative innovation with clients, partners and IBM researchers and data scientists to create new opportunities for growth in IoT. It represents IBM’s largest investment in Europe in more than two decades.

IBM also will deliver Watson APIs and services on the Watson IoT Cloud Platform to accelerate the development of cognitive IoT solutions and services, helping clients and partners make sense of the growing volume and variety of data in a physical world that is rapidly becoming digitized.

With these moves, clients, start-ups, academia and a robust ecosystem of IoT partners –from silicon and device manufacturers to industry-oriented solution providers –will have direct access to IBM’s open, cloud-based IoT platform to test, develop and create the next generation cognitive IoT apps, services and solutions. Leading automotive, electronics, healthcare, insurance and industrial manufacturers that are at the forefront of the region’s Industry 4.0 efforts are among those most expected to benefit.

The company also announced that it has opened eight new Watson IoT Client Experience Centers across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Locations include Beijing, China; Boeblingen, Germany; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas in United States. These centers provide clients and partners access to technology, tools and talent needed to develop and create new products and services using cognitive intelligence delivered through the Watson IoT Cloud Platform.

New Watson IoT Services Accelerate Cognitive IoT

IBM is bringing the power of cognitive analytics to the IoT by making four families of Watson API services available as part of a new IBM Watson IoT Analytics offering. As the physical world of devices and systems are becoming highly digitized, these capabilities will allow clients, partners and developers to make greater sense of this data through machine learning and correlation with unstructured data.

There are more than 9 billion connected devices operating in the world today, generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily. Making sense of data embedded in intelligent devices is creating a significant market opportunity that is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020. Yet without a proper infrastructure in place to analyze all of this data in real-time, its value is minimal.

Cognitive systems help overcome this challenge –learning at scale, reasoning with purpose, and interacting with humans naturally. In March 2015, IBM announced that it intended to invest more than $3 billion to address the needs of clients that are looking to capitalize on the increasing instrumentation and interconnectedness of the world driven by the Internet of Things.

Building on the investment, in October the company revealed plans to acquire the B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties of The Weather Channel. Upon completion, the combination of advanced cloud, analytics and security technologies and deep industry expertise is expected to serve as the foundation for the Watson IoT Cloud Platform as well as new services and offerings.

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