Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Toward the end of 2015, IBM announced the opening of the global headquarters for its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) business in Munich, Germany. The IBM Watson IoT platform enables devices to make secure connections and allows developers to build applications using advanced analytics and cognitive services.
This week, IBM announced that it was investing an additional $200 million into the Watson IoT headquarters, stressing the company's growing ambitions in IoT and artificial intelligence.
The firm also unveiled several IoT-related partnerships, collaborating with Aerialtronics (a Netherlands-based designer and producer of unmanned aircraft systems), Schaeffler (a German automotive and industrial supplier) and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, based in Pennsylvania, US.
Aerialtronics announced the first commercial drones featuring cognitive computing capabilities from the IBM Watson IoT platform. These will be able to provide high-quality inspection services for global organizations across multiple industries, with uses ranging from monitoring city traffic patterns to inspecting wind turbines, oil rigs, and cell tower optimisation.
Schaeffler said it plans use the analytics capabilities of the Watson IoT platform to analyse the huge amounts of data collected from millions of sensors and devices across its operations. These insights will help the company optimise the performance of equipment in the field.
The partnership with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital will see rooms equipped with speakers that can be connected to lights, window blinds and hospital information, enabling patients to issue commands through voice control. Watson's natural language comprehension capabilities will allow patients to ask questions about their physicians and the unit's facilities.
IBM has struggled with slowing growth in its core business of computer services and software, but investment in potential growth areas such as IoT and cloud computing is aiding long-term profitability. In Watson, IBM has created a special brand of computer brains.