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IBM Invests $200 Million in Watson IoT Blockchain Development

IBM has invested $200 million USD in the Watson Internet of Things (IoT) global headquarters in Munich, Germany, including new IoT capabilities related to blockchain.

IBM will support Watson IoT Technologies efforts to deliver insights from billions of sensors in cars, drones, machines, ball bearings, equipment and even hospitals, according to a press release.

The investment is part of a $3 billion USD global outlay to bring Watson cognitive computing to IoT. The $200 million investment is one of IBM’s largest in Europe, as it attempts to address rising customer demand for transforming operations with artificial intelligence and IoT technologies. IBM presently has 6,000 customers tapping Watson IoT solutions, up from 4,000 in the last eight months.


First IoT Collaboratives

The Watson IoT headquarters will house the first IoT Collaboratives. These are labs where customers and partners can collaborate with IBM’s 1,000 engineers, researchers, business experts and developers in Munich to develop electronics, automotive, health care, manufacturing and insurance innovation.

The developers will address leading industry challenges, apply new technologies and concepts to create IoT solutions, test and develop new business models and services, and push the boundaries of what IoT makes possible.

Harriet Green, global head of IBM’s Watson IoT business, said IBM is making big strides to make sure companies can take advantage of technological transformation and create products and services that change peoples’ lives. She noted Germany is at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 initiative and is inviting IBM clients to join the innovation.

Companies Embrace IoT

Companies worldwide are demonstrating real business outcomes through Watson IoT, including:

Schaeffler, a German automotive and industrial supplier, has signed a multi-year agreement with IBM to accelerate the digital transformation of its customer solutions and operations using Watson’s insight and cognitive intelligence from billions of sensors.

Tapping the analytics and connectivity from Watson IoT platform and IBM’s cloud technologies will allow Schaeffler to study large amounts of data from millions of devices and sensors, and yield insight to allow it to make faster decisions, optimize equipment performance, and be more flexible.

Aerialtronics, a producer and designer of unmanned aircraft systems, announced its first commercial drones with cognitive computing capabilities from the IBM Watson IoT platform on the IBM cloud. The Netherlands-based company’s vehicles can deliver high-quality inspection services across multiple industries, including inspecting wind turbines and monitoring city traffic patterns.

Instead of climbing towers, inspecting key areas and reporting findings, the teams can send the drones from the ground instantly and gain a 360-degree, high-resolution overview through high definition cameras and Watson visual recognition analytics.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc., with three facilities and over 900 acute care beds in Center City, Philadelphia, Pa., is partnering with IBM on cognitive hospital rooms powered by the IBM Watson IoT platform that brings deeper levels of responsive care and improves the patient experience. Being able to interact with in-room speakers connected to the IBM Watson IoT platform allows patients to control their hospital stay, operating window blinds and lights, and asking questions about the facilities.