IBM has just unleashed what can only be described as a spasm of IoT announcements that, on reflection, could easily have been condensed into one.
While its artificial intelligence proposition, Watson, has led the digital transformation charge for IBM, one of the most immediate and prominent applications of the technology will be IoT. IBM has been relatively quiet in recent weeks however the flurry of announcements today certainly makes up for it.
Firstly, the team has announced a new partnership with Visa, which will create more opportunities for me and you to spend our money. Through the tie up, Visa customers will now be able to pay for goods and services through any device connected to the Internet of Things. Whether it’s a ring or your car or your fridge, if the ‘thing’ is hooked up to the internet, you’ll be able to shop through it.
For example, if you are out running, your IoT top can detect how many miles you have run and whether your trainers are in need of replacement. It will then be able to judge your running expertise, recommend a suitable product, and also a place to buy them which fits into your schedule. You can then, in theory, pay for your new runners with your t-shirt.
“IoT is literally changing the world around us, whether it’s allowing businesses to achieve unimaginable levels of efficiency or enabling a washing machine to ensure we never run out of detergent,” said Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson IoT.
“This combination of IBM’s industry leading IoT technologies with Visa payment services, signifies the next defining moment in commerce by allowing payments on any connected object, with new levels of simplicity and convenience for everyone.”
Secondly, IBM has partnered up with Bosch, which makes the Bosch IoT Suite services available on open standards-based IBM Bluemix and IBM Watson IoT Platform. The focus of the partnership is on Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet.
“Over the next few years, the Internet of Things will become the biggest source of data on the planet, with billions of connected devices streaming information about their status, their location and their health,” said Green. “We are excited to work with Bosch to offer clients innovative capabilities for delivering personalized services and experiences to connected devices.”
A third partnership sees IBM tie up with Indiegogo, which will give newly qualified Indiegogo entrepreneurs no-charge access to IBM Watson IoT Platform via Bluemix for an unlimited amount of time. Included in the deal is access to IBM artificial intelligence, Blockchain, advanced data analytics and cyber security offers, which can be integrated to their own IoT inventions.
“Entrepreneurs and startups play a vital role in creating the next generation of businesses – their drive, innovation and passion for bringing new ideas to life is particularly important in building the IoT,” said Green. “We are thrilled to partner with Indiegogo and Arrow Electronics to accelerate IoT innovation and development around the world working hand in hand with some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs, developers and startups to build an even better IoT.”
IBM has also announced a couple of PR worthy customer wins, including French Railways operator SNCF, who will be using IBM Watson IoT in a number of different areas in the business.
SNCF currently oversees a transport network which includes 30,000 kilometres of track, 15,000 trains and 3,000 stations, with each element receiving the IoT treatment with various different sensors and applications. SNCF will develop its own sensors in house, but the data will be managed by Watson for such use cases as predictive and proactive maintenance, as well as improving the availability of trains through more in-depth scheduling.
“We are so excited to see a leading European railway, which every day helps 13.5 million passengers get from point A to point B, team with IBM Watson IoT,” said Green. “This collaboration is a true example of how IoT is touching everyone’s lives, in many cases without people even knowing it. In this instance, consumers benefit by experiencing minimal downtime and on time service, all made possible by Watson IoT, data from thousands of sensors and the brilliant engineers and innovators at SNCF.”
There were also a couple of other press releases, but to be honest, we’ve got a bit bored of Big Blue now.