IBM bets big on big data

IBM has placed one it’s ‘biggest bets’ with the opening of its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) business in Munich.

The so-called ‘ecosystem initiative’, which represents an investment of $200m, is looking to attract customers in order to make gains in an IoT market estimated to be worth $14.2 trillion by 2022.

IBM already has over 6,000 clients and partners looking to join the Watson IoT centre and last week saw the announcement of Avnet, BNP Paribas, Capgemini and Tech Mahindra collocating development teams to Munich, which will also act as an innovation hub for EEBus, the European IoT standards organisation.

“When IBM places bets we do it in a big way,” said Dr John Kelly, senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research. “We do it with billions of dollars, we do it with thousands of people and we do it in locations and buildings like this because we want to win.”

IBM used the opening of its new facility to highlight how customers can use Watson to interrogate and exploit data generated by their businesses in real-time, including SNCF, the French railways operator.

SNCF manages the scheduling, operations and maintenance of 30,000km of track, 15,000 trains and 3,000 stations in France with all of these assets fitted with – or set to be equipped with – sensors. In Paris alone, new generation trains are being equipped with 2,000 sensors that will forward 70,000 data points per month.

SNCF will then connect its rail system – including trains, railroad tracks and train stations –to interrogate real-time information acquired by the sensors to improve its operations. One of the ways in which it will do this involves simultaneously remotely monitoring up to 200 trains to predict maintenance requirements.

“We are…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 Harriet Green, general manager IBM Watson IoT. “This collaboration is a true example of how IoT is touching everyone’s lives, in many cases without people even knowing it.”