Cisco and IBM collaborate to bring IoT analytics to the edge
June 9, 2016
Cisco and IBM have announced a global collaboration to provide instant IoT insight at the edge of the network. Users in remote and autonomous locations will be able to tap the combined power of IBM’s Watson IoT and business analytics technologies and Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities to understand and act on critical data on the network edge.
Today, billions of interconnected devices and sensors are gathering vast amounts of real-time data about the physical world. In recent years cloud computing has offered companies a powerful way of storing those data and turning them into valuable insight. But for businesses without easy access to high bandwidth connectivity, these capabilities are sometimes out of reach or take too long.
To address the problem, IBM and Cisco have joined forces to offer a way to produce immediate, actionable insight at the point of data collection. The approach is designed to target companies operating on the edge of computer networks such as oil rigs, factories, shipping companies and mines, where time is of the essence but bandwidth is often lacking.
“Together, Cisco and IBM are positioned to help organisations make real-time informed decisions based on business-critical data that were often previously undetected and overlooked,” said Mala Anand, senior vice president at Cisco. “With the vast amount of data being created at the edge of the network, using existing Cisco infrastructure to perform streaming analytics is the perfect way to cost-effectively obtain real-time insights. Our powerful technology provides customers with the flexibility to combine this edge processing with the cognitive computing power of the IBM Watson IoT platform.”
For example, workers in remote environments will now be able to monitor the health and behaviour of critical machinery and more accurately plan for needed maintenance and equipment upgrades. By tapping into the power of the IBM Watson IoT platform and Cisco edge analytics, these companies can adopt the latest approaches to condition based maintenance through which equipment is monitored in real time, potentially helping reduce maintenance costs by up to 50 per cent and increase productivity by 25 per cent.
“The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the internet of things,” said Harriet Green, general manager at IBM Watson. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option. By coming together, IBM and Cisco are taking these powerful IoT technologies the last mile, extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks, helping to make these strong analytics capabilities available virtually everywhere, always.”
Cisco and IBM are working with Bell Canada to deliver IBM Watson IoT and Cisco Edge over Canada’s largest and fastest 4G LTE network. Bell’s network coverage and LTE-Advanced speeds will enable customers to collect data in real time.
“This powerful IoT technology from Cisco and IBM, combined with Bell’s world leading network technology, enables customers to tap into innovative real-time analytics options to maximise performance across their operations, no matter where they are,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s chief technology officer. “Many of our largest customers operate remote systems, requiring continuous availability and access to data to monitor critical performance factors and avoid downtime. Deploying the unmatched analytics capabilities of IBM Watson IoT and Cisco networking intelligence with streaming edge analytics will help to further accelerate Bell’s leadership in Canadian IoT.”
Cartagena, a modern, highly efficient port in Colombia, is tapping into analytics on the edge to improve the port’s efficiency of assets including rubber tyre gantries, cranes and trucks. Several years ago, the port started monitoring equipment conditions such as engine temperature, engine speed and run hours to improve efficiency and maintenance costs. Now the port is beginning to use the IBM Watson IoT platform with Cisco streaming edge analytics to monitor an expanded set of conditions in the cloud. This capability, including predictive analytics, is expected to help the port get ahead of equipment degradation and needed maintenance to keep machines running efficiently and avoid costly equipment failures.
Cartagena has been nominated as the best container terminal in the Caribbean six times. It was also once named the most reliable port by the Caribbean Shipping Association, handling 2.5 million TEUs (twenty equivalent container units) per year.
"The city of Cartagena is considered a gateway to Colombia and home to the country's major industrial expansion and development," said Eduardo Bustamante, director of operations for the port of Cartagena. “As a container terminal trans-shipment hub, our port ships goods to almost 600 ports in 136 countries around the world. The opening of the new Panama Canal has created new challenges for all ports in the region and has made service reliability a key factor of success. With these new capabilities from IBM and Cisco, we gain immediate insight into the health and operations of our more than 47 rubber tyre gantries and 180 trucks. As a result, we expect to be more productive in our maintenance processes to help ensure our fleet runs even more efficiently and vessels and cargo are moving smoothly in and out of our port."
SilverHook Powerboats, a company that designs high-speed racing watercraft reaching speeds of up to 320km/hr, with each boat containing two engines worth approximately US$1.5m, is tapping into Cisco edge analytics and IBM Watson IoT analytics to help race pilots react immediately to environment and engine multi-variate conditions in real time, indicating the need to throttle back in a split second, for example to help prevent the boat’s systems from failure and to perform optimally. Previously, without this instant insight into the critical data, the outcomes could spell disaster.
Building on IBM and Cisco’s long-standing relationship, the product will be marketed and sold together and will include Watson IoT platform cognitive and real time insights from IBM with Cisco streaming edge analytics. This will enable real-time analytics to be performed at the edge and collection of data for longer-term analysis in the cloud.