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IBM sets up IoT consulting service

Steve Rogerson
November 24, 2016

IBM has announced an array of services, industry offerings and capabilities to help enterprise clients, start-ups and developers drive digital transformation with the IoT.
With the number of connected devices skyrocketing, IBM says it is making IoT accessible to millions around the world. The company is dedicating more than 1500 industry experts with its Watson IoT consulting service, as well as giving open and free access to its Watson IoT platform.
Today’s announcement follows Forrester Research naming IBM a leader in its Wave report on IoT software platforms. Forrester analysed and scored 11 IoT software platform vendors, identifying IBM as a leader, citing: “The Watson IoT Platform can serve a broad range of advanced IoT use cases.”
The report also noted that “IBM has added significant capabilities to the platform, including augmented reality, cognitive capabilities, blockchain, edge analytics, analytics tooling and natural language processing, to name a few. With a strong commitment to open source standards and a robust global partner ecosystem, IBM is well positioned for market leadership.”
To help clients across industries capture the massive business opportunity of the digitisation of the physical world, IBM is launching the global IBM Watson IoT consulting practice. The practice will feature 1500 experts across IBM Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Germany (pictured), and in eight other IBM IoT centres across Asia, Europe and the Americas.
“The internet of things is making an enormous impact on our lives and helping to spur even deeper levels of innovation for those developing the connected devices and products of our future,” said Harriet Green, general manager at IBM Watson IoT. “IBM is helping knock down the barriers to getting started with IoT, making it accessible for clients as they begin their digital transformation.”
By integrating IBM Watson IoT platform APIs and technologies, including cognitive, analytics, mobile, security and cloud capabilities, with development and implementation consulting and ongoing support, clients can fully use the IoT without the risk and complexity of dealing with multiple vendors.
"Clients can now easily introduce IoT innovation into their business by leveraging IBM’s industry and technical expertise to deliver lower risk, as-a-service commercial models,” said Jesus Mantas, general manager for business consulting at IBM. “We are very proud our integrated IoT solutions deliver innovation in an easy to consume model for business leaders. We are helping clients accelerate the digitisation of their business processes by making it easy to deploy IoT services globally into their business.”
The consulting practice will employ a global network of skilled consultants, data scientists and design and security experts with deep domain and industry expertise, all dedicated to providing clients with guidance on tackling industry specific IoT adoption challenges. The first priority industries include automotive, electronics, industrial products, insurance, retail, telecommunications, transportation and buildings.
Clients can apply Watson cognitive computing capabilities, including machine learning and natural language to tap into massive amounts of unstructured data – such as videos and sounds – to gain insights and augment decision making.
Technology company Ricoh is one of the first global organisations to work with the new IBM IoT consultants to redesign its engagement model and help its clients embrace intelligent workplace services designed to improve office collaboration and innovation.
“Ricoh is helping customers meet the needs of constantly changing workstyles in the new world of work, where information is at the heart of every successful business decision,” said Mona Abutaleb, CEO of Mindshift Technologies, a Ricoh company. “We are teaming with IBM and combining our knowledge and expertise to deliver Ricoh's Workstyle Innovation Technology, which helps our clients collaborate and share information more easily and efficiently."
In addition to the consulting practice, IBM is also announcing industry offerings available via its Watson IoT platform, including IoT for manufacturing and asset health insight, designed to help clients address industry-specific IoT adoption challenges and opportunities. Manufacturing is one of the largest opportunities in IoT, with McKinsey estimating IoT applications in factory settings to have the potential to create value of $1.2 to $3.7tn per year in 2025.
Now, using IBM Watson IoT for manufacturing, businesses will be able to manage factory equipment and assets, improve manufacturing processes and manage production resources more effectively. For example, the capabilities include intelligent assets and equipment to sense, communicate and self-diagnose issues to improve machinery performance and reduce downtime.
Using asset health insights with IBM prescriptive maintenance, organisations can maintain assets based on current asset condition using analytics and data around weather, asset performance and maintenance. Additional industry offerings on the IBM Watson IoT platform cover automotive, electronics and insurance.
IBM is also bringing together its application lifecycle management offering with Aras’ product lifecycle management platform to help engineers integrate the complex hardware and software development processes necessary to make the smart, connected products of the future.
IBM is already working with more than 50,000 developers around the globe to help them to get up and running on the Watson IoT platform. Just seven months ago, IBM teamed up with Coursera, the education platform that partners with global universities and organisations to offer online courses, to create and launch a developer's guide to the IoT, a course that already has more than 22,000 registrants.
The Watson security-rich, scalable and open platform lets developers connect, build, launch and manage IoT applications and services. To help make creating and developing IoT applications more accessible than ever before, IBM will offer free access to the platform.
For businesses who are just starting out on IoT and developers testing out and exploring new IoT innovations, IBM offers open and free access to the platform’s development capabilities. As projects grow, developers can then take their prototypes and scale to full production to meet business needs.
To help the new wave of technical innovators learn how to develop IoT applications, IBM continues to offer learning classes, via its collaboration with Coursera, and via easily consumable IoT learning tutorials on IBM’s open Watson IoT academy. These tutorials, led by IBM subject matter experts, include an introduction to programming a Raspberry Pi, how to use natural language processing, and how to use Node-Red, the open source visual programming tool set that is becoming a standard for building connected IoT programmes.