IBM Exec: Watson IoT Platform Lets Partners Use Advanced Analytics To Differentiate Themselves

IBM wants to use cutting-edge advanced analytics to help partners and customers stand out in the crowded Internet of Things market, said Raghbir Kern, business development leader in IBM’s IoT for Manufacturing and Industrial Products business.

Kern, speaking Wednesday at the virtual event IoTConnex, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, said IBM’s analytics and cognitive computing capabilities will be an essential part of IoT as industrial companies continue to connect their manufacturing floors.

’You may have heard of Industries 4.0 … this is a concept that focuses on the digitization of the modern manufacturing plant, which means you are connecting all your equipment, data, sensors. ... We are taking that and adding on one more layer, cognitive computing, and really delivering on a vision of cognitive manufacturing that our customers have,’ said Kern.

[Related: IoTConnex Virtual Conference 2017]

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Currently, customers in the industrial market are collecting data from multiple sources, whether it’s an MES system or connected devices, said Kern. They are then making that data transparent so they can see patterns and trends in the data and deliver better insight.

But to effectively take action on the data from connected devices, Kern said that companies will come to rely on tools like analytics. ’In order to get to these later stages of cognitive manufacturing … you really have to take advantage of advanced analytics and cognitive technologies,’ she said.

Partners have access to advanced analytics through IBM’s Watson Internet of Things platform, which incorporates both rule-based analytics, enabling customers to see what happens when one event occurs, or model-based analytics, which allows customers to predict future events.

With these tools, IBM Watson delivers three core cognitive manufacturing applications: using IoT to sense and diagnose issues so companies can optimize the performance of intelligent assets and equipment; using cognitive processes to bring more certainty to businesses through analyzing a variety of information from workflows; and using insight to optimize resources.

’The Watson IoT team has many differentiating elements … we work closely with our partners and drive an open partner ecosystem,’ said Kern. ’Not only can you bring in your data from your manufacturing plant, but you can bring in other data like weather and social data and use that in the analytics process as well.’

For Jeff Miller, chief technologist of smart manufacturing at Avid Solutions, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based systems integrator, all solution providers should be focused on analytics, particularly in the manufacturing space: "Customers are looking for analytics at the edge to help with their [operational technology] applications,’ he said.