Watson Analytics and Other IBM Tools Coming to Siemens' MindSphere IoT OS
Michael Alba posted on December 14, 2016 |

Last month, IBM announced an experimental effort to bring its robotic Jeopardy champion Watson to the Internet of Things (IoT). Now, it’s continuing this vision by bringing Watson Analytics to Siemens’ cloud-based IoT operating system MindSphere.

An example of the capabilities of Watson Analytics, shown here examining the correlation between education level and weekly earnings. (Image courtesy of IBM.)
An example of the capabilities of Watson Analytics, shown here examining the correlation between education level and weekly earnings. (Image courtesy of IBM.)
MindSphere is an industrial enterprise IoT platform based on SAP HANA, and Watson Analytics is a tool that leverages IBM’s cognitive computing technology to examine user data. By integrating Watson Analytics into MindSphere, Siemens will be able to provide business customers with analytics visualization and dashboards to help them make sense of their data. Additionally, app developers and data analysts will have access to analytics tools via application program interfaces (APIs).

Complementing Watson Analytics, IBM will be making several other analytics tools available to MindSphere, including predictive, prescriptive and cognitive analytics. All of these aim to help industrial users in three key ways:

  • Improve operational performance and reduce downtime
  • Predict anomalies and failures, and take corrective measures
  • Improve product quality and yield

In principle, all three of these outcomes are possible given sufficiently intelligent data analysis. The problem, as we’ve mentioned before, is how to actually sift through large quantities of IoT data. This is where Watson might really shine; IBM has made no secret of its expectations for the versatile machine-learning technology, which has already proven valuable in industries like health care, where it’s being used to help treat cancer.

In fact, the health-care industry stands to benefit immensely from this IoT integration. Siemens is a large manufacturer of health-care technologies, with its health-care branch Siemens Healthineers (yes, that’s really what it’s called) providing medical imaging and diagnostics tools worldwide.

So think of the possibilities here: Siemens manufactures connected, data-driven health-care products, which are controlled through Siemens MindSphere, wherein Watson comes along and does its machine learning thing to diagnose and treat all manner of medical problems. It’s not too much of a leap from there to imagine human doctors becoming more and more redundant.

But, of course, that’s just the tip of the IoT iceberg. We’ve written extensively about the potential impact of Industry 4.0, that is, industry adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Siemens is trying to position MindSphere as an essential part of the IIoT future by using it to drive real business results. Thus, it’s no surprise that IBM is betting on Watson to give MindSphere an edge in analytics (not to mention edge analytics).

You can also bet on Watson becoming a leading platform for IoT solutions, with IBM’s open-source Project Intu. Or, you can take a look at Microsoft’s democratic approach to cognitive functionality. Whatever you do, keep in mind that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) analytics are almost certainly here to stay, and your IoT solutions are sure to benefit from taking full advantage of them.

Want more proof? Check out A.I. Uses Deep Learning to Beat Humans at DOOM.

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