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ABB, IBM Partner to ‘Bring Real-Time Cognitive Insights to Factory Floor’

By SME Media Staff

HANNOVER, Germany—ABB and IBM will work together to unlock new value for customers in manufacuring, utilities, transport and infrastructure, executives from the companies said here today at Hannover Messe.

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Having committed to spending over $3 billion on the Internet of Things business, IBM is eager to work with “the maker of all times” to create “truly cognitive capabilities that will enable us to sense and feel and understand way beyond what current automation can,” Harriet Green, general manager of Watson IoT, customer engagement and education at IBM, said today at a press briefing in Germany. (Photo by Brett Brune)

The Swiss firm calls its digital offering ABB Ability. The American firm calls its Internet of Things play Watson, for which it set up headquarters in Munich.

Customers will benefit from ABB’s “deep domain knowledge and extensive portfolio of digital solutions combined with IBM’s expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as different industry verticals,” the partners asserted in prepared remarks.

Having committed to spending over $3 billion on the IoT business, including $200 million for its “state of the art” IoT facility in Munich, IBM is eager to work with “the maker of all times” to create “truly cognitive capabilities that will enable us to sense and feel and understand way beyond what current automation can,” Harriet Green, general manager of Watson IoT, customer engagement and education at IBM, said at a press briefing here today.

Innovators at IBM don’t talk about artificial intelligence for the most part, she added. “We talk about augmented, enhancing intelligence,” gathered from such processes as visual inspection and hearing through sensory vibration, that will be able “to take man and woman and machine forward in a very profound way.”

The first two joint industry solutions employing ABB Ability and Watson “will bring real-time cognitive insights to the factory floor and smart grids,” the companies said in prepared remarks.

For the factory floor, ABB and IBM will leverage Watson’s artificial intelligence to help find defects via real-time production images that are captured through an ABB system, and then analyzed using “IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing.” When these inspections were done manually, it was “often a slow and error-prone process,” the companies acknowledged.

“This powerful combination marks truly the next level of industrial technology, moving beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to industrial operations and machines that use data to sense, analyze, optimize and take actions that drive greater uptime, speed and yield for industrial customers,” ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said in prepared remarks.

ABB and IBM have developed a “new suite of breakthrough solutions” to assist firms as they strive to address “in a completely new way some of their biggest industrial challenges, such as improving quality control, reducing downtime and increasing speed and yield of industrial processes,” the companies said in prepared remarks.

These solutions will “move beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to cognitive industrial machines that use data to understand, sense, reason and take actions supporting industrial workers to help eliminate inefficient processes and redundant tasks,” they added.

“This important collaboration with ABB will take Watson even deeper into industrial applications—from manufacturing to utilities to transportation and more,” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said in prepared remarks.

“The data generated from industrial companies’ products, facilities and systems holds the promise of exponential advances in innovation, efficiency and safety,” she added. “Only with Watson’s broad cognitive capabilities and our platform’s unique support for industries can this vast new resource be turned into value, with trust. We are eager to work in partnership with ABB on this new industrial era.”

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