IBM pouring $200m into Munich Watson IoT HQ and blockchain

5 Oct 2016

Neuhauser Street, Munich. Image: anshar/Shutterstock

IBM is investing big time in IoT once again. As part of a worldwide $3bn investment in this field, the company will put $200m towards its Watson IoT global HQ in Munich, Germany.

IBM made the southern German city its new global internet of things (IoT) headquarters towards the end of last year, and now the hub is set to receive one of the company’s largest ever investments in Europe.

In announcing the new funding for the centre’s operations, IBM said it was in response to escalating demand from customers, who are looking to overhaul their business using a combination of IoT and AI technologies.

IBM’s supercomputer Watson is perhaps one of the most famous names in AI today. It has been improved upon year-by-year and aims to be one of the most influential technologies in business, while also engaging in some fun endeavours.

With this new funding, the Watson IoT headquarters will be home to the first ever cognitive IoT Collaboratories. This is a collective effort between IBM’s 1,000 Munich-based researchers and business experts to develop the automotive, electronics, manufacturing, healthcare and insurance industries.

IBM Watson infographic

Infographic: IBM

“IBM is making tremendous strides to ensure that businesses around the world are able to take advantage of this incredible period of technological transformation and develop new products and services that really change people’s lives,” said Harriet Green, the global head of IBM’s Watson IoT business.

“Germany is at the forefront of the industry 4.0 initiative and by inviting our clients and partners to join us in Munich, we are opening up our talent and technologies to help deliver on the promise of IoT and establishing a global hotbed for collaborative innovation.”

IoT and blockchain merge

Among some of the new IoT offerings that IBM has added to Watson recently include a new capability that connects IoT data to blockchain.

The idea behind this is that businesses can share IoT data in a secure, private blockchain to reduce the costs and complexities of doing business across a network of people and goods.

The technology – which began as the transaction platform for bitcoin – is now widely considered the next evolutionary tool to be used in business transactions, but particularly within financial institutions.

Along with an updated natural language interface, Watson has also added a Cognitive IoT Cookbook. This will include new recipes for developers that contain code and best practice approaches for solving cognitive IoT challenges.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic