The global partnership will allow organizations in remote locations to access IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology without having to upload heavy data sets to the cloud, the companies said. “The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” said Harriet Green, general manager for IBM Watson IoT, Commerce & Education, in a statement. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option.”
Together, IBM and Cisco are taking these IoT technologies the last mile, “extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks, helping to make these strong analytics capabilities available virtually everywhere, always,” she said.
IBM has been shifting its focus to cloud services, analytics, IoT and the Watson AI platform and away from the stagnating PC business. While cloud services are a good option for devices and sites with strong locations to the grid, accessing cloud-delivered services is more difficult from more remote locations, or via autonomous devices that lack strong Internet connections. Under the new agreement, IBM’s Watson technologies will be installed on Cisco’s edge routers, allowing devices in remote locations to perform sophisticated analytics at the point of data collection, rather than having to upload massive amounts of data. IBM said the technology would be particularly beneficial to companies operating on oil rigs, in mines, factories, shipping centers, or other remote areas.
“With the vast amount of data being created at the edge of the network, using existing Cisco infrastructure to perform streaming analytics is the perfect way to cost-effectively obtain real-time insights,” said Mala Anand, senior vice president of the Cisco Data & Analytics Platforms Group, in the statement. The technology will provide customers with the flexibility to combine edge processing with the cognitive computing abilities of the IBM Watson IoT Platform, Anand said.