$200 Million Investment In IBM Watson IoT
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Friday, 14 October 2016

IBM, acknowledging Watson's far reaching achievements and ever growing untapped potential, has invested $200 million dollars in Watson's German IoT headquarters, in a strategic move to expand research as well as its client base.

We've already reported that artificial intelligence has nowadays reached the status of tradeable commodity, and what better confirmation than this big injection of cash.

So big investments but also big returns expected for IBM as Watson's platform grows from strength to strength, rapidly acquiring new clients, jumping from 4000 to 6000 in just a matter months.

But what are the factors contributing to this kind of popularity? It is down to the harmonic fusion of Watson's general purpose AI, finding use in a wide range of applications, from cancer research to cognitive computing, and the seamless connectivity between mobile devices that the IoT opens the door to. Coupled together, they make possible a new generation of smart applications that can  predict and respond to users in completely new and natural ways. On one side you have the mobile devices, powered by artificially intelligent Personal Assistants, see Lucida For Personal Artificial Intelligence for a prime example, while on the other, you have applications whose use is only constrained by imagination, as Watson and Pokemon Go demonstrate.

This all becomes possible due to the AI-As-A-Service architecture, which has Watson split into components by functionality, ranging from machine learning to natural language processing, to visual recognition and text analytics, which are subsequently offered as APIs that are readily available to client code. This puts it in competition with the rival Hewlett Packard Haven OnDemand.
The big bet of IoT is on security and privacy, however, due to the huge amounts of personal data collected and shared between devices and applications. This is where super star Bitcoin makes its entrance coming to the rescue,  bearing the definitive answer to those concerns. In this case it's not Bitcoin as per the currency that is of interest, but its innovative Blockchain infrastructure,  highly regarded in the governmental, banking and especially Health Care sectors whose devices work with volatile and personal data in the form of the Electronic Health Records. Therefore, the $200 million is also directed to researching the best ways of utilizing Blockchain in the widest market scope applicable.

Further evidence of IBM's support of Blockchain's technology came last weekend with the IBM OpenTech Blockchain NYC Hackathon. Six of the total of eight teams formed by the attendees, a mix of students, startups and enterprise/IBM participants were listed as winners and all of them will present at a further meetup to be held on November 10.

Finally, this $200 million investment is just part of a much larger plan, in the range of billions, in an effort to market Watson as the prime IoT platform.

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More Information

IBM Watson DeveloperCloud

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