The total number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expected to hit 10 billion by 2020. With this explosion of growth also comes an uptick in the conversations around how to use these devices and the data they generate to improve our businesses and our lives. At IoT World, North America’s largest IoT event hosted in Silicon Valley this week, we explored the top technologies, strategies and use cases for asset-intensive industries implementing IoT. With more than 12,000 leaders from many key industries, it was a fantastic opportunity to talk IoT and learn from what others are doing in this space. Highlighted below are just a few of the best moments at the event – including Watson IoT walking away with multiple awards!

Get started with IoT for the smart factory

Designing the factory of the future was a primary track at this event. To kick off the conversation, a panel of experts around Industry 4.0 took the stage to discuss key trends emerging around IoT and AI in the manufacturing sector. The panel included participants from organizations of all sizes with David Meek representing IBM.

The panel primarily focused on the challenges many organizations are facing with implementation of IoT projects. These challenges are centered around data collection, how to get started, and how to scale machine learning algorithms at speed. The future of smart factories depends on making it easier to get started — how to get the right data, from the right things on the manufacturing floor under the right conditions.  “The goal”, stated Meek, “is to capture the maximum value out of your assets.”

Get a glimpse of some of the key takeaways in David’s Quick Bytes episode here:

Watch the video

Industry 4.0 requires a vision of value-based use cases

The focus on Industry 4.0 continued with a keynote presentation from IBM’s David Meek on deriving value from IoT use cases on the shop floor. Many organizations delay the value they can receive by being too IT-centric or putting too much emphasis on the data collection. Companies are struggling with how to deploy machine learning models because of the battle to get the data out of the equipment. But really they need to focus on the creation of a framework to scale algorithms at speed. Since only 1 or 2% of the data is needed to optimize your process. It’s really getting IT and OT in the same room creating a framework to deploy at scale.

David Meek presenting his keynote on the Smart Factory of the Future

The core elements of this approach are driven by four steps:

1. Strategy – what are your goals? what will move the needle in your organization?
2. Focus on Value:  what problems are you having on the manufacturing floor and what tools can you use to improve?
3. Building Blocks – Select the building blocks you need. Do you need more powerful edge devices? A few types of network?
4. Data capture – What data needs to be captured? And how does it need to be used?

Rapid value in Industry 4.0 comes from following the foundational journey of starting small, seeking out practitioners who have done this before, and expanding with purpose. Learn from L’Oreal on how they brought their vision to life using IBM’s connected manufacturing portfolio and IoT Platform.

Robots enabled with artificial intelligence will optimize production

If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that a robot always draws a crowd. IoT World was no exception. Within moments of the expo hall opening on the first day, the IBM booth was crowded with attendees eager to see ARMonk the robot in action. Those who watched were able to see how the robot can detect issues on the production line with only subtle variances in images or sounds. Watch the full demos of ARMie in action here:

Bret Bailey of IBM gives a demo of ARMonk during the Manufacturing Expo Tour

From IoT sensor to insights in twenty minutes

Applying the power of IoT and AI lets organizations gain valuable insights from a universe of physical assets. Everything from vehicles to facilities and systems. The developer conference kicked off with this thought on the final day of IoT World. IBM’s John Walicki led a session on how developers can delivery operational and financial value in minutes.

John Walicki presenting at the IoT World Developer Conference

He took attendees on a fast-paced journey that follows IoT sensor data from generation to edge gateways and analytics, encryption, the cloud, Watson IoT, Node-RED processing, cloud storage, Watson Studio, Apache Spark analysis in Jupyter notebooks, PixieDust visualization and machine learning algorithims. All of this in real-time!

Hear more about this from John on his Quick Byte Live episode:

Watch the video

Hanging out on the Edge to ensure real-time insights

Another key theme that popped out throughout the event was the focus on the Edge. With macro trends driving technology innovations around urbanization, aging populations, and the environment, more and more data is being sent to the cloud. With all the data and intelligence being captured in the cloud, it poses a challenge when real-time insights are needed. This is where the edge comes in. It can enable faster processing of the data from edge devices. This is required to make instant decisions on the shop floor or out in the field.  The industry is still at the beginning of implementation but there’s no doubt about the advantages the edge will bring to all of us.

Watson IoT wins multiple awards for platform and partnerships

Al Opher and Skip Snyder accepting the IoT World Awards on behalf of IBM

To tie things up with a bow, Watson IoT took home two awards at the IoT World Awards gala! The first was for Most Notable Acquisition/Merger of the Year and the second for Best Industrial IoT Solution. You can read more about the awards and why IBM was chosen over in this IoT Awards recap.

A great week of all the Things

Leaders and innovators in the IoT community came together for another fantastic week of learning, teaching and networking. The common themes and challenges were evident throughout. And attendees were able to learn, connect and explore new ideas and solutions to bring IoT to the forefront of their transformations.

For more info on how we can help you securely connect, manage, and analyze IoT data, check out our Watson IoT platform.

And don’t forget to catch up on the Quick Bytes live episodes from IoT World!

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