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Improving food safety with the Internet of Things

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Think 2018 is IBM’s flagship conference where thinkers like you come together to innovate and educate—making the world of business work smarter. Together we will explore the journey to cloud and AI, blockchain, security, and Infrastructure discovering partnerships that unlock business and human potential.

In the third of our 4-week series, we’re looking at the Internet of Things (IoT) and how our attendees will experience this game-changing technology at Think 2018.

What does IoT mean at IBM? IoT refers to the growing range of connected devices that send data across the Internet. By combining IoT data with cognitive computing, businesses can extract valuable insights to improve virtually every aspect of their operations and enable innovative, new business models. The Internet of Things is the perfect representation of how technology can dramatically enhance human expertise.

IBM brings you the experts in IoT so you can learn and experience it for yourself. Read on to learn about where you can find IoT at Think 2018.



Improving food safety with the Internet of Things
Featured IoT sessions
IoT speakers
IoT at Think Academy
Experience IoT


Improving food safety with the Internet of Things

Few things are as critical to the survival of the human race as food safety. From pasteurization to refrigeration, every new advance in food safety is coupled with the knowledge that many millions of lives will be saved.

But our modern systems are far from perfect. According to, foodborne illnesses affect 48 million Americans, lead to 128,000 hospitalizations, and result in 3,000 deaths each year. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and Golden State Foods (GSF) is making it their mission to help close that gap through innovation.

To other enterprises in the food industry, “innovation” might just be a buzzword that means exotic menus, cocktails in jam jars, or pickling unusual foods, but GSF has a more technical approach. They use the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure transparency across their entire supply chain, enabling them to maintain unprecedented awareness of their food quality and safety.

GSF produces and ships food in immense quantities. To give you an idea of how massive their operations are, they produce 400,000 hamburger patties every hour. To get that food to your mouth, they have a fleet of more than 2,000 trucks and various other shipping methods supplying 125,000 restaurants in over 60 countries, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and countless others. So if you’ve been thinking to yourself “I’ve never eaten anything from Golden State Foods,” you’re probably mistaken.


In that massive network of kitchens, trucks, and restaurants, there are countless devices and systems to keep track of. Throughout the food’s journey, sufficiently cold temperatures must be maintained in order to prevent the growth of dangerous microorganisms. That cold chain is a fragile system that demands vigilance and consistency. Unfortunately, machines can break down or malfunction. When that happens without anybody’s knowledge, it’s a safety hazard. But with GSF’s envisioned new IoT-enabled supply chain, sensor data could be collected at every moment of the food’s journey and analyzed in real time by the IBM Watson IoT Platform, ensuring that issues are automatically reported and addressed before they cause bigger problems down the line.

GSF’s knack for innovation doesn’t stop at the supply chain. Their Connected Restaurant pilot project uses IBM’s Connected Store solutions to revolutionize the way restaurants maintain food safety and freshness. Door hinge sensors, digital signage, and with the future plan to include shelf weight sensors, gesture recognition, and Wi-Fi tags collect valuable data that help managers understand how their restaurants consume energy, manage inventory, and keep clean—even helping them identify ways to do those things better. Most importantly, temperature sensors in food storage facilities trigger alerts if food reaches an unsafe temperature, prompting workers to make corrections immediately that will ensure food safety.

This is why the Internet of Things is the perfect representation of how technology can dramatically enhance human expertise. For centuries, the most meticulous mechanics and engineers have worked with the most brilliant machines of their time, but history is riddled with examples of catastrophic consequences resulting from seemingly unavoidable knowledge gaps. But with a constant flow of sensor data and a platform that’s smart and fast enough to process that information, IoT gives us the capacity to have complete, real-time visibility into every physical thing we interact with in the world.

Want to be like GSF and gain more visibility into your business-critical machines and processes? Whether you’ve already started implementing connected devices or you’re still shopping around for the ideal IoT solution, IBM can help. Continue reading to see how Think 2018 is the perfect place to meet with experts and thought leaders from the world of IoT, and discover what it really means to put smart to work.


Featured IoT sessions

Listed here are just some of the comprehensive sessions that can help you master IoT at Think. Use the Watson Session Expert to add any of these talks to your Think 2018 agenda.

Explore with Watson Session Expert

Connected Vehicles: Spanning the digital divide and transforming the experience

Session #8764

The challenge within transportation is to transform from vehicle manufacturers into transportation experiences and services. Addressing this challenge head-on, by investing in implementation of digital and AI technologies to help industries move faster towards delivering the new and chargeable features desired by their customers.

Building a Blueprint for Smart Buildings: How to Plan and Prepare for the Future

Session #8137

The Internet of Things provides a new opportunity to enhance today’s buildings, making them more efficient and effective than ever before. But many organizations are challenged to get this process started. In this session, you’ll hear how IBM is helping companies around the world enhance occupant experiences, reduce building operating costs, and maintain buildings more effectively. To illustrate the approach, the British Columbia Provincial Government will discuss how they’re approaching the use of IoT in their public building portfolio.


Digital Twins in the Internet of Things: What, Why and How

Session #6917A

Come get an overview of IBM capabilities for creating digital twins, an emerging topic in the Internet of Things. Digital twins are digital representations of physical entities or systems. Digital twins can be used to understand the current state of assets along with their history, to predict and simulate future state, and are a backbone concept in the digital transformation of business processes that work with the physical world. We’ll explain basic concepts backed by industry examples, introduce the foundational elements from our Watson IoT technologies, and illustrate through demonstration how Digital Twins can help organizations improve efficiency and generate new business value.

How the World’s Largest Industrial Robot Maker Manages a Cognitive Factory

Session #3788

YASKAWA Electric, one of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, has deployed a “robot failure prediction system.” This system combines their strengths as a robot manufacturer and ‘YASKAWA cockpit’ with IBM IoT PMO (Predictive Maintenance and Optimization), Watson APIs, Watson Explorer, and IBM Cloud. Come see not only a cognitive-based failure prediction system, but also some near-future, never-seen-before industry robots.


Whirlpool: Early Insights on Connected Appliances

Session #8014

Whirlpool has been a pioneer in bringing connected appliances to consumers. In addition to compelling new functions and features, connected appliances provide their makers with rich data on how consumers actually use their appliances. This presentation will share insights that Whirlpool has gained from connected appliances, and discuss how these insights are transforming their business.


IoT speakers

Our visionary speakers are overcoming society’s most daunting challenges with a mix of technical prowess and real-world insights — and they’ll show you how to do the same.

Think with the world’s brightest

Kareem Yusuf
General Manager, Watson IoT

Kareem-YusufThe Internet of Things is radically changing the way businesses operate and people interact with the physical world. With virtually everything becoming connected—from cars to crops to conveyor belts—organizations are using the Internet of Things and AI on Cloud to reinvent how they operate and create value. Industry leaders are designing connected, software-centric products to open new opportunities for revenue and sustained differentiation. Companies are using data from connected things to optimize the operation of their assets and facilities. Join Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, Watson IoT, along with business executives and prominent industry thinkers to learn about proven strategies for success.



IoT at Think Academy

$1000s worth of value in training, certifications, labs, and expert talks. Become an expert and learn about the technology that’s changing the way the world works. Learn more about some of our highlighted labs below:

Reimagine learning with Think Academy

Explore Hands-On the Flexibility and Power of the Maximo Anywhere Framework

Session #1264

Maximo Mobility is key to success for many organizations. This hands-on lab provides advanced tricks of configuration and customization for Maximo Anywhere applications with exercises. Topics include understanding Maximo Anywhere application lifecycle components, platform components and resources. It will also cover some advanced examples related to configurations and customizations.

Beam me up Watson!

Session #4104

This lab, jointly presented by IBM and STMicrolectronics, combines a SensorTile (IoT starter kit), a mobile app and a set of IBM Cloud services to recreate the original Star Trek lapel communicator. Attendees will learn how to connect the SensorTile, send sensor data and voice, and build an IBM Cloud app using a number of services including Watson IoT Platform, Watson Personal Assistant and voice services to consume and interact with the sensor and voice data.


Build a Smart Home/Facility by Efficiently Managing Devices Using Social Collaboration and IoT

Session #2088

Join Jeffrey and Priyanka, “The Brainiacs,” for this fun lab session, which will start with a brief introduction to some of the hottest technologies like Watson IoT, Artificial Intelligence and social collaboration. You’ll then jump into hands-on lab work using a variety of these technologies to explore how you can easily manage connected devices to build smart and secured homes or facilities. Check out how our devices and appliances will be networked to provide us with seamless control over all aspects of our homes and facilities, thus making them more secure. Life is too precious—let’s work together to make it secure!

Build with Watson: Construct Watson Internet of Things Applications Using Node-RED

Session #2296

Connect IoT sensor devices to the Watson IoT Platform and send sensor data, graph, analyze, and set alerts from Watson IoT Quickstart and registered devices using the Watson IoT Platform. The Watson IoT Platform Dashboard will visualize the sensor data, and the IBM IoT Real-Time Insights rules engine will monitor/trigger alerts. Using Node-RED, we will create an application to store and analyze sensor data in IBM Data Science Experience. The coding in Watson IoT will be done with Node-RED, a simple, graphical programming language. Join us and learn the basics of Watson IoT development.



Experience IoT

Connected Car Experience

Today’s cars are moving data centers and entertainment systems, and driver expectations are high. Visit the Connected Car experience to learn how IBM IoT and Harman International have partnered to deliver a voice-activated cognitive driving experience to a Maserati, powered by IBM Watson Personal Assistant. Learn how our vehicle-to-cloud solution is improving the in-car experience through onboard sensors and computers that capture real-time information about the vehicle. Join us and discover a smarter way to drive.



We can’t wait to show you Think 2018

Watch Think 2018 on demand and learn all about the ways your business can put smart to work. We hope you enjoy the keynotes, interviews, and sessions, and we can’t wait to see you in San Francisco in 2019!


Audience Engagement Writer and Editor

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