InterConnect keynote: Harriet Green

By | 7 minute read | March 20, 2017

leadspace image for IBM InterConnect 2017

When hype gave way to reality

When I first started running the IoT business for IBM, I spent a lot of time promoting the technology itself; persuading people of the potential of IoT with impressive statistics: 20 billion connected devices by 2020; $11 trillion in economic value by 2025.

But I don’t do any of that anymore, because the Internet of Things is no longer a story of future growth. It’s a story about the here and now, and the outcomes speak for themselves.

In the last eight months, IBM has seen its number of IoT clients increase from 4,000 to 6,000, and each has a compelling story to tell. Stories about overcoming business challenges, digital transformation, and, perhaps most importantly, stories about outcomes.

Harriet Green, IoT and Interconnect

Harriet Green, IoT and Interconnect

Outcomes and case studies

One example is Siemens Building Technologies, which captures data from more than 70,000 connected buildings to spot energy usage and equipment problems in advance, saving millions of dollars in costs and reducing carbon emissions by 2 million tons every year.

Another is Whirlpool, founded in 1911, the same year as IBM, using connected appliances to develop direct relationships with its customers for the first time in their history. With the data they gather from their appliances in the field, they anticipate a 70 percent decrease in customer service call time, and a 50 percent reduction in warranty part costs.

And Visa, which is turning automobiles, appliances and all other connected devices into potential points of sale by enabling secure payment experiences through the devices themselves.

The IoT offers:

  • Operational performance
  • Enhanced client experiences
  • New services and business models

We are bringing the physical and digital worlds closer together — and in the process, we are transforming our relationship with the world around us, both personally and professionally. And with each implementation, with each IoT solution, we are achieving real, measurable outcomes.

Indiegogo and IoT start ups

Earlier, you will have heard our announcement regarding our new partnership with Indiegogo and Arrow. Those relationships enable incredible innovations such as Smart Plate,, and Waterbot.

From Siemens to Smart Plate from Walmart to Waterbot, this is the IoT ecosystem. This is the turning point for the internet of things.

Working together to get results

At IBM we have always believed there is only one way to fulfill the potential of this truly transformational technology, and that is together. For IoT to be done right, it takes an open, integrated, collaborative approach. An ecosystem. A collection of innovative startups, global brands, partners, clients, developers and industry experts, all working together to solve problems and advance the science of this powerful, world-changing technology.

System integration – or in this case, ecosystem integration – is fundamental to our business. It’s in our DNA. That’s why we have chosen to embrace an open platform. To focus on interoperability.

The result has been a steady stream of solutions and partnerships. New relationships that cut across industries and disciplines. And with each new relationship, innovation ensues.

Ricoh, Harman, Aerialtronics and BMW: collocating at Watson IoT HQ

Ricoh and Harman are both embedding Watson into their connected products – whiteboards from Ricoh, and interactive speakers from Harman. This is just the beginning of what many call the “enchanted objects” of the Internet of Things.

Aerialtronics are using commercial drones to do visual inspection of cell towers. Watson is helping them find anomalies in real time to make cell tower inspections faster, safer and less labor-intensive.

And the BMW Group is taking the first steps toward truly personalized driving experiences, using Watson to create more intuitive driver support systems.

To do this, BMW is collocating a team of researchers at our Watson IoT headquarters building in Munich. And they’re joined by teams from BNP Paribas, Siemens, CapGemini and Tech Mahindra.

These teams are collocating because collaboration of this nature, at this scale, doesn’t happen on its own. An ecosystem requires nurturing – facilitation. And the Watson IoT Headquarters is more than just a place where you can get your hands on IBM’s IoT platform, or take Watson for a spin. It is the living, breathing manifestation of the IoT ecosystem.

New partnerships drive transformation

In one industry after another, IoT drives new partnerships, and those partnerships drive transformation. Let’s take just one example: Automotive.

Nearly every aspect of the way cars are designed, made and experienced by consumers is changing; from digital supply chains made more transparent with blockchain to connected cars to personalized driving experiences.

We are working with GM to embed cognitive services into their OnStar service. More than 2 million vehicles will use Watson to analyze data to learn a driver’s habits, to understand their needs, and to deliver targeted offers, from parking options to gas stations to local restaurants. It’s a service that will transform the car into a commerce platform.

We are also working with Daimler, who are using functional prototypes, digital twin and Watson to change the way they engineer their vehicles. We also partner with Daimler around the world’s largest car-sharing service, car2go. More 1.2 million members rely on IBM IoT technology to locate 15,000 smart cars in 31 cities around the world. A business like this transforms a car company into a transportation company.

And we work with Local Motors, an emerging disruptor focused on low-volume, distributed manufacturing of open-source designs. We connected Olli, their self-driving mobility shuttle to Watson in order to begin offering cognitive services.

With in-car commerce, new ways of engineering, car-sharing, supply chain transparency, and self-driving vehicles, in 5 years, you won’t even recognize the automotive industry.

Digital twins and Watson IoT

Another powerful example of IoT transformation can be found in the work we’re doing with digital twins – the idea that through IoT data, you can create a complete digital representation of a physical object; a car, a jet engine, or a building.

We can use these representations to understand and manage complex systems more quickly, more intimately. But to date, most companies have used digital twins for narrow, limited applications. Some use them as an engineering solution – helping design the next generation of connected products. Others use them to improve operational processes like maintenance around a connected product.

But at IBM, we see these digital twins spanning the entire product lifecycle – linking with multiple, federated data sources, integrating and extending in an open way across entire supply chains.

And on top of these data streams, we apply powerful analytics from the world’s most powerful cognitive computing platform: Watson.

Watson is an undeniably transformational technology. It does more than learn – it understands, reasons, and interacts with humans naturally. It is not just some clever personal assistant on your smartphone.

This is enterprise grade artificial intelligence. And when you combine a computing platform this powerful with data from digital twins, you have an opportunity to improve outcomes at every state of the product lifecycle – from designing, to building, to operating.

We have a social responsibility

There is much more IoT innovation to come. After all, we’re still in the early stages of this technology. But at IBM we also understand that working with massive data sets, and deploying powerful artificial intelligence requires careful consideration of security and social responsibility.

As it has done for more than a century, IBM is assuming a leadership role in guiding the ethical and responsible development of next-generation technologies. And we reaffirmed our leadership earlier this year at Davos, when our Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty introduced our three principles for the cognitive era:

  1. First, that all AI systems developed by IBM will be designed to augment human capability, not replace it.
  2. Second, our systems will feature transparency by design, allowing the businesses that deploy them to understand their functioning, reasoning, and judgement.
  3. And third, IBM will invest in helping clients engage safely, securely and effectively in a relationship with cognitive systems, and to perform the new kinds of work and jobs that will emerge in cognitive eco-systems.

As for data and device security, the Internet of Things presents unique challenges. The complexity of these systems, and the sharing of information across so many partners, requires a deep understanding of potential vulnerabilities and threats.

IBM is constantly advancing the science of security in and age of cloud and cognitive. We fight cyber threats on behalf of 10,000 clients in 133 countries. We employ a global network of 8,000 security professionals monitoring 270 million endpoints around the world. And now the team has Watson for Cyber Security, the world’s first augmented intelligence designed to power cognitive security operations centers.

Here is a video that demonstrates much of what is discussed above: business outcomes, open ecosystems, industry transformation and security. It tells the story of how SNCF, a global leader in passenger and freight transport, is working with IBM.

Coming up at InterConnect

You can keep up-to-date with our presentations, demos and more information by bookmarking our InterConnect landing page, and keeping an eye on the IoT blog for the latest from this year’s event.