The Genius of Customers: Innovation

By | 2 minute read | November 15, 2017

The Genius of Things. It’s the perfect title for four global events we hosted in September and October. There, we brought partners, customers and IBMers together in Mumbai, Shanghai, Boston and Dubai.

In four cities, with 2,100+ attendees, we were honored by the 80 clients who spoke on our behalf. So many amazing stories! That’s why I’m spotlighting those that made a lasting impression on me and our audiences, starting with two speakers at our event in Boston.

What made these speakers so interesting is summed up in one word: innovation. Yes, it’s an overworked term. But in this case, it’s the perfect description. Here’s why:

How innovation drives ABB

Founded in 1883, ABB has carried the world from one industrial revolution to another. And Doug Voda, the global segment leader for Smart Grid, shared two powerful examples of just how ABB stays ahead. First, Doug gave us a glimpse at what they’re doing with renewable energy. By working with IBM, ABB expects to improve productivity for its customers by 15+ percent by connecting weather pattern forecasting to their network controls. Next, he introduced us to paint robotics. We learned that there are 20+ paint defects that can’t be seen by the human eye. Yet through work with IBM, ABB can now identify and correct those problems, and deliver some of the finest paint quality you’ve ever seen. And just how impressive is an ABB robot? Even Iron Man has one!

ABB paint robots deliver some of the finest paint quality in the world.

ABB paint robots deliver some of the finest paint quality in the world.

How KONE uses predictive maintenance

“I stand before you as part of the elevator and escalator industry, asking you for some more love.” I know that Danillo Elez, senior vice president of KONE, asked a lighthearted question on stage, but he’s right. When it comes to machinery, cars definitely get all the love. We take it for granted that the elevator or escalator we choose will work. Every day, a billion people count on KONE to keep them moving. That’s why predictive maintenance matters. That’s also why — in a 100-year-old industry — KONE is differentiating with vision and vigilance. Using Watson IoT, intelligent, real-time (and real!) machine conversations happen. While we can listen for ourselves (and I highly recommend that you do), all this data allows KONE to spot problems before they happen. And because of that, those billion people can continue taking elevators for granted.

KONE elevators "talk" and can send alerts and anticipate problems.

KONE elevators can “talk”, which means they can send alerts and anticipate problems.

Innovation for the future

These two customers have an incredibly rich history. But neither has ever been interested in holding onto the past. Instead, they’re winning because they’re constantly looking forward. See … innovation! Those 20 paint defects are fixed, and customers are even more delighted in the product quality. Those oddly soothing machine voices keep us from getting stuck as we go about our our daily lives.

Along with the drive to constantly innovate, companies like ABB and KONE use IoT to access not just data but all the insights this data holds: deeper customer knowledge, more efficient operations, revenue growth and the ability transform and reimagine business.

Thanks again to ABB and KONE for sharing their stories with us. And if you’re interested in crafting your own successful IoT story, I invite you to learn more here.