IBM is betting big on internet of things and setting aside $200 million for its Watson IoT division's headquarters in Munich. The company says this investment, one of the biggest it's ever made in Europe, is a response to the growing demand for AI technologies and the capability to connect everything to the internet. Part of the money will go to setting up hands-on labs where its clients can work with a thousand researchers, engineers, developers and business experts in the city. In fact, the tech corp has already secured new partnerships with German automotive parts supplier Schaeffler, Netherlands-based dronemaker Aerialtronics and three facilities at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia.
Schaeffler will use the Watson-powered IoT platform to give the various products it manufactures for the wind turbine, train, auto and other industries a way to monitor their own conditions. The platform will also lend Aerialtronics' drones the power to monitor traffic patterns and inspect towering structures, such as wind turbines, oil rigs and cell towers. Finally, the platform will allow patients at Thomas Jefferson to control the lights, windows and other objects in their rooms by issuing commands through a speaker.
Besides the $200 million investment, IBM has also announced that its Watson-powered blockchain service is now available for enterprise clients. Like the Bitcoin blockchain, Watson's version will allow users to monitor the activities of connected devices. A Finnish company called Kinno, for instance, is using it to develop a way to track container status and location.
Since the tech titan plans to sink as much as $3 billion into its IoT business, this $200 million investment is but a small part of its overall plans. You can read more about the Watson IoT platform on its website if you're interested, since you'll likely hear about it often going forward.