IBM snags new European clients for Watson supercomputer

IBM's artificial intelligence system is being harnessed for two fresh IoT projects across Europe.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

IBM has announced the addition of two new European clients which are harnessing the power of Watson cognitive computing.

On Friday, Big Blue said an industrial player and substantial company in the electrical field have teamed up with IBM to capitalize on the IBM Watson supercomputer's capabilities for use with Internet of Things (IoT) technology and data analytics.

The news comes on the heels of the tech giant's acquisition of Truven Health for $2.6 billion. Announced earlier this week, the purchase is intended to bulk up Watson Health, an aspect of the Watson program which tracks healthcare-based costs and quality.

The first client is KONE, an Espoo, Finland-based developer of elevators and escalator technology. KONE said Watson will be used in tandem with IBM's cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform to connect, monitor and optimize the firm's running of millions of escalators, doors and turnstiles in cities worldwide.

Specifically, the supercomputer and platform will be used to analyze the vast amounts of data KONE's products collect for maintenance purposes, and in order to identify and predict problems before downtime occurs and service engineers must be called.

Henrik Ehrnrooth, President & CEO of KONE said the agreement will permit the development of "new solutions like remote diagnostics and predictability [which] means we will deliver even better services to our customers, and great experiences for the people who use our equipment."

The second client is Fingrid, Finland's main electricity transmission grid operator. IBM's technology will be connected to a network of sensors in a new project called ELVIS, designed to improve visibility in the electric grid across the country.

ELVIS is due to be used by network operators to keep electricity flowing across Fingrid's 14,000 km electricity grid. It is hoped the system will improve cost efficiency, and the data collected and analyzed by Watson can be used to better day-to-day and long-term management of electricity supplies, maintenance, and safety.

Marcus Stenstrand, grid manager at Fingrid Oyj commented:

"Today's power systems are getting more and more complex. At the same time as there is a growing requirement that power must be available all the time. We must therefore be able to do fast large-scale fault investigation thereby reducing the impact on people and businesses all over Finland.

We realized that we needed to combine near-real-time big data analytics with external factors such as weather to respond to these kinds of situations better and ensure the highest levels of service for our customers."

As today's core services become more complex and become connected via grids and IoT technology, more and more companies are likely to use Big Data and analytics to improve their businesses, services, and efficiency as a whole. As such, platforms and systems such as IBM Watson will lure more and more clients to the fold for a range of uses across business, medicine, research and other industries.

Last year, IBM announced a fresh $3 billion wave of investment into IoT solutions.

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