IBM Combines IoT and Watson Expertise into a Common Practice

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To one degree or another, IBM has been tapping into Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities even before it launched its Smarter Planet initiatives way back in 2008. At the same time, IBM since 2011 has been steadily building a portfolio of applications combining Big Data analytics and the IBM Watson cognitive computing platform.

Today, IBM noted the achievement of a milestone in that journey with the formal launch of IoT Watson Consulting Solutions, which will combine IBM’s IoT and Watson expertise to create a new dedicated IBM consulting practice consisting of over 1,500 IBM employees.

As part of that effort, IBM is also moving to make its IoT and Watson portfolio of technologies available as a suite of technologies optimized for specific vertical industries, starting with IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing. IBM also committed today to making the core IBM Watson IoT platform available for free to application developers.

Jesus Mantas, general manager for IBM Business Consulting, says that unlike other consulting practices in this space, IBM has developed the actual technologies that will drive next-generation IoT technologies. From the application programming interfaces (APIs) made available on the Watson platform to data models that harken back to Smarter Planet initiatives, Mantas says IBM is unique in that it’s not just trying to launch a business consulting practice.

“We’ve spent years creating industry-specific semantic models,” says Mantas.

Most organizations, however, are still challenged in terms of how to monetize an IoT investment, much less figure out who will be put in charge of managing IoT projects. Because of those issues, a whole host of IoT consulting practices has been launched by almost any IT services provider of any size. IBM, however, is clearly betting that when the IoT rubber finally meets the road, organizations in need of some IoT direction will lean more on the consulting organization with the most hands-on experience with the underlying technologies.