AT&T taps IBM Watson for new IoT analytics

The real value of data from connected assets lies in extracting meaningful insights and making near real-time decisions.

AT&T is tapping into IBM Watson's knowledge in a collaboration focused on new ways for companies to make the most of the data gathered through industrial internet of things (IoT) applications.  

In a pilot program between AT&T and IBM, the two companies plan to offer AT&T’s enterprise customers insights into their industrial IoT data by tapping into a range of connected services, including the IBM Watson IoT data platform and IBM Machine Learning Service.

With the new service, companies can use their own generated IoT data to better predict maintenance and optimization for their machines.

By way of example, the companies point to an oil and gas company that wants to detect anomalous events within its wells. By using AT&T's IoT network and the IBM Watson Data Platform, AT&T's IoT analytics solutions will ingest data from hundreds of wells, creating the models necessary with appropriate machine learning libraries and open-source technology to help predict potential failures or machine malfunctions. The company will then be able to detect anomalies in less time and with more accuracy.

"We have more than 30 million connected devices on our network today and that number continues to grow—primarily driven by enterprise adoption," said Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions at AT&T, in a press release. "Businesses are eager for actionable data insights from their connected devices that help improve their processes and take the guesswork out of decision-making. Integrating the IBM Watson Data Platform into our IoT capabilities will be huge for our enterprise customers."

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In 2016, AT&T and IBM announced plans to integrate AT&T Flow Designer with the IBM Watson IoT Platform and IBM Bluemix, IBM's Cloud Platform. Now those combined capabilities are available to enterprise developers, creating an end-to-end cloud experience that enables developers to build, deploy and scale their IoT applications.

Earlier this year, IBM officially opened its $200 million global headquarters for its Watson IoT business in Munich, part of a global investment of $3 billion by IBM intended to bring the capabilities of its Watson cognitive computing to the IoT.

Oil and gas is just one industry expected to take advantage of the industrial IoT. Utilities and smart grids, factories and transportation areas such as aviation, mass transit, maritime, rail and cars are interested as well.

According to General Electric, the industrial internet, defined as the combination of Big Data and the IoT, may be responsible for $15 trillion of worldwide GDP by 2030.