IBM has announced it will invest $200 million in its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) business located in Munich, Germany. According to the company, the investment was made in response to the growing demand for artificial intelligence and IoT technologies in the region.
IBM plans to open new labs where partners will be able to work with the company’s researchers, developers, engineers, and business experts. A major part of the investment will likely be spent on the new equipment needed for the labs activities. Besides, to handle more visitors IBM will likely need to rent additional offices in Highlight Towers, the office complex in Munich.
This is one of the biggest investments ever made by IBM in Europe. It is part of the company’s $3 billion global investment plan targeted at combining Watson computing with the IoT.
“IBM is making tremendous strides to ensure that businesses around the world are able to take advantage of this incredible period of technological transformation and develop new products and services that really change people’s lives,” said Harriet Green, Global Head of IBM’s Watson IoT business.
“Germany is at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 initiative and by inviting our clients and partners to join us in Munich, we are opening up our talent and technologies to help deliver on the promise of IoT and establishing a global hotbed for collaborative innovation.”
Currently, there are 6,000 clients worldwide who are using Watson IoT solutions and services. Just eight months ago there were 4,000 users globally. Among them are Germany-based automotive supplier Schaeffler, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and aircraft systems producer Aerialtronics. Schaeffler has signed a multi-year agreement with IBM to speed up the digital transformation of its operations with the use of Watson’s cognitive intelligence.
Meantime, IBM is not the only company that made a significant investment in the IoT sector over the last time. Last month, German software manufacturer SAP unveiled it is going to expand its IoT business and invest $2.2 billion by 2020.
Currently, IBM is also investigating the blockchain technology and its potential applications. Not long ago, IBM teamed up with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to launch a Blockchain Innovation Centre in Singapore. The company is going to cooperate with government to develop blockchain technologies to improve business transactions across different industries.
According to the recent IBM report, the distributed ledger technology will be used by 15% of the largest banks by 2017. Last month, IBM also partnered with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) to use a blockchain-based platform for the management of smart contracts between entities.