In a joint statement, ABB and IBM have announced an agreement where both companies will work together to develop and sell new products “for customers in utilities, industry and transport and infrastructure.” The agreement is part of what ABB describes as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The ABB press release says, “customers will benefit from ABB’s deep domain knowledge and extensive portfolio of digital solutions, combined with IBM’s expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning.” The press release goes on to say the combination will address some of the biggest industrial challenges, including improving quality control, reducing down time, and increasing yield of the industrial process. “These solutions will move beyond current connected systems that simply gather data,” the release states. Through IBM’s Watson Internet of Things capability, the data will be better understood, and the actions taken from the data will be more accurate and efficient.
“This important collaboration with ABB will take Watson even deeper into industrial applications – from manufacturing, to utilities, to transportation and more,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, president and CEO. “The data generated from industrial companies’ products, facilities and systems holds the promise of exponential advances in innovation, efficiency and safety. Only with Watson’s broad cognitive capabilities and our platform’s unique support for industries can this vast new resource be turned into value, with trust. We are eager to work in partnership with ABB on this new industrial era.”
According to Reuters, ABB is focusing on digital technology as a potential growth area. The Reuters story says ABB gets nearly 55 percent of sales from products that use digital technology. The combination of ABB and IBM’s Watson technology will allow those products to find defects through real-time production images. Inspections were done manually, and could potentially contain mistakes. With the Watson technology, the inspections are sped up and mistakes are eliminated, which will mean perfect production of products without fear of costly recalls or reputation damage.
“This powerful combination marks truly the next level of industrial technology, moving beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to industrial operations and machines that use data to sense, analyze, optimize and take actions that drive greater uptime, speed and yield for industrial customers,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “With an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6,000 enterprise software solutions, ABB is a trusted leader in the industrial space, and has a four decade long history of creating digital solutions for customers. IBM is a leader in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Together, IBM and ABB will create powerful solutions for customers to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
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