IBM will invest $200 million to make Munich its global headquarters for its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) business. Specifically, the company will develop new IoT capabilities using a private Blockchain system of coding to structure data and improve IoT security.
According to Bret Greenstein, VP for Watson’s IoT platform and developer outreach at IBM, the company picked Munich for the headquarters because of the city’s focus on industrial IoT and its leadership in privacy. “Germany is a leader in privacy, which is the cornerstone of IoT,” Greenstein said.
IBM’s IoT headquarters will have about 1,000 researchers, engineers, developers, and business managers and will feature a series of cognitive IoT labs, where clients and partners will be able to work together on IoT technologies for areas like automotive, manufacturing, and healthcare.
IBM also said it now has about 6,000 customers using its Watson IoT platform, a 2,000-customer increase in just eight months. Greenstein attributes much of that growth to the increase of developers working with Watson to create IoT services for customers. “Small companies can engage in this and pay as they grow — that is great model,” he said.
The company also announced the following new customer deals:
- Schaeffler, a German automotive and industrial supplier, will use Watson’s connectivity and analytics platform to optimize its equipment in the field.
- Aerialtronics, a Netherlands-based designer of drones, will use Watson to process data from its drones that are used to monitor traffic patterns and inspect wind turbines, oil rigs, and cell towers.
- Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, based in Center City, Pennsylvania, will use Watson to make it easier for patients to operate lights and window blinds as well as get information on their doctors.
IBM has been expanding overseas a lot lately. Just last week the company announced that it had opened a new cloud data center in Korea that will include an artificial intelligence platform that will let developers create services using Watson. The center is located in Pangyo, Korea, near Seoul.