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Friday, April 28, 2017

ABB teams with IBM for AI in the Internet of Things

By Nick Flaherty

ABB and IBM are working to links the ABB Ability networking technology with IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) artificial intelligence.

This will create a suite of software tools to help industrial organizations improve quality control, reduce downtime and increase speed and yield of industrial processes in a completely new way. The solutions enable current connected systems that simply gather data to become cognitive industrial machines that use data to understand, sense, reason and take actions to support industrial workers.

ABB has an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6,000 enterprise software solutions, giving Watson a large base of devices.

The first two joint industry solutions will bring real-time cognitive insights to the factory floor and smart grids.

ABB and IBM will use Watson’s AI to help find defects via real-time production images that are captured through an ABB system, and then analyzed using IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing. Previously these inspections were done manually, which was often a slow and error-prone process. By bringing the power of Watson’s real time cognitive insights directly to the shop floor in combination with ABB’s industrial automation technology, companies will be better equipped to increase the volume flowing through their production lines while improving accuracy and consistency. As parts flow through the manufacturing process, the solution will alert the manufacturer to critical faults – not visible to the human eye – in the quality of assembly. This enables fast intervention from quality control experts.

In another example. ABB and IBM will apply AI to predicting supply patterns in electricity generation and demand from historical and weather data, to help utilities optimize the operation and maintenance of today’s smart grids, which are facing the increased complexity created by the new balance of conventional as well as renewable power sources. Forecasts of temperature, sunshine and wind speed will be used to predict consumption demand, which will help utilities determine optimal load management as well as real-time pricing.

“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.

“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.”

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