IBM Think Recap

by Roy Murdock | 03/22/2018

VDC analysts Chris Rommel and Roy Murdock attended IBM’s new flagship conference Think 2018, held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. IBM rolled a few of its previous conferences such as InterConnect, World of Watson, Amplify, Edge, and PartnerWorld into one mega conference attended by almost 40,000 customers, partners, and executives.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty set the tone with her keynote by outlining the three keys to success in the digital world:

(1) Leverage digital platforms,
(2) Embed learning/AI in every process,
(3) Empower people with all forms of machinery and intelligence.

She highlighted various customers, welcoming the CEO of Verizon Lowell McAdam, the CEO-designate of a joint Maersk-IBM venture Michael White, and CEO of Royal Bank of Canada Dave McKay to share IBM success stories across the telecom, logistics, and financial services industries.

Key partners on the show floor and in sessions included most notably SAP and Salesforce. IBM integrations with these platforms and solutions/application built to add logic to the troves of ERP/CRM data collected were prominently displayed throughout the conference. Focusing in on IBM’s IoT play – key customers and partners included ABB, GM, Harman, Jaguar Land Rover, and Whirlpool.

IBM’s Senior PM of IoT, Bernard Kufluk, also shared more information on its latest technological venture in the IoT space – Watson IoT Edge Analytics. The new offering (currently in technical preview) will sit on gateway devices (Raspberry Pi level SoCs and up in terms of resource requirements), performing analytics and running Docker-packaged services at the edge. Another key strategy for IBM in the IoT will be layering Watson digital assistant technology on top of sensors and machinery to create query-able rooms, spaces, and devices. For instance, IBM envisions a solution where an asset operator can directly ask a car parking lot general questions such as “how many spaces are available” instead of “what is the status of parking space 34” – adding further awareness and intelligence to assets and their context.

Overall, Think 2018 was a great way for IBM to showcase its customers and bridge the gap between different technologies such as blockchain, IoT, and quantum computing to demonstrate how customers could benefit from all of IBM’s various capabilities. We look forward to seeing the general release of Watson IoT Edge Analytics, and will keep clients updated on the latest. For more information please see our 2018 Research Outline.

Stay tuned for our next analysis, highlighting IBM’s initiatives and opportunities to bolster developer productivity at scale - from the edge to the enterprise.

View the 2018 IoT & Embedded Technology Research Outline to learn more.



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