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Why IBM’s Extended Partnership with Siemens Is Important


Jan. 12 2017, Updated 10:37 a.m. ET

Siemens engaged Watson to enhance its PaaS offering

Though IBM (IBM) continues to lead its peers in terms of patents, its spending on R&D (research and development) is much lower than the spending of its technology peers. 

Let’s see how IBM is trying to develop Watson, its AI (artificial intelligence) offering, into a revenue generator.

In late December 2016, IBM announced that German-based (EWG) Siemens (SIEGY) was engaging Watson for its MindSphere platform. Siemens is a manufacturing and electronics company with significant on-premises software suites, which it aims to migrate to the cloud.

MindSphere, Siemens’ industry analytics platform, is essentially a PaaS (platform as a service). It’s built on SAP’s (SAP) HANA cloud platform. Siemens intends to boost the industrial capabilities of MindSphere by engaging it with Watson.

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MindSphere offers apps to manufacturing industries. The MindSphere platform offers a slew of tools developers can use to create customized or specialized apps for industrial usage. Through these apps, MindSphere enables global manufacturing industries to reap the benefits of rapidly growing big data and analytics technologies.

In the past, Siemens partnered with IBM to explore Watson’s capabilities in the healthcare space.

Collaboration with MindSphere will open doors

Let’s see how Watson could benefit from its engagement with MindSphere. If we look at the major acquisitions IBM took part in for Watson’s sake—namely Phytel, Explorys, Merge Healthcare, and Truven Health—we can see that they enabled Watson to dive into data and provide insights that could be used in different sectors.

By employing Watson, Siemens intends to extract insights from the data found in manufacturing systems sensors. To fully utilize and benefit from these data, smart apps are needed. Siemens intends to tap this opportunity to build data-driven and intelligent apps by collaborating with Watson.

MindSphere is based on the SAP HANA platform. IBM already has a strategic partnership with SAP for the development of cognitive and cloud-based solutions for customers of both companies.

Thus, IBM’s Watson could benefit, as MindSphere and SAP HANA are industry-oriented and should expand Watson’s reach in different industries. IBM is already expanding Watson’s expertise from healthcare to blockchain technology and from banking to financial services.


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