Artificial intelligence needed to make sense of IoT data
Artificial intelligence needed to make sense of IoT data
Artificial intelligence needed to make sense of IoT data

Artificial intelligence needed to make sense of IoT data

IBM says machine learning necessary to process vast quantities of data produced by sensors.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be an essential part of IoT systems as organisations struggle to make sense of the enormous amounts of data produced by the Internet of Things.

In a keynote speech at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, Harriet Green, global head of IBM Watson IoT said that “millions of sensors are giving appliances and devices eyes and ears, increasing their inbuilt intelligence and enabling them to interact with us better.”

“The challenge is that over next few years, the Internet of Things will become the biggest source of data on the planet,” she said.

Machine learning

“That’s where IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system comes in. Watson uses machine learning and other techniques to understand this data and turn it into insight, which can help automate tasks, enable manufacturers to design better products, innovate new services and enhance our overall quality of life – especially in the home. And with cognitive technologies, interactions with ‘things’ through natural language and voice commands will dramatically improve.”

She outlined in the speech how cognitive computing is helping deliver on the full potential of the Internet of Things and transforming our relationship with the physical world and making appliances, machines, devices, homes and cars better, safer, more intuitive and interactive.

In the keynote, Green said that Whirlpool, Panasonic and Nokia have teamed up with IBM to demonstrate how the cognitive computing capability of its Watson IoT platform could “drive a new wave of innovation” in the home.

Energy saving

The firms showed a number of scenarios where appliances and users could interact with each other.

For example, a Whirlpool washing machine will communicate directly with a dryer letting it know what kind of laundry load to expect and the optimum drying program to use – saving time and energy consumption in the home.

Panasonic is looking at how Watson’s machine learning and natural language processing capabilities can help transform the services it provides, for example, offering peace of mind to customers knowing that their homes are comfortable and secure.

Nokia is exploring opportunities to integrate Watson IoT with its wearables and smart devices for home care. Its goal is a system that helps to detect and alert caregivers to potential problems such as: deviation from daily routines, abnormal vital signs and sudden changes in the home environment.


Bragi, which makes smart earphones, is using the language translation and speech-to-text capabilities of IBM’s Watson IoT platform to transform the way people interact, communicate and collaborate in the workplace. The vision is for users to use the headset to receive instructions, interact with co-workers and enable management teams to keep track of the location, operating environment, wellbeing and safety of workers. The two companies are even looking into how head gestures could enable users to respond to instructions or send commands for simple tasks such as turning the page in an instruction manual during hands-on or dangerous tasks.

Read more: ISS uses Watson IoT to revolutionise building management