Swiss multinational ABB has agreed a partnership with International Business Machines Corp (IBM), which combines ABB’s digital offering, ABB Ability – a tool for gathering information from industrial machinery – with the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson IoT.
"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," ABB Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said in a joint statement.
"With an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6,000 enterprise software solutions, ABB is a trusted leader in the industrial space, and has a four decade long history of creating digital solutions for customers. IBM is a leader in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Together, IBM and ABB will create powerful solutions for customers to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
A new report on the Global Artificial Intelligence Market in the Industrial Sector has forecast massive growth at a CAGR of 52.65% during the period 2017-2021. It says AI technologies are being developed to assist human beings in deliberating, deducing, analyzing, and inventing new technologies that can guarantee the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The availability and widespread adoption of graphical processing units due to innovation in technology, increased power capacity, and reduced costs have been an impetus for the adoption of AI technologies in sensor systems.
IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty shares this sentiment: “The data generated from industrial companies' products, facilities and systems holds the promise of exponential advances in innovation, efficiency and safety.”
So how will this partnership work in practice? ABB and IBM say their combined technology will improve inspections on a production line, by helping to find defects via real-time images collected by an ABB system, and then analyzed using IBM Watson. A system will alert manufacturers to faults that may not be caught by humans on the assembly line, enabling quicker intervention from the quality control team.
This latest move highlights an ongoing effort by ABB to focus on digital technologies. With IBM’s AI and machine learning capabilities at their disposal, ABB believe they can further increase productivity and reduce downtime. Presently, around 55 percent of sales from products that are digitally enabled.
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