IBM and Bosch link up to make industrial IoT easier

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Computing industry giant IBM Corp. and the Bosch Group, a supplier of Internet of Things technologies, announced a collaboration today to make it easier for clients’ development and operations teams to manage IoT devices.

As part of the partnership, Bosch will make its Bosch IoT Suite available on the IBM Bluemix cloud computing service and will interconnect with the IBM Watson IoT Platform.

The Bosch IoT Suite provides a cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service for managing software updates and a conduit for data about updates and devices to DevOps teams.

As more devices enter the world as connected “things,” making certain every product in the field is updated is an increasingly complex problem. As a company that supports hardware and software for the industrial Internet, Bosch provides a service called Bosch IoT Rollouts, which is a cloud-based service designed to manage software updates.

For example, car manufacturers can now schedule and organize software updates to millions of vehicles without the need for owners to bring them into the shop. Connected refrigerators, washing machines and dryers could be batch-updated with software patches and upgrades for customers seamlessly without the need for a technician visit.

Continuous deployment and integration, which are DevOps practices that involve the rapid development and deployment of software features, require highly agile management software to make certain every client and device can be updated in a timely fashion. Differing versions of software across a fleet of connected devices can generate splits in the network or abnormal operation.

Gartner predicts that the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Each of these devices would depend on its own internal software runtime and be connected to a larger network in need of management.

Better data integration with IBM Watson IoT

Solution developers for the IoT industry will benefit from seamless integration with IBM Watson IoT, which provides access to IBM’s powerful machine learning services.

This will enable Bosch customers to pass the considerable amount of data produced by IoT systems through Watson for real-time analysis and custom application development.

“Over the next few years, the Internet of Things will become the biggest source of data on the planet, with billions of connected devices streaming information about their status, their location and their health,” said Harriet Green, general manager for cognitive engagement and education at IBM Watson IoT.

Data delivered from IoT devices can be used to assist DevOps teams to better understand how hardware and software operate in the field. It can also be used to determine if a recent patch is causing problems or if customers have some yet unforeseen need based on usage.

Integration with IBM Watson also opens up possibilities for developers to build smarter applications that can interact with users in humanlike ways, to provide better customer service. Real-time data analysis can also bring insights back to the device. For example, a connected device can lower its air intake after multiple nearby machines register bad air quality that’s causing performance problems.

Photo: Connected, by Eric J Holmes via Attribution Engine. Licensed under CC BY