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IBM expands AI and cloud solutions for manufacturing


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IBM has announced new capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and hybrid cloud that will help businesses move forward with digital transformation.

The company unveiled the new advances, which include solutions for manufacturers, at its Think conference on May 11.

“We will look back on this year and last as the moment the world entered the digital century in full force,” says Arvind Krishna, IBM chair and CEO, in a statement.

“In the same way that we electrified factories and machines in the past century, we will use hybrid cloud to infuse AI into software and systems in the 21st century.”

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A new IBM study on the adoption of AI for business reveals that the imperative to embed AI into business processes became more urgent during the pandemic.

Of IT professionals surveyed, 43 per cent said that their companies had accelerated their rollout of AI. And nearly half of global IT professionals surveyed said they evaluate AI providers in large part on their ability to automate processes.

Here’s the updates of interest to manufacturers:

Mobile platform for asset management

IBM has launched Maximo Mobile, a mobile platform with IBM’s Maximo asset management solution at the core.

Maximo Mobile is designed to transform the work of field technicians who maintain physical assets such as production lines, power plants, refineries and more.

Access to specialized knowledge, asset health and predictions about outcomes and other insights can help users do more in the field.

A new interface provides technicians with asset operational data — they can access Watson AI and in-depth organizational knowledge to solve complex issues, remotely if necessary.

Automating access to data

IBM has added AutoSQL (Structured Query Language) to its Cloud Pak for Data, which uses AI to help customers get answers to distributed queries. AutoSQL automates how customers access, integrate and manage data without ever having to move it, regardless of where the data resides or how it is stored.

AutoSQL reduces the complexity of curating data for AI while uncovering hidden insights to make more accurate AI-driven predictions.

With the launch of AutoSQL, IBM Cloud Pak for Data can run seamlessly across any hybrid multi-cloud environment – including private clouds, on-premises and any public cloud.

AutoSQL will be one of several new technologies woven into a new data fabric in the Cloud Pak for Data. The new intelligent data fabric will automate complex data management tasks by using AI to discover, understand, access and protect distributed data across multiple environments, while unifying disparate data sources across a common data foundation.

Expanding partner network

As part of a $1-billion investment to support its partner ecosystem, IBM has created a new competency framework to enable partners to demonstrate expertise, technical validation and sales success in specialized areas such as hybrid cloud infrastructure, automation and security.

IBM ecosystem partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has already achieved competencies for building an industrial and manufacturing AI solution for data scientists and AI developers.

To further its investment in ecosystem partners, IBM is also expanding availability of its Cloud Engagement Fund (CEF), to all partner types, whether they build on, service, or re/sell IBM technology.

CEF provides investment through technical resources and cloud credits for partners to help migrate customer workloads to hybrid cloud environments.

IBM’s collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries Software is one example of how the CEF is helping IBM partners scale. Through this joint initiative, Siemens will apply IBM’s open hybrid cloud approach, built on Red Hat OpenShift, to extend the deployment flexibility of MindSphere, the industrial IoT-as-a-service solution from Siemens.