IBM’s Watson IoT Platform and Persistent Systems Team Up and Other News


IBM’s Watson IoT Platform and Persistent Systems Team Up

IBM announced yesterday that it would be partnering with Persistent Systems in order to improve and transform engineering processes and develop enterprise consulting services via IBM’s Watson IoT Platform in order to aid product development in the IoT space. Under the deal, Persistent will be dedicating over 1,000 engineers to the partnership, which aims to capitalize on the data generated by IoT applications and provide clients with engineering solutions.

IBM’s Watson supercomputer first achieved renown when it defeated two Jeopardy champions in 2011. Since then, it has turned its considerable abilities to providing actionable insights and intelligence in a variety of industries and fields including, most notably, IoT. Dubbed the Watson IoT Platform, IBM’s latest Watson application promises to bring cognitive computing capabilities to bear on the 6,000 exabytes of data that are estimated to be generated by IoT this year. Persistent brings expertise in continuous engineering, analytics and enterprise digital transformation to the table.

Whereas today, we only use 12% of the data generated by the sensors and actuators in IoT devices, the companies boast that Watson’s IoT Platform can help businesses unlock valuable product development insights by utilizing all of the data. The economic value generated by the plethora of data produced by increasing IoT adoption is projected to reach a gargantuan $11.1 trillion by 2025, according to McKinsey. Most of this productivity will come from business-to-business users who use IoT applications to revolutionize and optimize efficiency throughout their operational chain (think: smart factories and connected supply chains).

Chris O’Connor, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT Offerings said that “through continuous engineering, we can help customers to more quickly adapt to the huge amounts of data available to make strategic decisions and innovate more seamlessly. From improving the customer experience and offering new services to boosting operational performance, continuous engineering is key to the success of IoT.”

French LPWA Provider SigFox Wins Big Contract with Altice

French operator Altice announced a deal to integrate SigFox’s LPWA (low power wide area) network into its operations in France and eventually into its international presence in Europe and the US. Altice N.V. is an international telecom which owns Numericable-SFR, which is the second largest operator in France. Its adoption of SigFox’s proprietary IoT network promises to provide complementary services to Altice consumers and “to offer complementary connectivity solutions starting today that democratize the IoT in all sectors of the economy and expand the offer of connected solutions for businesses and consumers”.

This strategic move also pits the two companies against rivals Orange and Bouygues Telecom in the rapidly developing IoT space. Whereas Altice has opted to use SigFox’s network which already covers 92% of the French population, Orange and Bouygues have adopted LoRa, an LPWA technology which they have hailed as cheaper and more efficient than other alternatives. Olivier Ondet, marketing and consumer experience director at Orange notes that “LoRa is about 15 times more energy-efficient than cellular when used to support Internet of Things (IoT) applications that do not require huge amounts of bandwidth”. Orange also announced that it had chosen LoRa for its open ecosystem as opposed to SigFox.

SigFox announced that it is on track to cover more than 30 countries in its network by the end of this year and reach 10 major US cities with its low-cost, low-speed network designed to provide wireless service to companies seeking to leverage IoT. Its forays into the American market will likely receive a big boost from its partnership with Altice, which already boasts a sizeable presence in the US and is working on closing a $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision later this year.

FBI Says It Has Found a Third Party to Unlock San Bernardino iPhone

In a new development to the ongoing legal battle involving Apple, which has refused to assist the FBI by creating a backdoor into an iPhone associated with the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, the FBI has called off a scheduled meeting with Apple attorneys, announcing that it has received an offer of assistance from a third party. A DOJ spokesperson said that the FBI is “cautiously optimistic” that the outside party would be able to gain access into the iPhone’s data, and added that it would file a status update on April 5 regarding the viability of the method.

In the wake of the FBI’s disclosure, security experts stated that they were unsurprised that the hacker did not turn instead to Apple, given Apple’s longstanding policy of not financially rewarding hackers for discovering bugs in their systems and products. Other technology giants, such as Google, Uber, and Yahoo offer bounties and financial incentives for hackers to discover and turn flaws over to them. Google, for instance, recently doubled its reward to $100,000 for anyone who can successfully break into its Chromebook.

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