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IBM, Cisco Take IoT Analytics To The Edge

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IBM’s Watson IoT platform, in conjunction with Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities, could allow businesses to analyze IoT data closer to its source.

The Internet of things is no good without a way to act on the data it generates. A new partnership between two of the biggest IoT players promises to put smart collection and advanced analysis of data right where it’s needed.

IBM and Cisco Systems have worked out how to run components of IBM’s Watson IoT analytics on Cisco edge devices. This will bring more intelligence closer to where the action is, helping enterprises run things like factories and oil rigs more efficiently.

In 2014, Cisco unveiled small routers and switches that could be embedded in facilities and vehicles located far from any data center. The devices could take in data from local sensors and analyze it on site with a small, built-in Linux computer. Among other things, this “fog computing” system could decide what data was interesting enough to send to the cloud and what could just be thrown away.

Cisco also included a way to make other analytics platforms work on the data. Watson was an obvious candidate. The partnership with IBM is a big step toward making the IoT edge more intelligent and linking it to powerful cloud-based analytics, said Mike Flannagan, Cisco vice president of data and analytics.

One thing the companies can do is to give edge devices Watson’s own smarts about what data points to send to the Watson cloud for long-term business insights. In addition, the Watson software can do some analytics without sending the information out to the cloud.

Enterprises want to see companies like Cisco and IBM working together on IoT, IDC analyst Vernon Turner said. In a field that’s still highly fragmented among various standards and solutions, cooperation among two big vendors that are already in the mix at many enterprises should help make things easier.

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