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IBM Watson supercomputer
IBM’s Watson AI software is best-known for winning at “Jeopardy!” in 2011. (IBM Photo)

In trying to enlarge its share of the public-cloud market, IBM has put a lot of emphasis on its Watson Internet of Things engine. It’s been building Watson since 2006, enhancing the artificial intelligence engine’s ability to use natural language processing and machine learning to sift through large volumes of text and data.

IBM's Watson triumphs on Jeopardy.
IBM’s Watson triumphs on Jeopardy.

Watson’s victory at Jeopardy! in 2011 was a triumph, and these days, to judge by press release volume alone, Watson is front and center in IBM’s marketing efforts.

Today IBM celebrated landing in the upper-right corner of Forrester’s Wave ranking of 11 IoT providers (similar to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant) for the quarter. That position denotes both a strong product offering and a strong market presence. Close behind Watson were Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite, GE’s Predix and PTC’s ThingWorx. Amazon Web Services’ IoT Suite trailed those entries.

IBM also launched Watson IoT Consulting Solutions, with 1,500 consultants, and offered free access to its Watson IoT Platform. The new consulting group is based in Munich, with offices in eight other IoT centers. The company said it’s working with more than 50,000 developers  to help them to get up and running on Watson.

IBM invested $3 billion to create a new IoT unit in 2015, with more than 1,000 researchers, developers and designers all devoted to developing Watson, Forrester noted. Since then it’s added cognitive capabilities, blockchain and other features, and is “well positioned for market leadership.” But Watson isn’t well integrated with analytics engines, and its product offerings are confusing, the research firm said.

Some 60 percent of decision-makers at companies worldwide are using or plan to use IoT-enabled applications over the next two years, according to Forrester.

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