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At CES, IBM promotes digital transformation as dawn of "cognitive era"

By Jason Hiner, TechRepublic

Jan 11, 2016

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"There's a reason IBM is 105 years old. It has a history of making big bets and being proven right," said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

That's how Shapiro introduced IBM CEO Ginny Rometty for her CES 2016 keynote on Wednesday at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

And Rometty didn't waste any time revealing IBM's next big bet as "cognitive" solutions. She said that in order to bring this kind of intelligence to companies, IBM identified that it needed three things:

  1. The right platform — It built out a cloud platform in 44 countries
  2. New forms of data — This includes "dark data that you need, but you don't have to own"
  3. An ecosystem — IBM committed to building an ecosystem for every industry and every domain

All of this will be powered by the company's crown jewel, IBM Watson, and the place where it will have its biggest impact will be the Internet of Things.

Chris O'Connor, General Manager of IBM's Internet of Things division, highlighted Rometty's assertion that the company's cognitive strategy is about triangulating three areas where IBM has existing strengths and is making substantial investments: cloud, analytics, and IoT. O'Connor summed up the investments:

  • Cloud: $1 billion in infrastructure in 44 different countries
  • Analytics: $16 billion over the past six years
  • IoT: $4 billion over four years (which started in 2015)

Read three success stories on how IBM has already paired Watson with the IoT.