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In the Shadow of Watson – Cognitive Computing and the Connected World

The victory of IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer over chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997 was the moment I first recognized the true power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). That was just a couple of months before I started my career at Siemens. And now, 18 years later, another stunning AI victory has captured the attention of the world – the victory of Google’s Go-playing computer system over the Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol, finishing the best-of-five series with four wins and one loss. The attention this news generated was far-reaching, and it is also, I believe, necessary for preparing customers, especially enterprise customers, for the business aspirations of AI.

At the end of last year, IBM announced the opening of its global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT), a successor for Deep Blue. To hear that was happening in my town was really thrilling news!

The rise of the IoT became possible, in part, through innovations in and price declines for sensors as well as storage and compute power in data centers. The idea of extracting value out of the data is apparent. Still, the challenge is that 80% of the data is unstructured according to IBM. And this is where Watson comes into the game. With its cognitive compute power, it can analyze structured and unstructured data and present trends and correlations to the user. “The Internet of Things will soon be the largest single source of data on the planet, yet almost 90 percent of that data is never acted upon,” said Harriet Green, general manager, Watson IoT and Education. “With its unique abilities to sense, reason and learn, Watson opens the door for enterprises, governments and individuals to finally harness this real-time data, compare it with historical data sets and deep reservoirs of accumulated knowledge, and then find unexpected correlations that generate new insights to benefit business and society alike.”

Coriant originated in Munich by unleashing the former Siemens assets in optical transport and then expanded with Tellabs’ metro packet optical and routing assets, all of which are playing a crucial, though less recognized, role in the IoT infrastructure. All of the data generated by an armada of sensors needs to be collected, aggregated, and forwarded to data centers, and enterprises need to expand their LAN/WAN to the data center to crunch that data.

A new white paper from Coriant explains how service providers can prepare and optimize their networks for the Internet of Things age. Of course, one can argue that many IoT applications are already deployed and running without any network optimization. This white paper points to future applications that will require the highest possible network availability with super low latency. An example future application is smart roads in combination with connected self-driving cars. High network availability and low latency become even more apparent if applications evolve from pure monitoring to control, which is not necessarily the key design criteria for today’s networks, but the introduction of 5G for IoT and the rise of highly demanding control applications with safety aspects will question the way networks are built. Today, Coriant already delivers outstanding products to build networks for the next industrial revolution, which will move AI from the headlines to our fingertips.

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