IBM has announced that it will dedicate more than 5,000 industry experts with its new Watson IoT Consulting Solutions practice.

The global practice will provide access to these experts at its new Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Germany, and in eight other IBM IoT centres across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

These experts will consist of skilled consultants, data scientists, and design and security experts with deep domain and industry expertise, and will be dedicated to providing clients with guidance on tackling industry-specific IoT adoption challenges, according to the tech giant.

Early industry priorities for the practice will include automotive, electronics, industrial products, insurance, retail, telecommunications, transportation and buildings.

The practice will guide companies through the whole IoT journey, from development to implementation and ongoing support, reducing the risk and complexity of dealing with multiple vendors.

IBM’s general manager for business consulting Jesus Mantas said in a statement: “Clients can now easily introduce IoT innovation into their business by leveraging IBM’s industry and technical expertise to deliver lower risk, as-a-service commercial models.”

“We are helping clients accelerate the digitisation of their business processes by making it easy to deploy IoT solutions globally into their business.”

This announcement comes as IBM was named as a leader in analyst firm Forrester’s Wave report on IoT software platforms for the fourth quarter of 2016.

The study stated that “the Watson IoT Platform can serve a broad range of advanced IoT use cases” and that “IBM has added significant capabilities to the platform, including augmented reality, cognitive capabilities, blockchain, edge analytics, analytics tooling, and natural language processing.”

Watson IoT enters manufacturing and asset management industries

IBM has also expanded its Watson IoT platform with the announcement of new industry offerings called IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing, and Asset Health Insights.

IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing will allow businesses to better manage factory equipment and assets, improve manufacturing process and manage production resources more effectively, according to IBM.

Meanwhile, Asset Health Insights can be paired up with IBM Prescriptive Maintenance to allow organisations to maintain assets based on current condition using advanced analytics and data around weather, asset performance and maintenance.

These two offerings add to a portfolio that already includes IBM Watson IoT for Automotive, IBM Watson IoT for Electronics, and IBM Watson IoT for Insurance.

Encouraging IoT knowledge growth

IBM also announced that it will provide open and free access to the IBM Watson IoT Platform’s development capabilities.

According to the company, this is targeted towards business that are just starting out on IoT, and developers testing and exploring new IoT innovations.

The access will allow developers to take their prototypes and scale them into full production as the projects grow.

IBM is also adding to its existing education platform created in conjunction with Coursera by launching Watson IoT Academy.

This service provides easily consumable IoT learning tutorials online, and is led by IBM subject matter experts covering topics as diverse as introductory Raspberry Pi programming and natural language processing tutorials.