German Federal President Makes First Visit to IBM’s Global Watson Internet of Things Headquarters in Munich

fortiss Research Institute Joins BMW, BNP Paribas, Avnet, Capgemini, HARMAN and Other Leading Global Organizations in IBM's Watson IoT HQ Collaboratories in Munich

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MUNICH - 26 Apr 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Bavarian State Minister for Education and Culture, Science and Art Dr. Ludwig Spaenle are visiting its global Watson Internet of Things (IoT) headquarters in Munich, home of the industry’s first cognitive “collaboratories.” Today’s visit will demonstrate how leading automobile manufacturers, financial, research institutions and other co-location partners are successfully collaborating with IBM experts to turn Germany into the global center of IoT and Industry 4.0 and foster its role as a leading industrialized country.

Earlier this year, IBM announced the official opening of its global Watson IoT headquarters, which is part of the company’s most significant investment made in Europe in the last two decades. At the heart of the facility are new cognitive collaboratories that bring together clients, IBM Business Partners and IBM’s 1,000 Munich-based IoT experts, all focused on a singular goal of pushing the boundaries of what is possible across all industries.

As part of his visit, Federal President Steinmeier will tour the center and see demonstrations of some of the innovative cognitive IoT projects that are underway today including:

  • A cognitive visual inspection solution that learns over time, leveraging many patterns of visual inspection such as impurity/high-contrast areas, geometry detection and verification, abnormal texture area detection and color/brightness feature extraction and verification to determine quality defects.
  • A connected car solution that uses map and driver analytics to gain vehicle and driver insight. This insight offers advice on driving changes drivers can use to improve fuel efficiency while monitoring the technical health of the car to predict maintenance needs based on actual car usage. In even features security solutions that significantly raise the barriers to hackers and adapt preventative measures.

“We are honored to host Federal President Steinmeier at our global Watson IoT headquarters where great technology minds are coming together in the spirit of innovation,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Customer Engagement and Education. “Collaboration across borders and industries is key when it comes to turning inspirational ideas into truly transformative solutions that will make Munich the global center for both IoT and Industry 4.0.”

Global interest in IBM’s collaboratories continues to grow as businesses and other institutions recognize the potential of these centers to spawn new innovative ideas.

Today IBM also announced the latest co-location partner fortiss, a research institute associated with the Technical University of Munich, the largest and most notable German technology institute with alumni that includes 13 Nobel laureates. Dedicated to spurring new transformative innovation in the region, fortiss’s team of PhD and postgraduates will work with IBM in the areas of cognitive robotics and smart manufacturing systems. The collaboration will initially focus on two areas:

  • Cognitive Robotics: fortiss will work to add new cognitive capabilities to robots that enable them to learn and decide on their own to improve specific tasks. These capabilities compliment fortiss’ realization of flexible robot systems and enhance the intuitive fortiss programming concepts and human-robot-cooperation concepts being used today. 
  • Cognitive Manufacturing / Industry 4.0: fortiss will make manufacturing processes smarter by applying cognitive IoT capabilities that allow systems to more easily adapt to business challenges such as enabling more flexible production. This is specifically relevant as demand for smaller lot sizes continues to increase, raising the need for more flexible and efficient manufacturers systems.

“The fortiss team is dedicated to researching new ways that IoT can transform technologies and ultimately bring new levels of efficiency and productivity to industries such as manufacturing,” said Prof. Helmut Krcmar of fortiss. “As the IoT leader in the region, we are excited to work side-by-side with IBM’s top minds and together give life to new innovations that can have a transformative impact on both businesses and consumers around the world.”

Today IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters is home to co-location and ecosystem partners from various industries including Avnet, BMW, BNP Paribas, Bragi, HARMAN, Tech Mahindra, EEBus alliance, UnternehmerTUM innovation center and others. 

About IBM Watson IoT

IBM is an established leader in the Internet of Things with more than 6,000 client engagements in 170 countries, a growing ecosystem of over 1,400 partners and more 750 IoT patents which together help to draw actionable insight from billions of connected devices, sensors and systems around the world. For more information on IBM Watson IoT, please visit

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