ABB and IBM have announced a collaboration that combines ABB’s Ability digital portfolio with IBM’s Watson program.

The collaboration will focus on solutions for utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure. The first systems available will be for manufacturing and smart grid applications.

The solutions are designed to go a step further than current connected systems; in addition to gathering data, the systems will be able to take action to eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies. As an example, real-time production images from an ABB system can be analyzed by IBM’s Watson Internet of Things for Manufacturing, speeding up the inspection process and alerting manufacturers to faults not visible to the human eye.

In smart grid applications, Watson can be used to predict supply patterns and demand based on historical and weather data. Temperature forecasts, sunshine and wind speed will be used to predict consumption demand, which will be used to help utilities manage loads and real-time pricing.