The story of Watson IoT and my extra virgin olive oil

As a number of friends know I define myself a “well being practitioner”, that means a number of things, in large part good things of course. 🙂

One of the angles of my “well being activities” is to spend sometime around my olive three field and patiently wait to harvest fruits as well as  transform them into “extra virgin olive oil”.
This year I enjoyed my first oil production: these pictures show the result I obtained just few weeks ago, and, in particular, the olive pressing machine I utilized.
Well, it is a traditional olive pressing machine. No high tech was adopted in this case: just press the olives to a degree that oil comes naturally out. That’s all! Actually, you can taste and utilize the oil once out from the machine (this was exactly what I did as you can see from the picture! Of course!: Please note that “la frisa” – https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisella, the special #puglia bread in the picture, was made by my wife).

The overall process included a number of steps: take the olives, clean and wash them in a first machine, put them under 2 big stone wheels for a while to produce sort of olive patè, take the olive patè and put it in the press machine. This process was long approximately 3 hours.
I was there all the time, watching and patiently waiting.
The time included a number of hand tasks, levers to act, trolleys to move, machines to check, cans to fill, etc.
Fascinating process for a well being practitioner, I guarantee, specially if you are
the same person that gathered the olives from the threes few hours before!

So the question when I saw the IBM announcement about Watson IoT Yesterday and the Harriet Geen’s blog post in particular (http://www.ibm.com/blogs/think/2015/12/15/cognitive-iot-making-the-internet-of-things-deliver-for-all-of-us/) was: could my “traditional” olive oil making process be optimized?

Of course you are thinking that this kind of optimization it is already there: there are alternative versions of the same process that run with other methods that take plenty less time. But my point is different: could we think to redesign a traditional mechanical processes monitored by an Internet of Thing that can instrument the machines, and intelligently automate it? In my case just to reduce the production time, let’s say from 3h to 2.5h?
Probably this is not an “impossible” task it was a matter of design a better synchronization process among parties, among machines involved in the process simply. For instance, if those machines could “talk” one each other, if they could generate prioritization hypothesis about sub tasks and ask to the human operator to do an actions when is effectively needed, probably we can improve the chain.

A second question could be: Could this process redesign could have a positive cost-benefit balance?

Of course at the current condition the answer is simply NO. It could cost to instrument my traditional production chain to much, as well to make it “intelligent” not only to automate but also to optimize operations by evaluating best working hypothesis, as I was arguing before.

With the announcement of Watson IoT probably I have more hope to reply in different way to that question, in perspective at least. Reply in positive way to the question before, I mean, with a Yes.

Watson IoT cloud, in particular, would be seen a systemic environment, an ecosystem, a mega toolbox where someone could find all is needed to rethink, for instance, an industrial/mechanical process a smart home process, and in general a process that involves connected devices that could support you to automate the process with intelligence.

Main ingredients of this intelligent IoT toolbox are two:

– The possibility to gather and manage IoT data from a multitude of compatible sources and use all of them, leveraging your IoT data but also other IoT data that could complement your data points, such as Weather data coming from other providers.

– Leverage a set of ready to use APIs that provide an advanced analysis layer ready to mixed to build your use case such as the possibility to interact with systems and devices using simple human language, automate data processing by continuously learning from every interaction with data, find correlations and anomalies in unstructured data from those sources or draw insights from textual data.

Watson IoT cloud, from this angle, will make not only more accessible but also  more easily to implement “intelligent” automation IoT projects and, consequently, less costly.  Creating also the conditions for new kind of collaboration and synergy among companies.

This could have a much more broad effect: not only involving major and mature countries but also to development countries. In other terms: IoT combined with cognitive to create Intelligent Automation for All.

Of course, the final question is: what I have to do with the time I could possibly save during my olive oil transformation process?

For the moment I do not know, but by sure it is an additional input for my Well Being practice.

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