A worker interacts with a robot at the IBM stand at the 2014 CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany. (Photo by Nigel Treblin/Getty Images)

Thomas Cook’s Ex-CEO Harriet Green to Lead New IBM IoT Business Units

IBM has formed two new business units that will apply the company’s Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing capabilities to the Internet of Things and education markets. The company appointed Harriet Green, former CEO of the Thomas Cook Group, to lead the new units.

The two IBM IoT units are part of the $3 billion investment initiative the company announced in March. The four-year spending program’s goal is to develop solutions that take advantage of cognitive computing, cloud data services, and developer tools geared for specific industries, all meant to help organizations address the Internet of Things.

IBM’s cognitive computing work encompasses artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as machine-human interaction. The company’s flagship group of technologies representing this work is Watson, which first appeared in public as a supercomputer that played Jeopardy against the TV game show’s past winners in 2010 and won.

IBM has been quickly productizing the technology behind Watson in a multitude of ways, from specialized solutions for industries, such as financial services or healthcare, to general-purpose Big Data analytics services delivered via public cloud.

Green was appointed CEO of Thomas Cook, the British travel industry giant, in 2012 but was ousted abruptly late last year, which caused a big drop in the company’s share price. She joined when the company’s shares were at one of their lowest points of the decade and was credited with turning the ailing company around.

VP and general manager, Green will be responsible for developing the new IBM IoT and Education business units. The company plans to grow her team to more than 2,000 consultants, researchers, and developers, IBM said in a statement.

IBM has been involved in coalitions to encourage interoperability between IoT technologies. Earlier this month, it announced an alliance with the processor company ARM to make its IoT products and services compatible with ARM’s mbed operating system.

Last year, together with AT&T, Cisco, GE, and Intel, IBM formed the Industrial Internet Consortium to define open interoperability standards and common architectures for interconnecting “devices, machines, people, processes, and data.”

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About the Author

San Francisco-based business and technology journalist. Editor in chief at Data Center Knowledge, covering the global data center industry.

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