IBM’s Watson Gets Down to Business

As part of its push in NYC’s “Silicon Alley,”  IBM's Watson World HQ is opening at 51 Astor Place to tap into the ecosystem of talent and capital centered around New York University, Columbia University, CUNY and Cooper Union as well as  venture capital firms and an expanding tech startup and developer community. IBM plans to lead its cognitive computing initiative from the new global headquarters, working with its six new Watson client experience centers around the world.

As part of IBM’s efforts to engage businesses with Watson, IBM is showcasing companies that are embracing the technology such as Travelocity founder and founding chairman of Terry Jones  who is launching his next business, WayBlazer based in Austin, TX, built on Watson. WayBlazer is engaging, advising and learning about its customers using visual and natural language interface to make sure optimal travel choices are made.

IBM has made a billion-dollar commitment to cognitive computing – helping to fuel new innovations, assist organizations in making breakthrough discoveries, and expand a global network of partners, entrepreneurs, developers in the area of cognitive computing. 

Watson's cognitive services and tools  now available to users of IBM Bluemix

Starting now, Watson's cognitive services and tools will be available to all users of Bluemix, IBM's open, cloud-based platform for mobile and web app development. Developers will be able to access and create applications with Watson, and build cognitive services directly into their apps. Combined with Bluemix – which offers developers access to IBM Cloud and the services needed to quickly turn ideas into marketable products – this will allow any developer with an internet connection to tap into cognitive computing APIs and content.

To provide examples of what cloud developers can create with Watson, IBM plans to showcase new organizations that are bringing Watson-powered apps into the market  including Red Ant (London, UK),  which is helping retail organizations improve their businesses with its Sell Smart app, Built with Watson, the app  lets employees easily identify individual customers' buying preferences by analyzing demographics, purchase history and wish lists, as well as product information, local pricing, and customer reviews - all using voice to text input for a simple, question-and-answer interface.

In the area of veterinarian medicine, LifeLearn (Guelph, Canada) has the Sofie mobile app. Built with Watson, Sofie crowdsources expertise from the entire veterinary profession by analyzing data from text books, knowledge from doctors and teaching hospitals, and uses natural language Q&A to provide vets with immediate recommendations and possibilities.

And, in the area of security, another customer, SparkCognition (Austin, TX), has created a Cognitive Security Insights (CSI) app with Watson to deliver advanced cyber threat defense by thinking like a security expert, and thus helping to stop threats, reduce costs and enable intelligent detection and remediation.

IBM is also announcing the opening of five Watson Client Experience Centers, which will be co-located with IBM Research and Design teams to provide support and skills clients need to  help users adopt the Watson cognitive platform. These new centers will be located in Brazil, England, Ireland, Australia and Singapore.