Ten months ago, IBM announced its intention to commercialize its Watson cognitive computing technology by launching a dedicated business unit and committing $1 billion to development. This week that new unit, the IBM Watson Group, is cutting the ribbon on its shiny new headquarters in New York City's Silicon Alley, and on Tuesday it offered an impressive progress report on the state of the business.
The highlights included:
- 5 Watson customer-deployment wins, including ANZ Bank in Australia, Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand, a first-ever Spanish language deployment with CaixaBank of Spain, Deakin University in Australia, and Metropolitan Health of South Africa
- 11 startups demonstrating applications built on the Watson development platform
- 5 new Watson competency centers opened in Dublin, London, Melbourne, São Paulo, and Singapore
- 8 Watson APIs made available (and the promise of 50 more in the pipeline) where initially there was one
Watson is needed, said IBM executives, because the sheer volume of information is outstripping the ability of humans to consume and make sense of what's available. The problem is particularly acute for doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, oil and gas explorers, IT and telecommunications engineers, and other professionals who struggle to keep up with constantly evolving industry knowledge. The info glut will only be compounded as sensor-based, Internet-of-Things-style apps produce yet more data.
Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio