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IBM Unveils New Start Ups and Ecosystem Partners Delivering Watson-Powered Apps in the Cloud

Watson Ecosystem Partners launch new business ventures in Financial Services, Healthcare, IT Services, Non-Profit, Retail, Security and Travel industries
IBM Watson fuels the next-generation of cognitive computing solutions

NEW YORK CITY - 07 Oct 2014: Next generation leaders push themselves everyday to answer this key question: How can my organization make a difference? IBM (NYSE: IBM) is helping deliver the answer with new apps that are powered by Watson from Ecosystem Partners to improve the quality of life – from better managing health and enriching the customer experience, to enabling new research and education.

On Tuesday, October 7, in New York City, IBM Watson Group Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin and travel entrepreneur Terry Jones attend the opening of IBM Watson's global headquarters in New York City's Silicon Alley. Terry Jones is launching a new company powered by Watson called WayBlazer that will transform the travel planning experience. (Courtesy Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

IBM's Watson is a groundbreaking platform that represents a new era of computing based on its ability to interact in natural language, process vast amounts of disparate forms of big data and learn from each interaction.

 

With 19 million global developers and a new generation of innovators entering the workforce, entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprises alike are looking for ways to mobilize their business, transform industries and improve society. According to technology research firm Gartner, Inc., smart machines will be the most disruptive change ever brought about by information technology, and can make people more effective, empowering them to do "the impossible."

IBM is advancing these new possibilities with Watson and is unveiling Ecosystem Partners that are making their visions a reality. Built on IBM Cloud with SoftLayer at its base, these apps use Watson's cognitive intellect in areas as diverse as helping physicians work with patients to better manage their health, assist veterinarians in providing the best possible care to animals, and tapping into personal preferences to help travelers plan the perfect vacation, and many more. 

"These innovators, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, are transforming the ways industry and individuals operate harnessing the power of Watson's cognitive intellect and creating outcomes once thought impossible to achieve" said Stephen Gold, Vice President, IBM Watson Group. “This marks an important milestone for the Watson Ecosystem as we empower organizations to use next generation technology, using information as the cognitive fuel, to help solve formidable challenges across industries.”

Leveraging IBM Watson technology, these Ecosystem Partners have developed powered by Watson apps that are generally available and being used by customers and organizations today.

Transforming Travel

WayBlazer (Austin, TX), a new company led by travel visionary and entrepreneur Terry Jones -- founder of Travelocity and founding chairman of Kayak.com, is looking to redefine the travel experience. Researching travel alternatives can be a near impossible chore. Even for travelers that know their destination and dates, the sheer breadth of options and overwhelming amount of data requires visiting 20 or more website to research, compare, and book a leisure holiday. Powered by the cognitive intellect of Watson, WayBlazer knows, engages, advises, and learns about a consumer with each interaction, using a visual and natural language interface to make sure optimal travel choices are made. The Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) is using a version of the new WayBlazer app. With the app, the organization hopes to improve convention bookings, increase hotel bookings and provide additional revenue streams from Ecosystem Partner and affiliate marketing opportunities. Watch WayBlazer "Unbox" their app here.

Transforming Retail

Red Ant (London, UK) is helping retailers, including Three, a UK-based mobile company, ensure sales associates exceed customers' expectations with its Sell Smart app built using Watson's cognitive computing technology. The mobile app is a retail sales trainer that lets employees easily identify individual customers’ buying preferences by analyzing demographics, purchase history and wish lists, as well as product information, local pricing, customer reviews and tech specs. It uses voice or text input to enable a simple question-and-answer interface against the wealth of information available within a retail business, including product information, copybooks, manuals, customer reviews, and more. Red Ant is a Watson Mobile Developer Challenge winner.

Reflexis (Dedham, MA) is working with Watson to enable retailers, Quick Serve Restaurants, hospitality, and other companies to uncover hidden demand triggers and provide the best possible customer experience. The company’s Watson interconnect module for the Reflexis StorePulse real-time execution application enables companies to drive best-practice actions in response to local events, social media buzz, news, weather, and other influences that affect customer demand. . Watch Reflexis "Unbox" their app here.

Sellpoints (Emeryville, CA), an e-commerce technology provider, is unveiling its Watson powered app called Natural Selection, which uses natural language to put the right products in front of the right shoppers at the exact moment they’re ready to buy. For example, when a shopper searches for a product using natural language, such as “My second grader needs help learning science basics,” the cognitive app returns product results sorted by relevance, which subsequently increases conversion rates for the retailer.

Transforming Non-Profit

Findability Sciences (Waltham, MA) is bringing a Watson app to the non-profit sector to enable funders and donors to ask questions using natural language and receive answers instantaneously. This enables funders to make smarter investing decisions and better work to maximize existing investments to deliver the most impact. Watch Findability Sciences "Unbox" their app here.

Transforming Veterinary Care

LifeLearn (Guelph, Canada) is changing the way veterinarians practice medicine by empowering them with the new LifeLearn Sofie™ mobile app, which helps doctors research different treatment options for animals. LifeLearn's beta client Animal Medical Center in New York is just one of the leading industry partners using LifeLearn Sofie™ to help improve patient outcomes. The Sofie app, built from scratch with Watson, crowdsources the expertise from the entire profession by analyzing data from text books, knowledge from doctors and teaching hospitals, and uses natural language Q&A to provide veterinarians immediate possibilities that equate to third and fourth professional opinions.  Watch LifeLearn "Unbox" their app here.

Transforming Healthcare

GenieMD (Pleasanton, CA) is using Watson's cognitive intellect and data analysis to understand an individual's personal health profile and asks Watson questions for the user so they don't have to in times of concern. For example, the GenieMD mobile app analyzes a persons profile and sends push notifications to the user with information on how to manage their diabetes or how to prevent hypertension. GenieMD is a Watson Mobile Developer Challenge winner.

Welltok (Denver, CO) is calling upon Watson’s unique ability to process massive volumes of health data and content within seconds. Building on Welltok’s health optimization platform, CaféWell Concierge dialogues with consumers and provides dynamic, personalized guidance to optimize their health. Watch Welltok "Unbox" their app here.

@Point of Care (Livingston, NJ), a service provider for the health care industry, is using Watson to help physicians support patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The physician-facing mobile app is helping the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America enable MS patients to better track and manage their symptoms easily from any device and will be rolled out across @Point of Care’s 15 other therapeutic areas.  

Transforming Information IT

SparkCognition (Dallas, TX), the first cognitive security analytics company, has created a Cognitive Security Insights (CSI) app with Watson to process data to deliver advanced cyber threat defense. Unlike existing security solutions, the Watson powered CSI app thinks like a security expert and can help stop threats for an enterprise. Client ExamSoft, and early adopter, is currently using CSI to reduce the costs associated with false positives, incorporate automated learning systems in the organization that retain critical knowledge, and enable intelligent detection and remediation that can keep up with a rapidly growing number of threats.

CHIPS Technology Group (Syosset, NY), an IT help desk provider for small-to-mid-sized businesses, is using Watson to help their engineers revolutionize the way IT support service is delivered. Watson enables CHIPS engineers to quickly source and provide clients like IT Solutions, Inc. with a high level of customer service, whether working with a mainstream or proprietary app. By rapidly processing an extensive collection of disparate resources, including articles, white papers and manuals, Watson delivers the right tech support response to end users on the first try.

This announcement reinforces IBM's strategy to fuel an ecosystem of innovators that are helping make cognitive computing the new standard of computing.

Helping Developers Create a New Class of Cognitive Apps

IBM is also extending the reach of cognitive computing by introducing new cognitive services that will be available on IBM Bluemix, IBM's cloud-based platform for mobile and web app development. Bluemix runs on SoftLayer, IBM's global cloud infrastructure. Now with little to no barrier to entry to cognitive tools, Bluemix users can access an evolving set of APIs and content to build apps, powered by Watson, that help accelerate, enhance, and scale human expertise for confident decision making.

The new services available through Bluemix include:

  • User Modeling: Uses linguistic analytics to extract a set of personality and social traits from the way a person communicates. The service can analyze any public communication the user makes available such as their text messages, tweets, posts, email, and more. Users of the service can understand, connect, and communicate with people on a more personally tailored level by analyzing personality and social traits.
  • Machine Translation: Converts text input in one language into a destination language for the end user. Translation is available among English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and French.
  • Language Identification: detects the language in which text is written. This helps inform next steps such as translation, voice to text, or direct analysis. Today, the service can identify 15 languages.
  • Concept Expansion: Analyses text and interprets its meaning based on usage in other similar contexts. For example, it could interpret “The Big Apple” as meaning “New York City.” It can be used to create a dictionary of related words and concepts so that euphemisms, colloquialisms, or otherwise unclear phrases can be better understood and analyzed.
  • Message Resonance: Analyzes draft content and scores how well it is likely to be received by a specific target audience. Today, analysis can be done against people active in cloud computing or big data discussions but future versions will let users provide their own community data.
  • Relationship Extraction: Parses sentences into their various components and detects relationships between the components. The service maps the relationships between the components so that users or analytics engines can more easily understand the meaning of individual sentences and documents.
  • Question & Answer: Interprets and answers user questions directly based on primary data sources that have been selected and gathered into a body of data or “corpus.” The service returns candidate responses with associated confidence levels and links to supporting evidence. The current data corpora on Bluemix focus on the Travel and Healthcare industries.
  • Visualization Rendering: Takes input data and graphically renders it as an interactive visualization that can range from a common business chart to more advanced layouts. The visualizations can be easily modified to match user needs, visual styling, and types of data being analyzed.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

IBM Watson represents a new era of computing in which apps and systems interact with human users more naturally, augment our knowledge with Big Data insights, and learn to improve how they assist us. 

Fueled by innovation from a mission to transform industries and professions, Watson is uniquely positioned at the forefront of the new era of computing, evidenced by its demonstration of what cognitive systems can bring to transform decision-making. IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education. 

In January, 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit dedicated to developing and commercializing cloud-delivered cognitive advisors. The move signifies a strategic shift by IBM to deliver a new class of software, services and apps that think, improve by learning, and discover insights from massive amounts of Big Data.

IBM is investing more than $1 billion in the Watson Group, focusing on research, development and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. This includes $100 million earmarked for direct investment to support IBM’s ecosystem of start-ups and businesses building cognitive apps made with Watson.

For more information on IBM Watson, visit: www.ibmwatson.com

To join the social discussion about Watson, include the hashtag #ibmwatson. Follow Watson on Facebook and see Watson on YouTube and Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_media/sets/72157648064706808/

Check out the IBM Watson press kit at: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/27297.wss

Contact(s) information

John Connolly
IBM Media Relations
1 (781) 636-8512
jconnol@us.ibm.com

Tod Freeman
IBM Media Relations
1 (415) 320-5893
tefreema@us.ibm.com

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On Tuesday, October 7, in New York City, IBM Watson Group Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin and travel entrepreneur Terry Jones attend the opening of IBM Watson's global headquarters in New York City's Silicon Alley. Terry Jones is launching a new company powered by Watson called WayBlazer that will transform the travel planning experience. (Courtesy Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

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