IBM Watson Adoption Accelerates Globally

Deakin University students to use Watson as a trusted advisor
Watson learns about wealth management with ANZ Global Wealth
Melbourne chosen as the location for regional Watson Client Experience Centre

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 08 Oct 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced significant client milestones with Deakin University and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) demonstrating accelerated adoption of Watson cognitive computing cloud capabilities in Australia. Watson is a ground-breaking platform that represents a new era of cognitive computing based on its ability to interact in natural language, process vast amounts of big data to uncover new patterns and insights, and learn from each interaction.

IBM will lead cognitive computing innovation in Australia with the opening of a Watson Client Experience Centre in November located within the IBM Research Lab in Melbourne. The centre will be a local skills hub, enabling Australian organisations to collaborate with more than 2,600 local and international experts, experience first-hand the capabilities of Watson and learn how Watson can transform their businesses and the way they interact with their customers. The centre is one of six IBM plans to open around the world as part of a billion dollar investment. Also announced today, the Watson headquarters is opening today at 51 Astor Place in New York City's "Silicon Alley". In addition to New York City, Melbourne joins the other centres located in Brazil, England, Ireland and Singapore.

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."

"The future has arrived, and Watson is bringing forward a new era of computing enabling organisations around the globe to launch new businesses, redefine markets and transform industries," said Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group. "Watson is fuelling a new market and ecosystem of clients, partners, developers, venture capitalists, universities and students. The next great innovations will come from people who are able to make connections that others don't see, and Watson is making that possible."

Deakin University is working with Watson to develop world first online student advisory service

In a world first, Deakin University will be powered by Watson to develop an online student engagement advisor. The student advisor application will deliver 24/7 instant online access via the web and mobile devices for the university’s 50,000 students. Working together ultimately the advisor will also assist future students and staff working with students with everything from the simplest questions to tailored personalised responses.

Over the coming months Watson will consume thousands of pages of Deakin's unstructured data contained in documents, presentations, brochures and online to ensure users receive consistent, high quality responses to the thousands of queries received across a broad range of topics such as: “What do I need to enrol?” “What social activities are available at Deakin?” “Where do I find the biology building?” “What are the computing requirements for my course?” Over time students who ask Watson a question can expect tailored information, personalised advice and information based on their individual profile.

“Students continuously tell us they want access to accurate, immediate and easily understandable information, that they can instantly find themselves. Watson ticks all of these boxes. Watson will fundamentally change how we engage with our broad communities based here in Australia and overseas. We will be able to provide them a single destination to find the information they need, how and when they want it,” said Professor Jane den Hollander, Vice-Chancellor and President, Deakin University. “Being the first university in the world to recruit Watson to help students navigate their way through their university experience keeps Deakin at the forefront of the digital frontier and delight our students and staff.”

ANZ’s Global Wealth division leverages Watson to provide a smarter and faster customer outcome

ANZ will be unveiling the new Watson Engagement Advisor Tool in its Sydney ‘Grow’ centre and will also launch it more broadly to more than 400 financial planners.

By opening up the Watson tool to the external environment, ANZ will be able to observe the types of questions coming from both customers and financial advisors in order to continue enhancing Watson’s capabilities and insights.

ANZ's goal is that Watson will help enable its financial advice team to deliver an improved advice process – making it shorter and more efficient for the customer to receive a statement of financial advice, taking the time down from weeks to just one session.

The initial scope of Watson is in the area of insurance and protection, and it will soon be expanded to cover the full wealth strategy including superannuation and investments.

Joyce Phillips, ANZ Chief Executive Officer Global Wealth Group said: “Everyone should have access to affordable, consistent and high quality financial advice. To this end we began to look at how we could leverage Watson to process big data to enable smarter and faster financial advice.

“This technology is an important step forward in the way we serve our clients. It has the potential to not only reduce the time it takes to deliver financial advice, but also to make the customer experience simple, yet tailored and enriched with personalised data and insights,” Ms Phillips said.

Australian universities to include Watson in curriculums

IBM is partnering with leading universities across Australia to launch cognitive computing courses that give students unprecedented access to Watson technology. Beginning in 2015, Deakin University and the University of South Australia will offer cognitive computing courses. The courses will be embedded in various faculty offerings including IT, computing, business, and engineering degrees.

Co-designed by the Watson Group and leading academic experts in fields such as artificial intelligence and computer science, the courses will empower students with the technical knowledge and hands-on learning required to develop new cognitive computing applications fuelled by the Watson platform.

In addition, the UNSW Australia (University of New South Wales) is considering how to introduce cognitive computing into its curriculum.

To ensure participating universities succeed in their vision to turn today’s students into tomorrow’s cognitive computing leaders IBM will provide a range of resources and support including: access to technical industry leading experts, guest lecturers, technical mentors and Watson through the Watson Developer Cloud.

For more information on IBM Watson, please 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.

For more insights on this story check out the IBM Watson press kit: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/27297.wss

For more information about Deakin University and IBM Watson, please visit: http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2014/10/bringing-watson-school.html

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