IBM at Collision 2018: What we loved from Day 1

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Collision has kicked off its final year here in the Big Easy, and the turnout has been incredible! Over 25,000 entrepreneurs, startups, and developers from all over the world have filed into the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for three days of keynotes and workshops exploring the latest in global tech.

IBM is thrilled to be a part of this year’s event and showcase our experiences and thought leadership around AI and blockchain, as well as introduce many new entrepreneurs to the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program. Here’s a quick overview of some of our highlights and what we loved from Day 1 here in New Orleans!

Day 1 with IBM

Here at Collision, we’re covering essential areas at IBM including blockchain, Watson, cloud, and the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program. Some of the more popular activations included the Blockchain Wall and the Star Trek™: Bridge Crew VR experience. And from chatbots to building blockchain apps, our technical workshops are showing attendees how to build intelligent, disruptive applications capable of changing the world.

IBM at Collision 2018; New Orleans Morial Convention Center

IBM at Collision 2018; New Orleans Morial Convention Center


Build a chatbot with IBM Watson Assistant

Led by Mitch Mason, this workshop showcased how to create a simple chatbot through IBM Watson Assistant. The main focus here is the major shift that many businesses are experiencing when it comes to business chat and messaging platforms. Chatbots enable these businesses to be less confrontational than human-based chat, which has been accompanied by an exponential rise in web traffic.

Mitch mentioned that currently, the majority of businesses using Watson Assistant are deploying it for customer service, support, and business communications. The key benefits of systems like Watson Assistant are that, unlike their human counterparts, chatbots offer 24-hour availability, faster answers, and consistent messages. This allows businesses to improve how end-users engage with their clients, customers, and each other.

We then segued into a live demo of a hypothetical person in a driver’s seat with Watson as their co-pilot. The purpose of this demo was to show how the logic of driving a car through automation can be applied to many different business needs. You can experience this demo here.

We finished off with a walkthrough of Watson Assistant and began building a chatbot for a hypothetical pizza chain. Here we created a new intent with simple suggested questions and responses that prospective customers would ask to order their pie. Many customers get started with their chatbot by granting it access to their history of call center questions and answers, which allows Watson and machine learning to help with the verbiage.

You can build your first chatbot, get general experience with Watson Assistant, and receive a $200 credit for IBM Cloud by visiting

Lennart Frantzell presents for IBM at Collision 2018; New Orleans Morial Convention Center

Lennart Frantzell presents for IBM at Collision 2018; New Orleans Morial Convention Center


Create and deploy a blockchain app with IBM Blockchain

Thirty minutes after the Watson Assistant workshop, Lennart Frantzell led this hour-long session on an overview of blockchain and its promise to create “a world without middlemen.”

He discussed how the idea of a ledger came to prominence in the Italian renaissance when merchants would work closely with money lenders. The banchieri or “banco” would collaborate with merchants to find ways around the Catholic Church, which would normally forbid Christians from lending money with interest, thus creating the foundation of a “bank.”

Lennart applied these concepts to the definition of blockchain and how we’ve begun moving towards a decentralized virtual ledger that lives without a central authority.

He then went through a series of demonstrations showing what blockchain can do, and concluded with a demo of Hyperledger Composer.

What else we loved from Day 1 at Collision

The pitches

Young entrepreneurs poured their hearts out in hopes of gaining the attention of prospective investors. The pitches weren’t perfect—there were stumbles, and some said “umm” a few too many times—but their passion and the problems they’re looking to solve are truly amazing.

These businesses are nimble, dynamic, and driven to solve the problems they face on a daily basis. They look at their own demand, market growth potential, revenue models, competitive analysis, and so many other factors to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Call it a mini Shark Tank.
Image uploaded from iOS

Looking ahead…

Our booth will open tomorrow bright and early, so if you didn’t get a chance to try out the Blockchain wall, Star Trek activation or meet one of our leads from the Global Entrepreneur Program, come by and check out our set up! We also have two more workshops on the agenda. Beginning at 10am CT, we’ll dive into how to become a Cloud Architect in 40 minutes and conclude with another presentation from Lennart Frantzell on how to create and deploy a Blockchain app with the IBM Blockchain Platform. We can’t wait to see you tomorrow! Learn more about IBM at Collision 2018.

Content Marketing Lead, IBM Global Events

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