Digital transformation

Beyond Jeopardy!—How Watson is helping to build businesses

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In 2011, Watson made a dramatic public debut on the Jeopardy! television game show. Using IBM Power Systems and analytics software developed with open frameworks like Apache Hadoop and UIMA, Watson showcased a cutting-edge ability to understand complex natural language questions and sift through vast libraries of unstructured human knowledge. And Watson proved to know a thing or two about Beatles songs and Olympic history too.

But while the show served as a great platform to introduce amazing new technology to the world, the intelligence behind Watson was designed to solve real business problems. IBM Watson Analytics allows business users to better compete by helping them get more value from their data. With a unique cognitive intelligence, Watson sets itself apart from traditional approaches to analytics. The ability to understand, reason and learn allows Watson to help foster business innovation like never before.

So how can Watson make an impact on your business?

Shaping the questions that help businesses succeed

Can your clients benefit from an analytics platform that lets them ask questions and receive answers in plain, natural language? How about a platform that recognizes what they are trying to discover and guides them to make the right queries—without having to involve analytics experts?

Watson not only understands your data, it also rationalizes it, combines it with other data and learns from it. It builds on your queries by suggesting what you might want to ask next, progressively introducing additional information and capabilities you may find useful for gaining an even deeper understanding of your business. Metrics and charts change on screen in real time as you modify questions, making it easy to visualize insights.

Thinking more like a human than a computer

Watson’s powerful cognitive analytics is delivering actual benefits for businesses and their end users. By observing and analyzing website visitor behavior, Watson Analytics is making online insurance application forms much easier to complete. Video pattern recognition is being used for early detection of developmental disabilities in children. Researchers can identify new proteins in hours or days instead of years. And a state highway patrol uses predictive analytics to help prevent road accidents and save lives.

Go Moment, a hospitality services company, created Ivy—a virtual personal assistant powered by Watson on IBM Power Systems. Ivy can assistant can interact with hotel guests using text messages, and understands common requests for things like reservations, Wi-Fi passwords and extra pillows. Complicated queries are passed to the front desk so they can be handled personally by an agent. However, 90 percent of the queries can be handled by the virtual assistant directly, keeping the front desk staff focused on the guests in front of them.

Watson Analytics takes advantage of a wide range of technologies to provide these capabilities. Speech processing, linguistic techniques, dictionary services, a semantic annotator and concept detection result in a system that processes information more like a human than a computer. New image recognition capabilities let Watson see, and support for a growing list of languages means increasing numbers of users can take advantage of cognitive computing.

Providing the key ingredient for your next application

IBM is working to make Watson easily accessible across industries and geographies. Support for Watson is already built into 30 publicly available services, with more on the horizon. The Watson for Oncology service, for example, analyzes a patient’s medical information against a vast array of data and expertise to provide evidence-based treatment options. This approach gives oncologists the assistance they need to make more-informed treatment decisions.

Here is a look at how we’ve put Watson to work in healthcare:

Companies can select only the Watson capabilities they need and access them through the IBM SoftLayer cloud for a flexible, scalable solution. A Watson developer cloud provides a combination of code, tools, pipelines of data and application programming interfaces (APIs) that help you build a “thinking” ability into practically any digital application.

Be the next Watson success story. Learn more here and find out more about putting Watson to work with IBM Power Systems here.

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