IBM gathers top industry leaders and developers at Watson DevCon

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On November 9 we hosted our first Watson Developer Conference in San Francisco. The sold out crowd of  1,300+ developers and technical experts got to experience, play, and learn about Watson technologies focused on speech, language, text, and empathy with 6 spotlight sessions, 14 flash talks, 8 labs, and 11 activations. Sponsors and speakers included Twitter, Slack, Staples, Uber, Twilio and Samsung.



Ginni Rometty kicked off the conference, outlining how developers are the architects of a world with Watson. She was joined by three guests using Watson to impact the world and change the way we think about the possibilities of human and computer interactions:

  • Dr. Ashok K. Goel, professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech
  • Neal Henderson, coach of the United States women’s cycling team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Joshua Browder, 19 year-old student at Stanford, entrepreneur and inventor who founded DoNotPay


The opening session rounded out with Bob Lord outlining  our commitment to developers  and  IBM developer advocate Willie Tejada hosted a “lessons from builders session.” Panelists shared advice for others working with core APIs and demo’ed their solution:

  • Conversation  – Ryan Bartley, Staples, using Watson Conversation
  • Commercialization  – Ryan Leslie, Superphone, using Wason Sentiment via the Twilio Marketplace
  • Consumerization – Shay Strong, OmniEarth, using Watson Visual Recognition


Conference Announcements include:

  •  A partnership with Topcoder, the premier global software development community comprised of more than one million designers, developers, data scientists, and competitive programmers, to advance learning opportunities for cognitive developers who are looking to harness the power of Watson to create the next generation of artificial intelligence apps, APIs, and solutions.
  • The unveiling of the experimental release of Project Intu, a new, system-agnostic platform designed to enable embodied cognition. The new platform allows developers to embed Watson functions into various end-user device form factors, offering a next generation architecture for building cognitive-enabled experiences.

Without the contributions from our speakers, sponsors, and technical experts in Research, Watson, Watson Health, Watson IoT, Bluemix, Digital Business Group, and Analytics, none of this would have been possible.

Speakers and contributors:



Conference sponsors:


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