Watson Assistant FAQ

Watson Assistant FAQ

What is the Watson Assistant for no charge for 90 days offer?
IBM has built Watson Assistant, an AI-powered virtual agent, that works digitally and by phone. It is pre-loaded to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19, based on the latest guidance – including information from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It can also be updated by you in minutes based on additional information that matters to your organization - from communicating HR policies, to IT help desk support for employees now working remotely.

This tool will help provide consistent responses to residents via voice calls or text chat. 

Who can access this?
IBM is offering Watson Assistant to organizations with a COVID-19 use case via the IBM public cloud, at no charge for at least 90 days with no commitment required after the free period ends. Watson Assistant will allow organizations to provide information to their constituents about COVID-19. IBM will also provide organizations with access to IBM experts who can help with education and assistance to set up and tailor the solution for their users.

Why did IBM develop this?
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Some countries have been managing this crisis for months. Others are just beginning to feel the effects.

IBM is marshaling the company's resources to help clients, governments, healthcare agencies and academic institutions to monitor and manage the outbreak, while aiming to keep their stakeholders informed and safe.

IBM is offering Watson Assistant to provide an AI-powered solution that helps organizations deliver potentially life-saving information to their stakeholders. This is a clear opportunity to apply AI to quickly answer common questions at a large scale without overwhelming contact centers so human agents can help those who need them most.

How can organizations access Watson Assistant?
To help reduce the burden on governments and organizations for COVID-19 crisis, IBM is offering Watson Assistant at no charge for at least 90 days. Watson Assistant supports both chat and speech interfaces. Further support services are available to help organizations with customizations to meet their unique needs, please contact us.

Organizations are encouraged to reach out directly to their IBM sales contact to learn more about Watson Assistant. If an organization is not already working with IBM, it can contact IBM by visiting http://www.ibm.com/watson/covid-response.

Where is this available today? When will this offering be available in other languages and in other countries?
Watson Assistant is offered today globally. This offering can be tailored  to support 13 languages overall, including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish.

Prebuilt assets are initially available in English and Spanish with additional languages to follow. IBM will work with companies during the 90-day period to tailor for their users’ needs, including support for local languages.

Was the CDC involved in the development of the project?
The CDC was not directly involved, but the content to train Watson Assistant is sourced from up-to-date information from the CDC website.

What are the main differences between the base and customized version of this offer?
Base Version: The base version of  the Watson Assistant offer is available to organizations at no charge for at least 90 days, and includes general nationwide and some state information related to COVID-19. It includes capabilities from Watson Discovery that enable the virtual agent to dynamically crawl information directly from the CDC website on-a-daily-basis to keep the virtual agent knowledgeable of the latest data.

Customized Version: The customized version expands the knowledge of the base version.  It can be trained to include information related to a specific locale or organization, such as: links to local school closing, local news and documents on a state website.

Is IBM charging for the customizable version?
This offer includes unlimited capacity to Watson Assistant, Watson Assistant for Voice Interaction and Watson Discovery services on IBM Cloud for at no charge for at least 90 days; access to 15 pre-trained COVID-19 “intents” for both text and speech deployment; free-of-charge initial setup and deployment of pre-trained intents related to COVID-19; and at no charge for at least 90 days access to experts to assist with deployment and training of a customized version with local information.

“Intents” are purposes or goals that are expressed in an individual’s input, such as answering a question. By recognizing the intent expressed in an individual’s input, the Watson Assistant service can choose the correct dialog flow for responding to it.

Pre-approved discounted pricing is available for up to 12 additional months after the 90-day period ends.

For continuing needs beyond the COVID-19 crisis, ongoing customizations will incur charges related to the hours required from IBM's Expert Labs or GBS teams to further tailor Watson Assistant.

Will IBM consider extending Watson Assistant beyond the initial 90 days if necessary?
IBM will provide notice prior to the end of the 90-day period, and work with each organization on a solution that fits their ongoing needs to address the questions and concerns of users.

How much does the customizable version of Watson Assistant cost?
During the 90-day period, IBM experts will be available to consult with each organization regarding the solution, free of charge.

For government agencies and non-profit organization that require help with ongoing customization, IBM will offer these services at reduced costs.