The demand for service animals to help visually-impaired people is perhaps higher today than ever before. So the question for Guiding Eyes for the Blind quickly became—How can we improve dog-graduation rates and increase our supply of qualified guide-dogs?

Even with a rigorous 20-month training program at a cost of $50,000 for a single dog, training success rates had hovered around 30%. While Guiding Eyes had spent decades collecting detailed information about puppy raisers, trainers, dog genetic maps and medical records they never had an efficient way to analyze and utilize their data to improve success.

Enter Watson on IBM Cloud

Guiding Eyes migrated more than half a million canine health-records and more than 65,000 temperament records on thousands of dogs to IBM Cloud. There they could “dig into the data and pull out meaningful insights about health, behavior….and so much more.” With the reliability and efficiencies of IBM Cloud they worked to improve their screening and breeding processes—with the goal of improving their current dog graduation rate. Then using IBM Watson Personality and Natural Language Processing, Guiding Eyes can find patterns, traits and characteristics to help match dogs and trainers.

This data, put to work, allows Guiding Eyes to match key characteristics and personality traits of trainers with the appropriate dog’s temperament, medical and genetic data.

An anticipated improvement of 20%

Working with Watson on IBM Cloud, Guiding Eyes anticipates to see dog graduation rates improve by at least 20%, putting more resources into what they do best—training more guide dogs to keep up with demand.

Watson APIs being used include:

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is just one example of how businesses, doctors, educators and governments are working with Watson. In 45 countries and 20 industries, Watson is helping people make sense of data so they can make better decisions while uncovering new ideas.

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