While we were at Mobile World Congress this year, IBM’s Watson computing system was sparring on the American quiz show Jeopardy!, and consequently generating a lot of discussion in Barcelona.
The most interesting and thought-provoking conversations I had centered on this question: How can we apply Watson’s ability to gain meaningful insights from massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to the communications industry?
(I would like your thoughts on this. Please post them in the comment section and I will read them all and respond to as many of as I can.)
Competing on a game show is interesting, but how can we use those capabilities to solve business problems?
The communications industry is dealing with an explosion of data in the connected world. But we can turn a major challenge – escalating traffic loads and ever-increasing network and customer data – into a competitive advantage. I can imagine several ways we might apply Watson’s Deep QA to solve problems and drive progress:
- Each caller’s communications experience improves by applying analytics to manage network bottlenecks.
- Customer interaction with the call center rise to a new level – one that is more customized with more natural man/machine collaboration.
- Marketing departments provide instant, more highly customized offers and alerts based on customer location, context or preference.
- Maintenance personnel trouble shoot complex operations problems from afar, reducing truck rolls and improving efficiency while cutting maintenance costs.
But perhaps even more interesting is to consider how Watson’s language processing and analytics capabilities might radically change the kinds of mobile services that can be offered to communications customers.
Will we one day be able to ask our mobile phones complex questions, like the quickest path downtown when three major intersections are blocked and it’s raining outside? Will doctors be able to confirm a diagnosis using a smartphone?
What was most exciting at Mobile World Congress is that the question was no longer, ‘if’. “What if a computer had the ability to understand human language, mine tremendous amounts of data, and confidently and correctly answer complex questions?”
The question now is, “How else might we apply such a capability?”
Do you have some ideas? Let’s start a conversation by sharing them here… (Please post your comments and questions below and I will respond to as many as I can. Thank you – Scott)
Scott Stainken is IBM’s General Manager for the Global Telecommunications Industry.