By Michael Rhodin
It’s hard to believe it’s only been 10 short months since the IBM Watson Group was announced. We talked of bringing together a unique group of people – incredibly talented professionals from across IBM – into a new unit.
This included the single largest movement of IBM Research personnel in our history, along with 10 – 12 startups worth of new cognitive technologies that would help define the Watson team. Individuals and core capabilities from our software business would join into the fray.
A new approach to engaging the market would be created from talent across IBM’s sales, marketing, services and consulting organizations. A new cloud delivery organization would be formed out of our services teams to serve this market – all brought together with a single purpose: to usher in a new era of computing.
Ten months later, we marvel at the progress that has been made. Beyond the beginning of Project Lucy in Africa, clients in South Africa have now joined our cause. Organizations across Australia, New Zealand and Thailand have jumped onboard Watson with both feet.
Across industries, significant progress has been made. In healthcare, key societal challenges are being tackled with organizations like Memorial Sloan Kettering, MD Anderson, the New York Genome Center and the Mayo Clinic. We continue to expand our work in educating doctors with Cleveland Clinic. Watson Ecosystem partners like Welltok, GenieMD, Modernizing Medicine and Pathway Genomics are pushing the possibilities of cognitive computing further into the healthcare market. Every week we engage new partners and clients around tackling new diseases and healthcare issues.
In financial services, industry leaders like USAA and ANZ Bank are in production, running Watson solutions today. Publically announced projects with clients like the Development Bank of Singapore are making tremendous progress. Just this week we announced that we would be kicking off new initiatives with Caixa Bank in Spain and Bumrungrad in Thailand.
The first wave of Powered by Watson apps has been launched by our Ecosystem Partners, taking Watson into retail, travel, security, non-profit, healthcare, veterinarian medicine, and more. Established global partners, like Genesys, are advancing the use of cognitive capabilities in the call center. New services and products are opening up ways in which the market will see and experience a new era of computing. Watson Analytics, now in market, will help people understand data in new ways and even help them predict what might happen next.
IBM Watson’s future has a new home on the edge of the East Village in NYC, in a place now known as Silicon Alley, one of the most vibrant, exciting areas for technology innovation in the world today.
As part of opening our new headquarters at 51 Astor Place, we’ve created the Client Experience Center, an industry-centric, immersive experience that showcases our technology in an innovative new way.
The CEC represents a new model to engage our clients who are ready to start a cognitive journey, and will enable them to work alongside business and technical subject matter experts to understand the full promise of Watson, firming up their Watson use case, and establishing the foundation for a collaborative and successful partnership.
But Watson isn’t only staying in NYC, Watson is ready to take on the world. Today in our labs, projects are underway to teach Watson Spanish. More will follow as Watson learns to understand the nuances of language and culture within these initial projects, partnering with our clients. We’ll match our global development efforts with the establishment of worldwide Watson Client Engagement Centers, starting with New York City, Dublin, Melbourne, Singapore, London and San Paolo.
As part of our outreach, we are expanding the Watson Ecosystem to a larger audience, providing easier access to Watson technology via Bluemix. Pre-trained content in areas such as general knowledge, healthcare and financial services will help facilitate rapid prototype development. Cognitive skills affirmed via our certification program and Talent Hub will help build the future. We have grown our partnership program more than 30x over 10 short months, and can’t wait to see how it accelerates with our new offerings and global footprint.
As we expand our capabilities and reach new markets around the world we hope you’ll find the time to come visit us at our new home at 51 Astor Place. See you soon!
To learn more about the new era of computing, read Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing.