IBM’s famous Watson supercomputer might be able to pummel the competition at Jeopardy, but the intelligent computer isn’t exactly a champion when it comes to generating revenue. In a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, the paper says that IBM CEO Virginia Rometty projected on a conference call this past October that Watson will generate $1 billion in revenue annually by 2018, and $10 billion in total sales over the next 10 years. On the same call, however, Rometty said that Watson’s cumulative revenue as of October 2013 was just $100 million despite the fact that the company has spent the past three years trying to turn Watson into a moneymaker. WSJ says that IBM remains confident that Waston will become one of its most important innovations ever, though, and current use cases include using Watson to power customer service systems and as the brains for various cloud-based apps and services.
The days of IBM’s Watson supercomputer being satisfied with being a Jeopardy champion are over. IBM announced on Thursday that it is creating a cloud-based open platform for Watson that it hopes will “enable a worldwide community of software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with Watson’s cognitive computing intelligence.” Among the many apps that IBM’s platform partners are launching alongside the Watson platform are Fluid, an online retail app that “calls upon Watson’s ability to understand the nuances of human language and uncover answers from Big Data,” and Welltok, a health application that will let consumers have “conversations” with Watson and let it develop a series of health itineraries to meet their needs. IBM’s press release follows below. More →
IBM spoke of shrinking its intelligent supercomputer Watson down to smartphone size last summer, and now it appears that the company is getting close to achieving that goal. Watson, which gained notoriety by famously trouncing two champions on Jeopardy, will not initially come to smartphones as a stand-alone app like Siri or Google Now, though it could eventually give both services a run for their money. Instead, IBM will partner with a number of companies including ANZ Bank, Nielsen, Celcom, IHS, and Royal Bank of Canada, Forbes reports to have Watson power customer service systems for these companies. Watson will initially be accessible though Web chats, email, smartphone apps and SMS, and voice recognition functionality is expected to come in future versions of the offering. Apps that include this new “Ask Watson” feature are expected to begin rolling out in the next few months.
Apple (AAPL) introduced its Siri voice assistant with the launch of the iPhone 4S last October and since then, a number of copycat apps have been made available. While all these services show potential, in their current state they are just too limited for everyday use. IBM (IBM) is looking to change that, however, with the help of its supercomputer Watson. Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, said that he always envisioned a voice-activated Watson that would answer questions based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies. More →