When launched, the IBM Watson Developers Cloud will be a cloud-hosted marketplace where application providers may take advantage of a number of tools designed to help them build their Watson-powered apps, including a developer toolkit, education materials and access to Watson’s API.
IBM partners that develop Watson-powered apps will be able to use either their own data or third-party data that is offered in the IBM Watson Content Store. IBM will also connect these partners with skilled professionals – including 500 of its own experts – who will help them turn their work into market-ready products.
“By sharing IBM Watson’s cognitive abilities with the world, we aim to fuel a new ecosystem that accelerates innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Michael Rhodin, SVP, IBM Software Solutions Group. “With this move, IBM is taking a bold step to advance the new era of cognitive computing. Together with our partners we’ll spark a new class of applications that will learn from experience, improve with each interaction and outcome, and assist in solving the most complex questions facing the industry and society.”
IBM is planning to unveil its new vision with three partners that have already utilized Watson technology in their app development. Fluid Retail, a company that builds online shopping experiences for retailers looking to engage their customers, is currently developing the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper. This app is designed to interact with customers and act as their own personal shopper.
MD Buyline, a provider of supply chain solutions for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, is developing a Watson-powered app called Hippocrates that acts as a research assistant for clinical users who want to make informed medical device purchases.
Social Health Management company Welltok is working on a Watson-powered app called CafeWell Concierge that converses with users about their health and rewards them for healthy behaviour.
These apps are expected to hit the market in early 2014.
“The significance here is that IBM will enable other companies, large and small, to embed access to Watson into their products and services, or better yet, to build applications on top of it,” said Mohamad Makhzoumi, partner, New Enterprise Associates, and board member, Welltok. “This could bring about a paradigm shift not only in how people interact with computers, but in how we live our lives.”
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