IBM partners that build Watson-powered apps in the cloud will be able to choose from two sources of data-driven content, to prepare their apps to uncover insights for users. App providers can use their own company's data, or access the IBM Watson Content Store, featuring third-party content that offers data-rich resources that can fuel Watson's expanding knowledge.
IBM will also connect its app-building partners with professionals who can help advance their visions into market-ready products and services. IBM has committed more than 500 of its own subject matter experts as part of the overall program, in areas such as design, development and research. In addition, application providers participating in the ecosystem are expected to be able to connect with freelance professionals whose expertise can serve as a complement to their existing teams, from programmers to app developers.
"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, Senior Vice President, 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 will offer a platform for testing, training and deploying Watson-powered apps, to help application providers prepare their cognitive applications for success in the marketplace.
Fluid Retail, MD Buyline and Welltok have developed early versions of Watson-powered apps, targeted to enter the market in 2014.
Named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, IBM's transformational cognitive technology was developed in IBM's Research Labs. Using advances in natural language processing and analytics, Watson can process information similar to the way people think, representing a significant shift in the ability for organizations to quickly analyze, understand and respond to vast amounts of Big Data.
Since its introduction in 2011, IBM Watson has evolved from a first-of-a-kind status, to a commercial cognitive computing system. Watson has gained a 240 percent improvement in system performance, and a reduction of 75 percent in the physical requirements needed to run the system which can now operate from a single Power 750 server with Linux from a cloud computing environment.