If you ask IBM about its plans for a given business opportunity--health care, financial services, pharma, even sports coverage--the answer will likely center on Watson, IBM's take on artificial intelligence, or cognitive computing, in IBM parlance. Since beating human champions in Jeopardy six years ago, Watson has been very long on promise and generated untold numbers of headlines. It's unclear as IBM (ibm) chief executive Ginni Rometty has said the company does not break that out in order to protect this crucial but nascent business. Over the past year, critics have voiced skepticism about Watson's real-world prospects especially as AI competitors--from Google (goog) to Microsoft (msft)--have brought their AI software offerings to market. The perception now is that Watson has not met lofty expectations.
IBM and SK Holdings C&C, a South Korean IT services company, are planning to bring IBM's Watson cognitive technology language services to South Korean banking. The alliance, which includes training Watson to understand Korean, is designed to "dramatically accelerate" the adoption of cognitive computing throughout the region, giving South Korea-based developers a set of localised APIs and services they can use to help create their own applications and build new businesses. David Kenny, general manager, IBM Watson, says: "The South Korean marketplace is moving quickly to embrace the disruptive opportunities from next generation technology. Our strategic alliance with SK Holdings C&C will put cognitive services in the hands of more businesses and developers." SK Holdings C&C will run Watson and IBM Bluemix from its Pangyo Cloud Center, in support of universities, developers, and local businesses, across "diverse" industries including banking.
I'm pleased to announce that the IBM Watson IoT Platform now has the ability to add Internet of Things (IoT) data, to Blockchain transactions. Leveraging blockchain for your IoT data opens up new ways of automating business processes amongst your partners without setting up an expensive centralized IT infrastructure. This gives you the potential to improve business networks, reduce costs, increase trust and open up new markets. A solution brief provides an overview of the capabilities and use cases being announced. The new features within the Watson IoT Platform are available through two new Lab Services Offerings.
IBM's Watson IoT is aimed at bringing together artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as machine learning, deep learning, machine reasoning, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision and applying them to industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The platform collects data, analyzes it, and puts the data into a business context to solve specific problems that include asset performance, facility management, operations, product development, health and safety, and predictive maintenance, among others. One of the big differentiators for Watson IoT is the use of IBM's Blockchain platform for specific IoT applications, where IoT devices can send data to private blockchain ledgers that can be used for shared transactions with tamper-proof security. Rather than collecting, storing, and managing all of your IoT data centrally, the blockchain's distributed replication allows businesses to access and supply IoT data in a decentralized fashion. Centralized silos can be expensive and difficult to manage, especially when applied to a data-hungry and data-sensitive area like IoT.
IBM is currently attempting to merge artificial intelligence and the blockchain into a single, powerful prototype. With blockchain tech's promise of near-frictionless value exchange and artificial intelligence's ability to accelerate the analysis of massive amounts of data, the joining of the two could mark the beginning of an entirely new paradigm. Over the past three months, IBM's chief architect in charge of Internet of Things security Tim Hahn has focused specifically on introducing the blockchain to his company's artificially intelligent computer named Watson. "What we're doing with blockchain and devices is enabling the information those devices supply to effect the blockchain…You begin to approach the kind of things we see in movies." Potential applications include using distributed ledgers to let devices perform tasks like running self-diagnoses at set times and more advanced services that may someday let regulators virtually go back in time to the point where a device failed and "to identify exactly what went wrong," Hahn said.