Watson Goin’ Mobile, Keeps On Movin’
March 3, 2014 Dan Burger
IBM‘s Watson cognitive computing celebrity genius is ready for its road test. By that I mean it is begging to go mobile. IBM is encouraging this behavior by encouraging developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson. To whip up some activity, IBM has chosen a competition–maybe because Watson is known for its competitive streak–which it calls the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge.
The program is being driven by the IBM Watson Group, an internal organization with a mindset to advance the commercialization of cognitive computing using Watson as its showpiece. With the building of a new generation of cognitive computing apps already under way, the next logical frontier is mobile application development. We already have the Watson Developers Cloud (WDC) and this is a simple extension of what IBM intends to make into a worldwide community of software application providers. The WDC includes a developer toolkit, educational materials, and access to Watson’s application programming interface (API).
“The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we’re calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson’s intelligence,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group in a press release. “Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly–wherever they are–over the cloud. It’s about changing the essence of decision making from ‘information at your fingertips’ to actual insights.”
Cognitive computing is the difference between understanding structured data and having the capability to understand language, syntax, and semantics. It raises the bar to reasoning, thinking, understanding and learning from information. Watson is already at the level that when it provides an answer it also gives a confidence level for the answer based on weighing the answer against other options.
IBM designed the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge to spark developers to build cognitive apps that can change the way consumers and businesses interact with data on mobile devices and maybe create a Dancing with the Stars-like publicity machine. Somehow I don’t expect it to get an hour-long show on prime time TV, but IBM is expecting to gain some degree of attention with this.
During the next three months, the global challenge expects to entice mobile developers to audition their development skills by creating prototype mobile apps. The top three developers will be invited to join the Watson Ecosystem Program, which means they will work with IBM’s global consulting practice–IBM Interactive Experience. At that stage, they will receive design consulting and support from IBM experts to develop a viable commercial app.
IBM claims more than 1,500 individuals and organizations already have shared their ideas for creating cognitive computing applications. These aren’t mobile apps. They are cognitive computing apps that IBM has plans to offer across a variety of industries in 2014.
See more details on the mobile development competition at www.ibmwatson.com.