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IBM looks to outsmart Big Data competition with Watson

Thor Olavsrud | Jan. 15, 2014
IBM is seeking to jump ahead of the big data technology competition by moving its Watson cognitive supercomputer to the cloud and offering up its capabilities as a set of big data services and a big data application development platform.

A number of early IBM Watson Ecosystem participants have already begun showing off early versions of Watson-powered apps slated for release this year, including the following:

MD Buyline, a provider of supply chain solutions for hospitals and healthcare systems, which is developing an app to allow clinical and financial users make real-time, informed decisions about medical device purchases.

Welltok, a specialist in social health management, which is developing a mobile and web-based consumer app that will help users create "Intelligent Health Itineraries," which reward users for engaging in health behaviors.

Fluid, a startup that builds online shopping experiences for major brands like Reebok and Brooks Brothers, which is building a personal shopper app.

"The Watson Ecosystem is going to facilitate a wide range of these types of expert recommendation applications over the next several years and is going to continue to fuel research and innovation in using the tremendous growth in digital information to improve a wide range of processes from medical diagnosis to shopping to scientific research," says IDC's Schubmehl.

Watson Big Data Services
Out of the gate, IBM is offering three new services based on Watson's cognitive intelligence: Watson Discovery Advisor, Watson Analytics and Watson Explorer.

Watson Discovery Advisor is intended to help find the right questions in their data. IBM says it will revolutionize how industries like pharmaceutical and publishing conduct their research by reducing the time researchers need to formulate conclusions that can advance their work. For instance, with Discovery Advisor, Watson can pour through millions of articles, journals and studies, determine context, synthesize the data and help users pinpoint connections.

IBM has been working closely with Elsevier, a leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, including texts like Gray's Anatomy and journals like The Lancet, to explore how Watson's cognitive technologies can be used to help clinicians stay up-to-date on the medical knowledge necessary to give their patients the best possible care--an increasingly difficult task as medical data continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Watson Analytics allows users to explore big data insights through visual representations, without the need for advanced analytics training. IBM says the service removes common impediments in the data discovery process, giving business users the ability to quickly and independently uncover insights in their data. Watson Analytics preopares the data, surfaces the most important relationships and presents the results in an interactive visual format.

Finally, Watson Explorer is intended to help users across the enterprise uncover and share data-driven insights through a unified view that displays all of a user's data-driven information, as well as a framework for developing information-rich applications that deliver a comprehensive, contextually relevant view of topics.


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