IBM forms new Watson group for cloud-delivered cognitive innovations, with $1 billion investment

January 12, 2014

IBM Watson Group’s new Silicon Alley center in New York City

IBM has announced it will establish the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit dedicated to the development and commercialization of cloud-delivered cognitive innovations.

Headquartered in NYC’s “Silicon Alley,” the move signifies a strategic shift by IBM to accelerate into the marketplace a new class of software, services and apps that think, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of Big Data.

IBM will invest more than $1 billion into the Watson Group, focusing on development and research and bringing Watson-powered cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market.

About 2,000 professionals will design, develop, and accelerate the adoption of Watson cognitive technologies that transform industries and professions.

According to technology research firm Gartner, Inc., smart machines will be the most disruptive change ever brought about by information technology, and can make people more effective, empowering them to do “the impossible.” 

New Watson-based services

IBM is announcing three new services based on Watson’s cognitive intelligence:

  • IBM Watson Discovery Advisor aims to revolutionize how industries such as pharmaceutical and publishing conduct research. It will delve into the influx of data-driven content today’s researchers face, and uncover connections that can speed up and strengthen their work.
  • IBM Watson Analytics allows users to explore Big Data insights through visual representations, without the need for advanced analytics training. Guided by sophisticated analytics and a natural language interface, Watson Analytics automatically prepares the data, surfaces the most important relationships, and presents the results in an easy-to- interpret, interactive visual format.
  • IBM Watson Explorer provides users with a unified view displaying all of their data-driven information, as well as a framework for developing information-rich applications that deliver a comprehensive, contextually-relevant view of any topic for business users, data scientists, and a variety of targeted business functions.
IBM Watson Group Unveils Cloud-Delivered Watson Services

In the cloud: IBM employees at the company’s offices in New York City discuss next-generation Watson cloud apps that will be developed by the IBM Watson Group, a new IBM business unit headquartered in New York City’s Silicon Alley (credit: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service)

Faster, smarter, smaller, cloud-resident

Now delivered from the cloud and able to power new consumer and enterprise apps, Watson is 24 times faster, smarter with a 2,400 percent improvement in performance, and 90 percent smaller, IBM claims.

Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in an organization’s ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data. Watson’s ability to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence is transforming decision making across a variety of industries, IBM says.

IBM has taken four major steps to convert Watson from an impressive TV show demonstration (Jeopardy!) into a serious professional tool for business and other uses:

  • Partnered with a range of leading healthcare organizations to help transform how medicine is practiced, paid for and taught, with the help of Watson-powered solutions.
  • Created the Watson Engagement Advisor to help businesses deepen and redefine engagement with customers.
  • Made Watson available as a development platform in the cloud, enabling software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with cognitive computing intelligence.
  • Collaborated with eight universities to develop Watson’s capabilities.