IBM Opens Watson Headquarters in NYC Amid New Cognitive Milestones

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-10-07 Print this article Print
IBM Watson HQ

IBM is indeed taking Watson global, with Watson client engagements across six continents and more than 25 countries, including South Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Canada and the United States. Moreover, Watson is learning Spanish through a new partnership with Spain's CaixaBank, Rhodin said. "And in the labs we've started working on a couple other languages as well," he added.

Spain's CaixaBank and IBM are teaming up to develop a cognitive system built on Watson to understand Spanish. With the aim of providing best-in-class customer service, CaixaBank is a pioneer in the banking industry, including early deployment of IBM PCs at bank branches, the creation of a pioneering contactless ATM and an app store for financial applications launched by a bank. This announcement is another milestone for CaixaBank—the first organization worldwide working with IBM to teach Spanish to Watson. This agreement has been developed under a collaboration framework between the Digital Innovation Center of CaixaBank and IBM.

Meanwhile, IBM said in the next few weeks, ANZ Bank in Australia will be unveiling a new Watson Engagement Advisor Tool in its Sydney "Grow" center and will also launch it more broadly to more than 400 financial planners. By opening up the Watson tool to the external environment, ANZ will be able to observe the types of questions coming from both customers and financial advisers in order to continue enhancing Watson's capabilities and insights.

ANZ's goal for Watson is to enable its financial advice team to deliver an improved advice process, making it shorter and more efficient for the customer to receive a statement of financial advice—from weeks to just one session. The initial work of Watson is in the area of insurance and protection, and it will soon be expanded to cover the full wealth strategy, including superannuation and investments, IBM said.

The Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand plans to use Watson to improve the quality of cancer care at its medical center in Bangkok and case evaluations at referral offices in 16 countries on four continents. In a five-year commitment, Bumrungrad will use IBM Watson for oncology, developed with Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), one of the world's leading cancer centers. The system will help Bumrungrad doctors plan the most effective treatments for cancer patients based on each patient's profile, medical evidence, published research and the extensive clinical expertise of MSK. Watson will analyze vast quantities of this information and present a summary of findings relevant to each patient case, including treatment options based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.

Also, Australia's Deakin University will tap the power of Watson to develop an online student engagement adviser. The student adviser application will deliver online access via the Web and mobile devices for the university's 50,000 students. Ultimately, the adviser will also assist future students and staff working with students on everything from the simplest questions to tailored, personalized responses.

Over the coming months, Watson will consume thousands of pages of Deakin's unstructured data contained in documents, presentations, brochures and online to ensure users receive consistent, high-quality responses to the thousands of queries. The questions received will represent a broad range of topics, such as: "What do I need to enroll?" "What social activities are available at Deakin?" "Where do I find the biology building?" and "What are the computing requirements for my course?" Over time, students who ask Watson a question can expect tailored information, personalized advice and information based on their individual profiles.


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