IBM Teams With KPMG, Hilton to Advance Watson

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-03-10 Print this article Print
IBM initiatives

John Kelly, IBM senior vice president of cognitive solutions and IBM Research, noted that auditing and knowledge services require the analysis of large amounts of unstructured data, at which Watson excels.

"IBM Watson is a highly regarded innovator and recognized leader in cognitive technology," Hill said. "We've seen in many industries how organizations are harnessing the transformative power of cognitive computing, helping professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges. KPMG and IBM both believe the impact of cognitive technology on professionals services has the potential to be equally if not more profound. Both firms are also interested in mission-based transformation that drives meaningful impact on a significant scale. For our partnership, this means reinforcing confidence in capital markets."

Ed Harbour, vice president of IBM Watson, told eWEEK that KPMG auditors are working to apply Watson to the sampling process. Right now in the course of a typical audit, auditors examine a small subset of transactions—these act as a window into a company's overall state of business, but may miss key indicators or outliers that could be uncovered if auditors had the ability to review a larger number of transactions.

"IBM's view is that given more data, people can make better-informed decisions," Harbour said. "Bringing Watson into the audit process can allow for a much larger sample, giving auditors a more complete view into an organization's overall health. Leveraging cognitive technology also will help to expedite the audit process, more quickly identifying issues that could be addressed early, and allowing auditors to focus on higher value activities, including offering additional insights around risks and other related findings."

Hill said although KPMG and IBM are making this announcement during the height of the tax season, the timing of the news is coincidental.

"However, we are in the early stages of building a 'cognitive ecosystem' that will continue to evolve and include highly advanced technologies developed within and outside of the firm. IBM Watson is a key component to that ecosystem and signifies the first step our firm is taking toward augmenting the services we currently perform, enhance the quality and effectiveness of our work, drive more value to our clients and advance into areas where we don't currently play."

In other Watson news, IBM this week announced it is working with the Hilton hotel chain to pilot "Connie," a hotel concierge robot powered by IBM Watson and Watson Ecosystem partner WayBlazer—which offers a cognitive travel platform based on Watson. The robot is being tested at the Hilton McLean in Northern Virginia's Washington, D.C., suburban area. Connie draws on domain knowledge from Watson and WayBlazer to provide concierge information such as recommendations on local tourism and dining.

Named after Conrad Hilton, Connie uses a combination of Watson APIs—Dialog, Speech to Text, Text to Speech and Natural Language Classifier—along with WayBlazer's extensive travel domain knowledge to interact with guests.

"We're focused on reimagining the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for guests," said Jonathan Wilson, vice president of product innovation and brand services at Hilton Worldwide, in a statement. "By tapping into innovative partners like IBM Watson, we're wowing our guests in the most unpredictable ways."


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