Ex-IBMers Launch Watson-Based Cognitive Scale

Cognitive Scale, a new company founded by former members of the IBM Watson team, delivers a cognitive computing platform in the cloud for enterprises.

Big data BI

A group of former IBMers has teamed to deliver a new cognitive computing platform based on IBM's Watson cognitive system.

After 18 months focused on product and technology development, Cognitive Scale this week emerged from stealth mode with a new cognitive cloud platform, four vertical industry applications, new customers, partnerships with technology titans and 22 patents. The company is on track to close 2014 with multimillion dollars in revenue resulting from several high-value customer contracts, according to Cognitive Scale officials.

Cognitive Scale's chairman is former IBM Watson General Manager Manoj Saxena, and the company's founder and CTO is former IBM Watson Labs leader Matt Sanchez. Several members of the Cognitive Scale team also are from IBM. The team consists of serial entrepreneurs and technologists with in-depth enterprise software expertise in cognitive computing, big data, analytics and service-oriented architectures.

Moreover, the team's collective experience and formal education includes leadership and technology roles at Dell, IBM, Oracle, Perot Systems and MIT. The company is privately funded by The Entrepreneurs' Fund, a venture fund for early-stage cognitive computing companies started by Saxena.

"There are three jaw-dropping facts that limit the capabilities of big data," Matt Sanchez, founder, chief technology officer and vice president of products at Cognitive Scale, said in a statement. "First is 55 percent of big data initiatives fail. Second is 70 to 80 percent of the world's data is trapped in silos within and outside company walls with no secure and reliable way to access it. Third, valuable insights are lost because 80 percent of data is not machine-readable; this is commonly referred to as 'dark data.' We address these gaps through cognitive computing to help customers improve decision-making, personalize consumer experiences and create more profitable relationships."

According to consulting firm Deloitte, the cognitive computing market in the United States will continue to grow, expanding from its current $1 billion to more than $50 billion by 2018.

Cognitive Scale's cognitive cloud platform, called Insights Fabric, delivers insights-as-a-service and accelerates the creation of cognitive applications in health care, retail, travel and financial services. Insights Fabric is a portable, open cognitive cloud platform that accelerates value from a company's existing investments in big data. It does this by extracting patterns and insights from dark data sources that are almost totally opaque today. This includes information found in databases, devices, blogs, reviews, emails, social media, images and other unstructured data sources.

Cognitive Scale said there are three critical differentiators of the cognitive cloud platform. One is its ability to extract insights from data while enforcing security and sovereignty policies. Second is its ability to understand natural language and generate personalized insights that learn with every user interaction. And third is the ability to create a cognitive cloud in 10 seconds, deliver a cognitive app in 10 hours and customize it with an organization's data within 10 days using any cloud infrastructure, including IBM, Amazon and Google.

"Given the massive amounts of data that accumulate every day, especially unstructured data, it's clear that the ability to go beyond traditional big data analytics to solve real business issues remains both a challenge and a top priority for organizations today," said Sue Feldman, CEO of industry analyst firm Synthexis, in a statement. "We need better methods to address complex problems that draw on multiple types of data at scale from both inside and outside the organization.

"But the combination of advanced technology and industry knowledge that is necessary is scarce. If we are to solve the most critical problems in customer care, health care, in finance, in fraud or intelligence, we need platforms that can do the heavy lifting for the rest of us without having to develop them ourselves. That's what Cognitive Scale has done. For this reason, we see Cognitive Scale as a front-runner in the emerging cognitive computing marketplace," she continued.

The company released its first vertical industry clouds for the travel, health care, retail and financial services industries. These industry-optimized clouds contain billions of curated data points and contextual facts and help accelerate the creation of industry-specific cognitive applications that deliver insights-as-a-service.

Cognitive Scale is enabling and extending the growing cognitive computing ecosystem through partnerships with content, technology and systems integrators, including Avention, IBM Watson, IBM Bluemix, IBM SoftLayer, Amazon and Deloitte.

"Cognitive Scale is innovating with IBM Watson, and the result is a high-value cognitive cloud platform and industry solutions that address real business issues," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM's Watson Group, in a statement. "Their efforts will benefit the growing number of businesses that are turning to cognitive computing to derive even greater value from big data."