LAS VEGAS—IBM continues to evolve its Watson cognitive computing system with new capabilities and services that the company hopes will make a mark in Big Blue’s attempt to secure more high-value business.
At the IBM Insight 2014 conference here, IBM announced the availability of a cognitive-infused Watson Explorer, a combination of data exploration and content analytics capabilities. IBM said Watson Explorer advances data exploration by bringing cognitive capabilities, providing users with a 360-degree view of contextually relevant information to offer deeper levels of insight, showing what is happening and why.
Indeed, unlike traditional search solutions that fail to provide context, trends and relationships, Watson Explorer can help professionals find and understand the information they need to work more efficiently, gain more insights from their unstructured content and realize their objectives of improving business outcomes. New Watson Explorer features include advanced content analytics capabilities that give users a view into structured and unstructured data. Watson Explorer provides the bridge between cloud-based services and on-premises proprietary information, making it the logical first step in a Watson journey.
IBM said typical organizations use only 12 percent of their data, leaving a wealth of untapped information across the enterprise that could be leveraged to make smarter decisions. Watson Explorer equips users with the information and analytics capabilities that can help them deliver better performance and real-time results. Watson Explorer has enabled hundreds of customers to connect with their data, build information-centric applications, and improve the quality and speed of their decision making.
With today’s announcement, Watson Explorer advances core cognitive components by providing organizations with the ability to quickly use natural language processing capabilities and data exploration to discover valuable business information in both structured and unstructured data.
“We need analytic capabilities to turn big data into information, and then turn that information into knowledge,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group. “Imagine a tool, an advisor, a mentor, a coach or concierge that can help us see the world and its possibilities in new ways. … Watson can help us democratize expertise.”
Cognitive exploration can enhance a user’s ability to use information to make more informed, evidence-based decisions. It does this by providing information and understanding from relevant sources, much like a human would. With Watson Explorer, for example, a representative is able to ask a question in natural language and instantly retrieve relevant content, expertly culled from a variety of data sources, both structured and unstructured. Watson Explorer’s content analytics feature leverages the power of natural language processing to enable organizations to extract meaning from content such as customer comments, messages, social media, legal documents and research reports.
“Exploration of data is part of a journey toward discovery of valuable information to help organizations make critical business decisions,” said Stephen Gold, vice president of the IBM Watson Group, in a statement. “We are continually looking for ways to provide enterprise customers with tools that will make a difference to their employees and drive results for their bottom line. Watson Explorer brings cognitive capabilities to users at every level, giving them real-time access to the valuable information often locked in structured and unstructured data.”
IBM Adds Cognitive Flavor to Watson Explorer
“We’ve put Watson Explorer in the hands of our call center agents to equip them with a 360-degree view of the information they need, including self-performance reports and other analytics,” said Farouk Ferchichi, corporate manager of Toyota Financial Services, in a statement. “With over four million customers, we recognize the importance of top-notch service and are committed to actively maintaining customer satisfaction. Watson Explorer gives agents the ability to get detailed metrics on their performance to identify strengths and focus areas to improve.”
Watson Explorer will enable customers like Toyota Financial Services to maximize business opportunities by providing frontline workers with a more holistic view of their information landscape, the company said.
Watson Explorer connects information from a range of internal and external sources, analyzes that content, and looks for underlying relationships or patterns that help interpret information. It combines content and data from many different systems throughout the enterprise and public sources and presents it to users based on their role and current activities, which can reduce the amount of time spent looking for information and increase their ability to work smarter.
In today’s information-rich environment, few important tasks can be completed with information from a single source—whether the task is to assist a customer, plan a marketing strategy for a new product or investigate a security breach. Watson Explorer brings data and analytics from many sources, as well as relevant cognitive insights to a user’s desktop or mobile device, in a context-appropriate manner to enable them work with confidence.
Meanwhile, the growing volume of unstructured data represents untapped business opportunities. Documents, email messages, call center transcripts and social media are examples of the kinds of content that may yield a wealth of insights that can help improve business performance if gathered and analyzed by the right tools. Watson Explorer’s content analytics capabilities enable users to uncover trends, patterns and correlations from unstructured information using natural language processing technology, delivering insights in hours or days rather than weeks or months. Those insights are then available to users in real time as a 360-degree view.
Watson Explorer also provides the ability to integrate a growing list of IBM Watson Developer Cloud services to leverage the combined strength of exploration, analytic and cognitive capabilities. As new capabilities are developed by IBM and exposed in the Watson Developer Cloud, they will be made available to qualified Watson Explorer users who license the Watson Developer Cloud services. The available services for integration with Watson Explorer at the time of release are Question Answer, User Modeling, Relationship Extraction, Message Resonance, Concept Expansion, Language Identification and Machine Translation.
Watson Explorer is currently available as two principal offerings. The Enterprise Edition provides search and 360-degree information applications across multiple sources, as well as the ability of qualified customers to license cognitive services from the Watson Developer Cloud to help enhance, scale and accelerate human expertise. The Advanced Edition includes all of the capabilities of Enterprise Edition plus advanced content mining and content analytics to help organizations take the next step with advanced content mining and analytics capabilities to aggregate, analyze and visualize massive amounts of unstructured content to expose new insights.