IBM Adds Six New Watson Ecosystem Partners

At IBM Insight 2015, Big Blue announced it has added six new partners to the Watson cognitive computing ecosystem.

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LAS VEGAS—Highlighting the success of its Watson cognitive system, IBM announced the addition of six new Watson Ecosystem partners who are developing apps and services powered by cognitive computing.

Introduced at the IBM Insight 2015 conference here, the new partners, Engage, Macaw Speech, Opentopic, StatSocial, Vennli, and Domus Semo Sancus, are developing use cases in the areas of call center support, speech telephony, content marketing, social media analysis, survey analysis, and risk management.

These partners join a growing community of startups and established businesses that are leveraging the Watson Developer Cloud, a platform used by more than 77,000 developers globally to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas in industries ranging from health care, financial services and retail to education, music, and sports, IBM said. The community includes more than 350 Watson Ecosystem partners who are commercializing products and services, 100 of which are being used in market.

"IBM has created a portfolio of cognitive computing solutions that continues to grow and addresses industries ranging from healthcare and financial services to scientific research and retailing," said Rob High, IBM's CTO of Watson in a blog post. "But there's no way that we can take advantage of all of the innovation opportunities created by the emergence of cognitive. That's why we've opened Watson's doors to everyone, that is, to you. We believe that creative people in startups and established companies alike will dream up great ideas that we’d never think of."

Today, 80 percent of the world's data is dark and remains largely underutilized by organizations, IBM said. A new form of computing is needed to make sense of and better utilize that information. Watson is a cognitive computing system that learns at scale, reasons with purpose, and interacts with humans naturally—generating not just answers but hypotheses and recommendations from complex data. This technology will be an integral part of how people find answers. IDC predicts that by 2018, half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis.

The new IBM Watson Ecosystem partners tapping into Watson's cognitive computing capabilities include Engage, which is a provider of contact center and call intelligence technology. Engage has created SpeechIQ to provide small and medium size businesses with a cloud-based call center speech analytics solution. SpeechIQ uses Watson's sentiment and speech analysis capabilities to analyze conversations and provide a dashboard for chief compliance officers to mitigate risk for the call center agent and customer, while optimizing sales effectiveness. Community Choice Financial, a financial services provider, is using Engage's speech analytics platform for compliance monitoring, script adherence, and caller sentiment features.

Meanwhile, in a similar vein, Macaw Speech, a provider of telephony speech recognition applications used to support agents in call center environments, joined the ecosystem. The company’s Agent Assist application uses Watson’s natural language Retrieve & Rank API to enable a more sophisticated content search and retrieval system that can easily ingest, index and learn the meaning of the data sets without manual oversight, and regardless of format. This allows call center agents to identify relevant content faster to improve response times and resolution of customer inquiries without the need for escalation. Abtran, a provider of customer and business process management services in Ireland, is testing the Agent Assist application powered by Watson for future use with their agents.

Opentopic, a marketing technology company that helps brands, marketers, and agencies drive transactions and marketing automation with cognitive content recommendations, distribution and analytics, also is using Watson. Gust, an online funding platform, is using Opentopic's Cognitive Content Marketing solution, powered by the IBM Watson Taxonomy API, to get content recommendations based on entrepreneurial target audience profiles of their city hubs.