IBM Adds New Services to Watson Developer Cloud

IBM's five new services for the Watson Developer Cloud enhance developer options for tapping into Watson's cognitive computing power.

IBM big data

IBM announced a bunch of new beta services for its Watson Developer Cloud.

Since its creation in October 2013, the Watson Developer Cloud has evolved into a community with more than 5,000 partners who have unlocked the power of cognitive computing to build more than 6,000 apps to date.

IBM today added five new beta Watson services to the Watson Developer Cloud, consisting of Speech to Text, Text to Speech, Visual Recognition, Concept Insights and Trademark Analytics.

The Speech to Text service is a cloud-based, real-time service that employs highly accurate, low-latency speech-recognition capabilities to convert speech into text for voice-controlled mobile applications and transcription services. It is an easy-to-use service that applies machine intelligence related to grammar and language structures within a specific context to generate a more accurate transcription.

The Text to Speech service supports translation in both English and Spanish and provides the option of three voices across the two languages, including the American English voice used by Watson in the 2011 Jeopardy match in which Watson trounced human competitors. This service understands text and natural language to generate synthesized audio output complete with appropriate cadence and intonation.

The new Visual Recognition Watson service analyzes the visual appearance of various forms of media. Visual Recognition helps users collect and organize large sets of visual data to build semantic associations. Using machine learning technology, classifiers recognize an array of visual entities such as settings, objects and events to analyze and understand the content of images and videos.

IBM Watson's Concept Insights Service looks at text in a conceptual manner and provides a search capability that discovers new insights on text compared to traditional keyword searches. Concept Insights links user-provided documents with a pre-existing graph of concepts based on Wikipedia. Two types of links are identified: explicit links (or when a document directly mentions a concept) and implicit links (which connect the user's documents to relevant concepts that are not directly mentioned).

The new Tradeoff Analytics service helps users make better choices by dynamically weighing multiple, often conflicting, goals. This service uses Pareto filtering techniques to identify the optimal alternatives across multiple criteria. It then employs various analytical and visual approaches to help the decision maker explore tradeoffs and alternatives. Tradeoff Analytics can be used to help make complex decisions, including identifying optimal mortgage structures, treatment options for medical patients and automobiles for car buyers.

With IBM making Watson Analytics publically available in December, Big Blue put the power of Watson into the hands of tech enthusiasts, from quiz masters to doctors and from financial consultants to chefs. Watson technology is available to anybody who wishes to take part in the next era of computing. It enables people from diverse industries and disciplines to easily tap into the power of cognitive computing.

Developers can begin using the new services today to tap into the power of Watson. With a total of 13 beta services now available, the IBM Watson Group is quickly expanding its developer ecosystem with innovative and easy-to-use services to power entirely new classes of cognitive computing apps—apps that can learn from experience, understand natural language, identify hidden patterns and trends, and transform entire industries and professions.

Starting with the launch of Watson Developer Cloud (WDC), IBM has fostered an ecosystem of developers, data hobbyists, entrepreneurs and students who use new services, tools and resources to build the next generation of Watson-powered apps.

WDC has quickly become one of IBM's most dynamic Bluemix communities, and using the power of the eight existing Watson services that were made available, the apps the community has built truly unlock the promise of cognitive computing. One example is eyeQ's eyeQinsights, which helps retailers understand how consumers make purchasing decisions while standing in the store, IBM said.