IBM competition spurs Watson-based app development
IBM is offering some serious prize money to those who could develop consumer and business mobile apps powered by Watson. The competition comes on the heels of IBM's announcement of massive layoffs across its facilities globally.
The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is a global app-building competition intended to expand the way consumers and businesses interact with their mobile devices. Developers will have to tap into Watson's ability to understand the complexities of human language, "read" millions of pages of data in seconds and improve its own performance by learning.
The challenge was introduced by the recently-formed IBM Watson Group as part of the IBM MobileFirst strategy to push the adoption of mobile technology in businesses to better engage with customers.
This initiative also marks a milestone in fuelling an ecosystem of developers, start-ups, tech companies and venture capitalists building Watson powered apps as part of the Watson Developers Cloud.
IBM will choose the three best as winners, who will then join the Watson Ecosystem Programme. They will work together with the company's global consulting practice, the IBM Interactive Experience, to receive design consulting and support in developing their apps.
To date, more than 1,500 individuals and organisations have contacted IBM to share their ideas for creating cognitive computing applications. According to the company, global developers have planned to go to market in 2014 with Watson apps across a variety of industries.
Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think. It is said to represent a major shift in an organisation's ability to quickly analyse, understand and respond to Big Data. Watson's power to answer complex questions with speed, accuracy and confidence is expected to transform decision making across a variety of industries, including health care, financial services and retail.
Named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Watson is claimed to be 24 times faster and smarter, and 90 per cent smaller than the original system.