Archive for the ‘IBM’ Category

Slackbot, Say “Hello” to Watson

Friday, November 4th, 2016

IBM’s marketing, design and engineering teams are using Slack to collaborate and create new cognitive solutions, benefiting all users of the platform, as learnings will be passed on to developers.

This is just one part of IBM’s partnership with Slack, announced at October’s World of Watson in Las Vegas.

“Slack and IBM share the same vision for how AI can transform workplace efficiency,” said David Kenny, IBM Watson’s general manager in a press release. “The degree of leverage we can gain from enhanced cognitive capabilities becomes massive.”


According to Kenny, combining Slack and Watson will make it easier for developers to build cognitive-enabled bots for Slack, propelling productivity.


In the same press release, Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack, said: “This partnership with IBM and the work we are doing with Watson will accelerate our customers’ organizational intelligence and propel workplace productivity in dramatic new ways.”

Butterfield added that he wanted Slack to become better and smarter the more it was used, and “supercharge” people’s ability to find answers.

In pursuit of this goal, Slack will adopt Watson Conversation to improve the accuracy and efficiency of Slackbot, the customer service bot. Watson machine learning will also enable Slackbot to continuously improve its accuracy.

To learn more about IBM Watson’s capabilities, click here.

IBM Watson Making Cognitive Businesses a Reality

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

“It isn’t a world of Watson: it’s a world with Watson,” said IBM’s Chairman, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty at the company’s World of Watson (WoW) conference in Las Vegas today.

The “with” part came to life in a two-hour presentation with multiple executive guest speakers from around the world who all demonstrated the depth and versatility of IBM Watson’s cognitive superpowers.

As IBM Watson pioneers across industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing have discovered, AI isn’t “Artificial Intelligence.” It’s Augmented Intelligence, which Rometty says is “about man and machine.” Enhancement, not replacement.

IBM Watson’s capability isn’t just an add-on: it works its way into the DNA of your enterprise.

Rometty shared examples of exactly how that manifests:

  • IBM Watson is helping 200 million patients across the world with diagnosis and treatment of illness.
  • It’s pairing customers with insurance options and managing their allergies.
  • In the classroom, IBM Watson is helping teachers target the right teaching plan for students.

In total, IBM Watson’s already working with over 200 million customers.

“You don’t just do cognitive. Your company can become a cognitive business,” says Rometty.   

IBM Watson In Action   

The cross-industry leaders that Ginni Rometty brought to the IBM WoW stage demonstrated IBM Watson’s ability to integrate cognitive into their daily operations.

When GM CEO Mary Barra talked about IBM Watson’s manifestation in the company’s 2017 models, she cemented the idea of AI as augmented intelligence. “Don’t just implement technology for technology’s sake: transform experience to gain customers for life,” she says.

The key to cognitive is in the name of the tech: organizations need to be constantly thinking about what they’re doing with Watson’s abilities, and why.

US Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. places an extremely high value on teachers and understands exactly what Watson can do in the classroom: work with teachers to help students, making personalized learning a reality in public schools.

It turns out that IBM Watson’s intelligence has an artistic side too, when it’s matched with a beat-making musician as talented as Alex Da Kid. Released on the Friday before World of Watson, “Not Easy” has already hit #1 on Spotify.

IBM Watson is already at work in the healthcare field, eliminating human error while enhancing human perception. For Yitzhak Peterburg, Teva Pharmaceutical’s Chairman of the Board, IBM Watson’s abilities provide a crucial assist in managing the big data demands of 200 million customers.

If one thing is for sure at WoW, it’s that IBM has demonstrated a myriad of use cases for IBM Watson and the power of building a cognitive business. By the end of 2017, the company expects IBM Watson will touch 1 billion consumers globally.

To sign up to IBM Watson and learn more, click here.

IBM Launches Watson-Enabled Data Platform

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The power of machine learning has arrived for the masses, and it comes in the form of a cloud-based platform called IBM Watson Data Platform.

Announced today in Las Vegas at the IBM World of Watson conference, the platform promises to let businesses get more valuable insights, as well as interpret and collaborate with data.

“Watson Data Platform applies cognitive assistance for creating machine learning models, making it far faster to get from data to insight,” said Bob Picciano, SVP of Information & Analytics.

“It also provides one place to access machine learning services and languages, so that anyone, from an app developer to the Chief Data Officer, can collaborate seamlessly to make sense of data, ask better questions, and more effectively operationalize insight.”

Harness Collaboration

The IBM Watson Data Platform uses machine learning to intelligently and automatically build models from structured and unstructured data.

Citing a survey by Harvard Business Review, IBM says 80 percent of companies struggle with allowing employees to collaborate using common data, which in turn impacts a company’s ability to drive business results.

Businesses are siloed. People spend too much time collecting and then cleansing data, or they lack a consistent view of data across departments.

That changes, IBM says, with the announcement of IBM Watson Data Platform, as different areas of the business will have access to a dashboard tailored to their specific needs and speciality.

“Access to data insights are no longer heavily dependent on IT,” Picciano said.

SQL, Python, R, Java, and Scala are currently integrated into the system, as well as more than 20 ecosystem partners including RStudio, and APIs from Keen IO.

Follow TechPORTFOLIO on Twitter for up-to-date news and pictures from IBM World of Watson.

To sign up to IBM Watson and learn more, click here.

Watson Analytics to Research Heart Rhythm Data

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) is accelerating their research with Heart-SIGN, a platform designed with IBM’s Watson Analytics and BigInsights on Cloud at its core.

As neuroscientists working on treatments for Parkinson’s Disease can attest, today’s healthcare researchers are inundated with massive amounts of big data. Heart-SIGN’s ability to synthesize CANet’s findings could reveal discoveries in the field that may have otherwise taken years.

Nathalie Le Prohon, Vice President at IBM Watson Health Life Sciences, says: “The ability for researchers and providers to utilize cognitive tools helps them to spend less time sifting through data and more time gaining insights and delivering transformation where we need it most.”

Millions of Canadians experience some form of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats, a condition that can negatively impact productivity and overall quality of life. In some cases, arrhythmia can also lead to sudden cardiac death, resulting in the loss of 40,000 lives a year.



Watson Takes on Parkinson’s Disease

Friday, October 14th, 2016

IBM Watson, long touted for its potential in healthcare, is being put to work finding a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and University Health Networks (UHN) in Toronto, Ontario, is adopting IBM Watson for Drug Discovery to analyze existing data with natural language processing and machine learning tools.

One problem that IBM Watson solves for researchers is processing existing Parkinson’s research, and finding previously overlooked connections within research structures. Watson Drug Discovery’s resources include 31 million sources of data.

Dr. Lorraine Kaila, a neurologist at UHN, explains: “The platform gives us the ability to look at connections that researchers might not have found without dedicating weeks or months of time. This includes identifying compounds that we have not previously considered investigating for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”

“Drug researchers are challenged by the sheer volume and pace of emerging data,” says Lauren O’Donnell, Vice President at IBM Watson Health Life Sciences. “Watson for Drug Discovery empowers researchers with cognitive tools that will help to speed drug discovery.”

According to drug manufacturers’ trade group PhRMA, research for new treatments costs an average of $2.6 billion and takes 10 years. Only 12% of proposed medications make it past a Phase I clinical trial, which tests efficacy and safety.

On average 25 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each day, according to the OBI. In Ontario alone, an estimated 285,000 people suffer from some form of neurodegenerative disorder.

Tom Mikkelsen, president and scientific director of the OBI, said: ”This partnership signals the beginning of a new era for neuroscience where researchers can work with data at an unprecedented level of sophistication and speed. We are excited by the impact this could have on people living with Parkinson’s disease.”

jKool Unlocks Insights with IBM Cloud

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Companies relying on real-time analytics to make decisions can’t suffer a slowdown.

jKool, a Melville, NY-based SaaS company, joined the highly competitive data visualization and analysis business in 2014.

As an IBM Global Entrepreneur Program member, jKool got access to IBM resources and elected to leverage IBM Cloud. The company needed a powerful cloud computing partner to make sure information arrived with the right people at the right time.

“We needed to provide immediate response, visualization and analytics on the largest sets of data,” says Charley Rich, jKool’s VP of Product Management

The company’s platform charts wide swathes of information, such as payments, orders and clicks, from its clients in retail, finance, healthcare and IoT. It also analyzes this data to highlight trends and flag operations that could be managed more efficiently.

Out of the offerings from IBM Cloud, jKool opted for its bare metal server infrastructure.  

“We’re handling tremendous volumes of data, so extreme scalability is essential,” explained Rich.

Learn more here about the jKool and IBM Cloud partnership.

To explore IBM Cloud infrastructure, click here.

For more on IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, click here.

iTech Vancouver’s Top 5 Takeaways for Cloud and Mobility

Friday, October 7th, 2016

If you’ve got your head in the clouds, you’re probably familiar with the iTech Conference, a cross-Canada event series that brings together those that work in IT infrastructure, security, cloud and mobility.

This week iTech’s Vancouver event attracted more than 700 people who came to learn about the changing role of the IT professional.

No longer just somebody who locks a server room at night, IT professionals are now responsible for managing the large-scale business opportunities that have been made available as a result of cloud computing.

Here are the top five insights from the conference:

1. Cloud is mature

Now that cloud has reached the mainstream, platform as a service (PaaS) providers are the norm, says Mark Janzen of IBM Canada. This means businesses such as Starbucks have access to previously closed-off markets.

2. Cloud is transformational

The “cognitive on cloud” movement will transform workspaces and customer interactions. Managers will split their time between human staff and leveraging cognitive technology, and bots will frequent customer service.

3. Cloud can expand or shrink

The cloud will make IT infrastructure a commodity. “In 3 years most companies will consume [IT] and pay a monthly fee, just like they do for water,” says Kyle Kilback, VP of Graycon.

4. Cognitive on cloud moves business beyond just storing data

One big industry that will reap benefits from the cloud and cognitive technology is health care. With 70% of corporate executives saying they plan to significantly increase their investments in AI-related technologies, companies will be able to extract more value as well as insight from the mountains of data they sit on. Terry Belanger, Brand Manager for IBM Power Systems, said treatment plans based on one’s genome are within possibility.

5. Security and the cloud go hand in hand

Investment in the cloud should be matched with investment in security. IT professionals need to raise awareness of issues ranging from vulnerable nodes, to people using personal devices on corporate networks, and corporate devices in personal use. Testing and updating a security plan is a must.


Water Experts and Software Developers Hack Future of Water

Friday, October 7th, 2016

If software is eating the world, surely it must also be able to provide a solution to protect and preserve fresh water. That’s the aim of AquaHacking, an initiative that puts “sustainable governance and technological innovation to work for water.”

On Oct. 6-7, more than 300 researchers, non-profits, government and software developers met in Montreal to discuss water-related issues–the St. Lawrence River in particular–as well as hear from developers who are building web and mobile applications to tackle them.

AquaHacking is an initiative put on by the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and is sponsored by IBM in Canada. More of a movement than an event, #AquaHacking takes place over many months and culminates in a two-day summit event where developers present the apps and tools they’ve built.

This year, 27 teams competed for $50,000 in cash prizes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cloud technology and services from IBM Canada and IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program.

Developers leveraged IBM Bluemix to build apps, along with mountains of data (see the bottom of the page here for Git links and downloadable files), including data from:

  • Environment Canada
  • The City of Montreal
  • Montreal Smart and Digital City
  • St. Lawrence Global Observatory
  • Ministry of Sustainable Development Environment
  • Fight Against Climate Change

The 27 teams were shortlisted to five who presented to the crowd at the #AquaHacking Summit on Oct. 7. The five teams and their proposed solutions were:

  1. Dronoflow, a project that uses drones to capture data, take aerial photography and draw water samples for scientific analysis
  2. eFish, a project that provides info and shares data to people fishing, along with maps of waterways and access points
  3. H2EAU, a project that promotes exploration and protection of river assets for educational and recreational use
  4. Info-Baignade Montréal, a project that provides an early-warning system and tracks risk of microbiological contamination (SAP Micro) in order to predict swimmers against contaminated waters
  5. Solutions to Innovate, a project that leverages a system of flexible, modular piers that are designed to prevent erosion of riverbanks

While all teams won widespread applause from the event there could only be one winner:

The jury was made up of:

Cognitive Capabilities Will Be Critical for Healthcare Space

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

In 2013, 153 billion GB of healthcare data was collected by devices. In 2020, that number will climb to a whopping 2.3 trillion GB.

But it’s not the data that’s important, it’s the analysis, says Chris Pratt who works with strategic initiatives at IBM Canada.

Speaking at the iTech Vancouver conference, Pratt talked about how the next wave in cloud and cognitive will focus on deriving value from data. Having the data is not the only step — it’s about mining it for insights.


Enter: IBM Watson.

When IBM Watson debuted in 2011 and won global attention for beating Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings on the game show Jeopardy, much of the hubbub focused on IBM Watson’s ability to accurately answer questions, quickly.

At the time, IBM Watson had one API. Fast forward five years and it now has more than 50, Pratt says. Leveraging external APIs is a fundamental step now for any business wants to extract value out of its data.

According to a 2016 survey by Accenture, 70% of corporate executives are planning to significantly increase their investments in AI-related technologies compared with two years ago, and 55% are planning to use machine learning and embedded AI solutions extensively.

The healthcare space in particular is ripe with opportunity for data insight-mining. Pratt says the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in a lifetime. That is the equivalent of 300 million books, according to IBM Watson Health.

Pratt says being able to analyze that data is critical to innovation. “Can we afford a health care system that is not augmented [with cognitive technologies]? The answer is no,” he said.

Want to get started with cognitive technologies? Here are the three key ingredients:

Click here to learn about IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which includes access to Watson and technical support.

Cognitive Technology Meets IoT in $200 Million Munich Campus

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

IBM has announced a $200 million investment for a dedicated campus in Munich, Germany to produce Internet of Things technology that leverages cognitive computing.

The Watson IoT headquarters, part of a $3 billion investment by IBM globally, will let clients collaborate and test new business models in the automotive, electronics, healthcare, and insurance industries, IBM said today. The facility will employ 1,000, including researchers, engineers and business experts.

“By inviting our clients and partners to join us in Munich, we are opening up our talent and technologies to help deliver on the promise of IoT and establishing a global hotbed for collaborative innovation,” Harriet Green, Global Head of IBM’s Watson IoT business, said in the announcement.

IBM has 6,000 clients worldwide tapping IBM Watson for IoT solutions and services, up from 4,000 just 8 months ago.

These include Aerialtronics, which produces cognitively-enabled commercial drones that, for instance, can inspect tall installations such as wind turbines and make suggestions on maintenance, learning all the while.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, in Center City, Philadelphia, is also building hospital rooms that allow patients to interact vocally with IBM Watson to change their lighting or environment, or ask questions. And engineering firm Schaeffler is incorporating cognitive technology in its sensors.

Other projects that IBM have announced as part of its global $3 billion investment in Watson in IoT include:

  • Blockchain technology, which can be used to securely share IoT data;
  • A natural language interface for IBM Watson that can be included in customer-facing tech;
  • A Cognitive Cookbook for Watson developers, containing demonstrations and best practices.

To learn more about IBM Watson and how to incorporate it into your projects, click here.

Click here to learn about IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which includes access to Watson and technical support.