IBM Unleashes Watson to Developers as Cloud Platform

The answer-rich supercomputer that had TV quiz show Jeopardy viewers dropping jaws in 2011 for its ability to beat human players made Thursday's headlines in a new direction. Big Blue is opening Watson up to developers via the cloud.

Developers will be able to create applications that draw on Watson's formidable data-crunching capabilities. Developers who take the plunge can look forward to incorporating WatsonEUs ability to understand natural language and provide answers by using Big Blue's "IBM Watson Developers Cloud.EU

How does the plan actually shake out? IBM did not offer pricing details for the program but what is clear is that IBM is launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud to help developers jump-start applications powered by Watson's smarts. The IBM Watson Developers Cloud will give application providers, whether just starting out or established, developer resources that include a toolkit, educational materials and access to Watson's application programming interface.

App providers will also have the option to access the "IBM Watson Content Store," featuring third-party content.

A New Cognitive Era

In bringing applications to market, according to the Thursday announcement, IBM will offer a platform for testing, training and deploying Watson-powered apps. "Once the app is refined and ready, app providers ranging from start-ups to established businesses can market their apps to business customers and consumers," said IBM.

Given Watson's capabilities to understand the nuances of human language and uncover answers, one cannot ignore the business potential of the announcement. Offering Watson as a development platform may benefit software developers as well as consumers looking for answers and advice.

Should Watson-powered apps improve decision making across industries, there will be less business risks of delivering wrong answers leading to bad decisions. The full potential is something that will emerge through IBM and partners. Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Software Solutions Group, called the...

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