Turbotodd

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Archive for the ‘ibm watson’ Category

The Easy System

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The Staples’ “Easy button” is getting an upgrade with IBM Watson.

In a piece by The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Castellanos, she outlines how Staples and IBM are partnering to make Staples’ iconic red “easy” button act as “an artificially-intelligent assistant for all office business needs.”

Castellanos writes that the company will later this month launch a pilot program where office assistants at 100 medium and large undisclosed businesses will test the AI-powered Easy System to order office supplies by voice and text.

The Easy System, which includes the physical easy button as well as a mobile app, email and text message capability, has been in development since last year. It’s powered by International Business Machine Corp.’s Watson artificial intelligence system. The cognitive computing scheme behind Watson lets Staples’ algorithms learn the habits of individual customers.
– via WSJ

Staples uses APIS to connect its inventory and ordering systems to Watson via IBM Cloud technology, explains Castellanos.

Staple’s CTO, Faisal Masud, on the new system:

“Our goal would be to make their lives more efficient and be able to serve them beyond just office supplies,” said Mr. Masud, who became the company’s CTO in December 2016 in a promotion that combined e-commerce with his previous chief information officer responsibilities. “We want to be able to solve any request that our customers have.”
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

May 9, 2017 at 10:44 am

Mark III Systems Launches Cognitive Call Center With Watson

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If you’re trying to keep up with all the AI and machine learning companies sprouting up on the landscape…yeah, well, you might need an algorithm to help you with that.

The next best thing might be Bloomberg Beta’s Shivon Zilis, who provides a very thorough rundown on “Machine Intelligence 3.0” here. There’s way too much AI meat on ‘dem bones for me to go into the details here, but Zilis summarizes it by explaining that “a one stop shop of the machine intelligence stack is coming into view.”

On the IBM AI front, IBM today announced that Texas-based IT solutions provider and IBM Business Partner Mark III Systems has built a platform using cognitive technologies on IBM Cloud to help call centers increase efficiency, improve employee productivity and make more informed decisions based on near real-time insights.

Most call centers record phone conversations as unstructured data, only searchable by manually entered “tags.” If a conversation is relevant to an audit, it must be transcribed manually, which means reports can take weeks, which can result in decreased productivity and potentially decreased customer satisfaction.

Mark III Systems’ Cognitive Call Center platform transforms the traditional call center model by using IBM Cloud and Watson to help agents identify, filter, analyze and take actions on inbound and outbound calls.

The platform uses IBM Cloud Object Storage to manage the unstructured data, and it uses Watson APIs, specifically Watson Speech to Text and Watson Tone Analyzer, to automate the transcription and tagging of audio, provide near real-time analytics and actions and enable deeper analytics for audit situations.

Mark III’s development unit, BlueChasm, leveraged virtually the entire IBM development to deployment stack to create the cloud-based platform with an open API. With its highly repeatable, flexible solution, Mark III is set to revolutionize the call center market by providing cognitive business insights in near real time to its clients.

IBM has also launched the Watson Build, a new challenge designed to support its channel partners as they bring a cognitive solution to market. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2017, and businesses can learn more here.

Written by turbotodd

May 2, 2017 at 9:13 am

Watson Parle Français à Credit Mutual Banque

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Crédit Mutuel and IBM announced today that following a successful pilot, the use of Watson technologies is extended to 20,000 employees across 5,000 branches to continue to strengthen customer relationships.

This marks the first commercial use of Watson by a financial institution in France to assist its professionals.

The bank’s customer advisors have been using Watson services in French for the past year, integrated in their business applications, as Crédit Mutuel and IBM have partnered to train and improve Watson’s French language capabilities.

By mid-June, Watson-based solutions will be deployed to client advisors across the 15 federations of Crédit Mutuel throughout France:  

  • The Email Analyzer will help the advisors of these branches to manage the more than 350,000 customer e-mails they receive each day. The solution allows the Bank to identify the most frequent requests, determine the level of request urgency and help its client advisors execute faster or delegate associated tasks, allowing them to accelerate and enhance responses provided to their customers.
  • Two Virtual Assistant applications will use Watson technology to help the advisors rapidly provide customers with information on a comprehensive set of offerings, starting with complex domains such as car and housing insurances, and the whole range of savings and investments products.

After one year of intensive training with the business experts of the bank, and after a successful pilot with 150 client advisors in 20 branches, both solutions were strongly endorsed by the pilot’s users.

Working with Watson-based solutions trained with internal business knowledge has helped them free up time; improve the speed, relevance and accuracy of responses to queries; and ultimately reinforce relationships with their customers, providing more personalized attention.

According to an internal survey of participants, 94 percent of the respondents would recommend the Virtual Assistant to colleagues and 87 percent would recommend the Email Analyzer.

The pilot also demonstrated that client advisors were able to find the right answers to most of their customer questions more than 60 percent faster using the Watson-based Virtual Assistant.

“As a mutual bank with a strong local presence all over the country, we continue to invest in our branches to help advisors deliver more personal relationships with our clients, whether face to face, by phone, or digital. In this context, Watson is a perfect working partner to assist our professionals, augment their service quality and help them bring more value to clients,” said Nicolas Thery, chairman at Crédit Mutuel. “We are evolving our banking business to deliver a growing number of diversified and valuable services to clients, and we recognize how important it is for our professionals to be central to our client relationships.”

Crédit Mutuel will extend the use of Watson technologies to additional use cases later this year, for health, personal risk insurance, car credit insurance, and bank credit services.

Written by turbotodd

April 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Tribeca Film Festival And IBM Launch “Storytellers with Watson” Competition

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Human and machine collaboration has inspired some of society’s most important innovations, and it has long been a source of fascination in media and entertainment.

But it’s no longer just the subject of movie or videogame story lines; it’s also helping to inspire their very creation. Today the Tribeca Film Festival and IBM announced “Tribeca Presents Storytellers with Watson: A Tribeca Film Festival competition for Innovation sponsored by IBM.” The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will be taking place from April 19-30 in New York City.

Starting today, participants in the U.S. can submit ideas on how they would apply Watson to any storytelling medium, such as film and video, web content, gaming, augmented reality and virtual reality.

IBM has worked with Tribeca to develop five use-case categories that can help guide the ideation process for submissions, including examples of cognitive solutions and how Watson APIs can be applied to their creation. Guiding categories include development, pre-production, production and post-production, audience experience and interaction, and marketing and distribution.

The aim is to encourage new thinking on the challenges that exist in creativity or productivity and how Watson can be applied to improving this experience.

The competition is open to the public and will also tap into Tribeca’s alumni network of thousands of media industry influencers, digital producers and creative firms to utilize the Watson platform to create original stories.

Over the past 16 years since the Tribeca Film Festival’s inception, this alumni community has submitted entries to the Festival and are actively involved in creating films, TV programming, online content and other forms of interactive digital media.

“The Tribeca Film Festival has always been a celebration of innovation and cutting-edge ideas,” said Andrew Essex, CEO at Tribeca Film Festival. “Since IBM Watson has been a big influence across many industries, we’re eager to see how our creative community will apply this technology to inspiring their own creative potential. Our collaboration with IBM is important to our mission because it spurs our community to push the limits of what they think is possible and find new inspiration that can redefine their approaches to art and storytelling.”

Watson helps professionals across industries discover new insights from massive amounts of data to solve problems and inspire creativity. The same cognitive technology that is being used to inspire new ideas and thinking among the Tribeca Film Festival community is also being applied in fields such as healthcare, education, retail, law, insurance, and more.

Within the media and entertainment industries, Watson is already helping professionals design and innovate, such as in fashion (with Marchesato create the “cognitive dress”), film (with 20th Century FOX to create the movie trailer for “Morgan”), cuisine (with Chef Watson to create new culinary combinations), music (via Watson Beat and Grammy award-winning producer Alex Da Kid), and architecture (with SOFTlab to create a sculpture inspired by Antoni Gaudi and the history of Barcelona).

The Storytellers with Watson competition submissions will be accepted through May 18, 2017. Ideas can be submitted via the contest’s online form and should include general information about the idea and a short video.

A group of IBM volunteers along with representatives from the Tribeca Film Festival will review the submissions and rate them for creativity, impact potential, and technical feasibility. Submissions will be narrowed down to five finalists who will compete for the winning position. The winner will receive a trip for two to the 2018 Tribeca Film Fest which includes airfare for two within the U.S, a hotel room, and two passes to the Festival.

For more details on the competition and submission process, please visit the “Storytelling with Watson” landing page.

Written by turbotodd

April 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

IBM Reports 1Q2017 Financial Results

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IBM today announced first-quarter earnings results for 2017.

Highlights included:

  • Diluted EPS from continuing operations: GAAP of $1.85; Operating (non-GAAP) of $2.38
  • Revenue from continuing operations of $18.2 billion
  • Strategic imperatives revenue of $7.8 billion in the quarter, up 12 percent (up 13 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Strategic imperatives revenue of $33.6 billion over the last 12 months represents 42 percent of IBM revenue
  • Cloud revenue of $14.6 billion over the last 12 months
  • Cloud as-a-Service annual exit run rate of $8.6 billion in the quarter, up 59 percent year to year (up 61 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Maintains full-year EPS and free cash flow expectations.

 

“In the first quarter, both the IBM Cloud and our cognitive solutions again grew strongly, which fueled robust performance in our strategic imperatives,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “In addition, we are developing and bringing to market emerging technologies such as blockchain and quantum, revolutionizing how enterprises will tackle complex business problems in the years ahead.”

You can see the full announcement here.

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm

IBM And Salesforce Announce Landmark Global Strategic Partnership, Feature AI

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IBM and Salesforce have announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions designed to leverage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. 

With the partnership, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services capabilities for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

Salesforce Chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff and IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint artificial intelligence solutions that will enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. (Photo Credit: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

The partnership will bring new insights from Watson directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform, combining deep customer insights from Salesforce Einstein with Watson’s structured and unstructured data across many sources and industries including weather, healthcare, financial services and retail.

Together, Watson and Einstein will ingest, reason over and derive recommendations to accelerate decision making and drive greater customer success.

“Within a few years, every major decision—personal or business—will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM. “This year we expect Watson will touch one billion people—through everything from oncology and retail to tax preparation and cars. Now, with today’s announcement, the power of Watson will serve the millions of Salesforce and Einstein customers and developers to provide an unprecedented understanding of customers.”

“The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “I’m thrilled to form an alliance with IBM—no company’s core values are as close to Salesforce’s as IBM’s. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Salesforce and IBM will initially deliver the following:

  • IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein Integration: Integrating IBM Watson APIs into Salesforce will bring predictive insights from unstructured data, inside or outside an enterprise, together with predictive insights from customer data delivered by Salesforce Einstein to enable smarter, faster decisions across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. For example, by combining local shopping patterns, weather and retail industry data from Watson with customer-specific shopping data and preferences from Salesforce Einstein, a retailer will be able to automatically send highly personalized and localized email campaigns to shoppers.
  • IBM Weather Insights for Salesforce: The Weather Company, an IBM business, will power a new Lightning component on the Salesforce AppExchange to provide weather insights that inform customer interactions and business performance. For example, an insurance company will be able to pull local forecast data from IBM Weather into Salesforce, and automatically send safety and policy information to customers who are at risk of being impacted by severe weather events.
  • IBM Application Integration Suite for Salesforce: Customers will be able to able to bring together on-premise enterprise and cloud data with specialized integration products for Salesforce, surfacing that data directly within the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform. For example, a wealth advisor will be able to unify client data, such as individual investments and risk profiles, with financial trends and public macroeconomic information from Application Integration Suite right within Salesforce to make smarter decisions for her customers.
  • Bluewolf Dedicated Consulting Services and Expertise for Cognitive Solutions, Adding to IBM Strategic Services for Salesforce: Bluewolf, an IBM company, has formed a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities. This new unit capitalizes on Bluewolf’s over fifteen years of Salesforce implementations and their current portfolio of multiple Salesforce and Watson projects. Bluewolf will also develop new industry-specific accelerators used by enterprise clients to accelerate adoption of cognitive applications.

 

As part of the partnership, IBM will deploy Salesforce Service Cloud across the company to transform its global product support services and gain a single, unified view of every IBM customer.

Pricing and Availability

  • The IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein integration is expected to be available in the second half of 2017. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.
  • IBM Weather Lightning Component on Salesforce AppExchange is expected to be available in the second half of 2017. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.
  • Bluewolf, an IBM company, expects to offer new industry-focused Solution Accelerators at in the second half of 2017. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.
  • IBM Application Integration Suite for Salesforce is expected to be available by the end of March 2017. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.

Written by turbotodd

March 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm

IBM Watson Training To Scan For Retina Abnormalities

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IBM Research has announced new research developments in IBM Watson’s ability to detect abnormalities of the eye’s retina.

The Melbourne based IBM researchers have trained a research version of Watson to recognize abnormalities in retina images, which could in the future offer doctors greater insights and speed in their early identification of patients who may be at risk of eye diseases – such as glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the developed world.

The research began in 2015 and the latest work has focused on streamlining some of the manual processes experienced by doctors today. This includes distinguishing between left and right eye images, evaluating the quality of retina scans, as well as ranking possible indicators of glaucoma.

Glaucoma has been named “the silent thief of sight” as many patients remain undiagnosed until irreversible vision loss occurs. Glaucoma can be treated but early detection is critical, with doctors currently relying on regular eye examination screening programs.

The researchers applied deep learning techniques and image analytics technology to 88,000 de-identified retina images accessed through EyePACS®, to analyze key anomalies of the eye.

The research results demonstrate Watson’s ability to accurately measure the ratio of the optic cup to disc – which is a key sign of glaucoma – with statistical performance as high as 95 percent. The technology has also been trained to distinguish between left and right eye images (with up to 94 percent confidence), which are important for downstream analysis and for the development effective treatment programs.

The research is expected to continue to improve over time as the research technology expands to detect features of other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

You can learn more about IBM Research efforts here.

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

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