India is a very important market for Watson: IBM

Technology giant IBM is placing big bets on the Indian market for its cognitive artificial intelligence platform Watson, driven by factors like a rich talent pool and fast pace of growth in uptake of technology products and solutions.

Watson, which shot to fame after winning television game show Jeopardy in 2011, is now being used across sectors, including assisting in treatment of cancer.

IBM Watson GM David Kenny said India is an important market for the company for Watson deployment.

“The biggest developer conference that happened (for the company) this year was in Mumbai. We see a lot of innovation coming out of India…The whole region is growing because the technology is growing at a faster rate, there isn’t much legacy that needs to be adopted, so people are immediately deciding cognitive systems,” he added.

He further said: “There is just amazing talent that we see, so I am very excited about it (India)“.

In India, IBM will work with entities like Manipal Hospitals. It uses the Watson platform for oncology to help its physicians identify personalised, evidence-based cancer care options.

IBM, which is hosting the second edition of its World of Watson event here, showcased a number of products that its partners have created using Watson.

These include Ollie — a self-driving 3D printed mini bus that talks to people and a ‘cognitive dress’

The US-based firm said it is working with companies like Pearson, Udacity, Adobe, GSK and Staples for embedding Watson across their products and services.

Under its partnership with Pearson announced today, IBM will make Watson’s cognitive capabilities available to college students and professors. While this will allow students getting a more immersive learning experience with their college courses, instructors will get insights about how well students are learning.

Watson will be able to answer students’ queries as well as assess their responses to guide them with hints, feedback, explanations and help identify common problems.

Software maker Autodesk has created a digital concierge ’Otto’ that uses Watson’s cognitive technology to resolve customer and partner inquiries like requesting a subscription activation code or answering an inquiry within minutes.

After running a pilot, the product will now move into full production.

As the project expands, Otto will use machine learning to handle increasingly complex customer requests and allow Autodesk to continue to reduce resolution time, scale seamlessly as volume grows, and provide round-the-clock customer and partner service.

Similarly, Staples will use Watson Virtual Agent to offer an ordering interface for its customers to simplify their shopping experience by using the platform to reorder supplies, track shipments or chat about customer service needs.

Arizona-based Local Motors has partnered with IBM to create Ollie, a self-driving mini bus made from 3D printed parts that is autonomously controlled by IBM’s Watson. It can carry up to 12 people and answers questions that riders may have.

In addition, The Weather Company, an IBM business, has used Watson Virtual Agent to create a bot for Facebook Messenger that gives personalised weather content.

Earlier this year, designer brand Marchesa had teamed up with IBM’s Watson team to design a “cognitive dress”. The dress is a data-driven garment whose embedded LED lights change colours in real time, shifting with the social media mood of users who comment through Twitter.