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Sandy Carter

General ManagerEcosystem Development

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Announcing a huge opportunity to put the power of Watson behind your apps!

November 2013

Big news!

IBM is moving to the next phase in the evolution of Watson, our revolutionary cognitive computing system—and you, our Business Partners, play a key role in its success.

We're excited to be teaming up with early-adopter ISVs who want to help launch the first generation of applications powered by Watson. In particular, this is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to further disrupt their markets.

To build this Watson Ecosystem, IBM will bring the cognitive capabilities of Watson to the cloud, allowing our Business Partners to harness Watson's abilities to analyze and respond to natural language, and then adapt and learn with new interactions and outcomes. This has enormous potential for both profit and progress in a wide range of industries. It allows our ecosystem of innovators to collaborate in growing areas for greater usability, co-evolution with users and radically improve access to information.

By opening Watson as a platform for development by others, IBM is looking to unleash a wave of innovation that will benefit the way that we as a society live, work and operate.

Here's how it works: IBM will offer a Software Development Kit (SDK) to ISVs for self-service training, development and testing of their embedded application. The application's content can come from the ISV or a third-party content provider. IBM will then grant the ISV access to the Watson Experience Manager, a portal application that includes a development "sandbox" as well as tools to upload and ingest information, assist in app development, support training and testing, and assist with defining and developing the user experience.

The Watson Ecosystem will be made up of three key components:

  1. Build applications on top of the Watson Developer Cloud: The ecosystem's cloud-based infrastructure provides the performance, control and flexibility necessary to run, manage and optimize SaaS applications.
  2. Leverage the Watson Content Store: Identify and supply content that will build context and support applications.
  3. Build and find skills through the Watson Talent Hub: Get access to technical, business or design talent, underwritten by an IBM certification program.

Initially, the Watson Ecosystem will focus on three key industries—retail, travel and healthcare—but it will expand over time. We expect the first Watson-powered solutions to go live in the first half of 2014. The program will be available globally, but the technology currently supports only the English language.

Want to know more? (Of course you do!)

Watch this video (youtube, 00:05:38) where I share more of my thoughts on the power of this announcement.

Organizations that are interested in collaborating with IBM to develop Watson-powered applications can learn more at the Watson Ecosystem for Business Partners. Together, we can develop a new breed of cognitive applications that enable us to prosper with our Business Partners and share our efforts and investments.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments—my Twitter ID is @sandy_carter and my blog is


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