IBM’s Watson Ventures Into the Internet of Things

March 28, 2018 - 3 minutes read

We all first heard of IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, when the machine challenged Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings to a game and won by a landslide. Known as one of the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputers, IBM is now pivoting Watson to create Watson Assistant (WA): an AI assistant created to work with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Too Smart for One Subject

WA is designed to “help bridge the information and data sharing gap between people and things.” The assistant can be activated with voice or text input and is meant to be embedded in numerous devices in various ways. Examples include conference rooms, banks, and stores.

An IBM spokesperson says WA is “helping businesses transform their customer experiences by bringing together data on all the places and things consumers interact with daily.”

The company hopes to use AI in conjunction with IoT; whereas Amazon is creating an AI from scratch for Alexa and trying to cover up her creepy laugh, WA has a huge leg-up with the practice Watson has been getting with machine learning for nearly a decade.

IBM’s also prioritizing a focus on enhanced data security and creating secure IoT application integrations.

Intelligent Implementation

Easy-to-grab ideas include travel integration: your itinerary, airport maps, TSA line estimates, and more would communicate directly with your car, house, phone, and spouse. Your hotel room would be pre-set with your favorite music genre, ideal living temperature, lighting, and more.

A Maserati GranCabrio was used to demo a possible car implementation at IBM’s Think Conference in San Francisco earlier this year: it included an AI-powered dashboard, integration with your home (think refrigerator, garage door, supply closet), a mechanical vehicle safety monitoring mechanism, integration with your auto shop, and more.

Another example included smart home displays, a collaboration with U.K. company Chameleon Technology. The smart display would showcase your calendar and local weather, keep you updated on your solar panels, home battery, electric car, and more.

A Household Name for Household Integration

It sounds like IBM has thought of nearly every integration within the home atmosphere. With IBM being a household name for decades and IoT devices seeing a big surge in adoption in recent years, WA is a warmly-welcomed AI assistant for many consumers. And speaking about security as a priority also helps, considering Facebook’s current turmoil with user data privacy and sharing.

While IBM’s WA still has a lot of learning to do, we can’t wait to see IBM start testing it with existing devices in homes across the United States.

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