IBM Opens Watson Zone to Consolidate Developer Tool Access

IBM this week opened a Watson Zone on its Bluemix cloud integration platform where it will consolidate access to APIs for the cognitive computing platform along with other supporting tools and documents for developers.

Announcing this at the IBM InterConnect 2015 conference, Steve Gold, vice president of marketing, IBM Watson Group, said that IBM has published 13 Watson APIs to date. As IBM and its partners continue to develop APIs, they will be included in the Watson Zone to provide one central repository for learning how to use them.

IBM also announced the general availability of the Watson Personality Insights service, which enables developers to access services that analyze trends and patterns in diverse, high-volume social media and other public data streams.

IBM says 5,000 developers are working on roughly 6,000 Watson applications. During the conference, IBM showcased two applications that made extensive use of Watson APIs.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas has built an application that makes oncology expertise available to physicians in a way that enables them to fine-tune treatment plans for individual patients. After working on the application for more than a year, Dr. Lynda Chin, head of genomics at MD Anderson, says that with help from IBM the medical center is making that data available as a mobile application that doctors can take with them wherever they happen to be visiting a patient.

Meanwhile, Nigel Hook, CEO at DataSkill, a provider of application development services, and founder of SilverHook Racing, which participates in speedboat racing, partnered with Animation Research to build a telemetry application that makes use of Watson Analytics services.

Animation Research CEO Ian Taylor says telemetry data is collected from a boat alongside biometric data from the drivers. That information is then fed back up to Watson analytics services running on the IBM Bluemix platform in real time. Hook credits that application with alerting him to an impending battery failure on a boat that would have prevented him from finishing a recent race. Instead, by making adjustments to how battery power is distributed across the boat, the SilverHook Racing team was able to place third, which Hook says is substantially better than it has ever finished before.

The application itself, notes Taylor, was built in a few months without any members of the development team having to physically meet one another.

Ultimately, IBM’s Gold says an opportunity to create a Watson application occurs any time there is a situation where more data is available than can be efficiently processed by individual humans.

Michael Vizard

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