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IBM Launches Watson Mobile Developer Challenge

By Darryl K. Taft     Feedback

IBM challenges mobile developers to build cognitive computing apps that bring the power of Watson to the palm of your hand.

IBM has launched a developer contest to spur innovation and accelerate mobile applications on its Watson cognitive computing platform.

Announced Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge encourages mobile developers globally to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson. IBM is demonstrating its mobile and Watson capabilities at MWC, and company CEO Ginni Rometty is giving a keynote address today.

The move is part of IBM's newly formed IBM Watson Group aimed at fueling the push to get cognitive computing apps into the marketplace. IBM's Watson cognitive computing innovation represents a new class of services, software and apps that analyze, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of disparate data.

"Mobile is leading the way for everything," said Jerry Cuomo, IBM's CTO for WebSphere, in an interview with eWEEK at the IBM Pulse 2014 conference this week in Las Vegas to discuss the challenge. "Mobile is the way developers think about building apps today." Cuomo's team is helping to support the challenge.

After its triumph on the TV quiz show "Jeopardy," Watson has advanced from a game-playing innovation into a commercial technology. Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in how massive amounts of data can be analyzed, understood and put to good use, IBM said.

"The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we're calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson's intelligence," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group, in a statement. "Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly—wherever they are—over the cloud. It's about changing the essence of decision making from 'information at your fingertips' to actual 'insights.'"

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Today, it's second nature for people to simply tap an app to stay connected, make a purchase or manage a bank account. The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge will encourage developers around the world to build sophisticated cognitive apps that can change the way consumers and businesses interact with data on their mobile devices. Through this initiative, mobile developers can take advantage of Watson's ability to understand the complexities of human language, to "read" millions of pages of data in seconds and to improve its own performance by learning.

"This all stems from the notion of the API economy," Cuomo said. "Back in earlier days, if you didn't have a Website you were boring; today if you don't have an API you're boring. The way to run things now for a startup is to focus on what matters to your business and rent everything else."

This article was originally published on February 26, 2014
Originally published on eWeek.
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