The first Watson Developer Conference is rapidly approaching, and if you’re interested in peering into the future of cognitive technology, you should plan to be there.
The event, which is comprised of hands-on labs, featured sessions, expert panels, coding challenges and more, will bring developers together from across the globe at San Francisco’s Innovation Hangar on November 9–10. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear presentations by speakers from IBM Watson, as well as companies that are already putting Watson’s cognitive APIs to use, such as Girls Who Code, OmniEarth, Pulsar, and Twilio. They’ll also be able to get hands-on with the technology, work directly with industry experts, and put their skills to the test.
The Watson Developer Cloud platform is the gateway for developers to leverage Watson’s sophisticated technology through simple REST APIs. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries. And currently, there are also nearly 250 universities that are integrating Watson APIs into their coursework, hackathons and teaching models.
Manish Goyal, the head of product for the Watson Developer Cloud, oversees the group that’s responsible for what IBM calls Cognitive APIs—“AI in conversational capabilities, exploration, discovery, vision, language, and more areas that’ll come out.” In his words, his team “understands the market and the pain points developers are trying to solve in this space, and gives developers the ability to create compelling offerings” through the API suite. This material is made available on the Bluemix cloud platform, which is “powered by the world’s most popular open-source standards.”
“Our goal with these cognitive APIs, Goyal says, “is to enable developers of all kinds to infuse their applications with these capabilities to create completely new experiences that were not previously possible. It also enables startups and entrepreneurs to dream up completely new application solutions that incorporate capabilities, such as image recognition and emotion analysis.”
Use Cases: Putting Watson to use
Goyal offered a few examples of companies that are raising the bar—and showing the scope of what can be accomplished—through their respective Watson projects. These applications are also a demonstration of Watson’s versatility in that they are taking place in dramatically different industries.
Hilton’s AI concierge
Hospitality giant Hilton Worldwide is piloting a Watson-enabled concierge at their McLean, Virginia location. “Connie” (which is derived from the word “concierge” and serves as a tribute to company’s founder, Conrad Hilton) has been helping guests with information about the hotel’s services, offerings, and hours of operation, as well as providing information on local attractions and activities. Watson enables Connie to learn from its interactions, so the more it’s used, the better it gets in serving up relevant information.
Saving water in drought-ridden California
With California still in the midst of a severe drought, there’s a need to raise awareness among customers who may be overusing this valuable resource. Virginia-based environmental-tech firm OmniEarth is using Watson in an innovative way, combining water-use data and satellite/aerial imagery to provide detailed geospatial analysis.
Watson’s Visual Recognition API “looks” at land parcels to determine how much water should be used, then compares it to how much water is actually being used at that location. It then flags properties that could be saving water and provides this information to the local water companies for delivery to customers.
AI employee learning
“Lesson Learned” is a Watson-driven project from Woodside, Australia’s biggest oil and gas company. Goyal states that the company has created a large knowledge base from hundreds of thousands of its documents—such as project data, engineering studies, and environmental reports—going back three decades.
By massing this historical data into what it’s calling a “cognitive advisory service,” Woodside is able to quickly educate new employees on its operations and provide them with easy access to years of historical data. Watson gives Woodside engineers the ability to ask often-complex questions in natural language, which provides a new form of knowledge management that’s expected to increase the company’s efficiency.
The conference: What to expect
Watson Developer Conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about cognitive technologies and how they can leverage them across industries. There will be three different tracks, each with expert panels and presentations, examples of coding practices, and product demonstrations. The conference will also offer numerous hands-on labs that will give developers chances to try out the APIs themselves; bot competitions, including updates on the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE and its $5 million prize; and a testing program that’ll allow developers to earn official Watson proficiency certification.
Goyal describes the perfect audience as any developer interested in learning about practical applications of AI, including the newest features of the Watson services.
“Our content,” he explains, “is aimed at familiarizing developers with use cases and specific implementation details for cognitive services. There will be tremendous opportunities for networking, collaboration, and trying out these new technologies.”
Get more info on the Watson Developer Conference and register early to guarantee your spot.
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