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IBM launches AI consulting arm to boost cognitive business

Tue 6 Oct 2015

IBM will launch a consulting unit dedicated entirely to supporting customers realise cognitive business strategies.

The IBM Cognitive Business Solutions department will build on Big Blue’s expertise in the machine learning and data science arena and established market position, with its artificial intelligence (AI) system Watson and leading analytics solutions.

Jumping on the enormous predicted growth in cognitive computing, IBM will work with clients around the globe to help them collect and transform data into insight and value. Bridget van Kralingen, senior VP at IBM’s Global Business Services said: “Clients know they are collecting and analyzing more data than ever before, but 80 percent of all the available data – images, voice, literature, chemical formulas, social expressions – remains out of reach for traditional computing systems. We’re scaling expertise to close that gap and help our clients become cognitive banks, retailers, automakers, insurers or healthcare providers.”

In a statement, IBM quotes insurance as a key area for cognitive business demand. In a recent study, it found that 65% of c-suite executives  in the industry are pursuing innovative approaches to business but a third of these feel that the data in their organisation is insufficient, either in quality, accuracy or completeness. Additionally, in the retail sector 60% of CXOs believed that their business was not ready to deliver on consumer demand for individually-tailored experiences. 95% said that they would be investing in cognitive solutions over the next five years.

The new IBM unit will draw on computational reasoning and learning capabilities of its Watson system and will train an additional 25,000 consultants on cognitive business this autumn.

IBM has been keen to place its bets on an artificial intelligence boom, forming strategic partnerships with leading international brands. In April, it joined with Apple to integrate Watson-based apps with developer tools,HealthKit and ResearchKit, to help gather personal health data to be used in clinical trials. A Johnson & Johnson partnership was also established to develop cognitive computing systems which could support a personal concierge service for patients currently undergoing or recovering from knee and hip surgery.

IBM further partnered with The Weather Company in March, to host meteorological data on the IBM cloud and deliver real-time weather alerts to businesses, such as retail groups and utilities companies.

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