IBM has taken a bold next step with its ground-breaking Watson technology, taking it into the mass market for the first time by offering the service as a customer management tool.
Watson's ability to analyse the data of 200 million documents in three seconds makes it ideal for brands aiming to help answer customer questions quickly and accurately, the firm said, so it is offering the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor for businesses in this area.
Manoj Saxena, general manager for IBM Watson Solutions said: "Customer engagement is a natural fit for Watson, which can instantly create a strong bond between who customers are as individuals, and what types of information will help them reach their goals.
“The end product: users will come away feeling known as people, empowered as consumers, and engaged as satisfied brand ambassadors who are willing to champion the business to friends and family."
The firm explained that the tool will allow consumers to have their questions answered through web chat tools or mobile alerts (pictured left) in a manner similar to the Siri service on the iPhone.
The service can be used by businesses as either a cloud system or on premise. IBM has managed to reduce the size of the service to no more than a single Power 750 server on Linux in order to help firms deploy the technology within their offices without needing additional storage space.
Several major businesses have already shown an interest in the technology, with Australian financial firm ANZ Banking Group saying it sees the Watson capabilities as key to improving its engagements with customers.
"We envision Watson to serve as cognitive assistant, adept and quick at making sense of big data, that can empower our regional bank advisors to better serve our two million wealth management clients across the region," said Joyce Phillips, chief executive of global wealth at the company.
“We are pleased to explore with IBM how Watson can enable smarter, faster financial recommendations – yielding a customer experience that is simple, personalised and steeped in data-informed insights."
Prior to this Watson’s skills have been honed at the higher levels in more bespoke industries such as healthcare and finance, even helping in the fight against cancer at several locations in the US.
Watson is powered by 2,880 processing cores, 90 IBM Power 750 servers, has 16TB of memory and 80 teraflops of computing power.
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