BARCELONA: IBM CEO Virginia Rometty has announced a global mobile development competition designed to increase developer interest in its Watson platform.
Rometty announced the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge during a keynote at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The challenge will run for three months and task developers to create applications that leverage Watson's technology.
After three months IBM will pick three winners, who will then receive funding and support from the technology giant to bring their products to market.
The challenge is the latest move in a wider strategy by IBM to set its Watson cognitive computer up as a global platform.
Rometty said companies will need the advanced analytics tools offered by Watson to deal with the disruptive effects of mobile, cloud and big data technologies.
"We're currently going through an exciting but disruptive period within the enterprise and there are key shifts that are changing and reshaping the technology industry. To me data is the world's next natural resource. We will look back on this time and we will look at data as the resource that powered the twenty-first century," she said.
"We at IBM look forward and see data will be the basis of competitive advantage for every company. It will decide the winners and the losers. Everyone can say they're a data business, but what will decide the future is how companies use data."
She said the need for advanced analytics tools for mobile is particularly pressing as smartphone and tablet users have very different expectations to traditional customers and are more difficult to engage with.
"When I think of engagement, I'd ask you to think of a new culture that's emerging, one full of people that expect value in return for the information or service you give them. The number of people willing to give up their GPS [data] has doubled in a year and 80 percent [of this new generation] will trade information if you give them something in return," she said
"So to me mobile for all of us that run enterprise companies will put a premium on analytics. When people engage you on mobile, first they expect rapid response. Analytics are the only way to meet these expectations."
Rometty's comments come during a wider push by IBM to expand its cloud and data analytics portfolio. IBM announced a new $1bn investment in a new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) initiative earlier this week.
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