The move aims to spur innovation and fuel a new ecosystem of entrepreneurial software application providers – ranging from start-ups and emerging, venture capital backed businesses to established players. Together with IBM, these business partners share a vision for creating a new class of cognitive applications that transform how businesses and consumers make decisions.
To bring this shared vision to life, IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace where application providers of all sizes and industries will be able to tap into resources for developing Watson-powered apps. This will include a developer toolkit, educational materials and access to Watson's API.
IBM partners that build Watson-powered apps in the cloud will be able to choose from two sources of data-driven content, to prepare their apps to uncover insights for users. App providers can use their own company’s data, or access the IBM Watson Content Store, featuring third-party content that offers data-rich resources that can fuel Watson’s ever expanding knowledge.
IBM will also connect its app-building partners with skilled professionals who can help advance their creative visions into market-ready products and services. IBM has committed more than 500 of its own subject matter experts as part of the overall program, in areas such as design, development and research. In addition, application providers participating in the ecosystem are expected to be able to connect with freelance professionals whose expertise can serve as a complement to their existing teams, from programmers to app developers.
“By sharing IBM Watson's cognitive abilities with the world, we aim to fuel a new ecosystem that accelerates innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit," said Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Software Solutions Group. “With this move, IBM is taking a bold step to advance the new era of cognitive computing. Together with our partners we'll spark a new class of applications that will learn from experience, improve with each interaction and outcome, and assist in solving the most complex questions facing the industry and society."
Since Big Data is the fuel that powers Watson's capabilities, IBM will give app providers the option to use their own data, or provide them with access to the IBM Watson Content Store, which can supply data-rich content that – when crunched by Watson – can augment an app's capabilities.