BIG BLUE IBM has put its Watson supercomputer within reach of everyone with the launch of Watson Analytics.
The natural language interface allows users to ask questions about their company in simple terms and get the answers almost instantaneously in an easily digestable format.
Where Watson Analytics really comes into its own is its ability to make observations, spot patterns and suggest the answers to questions that you didn't realise you wanted answered.
Oliver Oursin, worldwide solution executive for IBM Business Analytics, told The INQUIRER, "What we've spent so much time on with Watson Analytics is the statistics and big data mining that you never see, but allows you to really find out what is going on in your business - not just what you think is going on, and allowing the user to broaden their horizons with information."
The biggest advance is the ability to ask Watson questions in natural language. For the first time, no specific technical knowledge is required to run a Watson analysis. Simply asking a question - for example, "What is my net profit and loss by region?" - would produce a map-based histogram, if that's what you needed.
Watson will also make observations, which Oursin likens to having an extra person at the meeting table chipping in. It might point out that the areas with the biggest losses take longer lunches, or that the biggest sales areas offer the biggest bulk discounts.
Watson Analytics launches today in beta with 30 days free trial with a freemium model to follow. Oursin said that IBM is working with partners to bring even more statistical data into Watson's knowledge pool, and that this is just the beginning.
Watson's capabilities are already legendary. It has already been charged with helping to fix problems on the African continent, as well as winning the American gameshow Jeopardy against human contestants.
Our full interview with Oliver Oursin about Watson Analytics will be available soon. µ
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