IBM’s Watson Tech Behind Three New Apps Coming in 2014

IBM’s Watson technology, known for beating out human competitors on the game show “Jeopardy!,” is playing a big role in a number of apps coming out next year. The first three known apps will come from IBM business partners Fluid, MD Buyline and Welltok. Each respective app uses Watson’s access to Big Data to provide users with information that will allow them to make informed decisions about their purchases and even their health needs.

Business Insider is particularly intrigued by Internet retail startup Fluid’s app, Fluid Expert Personal Shopper. IBM Watson Solutions VP Stephen Gold told the site that the app “calls upon Watson’s ability to understand the nuances of human language and uncover answers from Big Data.”

Gold says that consumers who use Fluid’s app will “interact with rich media and dialogue with Watson, as their newfound cognitive, expert personal shopper.” Bloomberg adds that the application “will be able to have conversations with customers and then recommend clothing based on their tastes.”

The other two Watson-powered apps due out in 2014 are MD Buyline’s Hippocrates and Welltok’s CaféWell Concierge. The former is designed to “allow clinical and financial users to make real-time, informed decisions about medical device purchases,” according to BI. Like the Fluid app, it makes recommendations based on the cloud-based platform’s data.

The latter, CaféWell Concierge, will create “personalized health itineraries” for people who want to monitor their health and fitness. “By leveraging Watson’s ability to learn from every interaction, the app will offer insights tailored to each individual’s health needs,” Gold says.

Bloomberg says the new apps will serve as a test for Watson, “which hasn’t proved whether it can interact directly with consumers.” The article notes the technology is good at crunching data, but that working to serve shoppers using Fluid’s app, for example, “will show whether the technology can be engaging and entice purchases.”

“It’s still very early, so we need to walk before we can run,” Fluid CEO Kent Deverell told Bloomberg. “We are pretty impressed with what Watson can do so far. Because it’s a learning system, the more it gets used, the smarter it gets.”

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