IBM has opened a new office in San Francisco to channel further growth in its supercomputing business as it claims 77,000 developers across the world are using its Watson Developer Cloud to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.
The San Francisco office will open in 2016 to give local start ups access to Watson technology for their software projects. The facility will include resources dedicated to IBM’s new Spark processing technology as the vendor seeks to get Spark users interested in Watson, it said. IBM claims 100 companies have released software services based on Watson.
With a reported $100 million of venture capital fund earmarked for startups looking to build products on Watson, IBM now plans to offer its nascent partners technical support and consultancy on business plans, in addition to market making initiatives that include introductions to potential customers.
In September IBM opened a new Watson Health business centre in the Boston area to target the health sector and pharmaceutical industry. The new cloud initiative comes in the wake of reports of declining revenues in 13 consecutive quarters, while the app economy is ‘in full swing’, as IBM described it, with industry revenue projected to grow to $143 billion in 2016, according to analyst IDC. By 2018 half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis, according to the analyst.
IBM also announced a new expanded portfolio of application programming interfaces into Watson, bring the net total to 50. IBM’s cloud development partners have created systems for query support for card payments, customer support Q&As for financial services, live event media aggregation ‘as a service’ social marketing and apps for the entertainment and marketing industries. Early investment partners include WayBlazer, Sellpoints, Welltok, Pathway Genomics, Modernizing Medicine and Fluid.
In the UK, IBM has created three new Watson partners 50wise, Volume and SocialBro, which have created cloud apps for financial services, sales training and online marketing.