IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that, for the first time, it will make its IBM Watson technology available as a development platform in the cloud.
The idea is to enable a worldwide community of software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with Watson’s cognitive computing intelligence.
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, says IBM.
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 application programming interface (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.
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 VP, IBM Software Solutions Group.
In the picture above: Michael Rhodin, senior VP, IBM Software Solutions Group (center) explores new IBM Watson-powered apps. Jack Plunkett/Feature Photo Service for IBM.