IBM unveils extensive AI toolset for industry verticals

IBM has released its largest ever toolset of artificial intelligence software, designed for nine industries and professions, including supply chain, salesforce, manufacturing and automotive.

For several years now, IBM has been developing and enhancing its Watson solutions for a range of industry verticals, from television to smart cities, with the aim of helping to make sense and money from the data explosion. Research from IBM's Institute for Business Value revealed that 82% of businesses are now considering AI deployments.

Now, Watson solutions and services are being introduced pre-trained for a variety of industries and professions: these include agriculture, customer service, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, building management, automotive, marketing, and advertising.

"As data flows continue to increase, people are overwhelmed by the amount of information we have to act on every day, but luckily the information explosion coincides with another key technological advance: artificial intelligence," said David Kenny, Senior Vice President, IBM Cognitive Solutions. "AI is the tool professionals need to take advantage of the data that's now at our fingertips and tailoring general AI for specific industries and professions is a critical way to enable everyone to reach new potential in their daily jobs."

IBM is making available globally the Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture to boost efficiency. The platform gathers data from multiple sources – such as weather, IoT enabled tractors and irrigators, satellite imagery, and more – and provides a single, overarching, predictive view of data as it relates to a farm in an easy-to-use app.

Watson Discovery for Salesforce is designed to give customer service agents increased ability to respond quickly to customer questions and complex inquiries.
IBM's new AI functionality for HR, meanwhile, analyses the background of current top performing employees from diverse backgrounds and uses that data to help flag promising applicants. It provides an indicator of success and can help address bias in hiring decisions. For companies that face hiring litigation, it can also help provide a clearer explanation of hiring rationale, the company said.

The new IBM Watson Assistant for Marketing feature, embedded into the Watson Campaign Automation SaaS solution for marketers, can help by converting the work of marketing into a simple conversation with Watson. Closely related is an AI toolkit for advertising.

IBM is also releasing specially-crafted Watson toolsets to help industrial teams reduce product inspection resource requirements significantly using visual and acoustic inspection capabilities. According to the company, manufacturers can stabilise production costs by pinpointing and predicting areas of loss such as energy waste, equipment failures, and product quality issues.

Combining industrial IoT and AI, IBM IoT Buildings Insights can decode the exabytes of data that commercial properties create so that building managers can leverage that data to help reduce energy costs and understand occupancy dynamics in buildings, allowing them to understand and prepare for different occupancy patterns. It enables property owners and building managers to leverage insights from weather, historical performance, and data from other third-party analytics to maximize real-estate investments.

Finally, Watson Supply Chain Insights will hopefully help companies get to grips with supply chain issues, while AI will also play a role on the front lines of product development under a tailor-made kit for that area too.

The announcement comes on the back of a new software service unveiled last week that gives businesses more transparency into AI decisions.

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