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IBM Watson Group Unveils Cloud-Delivered Watson Services to Transform Industrial R&D, Visualize Big Data Insights and Fuel Analytics Exploration

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled three new Watson services delivered over the cloud. The first, Watson Discovery Advisor, is designed to accelerate and strengthen research and development projects in industries such as pharmaceutical, publishing and biotechnology. The second, Watson Analytics, delivers visualized Big Data insights, based on questions posed in natural language by any business user. The third offering, IBM Watson Explorer, helps users across an enterprise uncover and share data-driven insights more easily, while empowering organizations to launch Big Data initiatives faster.

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The services are being developed and will be offered by the new IBM Watson Group, announced today at an event in New York City. The Watson Group will accelerate a new class of cognitive computing services, software and apps into the marketplace that analyze, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of disparate data.

"Watson is the solution to today's influx of information, delivered from the cloud and ready to be the ultimate advisor for faster, more accurate decisions," said Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group. "By bringing a new generation of Watson-powered services to the marketplace, IBM is transforming industries and professions. These new cognitive computing innovations are designed to augment users' knowledge, be it the researcher exploring genetic data to create new therapies or a business executive who needs evidence-based insights to make a crucial decision."

Watson to Transform R&D with Big Data Discovery 

In the race to bring potentially life saving new treatments to market, medical and pharmaceutical businesses are hindered by high costs and slow timelines. The top 1,000 research and development companies are spending $603 billion on research, according to Booz & Company. Meanwhile, it takes 8.5 years on average for a pharmaceutical treatment to go from initial research stage into practice, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

IBM is unveiling IBM Watson Discovery Advisor. The new service will help industries such as pharmaceutical and publishing do more with their R&D investments while empowering research teams to accomplish more in far less time. The Discovery Advisor is designed to reduce the time researchers need to formulate conclusions that can advance their work, from months to days and days to just hours.

The Discovery Advisor will call upon Watson's cognitive intelligence to save researchers the time needed to pore though millions of articles, journals and studies. After quickly reading through, determining context and synthesizing vast amounts of data, it will help users pinpoint connections within the data that can strengthen and accelerate their work.

The service will quickly uncover new perspectives from relevant data sources that could easily be overlooked, given the enormous volume of information available. By enabling users to explore data from related domains in a more comprehensive capacity, the Watson Discovery Advisor aims to open up unexpected insights and new ways of thinking to industry researchers.

To develop the Watson Discovery Advisor, IBM worked with leaders in industries such as publishing, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and higher education, to understand how Watson could be applied to help transform how research is conducted. Elsevier, a leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is working with IBM to explore how cognitive technologies can enhance the research experience for its clinician users.

"As a provider of data-driven content that helps professionals augment their knowledge, we are constantly seeking ways to empower our clinician users with fast, relevant access to the evidence they need, be it to strengthen their research or make timely, evidence based decisions," said Jay Katzen, President, Elsevier Clinical Solutions. "We believe Watson is a powerful technology that, for example, can help clinicians research more highly targeted information to improve the outcomes for their patients. That's why Elsevier is helping the IBM Watson Group shape a cloud-delivered solution designed to accelerate and strengthen research-driven discoveries." 

The IBM Watson Group will initially market Watson Discovery Advisor to clients in the medical, pharmaceutical and publishing industries. The solution could be useful to any professional experts, including analysts who possess deep subject matter expertise and seek to augment their knowledge.

Watson to Fuel Business Success with Big Data Visualization

The IBM Watson Group also announced today IBM Watson Analytics, a service that allows users to explore Big Data insights through visual representations without the need for advanced analytics training.

IBM Watson Analytics removes common impediments in the data discovery process, enabling business users to quickly and independently uncover new insights in their data. Guided by sophisticated analytics and a natural language interface, Watson Analytics automatically prepares the data, surfaces the most important relationships and presents the results in an easy to interpret interactive visual format.

With Watson Analytics, business users are no longer limited to predefined views or static data models, and are empowered to apply their knowledge of the business to answer new questions as they emerge.

Line of business professionals will be able to quickly understand and make decisions based on Watson Analytics' data-driven visualizations. For example, a marketing or supply chain executive could ask a question, and immediately discover through cloud-delivered data visualizations what may be causing sales to fall in a particular country, in a particular quarter.  In addition, Watson Analytics is able to help guide the executive to new insights on related topics that might be impacting sales, such as employee attrition, economic factors or competitive threats.

The executive could then quickly share findings with other employees, asking for input. Through social collaboration, each business user could view and interact with data-driven insights, and even add additional data to spark new discoveries.

A Unified View of Big Data for Analytics Exploration

The Watson Group also announced IBM Watson Explorer, a service to help users across an enterprise uncover and share data-driven insights more easily, while helping organizations launch big data initiatives faster.

Watson Explorer provides a unified view of all of a user's information. The service provides data discovery, navigation and search capabilities that are secure, unified and span a broad range of applications, data sources and data formats – both inside and outside an enterprise.

Watson Explorer also provides users with a framework for developing information-rich applications that deliver a comprehensive, contextually-relevant view of any topic for business users, data scientists and a variety of targeted business functions.

A Foundation for Big Data and Analytics ROI

The new Watson services announced today are fueled by IBM Watson Foundations, a comprehensive, integrated set of Big Data and analytics capabilities that enable clients to find and capitalize on actionable insights.

Watson Foundations provides IBM clients with tools and capabilities to tap into all relevant data – regardless of source or type – and run analytics to gain fresh insights in real-time, securely across any aspect of an enterprise, including revenue generation, marketing, finance, risk and operations.

With a mission to enable smarter decision making, Watson Foundations includes business analytics with predictive and decision management capabilities, information management with in-memory and stream computing, enterprise content management, as well as information integration and governance. Packaged into modular offerings, organizations of any size can address immediate needs for decision support, gain sustainable value from initial investments, and grow from there. 

A Turning Point for Computing and Big Data Discovery

Nearly three years after its triumph on the television quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM has advanced Watson from a game playing innovation into a commercial technology. Now delivered from the cloud and able to power new consumer and enterprise apps, Watson is 24 times faster, smarter with a 2,400 percent improvement in performance, and 90 percent smaller – IBM has shrunk Watson from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes.

Named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, IBM Watson was developed in IBM's Research labs. Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in an organization's ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data. Watson's ability to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence is transforming decision making across a variety of industries.

About IBM

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit

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For additional perspectives on this story, please watch this video.

To view a Flickr image gallery that illustrates today's news please click here.

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To visit the official IBM Watson microsite, please click here.

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