IBM has launched Watson Assistant, an artificial intelligence (AI) agent for companies looking to build their own voice-activated virtual assistants.
According to Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D. – general manager, Watson IoT, IBM – Watson Assistant combines AI, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help businesses enhance brand loyalty and transform customer experiences, while keeping business and customer data private and secure.
While it can be seen as a direct competitor to Amazon's Alexa, Watson is designed for more than just your home. In fact, it can be embedded in any “thing” – a car, hotel room, retail store, conference room and more – so that consumers can achieve new levels of convenience in pretty much every area of their lives.
“It combines a deep understanding of the user with additional contextual factors, such as their location and time of day, to anticipate their needs and proactively make recommendations,” Yusuf wrote in a blog post.
So the more you use Watson, the smarter it gets in terms of being able to figure out who you are, what you like and more. Watson Assistant can also be accessed via voice or text interaction.
Delivered through the IBM Cloud, Watson Assistant can be utilized for industry-specific applications. The businesses can then white-label and brand the assistant however they choose.
Including two assistants designed for the automotive and hospitality industries, Watson can be enabled for companies in retail, banking and more, to create a variety of pertinent skills in an effort to better serve their customers and boost their businesses.
According to The Verge, IBM has already secured a few small partnerships for Watson Assistant, including Harman, which will demonstrate the AI tool in its digital cockpit solution featured in a Maserati GranCabrio at Think 2018.
There are also partnerships with AirWire, Munich Airport, KAONMEDIA, Royal Bank of Scotland and IFTTT.