The FINANCIAL — IBM introduced new Watson solutions and services pre-trained for a variety of industries and professions including agriculture, customer service, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, building management, automotive, marketing, and advertising.
This news follows IBM’s announcement last week of a new software service that gives businesses more transparency into AI decisions, as well as research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value, which revealed that 82% of businesses are now considering AI deployments.
AI to Table
IBM is making available globally the Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture. 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.
For the individual grower, this means support for making more informed decisions to help improve yield. For example, using AI-enabled visual recognition capabilities, growers can identify certain types and severity levels of pest and disease damage and determine where to spray pesticides. Or a grower can forecast water usage, thereby reducing waste and helping to save money.
This Fall marks the start of a new era on the 10,000 acres Roric Paulman has under cultivation in Nebraska: using Watson, it’s the first time he’s using AI to help improve the efficiency of his farm. Farming has always been a data-intensive undertaking, but in recent years, the data sets have exploded. Right now, Paulman’s farm produces a terabyte of information every month. The tractor tracks its own movements, the irrigators record water flow second by second, and the sprayers register their output. “Until now, nobody has tackled putting all this information into one place,” Paulman says. “I’ve been waiting for something like this, and IBM is the right company, and trusted company, to do it.”
In a study of 5,000 executives released by IBM last week, 77% of top performing organizations said they see customer satisfaction as a key value driver for AI. To give customer service agents increased ability to respond quickly to customer questions and complex inquiries, IBM is making available today Watson Discovery for Salesforce. The solution gives customer service agents the relevant information about a caller’s request in real-time. No more lengthy training needed: Watson immediately presents the likely solution to a request, which can make even junior agents as effective as seasoned pros. It’s been piloted at Deluxe Corporation, who saw improved response times and increased client satisfaction. Now, it’s being made available to the world.
The average hiring manager flips through hundreds of applicants a day, spending approximately 6 seconds on each resume, which can make it difficult to make well-considered decisions. IBM’s new AI functionality for HR analyzes 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.
A recent IBM study of global Chief Human Resource Officers found that 33% surveyed believe AI will revolutionize the way they do business over the next few years. These leaders are realizing that AI not only helps recruiters to attract the right talent, but also to create a workplace culture that is highly personalized at the employee level and highly collaborative across the organization.
AI is already providing IBM clients an advantage in their industries and has enabled companies like BuzzFeed and H&R Block to refocus recruiters’ time on attracting and hiring the candidates who are most likely to succeed in a given role, in an efficient and inclusive manner.
Your marketing department could see a big uptick in productivity thanks to AI. The new IBM Watson Assistant for Marketing feature, embedded into the Watson Campaign Automation SaaS solution for marketers, can help by converting the busy work of marketing into a simple conversation with Watson. Ingersoll Rand is using it to understand marketing performance faster and build campaigns that speak directly to individuals, cultivating great dialogues that build loyalty and engagement.
And marketers are just getting started. A recent IBM study of global CMOs found that 34% of CMOs surveyed are planning to reinvent their customer experiences with AI. New services from IBM help marketers fast track their integration onto marketing platforms, so they can more easily create compelling, personalized consumer experiences with AI.
Subway came to IBM Watson Advertising with the goal of driving an increase in store visits. They were interested in leveraging the connection between weather and QSR foot traffic to drive awareness of their $4.99 Footlong promotion via The Weather Channel mobile app. To build awareness and ultimately drive in-store visits to their restaurants, Subway leveraged Watson Advertising’s newest targeting capability – WEATHERfx Footfall with Watson. This capability leverages machine learning to process weather, sales, and footfall data specific to a brand’s store locations to predict increases in footfall traffic and enable brands to intelligently adapt and optimize their media to capitalize on it in real-time. In addition to helping drive a 31% lift in store traffic vs. those who weren’t exposed to Subway’s digital advertising,
Subway also saw a 53% reduction in campaign waste, salvaging about 7.9M impressions that would have otherwise gone to waste.
IBM is releasing specially-crafted Watson toolsets to help industrial teams reduce product inspection resource requirements significantly using visual and acoustic inspection capabilities. At a time of intense global competition, manufacturers are facing a variety of issues that impact productivity including workforce attrition, skills-gaps and rising raw material costs – all exacerbated by downstream defects and equipment downtime. By combining the Internet of Thing (IoT) and AI, manufacturers can stabilize production costs by pinpointing and predicting areas of loss such as energy waste, equipment failures, and product quality issues.
Buildings and Facilities
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.
AI will also play a role on the front lines of product development. Since 47% of projects fail due to inaccurate or poorly written requirements (1), IBM is bringing the power of AI to the next generation of our Requirements Management solution. Watson can now assess the quality of requirements and provide guidance on how to improve their quality.
Additionally, to help businesses in all industries drive industrial size outcomes, IBM is introducing services to accelerate companies’ IoT transformations – from strategy, implementation, and security to managed services and ongoing operations.
Each department in a company is different. Look at the folks responsible for the supply chain: they’re dealing with data flows coming in from all over the world. That’s why a global technology company is using a tailor-made version of Watson to keep an eye on five aspects of its supply chain. Watson can incorporate weather data, traffic reports, and regulatory reports to provide a fuller picture of global supply issues. And, today, IBM is making this technology available to the world with Watson Supply Chain Insights.