Crowdsourcing Breakthrough Cognitive Technology Solutions

Published Sep-22-14

An open innovation search for the next generation of mobile apps powered by cognitive computing technology.

IBM, United States

The Story:

Crowdsourcing Breakthrough Cognitive Technology Solutions So, let’s say you are a successful multinational technology and consulting corporation that has developed a new technology that you believe can radically transform how consumers and businesses interact with data on their mobile devices. How do you realize its potential and create breakthrough innovations?

Well, you can give it to the clever brains in your R&D department of course, but as great as they are, why limit yourself? You can also harness some of the smartest brains outside of your organisation as well. That’s what IBM did with its IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge.

To foster the development of new mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson (a cognitive computing technology), IBM launched a global open innovation contest in February 2014 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Watson: A Smart Cookie

“Rather than forcing humans to think like a computer, Watson interacts with humans on human terms”, says IBM. When asked a question, it generates a hypothesis and comes up with a level of competence and shows the steps it took to generate the answer. There is no need to program Watson as it is capable of learning from its interactions with humans. In short, the technology processes information like a human rather than a computer. Watson can also provide different industries such as medicine and finance with novel solutions based on patterns it ‘sees’ hidden in massive amounts of data. These are just a handful examples of Watson’s immense cognitive power.

Open Innovation Challenge

“The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we're calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson's intelligence,” commented Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group.

“Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly - wherever they are - over the cloud. It's about changing the essence of decision making from 'information at your fingertips' to actual insights.”

The open innovation contest received several hundred submissions from numerous industries. These were whittled down to just 25 finalists who used Watson to create, train and test their apps. From this number five teams went forward to present their proposals to IBM which resulted in the selection of three Grand Prize winners.

Winning Apps

GenieMD – provides relevant and personalized health recommendations to anyone looking for medical and healthcare information. The app will help patients play a more active role in managing their own healthcare. Users can ask general health questions and questions about their own health. Doctors can also use the resource to validate a diagnosis.

Majestyk Apps - for the Friendly Anthropomorphic Networked Genome (Fang). Pairing Fang with a tablet will provide a cognitive and customized multi-sensory educational experience for children.

Red Ant – a sales trainer for retail shop assistants that allows them to provide a highly customized service to online shoppers. This is based on analyzing customers’ demographics, purchase history, wish-lists and local information such as prices and customer reviews.

The Next Stage

The three winning apps have been given access to the Watson Ecosystem Program where they are receiving support from IBM Interactive design services to commercialize their prototypes.

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