IBM brings more Watson smarts to developers

Mobile apps can now utilize IBM's voice-to-text and text-to-voice translation services as well as a new set of analytics

IBM is expanding its roster of Watson online services that can be deployed by developers to enhance their apps with analysis and data processing capabilities.

Launched in October 2013, the Watson Developer Cloud has so far attracted more than 5000 users, who have incorporated the services into more than 6000 apps. At present, all the Watson Developer Could services are available in beta form, so they are free to use.

Five new services announced Thursday are all designed to be embedded within mobile or desktop apps through APIs (application programming interfaces), and provide advanced functionality that otherwise would have been be too time-consuming and laborious for developers to create from scratch.

The new services can convert text to speech, convert speech to text, recognize visualize images, search a set of data by concept, and help users make decisions. They join eight services that IBM introduced a few months ago as part of its Watson Developer Cloud.

The Speech to Text service provides a way for mobile applications to receive input from the voices of their users, in much the same way Siri works on Apple devices. IBM claims the service has very low latency to ensure quick responsiveness. It uses machine learning techniques to recognize the quirks of grammar and language structures.

IBM also offers a service that converts text to speech. The same voice used by the Watson supercomputer that won the 2011 Jeopardy match can now be planted on developers' apps, offering to voice material in either English or Spanish.

The Visual Recognition service can analyze a picture and video and return a list of words summarizing the visual material. The service can recognize objects, settings and events. Such data could be used to help classify images, potentially saving a lot of manual labor, and use them as part of a larger workflow.

IBM's new new Concept Insights search service is novel in that it allows users to search for concepts rather than specific keywords. For each search, it can return a list of explicit results -- where the material contains the exact keywords the user entered -- as well as implicit results, where the documents returned match more general concepts underlying the search terms.

The fifth new service, called Tradeoff Analytics, dynamically weighs multiple options in order to decide which one is the best choice for the user. It uses a statistical analysis called Pareto filtering to weigh different choices in relation to each other.

Tradeoff Analytics could be used, for instance, to help choose treatment options for medical patients, or help a car buyer decide which vehicle to purchase.

IBM is not the only enterprise technology company to offer API-based functionality as a stand-alone service. Hewlett-Packard also offers a set of embeddable APIs for services derived from its Autonomy Idol analysis software. Idol OnDemand includes services such as image detection, face detection, entity extraction and barcode reading, all of which can be planted with applications.

IBM has not announced pricing for the Watson services, or given a timetable for general availability.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computinginternetIBMsoftwareManaged Servicesapplication developmentWeb services developmentDevelopment tools

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?