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watson products

Watson Products, what are they?

Is it all about software you download and install or is it APIs in the cloud? Well, depending on who you talk to, you might get different answers on what Watson Products that exists.

Ginni Rometty (CEO and Chairwoman of IBM) always uses the term APIs and that they are services in the cloud. These services are used build the end-customer products. Internally at the local IBM office (non-Watson unit) there is often a mixed voice. Many struggle to change mindset to a API business model instead of traditional software license model and in Watsons case that means talking about Watson Analytics (sigh), Watson Explorer (WEX) or any of the other nifty packaged products they have released, like Watson Company Advisor and Watson Knowledge Studio. Many of these products are hybrid Watson products. A mix of classic software and Watson services.

The pre-packaged way, is in no way a bad approach, but I see it mainly as a way to package and make it easy for the customers to make a decision instead of having to build from scratch.

In my mind the only core Watson products are the services presented at the Watson Developer Cloud Watson service catalog. Those services are the core and the foundation of Watson. Watson is X amount of APIs all available in the cloud. It is also those services I would recommend all companies to primary work with.

14 Watson Services Available today

IBM have been consolidating the services lately and currently there are 14 different services available (from double the amount just a few months ago, the consolidation was needed, there was a big overlap previously). These services then contain from one to many APIs. AlchemyLanguage has 13 APIs and Dialog only one etc.

As of today, the Services are the following, I included an extremely short description, since some can be hard to grasp when reading the IBM lingo on each service.

  1. Alchemy Language
    A great service that analyzes text and sense sentiment, companies mentioned, person mentions, language used etc. It can also extract keywords which is very useful.
  2. Conversation
    A graphical interface to help designing Bots. A combo of Dialog and NLC I would say.
  3. Dialog
    A very “simple” API that only manages a scripted dialog.
  4. Document Conversion
    Converts text and documents to a format that Watson can use to learn from.
  5. Language Translation
    A service that translates text from one language to another.
  6. Natural Language Classifier
    Helps with deciding the intent of the input a user sends to Watson. Very useful since we all use different ways to express in different domains etc.
  7. Personality Insight
    A very cool API that helps us understand what type of person we interact with or receive information from.
  8. Retrieve & Rank
    The Jeopardy brain. This API is the one that answer your question and replies with a recommended solution on your problem, including evidence and ranking.
  9. Tone Analyzer
    What tone do clients use on your Facebook page or in customer service?Separate the happy clients from the angry ones etc. This API helps you understand.
  10. Speech to Text
    Obvious I guess
  11. Text to Speech
    Also obvious I guess
  12. Visual Recognition
    What is in the picture, is it a 40 year old man or a product from your company, this API helps you recognize things in images.
  13. AlchemyData News
    An archive of news and blogs. One of the least impressive APIs imho.
  14. Tradeoff Analytics
    Which product of these 5 is best for ME? TA helps me decide.

If you wonder what languages each API supports, read my post “What languages does Watson support” where I list language support per API.

4 Watson Products that are pre-packaged

As of today the Watson offerings (pre-packaged products) are:

  1. Watson Engagement Advisor
    Essentially a pre-built bot framework for e.g customer service
  2. Watson Explorer
    Search on steroids. Search both structured and unstructured data, build dashboards etc.
  3. Watson Knowledge Studio
    A graphical interface to build and train your machine learning models.
  4. Watson Company Advisor
    A high-octane version of company profiles. Find out whatever you want about any company and compare to yours etc.

These are the Watson Products as of today.



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  1. Thank you Fredrik for your valuable blogs….Could you please inform me about the components, APIs in watson explorer…or at least refer to a correct path

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