SINGAPORE, June 9, 2016 /CNW/ -- In less than five years, disruptive technologies such as cognitive computing and blockchain are expected to drive dramatic shifts in every industry, from healthcare, to financial services, to tourism. To help clients of all sizes in the Asia Pacific region lead in shaping the future of their industries, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans to assist in the rapid prototyping and commercialisation of solutions based on cognitive computing and blockchain.
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IBM today opened The Watson Centre at Marina Bay, an incubator designed to bring together organisations of all sizes, business partners and IBM experts to co-create business solutions that leverage IBM's cognitive, blockchain and design capabilities. IBM's new Asia Pacific headquarters is based in the same location, in the heart of Singapore's financial district.
Watson Centre at Marina Bay will act as a centre of expertise for almost 5,000 IBM cognitive solutions professionals in the Asia Pacific region alone, including researchers, IBM Watson specialists, data scientists, software engineers, agile developers and analytics experts. It will also offer education, hackathons, and customised workshops for a broader ecosystem of innovators including software companies, startups, developers and systems integrators.
The Centre will play host to Asia Pacific clients looking to lead in a variety of markets and industries, using Watson technologies that reason, improve through learning, and discover insights hidden in large amounts of complex data. IBM has been working to meet growing demand for cognitive computing in Asia Pacific through a variety of avenues, including partnerships with Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand and SK Holdings C&C in Korea, as well as establishing developer ecosystems in the region.
"We are pleased with IBM's decision to establish their APAC HQ and the new Watson Centre, together with a number of innovation initiatives, in Singapore to develop impactful digital solutions for their clients," said Yeoh Keat Chuan, Managing Director, Singapore Economic Development Board. "This is a testament to Singapore's growing start-up ecosystem, presence of strong industry verticals and the availability of digital talent with deep capabilities."
DBS Bank, a leading financial services group in Asia, will work with Watson Centre at Marina Bay to develop new use cases based on disruptive technologies, and to assist in its strategy to support FinTech startups in the region.
Mr Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS said, "At DBS, we seek to leverage digital technology to make banking simple and effortless for our customers. As we shape the future of banking, it is important to work with a thriving innovation ecosystem to tap into disruptive technology and ideas. Our partnership with IBM will help us to continue driving innovation within DBS, as well as assist in the acceleration and development of locally-generated Fintech innovations."
Parkway Pantai, one of Asia's largest integrated private healthcare groups, is working with IBM to enhance the quality of patient care and improve patient outcomes in its intensive care units at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore. In line with Parkway Pantai's effort to leverage new technologies to improve patient care and outcomes, the use of Watson technologies is helping to provide proactive patient monitoring and early intervention through real-time data analysis and notifications to nurses in anticipation of critical and life-threatening events.
Dr Kelvin Loh, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Operations Division, Parkway Pantai said, "Systems like cognitive computing can continuously read, monitor and quickly make sense of vast amounts of data. With decision support tools like Watson, our clinicians and nurses can get data in the right context, faster, and personalized to the patient's needs. This translates to greater efficiency and better outcomes for our patients."
A key element of advancing cognitive technologies around the globe is making Watson APIs and services available to enterprises and developers via the Watson Platform. ZUMATA Technologies, a supplier of consolidated hotel inventory services to online travel companies around the world, is leveraging IBM Watson to enable a more personalized experience for hotel recommendations. ZUMATA's platform continuously learns from every customer interaction, delivering more personalized experiences and thereby improving booking conversions.
Robert Meza, Director of ZUMATA said, "For many people, planning a trip can be overwhelming and time consuming. There is so much information to digest and choosing where to go, where to stay and comparing price with value can be daunting. During the process of booking travel and accommodation, customers are looking for both inspiration and convenience. We aim to make travel personal again and match consumers with their perfect trip more efficiently."
IBM Garage Singapore
With the advent of blockchain, and the increasing demand from clients across Asia to explore the possibilities of this transformative technology, IBM will help accelerate the design, development and commercialization of Singapore blockchain applications through the IBM Garage and the IBM Global Entrepreneur program.
At the IBM Garage, experts collaborate with clients, developers and entrepreneurs to test-drive tools, processes, and procedures to make blockchain real. The garage creates a bridge between the scale of enterprise and culture of startups and supports the development of an Open Standards based blockchain ecosystem and creates new work opportunities in Singapore.
IBM Global Entrepreneur Program helps startups and entrepreneurs who are building new generation of distributed ledger applications on the blockchain harness the power of IBM Cloud, as well as deeply connect and embed them into IBM's vast global network of enterprise clients, consultants, Innovation Centres and more to rapidly build, scale quickly and accelerate growth.
"Watson and blockchain are two technologies that will rapidly change the way we live and work, and our clients in Asia Pacific are eager to lead the way in envisioning and creating that future," said Randy Walker, Chairman and CEO, IBM Asia Pacific. "Here they can leverage the latest in customer experience design, use cognitive technology to draw insight from vast quantities of data, and draw on IBM's huge investments in research and development. In partnership with our clients we are nurturing local talent and building an ecosystem to accelerate the development of cognitive solutions and blockchain platforms."
IBM Studios - Singapore
The Watson Centre at Marina Bay will also host IBM Studios – Singapore, a new centre that will blend experience design and digital expertise to support customer innovation. With this Studio, IBM will help Asia Pacific clients analyse business challenges and develop solutions grounded in more individualised digital experiences through a combination of IBM's research technology, cognitive capabilities and experience design.
Stefan Hirsch, ASEAN Lead for IBM iX said, "Our designers work with clients through the customer experience from strategy, creative and design to scalable digital, commerce, mobile and wearable platforms. We sit side-by-side with our clients to invent and co-create personalised, innovative solutions using IBM's leadership in cognitive, research and design to take digital experiences to the next level for clients. "
IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world the way humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.
To advance Watson, IBM has three dedicated business units: Watson, established for the development of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies that represent the commercialization of "artificial intelligence" or "AI" across a variety of industries; Watson Health, dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to deliver personalized healthcare; and Watson IoT, focused on making sense of data embedded in more than 9 billion connected devices operating in the world today, which generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily.
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