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SK C&C has continued Korea’s efforts to increase the usage and adoption of cloud computing within the region, announcing a new strategic alliance with IBM focused on the Watson cognitive computing platform.
As part of the agreement, IBM will train Watson to understand and comprehend Korean, and South Korea-based developers will create a number of localized API’s and services to increase adoption rates of such advanced cloud computing technologies in the region. Korean will be Watson’s eighth language, lining up with English, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic.
“Watson remains at the forefront of cognitive computing: advanced systems that learn at scale, understand with meaning, reason with purpose and interact with humans in natural ways,” said David Kenny, GM for IBM Watson. “The South Korean marketplace is moving quickly to embrace the disruptive opportunities from next generation technology.
“Our strategic alliance with SK Holdings C&C will put cognitive services in the hands of more businesses and developers, allowing them to apply Watson within their organizations to help transform entire industries and professions.”
Korea has been making positive strides in recent months to increase the adoption rate of cloud computing within the country, announcing a number of initiatives in March. Adoption rates are reported to be as low as 6.4% within the country currently, which could be perceived as low considering the number of tech companies which has grown out of Korea, though the government is planning to increase this to 13% over the next twelve months. Over the same period, the government also plans to increase the number of Korean cloud companies from 353 to 500.
While this announcement focused on cloud computing as a broader technology set, the government also announced plans to invest 100 billion won (approximately $ 87.2 million) to foster the development of supercomputers. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning said it would invest 10 billion won annually for the next 10 years to boost the growth of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet-of-Things technologies and other emerging industries through supercomputers. The ambition is to create a supercomputer with a data-processing speed of 1 petaflop (PF) in five years, eventually reaching 30 PF by 2025.
As part of the partnership between IBM and SK C&C, the telco will run Watson and Bluemix from its Pangyo Cloud Centre, to foster the growth of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. More specifically SK C&C is hoping the introduction of the technologies will improve mobile device experience, as well as consumers’ call centre interactions. SK C&C will also become IBM’s preferred distributor for cognitive solutions in South Korea.
“This alliance highlights SK’s dedication to growing our artificial intelligence-based data services business, strengthening our Ai leadership position, as well as spurring innovation and Ai adoption across Korea,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SK Holdings C&C.
The partnership between IBM and SK C&C is one of a number of examples of IBM’s efforts to broaden the appeal to the international audience. SK C&C will assist in developing Watson’s advanced conversational capabilities in Korean, in the same way SoftBank is aiding for Japanese, Mubadala for Arabic and GBM in South America. Each of these companies, including SK C&C, are developing local communities of developers to build, explore and create new applications in their native languages. Korean language Watson services are expected to become available early next year.
IBM has opened a new office in San Francisco to channel further growth in its supercomputing business as it claims 77,000 developers across the world are using its Watson Developer Cloud to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.
The San Francisco office will open in 2016 to give local start ups access to Watson technology for their software projects. The facility will include resources dedicated to IBM’s new Spark processing technology as the vendor seeks to get Spark users interested in Watson, it said. IBM claims 100 companies have released software services based on Watson.
With a reported $ 100 million of venture capital fund earmarked for startups looking to build products on Watson, IBM now plans to offer its nascent partners technical support and consultancy on business plans, in addition to market making initiatives that include introductions to potential customers.
In September IBM opened a new Watson Health business centre in the Boston area to target the health sector and pharmaceutical industry. The new cloud initiative comes in the wake of reports of declining revenues in 13 consecutive quarters, while the app economy is ‘in full swing’, as IBM described it, with industry revenue projected to grow to $ 143 billion in 2016, according to analyst IDC. By 2018 half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis, according to the analyst.
IBM also announced a new expanded portfolio of application programming interfaces into Watson, bring the net total to 50. IBM’s cloud development partners have created systems for query support for card payments, customer support Q&As for financial services, live event media aggregation ‘as a service’ social marketing and apps for the entertainment and marketing industries. Early investment partners include WayBlazer, Sellpoints, Welltok, Pathway Genomics, Modernizing Medicine and Fluid.
In the UK, IBM has created three new Watson partners 50wise, Volume and SocialBro, which have created cloud apps for financial services, sales training and online marketing.
SAN FRANCISCO — IBM’s Watson supercomputer is coming to San Francisco to do more business with Silicon Valley startups.
The company will be opening a new cognitive computing hub for Watson, called Watson West, next year in San Francisco. IBM’s Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin announced the news during an event in San Francisco Thursday
The goal of the center is to make it easier for local developers, startups and venture capitalists to tap into Watson’s cognitive computing abilities
As IBM continues to expand its Watson business, opening up an official Bay Area presence represents a big opportunity for the company. Rhodin noted that there are already many startups whose products rely on Watson’s technology.One fantasy sports startup, called Edge Up Sports, for instance, uses Watson APIs to help users make decisions for their fantasy teams Read more…