IBM just announced a new use for Watson, its supercomputer: a freemium analytics service that's available to all business users. It provides business professionals a unified experience and natural language dialogue so they can make better use data to achieve business goals, IBM claims.
Since it announced a very limited beta in September, IBM claims 22,000 people have signed up for the service. That seems way below the minimum threshold needed to make this a viable business, which may explain why the company is now opening it up to everyone. The freemium service will automate the once time-consuming tasks of data preparation, predictive analysis and visual storytelling for business professionals.
Putting Watson to Work
Users will also be able to access the new service from any device, including mobile ones. It will also connect to a Watson Analytics Community, where users can exchange ideas on best practices and solicit technical support.
This is the latest step on the road to actualizing Watson's potential for business users. It follows the Twitter partnership IBM signed in October, which involves using Watson to analyze Twitter data to discover insights, predict outcomes, visualize results, create reports and dashboards and explain results in familiar business terms.
IBM revealed a business version of Watso, IBM Watson Analytics Advisor, in January. It let's business users send natural language questions and raw data sets into the cloud for Watson to crunch and visualize.
The freemium version that's now open to everyone is part of a $1 billion investment announced during the summer geared towards making Watson more accessible to businesses.