IBM opens Watson AI to public and private clouds


IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence systems can now be used on Google Cloud Platform, AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and other cloud providers through an integration with IBM Cloud Private for Data. The approach can also be used to bring Watson to private clouds or on-premise servers.

Services like Watson Studio for building AI, Watson Assistant, and AI OpenScale were previously only available through IBM’s public cloud.

The move was made, IBM Data and AI Group general manager Rob Thomas told VentureBeat in a phone interview, to help organizations save money and time and apply AI wherever they store their data.

“What’s unique about what we’re doing and I’m not sure if people will follow suit because I don’t think it’s their strategy,” Thomas said. “We are saying we are going to use open-source Kubernetes, enable portability, and for most of the public cloud providers, portability is not in their interest, so I think we’ll probably be unique in that stance.”

IBM is the latest major tech company to adopt Kubernetes for its AI solutions. In recent months, Google launched the Kubeflow Pipelines, Intel debuted its Nauta platform with Kubernetes, and the Linux Foundation for Deep Learning introduced its Acumos platform.

Also introduced today: AI Digital Automation, a new service that collects and analyzes patterns in data to identify tasks that can be automated.

“What we’re doing with that specifically is we’re taking Watson capabilities and embedding that inside of the business process management workflows,” Thomas said.

The new service will be offered through the IBM Automation Platform for Digital Business and made generally available later this year.

The news was announced today at the start of Think, a three-day IBM conference being held this week in San Francisco. Ahead of the conference, on Monday IBM’s Project Debater got into an argument about preschool with internationally recognized debate champion Harish Natarajan.

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