IBM Brings Watson to IOT with Project Intu

IBM’s Watson Developer Conference(WDC) brought a lot of exting announcements about IBM’s efforts in the cognitive and artificial intelligence(AI) fronts. Among those announcements, Project Intu is a new initiative looking to bridge the gap between Watson and smart IOT devices.

Conceptually, Project Intu simplifies the experience of integrating Watson cognitive services into applications running on heterogeneous IOT devices. Even though Intu’s scope goes beyond devices, IOT integration is certainly the most relevant component of it. While IBM has already made signitificant efforts to integrate Watson into IOT solutions (they even rebranded their IOT suite was Watson IOT Platform), Project Intu has taken these efforts to another level by tailoring and optimizing the Watson experience to different device platforms.

The current approach of integrating Watson with smart devices requires a considerable amount of work by IOT developers. Even though many of the capabilities of Watson are available via APIs, developers still need to do a considerable effort on aspects such as collecting the input data from cognitive sensors, transform it, process the response from Watson, etc. For instance, an application running in a 360 camera might need to capture and process many frames before having the best image that can be processed by Watson’s Vision Services. Project Intu simplifies developer experiences such as our example by tailoring the framework to different IOT toolkits ranging from Unity to RasperryPi.

Five Reasons Why Project Intu is Relevant

There are many reasons for the Watson community to be excited about Project Intu. Fundamentally, the main benefit of Intu is the way it bridges the IOT and cognitive worlds by simplifying the experience of embedding Watson capabilities in IOT in-device applications. Let’s look at some of the main benefits of Project Intu:

AI as a Native Citizen of IOT Solutions

Project Intu allows IOT developers to leverage AI capabilities provided by Watson as a native component of IOT stacks. From that perspective, IOT developers will start thinking about Watson capabilities in the same way that today they think messaging, device data or other native features of IOT applications.

Watson Distribution with Device Manufacturers

Project Intu will expand the channels for Watson solutions to be distributed as part of IOT devices. Similarly, device manufacturers will be able to expand the value proposition of their hardware devices by leveraging cognitive capabilities.

New Watson Developer Communities

By providing a deeper integration IOT devices, Project Intu will be able to gather better data that can be used to improve the training of Watson solutions in the future.

Better IOT Developer Experience

Project Intu will allow IOT developers to incorporate cognitive capabilities into their in-device solutions without being concerned about aspects such as data collection, transformation, API interoperability among other aspects that are very specific to each IOT device runtime.

Without a doubt, Project Intu is a very interesting initiative by IBM that brings together two of the biggest technology trends in the industry. It would be interesting to see how the IOT community receives Project Intu and the first generation of applications that it powers.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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