IBM Watson Sparks Innovation Across Asia-Pacific

Winners of the Region’s First Watson New Venture Challenge will Advance Cognitive Solutions

SINGAPORE – 11 MARCH 2016 – IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the twelve winners of the first IBM Watson Asia-Pacific New Venture Challenge, a pitch competition that tasked start-ups and tech companies with building new, cognitive-enabled applications that can solve a variety of local industry needs.

The challenge lasted six-weeks and attracted a diverse mix of developers, software engineers, data scientists and entrepreneurs. Participants were given access to the full suite of Watson cognitive services in addition to mentorship from IBM and industry executives. Judging criteria assessed feasibility, uniqueness, and competitive differentiation, as well as how well the solutions addressed specific target market needs.

Winning the top three spots of the New Venture Challenge are:

1. Raydar (Singapore): Raydar is a search engine for stock photos that helps designers and marketers find the right stock photos faster. Working with IBM Watson's Alchemy Language and Concept Insights API, Raydar can derive insights from content and translate them into keywords, improving search results for our users and saving them precious time.

2. Snapask (Singapore): Snapask is the tutor in your pocket, providing on-demand homework help to students in Asia since 2014. The mobile app makes use of Watson's Concept Insights and Dialog APIs to analyse in-app behaviour between their 50,000+ students and 3,000 tutors. The resulting insights allow Snapask to predict students' academic needs and offer personalized academic content. 

3. Silverlake (Malaysia): Silverlake MyNet enables businesses to leverage collective intelligence and customer-centric solutions powered by cognitive big data technology and ecosystems to transform their businesses, customers experiences and engagement. Its innovative products, creating value using synthesized data services, include WALIC ~ A Lifestyle Concierge powered by Watson, that understands and learns users preferences & patterns through unstructured data for timely personalized contextual recommendations and experiences.

The nine runners-up include:

4. Cogniant (Singapore): Cogniant is a consumer and clinician enablement platform that supports data driven mental healthcare. Embedding Watson in the Cogniant patient app empowers patients to understand their condition through structured learning and allows for medication compliance. Watson uses sentiment analysis and natural language API to complete patient's daily thought catalogue, to remind them of their medications and to have an ongoing dialogue with clinicians.

5. Embodied Sensing (Singapore): Embodied Sensing is an emerging start-up that focuses on acoustic technologies. Their latest offering – EmotiBadge, leverages IBM Watson to analyze conversational interactions between staffs and customers in service-oriented industries. Using Watson’s Speech-to-Text and Sentiment Analysis APIs, the EmotiBadge is able to provide insights on a customer’s sentiments, allowing businesses to improve customer satisfaction and retention.

6. Konversations (India): Konversations is a chat-based personal interaction application that helps young people in India make better decisions for university admissions, education loans, careers and personal finance. Konversations uses the Dialog API of IBM Watson to ensure a contextual and seamless conversation with the user. The platform aims to on-board 10 million students by 2019.

7. LocoBuzz (India): LocoBuzz seamlessly converges Big Data, E-Mail, Social Media, Customer Insights and CRM to enable smarter and affordable marketing. LocoBuzz uses IBM Watson Alchemy APIs to enable sentiment analysis, entity extraction and Taxonomy to help brands understand and gain marketing and customer intelligence from large amounts of unstructured data so that they can smartly engage with their customers and streamline their marketing efforts.

8. mClinica Pte. Ltd. (Singapore): mClinica is a health data and analytics firm that uses Watson applications to provide real-time decision support capabilities for pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and physicians. With Watson's Visual Recognition and Alchemy Language APIs, mClinica prevents medication dispensing errors and drug-drug interactions by cross-referencing prescription information with medical libraries and mClinica’s proprietary datasets.

9. Mobi-Cart (Singapore): MobiCart is a start-up that is taking m-commerce to a new level of personalization by enabling anyone to quickly deploy a native storefront application on iOS and Android devices as well as HTML5. MobiCart combines a customized application development platform with an online ecosystem for sharing extensions.

10. Stockflock (Singapore): Stockflock is a content management service for remisiers, designed to improve customer relations by intelligently providing their clients with information that is relevant to their investment portfolio. Stockflock uses Watson's Concepts Insights and AlchemyNews APIs to analyze content, enabling Stockflock to personalize information based on each individual investor's needs.

11. Swizzle (South Korea): Swizzle Labs is using Watson in combination its own technology to “read the internet” and provide meaningful information on New Media. With this technology, advertisers can identify the right influencer for their campaigns, influencers can understand their impact and how to improve their reach, and companies can automate their market research needs.

12. ZUMATA Technologies (Singapore): ZUMATA Technologies is a B2B Hotel Distribution platform which consolidates and aggregates over 60 suppliers and 400,000 hotels. Through state-of- the-art APIs and predictive technology, ZUMATA provides travel sites and agents a turnkey solution for great prices, inventory, and margins. Consumers are also more comfortable with better imagery and information around the hotel booking process, resulting in better conversion rates. Watson, through its Concept Insights API, provides an elegant solution for processing the millions of continually changing hotel descriptions and images into a clear choice of the "best data" from ZUMATA's stable of suppliers. 

Winners have been invited into the TAG.PASS for IBM Watson accelerator programme, jointly run by IBM and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL). Announced in February at Build Amazing Startups Here’s (BASH’s) first anniversary party, the programme contributes to Singapore’s Smart Nation vision of using technology innovations to improve life and business throughout the country. The programme offers members co-working space at IIPL’s BASH, education, mentoring and demo days.

The winning teams have also become part of IBM’s growing Watson Ecosystem (US), a community of more than 80,000 developers globally that are tapping into Watson APIs (US) through the Watson Developer Cloud (US) to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas. The ecosystem represents more than 500 partners across 17 industries and disciplines, 100 of which have already introduced commercial cognitive enabled apps, products and services to the market.

“The Watson Ecosystem is fundamental to the transformative power of cognitive technology across industries,” said Tim Greisinger, Managing Director, IBM Singapore. “Our ecosystem growth is enabling our partners across the world to build a variety of applications and services embedded with cognitive technology, and Asia Pacific is poised for remarkable advancements in this area. The Watson New Venture Challenge is just the beginning and it shows there are many brilliant ideas in this region we can’t wait to see come to life.”

About IBM Watson

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, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. With the help of Watson, organizations are leveraging 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 (US), 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 (US), dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to and deliver personalized healthcare; and Watson IoT (US), focused on making sense of data embedded in for more than 9 billion connected devices operating in the world today, which generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily. 

For more information on IBM Watson, visit (US).

Media Contact:

Jean-Claire Rozario
IBM Singapore
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