Teaching IBM Watson to identify Baseball Cards in under 5 minutes

Using Watson Studio and the Watson Visual Recognition Service I show how easy it is to teach Watson by simply uploading pictures of baseball cards and putting class identifiers on them.

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Developing a web site on Watson Content Hub

We just published a brand new step-by-step guide for creating your own site on Watson Content Hub.

The IBM Watson Content Hub Trial and Standard editions include features that help you create websites, and include a pre-installed fictitious sample website “Oslo. Oslo is a responsive sample website that illustrates what you can create by using Watson Content Hub. You can use the sample site as a starting point for customizing your own website. Work with your team to develop a website that will engage customers and drive business to your site. Follow this roadmap to get started with building and developing your own website with Watson Content Hub Standard edition. – link

The great news is the Oslo sample site is not only responsive but we also provide two samples of it, one written with React, Angular, and  Vue – which are all available for download from within the article from GitHub.

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IBM’s Watson: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide

IBM-Watson_logoWatson is a mystery to many and the casual observer thinks of Watson as a contestant on the popular TV game show Jeopardy where the super computer destroyed the human competition. This is one example application of Watson and what it is capable of.

 

Recently, Watson has been used in many industries to help humans make faster and even better decisions – like in marketing, supply chain, and health. A really good article I recently came across does an excellent job explaining in layman’s terms how this amazing technology works.

An IBM study found that 80 percent of the data out there — texts, tweets, blogs, articles, videos and even recorded sounds — cannot be understood by traditional programmatic computing. Watson is different: It translates this information into a form that is legible to its systems, and can therefore provide analytics based on these data points. – link

In case you haven’t seen Watson on Jeopardy, you can take some time to watch this video to see it in action. Just like Watson in for other industries, it was “taught” how to answer these questions. Processing the Jeopardy answer as described in the above article: Observing, Interpreting, Evaluating, and ultimately, Deciding.

Here are a few more areas where IBM is using Watson to help out different industries:

IBM® Watson™ Marketing Insights evaluates customer behavior by analyzing customer data that marketers provide. The results enable Watson Marketing Insights to predict likely changes in brand engagement, risk of leaving, and customer value. – link

IBM® Watson Commerce Insights empowers online and retail merchandisers, category managers, and marketers to manage their omni-channel business and customer engagement, both in-store and online. It is compatible with commerce, order management, and digital analytics platforms, giving broader visibility to business performance. – link

IBM Supply Chain Insights leverages Watson cognitive technology trained in supply chain to provide comprehensive visibility and insights across the entire supply chain. – link

IBM Watson Order Optimizer helps Omni-channel fulfillment practitioners in Retail leverage cognitive science to better understand their customers and drive real-time action. Through insight and analytics, they can make decisions, take actions, and build experiences that meet customer expectations and drive profitable business across digital and physical store channels. – link

Many of these offerings are represented in two video demonstrations my team put together to show how these solutions can help a B2C and B2B company operate with amazing efficiency. These are end to end demonstrations that show the breadth and depth of the Watson Customer Engagement platform.

Becoming an IBM Cloud Developer, the easy way.

The IBM Cloud, previously know as IBM BlueMix, seems to be getting a lot of press lately. More and more of our commerce customers are asking about Watson and this development platform. The platform has been greatly expanded over the past few years and is now considered a first class cloud development platform. As outlined here, this has turned into $15 Billion of revenue for IBM and seems to be growing each quarter. The IBM Cloud is now ranked in the top 5 cloud platforms by Bob Evans, displacing Google and Oracle and Bob seems to hint it will probably be moving further up the list. It is no coincidence that one of the key elements to this platform is Watson and the cool API’s it brings to the table. I am seeing some amazing integrations being done into existing applications with some of these Watson API’s. But what is more interesting is the full life cycle development a team can do 100% in the cloud.

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Video: Enhance applications with Watson APIs

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I get a lot of questions from customers for how they can enhance their applications with Watson API’s.  Well, as part of the Cloud Application Developer Certification Preparation course on IBM’s developer site, is this great video with a high level view on how you can do this:

 

Out-price the competition with Watson and Dynamic Pricing

Are you tired of the internet price wars? Are you sick of managing prices across all of your channels and competing with the likes of Amazon and other retailers? Do customers browse your brick and mortar store and use smartphone applications like RedLaser and QR Code scanners to scan your bar codes only to find it cheaper on the internet?

If so, then you may want to see how Watson and Dynamic Pricing can help you stay competitive across all of your channels. Here are some of the key benefits you get from IBM Dynamic Pricing:

  • Re-price in real time
  • Bring together online and offline prices
  • Sense and react to out-price competitors
  • Empower business users

Best of all, you get intelligent pricing at digital speed while getting competitive data in real-time enabling you to create customized strategies using product groups and rules. You can also schedule pricing strategy run times and it all quickly integrates with the IBM Digital Commerce platform.

Watch this video below to see how it works or go directly to the Dynamic Pricing page to read more about this cool new product.

IBM Skills Gateway: Refreshing your technical arsenal!

I have been hearing a lot about the different courses offered on the IBM Skills Gateway so I decided to try one. Since I have been working with BlueMix for a bit I figured it would be easy to go through the BlueMix Essentials course and earn the badge, I squeaked by the test with a 90% (you need an 80% to earn the badge, so make sure you REALLY pay attention as there are only 10 questions).

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I have to say I am pretty impressed with the way the course played out; mixing video, text, and lab content into a seamless straightforward experience. You can stop and start as you will, it will just keep track of where you left off. I got a little impatient with a few videos but that was only because I was familiar with most of the material, however it makes you finish watching each video – so no skipping around! I really like this course because if anything, it teaches you how to setup an application, make code changes locally, and then deploy those changes to the BlueMix cloud. Make sure you before you actually do the lab you watch the lab video. I kept making the mistake of just doing the lab as described and then I was forced to watch a 10-12 minute video of the instructors walking through the lab. It explains how to install the different tools you may need, walks you through all configurations, using the command line Cloud Foundry tools (cf), and using Eclipse as your IDE for your project.

Finding courses is very easy and many are free! You can filter courses by duration, category, product group, and skill level.

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You can take courses that are instructor led or self-paced. Some courses are a combination of reading material and videos, while others may contain hands on labs, or may just be a simple article like An introduction to InfoSphere Streams. If you really like the concept of badges, which in my opinion are similar to certfications, then you can search for them here. The badge system is a partnership with Acclaim and it uses Open Badges which can then be posted to your social profiles, like on LinkedIn.

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I am still waiting for my first badge, I guess some badges could take from 1-2 weeks to get. I would be interested to hear others experience with this process. Meanwhile, I think I might earn a few more badges and beef up my own technical arsenal!