IBM really wants to help (small) businesses as well as redefine how professionals work, and they are going as light and handy as mobile. Here’s how! Yesterday, IBM announced a never before seen innovation where productivity apps on mobile can be integrated with IBM Watson to ease the decision making for entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners.  “Watson” is an AI product built to interact with a customer by extracting key information from all documents and showing same in a variety of ways across existing data.

For now, it is available only on iOS as IBM MobileFirst for iOS and simply put, the apps on the store can now be integrated with a broad set of conversational and cognitive capabilities to increase the productivity and improve the experience of users.

IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps as well as custom-built iOS apps from IBM can now embed variety of Watson APIs to fit a client’s unique use case. With Watson-enabled speech interaction, for example, professionals can now control IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps with their voice, providing easy access to deeper insights that improve the performance of their work.

IBM Natural Language Processing, Watson Conversation and other Watson APIs have been optimized to work with the new iOS 10 speech framework. The combination of Watson, iOS and IBM services allows the apps to support conversational interaction, bringing deep insight to the end user so they can make more informed decisions. Apps are more convenient and even easier to use, offering a simple hands-free solution.

Why Apple?

“Apple and IBM set out more than two years ago to define the enterprise mobility market, ensuring that professionals could finally enjoy at work the same experience they’d come to expect as consumers. We are taking that to a whole new level by combining the power of Watson with the new speech framework of iOS 10. The combinations and possibilities are virtually endless.” said Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager, Apple partnership, IBM. “This is a digital assistant for the business — one that creates the next-generation professional experience tailored for enterprise processes”

Professions/businesses that need IBM’s MobileFirst with Watson

Everyone’s invitedA good example is the Find & Fix app on Apple store. Integrated with Watson, a technician on duty can verbally interact with the app while busy servicing equipment in the field. He can speak any schedule changes and the app will automatically notify and modify the remaining schedule of jobs for the day. Using voice prompts, technicians can ask for suggestions to solve specific problems. The app can then tap into highly technical equipment manuals as well as insights gained from other technicians in the field and present them to the technician to consider before choosing a course of action.

Flight attendants using the Passenger + app enhanced with Watson can gain a deeper view into a traveler’s personality to deliver more personal and relevant customer care while in-flight. For example, if the app reveals a passenger is a strong brand advocate with a strong social footprint, the airline may choose to prioritize his or her requests.

Retail Sales Associates using Sales Assist can access data across different resources — social media, customer databases and product forums – for deeper insights in to a customer’s unique preferences as well as the latest purchasing trends and popular products to assist customers in choosing the right item.

Financial Advisors using Trusted Advice with deep learning technology from Watson gain highly targeted search and trend analysis in to market history and happenings to optimize the investment recommendations made to individual clients.

By integrating Watson technology, these made-for-business apps now have the ability to understand, reason and learn based on deep data analytics – something IBM is equally passionate about; solely and increasingly educating all and sundry on. As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries.

Moving forward>>>

This new generation of apps take advantage of latest cognitive innovations and technologies. IBM Research’s human language technologies lab houses researchers currently incubating the next version of Natural Language Processing as well as other speech recognition advancements that can be integrated into the made-for-business apps.

For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/Watson and ibm.com/press/watson. Join the conversation at #ibmwatson.

For more information regarding the IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps, please visit: www.ibm.com/mobilefirst/us/en/mobilefirst-for-iOS.html or www.apple.com/business/mobile-enterprise-apps/.