IBM debuts white-label voice assistant for companies: Watson Assistant

IBM debuts white-label voice assistant for companies: Watson Assistant
IBM has announced a new voice assistant called Watson Assistant, which is targeted for business-to-business applications.

Voice interface has been recognized to be the next control protocol for various technologies; however, end-user brands like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant hold companies’ data in one database, which is not owned by the company clients themselves.

For companies that want to have voice applications internally while at the same time have control over company data and privacy, IBM’s Watson Assistant could be a better solution.

According to the tech giant, Watson Assistant is a completely white label product – allowing companies to train their assistants using their own datasets and design their own wake-up words. Moreover, each Watson Assistant will keep its data to itself, even IBM won’t have access information to each corporate’s assistant.

“If you start running the entire world through Alexa, it’s an enormous amount of data and control to give to one company,” said Bret Greenstein, the vice president of Watson IoT at IBM, in an interview with The Verge.

The Watson Assistant isn’t a complete new product. It’s developed based on existing IBM’s Watson Conversation, Watson Virtual Agent and language and conversational analytics APIs. Those technologies are used to build applications such as chatbots.

Some businesses are already using the Watson Assistant. Harman has built a voice assistant for Maserati’s concept car; Pepper robot at Munich airport that gives visitors directions is developed by Watson Assistant; and smart home company Chameleon Technologies has used IBM’s technologies to power its smart meter.

IBM wants its Watson Assistant to become voice assistants in hotels, car’s dashboards or inside homes and offices.

It’s true that if the world is filled by Alexa, everyone’s data will be controlled by one single company. However, each service has their own voice assistants with different names also won’t work since users won’t remember them all.

It’d be interesting to see how companies adopt the Watson Assistant and how big influence the new assistant brings to the smart home market.


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