Clock IconFacebookLinkedInTwitteranalytics-iconBell LogoShapecollaboration-iconconsulting-iconcustomer-x-iconGplusHamilton Logo 2013 - white-trimmedPage 1ShapeIcon - Law Enforcement Copy 2e029support-iconsupporticontalent-icontraining-iconpath-1

Watson, I’ll have one of those… real-world uses of IBM Watson

Back to Blog

Recently, someone asked me what IBM Watson does. I couldn’t answer. I could have said “anything”, and this might eventually be true. When you look at the real-world uses of IBM Watson, you start to see just how AI is starting to integrate into our lives, and how businesses are able to pull insights from complex data sets.  Here are a few examples of what’s happening with IBM Watson, and why your imagination is your only limit.

A Facebook Restaurant Reservation Bot

Giuliano Iacobelli used IBM Watson Conversation to build this Restaurant Reservation bot. In short, the bot uses IBM Watson and Facebook’s Messenger App to automatically handle restaurant reservations.

This is using a feature within Watson which is called IBM Watson Conversation, and can help improve customer service by responding to frequently asked questions automatically. This can integrate with a number of platforms such as Twitter, Slack, Facebook Messenger (as with the restaurant bot).

In our increasingly impatient world, IBM Watson is responding to a customer need. When someone complains on Twitter, they need a quick response. 72% of customers expect Twitter complaints to be handled within one hour, so any delay – at any time – can inflict damage on your brand.

That’s why chatbots are all the rage at the moment. IBM Watson adds a layer of intelligence to those chatbots with IBM Watson Conversation.

Helping Find a Cure for Cancer

There’s nothing like ambition. IBM and Pfizer teamed up recently to use IBM Watson’s Artificial Intelligence system to speed up drug discovery in immuno-oncology.

While IBM Watson cannot create the cure for cancer itself, it can run through huge volumes of data sources in order to analyse and test hypotheses. The project involves over 30 million sources of laboratory and data reports, all fed into Watson so that the data can be interpreted almost instantly.

Other pharmaceutical giants are already working with IBM Watson to analyse reams of healthcare data and make quicker, better decisions.

Playing Poker

How good could you be at poker if you removed the element of human fallibility? IBM’s developers have been running a project whereby they are using IBM Watson to train robots to play poker with humans.

One of the first tasks was to teach the robots to read cards. Watson has a visual recognition service which answers the question “What’s in this image?”

This is a hugely powerful tool which has any number of business applications, but in the case of poker, it’s relatively simple – you analyse the cards and match them against a dataset within Watson. You can then get Watson to analyse the whole hand of cards it has been dealt against a database of probabilities, calculating the strength of the hand, and then deciding on an action.


If you think about your business, and where you really want to be – if there were no barriers – then there’s a chance that IBM Watson can get you there. If you want the sales team to increase their revenue by 200%, then pull together all the historic sales data you have and ask Watson where the opportunities lie. If you want to forecast when an employee is likely to leave your business, ask Watson.

As you can see, the only limit is your imagination.

Interested in finding out how Watson could be utilised within your business? Contact us to find out more.