IBM offers freemium version of Watson to businesses

17 Sep 2014

IBM's Watson supercomputer

Tech giant IBM is encouraging smaller businesses to use its Watson analytics tool by offering it under the freemium model to help companies determine how to best use their data.

As part of the deal, companies will be able to store vast quantities of data on IBM’s cloud system which, using Watson’s advanced supercomputer, will be able to turn raw information into useable analytics, according to Forbes.

The analytics division has proven a particular high-point in the company’s recent financial history with their initial projections aiming to see profits of somewhere in the region of US$20bn by the end of next year.

The advanced division grew by 9pc last year compared with 2012 and claims to have had 40,000 service engagements to-date, but the decision to go with the freemium model comes as a result of increasing competition from other companies willing to do analytics at a cut-price.

Earlier this year, the tech company established the dedicated business unit for the supercomputer having already invested US$1bn in its development as well as a US$100m equity fund to further develop its ability to number crunch.

While it is now targeting smaller companies to use its computing power, last July it signed a deal with the insurance company USAA who wanted to use Watson to analyse potential customers to see which deal they would be best suited with.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic