IBM CEO Ginni Rometty: ‘Data will be the natural resource of the 21st century’

27 Feb 2014

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty speaks at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

IBM plans to bring the power of its Watson big-data engine and supercomputer to mobile devices. Last night at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty unveiled the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge.

Rometty called on software developers to build mobile applications for consumers and businesses. “By 2016, a quarter of the apps in the world will be in the cloud,” she predicted.

“We will look back on this time and look at data as a natural resource that powered the 21st century,” Rometty told the conference.

The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is a first of its kind global competition to promote the development of mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson.

The competition, driven by the newly formed IBM Watson Group, aims to encourage developers to spread cognitive computing apps into the marketplace. 

Mobile first

Over the next three months, the global challenge invites mobile developers and entrepreneurs to share their best ideas to build and develop mobile apps into prototypes. Three winners will join the Watson Ecosystem Program. The winners will work with IBM’s recently launched global consulting practice, IBM Interactive Experience, to receive design consulting and support from IBM experts to develop a viable commercial app.

The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is part of the IBM MobileFirst strategy to help businesses of all sizes adopt mobile technology to better engage with customers and extend their businesses to new markets. The news also represents the latest milestone in the newly formed IBM Watson Group to fuel an ecosystem of developers, start-ups, tech companies and venture capitalists building Watson-powered apps as part of the Watson Developers Cloud

To date, more than 1,500 individuals and organisations have contacted IBM to share their ideas for creating cognitive computing applications that redefine how businesses and consumers make decisions. In fact, global developers have created and plan to go to market in 2014 with Watson apps across a variety of industries.

“The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we’re calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson’s intelligence,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice-president, IBM Watson Group.

“Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly – wherever they are – over the cloud. It’s about changing the essence of decision making from ‘information at your fingertips’ to actual insights.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years