Tag: IBM Watson

UT Austin Team Wins IBM Watson University Competition

images-2A team of students from the University of Texas at Austin took first place in the inaugural IBM Watson University Competition in New York last week.

The winning team of 12 received $100,000 in seed financing from IBM Watson Group and the Entrepreneur’s Fund to launch its application, CallScout, which gives people access to social services.

“The CallScout app, which the State of Texas has approved for pilot, was designed to help streamline the delivery of social services information across mobile devices, ensuring crucial information is available when and where it is needed, especially for citizens without home internet service,” according an IBM news release. “The app will integrate local hours of service, route and map information and other relevant data, while automatically delivering push notifications when important details change.”

A group of students from the University of Toronto took second place with “Ross,” an app that allows users to ask Watson legal questions. A team of students from the University of California at Berkeley placed third with a app called “Patent Fox” that simplifies the patent filing process.

Altogether, IBM invited eight student teams to compete at the Watson headquarters in New York City. The other schools included Carnegie Mellon University; Ohio State University; Northwestern University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the University of Michigan.

“Our business idea and app, “CallScout,” enables people in need of help to download an app to a smartphone, use it to conduct a typed conversation with Watson, and get information about social services in their community. (Eventually, people will be able to interact via texting, as well.)” according to a blog post from Bri Connelly, a senior computer science major and team leader for the project. “Topics might include health care, food pantries, temporary housing and other government and non-profit services. We’re hoping to launch a pilot of the app with the United Way of Austin by the end of summer.”

The team hopes to join the Longhorn Startup Lab, a program at UT that helps students become entrepreneurs, and pursue CallScout as a startup business, according to Connelly.

IBM’s Watson is a cognitive computing system that acts like a human brain. It can analyze huge amounts of data easily and understand complex questions spoken naturally.

Biovideo and 9W Search Selected as Finalists in IBM’s Watson Mobile Developer Challenge

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Watson display at the Computer History Museum, photo by Laura Lorek

Watson display at the Computer History Museum, photo by Laura Lorek

IBM wants to make us all smarter through our smart phones by tapping into its Watson super computer database.

To do that, IBM issued a challenge back in February to app developers worldwide encouraging them to submit apps for its IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge. The apps needed to use “Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities to analyze, discover insights and learn from Big Data.” IBM developed Watson as a cognitive technology that processes information more like a human and understands natural language.

Some might consider IBM’s mobile Watson, the sage grandfather of Siri, Apple’s personal assistant available on its iPhones.

Last week, the IBM Watson team announced it has picked 25 finalists in its competition including San Antonio-based Biovideo and Austin-based 9WSearch.

Several hundred companies submitted apps in the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge. The apps that made the cut span several categories including finance, healthcare services, news, business, fashion, education, cities and nutrition.

In the finance category, 9W Search, founded by Susan Strausberg, one of the founders of Edgar Online, submitted its app, which mines financial information online combined with Watson’s cognitive capabilities to answer complex financial questions. Its first application is in the energy industry.

IMG_2570“The ability to incorporate vast amounts of structured and unstructured primary source materials into the 9W/Watson cloud lets users ask and answer billions of complex questions through a simple, familiar interface,” according to 9W Search’s submission.
Biovideo, founded by Carlos Villasenor, made the finalists in the Health Services category. The company submitted an app that provides “the best help for new and expectant mothers at their fingertips.”

Biovideo, which operates out of San Antonio’s Geekdom, works with hospitals in Texas and Mexico to create a movie capturing the birth of a child for free for parents.

“The Biovideo App incorporates the Baby 101 searchable database for the first time and becomes the ultimate parenting tool,” according to the company. “It also eliminates geographic limitation, as the app and the Baby 101 program are available to anyone, anywhere. Providing the power of Watson to the Baby 101 program provides unlimited information, insight and reach to new parents.”

The finalists must submit prototypes to IBM, which will select five teams to present their proposals. And then IBM will choose three winners. “The three winners are awarded 90 days of access to the Watson APIs and consulting from IBM Interactive design services.”

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