IBM Cloud Internet Services is Enhancing the Edge

February 11, 2019 | 81 views

We are thrilled to announce two very exciting enhancements—”Range” and “Edge Functions”—to IBM Cloud Internet Services (CIS). IBM Cloud Internet Services (CIS) is IBM Cloud‘s go-to security, reliability, and performance solution for your client’s Internet-facing endpoints, applications, and APIs. Range enhances CIS’s broad capabilities by enabling our clients with network security to protect their TCP/UDP applications and API endpoints on non-HTTP/HTTPS ports.

Spotlight

Ericsson

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. With more than 110,000 professionals, and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the communications industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve their users’ experience and capture new opportunities. It is our job to take the lead in enabling this, and we are shaping our decisions around that. By enabling the Networked Society, we make a real difference to people’s lives, and the world we live in.

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SOFTWARE

AI's Impact on Improving Customer Experience

Article | August 2, 2022

To enhance the consumer experience, businesses all over the world are experimenting with artificial intelligenace (AI), machine learning, and advanced analytics. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly popular among marketers and salespeople, and it has become a vital tool for businesses that want to offer their customers a hyper-personalized, outstanding experience. Customer relationship management (CRM) and customer data platform (CDP) software that has been upgraded with AI has made AI accessible to businesses without the exorbitant expenses previously associated with the technology. When AI and machine learning are used in conjunction for collecting and analyzing social, historical, and behavioral data, brands may develop a much more thorough understanding of their customers. In addition, AI can predict client behavior because it continuously learns from the data it analyzes, in contrast to traditional data analytics tools. As a result, businesses may deliver highly pertinent content, boost sales, and enhance the customer experience. Predictive Behavior Analysis and Real-time Decision Making Real-time decisioning is the capacity to act quickly and based on the most up-to-date information available, such as information from a customer's most recent encounter with a company. For instance, Precognitive's Decision-AI uses a combination of AI and machine learning to assess any event in real-time with a response time of less than 200 milliseconds. Precognitive's fraud prevention product includes Decision-AI, which can be implemented using an API on a website. Marketing to customers can be done more successfully by using real-time decisioning. For example, brands may display highly tailored, pertinent content and offer to clients by utilizing AI and real-time decisioning to discover and comprehend a customer's purpose from the data they produce in real-time. By providing deeper insights into what has already happened and what can be done to facilitate a sale through suggestions for related products and accessories, AI and predictive analytics are able to go further than historical data alone. This increases the relevance of the customer experience, increases the likelihood that a sale will be made, and increases the emotional connection that the customer has with a brand.

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SOFTWARE

The Evolution of Quantum Computing and What its Future Beholds

Article | August 8, 2022

The mechanism of quantum computers will be entirely different from anything we humans have ever created or constructed in the past. Quantum computers, like classical computers, are designed to address problems in the real world. They process data in a unique way, though, which makes them a much more effective machine than any computer in use today. Superposition and entanglement, two fundamental ideas in quantum mechanics, could be used to explain what makes quantum computers unique. The goal of quantum computing research is to find a technique to accelerate the execution of lengthy chains of computer instructions. This method of execution would take advantage of a quantum physics event that is frequently observed but does not appear to make much sense when written out. When this fundamental objective of quantum computing is accomplished, and all theorists are confident works in practice, computing will undoubtedly undergo a revolution. Quantum computing promises that it will enable us to address specific issues that current classical computers cannot resolve in a timely manner. While not a cure-all for all computer issues, quantum computing is adequate for most "needle in a haystack" search and optimization issues. Quantum Computing and Its Deployment Only the big hyperscalers and a few hardware vendors offer quantum computer emulators and limited-sized quantum computers as a cloud service. Quantum computers are used for compute-intensive, non-latency-sensitive issues. Quantum computer architectures can't handle massive data sizes yet. In many circumstances, a hybrid quantum-classical computer is used. Quantum computers don't use much electricity to compute but need cryogenic refrigerators to sustain superconducting temperatures. Networking and Quantum Software Stacks Many quantum computing software stacks virtualize the hardware and build a virtual layer of logical qubits. Software stacks provide compilers that transform high-level programming structures into low-level assembly commands that operate on logical qubits. In addition, software stack suppliers are designing domain-specific application-level templates for quantum computing. The software layer hides complexity without affecting quantum computing hardware performance or mobility.

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SOFTWARE

Language Models: Emerging Types and Why They Matter

Article | July 8, 2022

Language model systems, often known as text understanding and generation systems, are the newest trend in business. However, not every language model is made equal. A few are starting to take center stage, including massive general-purpose models like OpenAI's GPT-3 and models tailored for specific jobs. There is a third type of model at the edge that is intended to run on Internet of Things devices and workstations but is typically very compressed in size and has few functionalities. Large Language Models Large language models, which can reach tens of petabytes in size, are trained on vast volumes of text data. As a result, they rank among the models with the highest number of parameters, where a "parameter" is a value the model can alter on its own as it gains knowledge. The model's parameters, which are made of components learned from prior training data, fundamentally describe the model's aptitude for solving a particular task, like producing text. Fine-tuned Language Models Compared to their massive language model siblings, fine-tuned models are typically smaller. Examples include OpenAI's Codex, a version of GPT-3 that is specifically tailored for programming jobs. Codex is both smaller than OpenAI and more effective at creating and completing strings of computer code, although it still has billions of parameters. The performance of a model, like its capacity to generate protein sequences or respond to queries, can be improved through fine-tuning. Edge Language Models Edge models, which are intentionally small in size, occasionally take the shape of finely tuned models. To work within certain hardware limits, they are occasionally trained from scratch on modest data sets. In any event, edge models provide several advantages that massive language models simply cannot match, notwithstanding their limitations in some areas. The main factor is cost. There are no cloud usage fees with an edge approach that operates locally and offline. As significant, fine-tuned, and edge language models grow in response to new research, they are likely to encounter hurdles on their way to wider use. For example, compared to training a model from the start, fine-tuning requires less data, but fine-tuning still requires a dataset.

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SOFTWARE

Low-code and No-code: A Business' New Best Friend

Article | July 5, 2022

Businesses are starting to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into their workflow in greater numbers as a result of the growth of digital transformation and developments in machine learning (ML). As a result, platforms that need no coding, as well as their low-code counterparts, are becoming more popular. This development is a step toward computer science's long-term objective of automating manual coding. Low-code/no-code AI platforms will be beneficial to businesses in more data-driven industries like marketing, sales, and finance. AI can assist in a variety of ways, including automating invoicing, evaluating reports, making intelligent suggestions, and anticipating churn rates. How Does an Organization Look at Low-code/No-code as the Future? Developers and other tech-related positions are in high demand, particularly in the fields of AI and data science. Organizations have the chance to close the gap with the aid of citizen data scientists who don't require an AI professional to design unique AI solutions for many scenarios, thanks to low-code and no-code AI technologies. The demand for technological solutions and AI technologies is rising significantly as the technological landscape rapidly changes. AI systems, for example, require complex software that uses a lot of code, a variety of frameworks, and the Internet of Things (IoT). One person's capacity to comprehend every technical detail is strained by the array of complicated technology. Software delivery must be timely, effective, and secure while maintaining high standards. Conclusion Low-code AI solutions offer the speed, ease of use, and adaptability of ready-made software solutions while also drastically reducing the time to market for AI solutions and the cost of recruiting software and computer vision engineers. Organizations are free to construct the architecture, functionality, or pipeline that best suits their project, the sky being the limit. However, creating such unique models may be both costly and time-consuming. Therefore, employing low-code/no-code platforms would apply to particular pipeline actions that would streamline and accelerate the processes.

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Spotlight

Ericsson

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. With more than 110,000 professionals, and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the communications industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve their users’ experience and capture new opportunities. It is our job to take the lead in enabling this, and we are shaping our decisions around that. By enabling the Networked Society, we make a real difference to people’s lives, and the world we live in.

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AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Watson Health Introduces New Opportunities for Imaging AI Adoption

IBM Watson Health | November 30, 2021

IBM Watson Health is introducing a new AI orchestration offering to help imaging organizations experience the benefits of having AI applications work seamlessly together. IBM Watson Health will officially launch IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2021 Annual Meeting in Chicago this week. In addition, IBM is announcing IBM Imaging Workflow Orchestrator with Watson, a new solution that modernizes the radiologist's reading experience while reducing the demands on IT and imaging system administrators. "We recognize that when it comes to applying AI in imaging, it's hard to go it alone," said David Gruen, MD, MBA, FACR, Chief Medical Officer, Imaging, Watson Health. "Because each AI application is developed in a unique way with a specific purpose, it can be challenging for organizations to review and assess each one, and then to deploy them in a way that's beneficial to radiologists and their patients. That's why, with the rapid proliferation of approved algorithms, staffing shortages, and complexity of disease, the IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator could not come at a better time." IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator is a cloud-based AI service that provides imaging organizations with scalable access to regulatory-cleared AI applications from leading AI solution providers that have been vetted to meet strict data security and privacy standards. It is designed to help radiologists control their access to AI insights within the context of reading workflow. It indicates the status of AI processing in the worklist and returns consolidated results from AI applications directly into the PACS. IT departments benefit by outsourcing the management of multiple applications from diverse suppliers to IBM. At launch, AI applications from several partners have been validated for interoperability with AI Orchestrator and are available today from IBM. In addition to the availability through the Watson Health Imaging solutions, Life Image has also chosen to offer IBM Watson Health's AI Orchestrator to their hospital and health system clients. Life Image, the world's largest medical evidence network providing access to points of care and curated clinical and imaging data, has created a digital platform using industry-leading interoperability standards to connect 13,000 facilities with more than 160,000 U.S. providers and 58,000 global clinics. "Working together with IBM Watson Health, Life Image will promote universal, enterprise-wide access to imaging AI results and imaging data," said Matthew A. Michela, President and CEO of Life Image. "We are excited about this collaboration and the opportunity to advance interoperability and the potential to improve outcomes for providers, patients, and the healthcare system at large." To further support radiology practices, there is an opportunity to update and improve the clinician's experience while streamlining workflows. IBM Imaging Workflow Orchestrator with Watson is a workflow solution that consolidates studies, patient data, and AI results into one insightful and modern interface to give physicians a head start in their reading activities. Built to support advanced hybrid environments, this cloud-native SaaS helps IT leaders to optimize the flow of studies, linking imaging data and tools that run on-premises and in the cloud, making them available to reading experts anywhere in the enterprise. "These innovative offerings are designed to provide health systems and radiology practices with a smarter way to adopt AI for diagnostic imaging and to improve the reading experience. For health systems, they can help to deliver quality patient care. By supporting physicians and specialists to be more productive by using AI augmented tools, patients have more confidence. For radiology practices, orchestrating AI and workflows can expand their capacity to provide imaging services at a pace to meet today's growing healthcare demands." Alok Gupta, Vice President and General Manager of IBM Watson Health Imaging at IBM. "We are constantly striving to introduce cutting-edge technologies into our imaging environment to support our radiologists' productivity and their confidence in diagnostic accuracy," said Randy Hicks, MD, MBA, CEO at Regional Medical Imaging, Grand Blanc, Michigan. "For the future, AI orchestration sets a strategic foundation to allow us to scale up to using additional AI applications with the peace of mind that the applications are vetted for privacy and security and will lower the burden on our IT staff." About IBM Watson Health IBM Watson Health is a data, analytics, and technology partner for the health industry. Supported by the innovation of IBM and intelligence of Watson, we are committed to helping build smarter health ecosystems. Through the combination of our deep industry expertise in health, data and analytics, actionable insights, and reputation for security and trust, Watson Health is working together with its clients and partners to help them achieve simpler processes, better care insights, faster breakthroughs, and improved experiences for people around the world.

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AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Unveils AI-Driven Software for Environmental Intelligence, Helping Businesses Address Sustainability Objectives and Climate Risk

IBM | October 12, 2021

IBM today announced a suite of environmental intelligence software that leverages AI to help organizations prepare for and respond to weather and climate risks that may disrupt business, more easily assess their own impact on the planet, and reduce the complexity of regulatory compliance and reporting. Companies are facing climate-related damage to their assets, disruptions to supply chains and operations, as well as increasing expectations from consumers and investors to perform as an environmental leader. Extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage were cited as the top three most likely risks for businesses over the next ten years in the World Economic Forum's "Global Risks Report 2021." Businesses need actionable environmental insights to address these challenges, but current methods are often cumbersome and complex – requiring intensive manual labor, climate and data science skills, and computing power. The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite announced today aims to help companies streamline and automate the management of environmental risks and operationalize underlying processes, including carbon accounting and reduction, to meet environmental goals. The suite leverages existing weather data from IBM, the overall most accurate provider globally, advanced geospatial analytics already in use by companies around the world, and new innovations from IBM Research. The offering is the first to bring together AI, weather data, climate risk analytics, and carbon accounting capabilities in this way – allowing organizations to spend less resources curating this complex data, and more on analyzing it for insights and taking action to improve their operations. IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite is a SaaS solution designed to help organizations: Monitor for disruptive environmental conditions such as severe weather, wildfires, flooding and air quality and send alerts when detected; Predict potential impacts of climate change and weather across the business using climate risk analytics; Gain insights into potential operational disruptions and prioritize mitigation and response efforts; Measure and report on environmental initiatives and operationalize carbon accounting, while reducing the burden of this reporting on procurement and operations teams. The suite delivers environmental insights via APIs, dashboards, maps and alerts that can help companies address both immediate operational challenges as well as longer term planning and strategies. For instance, the suite could be used to help retailers prepare for severe weather-related shipping and inventory disruptions, or factor environmental risks into future warehouse locations; energy and utility companies to determine where to trim vegetation around power lines or which of their critical assets may soon be at greater risk from wildfires due to climate change. Or the suite could be used to help supermarkets get a clearer picture of how refrigeration systems are contributing to their overall greenhouse gas emissions and prioritize locations for improvement. "The future of business and the environment are deeply intertwined. Not only are companies coping with the effects of extreme weather disruptions on their operations, they're also being held increasingly accountable by shareholders and regulators for how their operations impact the planet. IBM is bringing together the power of AI and hybrid cloud to provide businesses with environmental intelligence designed to help them improve environmental performance and reporting, create more efficient business operations to reduce resource consumption, and plan for resiliency in the face of climate disruptions." Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D., General Manager, IBM AI Applications Companies around the world are already using many of the core weather and AI technologies found within IBM's Environmental Intelligence Suite. For example, IBM environmental data and geospatial analytics are being used by Brazilian ethanol, bioelectricity and sugar company BP Bunge Bioenergia to help it better understand its agricultural sugarcane production and improve its market intelligence estimates regarding global sugar production and by agribusiness leader Cajamar to help Spanish farmers aiming to improve yields and reduce environmental impact via its digital Plataforma Tierra tool. The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite also takes advantage of AI-driven innovations from IBM Research that make it easier for climate and data scientists to analyze massive environmental datasets, and a new climate risk modeling framework used to generate data on future wildfire and flooding risks. Additionally, the suite will leverage unique technologies from IBM Research which apply natural language processing and automation designed to help companies estimate carbon emissions and identify opportunities to reduce them across their operations or with suppliers. The Environmental Intelligence Suite can be integrated with IBM's broader software portfolio for additional efficiencies across business operations – including IBM Maximo Application Suite to help companies protect and extend the lifecycle of their critical assets and IBM Supply Chain Intelligence Suite to help build more sustainable and resilient supply chains. Businesses can also tap into the cross-industry expertise of IBM Global Business Services to help design, implement and accelerate their environmental business transformation journeys. These strategies include reimagining operations, supply chains, emissions management, or ESG and climate risk reporting with the help of emerging technologies to assist organizations in meeting their environmental goals.

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AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Watson Launches New AI and Automation Features to Help Businesses Transform Customer Service

IBM | September 09, 2021

IBM today announced the launch of new AI and automation capabilities in IBM Watson Assistant designed to make it easier for businesses to create enhanced customer service experiences across any channel – phone, web, SMS and any messaging platform. This includes a new collaboration with IntelePeer, a leading Communications Platform-as-a-Service provider, to set up and test a voice agent, and a new agent app designed to enable a seamless hand-off to a live agent while maintaining the conversation's context. Virtual assistants are gaining popularity due to ongoing improvements in natural language processing (NLP) and automation. According to IBM's 2021 Global AI Adoption Index1, 52 percent of global IT professionals surveyed report that their company is using or considering NLP solutions to improve customer experiences. IBM is adding new features in Watson Assistant, the company's intelligent virtual agent, to help businesses leverage AI and NLP to address customer issues on first contact. Watson Assistant is designed to more quickly provide customers with relevant answers over the phone, SMS, web, or any messaging platform, and seamlessly hand-off to a live agent when additional support is needed. The new features include: Add voice capabilities to Watson Assistant: The IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant so that users with a Plus and Enterprise plan can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent quickly. If businesses already have an existing contact center phone system, IntelePeer can also provide the connection between Watson Assistant and the existing phone system using industry standards. Using IntelePeer, Watson Assistant is now designed to connect to nearly every major contact center platform that uses the SIP protocol in as little as half an hour with no coding. Help customers resolve issues on first contact with Watson Assistant Search Skill: Watson Assistant's Search Skill feature now includes short-answer retrieval, which is based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. This enables the virtual agent to return an answer — in a few words — from longer sentences or passages and provide the context on where the answer came from. FAQ extraction is also now generally available in Search Skill. FAQ extraction is designed to help administrators keep the virtual agent up to date with broader sources of information, without having to constantly make manual updates. Facilitate a seamless hand-off with the new agent app: Watson Assistant's new agent app feature is designed to help customer service agents pick up with a customer right where the virtual agent left off. When a customer calls in, IBM's speech detection models, which are designed to provide more accurate transcriptions out-of-the-box, deliver a near real-time transcription of the conversation. When the hand-off occurs, the new agent app provides the customer service agent with the latest transcript right on their screen. This means customers don't have to repeat their questions and agents are empowered to resolve issues even more quickly. "One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels," said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager of Data and AI, IBM. "We're continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant." State of Rhode Island Adopted IBM Watson Assistant to Transform its Contact Center In addition to the new features announced today, IBM also announced that organizations of all sizes have turned to Watson Assistant to help them address customer problems in the face of rising call volumes. For example, when new COVID-19 cases began to surge last year, the State of Rhode Island realized fielding hundreds of thousands of calls from concerned residents was unsustainable. The State needed to improve its engagement with residents with more efficient processes and timely updates to rapidly changing COVID information. To address untenable workloads, the State turned to Watson Assistant to address the engagement processes with residents and to improve the support with the contact center. IBM Global Business Services (GBS) and the State of Rhode Island launched a virtual agent, "RHODA," that uses Watson Assistant to answer questions about COVID-19 in both English and Spanish. Since October 2020, RHODA has had more than 100,000 conversations on topics related to test scheduling, test results, travel restrictions, and vaccine eligibility. In addition, IBM GBS integrated Watson Assistant into the IVR for Vaccine Appointment Scheduling to help enable an improved experience for individuals that needed assistance with appointment scheduling. "The pandemic slammed my team at the State of Rhode Island Department of Health and we quickly realized that our outdated systems and smaller call centers were completely unequipped to handle the influx of phone calls from concerned citizens, forcing us to pull staff from all directions within the department," said Kristine Campagna, COO of COVID Operations, Rhode Island Department of Health. "With IBM's wealth of experience in AI, we were able to work together to seamlessly integrate Watson Assistant into our call centers, helping us provide thousands of citizens in a matter of days with information about COVID-19."

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AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Watson Health Introduces New Opportunities for Imaging AI Adoption

IBM Watson Health | November 30, 2021

IBM Watson Health is introducing a new AI orchestration offering to help imaging organizations experience the benefits of having AI applications work seamlessly together. IBM Watson Health will officially launch IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2021 Annual Meeting in Chicago this week. In addition, IBM is announcing IBM Imaging Workflow Orchestrator with Watson, a new solution that modernizes the radiologist's reading experience while reducing the demands on IT and imaging system administrators. "We recognize that when it comes to applying AI in imaging, it's hard to go it alone," said David Gruen, MD, MBA, FACR, Chief Medical Officer, Imaging, Watson Health. "Because each AI application is developed in a unique way with a specific purpose, it can be challenging for organizations to review and assess each one, and then to deploy them in a way that's beneficial to radiologists and their patients. That's why, with the rapid proliferation of approved algorithms, staffing shortages, and complexity of disease, the IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator could not come at a better time." IBM Imaging AI Orchestrator is a cloud-based AI service that provides imaging organizations with scalable access to regulatory-cleared AI applications from leading AI solution providers that have been vetted to meet strict data security and privacy standards. It is designed to help radiologists control their access to AI insights within the context of reading workflow. It indicates the status of AI processing in the worklist and returns consolidated results from AI applications directly into the PACS. IT departments benefit by outsourcing the management of multiple applications from diverse suppliers to IBM. At launch, AI applications from several partners have been validated for interoperability with AI Orchestrator and are available today from IBM. In addition to the availability through the Watson Health Imaging solutions, Life Image has also chosen to offer IBM Watson Health's AI Orchestrator to their hospital and health system clients. Life Image, the world's largest medical evidence network providing access to points of care and curated clinical and imaging data, has created a digital platform using industry-leading interoperability standards to connect 13,000 facilities with more than 160,000 U.S. providers and 58,000 global clinics. "Working together with IBM Watson Health, Life Image will promote universal, enterprise-wide access to imaging AI results and imaging data," said Matthew A. Michela, President and CEO of Life Image. "We are excited about this collaboration and the opportunity to advance interoperability and the potential to improve outcomes for providers, patients, and the healthcare system at large." To further support radiology practices, there is an opportunity to update and improve the clinician's experience while streamlining workflows. IBM Imaging Workflow Orchestrator with Watson is a workflow solution that consolidates studies, patient data, and AI results into one insightful and modern interface to give physicians a head start in their reading activities. Built to support advanced hybrid environments, this cloud-native SaaS helps IT leaders to optimize the flow of studies, linking imaging data and tools that run on-premises and in the cloud, making them available to reading experts anywhere in the enterprise. "These innovative offerings are designed to provide health systems and radiology practices with a smarter way to adopt AI for diagnostic imaging and to improve the reading experience. For health systems, they can help to deliver quality patient care. By supporting physicians and specialists to be more productive by using AI augmented tools, patients have more confidence. For radiology practices, orchestrating AI and workflows can expand their capacity to provide imaging services at a pace to meet today's growing healthcare demands." Alok Gupta, Vice President and General Manager of IBM Watson Health Imaging at IBM. "We are constantly striving to introduce cutting-edge technologies into our imaging environment to support our radiologists' productivity and their confidence in diagnostic accuracy," said Randy Hicks, MD, MBA, CEO at Regional Medical Imaging, Grand Blanc, Michigan. "For the future, AI orchestration sets a strategic foundation to allow us to scale up to using additional AI applications with the peace of mind that the applications are vetted for privacy and security and will lower the burden on our IT staff." About IBM Watson Health IBM Watson Health is a data, analytics, and technology partner for the health industry. Supported by the innovation of IBM and intelligence of Watson, we are committed to helping build smarter health ecosystems. Through the combination of our deep industry expertise in health, data and analytics, actionable insights, and reputation for security and trust, Watson Health is working together with its clients and partners to help them achieve simpler processes, better care insights, faster breakthroughs, and improved experiences for people around the world.

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AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Unveils AI-Driven Software for Environmental Intelligence, Helping Businesses Address Sustainability Objectives and Climate Risk

IBM | October 12, 2021

IBM today announced a suite of environmental intelligence software that leverages AI to help organizations prepare for and respond to weather and climate risks that may disrupt business, more easily assess their own impact on the planet, and reduce the complexity of regulatory compliance and reporting. Companies are facing climate-related damage to their assets, disruptions to supply chains and operations, as well as increasing expectations from consumers and investors to perform as an environmental leader. Extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage were cited as the top three most likely risks for businesses over the next ten years in the World Economic Forum's "Global Risks Report 2021." Businesses need actionable environmental insights to address these challenges, but current methods are often cumbersome and complex – requiring intensive manual labor, climate and data science skills, and computing power. The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite announced today aims to help companies streamline and automate the management of environmental risks and operationalize underlying processes, including carbon accounting and reduction, to meet environmental goals. The suite leverages existing weather data from IBM, the overall most accurate provider globally, advanced geospatial analytics already in use by companies around the world, and new innovations from IBM Research. The offering is the first to bring together AI, weather data, climate risk analytics, and carbon accounting capabilities in this way – allowing organizations to spend less resources curating this complex data, and more on analyzing it for insights and taking action to improve their operations. IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite is a SaaS solution designed to help organizations: Monitor for disruptive environmental conditions such as severe weather, wildfires, flooding and air quality and send alerts when detected; Predict potential impacts of climate change and weather across the business using climate risk analytics; Gain insights into potential operational disruptions and prioritize mitigation and response efforts; Measure and report on environmental initiatives and operationalize carbon accounting, while reducing the burden of this reporting on procurement and operations teams. The suite delivers environmental insights via APIs, dashboards, maps and alerts that can help companies address both immediate operational challenges as well as longer term planning and strategies. For instance, the suite could be used to help retailers prepare for severe weather-related shipping and inventory disruptions, or factor environmental risks into future warehouse locations; energy and utility companies to determine where to trim vegetation around power lines or which of their critical assets may soon be at greater risk from wildfires due to climate change. Or the suite could be used to help supermarkets get a clearer picture of how refrigeration systems are contributing to their overall greenhouse gas emissions and prioritize locations for improvement. "The future of business and the environment are deeply intertwined. Not only are companies coping with the effects of extreme weather disruptions on their operations, they're also being held increasingly accountable by shareholders and regulators for how their operations impact the planet. IBM is bringing together the power of AI and hybrid cloud to provide businesses with environmental intelligence designed to help them improve environmental performance and reporting, create more efficient business operations to reduce resource consumption, and plan for resiliency in the face of climate disruptions." Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D., General Manager, IBM AI Applications Companies around the world are already using many of the core weather and AI technologies found within IBM's Environmental Intelligence Suite. For example, IBM environmental data and geospatial analytics are being used by Brazilian ethanol, bioelectricity and sugar company BP Bunge Bioenergia to help it better understand its agricultural sugarcane production and improve its market intelligence estimates regarding global sugar production and by agribusiness leader Cajamar to help Spanish farmers aiming to improve yields and reduce environmental impact via its digital Plataforma Tierra tool. The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite also takes advantage of AI-driven innovations from IBM Research that make it easier for climate and data scientists to analyze massive environmental datasets, and a new climate risk modeling framework used to generate data on future wildfire and flooding risks. Additionally, the suite will leverage unique technologies from IBM Research which apply natural language processing and automation designed to help companies estimate carbon emissions and identify opportunities to reduce them across their operations or with suppliers. The Environmental Intelligence Suite can be integrated with IBM's broader software portfolio for additional efficiencies across business operations – including IBM Maximo Application Suite to help companies protect and extend the lifecycle of their critical assets and IBM Supply Chain Intelligence Suite to help build more sustainable and resilient supply chains. Businesses can also tap into the cross-industry expertise of IBM Global Business Services to help design, implement and accelerate their environmental business transformation journeys. These strategies include reimagining operations, supply chains, emissions management, or ESG and climate risk reporting with the help of emerging technologies to assist organizations in meeting their environmental goals.

Read More

AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Watson Launches New AI and Automation Features to Help Businesses Transform Customer Service

IBM | September 09, 2021

IBM today announced the launch of new AI and automation capabilities in IBM Watson Assistant designed to make it easier for businesses to create enhanced customer service experiences across any channel – phone, web, SMS and any messaging platform. This includes a new collaboration with IntelePeer, a leading Communications Platform-as-a-Service provider, to set up and test a voice agent, and a new agent app designed to enable a seamless hand-off to a live agent while maintaining the conversation's context. Virtual assistants are gaining popularity due to ongoing improvements in natural language processing (NLP) and automation. According to IBM's 2021 Global AI Adoption Index1, 52 percent of global IT professionals surveyed report that their company is using or considering NLP solutions to improve customer experiences. IBM is adding new features in Watson Assistant, the company's intelligent virtual agent, to help businesses leverage AI and NLP to address customer issues on first contact. Watson Assistant is designed to more quickly provide customers with relevant answers over the phone, SMS, web, or any messaging platform, and seamlessly hand-off to a live agent when additional support is needed. The new features include: Add voice capabilities to Watson Assistant: The IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant so that users with a Plus and Enterprise plan can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent quickly. If businesses already have an existing contact center phone system, IntelePeer can also provide the connection between Watson Assistant and the existing phone system using industry standards. Using IntelePeer, Watson Assistant is now designed to connect to nearly every major contact center platform that uses the SIP protocol in as little as half an hour with no coding. Help customers resolve issues on first contact with Watson Assistant Search Skill: Watson Assistant's Search Skill feature now includes short-answer retrieval, which is based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. This enables the virtual agent to return an answer — in a few words — from longer sentences or passages and provide the context on where the answer came from. FAQ extraction is also now generally available in Search Skill. FAQ extraction is designed to help administrators keep the virtual agent up to date with broader sources of information, without having to constantly make manual updates. Facilitate a seamless hand-off with the new agent app: Watson Assistant's new agent app feature is designed to help customer service agents pick up with a customer right where the virtual agent left off. When a customer calls in, IBM's speech detection models, which are designed to provide more accurate transcriptions out-of-the-box, deliver a near real-time transcription of the conversation. When the hand-off occurs, the new agent app provides the customer service agent with the latest transcript right on their screen. This means customers don't have to repeat their questions and agents are empowered to resolve issues even more quickly. "One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels," said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager of Data and AI, IBM. "We're continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant." State of Rhode Island Adopted IBM Watson Assistant to Transform its Contact Center In addition to the new features announced today, IBM also announced that organizations of all sizes have turned to Watson Assistant to help them address customer problems in the face of rising call volumes. For example, when new COVID-19 cases began to surge last year, the State of Rhode Island realized fielding hundreds of thousands of calls from concerned residents was unsustainable. The State needed to improve its engagement with residents with more efficient processes and timely updates to rapidly changing COVID information. To address untenable workloads, the State turned to Watson Assistant to address the engagement processes with residents and to improve the support with the contact center. IBM Global Business Services (GBS) and the State of Rhode Island launched a virtual agent, "RHODA," that uses Watson Assistant to answer questions about COVID-19 in both English and Spanish. Since October 2020, RHODA has had more than 100,000 conversations on topics related to test scheduling, test results, travel restrictions, and vaccine eligibility. In addition, IBM GBS integrated Watson Assistant into the IVR for Vaccine Appointment Scheduling to help enable an improved experience for individuals that needed assistance with appointment scheduling. "The pandemic slammed my team at the State of Rhode Island Department of Health and we quickly realized that our outdated systems and smaller call centers were completely unequipped to handle the influx of phone calls from concerned citizens, forcing us to pull staff from all directions within the department," said Kristine Campagna, COO of COVID Operations, Rhode Island Department of Health. "With IBM's wealth of experience in AI, we were able to work together to seamlessly integrate Watson Assistant into our call centers, helping us provide thousands of citizens in a matter of days with information about COVID-19."

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