22
Mon, Jul
2 New Articles

TechTip: Watson Products, Continued

Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

 

Last month, we started looking at how you can work with Watson. We began with one of the Watson “products” that IBM offers, the Virtual Agent. This month, we will look at the other product options in Watson’s stable.

IBM offers a number of products, off-the-shelf components that can be configured to work with your business and will provide benefit without your having to learn a new language or really do anything technical.

We started by looking at the Watson Virtual Agent (VA), which offers a chatbot that can be used to answer customer questions and that learns as it goes along. But VA is not the only thing IBM is offering, and this month we’ll see what else is out there just waiting to be used.

To refresh your memory a bit on how to get to these products, just go to www.ibm.com/watson and click on Explore Watson Products. Then page down.

Watson Explorer

Explorer is a data retrieval and analysis tool. It picks up both structured and unstructured data from within your company’s system and analyzes it for relationships and trends.

The data retrieval part of this is a big deal. Current statistics (they are IBM’s, so they must be true) say that data analysis people spend 80 percent of their time finding and structuring data so that it can be consumed by an analytic tool. Since Watson does this automatically, for both structured and unstructured content, it frees up the analyst to analyze.

In addition to efficient indexing mechanisms that speed the analysis, the ability of Watson to work with natural language makes it possible for it to mine data that otherwise would have to be carefully prepared. And the resultant databases can be stored either on your machine or in the cloud.

The IBM website does not quote a price for this service, but you are invited to contact IBM for pricing information, and you can’t get much more customer-friendly than that.

Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics is also a tool for analyzing your data.

In its most basic format, Analytics runs in the cloud, and it’s free. I know the first page of the link above says $30, but that’s for the Analytics Plus. The basic version is free. Just sign up on the IBM site, and you can upload data from spreadsheets and limited analytics.

You upload the data set you want analyzed (you get 1MB of free storage as part of the base version), which to me means that it’s probably looking for structured data. Then, there’s a set of predetermined questions that you can ask Watson to analyze over this data set. Plus, you can ask any question you want in your own words. Naturally, there are dashboards and drilldowns and all the other cute things that make data analysis so sexy. Various predefined templates are ready for you to use, and they make it easy to put your results in a format slick enough for any meeting. And you don’t need to know a single thing about technology or even about data analysis.

There are a couple of other flavors to it, if you’re interested. The first is Analytics Plus. This you have to pay for, but it’s only $30 per month per user, and that’s not bad at all. The Plus version gives you 2GB of storage and allows you to bring in spreadsheets with up to 1 million rows and 256 columns. The other thing that it gives you is the ability to pull in data from Twitter and include that in your analysis.

If that isn’t enough, there’s Analytics Professional. With this, you get 100GB and room for spreadsheets with up to a million rows and 500 columns. You get twice as much Twitter data (didn’t realize it was limited in the Plus version) and the ability to connect to a variety of cloud data sources. Two or more users are able to collaborate and share and view data even though each has his or her own dedicated space.

But I can take one look at you, and I know you want more. So there’s Watson Analytics for Social Media, which lets you connect to a wide range of boards, review sites, and social networks. How cool is that! And actually, for many companies, that’s very important. I just spent some time with a major regional retailer, and they tried to keep very close track of what was happening on the social media scene. It’s not an easy job because social media is unstructured content. Sometimes very unstructured, but Watson makes it easy.

Bottom line, Watson Analytics is a relatively inexpensive way to get your feet wet in the data analysis world without having to know a single thing. Can’t beat that.

Watson Knowledge Studio

Starting at $150 per month per user, the Studio is designed for developers and subject matter experts. Together, they can create annotator components, and I don’t have to tell you how cool that is.

In short, the Studio allows you to teach Watson about the nuances of your specific industry by using annotations in the input material you give it. While this is a higher-level process (more structured) than just screwing around with analysis, it does not require any coding or special technical ability. At the same time, in addition to using dictionaries, annotated documents, and other resources, you can use the Alchemy language (we will be talking more about this when we look at the APIs you can create), so it can get fairly hardcore. I believe Studio works hand in hand with Explorer, but it may play nicely with Analytics too; I’m just not sure about that and the form that you have to fill out to “talk to an expert” is pretty long, so I didn’t bother.

You Want More?

And that’s them: the products (they’re actually more like services in my mind) that IBM has built over Watson: Watson Virtual Agent, Watson Explorer, Watson Analytics, and Watson Knowledge Studio. Each is available on a subscription basis, and you don’t really have to know a thing in order to use them.

But products are not all that IBM offers through Watson. Remember APIs? Well, those are coming up next, so hold that thought.  

David Shirey

David Shirey is president of Shirey Consulting Services, providing technical and business consulting services for the IBM i world. Among the services provided are IBM i technical support, including application design and programming services, ERP installation and support, and EDI setup and maintenance. With experience in a wide range of industries (food and beverage to electronics to hard manufacturing to drugs--the legal kind--to medical devices to fulfillment houses) and a wide range of business sizes served (from very large, like Fresh Express, to much smaller, like Labconco), SCS has the knowledge and experience to assist with your technical or business issues. You may contact Dave by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (616) 304-2466.


MC Press books written by David Shirey available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC 21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC
Boost your productivity, modernize your applications, and upgrade your skills with these powerful coding methods.
List Price $69.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: