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IBM expands embeddable AI portfolio with plug-and-play Watson libraries

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IBM Corp. is looking to democratize some of the powerful artificial intelligence capabilities it has developed over the years with the availability of three new libraries within its embeddable AI software portfolio.

The new offerings announced today provide customers with access to the same AI libraries that IBM uses to power its own IBM Watson products. In other words, they enable developers to build extremely sophisticated AI capabilities directly into their applications, without investing the time and resources required to do so under their own steam. Training AI models normally requires massive amounts of data and expertise, but with IBM’s embeddable libraries, developers can make use of a plug-and-play option instead.

The new libraries on offer include the IBM Watson Natural Language Processing Library, which can be used to build applications that can process spoken human language to derive meaning and context through intent and sentiment. The IBM Watson Speech to Text Library, meanwhile, allows apps to transcribe human speech rapidly and accurately, IBM said. The IBM Watson Text to Speech Library does the opposite, giving apps the ability to convert written text into natural-sounding audio.

IBM said each of the libraries was painstakingly developed by its teams within IBM Research and designed to provide software developers with an easy and scalable way to add AI to applications running on any cloud environment. They were built using some open-source software components, IBM added.

“Enterprises must commit to a significant investment in expertise, resources and time required to build, deploy and manage AI-powered solutions,” said IBM Ecosystem General Manager Kate Woolley. “By bringing to market the same portfolio of embeddable AI technology that powers our industry-leading IBM Watson products, we are helping Ecosystem partners more efficiently deliver AI experiences that can drive business value for their clients.”

The addition of the three libraries significantly expands IBM’s existing portfolio of embeddable AI products, which include IBM Watson Assistant, IBM Watson Discovery, IBM Watson Instana Observability, IBM Maximo Visual Inspection and IBM Watson APIs.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said speech recognition is a key capability that many next-generation applications need because it changes the user experience fundamentally, and for the better. “Speech works because humans can talk faster than they can type, so any app that has speech recognition has a leg up on its text-based cousins,” Mueller explained. “So it’s good to see more options to enable this speech-based UX coming to developers from IBM with the libraries that were previously used within Watson. More options and more competitors are a good thing for all speech-enabled apps.”

IBM said a number of early adopters have already taken its new AI libraries out for a spin, with immediate positive benefits. They include the database company SingleStore Inc., which uses IBM Watson Natural Language Processing to implement sentiment analysis within its product. “Helping our clients integrate and use capabilities such as sentiment analysis will be invaluable in driving real time analytics to help them better understand, engage and serve their customers,” said SingleStore’s Senior Vice President of Products Yatharth Gupta.

Image: IBM

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