IBM buys Cognea, will add its virtual assistant technology to Watson

The deal is part of IBM's plans to commercialize Watson

IBM has acquired virtual assistant software startup Cognea, with plans to roll its capabilities into the Watson cognitive computing platform.

Cognea's virtual assistants "relate to people using a wide variety of personalities -- from suit-and-tie formal to kid-next-door friendly," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM's Watson Group, in a blog post. "We believe this focus on creating depth of personality, when combined with an understanding of the users' personalities will create a new level of interaction that is far beyond today's 'talking' smartphones."

That seeming swipe at the likes of Apple's Siri underscores the depth of IBM's ambitions in the virtual assistant and artificial intelligence market.

"I'm not talking about just giving the computer a simple command or asking a simple question," Rhodin said in the blog post. "That's yesterday's technology. I'm talking about more realistic conversations -- everything from friendly chitchat to intense debate."

The Cognea deal follows IBM's investments in Fluid, which makes a shopping assistant application, and Welltok, which develops online health-care community sites. IBM did not disclose financial terms of the Cognea acquisition.

IBM made a big splash with Watson in 2011, when the computer system defeated former champions of the game show "Jeopardy," and subsequently has tried to commercialize the technology.

Earlier this year, IBM announced it would invest more than US$1 billion to create the business group Rhodin now leads, including $100 million in startup companies creating applications on its Watson-powered development cloud.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesdatabasesapplicationsIBMCogneadata miningsoftwareMergers and acquisitionsbusiness intelligence

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?