Getting to Know Watson At IBM Developer Connect


Organized by SLASSCOM as part of the SLASSCOM Technology Forum, the IBM Developer Connect forum was held on the 30th of November 2017 at the Hidramani Auditorium. The purpose of the event was to provide a brief background on IBM and their technologies, especially with relation to AI, IoT, IBM Cloud and IBM Watson.

Initiating IBM Developer Connect

Delivering the opening remarks on behalf of IBM was Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman of IBM India Pvt Ltd She started off by giving a short spoke about the history of IBM. According to her, 90% of systems that are developed in Sri Lanka use technologies developed by IBM. With the rise in advancements related to AI, machines are fast outperforming humans.

IBM Developer Connect
Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman of IBM India Pvt Ltd delivering her opening remarks

Though this could mean that the human workforce is at risk of losing their jobs, Vanitha is certain that these advancements would in fact, create new job opportunities with regard to AI. AI would not only help you make better decisions, but it would also create more employment opportunities.

We learnt about building for the cognitive era

The first speaker of the day for IBM Developer Connect was Seema Kumar, Country Leader, Developer Ecosystems Group India/SA. Her topic was about building for the cognitive era. Seema began by explaining that access to the right infrastrucuture requires a lot of approval. But thanks to the disruption in IT, you now have the capacity to all the computing power in the world.

IBM Developer Connect
Seema Kumar, Country Leader, Developer Ecosystems Group India/SA addressing the audience

This is especially true with the Cloud. In fact, Seema said, most startups are born on the cloud. Gone are the days of the waterfall lifecycle. Now it’s all about agile development. The featurs and capabilities you want are added almost instantaneously. APIs have made development a lot faster she added.

Seema then spoke abut a cognitive business.

A cognitive system gets better as you use it because it learns from you. This creates a new partnership between humans and technology.

For example, humans have common sense, morals, imagination, compassion and generalization. With a cognitive system you would have locating knowledge, pattern identification, natural language, machine learning, and also endless capacity.

In conclusion, Seema spoke about how to be a part of the IBM community. It all starts with code. As such, IBM empowers developers to solve the world’s problems.

How can we use AI for Video Analytics?

That was the next topic at the IBM Developer Connect. It was presented by Dr. Gerard Fernando, Chief Scientific Advisor at Zone24x7. What information can we get from videos? Well, for starters, we can get the identity of visitors, demographics and actions and events. We can detail such as shopper count and a heat map, shopper behavior, customer interaction and customer dwell time.

In addition, video analytics can also be used to identify people approaching with intent to burgle. You can also use it to identify tools/weapons to burgle the store. Discrete shoplifting, which is the toughest to identify and also the basic grab and run criminals.

IBM Developer Connect
Dr. Gerard Fernando, Chief Scientific Advisor at Zone24x7 addressing the audience

He then went on to speak about high level and low level actions that can be identified via AI for video analytics. He then touched on areas such as customer recommendation and real time analytics, all of which can be used to improve your business.

All these require high levels of processing. This in turn has its own set of issues such as heat dissipations and overheating. This in turn increases maintenance cost. The solution: switch to cloud processing. Getting it done takes time but will be guaranteed to be better.

What are the services of IBM and IBM Watson?

Next up at IBM Developer Connect was Rajesh Jeyapual of IBM Software giving an overview of IBM Watson Services and APIs and walkthroughs. He started off by explaining the cloud facilities available from IBM. He gave a brief background on cloud computing such as resource sharing and pooling of resources.

IBM Developer Connect
Rajesh Jeyapual addressing the audience

Rajesh then spoke about OpenStack and how developers started adopting the cloud infrastructure. He then spoke about Cloudfoundry. With Cloud offering, you have a public offering, a dedicated offering and a private offering. Each has its pros and cons according to the workload that you would be carrying out. He spoke about containers and cloud, IBM cloud private and related terms as well.

Rajesh then explored the practical aspects of IBM Cloud. He spoke about elements such as Storage and its categories, Network and their categories, Boilerplates and their categories etc. Rajesh spoke about the 12 app factor methodology. He also spoke about a strong and consistent database on the cloud.

IBM Developer Connect

He also touched on BlockChain and how it can be used as service. With Cloud, disruptive tech such as Block Chain have been implemented and improved as a service.

We then had a live demo of IBM Watson

Sudharshan Govindan, Developer Advocate, Cloud and Watson Developer was up next at IBM Developer Connect, giving a live demo on IBM Watson. He spoke about what IBM Watson is and the features it presents for cognitive systems. Essentially, Watson is a cognitive computing platform that can learn and interact naturally with people. It continually keeps learning to make better decisions.

IBM Developer Connect
Sudharshan Govindan, Developer Advocate, Cloud and Watson Developer addressing the audience

Sudharshan then showed a video where IBM Watson took part in Jeopardy, where it outperformed two human competitors in a number of categories.

IBM Watson first understood the question, searched sources for the candidate answers from a database, analyzed answers and calculated confidence and delivered top responses. He then spoke about the various categories of the Watson API, the positioning of Watson API and the configuration of Watson with the IBM Cloud and the IBM Watson API explorer.

IBM Developer ConnectSudharshan also spoke about IBM Watson’s Image recognition feature. You can upload images and Watson would identify the elements in the image with scores related to what’s happening in the image.

How do we create a conversational chatbot?

That was the topic of the last speaker at IBM Developer Connect, Riya Mary Roy. Riya, who is a Technical Specialist at IBM Digital Business Group spoke to the audience on how to develop a Conversational chatbot.

IBM Developer Connect
Riya Mary Roy – Technical Specialist at IBM Digital Business Group addressing the audience

She started off by explaining what a chatbot is and also gave a history of a chatbot. In 1950, the Turing test happened and the first theory about an intelligent robot who can initiate and converse human conversations was put forth.

IBM Developer ConnectRiya then spoke about how Watson operates and how it understands questions and the process it goes through to deliver a coherent and logical answer. She proceeded to go through a practical demonstration of IBM Watson and how to integrate it into a system, in this case a flight booking system. In order for Watson to be efficient, you have to carry out a training program so that it is familiar with the user’s requests.

Next up was a live demonstration of Cody, an AI Chatbot developed by the COGCOM. The demonstration went on to showcase how Cody can answer questions regarding COGCOM and even about itself.

IBM Developer Connect
Cody, COGCOM’s Concierge being showcased

With that, the IBM Developer Connect Forum came to an end.



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