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IBM launches AI-powered assistant as it takes on Alexa

IBM has launched an AI-powered voice assistant for business, in a bid to replicate the success of Google Home and Amazon Alexa in the consumer market.

The US tech giant has partnered with speaker maker Harman, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Autodesk, Munich Airport and Motel One to deploy its Watson Assistant.

While Google and Amazon retain their users’ data, IBM will hand it over to the companies with whom it partners. Brands will then be able to leverage the data to provide an experience customised for their services.

Kareem Yusuf, IBM’s general manager for Watson, outlined in a blogpost how granting partners ownership of the data would help them create seamless user experiences for their customers.

He said: “With permission from the user, these businesses can share this data through the IBM Cloud to ensure that it’s present throughout each person’s day, no matter where they go.”

“Watson Assistant can be embedded in any “thing” – a car, hotel room, retail store, conference room and more,” he added. “It combines a deep understanding of the user with additional contextual factors such as their location and time of day to anticipate their needs and proactively make recommendations.”