Both Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM, have stated that this partnership is complimentary and unlike previously, there is no overlap or risk of competing together. Described as “fitting together like a puzzle”, both parties have commented on how together they can help bring scalable and secure mobile first solutions to the enterprise industry.
This is without doubt a historic announcement from both companies and I would assume there are a few companies trembling in their boots having heard this news…Blackberry likely being one of them. But if you delve a little deeper, you may be able to see something more significant in this partnership. Something that will not only affect the enterprise, but could potentially change the entire landscape for the consumer market as well…
But what on earth has this got to do with Apple and IBM working together?
“Siri, meet WATSON”…”WATSON, this is Siri”
OK, ok…silly introduction aside now, let me explain my thinking here:
When Siri was 1st announced, it blew the consumer market away. Finally we had what seemed to not only be a relatively accurate voice recognition service in the palm of our hands, but we could actually have conversations with our new AI friend. YouTube instantly blew up with videos of people asking Siri silly, or even naughty questions and testing her knowledge on various subjects. The world was going mad for the era of the virtual assistant.
That was 3 years ago however and now we have a number of different options at our fingertips, with the key competitor here being the somewhat unstoppable Google Now.
I am without doubt an Apple fan (maybe not a fanboy though) but I can still admit when I see something that I believe is superior to an Apple product. Don’t get me wrong, Siri has it’s benefits over Google Now, but for the most part, Google Now is faster, and often brings back more relevant information.
This is where IBM’s WATSON could come into play.
It is no secret that Apple appear to be working on removing the need for Nuance’s voice recognition software within Siri, and replacing it with their own…but developing a brand new artificial backend would just be too much of a monstrous task to undertake alone.
With a marriage (quite literally) between Siri and WATSON however, we could see Apple leapfrogging all of it’s competitors in the virtual assistant space, very swiftly. If the AI backend of Siri was to be run by a dedicated service such as WATSON, not only would we be getting more relevant information back, and likely quicker…but we could have an assistant who is truly capable of learning. Just watch how even an OFFLINE version of WATSON destroys humans in a game of Jeopardy:
I recently wrote about what I envisage for Apple in the home, and how iCloud (with the help of Siri) will be a hub to store all we need to automate our home media and eventually our lives. Whether we control Siri on our wrists, phones or even on a set of Beats headphones, the Apple virtual assistant is going to become so much more than what we currently know of it, and WATSON could be the technology that puts Siri and artificial intelligence into hyper drive.
Partnerships like this come every once in a while, but when it comes to Apple, I always have faith that things are not always necessarily as they seem on the surface.
Yes, this partnership will definitely create the penetration into the enterprise market that Apple have been craving, but I can’t help but speculate on what more can come out of this. Yes, this is all speculation…but this is also not something to be overlooked (in my honest opinion).
These services will no doubt be integrated into the enterprise apps and services that Tim and Virginia have already spoken about, but Apple would not be Apple if they didn’t have something greater considered. That is my opinion at least…what is yours?