IBM’s supercomputer Watson to power personal shopper app

IBM is to bring the power of its gameshow-winning supercomputer Watson to three new apps next year, including a "cognitive, expert personal shopper".

The supercomputer famously beat human opponents in the popular US trivia show Jeopardy in 2011. Since then, IBM has been hinting at new ways its vast computing power could be put to good use.

In an interview with Business Insider, IBM Watson Solutions Vice President Stephen Gold revealed that the first of the Watson-powered apps developed by IBM business partners would be available in 2014.

The apps include Hippocrates, an app designed to help users make informed decisions when purchasing medical devices, CafeWell Concierge, a personalised health itinerary app, and, perhaps most intriguingly, a personal shopper app called Fluid Retail.

"Fluid, which builds online shopping experiences for retail businesses to drive customer engagement and conversion, is developing the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper powered by IBM Watson," Gold told Business Insider.

"The app calls upon Watson's ability to understand the nuances of human language and uncover answers from Big Data. Consumers who use Fluid's app will interact with rich media and dialogue with Watson, as their newfound "cognitive, expert personal shopper.

"The Fluid app incorporates the information users share and questions they ask to help them make smart, satisfying purchases by putting a knowledgeable sales associate in the hands of consumers, on demand."

Last month, IBM announced that it would make use of its supercomputer technology to provide a cloud-hosted marketplace where companies could develop Watson-powered apps through partnering with IBM.

"Together with IBM, these business partners share a vision for creating a new class of cognitive applications that transform how businesses and consumers make decisions," the firm said at the time.