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IBM Watson puts down roots in New York and five other cities

IBM has set up a new home for its Watson supercomputer right in the heart of New York City’s Silicon Alley as it accelerates plans to increase collaboration with developers and students on the East coast.

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At the opening of the new HQ at 51 Astor Place, New York City, the firm detailed Watson’s rapid expansion across the globe that has seen it sign up clients in six continents across 25 countries including the UK, South Africa, Australia and Thailand.

"Watson is bringing forward a new era of computing, enabling organizations around the globe to launch new businesses, redefine markets and transform industries," Mike Rhodin, senior VP, IBM Watson Group, triumphantly declared at the New York launch.

Watson’s new home is the base for over 600 IBM Watson employees and its collaborative element provides space for developers and entrepreneurs with industry workshops, seminars and networking events all being held in the space.

Students at New York University and City University of New York are also being offered access to the centre and both institutions are already investing resources in cognitive computing through education and app development.

The New York City HQ serves as the jewel in the crown of IBM’s Watson cognitive computing innovation arm and is at the head of a pack of five new Watson client experience centres located in Dublin, London, Melbourne, Sao Paulo and Singapore.

IBM also used the press event to announce a range of new clients that are using Watson including ANZ Global Wealth in Australia, Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand, Spain’s CaixaBank, Deakin University in Australia and South Africa’s Metropolitan Health.

In addition, Watson hand picked a number of different projects that have already been a success including London’s Red Ant, which has implemented a Sell Smart app to help sales assistants across various retailers including Three.

Sell Smart helps sales associates to identify individual customer buying habits by using Watson’s power to sift through demographics, purchase history and wish lists, as well as product information, local pricing, customer reviews and specifications. It then uses a simple question and answer interface to present the results that will guide the purchase.

Read more: IBM to invest $1bn in new Watson supercomputer unit

In all IBM is investing some $1 billion [£620 million] into the Watson Group that was launched in January 2014 and is a marked move away from its established position as a long-time leader in the hardware sector.

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