IBM's Watson Analytics enters public beta

IBM has made it cognitive analytics package more widely available.

IBM has launched the public beta of Watson Analytics, its set of cloud-based predictive and analytics tools.

The move to public beta for Watson Analytics on Thursday follows its private beta launch this September. IBM said at the time of the beta release the service will be made available under a freemium model through iOS, Android mobile devices and the web.

Watson Analytics is a cognitive service that's meant to bear some of the load executives face when preparing data, while making it easier to run predictive analyses and use "visual storytelling", such as using graphs, maps and infographics to illustrate a point.

Watson Analytics is one piece of IBM's $1bn gamble that it can commercialise Watson. The company claims it has 22,000 registrations for Watson Analytics since launching in September.

Users of Watson Analytics feed in their own raw data, say, in the form of a spreadsheet, which the service then crunches with its own statistical analysis to highlight associations between different variables. It saves execs from needing to know how to write their own scripts or understand statistics in order to derive meaning from their data.

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Currently, the beta lets users look at visualisations of their data to find patterns and relationships, and experiment with its Watson's predictive capabilities. Soon, it will let users create their own dashboards and infographics.

Watson Analytics will also eventually let users connect directly to other data sources such as Salesforce, Google Docs, Oracle, Box, and IBM's own services like Cognos and SPSS.

The new public beta follows a new alliance between IBM and Twitter that includes letting users integrate Twitter data into Watson Analytics.

Watson Analytics runs on IBM's SoftLayer cloud infrastructure and is available through its own IBM cloud marketplace.

IBM is yet to reveal its packages beyond premium but that may become clearer once it begins enabling connectors to third-party systems.

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