IBM's Watson Trend App may popularize analytics

IBM's Watson Trend app is designed to be a shopping companion and may go a long way toward popularizing cognitive computing to the masses.

IBM has been working overtime to highlight cognitive computing, note Watson's capabilities in healthcare, team up with Apple in the enterprise and outline its reinvention. None of those efforts will go as far as its Watson Trend app on Apple's iOS.

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It's early in the holiday shopping season, but Watson Trend appears to be one of the hits. The mission of Watson Trend is to mine social, retail and other data points to highlight trending gifts. To wit:

  • Wall Street is closely monitoring Watson Trend to gauge Apple Watch demand over the holidays.
  • Journalists are monitoring tech best sellers on the app.
  • And the rest of folks are just trying to find some decent toys and gifts to buy.

IBM explains Watson Trend analyzes "millions of conversations across social networks, blogs, forums, comments, ratings, and reviews" and then includes context, content and sentiment. Handy trend charts show where gifts stand in real time.

What Watson Trend is really doing is highlighting IBM's retail, marketing and analytics and benchmarking capabilities.

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The app has a few weak spots. The health category seemed woefully lacking with only Nike running shoes showing up, but the toys and tech sections were worth a quick look. Between now and Christmas Watson Trend will really prove its worth.

For now, Watson Trend represents one of IBM's best marketing efforts. The iOS app is prodding analysts to think a little differently about IBM's prospects and making Watson a companion to shoppers. And if Watson Trend turns a consumer on to a gift that's a hit perhaps cognitive computing even gets a little love from the average bear.

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