IBM has announced it is liberating its Watson AI services to work across any cloud platform.
The news was announced at the opening of IBM's Think event in San Francisco, and could mean a major expansion to the possibilities of what Watson can do, and where it can be deployed.
Going forward, IBM Watson services will be integrated with IBM Cloud Private for Data, meaning they can be run on any environment, whether that be on-premise or in the field, or across any private, public or hybrid-multicloud - meaning companies can now take Watson to their data.
The launch will include services such as the Watson Assistant, which offers the chance to build AI conversational interfaces into apps and devices, and Watson OpenScale, which can deploy large-scale rollouts of AI across multiple devices.
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Watson breaks free
IBM says that the move will also allow Watson customers to do more with the platform, as until now, the platform has been limited to IBM's own cloud, meaning many users have had to store and manage data across multiple siloes and with different suppliers.
"Businesses have largely been limited to experimenting with AI in siloes due to the limitations caused by cloud provider lock-in of their data," said Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data and AI.
"With most large organisations storing data across hybrid cloud environments, they need the freedom and choice to apply AI to their data wherever it is stored. By breaking open that siloed infrastructure we can help businesses accelerate their transformation through AI."
The news also comes as IBM looks to finalise the $34bn acquisition of open-source software firm Red Hat, suggesting that Watson could be about to become even more accessible for developers around the world.
The services will be linked to rival, non-IBM clouds using Kubernetes, again potentially opening up more opportunities for open-source developers.
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