IBM Think 2018 shows how Watson has gone wireless

The IBM Think 2018 conference was like World of Watson 2.0. This year they did a much better job showing how AI, the cloud, IoT and IoTT are using wireless and starting to transform the lives of every business and every consumer.

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Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Last week IBM held their Watson conference, but while the last was called World of Watson, this one was called Think 2018. Where did Watson go? The answer is simple. Watson has gone wireless. While this time the event was very similar to the last one, there was a difference. This year it showed how important wireless and mobile connectivity are key to the future of Watson.

This year IBM changed the focus and the brand. Last year it was all about Watson from a very technical point of view. It was difficult to wrap your mind around unless you were a technologist.

IBM spend the last year trying to re-brand Watson and more toward AI, the cloud, IoT and IIoT. This time around wireless and wire line networks played an even larger role. This change was reflected at the conference. I think this is a huge step in the right direction.

They need to go even further, but this show was more understandable by people with every level of understanding whether that means investors, partners, customers, the media and analysts.

At Think 2018, IBM kept Watson in the background and focused on how our world will change with AI, IoT, IIoT, the cloud, wireless and so much more. With all that swirling around you, Watson was mixed in with it all, but behind the scenes.

Think of this like the way your brain works. You don’t think about keeping your heart beating, or breathing or blinking, but you do it on a regular basis. That described Watson at this event.

IBM re-branding world of Watson to Think 2018

This was my largest complaint last year. I was very happy they took my advice. Last year I said how they spoke at a very high level, in cryptic language and it was difficult to follow along unless you were Albert Einstein, fluent in scientific lingo and thinking. This time around it was much more ground level focused. Easier to understand.

While it’s true we may all be using AI going forward, we won’t have to understand all the complexities of it. All many want to know is how it will help them and what it will do for them. Investors don’t need to understand the science either. Even partners don’t need to understand at that level. Only the scientists that put the pieces together and make it work need to understand at that level.

This year, the event was full of how different companies are partnering with Watson and other IBM businesses like the cloud, to transform their corner of the world. There were speakers and companies and booths and event’s and once again, this year’s show blew attendees away. Once again, it was one of the biggest and most important shows I have seen.

Speakers, industries, companies leading in AI, IoT, IIoT and the cloud

IBM uses social media like Twitter and LinkedIn to spread the word. They invite so many people and encourage everyone to continue to post throughout the event. This is a well-rehearsed event for the company. That has not changed.

Speakers were top notch and inspiring like futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson who is an astrophysicist and host of COSMOS, Lowell McAdam CEO of Verizon and many others from other companies, plenty from IBM and beyond.

The show focused on the amazing future in store for all of us. All the work on AI, the cloud, Internet of Things or IoT, and so much more. We do quite of bit of talking about these new technologies, but did you ever wonder who is piecing together the technology? That’s what this show was all about.

Industries were on hand like telecommunications, wireless, wire line, IoT and IIoT networks, aerospace and defense, computer services, energy, government, retail, automotive, consumer products, healthcare, life sciences, banking, education, financial markets, media and entertainment, travel and transportation and so much more. As for sponsors, the list was a group of companies so long, I can’t even begin to mention them all here.

Think 2018 is a big show about AI and wireless

Bottom line, this may have been an IBM event, but this was a big show. The future is all about AI, the cloud, IoT and more. And it will be delivered both over wire line and wireless technologies. And IBM is set on being the leader in this new space.

IBM see’s that we are on the precipice of this new world. I think it will take much longer before the kind of thinking attendees were dipped into at Think2018 becomes reality. We are both on the same track, it’s just the speed of change we differ on.

While I see AI continuing to grow like crazy, and that is good, I also warn us to take every step forward carefully. Let’s be sure we don’t destroy things we value along the way. There are questions we simply don’t have the answers to.

Want proof? Let me ask you a simple question. Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? How do we know since they were the first? It takes a minute to think through the possibilities. There are countless questions we aren’t even aware of yet. So, let’s be careful as we step forward into this wonderful future. Maybe we should ask Watson.

Either way, the future is coming, and IBM is going to be a real player, even a leader. This year’s Think2018 was the next generation of World of Watson. It was easier to understand and as the next several years pass I think IBM will get better and better at presenting a very captivating world we are all moving into.

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