At its annual Think conference, IBM announced IBM watsonx, a new AI and data platform, planned to be released in July 2023, that will enable enterprises to scale and accelerate the impact of the most advanced AI with trusted data.
Enterprises turning to AI today need access to a full technology stack that enables them to train, tune and deploy AI models, including foundation models and machine learning capabilities, across their organization with trusted data, speed, and governance – all in one place and to run across any cloud environment.
Also at Think, IBM is announcing further planned advancements, including a GPU-as-a-service infrastructure offering designed to support AI-intensive workloads, an AI-powered dashboard to measure, track, manage, and help report on cloud carbon emissions, and a new practice for watsonx and generative AI from IBM Consulting that will support client deployment of AI.
With watsonx, IBM is offering an AI development studio with access to IBM-curated and trained foundation models and open-source models, access to a data store to enable the gathering and cleansing of training and tuning data, and a toolkit for governance of AI into the hands of businesses that will provide a seamless end-to-end AI workflow that will make AI easier to adapt and scale.
"With the development of foundation models, AI for business is more powerful than ever," said Arvind Krishna, IBM Chairman and CEO. "Foundation models make deploying AI significantly more scalable, affordable, and efficient. We built IBM watsonx for the needs of enterprises, so that clients can be more than just users, they can become AI advantaged. With IBM watsonx, clients can quickly train and deploy custom AI capabilities across their entire business, all while retaining full control of their data."
Clients will have access to the toolset, technology, infrastructure, and consulting expertise to build their own – or fine-tune and adapt available AI models – on their own data and deploy them at scale in a more trustworthy and open environment to drive business success. Competitive differentiation and unique business value will be able to be increasingly derived from how adaptable an AI model can be to an enterprise's unique data and domain knowledge.
The IBM watsonx platform consists of three unique product sets to address these needs:
- IBM watsonx.ai: A next generation enterprise studio for AI builders to train, test, tune, and deploy both traditional machine learning and new generative AI capabilities powered by foundation models through an open and intuitive user interface.
- IBM watsonx.data: A fit-for-purpose data store built on open lakehouse architecture that is optimized for governed data and AI workloads, supported by querying, governance, and open data formats to access and share data.
- IBM watsonx.governance: An AI governance toolkit to enable trusted AI workflows. This solution is expected to be generally available later this year.
With the watsonx platform, clients are enabled to meet the needs of their organization in five key areas of their business: interacting and conversing with customers and employees; automating business workflows and internal processes; automating IT processes; protecting against threats; and tackling sustainability goals.
IBM also plans to infuse watsonx.ai foundation models throughout all its major software products going forward, for example:
- Watson Code Assistant: A solution, expected later this year, that taps generative AI to allow developers to generate code with a straightforward English language command.
- AIOps Insights: AI Operations (AIOps) capabilities enhanced with foundation models expected for code and NLP to provide greater visibility into performance across IT environments, helping IT operations (ITOps) managers and Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) resolve incidents in a more expedient and cost-efficient way.
- Watson Assistant and Watson Orchestrate: IBM's digital labor products are expected to be combined with an NLP foundation model to enable enhanced employee productivity and customer service experiences.
- Environmental Intelligence Suite: IBM EIS Builder Edition is planned to be enabled by the geospatial foundation model and available in preview later this year, allowing organizations to create tailored solutions that address and mitigate environmental risks based on their unique goals and needs.
Also at Think 2023, IBM announced a number of additional upcoming offerings that are planned to help drive AI adoption, including:
- New GPU offering on IBM Cloud, an AI-tailored infrastructure designed to support enterprise compute-intensive workloads.
- IBM Consulting Center of Excellence for Generative AI with over 1,000 generative AI experts and plans to build a watsonx-focused practice which will actively build and deploy watsonx for clients.
- IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator, an AI-informed dashboard to enable clients to measure, track, manage and help report their carbon emissions associated with their hybrid multi-cloud journey.
- Think conference revealing generative AI is among seven trends shaping business.