So, the world will experience Watson four ways that you will get a taste of today: transformational solutions; enterprise solutions; I said, a huge ecosystem; and then, something called Watson Foundations. So, let me give you just a real fast word on each.
Transformation solutions. Look, this is about transforming industries, professions, like I said. We made the decision to tackle the world’s most difficult problems first. We started with health care, we started with oncology. We have had partnerships with world-renowned experts. They are “the” best in the world. To me, the greatest testament to Watson is they have dedicated their time, their life for years here working with us; they only do that when they see a breakthrough in science, that this will change the face of health care. And I know every one of our partners on this agrees, that we will change the face of health care.
So, you will see Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the cancer center, two years, oncologists working on how to predict best treatment, evidence, confidence, behind that. Cleveland Clinic, how to use Watson to do teaching, students, to pass the U.S. medical exam. You will see Wellpoint, how is an insurer to approve, but approve based on evidence, evidence, fact-based and to have it done fast. And then, MD Anderson. Those that have ever tried bridging the gap between researchers and clinicians, and that’s what they’re working on.
Then you have the enterprise solutions. So, one was transformative; enterprise. Great projects, great problems, but I consider these more scalable, repeatable. Higher volume, quicker deployment. And we’ve already had in market something called the Watson Engagement Advisor, how to give you relevant answers to lots of questions. Today, you will meet new forms of advisors, and more ahead.
Then, the Watson ecosystem. We want, by design, partners, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists to all build their solutions around Watson. So we are announcing a Watson Developer Cloud. So, think of this, for those of you in technology, the API world ahead of you. And this is going to be APIs, content, talent, in the first clouds up, retail, travel, consumer health care.
Now, we did a really sort of quiet launch of this in November, and overnight 750-plus applicants to build businesses. And that’s with hardly telling anyone here. And then, I said Watson Foundation. What that is, a portfolio of information analytics, capabilities, because that’s what does underpin this cognitive era.
So, everyone here today, I can’t be prouder to announce this group on behalf of the IBM Company. Another billion of investment over the next several years. Over 2,000 researchers, developers, business experts. We’re going to go ahead and put another 100 million in to fund an equity fund for the ecosystem. And very symbolically, this group is going to be headquartered in New York City, in Silicon Alley, 51 Astor Place. Hundreds of people, incubator, design center, solution center, all there.
And Mike and all our partners here today are going to talk to you about what they’re doing. So, you’ll meet on stage, Dr. Craig Thompson, the CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the cancer center. Dr. Tom Graham, right in front of me, the Chief Information Officer for Cleveland Clinic. Jay Katzen, all around President, Elsevier Clinical Solutions. Kent Deverell, CEO, Fluid Retail. And Terry Jones, who is, as many of you know, the co-founder of Travelocity and Kayak.
Now, I said we don’t form a business unit very often. And when we do, it’s because we believe we can help our company, our clients and our partners establish leadership in a new era. I can’t be more excited. You can tell that. I can’t be more excited about the impact that Watson will make not only on IBM as a company, but our clients, their companies, institutions and society at large. And a moment about society at large.
You know, it’s been 18 months, two years, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Kris has been working and training Watson with a whole staff of other physicians. Think about this: infusing Watson with the world’s best knowledge and experience. I want you to think about what that means to share that kind of expertise from this institution and many more. More physicians, more patients, than they could ever physically ever see. Now, you imagine that, that same thought for any profession.
And then, those people get the chance to dialogue with the best collaborator they could ever have, Watson. Unprecedented learning, constantly getting better, and making sense out of all of this world’s data. So, you are going to hear many examples today. They are enormously promising. They are a downpayment on Watson’s potential to transform industry, enterprises, and actually new levels of knowledge, for whether that be citizens or the masses. You just have to talk to anyone here who’s experienced it. The interest, the excitement from clients, it is unending. They view this as the very beginning of a journey.
So, when an earlier Watson, Thomas Watson, Jr., son of our founder, a half a century ago announced the System/360, I will share with you, at that time computer science was an arcane thing. It was not experienced by many people. So, now today, this is a new era. It’s an era of machine-human collaboration, and it is dawning now. You will see the Watson Cognitive Cloud Services, and you will see how they, and you look at it, you will see how it will understand me, it will engage me, it will learn and get better, help me discover. It will build trust, and it has an endless capacity for insight. This is a new era, and I can’t be prouder of the IBMers and the clients that brought us to this day today.
So, it is with my great pleasure that I introduce you to the new leader, the Senior Vice President of the Watson Group, Mike Rhodin.
Mike Rhodin – SVP, Watson Group
Good morning. Good morning. And welcome to a very deep crowd of standing people at the back. This is great. This is an exciting point. I couldn’t be prouder, I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more honored to be asked to work with 2,000 of our best and brightest colleagues on how we can take this forward. Working with our partners, great companies, great institutions, that see the same vision that we see on where we’re going to take this technology as it evolves.
The formation of a new group is a big deal. But it’s part of a journey, it all starts with the germ of an idea. Someone had the grand challenge idea of, could we really answer the world’s hardest questions? Right? IBM Research did an incredible piece of work, culminating in a pretty daring display on live television. So, you start to look at television and you start to realize if it had gone the other way, right, it might not be so much fun.