LAS VEGAS – Watson Ads, the cognitive advertising product that’s been available to brands exclusivity within The Weather Company app and on weather.com, will be released for wider use in apps and on websites sites later this quarter.
In the meantime, in an interview at CES 2017 with Beet.TV, Weather Company CEO and GM Cameron Clayton offers some advice for brands thinking about dipping their toes into cognitive advertising.
“Keep every audio recording your company collects. Don’t throw anything away if it’s voice related,” Clayton says. “Your call center logs, keep them all. Those are the crown jewels to train artificial intelligence in the future and to understand peoples’ intentions.”
The year 2017 will bring the debut of what Clayton describes as IBM’s cognitive media platform. It will put the power of Watson directly into the hands of marketers seeking to better understand consumer intent and create content that satisfies the intent.
“You bring your data set, we bring our data set,” Clayton explains. “We bring the artificial intelligence cognitive capability to help people make better decisions and personalize content across all screens, all devices.”
Among IBM’s main assets is scale, as evidenced by the 40 billion forecasts The Weather Company executes each day, consuming about 44 petabytes of data (one petabyte is 1 million gigabytes). While companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others also have massive scale, a big differentiator for IBM is cognitive capability.
“It’s the ability to understand with natural voice interaction and to learn and to access all kinds of data,” Clayton says. “Structured data, just like database, and unstructured data like tweets in twitter.”
IBM enables brands to scan the data to understand divine consumer intentions when interacting with natural language voice.
For The Weather Channel, it could be someone asking whether they will need an umbrella on a particular day. “What I really want to know is it going to rain on Saturday, but I didn’t ask that,” says Clayton. “The response from us is there’s an 80 percent chance it will rain on Saturday so yes, you should probably take an umbrella.”
IBM isn’t looking to replace humans altogether, according to Clayton. “Some companies are working on solutions to try and replace us. We foundationally believe it’s about helping people make better solutions,” Clayton says.