Updated from 12:01 a.m. to include quote in the seventh paragraph.
Through a new partnership with Japan's SoftBank announced Tuesday, IBM will offer new apps powered by Watson to Japanese customers in the education, banking, health care, insurance and retail sectors.
Watson is an artificially intelligent computing system that can understand natural language and increases its knowledge and accuracy through repeated use. In 2011, Watson famously beat two former champions on the Jeopardy quiz show.
IBM, which has invested more than $1 billion in Watson since January 2014, is betting heavily that the system will add new revenue by understanding and analyzing the world's data.
IBM has said it intends to have $20 billion in revenue from analytics and big data by 2015, with Watson accounting for significant part of that. In 2010, IBM set an initial goal of $10 billion by 2015.
IBM and SoftBank didn't announce terms of their partnership.
Ken Miyauchi, Representative Director and Chief Operating Officer, SoftBank, noted that this deal will help drive Watson's use in Japan. "Watson's technology, which analyzes large volumes of data, and can understand and answer complex questions posed in natural, is in harmony with SoftBank Group's corporate mission of 'Information Revolution - Happiness for Everyone,'" Miyauchi said in the press release. "We believe the technology will be applied to a broad range of areas, from enterprise to consumer sectors, and create new value for people."
Expanding Watson to Asia will increase Watson's knowledge base and provide its computing power to users there.
Since then, the companies have taught Watson to understand Japanese and the different cultural aspects of doing business in Japan.
Customers using Watson will be able to get answers that are tailored to their specific needs, instead of consulting a search engine or another source that provides general responses.
-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
>If you want to send Chris an email, contact him here.