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IBM Watson Works to Overcome Challenges of Returning to the Workplace

By Chrissie Cluney

IBM recently launched Watson Works as a curated set of products that embeds Watson artificial intelligence (AI) models and applications with the aim of assisting companies in navigating the many aspects of the return-to-workplace challenge due to the lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We've designed Watson Works to help businesses navigate the workplace with the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis as effectively as possible,” said Bob Lord, SVP, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems, IBM. “Applying AI models and applications is especially useful in this context, where there are so many different sources of information businesses must consider, and every aspect of the situation is in flux.”

Returning employees to their workplace during the continuing global pandemic demands new approaches to promote the health, safety and productivity of workers in a privacy-preserving way. Through Watson Works, IBM said it provides data-driven insights to assist employers to make informed decisions on workplace re-entry, facilities management, space allocation and other COVID-related priorities.

Watson Works is designed to help companies with managing facilities and optimizing space allocation by using real-time data from WiFi, cameras, Bluetooth beacons and mobile phones. Prioritizing employee health by allowing employers to make evidence-based decisions about when to have employees return to the workplace and when certain offices or worksites should be closed is another challenge. Another test reportedly is communicating with employees, vendors and other stakeholders using virtual agents and apps that utilize Watson's Natural Language Processing capabilities and maximizing the effectiveness of contact tracing by assisting organizations with support for care agents and contact tracers.

IBM has been a leader in the responsible stewardship of technology and clients' most valuable data. The company said that Watson Works will conform to high ethical standards, long-established Principles for Trust and Transparency and guidelines for deployment of technologies in response to the COVID-19 emergency.


Chrissie Cluney has been a correspondent for IoT Evolution World since 2015. She holds a degree in English with a concentration in writing from the College of Saint Elizabeth.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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