IBM Watson Cloud to Analyze Streams of Video

Mike Vizard

One of the bigger challenges when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) has been enabling machines to better understand and correlate images being generated by video streams. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2017 conference this week, IBM previewed an IBM Watson cloud service through which organizations of all sizes will be able to analyze streaming video images in addition to collecting and applying metadata on those files.

Dave Mowrey, ‎vice president of strategic planning and business development for IBM Cloud Video, says IBM expects to make it possible for any organization to analyze what’s occurring in multiple video streams across multiple languages in real time, right down to the tone of the audio.

“You’ll be able to extract intent out of the video,” says Mowrey.

Beyond broadcasting and entertainment, Mowrey says the ability to analyze video in real time will have broad implications for everything from e-learning applications to security. In fact, Mowrey notes that as much as 80 percent of the unstructured content being created today involves video. As organizations of all sizes become comfortable creating and distributing their own video content across the Web, Mowrey says the amount of video content that needs to be analyzed is about to exponentially increase.

IBM has been investing in training Watson to understand video images for years. IBM bolstered those efforts by acquiring AlchemyAPI in 2015 to gain access to application programming interfaces (APIs) optimized for cognitive computing applications. Now IBM is gearing up to democratize those investments via a cloud service it says will be generally available in the fall of 2017.

IBM is not the only IT vendor gearing up to apply deep and machine learning algorithms to video. Given the processing requirements associated with analyzing video, most of analytics involving video will need to occur in the cloud. But wherever that processing takes place, the one thing that is for certain is that the way people consume and understand video content will soon be dramatically different.


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