31 MARCH, 2017


On Wednesday 8 October IBM opened the official headquarters of its IBM Watson division at 51 Astor Place in New York City. The opening event was accompanied by a series of announcements and presentations by a range of organisations that have signed up to use IBM Watson to deliver enhanced levels of “customer” experience. Among the announcements were several organisations in Australia from different industry sectors showing the growth in adoption outside of the USA.

From an Australian perspective, one of the most significant announcements was made by the Vice Chancellor of Deakin University, Professor Jane den Hollander.Deakin University is the first university in the world to adopt IBM Watson as a part of its strategic approach to further improve student satisfaction, having already been the top rated university in Victoria for the last fours years based on that metric. The university is also investigating further options for cognitive computing that may be implemented over then next several years.

The Astor Place opening was reported widely around the globe and with that was the exposure of the potential of cognitive computing in education.

In the blog entry on IBM Smarter Planet, the Vice Chancellor alluded to the potential expanded roles for IBM Watson in the near future. “Will we use Watson to tackle academic challenges themselves? The possibility is definitely there, particularly given the numerous applications being explored by other research institutions. Big Data and analytics are already a major focus for Deakin University, including curricula partnerships with IBM and other industry leaders to ensure our students have the most applicable and versatile skills to take on equally big challenges. We operate in an unpredictable new environment of digital change. Watson is creative, it’s cutting-edge and represents thinking right on the edge of the digital frontier – and that’s exactly where Deakin wants to be to help our students get the jobs of the future.”

Clearly, we are at the beginning of a new set of innovations, if not transformations, as cognitive computing enters the education space.

Related Links:

IBM’s Watson supercomputer signs on Aussie customers

Written by Allyn Radford and Sean Martin

Allyn Radford is an executive-level manager experienced in innovative business models and infrastructure solutions. Allyn is the CEO of DeakinDigital, a new subsidiary of Deakin University that is focused on credentialing as an alternative to traditional higher education approaches.

Sean Martin is responsible for Administration and Social Media Marketing at DeakinDigital. Sean is currently studying a Master of Human Resources Management and Master of Arts Management.