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IBM Adds Pitney Bowes’ Location Insights To Meet ‘Era Of Cognition’

Two storied companies with close to 200 years of collective technology experience between them are partnering to meet the marketing demands associated with the IoT, Machine Learning, and the analysis of unstructured data.

IBM’s growing use of location data to power its marketing analytics offerings for retail, healthcare, automotive manufacturing, travel, transportation, financial services, real estate, other business categories will get a boost from Pitney Bowes’ world boundaries data as part of a partnership the two are embarking on.

The alliance of IBM (founded 1911) and Pitney Bowes (started in 1920) comes amid increasing demands for deeper, actionable, and immediate marketing intelligence related to online/offline commerce and the use of apps and devices powered by the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

IBM's World of Watson is about the gathering and analysis of unstructured data that underpins Machine Learning.
IBM’s World of Watson is about the gathering and analysis of unstructured data that underpins Machine Learning.

What IBM’s And Pitney Bowes’ Alliance Means

While so many startups emerge with the promise of making “Big Data” more accessible and “smarter,” the level of differentiation and scale those providers can offer pales in what legacy brands like IBM and Pitney Bowes can bring to the table.

There are two obvious strengths IBM and Pitney Bowes present to large clients that quickly want to ramp up their online-to-offline capabilities. First,there’s the readily-recognized names and history that demonstrate unquestionable global scale and resources.

But more notable than that is the two tech giants’ equally aggressive focus on geo-data as a key factor in building Machine Learning applications that understand, influence, and respond to consumers’ purchasing decisions.

IBM's Ginni Rometty heralds the "era of cognition" at the World of Watson Expo in Las Vegas.
IBM’s Ginni Rometty heralds the “era of cognition” at the World of Watson Expo in Las Vegas.

The Cognitive Era

IBM’s and Pitney Bowes’ arrangement is getting a full red carpet treatment at the IBM World of Watson expo (Oct. 24-27) in Las Vegas.

It’s a part of ushering in the World of Watson event’s theme — what Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chair, president, and CEO, calls the “cognitive era.” In a nutshell, the ability of connectivity and Machine Learning applies to computers’ ability to think, interpret, and anticipate “the systems, the products, the processes… everything you do.”

By way of background, IBM Watson is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and Machine Learning to “reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.”

And the unstructured data associated with the physical businesss locations connected to digital devices is the foundation of those abilities that marketers need.

How The Alliance Will Work

In terms of the partnership between the companies, Pitney Bowes’ world boundaries data is being positioned to “supplement” the geospatial capabilities of the IBM Cognos Analytics and IBM Watson Analytics platforms.

Pitney Bowes offered some examples of how the partnership’s use cases might look:

  • Financial Services companies select optimal branch sites, re-evaluate underperforming branches and increase customer service by installing ATM locators.
  • Telecommunication companies create easily digestible maps to communicate with customers more efficiently and provide real-time updates.
  • Adtech companies to create context information to enhance locations identifying where users are and what they are near.

“We are thrilled to be working with IBM to enable advanced consumer insights and experiences through geospatial insights,” said Bob Guidotti, Pitney Bowes’ EVP and President, Software Solutions. “Highly detailed and accurate data has been proven to shed insights on understanding customer segments, managing risk and making important decisions with greater confidence.”

The Pitney Bowes boundaries data covers over 240 geographies worldwide.

“Working with Pitney Bowes, we will be able to unlock insights tied to location and geographies, which has applicability across a wide range of use cases and industries,” said Marc Altshuller, IBM’s GM of Business Analytics. Cognos Analytics and Watson Analytics customers will be able to leverage these integrated capabilities without special geospatial skills, bringing geospatial analytics to business analysts and executives.”